CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Nearly 200,000 West Virginians stand to lose their health care coverage next year if the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed and replaced, as promised by the Trump administration.

Protests were held across the country Tuesday by those in favor of keeping the ACA. In Charleston, nearly two dozen people gathered outside the office of U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). Rallies were also held at Capito’s offices in Morgantown and Martinsburg.

Terri Giles, executive director of the West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, was at the Charleston rally and said she wrote a letter to Capito outlining the impact the repeal would have on the Mountain State.

“It would devastate the lives of families and children if it disappears,” Giles said. “We’re asking her to really take a hard look at the affect that a repeal would have on West Virginia.”

Hospitals in West Virginia would be “crushed” by the repeal, Giles said. The state receives nearly $14 billion under Medicaid.

“We wouldn’t have several of these rural hospitals if it weren’t for the payments that came through Medicaid through the Afforable Care Act,” she said.

Capito has repeatedly said she will support President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to repeal and replace the ACA. Allan Tweddle, of Charleston, said that’s ridiculous.

“I don’t understand why Capito and other legislators don’t understand what they’re doing to their children by talking about getting rid of the ACA. It’s just ludicrous,” Tweddle said.

“Across the country it’s like 20-40 million people or something — you’re going to throw them out? That’s absurd! Throw the insurance companies out!”

Giles previously told MetroNews the program has been benefited West Virginia in several ways:

  • 173,000 low-income West Virginians are covered through the expansion of Medicaid
  • 37,000 are covered with private insurance policies purchased through the exchange
  • 18,000 young adults are covered through their parents’ health insurance policies

Improvements should be made to the ACA, Giles admitted, but should not be replaced all together.

But, if that happens, she said, “We’re in for a world of hurt in West Virginia and across the country, frankly.”

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