During a press conference today in Dayton, a local doctor, federal employee and democratic state representative were among the speakers who either defended the Affordable Care Act or railed against Congress for failing to pass a budget bill that would end the government shutdown.
State Rep. Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton, blamed 30 to 40 "Tea Party" Republican members of Congress for the shutdown at today's event, which was held at the Dayton Cultural & RTA Transit Center, located on S. Edwin C Moses Blvd.
He said Republican opposition stems from their interest in repealing the health care overhaul, often called "Obamacare."
Strahorn said Obama's signature legislative achievement creates standards and common-sense reforms to help people without health insurance get coverage.
Strahorn said shutting down the government to oppose health care coverage is unjustifiable and it has unfortunate economic consequences in the region.
"The museum, our region's largest tourist attraction, sits with its doors currently locked to the general public, veterans groups and school kids who normally fill its halls with activities," he said.
Strahorn also said government provides crucial services that need to be restored.
"We don't want government to be bigger than it needs to be, but government is not your enemy," he said. "Government does a lot of things that people care about."
Justine Kelly, who works for the Social Security Administration, told the small crowd that she has not been paid in two weeks, but her agency continues to help serve the public.
Kelly, however, said her office is only allowed to provide certain services.
It cannot help people who have been hired and need proof of their Social Security numbers. It also cannot help people who need proof of income.
Some records can be obtained online, but Kelly said not everyone has access to or uses the Internet.
Kelly said she is saddened by how federal employees are portrayed as lazy and overpaid by some media outlets, because the depiction is inaccurate.
"It has been going on for a long time that federal workers have been vilified," she said. "My coworkers and I work harder than anyone I know."
Kelly said she has a young son and a new mortgage, and she is worried because the shutdown has no end in sight. She said members of Congress need to do their jobs and come to a resolution that reopens the government.
Dr. Donald Nguyen, with Doctors for America, said today that Obamacare will stop insurers from cheating patients or dropping them when they get sick.
He said the law will help 31 million Americans get health coverage, and many others will receive rebates when their insurance companies do not spend enough on health care services.
But Republican representatives have called Obamacare a gravely flawed law. U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, has previously said it will result in increased costs for Ohioans and reduced hours for many workers.
Last week, Turner said Obama unnecessarily furloughed 400,000 civilian workers, and he called for them to receive furlough pay.
"These hard working men and women should not be punished because the Administration was willing to use them as a bargaining chip in this political showdown," he said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. John Boehner, R-West Chester, has previously said that President Obama has refused to negoiate over the shutdown and debt limit, which is an untenable position. Boehner contends the Democrat-controlled Senate and Obama refuse to come to the negotiating table to find reasonable solutions.
"The president doesn't want to talk," he said in a statement. "We tried to offer bills that would re-open parts of the government only to have them rejected by our counterparts over in the U.S. Senate."
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.