Chattanooga doctors and care providers take ACA education into their own hands

Across the country, constituents are protesting town halls held by lawmakers.

Some of the most notable confrontations have been over the "repeal and replace" rhetoric pushed by the GOP in relation to the Affordable Care Act.

In the Chattanooga area, none of our Senators or Congressmen have held town halls to hear from voters.

Instead, local doctors and care providers are taking the conversation into their own hands.

On Thursday night, a group held a town hall style meeting to talk about the effects of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Many of the organizers, like Kathy Corley, depend on the act for coverage.

While they recognize the ACA isn't perfect with its high cost of coverage and expensive deductibles, they hope to start a conversation about its future.

"I really think that angry rhetoric isn't what's going to solve our problems," Corley said of the national protests.

Instead, she joined a letter writing campaign through the Tennessee Justice Center.

When that didn't accomplish what she hoped, "several of us started meeting in order to see if there was something we could do sort of to take it to the next level," Corley said.

The group started planning Thursday's town hall three weeks ago.

The goal is to illuminate how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act would impact Chattanoogans.

Related: Hospital advocate weighs in on Affordable Care Act impact

"Healthcare is very complicated and the law is very complicated so I really hope that they walk away armed with information that's relevant to them, to our own community," Corley told NewsChannel 9.

Corley thought the best way to make things relevant to people in the community is to share personal stories, like her own.

Corley is "a mother of two children with special healthcare needs."

Provisions in the Affordable Care Act help her children get the care they need but "if they reveal those provisions without an adequate replacement plan, I'm worried about what's going to happen to my children's care," she said.

Corley believes everybody has something to contribute to the repeal and replace debate.

"What needs to happen is for everybody to be sitting down at the table and putting together real plans to make things better for consumers," Corley said.

Related: Chattanooga Recess Coalition meets in Miller Park to protest the repeal of ACA

The diverse crowd of Thursday's town hall came as a bit of a shock to panelist Dr. Charles Sienknecht.

"I think the involvement of people of people in politics since the election is surprising to everyone," Dr. Sienknecht told NewsChannel 9.

Town hall attendee Milli Yium found the crowd heartening.

"I was looking around and it's a good crowd," Yium said.

Missing from the crowd?

Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander and Congressman Fleishman.

All were invited but "none of them were able to come tonight, we wish that we would have representatives to talk to," Corley said.

Yium was dissapointed those lawmakers weren't here tonight but "not necessarily surprised. I urge everybody to speak to their absence if nothing else," she said.