Following Sanders’ Lead, Dems Hold Rallies to Save ‘Obamacare’

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Democratic lawmakers, taking a page from Sen. Bernie Sanders' grassroots approach to campaigning, reached out beyond Washington D.C. Sunday with a series of rallies aimed at building public pressure to save the Affordable Care Act.

A page on Sanders' website listed 41 different rallies Sunday around the country.

Sanders appeared at a rally in Warren, Michigan, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts headlined one in Boston.

Thousands braved frigid temperatures in Michigan to turn out for the rally outside in the parking lot of Macomb County Community College. The event was live-streamed on Sanders' Facebook account.

“This is the wealthiest country in the history of the world,” Sanders said at the rally, firing up the crowd despite the cold. “It’s time we got our priorities right.”

The Vermont independent called for a single-payer health care system, a proposal that he also made in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

“Our job today is to defend the Affordable Care Act," Sanders said Sunday. "Our job tomorrow is to create a Medicare-for-all single payer system.”

The crowd responded to the speech with chants of "Bern-ie, Bern-ie!"

Among those attending was Lisa Bible, 45, of Bancroft, Michigan, who said Obamacare has been an answer to her and her husband's prayers.

Bible said she suffers from an auto-immune disease and high cholesterol. She said she worries that if the health care law is repealed her family may get slammed with her medical bills.

 

 

Democrats' aggressive display of support for the Affordable Care Act, including in smaller states like Hawaii and Delaware, is an attempt to pressure Republicans into backing away from dismantling the legislation.

Sanders' emergence as one of the loudest defenders of the law could be seen as a pragmatic shift for the self-described Democratic Socialist, who has often acknowledged problems with the law.

On ABC News' This Week, Sanders warned Republicans against repealing Obamacare without anything to take its place.

"The vast majority of the American people agree with me and many others," he said. "You don't simply repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement."

Sanders' also left the door open to working across the aisle to improve the health care law.

“Nobody thinks that Obamacare is perfect. It has its problems,” he said, but, “Sensible people have got to work together.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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