By Sarah Stortz
In the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall on Saturday, Mount Pleasant resident Daniel Clark stood among an assembly of protesters, shouting into his microphone, “Let us join our brothers and sisters across the world, and expand the Affordable Care Act into a single-payer healthcare system.”
The audience applauded with enthusiasm, chanting “single-payer health care” at the end of his speech.
The protest, known as “Iowa’s 2nd District Stands with the ACA,” was organized by Chris Laursen, an Ottumwa resident. Laursen brought this protest to Iowa City to bring awareness into the district 2 area of Iowa.
Clark, one the several speakers featured, was invited by Laursen himself because of his high involvement in the Green Party and his experience being a delegate.
“Now is a good time to take action on what a good replacement would be, but also what we can work on together,” Clark said
Laursen said he did this because he wanted to prevent Republican lawmakers from privatizing Medicare.
“We need to make it very clear to Republican legislators and Congress, that if we repeal the ACA, we need to replace it with something that’s better,” Laursen said. “Not doing so just isn’t right.”
One of the protestors, Michael Thompson, sported a white sign that read: “Health Care Is A Civil Right” during the rally. Thompson said he came all the way to Iowa City from Illinois to stand up for this cause.
“The country’s going backwards way too fast,” he said. “They’re taking away people’s rights, they’re costing the economy billions of dollars. We have to fight against them taking over our country.”
Although Thompson said that he wouldn’t be personally affected by the repeal of the ACA, he also said there’s still a good reason to fight for it.
“It’s everybody else that I’m out here fighting for,” he said. “I’m retired, I have a health insurance plan, and I’m comfortable; many of these people aren’t and that’s who we have to watch out for.”
Amy Fretz, a resident of Iowa City, attended the rally last weekend because she said she believes every U.S. citizen should have healthcare.
“I’m a disabled person and I know a lot of other disabled people that can’t get healthcare,” she said. “We need the Affordable Care Act, and we need to improve it so everybody can get affordable healthcare. It is a basic right.”
Fretz said the main reason why she fights for affordable healthcare is because she could sympathize with those who couldn’t obtain health care.
“I’m one of the fortunate people with Medicare, and there are many people who can’t qualify for Medicare. I was one of those people at one point in time and it was really tough,” she said.