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Town Hall To Demings: Fight For Obamacare

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings held a town hall in Orlando on Sunday.

Supporters at an Orlando Town Hall want Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings to “fight like hell” for Obamacare.
Congress goes back in session Monday, ending a week of often contentious town hall meetings. The crowd at Demings’ town hall on health care reform in Orlando on Sunday was tame compared to some other events.

Still, Demings was asked about the so-called nuclear option. Would she work with Republicans if the Affordable Care Act was repealed with no replacement?

“You heard me talk about my brother who did not have health care coverage,” Demings said, to applause. “I will lead the charge, and I’m sure I’ll have many of my colleagues with me, leading the charge to make sure we provide health care to people who don’t have it.

Joel Melsha was one of the speakers. She has three family members who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act. Two family members would likely be uninsurable if insurance plans still had lifetime limits on the amount of money they have to pay. And another – insured through Obamacare – has to wait a year to see if she needs brain surgery.

The people at the panel were clear: No one thinks the U.S. will go back to having lifetime limits, or refusing coverage to people because of pre-existing conditions. That, Melsha said, put her at ease.

But her message to Congress was direct.

“Do your job,” Melsha said. “Your job is to represent the American people, to make sure our needs are met. Health care is a vital need for any person.”

Some at the town hall asked Deming to support provisions to allow health savings accounts to rollover year-after-year, and to sell insurance across state lines.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.