Center for Popular Democracy Leads DC Protest Against Affordable Care Act Repeal on ACA Anniversary
#WeFightBack protesters demand healthcare coverage for all communities
WASHINGTON - Thousands of Americans convened in Washington and held events in more than 40 cities across the country to protest the Republican plan to take healthcare from an estimated 24 million Americans, slash Medicaid and raise costs for consumers to give $465 billion in tax cuts to the wealthy and insurance and drug companies.
In Washington, hundreds gathered at Freedom Plaza to share stories from those who stand to be harmed the most if the ACA is repealed. Prominent speakers including Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Dan Kildee and Planned Parenthood Federation Action Fund President Cecile Richards called on members of Congress to abandon the bill and work to protect America’s health care.
After the rally, organized by the Center for Popular Democracy, protesters marched to the White House to ramp up pressure on President Donald Trump to halt his plans to take health care from Americans who need it most. Along the way, they staged a die-in in front of Trump International Hotel to highlight the serious consequences of the Republican repeal bill.
Symbolizing the 24 million who will lose health insurance under this disastrous plan, 24 protesters were arrested after refusing to cede their ground in front of the White House. Those arrested included Jennifer Epps-Addison, Co-Executive Director and Network President of the Center for Popular Democracy. Epps-Addison’s husband has multiple sclerosis and could face discrimination for his preexisting condition, as well as higher costs, if this bill becomes law.
“The repeal of the Affordable Care Act threatens our communities and leaves our most vulnerable populations in fear for their health and safety,” said Epps-Addison. “Our democracy should serve all of our communities, not wealthy special interests. We must hold lawmakers accountable and urge them to stand with the people.”
“Simply put, the American Health Care Act is the worst piece of legislation for women in a generation,” said Richards. “This bill would reduce access to affordable birth control and strip coverage for maternity care – making it harder to prevent unintended pregnancy and harder to have a healthy pregnancy. Republican leadership is taking aim at the same women who already face the greatest barriers to health care: immigrants, women with low incomes, women of color, and women in rural areas. Americans will not stand for this.”
Planned Parenthood patient and organizer Grecia Magdaleno also spoke during the march. Madaleno received a pap smear and a follow-up colposcopy at Planned Parenthood when she needed it, spoke out against provisions to block access to the critical care provided to women across the country by Planned Parenthood.
The national day of action was organized by Health Care for America Now (HCAN) on the 7th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) becoming law and as House Republicans are expected to vote on/passed the Republican’s American Health Care Act (AHCA).
“The Republican repeal bill provides major tax breaks to insurance and drug companies and the wealthiest Americans on the backs of America’s seniors and families,” said HCAN co-director Margarida Jorge. HCAN co-director Ethan Rome added, “This vote will devastate Medicaid, blow a hole in state budgets and put consumers with pre-existing conditions at risk so the wealthiest 400 Americans can get a tax break of $7 million a year.”
And at Congressional district offices and events in more than 40 cities across the country, constituents staged “emergency health care” events, testifying to the life-saving benefits of the ACA and demanding their representatives vote no on the Republican plan. Many of the events featured mock emergency rooms with protesters dressed as medical professionals to highlight how emergency rooms would be overrun with uninsured patients if the Republican bill is approved.
Protesters took to the streets in cities from coast to coast, including Allentown, PA; Ballwin, MO; Baton Rouge, LA; Binghamton, NY; Burnsville, MN; Chester, MD; Cleveland, OH; Columbia, MO; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Eden Prairie, MN; Flemington, NJ; Freehold, NJ; Gallatin, TN; Hartford, CT; Hudson, WI; Joplin, MO; Kalamazoo, MI; Kansas City, MO; Kingston, NY; Lancaster, PA; Lansing, MI; Lewiston, ME; Marlton, NJ; Mays Landing, NJ; Montpelier, VT; Morristown, NJ; Orlando, FL; Otsego, MN; Poplar Bluff, MO; Rolla, MO; Salisbury, MD; Springfield, MO; Tarpon Springs, FL; Tom's River, NJ; Trenton, NJ; Warren, OH; Wausau, WI; Wentzville, MO; and Westfield, NJ.
According to experts, more than 40,000 people will die annually because they no longer had health insurance if the Republican bill became law. Older Americans will lose their coverage or be forced to pay thousands of dollars more per year for their health care. Premiums will increase by double digits.
"We should be celebrating the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act’s passage and the more than 22 million people who have gained coverage, but instead we’re bracing for the crisis that this Republican bill could create for so many millions that will lose health care,” said Monet Olivis, who was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder after watching her fiancé, who was uninsured, die from an asthma attack. She struggled to return to work after the incident and was laid off from her job. Olivis received healthcare coverage through ACA and was able to continue her treatment. "Our representatives in Congress have an opportunity to stand up for people like me and protect our health care instead of cutting coverage and increasing costs while giving more tax breaks to big corporations and the richest Americans.”
Center for Popular Democracy promotes equity, opportunity, and a dynamic democracy in partnership with innovative base-building organizations, organizing networks and alliances, and progressive unions across the country. CPD builds the strength and capacity of democratic organizations to envision and advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial justice agenda