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Proponents of Affordable Care Act Rally at Senator Blunt's Office

Photo Credit: Chris Escobar

Over 60 supporters of Planned Parenthood gathered in front of Senator Roy Blunt’s office in Springfield Tuesday to voice their support for the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid expansion. KSMU’s Samuel Crowe was at the rally and files this report.

[SOUND: Cars honking as they drive past supporters]

Holding signs along East Sunshine street, supporters rallied to send a message to Senator Blunt: that Missouri women need a break. Provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect on August 1st, allowing women with health insurance to get basic services and screenings at no cost, including preventative services, birth control, and domestic abuse counseling.

But many members of Congress, along with Senator Blunt, have been fighting against this provision. They’ve also fought Medicare benefits to seniors as well as the expansion of Medicaid to single moms without coverage.

Crystal Brigman with Planned Parenthood says she feels Blunt is trying to take basic healthcare access away from women who need it. Last year, she says Planned Parenthood health centers across the country provided birth control to more than two million people.

“Birth control is basic healthcare for women. It makes good public policy. It creates healthier families. It’s also a really good economic policy. It will save women over 600 dollars a year, so saving that money makes them more able to pay for rent and groceries, and reinvest in our communities and economies here,” Brigman said.

Kay Mills is a regional organizer with Missouri ProVote, a coalition of labor unions and community groups who advocate for healthcare reform. She says she feels the Affordable Care Act will keep people healthy while saving taxpayers money in the long term.

“We just want to send a message to Senator Blunt that we like this law, we like the provisions, and we want him to start representing Missouri families, and not the millionaires and billionaires that his vote shows he’s been representing so far,” Mills said.

KSMU was unable to connect with Senator Blunt for comment on the issue.

In a statement issued in June following the Supreme Court ruling on the federal health care law, Blunt said the Affordable Care Act will increase federal spending and create greater uncertainty for small business owners. He says he will work to keep Washington bureaucrats from controlling healthcare, instead giving that power to patients and doctors.

For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.