Ahead of First Presidential Debate, NV Dems and Cancer Survivors Underscore Consequences of Trump’s Latest Threats to Health Care

Yesterday, ahead of the first presidential debate, the Nevada State Democratic Party hosted a press call to underscore what’s at stake for Nevadans’ health care this fall. As Trump and Republicans attempt to jam through a Supreme Court appointment who will cast the deciding vote on whether to overturn the ACA just one week after Election Day, Trump’s threat to “terminate health care” is more real than ever for Nevada families. 

During the call, Nevada Senate Assistant Majority Leader Julia Ratti, who authored Senate Bill 235 codifying the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Joseph Merlino, a local healthcare advocate and cancer survivor who lost his mother to COVID-19, and Priscilla Maloney, AFSCME Local 4041 member and breast cancer survivor, spoke out against Trump’s relentless attempts to strip away health care coverage from more than 300,000 Nevadans, and highlighted Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s plan to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), lower costs, and expand coverage. 

Nevada Senate Assistant Majority Leader and cancer survivor Julia Ratti, who authored Senate Bill 235 codifying the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions into Nevada law:

 “There’s just no question that health care is on the ballot in November. The Affordable Care Act was a huge victory for the state of Nevada and for the country as a whole. We added over 300,000 people who never had access to insurance before […] We know that the Trump administration is just dead set on removing the Affordable Care Act, and removing all those protections and all that access to health care and insurance for Nevadans and for Americans across the country […] The priority should be focusing on how we get more health care to more people, not ripping away the Affordable Care Act from the people who need it, and they need it right now.” 

Joseph Merlino, a local healthcare advocate and cancer survivor who has been impacted by COVID-19

“I thought cancer would be my biggest challenge in life. But recently, at the end of July, COVID entered my house. I got very, very sick. My mom who lives with me, got very, very sick […] I watched my mom slip away. 205,000 times this has happened to families and Trump has done nothing but call it a hoax, tell people to inject bleach, and make the states figure out where they’re going to get PPE and assistance. I’m here to put a face on that 205,000 — this is my mom, God rest her soul. While she was in the hospital, Mitch McConnell was on vacation […] Trump was playing golf and telling people at his rallies that there was nothing to worry about. That this was just going to go away. It doesn’t go away […] We need to vote for Joe Biden because I know that during the Obama-Biden presidency, they fought very hard for the Affordable Care Act. I know Joe Biden has lost family members, like I have. I know he’s got compassion, and we need to save the Affordable Care Act for all of us.” 

Joseph Merlino, holding up a picture of his mother, Providenza “Betty” Merlino, who passed away from COVID-19 complications in July, 2020

Priscilla Maloney, AFSCME Local 4041 member and breast cancer survivor

“My first thought [when I was diagnosed with cancer in January 2016] was, thank God for the Affordable Care Act […] One thing about the Affordable Care Act is it touches every policy in America whether your insurance is provided through a program like Medicare and Medicaid or through your employer. So if the Affordable Care Act goes down, we all go down together […] Millions of Americans right now are standing on the abyss […] We need to vote with not just our own concerns, but for the concerns of our neighbors, our loved ones, our families, our co-workers, and everybody in our communities who will be touched by this if the Affordable Care Act goes down.”

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