Sanders, Dem leaders urge day of rallies to 'save health care'

Sanders, Dem leaders urge day of rallies to 'save health care'
© Greg Nash

Democratic leaders are calling for rallies across the country to fight Republican efforts to overhaul Medicare and repeal ObamaCare.

The Democratic leaders, Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSenate Dems step up protests ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote Senate Dems plan floor protest ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote Dem senator: Don't bet against McConnell on ObamaCare repeal MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as well as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders: GOP healthcare bill 'barbaric and immoral' Sanders dodges question on FBI investigation into his wife Major progressive group rolls out first incumbent House endorsement MORE (I-Vt.), wrote a letter to colleagues Wednesday calling for a “day of action” on Jan. 15.

“Rallies will be held across the country to vigorously oppose the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it and throw our health care system into chaos,” the letter states.

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The leaders dubbed the effort, “Our First Stand: Save Health Care.”

The Democrats are warning against Republican plans to repeal ObamaCare, pointing to a study from the Urban Institute that found about 30 million people would lose health insurance once repeal goes into effect.

They also point to plans to implement a Medicare “premium support” system that would change the program from an open-ended government commitment to a system where seniors receive a set amount of money to help them purchase coverage.

Republicans like Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanWinner of Georgia special election sworn in GOP chairman: More tax-reform hearings coming in July Speaker Ryan, the fate of our policy toward Russia rests in your hands MORE (R-Wis.) say such a change is necessary to put the program on sound financial footing; Democrats say it would end the program “as we know it.”

Democrats have seized on the proposed Medicare changes to go on the political attack. It is unclear whether Republicans will push for the overhaul next year, given reluctance among Senate Republicans and possibly the Trump administration. 

Republicans, though, say that repeal of ObamaCare is a top priority and have vowed that process will start quickly in January.

The Democratic letter also warns against cuts to Medicaid and Social Security.

“Millions of Americans voted for Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump sends FBI director nomination to the Senate Alec Baldwin's Trump will return to SNL Carter Page questioned in FBI Russia investigation: report MORE after he promised not to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,” the letter states. “He must be held to his promises and should veto any legislation which cuts these vital and necessary health programs.”