Outside of U.S. Rep. Mike Bost’s Belleville office Tuesday, about 50 to 60 people gathered holding candles and signs telling Bost to defend Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.
They were there for a “Hands Off Obamacare” rally organized by the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans and Citizen Action Illinois, which oppose the repeal of the law, saying its repeal would take away health care from more than 1 million Illinoisans and drive up health care costs. Bost has repeatedly voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
A similar rally was held outside of Bost’s Carbondale office as well.
“I understand that there are heartfelt disagreements on both sides of many issues and welcome and encourage these conversations,” Bost, a Republican from Murphysboro, said in a statement sent to the News-Democrat. “Whether you’re Republican, Democrat or Independent, everyone’s input is valid and helps shape our agenda in Congress.”
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Shannon Russell, of Belleville, is one of the organizers of Indivisible, which helped plan Tuesday’s rally.
There were members of the crowd that did get to spend some time with the congressman in a small group setting, Russell said.
“There are a lot of people who have health care stories where they are scared for their lives, where they are afraid that they’re going to lose their coverage, not going to be able to take care of their chronic illnesses,” Russell said. “So our message is, ‘Listen to those people. You need to listen to them.’”
Russell said he tried last month to organize a meeting with about 15 people with Bost. The meeting was canceled, Russell said.
“We just want an opportunity to talk to our congressman,” Russell said.
George O’Connor, the communications director for Bost’s office, said there was a telephone town hall held this month that reached out to more than 85,000 people, where there were several questions on the Affordable Care Act, among other issues.
“We’ll be doing those in the future as well,” O’Connor said.
People can sign up to be in the next telephone town hall at bost.house.gov, O’Connor said.