Nationwide Rallies Push Back Against GOP's Looming Healthcare Attack
'The American people increasingly understand that throwing 20 million people off health insurance, privatizing Medicare, raising prescription drug costs for seniors, and doing away with life and death patient protection provisions is not acceptable.'
In scores of communities across the nation on Saturday, people are holding rallies to protest Republican efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other vital healthcare programs.
Referring to Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, Casey Pease, who's organizing the rally in Pittsfield, Mass., said: "Demonstrations in support of these programs are critical to their survival."
"Republicans in Congress are now in the process of planning what would be devastating to working men and women across our country. If they were to repeal the Affordable Care Act [also known as Obamacare], it would cut healthcare for the poor, and privatize it for the aging," he said.
Earlier this month, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on (pdf) their fellow senators to lead rallies on Feb. 25 in their states, saying: "The American people increasingly understand that throwing 20 million people off health insurance, privatizing Medicare, raising prescription drug costs for seniors, and doing away with life and death patient protection provisions is not acceptable."
"The overwhelming majority of Americans want to improve the ACA, not destroy it," and "regardless of political persuasion, understand that we have to go forwards on healthcare, not backwards," they continued.
Indeed, two new polls out this week show support for the 2010 law at an all-time high.
Our Revolution, the organization inspired by Sanders' presidential bid, has a map of the events taking place, and many on Twitter are using the hashtags #ProtectOurCare and #SaveACA to document the numerous rallies:
— AJ Riccardi (@agentcards) February 25, 2017
— karri (@kweisenthal) February 25, 2017
— Dr. Ed Hernandez (@dredhernandez) February 25, 2017
— Andrea Callow (@AndreaCallow) February 25, 2017
— Jim Langevin (@jimlangevin) February 25, 2017
— Luke Harrington (@Duke_Harrington) February 25, 2017
— NorthBayLaborCouncil (@NorthBayCLC) February 25, 2017
— Annie Bella (@Annie5Bella) February 25, 2017
The actions cap off a week of "Resistance Recess," and come a day after Politico published a leaked draft of a House bill to replace the ACA that shows "Republicans are moving towards slashing subsidies and ending the Medicaid expansion—moves that are vastly out of step with the opinions of the American public," as Common Dreams wrote. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities also said Friday that Republican proposals would "end the Medicaid expansion and endanger coverage for millions of children, seniors, and people with disabilities."
But according to at least one Republican lawmaker, efforts to repeal the law may be thwarted by the very type of activism taking place on Saturday and that has erupted this week at raucous town hall meetings across the country.
Rep. Mo Brooks (Ala.) said Thursday on "The Morning Show with Toni and Gary" on WBHP 800 Alabama radio that "there are, in my opinion, a significant number of congressmen who are being impacted by these kinds of protests and their spine is a little bit weak."
"I don't know if we're going to be able to repeal Obamacare now because these folks who support Obamacare are very active, they're putting pressure on congressman and there's not a counter-effort to steel the spine of some of these congressmen in tossup districts around the country." Brooks added: "in my judgment, we don't have the votes in Congress to pass a repeal bill, in part because of what these people are doing."