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Local Faith Leaders Protest GOP Health Care

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

A local group of community members are speaking out against the federal government's recent efforts regarding health care. Various church representatives, clergy members and residents gathered to shine a light on the negative consequences they believe will come from the Trump administration's health care plans. Reverend Kimberly Chastain says the potential changes to healthcare will impact her church community.

“I’m the head of a twelve member staff and we’ve been able to offer healthcare to all of our staff who work for more than 25 hours a week through the exchange healthcare program [under Obamacare]”. “To take that away from us as a place of refuge and assistance to people would create a real problem because we have several people with preexisting conditions and a number of people who would be hurt in their everyday life by their inability to have affordable access to care.” said Chastain, who is the senior pastor of United Presbyterian Church.

Clergy members say it is their duty as faith based citizens to care and fight for those who need help in belief that healthcare is a human right.

“There is a concentrated effort to repeal and replace by our representatives who do not seem to have an actual plan to replace," said Chastain. "Their major concerns seem to be that the profit margins are protected"  she went on to say, "Well we’re concerned that the people need to be protected.”

Rev. Tim Taugher from St. Francis of Assisi Church and Rev. Gary Doupe from the Gandhi Project also gave speeches at the event.

Chastain expressed the main message of their event today by quoting Thomas Shuman, “Our prayer going forward is that there should be no more closed doors, no more not giving of details, no more secret meeting...debate openly, listen to the people who are speaking, try to understand what the needs are and craft something that becomes what we believe is necessary for the people...because the people will remember”