Four Demo­cratic hope­fuls for gov­er­nor spoke at an An­napo­lis rally sup­port­ing the Af­ford­able Care Act.

The Washington Post Sunday - - METRO - THE RE­GION BY EL­LIE SIL­VER­MAN AND CLARENCE WIL­LIAMS el­lie.sil­ver­man@wash­ clarence.wil­liams@wash­

Ad­dress­ing hun­dreds of peo­ple at a rally in the Dis­trict on Satur­day evening, House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi called on Amer­i­cans to con­tinue press­ing for the up­dat­ing and im­prove­ment of the Af­ford­able Care Act, pop­u­larly known as Oba­macare.

Her speech in Free­dom Plaza came in the wake of the fail­ure last week of a Repub­li­can ef­fort to par­tially re­peal the act. The ef­fort was to be the Se­nate Repub­li­cans’ first step in re­plac­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture leg­is­la­tion.

Speak­ers at the rally told of how valu­able the ACA had been to them and their fam­i­lies. Peo­ple in the crowd held plac­ards with mes­sages such as “Save Lives, Save ACA.”

The D.C. rally — and oth­ers like it na­tion­wide, in­clud­ing An­napo­lis — had been planned be­fore the early morn­ing vote in the Se­nate that doomed the Repub­li­cans’ ef­fort.

Ex­hort­ing her lis­ten­ers not to be sat­is­fied with last week’s Se­nate ac­tion, Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged them to keep the pres­sure on.

What had de­vel­oped through the lob­by­ing against the Repub­li­cans’ plans, she said, is a widely shared be­lief “that health care is a right for all, not a priv­i­lege for just a few.”

“We have to im­prove and up­date the Af­ford­able Care Act,” she said. More­over, she added, “We want to do so in a bi­par­ti­san way.”

That, she said, could be done only “with your con­tin­ued in- volve­ment.”

Like the D.C. rally, the An­napo­lis protest also heard from peo­ple who said they had ben­e­fited from the ACA. They in­cluded Chrissy Holt, 50, and her hus­band, Art, 55.

They said they have been to about 10 marches in the past six months in hopes that some­one will hear them. The cou­ple’s 22year-old son has se­vere he­mo­philia A, and they fear that he might not get the med­i­ca­tion he needs. Holt said she be­lieves univer­sal health care is a “hu­man right.”

“It’s scary be­cause there’s not a lot of peo­ple here,” she said af­ter the rally on Lawyers Mall. “I wish more peo­ple cared and [would] stop vot­ing for peo­ple who don’t care.”

Four of the five de­clared gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates spoke be­fore the small crowd in An­napo­lis on Satur­day morn­ing, cheer­ing when­ever a speaker crit­i­cized the state’s Repub­li­can gov­er­nor, Larry Ho­gan, for what they viewed as his overly mea­sured re­sponse to con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans’ ef­forts to re­peal and re­place the ACA.

Gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date and Bal­ti­more tech­nol­ogy en­tre­pre­neur Alec Ross (D) told the crowd about his 10-year-old son’s ex­pe­ri­ence with a po­ten­tially lifethreat­en­ing thy­roid con­di­tion, for which he was able to re­ceive treat­ment be­cause of the fam­ily’s health in­sur­ance plan.

Prince Ge­orge’s County Ex­ec­u­tive Rush­ern L. Baker III (D), who is also run­ning for gov­er­nor, talked about his wife’s strug­gles with Alzheimer’s dis­ease, which left her with­out her me­mory and the abil­ity to talk and walk.

Ben­jamin Jeal­ous, for­mer NAACP pres­i­dent and gu­ber­na­to­rial con­tender, told a story about a friend who came to him cry­ing af­ter a rally in Mont­gomery County.

That friend, he said, re­cently lost his girl­friend when she had a seizure and could not af­ford health care.

“This is about all of us. This is about all of our fam­i­lies. It’s about all of our cir­cles of friends,” Jeal­ous said to cheers.

State Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Mont­gomery), who spent nearly 15 years as a state law­maker and would be the state’s first openly gay gov­er­nor, lam­basted Ho­gan for re­fus­ing to ei­ther sign or veto a bill that re­im­burses Planned Par­ent­hood clin­ics in the state if they are de­funded by Congress.

“He hid,” Madaleno said. “Don’t be­lieve his rhetoric about want­ing to work to­gether, be­cause he re­ally doesn’t want to work with us.”

Gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date James L. Shea, an at­tor­ney and for­mer chair of the Univer­sity Sys­tem of Mary­land Board of Re­gents, did not at­tend.

About a dozen peo­ple stood be­hind the rally’s speak­ers, hold­ing signs in sup­port of the ACA and Planned Par­ent­hood.

The speak­ers em­pha­sized that the ex­is­tence of the ACA is made pos­si­ble by con­stituents mak­ing their voices heard at events across the coun­try.

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