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Rep. Peter DeFazio to Reserve Empty Seat at Joint Session of Congress to Represent Constituent Who Will Die or Go Bankrupt without the Affordable Care Act

Feb 28, 2017
Press Release
DeFazio Highlights Need for Affordable Care Act in Response to President Trump’s Address to Congress

Pushing back against President Trump’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Congressman Peter DeFazio will leave his guest’s seat empty at tonight’s Joint Session of Congress to represent one of his constituents who will die or go bankrupt due to a health crisis if the law is repealed.

Traditionally, members of Congress are provided an extra ticket for a guest to attend a Joint Session of Congress. After hearing from a record number of constituents who fear the law will be repealed under President Trump, Rep. DeFazio decided to leave his guest’s seat empty to symbolize an Oregonian who will die or go bankrupt without the Affordable Care Act.

“The response from supporters of the Affordable Care Act since President Trump’s inauguration has been tremendous,” said Rep. DeFazio. “I have heard from far too many constituents who say the same thing: ‘If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, I will not survive.’ Scores of Oregonians are afraid that they will lose their healthcare and go bankrupt trying to pay for medical care they desperately need to survive. These very legitimate fears are why I’ve decided my guest’s seat will remain empty tonight: to represent a constituent that would be left behind if the GOP carries out their reckless repeal of the ACA.”

In lieu of bringing a guest to tonight’s address, this week Rep. DeFazio will highlight stories from several constituents who have been impacted by the Affordable Care Act.

Nearly 27,000 people in Oregon’s 4th congressional district are enrolled in the healthcare marketplace and risk losing their healthcare coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. The ACA’s Medicaid expansion provided coverage to an additional 88,000 individuals in the district who stand to lose coverage if the law is repealed.