Save Healthcare rally in Montpelier draws couple hundred supporters

February 25, 2017

NBC5

Updated: 6:25 PM EST Feb 25, 2017
Abby Isaacs, WNBC 5 Reporter

MONTPELIER, Vt. —

A couple of hundred people turned out for a Save Healthcare rally in Montpelier Saturday as part of Sen. Bernie Sanders' National Day of Action.

The point is to resist the national Republican proposals to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and work on a universal health care system in Vermont.

"I think it's probably fair to say that when it comes to healthcare, Vermont is Donald Trump's nightmare," state Sen. Anthony Pollina said. "We will not allow ourselves to sit quietly and let our health care be taken away from us and deprive us from the progress we have made."

Among the speakers at the rally was Dr. Deb Richter, who said she's seen the affects of the current health care system firsthand.

"I see people making choices to self-ration care as a results of having tremendous out-of-pocket costs, like copays and deductibles," Richter said.

She said the proposed system gives everyone access to primary care without financial barriers.

"That is really again most of the care for most of the people most of the time. Most people don't see a specialist, they go to their primary care," Richter said. "And that also will help prevent disease and higher costs in the future, if people don't hesitate to get preventable conditions treated early instead of waiting until they're much sicker."

Rights and Democracy ad the Main Street Alliance released a report last week on how dismantling the ACA would impact the state. It said it would leave 35,000 Vermonters without coverage, including Brenda Patoine.

"Before I had the ACA, there was always that low level anxiety," Patoine said. "There was that nagging fear that I was one slip on the ice away from financial ruin. Nobody wants to live with that."

She said that financial anxiety could come back if the ACA is repealed.

"If health care becomes something that only the wealthiest can afford, that does not make America great," Patoine said.

But she said the turnout at rallies like the one Saturday gives her hope for a brighter future for all Americans.

Bennington and Rutland also hosted Save Healthcare rallies, along with other cities across the country.