PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO | Just days after Republicans in Congress approved a parliamentary measure that would allow them to move forward with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without the Democrats in the Senate having the ability to mount a filibuster that would require repeal advocates to secure 60 votes, Americans gathered in more than 70 cities nationwide on January15 to show their support for President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
Outside the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Columbus Circle, a crowd of more than 1,000 turned out for a rally organized by Rise and Resist and joined by numerous LGBTQ leaders, including Jeremiah Johnson, a Rise and Resist organizer, and Jay W. Walker, an activist with Gays Against Guns as well as Rise and Resist, seen here making an impromptu speech. Other queer activists – including Tim Murphy, Jackie Rudin, and Mark Milano – were among a group of about 15 who staged a “cough-in” inside the hotel's restaurant, chanting, “We need Obamacare, Trumpcare makes us sick.”
The show of support for the ACA came as the GOP was showing a divided face on its pledge to undo the law. Congressional leadership is hell-bent on repeal, regardless of the state of its deliberations over any replacement. President-elect Donald Trump, meanwhile, has insisted that alternative legislation be enacted at roughly the same time, going so far over the weekend to pledge – with no back-up detail provided – that his approach would insure “everybody” with lower out-of-pocket deductibles for patients. Disarray among Republicans grew on January 17 when the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released an analysis of Obamacare repeal that showed it would lead to 18 million people losing their insurance in the first year – a figure that would grow to 32 million by 2026 – and a doubling of insurance premiums.