- Associated Press - Sunday, January 15, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Hundreds of people who want to save the Affordable Care Act joined a group of Maine Democrats on Sunday to rally for Congress to keep the much-debated health care law.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, state Sen. Troy Jackson and state Rep. Ben Collings hosted the rally on the steps of Portland City Hall. The three Democrats are among many who have said a Republican drive to end the law is a threat to the health security of millions of Americans.

Pingree, who has advocated for regulated drug prices in the past, told the crowd that Republicans who want to repeal the law do not have a suitable replacement plan.

“They have no plans. They tell us to wait,” she said. “Can a cancer patient afford to delay their surgery to remove their tumor?”

Portland police estimated about 600 people attended the rally, and that the event was orderly and without any issues that would involve police.

The crowd spilled onto the sidewalks and traffic medians near City Hall and participants loudly jeered Republican opposition to the law, which is Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature legislation. The law was widely derided during the presidential campaign by President-elect Donald Trump, who was another target of the crowd’s ire.

People held signs with slogans such as “Save Our Health Care” and “Corruption Is Not a Pre-existing Condition.” A representative from Planned Parenthood also spoke about Republican opposition to the nonprofit health organization.

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, called for similar rallies to take place around the country Sunday. Dozens were held.

The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a measure to take the first step toward dismantling the health care law.

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