Outraged by the American Health Care Act and the risks it poses to millions of Americans, one man from Portland, Oregon has taken matters into his own hands.
Shortly after Paul Ryan and congressional Republicans introduced the AHCA, Daniel Jimenez decided to launch a petition calling for members of Congress to lose their healthcare subsidies and “commit to treating themselves just like those who will be impacted by ACA repeal or replacement.” Jimenez’s father died of cancer, largely due to the fact that he did not have health insurance.
‘My dad had a job at the time, but his employer did not cover him, and without coverage, he avoided going to the doctor until it was too late. As Congress and President Trump try to pass a new healthcare law, I’m reminded of my father and whether he would have made it if he had early access to cost-effective health care.’
On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office released a report estimating that, by 2026, nearly 24 million Americans will go uninsured if the AHCA is passed. That number, combined with news that premiums will increase dramatically for the elderly, has caused many people to speak out against the GOP’s plan.
In his petition, Jimenez puts forth the same argument that many others are making regarding the disparity between Capitol Hill politicians and average Americans. People like Paul Ryan can comfortably put in place whatever plan they want because they know that they will be still have adequate health insurance. As Jimenez puts it:
‘Some politicians cannot relate to the cost burden experienced by families across the nation because they’ve historically received health benefits that most Americans have not.’
‘I’m concerned the people elected to represent us won’t have to live with the consequences or expenses that the rest of us may have to face soon. I want lawmakers to commit to treating themselves just like those who will be impacted by ACA repeal or replacement.’
Jimenez also suggests that politicians should be required to purchase their health insurance from the same marketplace as the American people and asks at the end of his message:
‘If Congress is willing to drastically cut healthcare subsidies for most people, are they willing to have the same rules apply to them and their families?’
At the time of this writing, Jimenez’s petition had 355,296 supporters. He requires 144,704 more to reach his goal of 500,000 signatures.
Jimenez spoke to Oregon Live via email on Tuesday and said that the support he has received so far “has been amazing.”
He also said that he has heard many “sad and scary” stories from people on both sides of the aisle who are concerned about their futures if the AHCA is passed.
‘There are also some really sad and scary comments about people needing health insurance because of pre-existing conditions and are fearing for their lives if they lose their health care plan. An interesting fact is that people from both side of the political spectrum seem to agree with me about Congress not receiving any special treatment that regular people do not have.’
If Jimenez reaches the number of signatures he needs, his petition will be delivered to Paul Ryan, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump. While it seems safe to say that Sanders will be on Jimenez’s side, he’ll face an uphill battle with Ryan and Trump.
Sign Jimenez’s petition here and help him move forward in the fight against the AHCA.
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.