PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - There is still plenty of debate over the American Healthcare Act - the proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act that was released less than two weeks ago.
President Trump promised during his campaign to repeal and replace the ACA, known as Obamacare.
A new group has now formed in Maine, made up of over 300 healthcare providers. They call themselves "Maine Providers Standing Up for Healthcare" - and they came together just about a week ago in response to the proposed American Healthcare Act.
The group met today at the Portland Public Library, with speeches from several physicians and other healthcare providers from Portland to Blue Hill.
Saturday’s inaugural event was a call to action - group leaders told guests to reach out to elected officials to have their voices heard.
The group doesn't want Obamacare to be repealed, but rather to be improved.
They say the American Healthcare Act would be devastating to Maine - particularly because of potential cuts to Medicaid and its possible effect on Maine's aging population.
“The elderly are going to be the most affected, and we are the oldest state in the country,” said Cindy Avery, a family physician in Blue Hill. “Our people who are over 60 are not going to be able to afford what is being proposed. I think that's pretty clear from the numbers. And that's what I'm the most worried about because we are an aging population.”
The proposal has garnered criticism from all sides - some say it's’ Obamacare light,’ others say it's too much change.
Dr. Demi Kouzounas, the chair of the Maine Republican Party, - is also a dentist who runs her own private practice.
She says that she thinks protesters are jumping the gun, and that she knows this proposal will go through a lot of changes before becoming law...which she says is a good thing.
“I am fine that they are scrutinizing this plan,” she said. “We don't want to make the same mistake twice. The Affordable Care Act was rolled out quickly, pushed through, nobody really had a chance to read it, they voted for it - and now we have a mess. We don't want to go through this again. So we think that the Republicans and Democrats should sit down together and look at it. If they're scrutinizing this and looking at this bill carefully, I'm thrilled. That's what they should be doing.”