LIers urge lawmakers for effective health care bill at vigil

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Long Islanders attended a vigil Wednesday in Huntington to urge federal lawmakers to fight for an effective health care plan to replace former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

"Do no harm, do no harm!" chanted protesters who lined Main Street of Huntington Village. Others did the same outside the federal courthouse in Central Islip earlier Wednesday.

Dan Fingas, of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, says that if the Senate Republican health care bill becomes law, it will not just repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, it will also devastate Medicaid funding in the future.

"It's really important," Fingas says. "Fifty percent of births are done through Medicaid. Sixty percent of nursing home residents use Medicaid to pay for their nursing home bills."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called out his fellow Republicans Wednesday. An increasing number of rank-and-file members are expressing concerns over the bill. McConnell argues that "Obamacare" is collapsing under its own weight, and the time to come up with a replacement plan is now.

House and Senate Republicans have tried to go it alone, but if the bill fails in the Senate, leaders in both chambers of Congress may have no choice but to negotiate with Democrats.

Legislator William Spencer is a doctor and a Democratic lawmaker. He says the country will benefit if both sides of the aisle come together on a compromise package.

People at the Huntington vigil say they vow to keep up the pressure in the coming weeks and months.

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