For Jennifer Dodson, affordable health care is not merely personal — it’s a matter of life and death.
“I have conditions where if I can’t have preventive exams, it could mean an early death for me,” Dodson told the crowd of participants in Saturday’s nationwide March for Health, her voice breaking. “I feel personally attacked.”
Dodson was not alone in her distress over the recent offensive on the Affordable Care Act. Some 60 people, from children to the elderly, joined her in a peaceful, repeated march around the Cameron Park block, holding signs reading, “Healthcare before warfare” and “Life is a preexisting condition” while chanting “ACA is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back.”
The event was co-organized by Dodson and Lenora Parr in conjunction with the newly founded La Crosse branch of pro-inclusion, anti-Trump organization Indivisible, whose motto is “to organize locally to ensure that our members of congress vote to oppose the racist, sexist, xenophobic agenda put forth by Trump.”
Dodson and Parr extended an invitation to the march to area conservatives, including Scott Walker and Ron Johnson, in keeping with the group’s non-partisan identity, but received no response. While several local healthcare providers also declined to attend, physician Larry Waite marched with wife Corkey.
“We’re intensely grateful to have healthcare,” said Larry, who often serves patients without insurance. “It’s part of our responsibility as citizens to advocate for them.”
“We share the world with 7 billion of our dearest friends,” Corkey agreed. “We are responsible for each other.”
Parr is also insured through her employer but says a lack of healthcare has affected many in her circle and fears the inevitable next attempt to repeal the ACA. Dodson agrees the recent withdrawal of the legislation is not yet a victory, especially with the de-funding of Planned Parenthood.
“That is taking away necessary mammograms,” Dodson said. “They’re killing people when they’re actually supposed to be looking out for the betterment of the people.”
Micheal Sersch fears for the future of his children, Beatrice, 8, and Sebastian Nerud-Sersch, 10, and brought them to the march as part of his mission to keep them abreast of current issues.
“I’m very worried about my kids,” Sersch said. “If they lose healthcare, then everything goes.”
While the group received many appreciative waves and horn taps from passing cars, Parr says she received some doubt when organizing the march, and was disappointed her Conservative friends and family members chose not to partake.
“I had some people saying, ‘You can’t win this,’” Parr lamented. “But I can use my voice. I don’t think this is a Republican issue or a Democratic issue — it’s a human issue. We’re all in this together.”
For more information on Indivisible La Crosse, visit its Facebook page or email IndivisbleLaCrosse2017@gmail.com.