Press of Atlantic City

Small Gathering Holds Affordable Care Act Vigil Outside Lobiondo's Office

Press of Atlantic City — January 26, 2017

LAUREN CARROLL Staff Writer

MAYS LANDING — Members of the Communications Workers of America union and a Mays Landing resident gathered in front the office of Rep. Frank LoBiondo on Wednesday to urge the congressman to not vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

"We plan on being here every Wednesday. The vigils will continue to take place," said Mike Blaszczyk, president of CWA Local 1085. "We believe very strongly in this, and we're trying to make Mr. LoBiondo understand the effect this will have on his constituents."

A press release from New Jersey Citizen Action said the Vigils to Save Our Health Care are intended to urge Republicans to save the Affordable Care Act and maintain funding for Medicare and Medicaid.

Wednesday's vigil was one of seven held across the state in front of the offices of Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-11th, Leonard Lance, R-7th, Tom MacArthur, R-3rd, and Chris Smith, R-4th.

"A repeal would cause more than 51,000 adults in the 2nd District to lose health care coverage, said Blaszczyk. "Repealing without a replacement would be devastating."

Last week, President Donald Trump signed executive orders that give federal agencies broad powers to undo regulations created under the Affordable Care Act, including enforcement of the penalty for people who fail to have health insurance.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Ky., have laid out an aggressive legislative agenda calling for Congress to repeal major portions of the ACA within the first 200 days of Republican control in Washington.

"I thought we'd have more time to mobilize and get the message out there," said Melanie Moriarty, of Mays Landing.

LoBiondo, R-2nd, is in Philadelphia ahead of the Congressional Republican Retreat. A statement from his office said of the vigil attendees, "We welcome them, like we welcome all constituents to come to the office."

Each of the demonstrators at the vigil told personal stories about their experience with health care coverage and the benefits of the ACA.

Beth Afflerbach-Ziegenfuss, a social worker in Gloucester County, said she helps people get health insurance through the ACA every day.

"We just need to get it across about how important it is not to take people's health coverage away," Afflerbach-Ziegenfuss said.

The group is reaching out through social media to inform the public of the vigils. More information can be found at facebook.com/njcitizenaction.

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