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Vigil in support of Obamacare set Thursday at Denham’s Modesto office

In Erie, Pa., on Thursday, protestors deliver signatures to U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s office, urging that the Affordable Care Act not be repealed without a replacement. A vigil about the same concern is planned for U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham’s office in Modesto on Thursday afternoon
In Erie, Pa., on Thursday, protestors deliver signatures to U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s office, urging that the Affordable Care Act not be repealed without a replacement. A vigil about the same concern is planned for U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham’s office in Modesto on Thursday afternoon AP

A candlelight vigil is planned for 5:30 p.m. Thursday in front of U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham’s Modesto office “to demand that he stand up against efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and slash Medi-Cal and Medicare coverage,” organizers said in a news release.

The vigil is among several actions planned by the #Fight4OurHealth Coalition in the Central Valley this week, leading up to statewide day of action on Sunday, said organizers, who include Health Access California and Mi Familia Vota. They noted that counties represented by Denham have among the highest Medi-Cal populations in the state.

“The vigil will call attention to the over 100,000 in Rep. Denham’s district who benefit directly from the ACA, either through increased Medi-Cal enrollment or receiving financial assistance to purchase health care coverage, and stand to see their coverage cut or eliminated,” the news release says. “Thousands more will see their premiums skyrocket because the market will be left with a smaller, sicker risk pool. ...”

“Congressional Republicans made a promise that they would not repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan. Constituents of Congressman Denham ask that he keep his word.”

The pressure is on U.S. House Republicans to complete the first step toward repealing Obamacare after a razor-thin Senate vote showed the contentiousness surrounding efforts to undo President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, Bloomberg News reported Thursday.

The House plans to vote as early as Friday on a budget resolution that would set the repeal effort in motion, but the timing could slip because of intra-party angst. Doubts were growing among both moderate and conservative Republicans about the wisdom of voting for repeal without laying out more details about the eventual replacement.

In a statement on health care, Denham says on his website, in part: “ I am deeply concerned that the Affordable Care Act is increasing health insurance premiums in California as well as causing hundreds of thousands of our state citizens to lose the health plans that they have enjoyed for years.

“I support a package of state-based reforms that ensure those with chronic illnesses can find care and patients can control more of their insurance decisions. ... It is not too late to put our country on the track towards true patient centered healthcare reform.”

Melissa Santos, Stanislaus regional coordinator for Mi Familia Vota, said 15 to 20 people are expected to attend the vigil. “Unfortunately, this weather has been threatening for our turnout,” she said, “but the vigil will happen rain or shine.”

Denham’s Modesto office is at 4701 Sisk Road, Suite 202.

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