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Sen. Kaine to crowd at ACA rally: ‘We have to win’

RICHMOND, Va. -- The threat of thunderstorms didn't stop about a hundred people to gather at the Bell Tower at the Capitol for a rally to save Obamacare Saturday.

Indivisible Richmond organized the "March to Save the A.C.A," but the march portion of the event was canceled due to nearby lightning.

"We must save the health insurance of tens of millions of Americans," Sen. Tim Kaine told the crowd through a megaphone. "We have to win. We have to win."

Sen. Tim Kaine

Sen. Tim Kaine

It was a promise of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans are currently working on a new health plan to do so.

"It would be an absolute catastrophe to take health insurance away from 30 million people who desperately need it," Sen. Kaine said.

Dr. Suzanne Richmond, a pediatrician in Spotsylvania County, was in the crowd and said about 30 percent of her patients have Obamacare.

"I have a 23-year-old who is carried by her parent's health care plan with a pre-existing condition who would be in trouble if Obamacare was repealed," Richmond said.

Nicole Riley, the Virginia state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, said a majority of the 6,600 small businesses her organization represents call the ACA "a very expensive burden."

Nicole Riley

Nicole Riley

"They all saw double-digit premium increases," Riley said. "They obviously work on much smaller margins than big businesses do and they don't have the volume of employees to self-insure."

Riley said small business owners tell her they want to hire new employees, but do not want to go over the 50 employee minimum to avoid the mandate to offer insurance or be penalized.

But Sen. Kaine told CBS 6 there is no evidence the ACA has hurt job prospects in America.

"Since the ACA passed the number of private jobs in the country have grown between 10 and 15 million, so it's been a dramatic increase in private-sector jobs," he said.

While holding signs that read, "Hey Congress, people with pre-existing conditions deserve health care too!" they hoped lawmakers make the right decisions about Obamacare.

"My biggest fear is people will be sick and dying and not be able to access the healthcare they need," Dr. Richmond said.

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