More than 200 people gathered to voice their concerns about health care at a town hall on Tuesday night hosted by CoMo for Progress.
The town hall was held so the public could share stories and concerns about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Since Congress is in recess, Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt were invited to attend the event, as well Representative Vicki Hartzler. McCaskill did not attend, but representatives from her Columbia office read a letter from the senator and listened to attendees concerns.
Richard von Glahn, policy director for Missouri Jobs with Justice, helped organize the event. He said Sen. Blunt did not respond to the invitation. Rep. Hartzler responded that she could not attend.
Many Missouri residents spoke about personal struggles with the health care system and that they hope that it remains intact.
Beverly Heine, who was a registered nurse for over 30 years, said this is the first time she has spoken up at an event like this.
“I have voted every year since I could vote, and this year is the first year that I have felt the need to get personally involved,” Heine said.
She said she has seen what it’s like for people to struggle without health insurance while needing health care.
“I see the damage when they don’t have healthcare, and like I said before, there are too many people that do not have insurance that will let smaller problems go until there are horrendous problems,” she said.
Heine said she wants to get more involved now. “I’ve already been calling and emailing,” she said. “I’m going to have to be more active with that.”
Freda McKee, an attendee at the event, said she came to the town hall because she does not like the idea of so many people being affected by a repeal of the Affordable Care Act without something being offered to replace it.
“Health care is important. Now that we have a vehicle, not saying it was the best, but it’s there. They are not offering us anything in replacement of that,” McKee said.
McKee spoke about people in rural Missouri that have more trouble accessing health care.
“I care about health insurance for all Missourians, for all people,” she said.
McKee said she encourages people to be aware of the actions of their representatives are the local, state, and federal levels.
Representatives from McCaskill’s office read a letter from the Senator that said she challenges those in Congress who want to repeal the ACA to come up with a plan to replace it first.