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Government & Politics

In Akron, the Republican Healthcare Plan Is Being Met With Calls For a 'Single-Payer' System

photo of Akron rib fest

The U.S. Senate is expected to get back to work on the future of the Republican healthcare plan after this week's recess. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia checked with people at the Akron Rib, White and Blue Fest about what they think about the possible replacement for Obamacare.

Many people attending the rib festival said they haven’t followed the debate about healthcare closely enough.

Others – like Rebecca Jenkins of Akron – say they’d prefer to see a single-payer program in-place. She adds that the current proposal seems “cruel,” and she’s not sure it’s supporters fully understand what’s at stake.

“I don’t personally know anyone that’s for it. But I imagine there are some folks that voted for [President] Trump that will support him no matter what, thinking that their coal-mining jobs are coming back. But wait until their health insurance goes away.”

Senate Republicans last week postponed a vote on the healthcare bill, just after the Congressional Budget Office said it would leave 22 million people uninsured by 2026.

Mark Burnett from Highland Square agrees.

“If we have to chip away 5-to-10 percent of the defense budget – or 20-to-30 percent of the defense budget – we have enough money in this country to afford everyone to have healthcare. Insurance companies would be taken care of. The people would be taken care of. And I see that as the ultimate of where we need to go.”

Burnett adds that he’s encouraged that Ohio Sen. Rob Portman has said he won’t vote for the GOP plan in its current form. But he adds that he wished the Senator had come out against it before the vote was postponed last week.