Government & Politics

Rallying cry in KC: ‘Let’s make health care a right in this country’

Activists and local leaders, including Kansas City Mayor Sly James, rallied at City Hall on Wednesday to urge continued resistance against lawmakers who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Speakers talked to a small crowd about how they depend on the Affordable Care Act for their health insurance. Others, including James, lambasted Republican lawmakers who have sought to repeal the legislation.

“The one thing everybody should admit is that as a result of Obamacare, fewer and fewer people were left uninsured and without access to health care,” James said “That in and of itself should have been enough for them to drop ‘Repeal and Replace’ with ‘Let’s fix it and make it better.’”

The event was part of a national five-week bus tour called Drive for Our Lives. The tour was launched on July 29 and will travel to a total of 20 states, according to a news release about the rally.

Jake Lupardus, who works with Indivisible Kansas City, has multiple sclerosis, a pre-existing condition he said would prevent him from getting insurance if the Affordable Care Act were repealed.

“Without health insurance, a month of my medication would cost me over $7,000 — $117 a pill,” Lupardus said. “Because of the Affordable Care Act, I don’t need to worry about hitting a lifetime cap on coverage.

“I didn’t ask to have MS. I am no less of a person for it. And I shouldn’t be treated differently by insurance companies or Republican politicians because of it.”

Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, the final speaker at the rally, encouraged those who attended to go to town hall meetings to tell their lawmakers to defend health care. Kander, a Democrat who made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in November, spoke of health care as a public good, comparing it with Social Security and taxes paid to fund public schools.

“We have this momentum. We have this enthusiasm,” Kander said. “We have a chance now to say, ‘You know what? Let’s make health care a right in this country.’ Let’s decide that it is a right.”