Obamacare the focus of national bus tour stop in Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Wheeling mom, standing on the steps of the state Capitol, said she wants a “viable” health care plan to help her 6 year old autistic son.

Ashley Torlone was in Charleston Friday, along with members of the West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, to share how her son has benefited from the Affordable Care Act.

“He was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and the Affordable Care Act is what provides the insurance that covers his treatments right now and the treatments that have been life changing for us,” Torlone explained to MetroNews during a rally to keep, not repeal the ACA.

The rally was supposed to include the nationwide Save My Care Bus Tour, but event organizers said the bus broke down en route to West Virginia.

Torlone said she knows adjustments need to be made to the ACA and that she wants to hear specifics regarding a replacement plan.

“I know the plan we have in place isn’t perfect, but I don’t think we should throw it out whole scale until we have something viable that isn’t going to leave people out in the cold,” she said.

The “Patient Freedom Act,” designed to be a partial replacement for the ACA, was proposed Monday. U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) supported the legislation. The bill would allow states to keep the ACA, to choose a new state alternative or to design their own alternatives.

Torlone said she does not believe that proposed plan would work in West Virginia.

“Some states are going to do very well with that, but I think states that struggle financially — our state happens to be one of those — will probably be in a bind if that’s what comes to pass,” she said.

According to a West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy report, nearly 184,000 state residents will lose their health care if the ACA is repealed and not replaced.

The threat is scary for West Virginia, Torlone said, because the state struggles with drug and obesity problems.

“Our population is at the greatest risk of a lot of chronic health problems that can be prevented if you can get treatment, but without the Affordable Care Act or something viable replacing it, that’s not going to be an option,” she said.

Friday’s event included state elected officials, doctors, health advocates and patients who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act.

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