This Goddamned Republican Obamacare Repeal Will Kill People. Time To Get Into The Streets.
— jordan ? (@JordanUhl) June 22, 2017
Immediately after Senate Republicans dropped the text of their terrible "Better Hope Someone Cares" bill yesterday, dozens of disability activists gathered to protest in the hallway outside Mitch McConnell's office, chanting "No cuts to Medicaid, Save our liberty!" That's not an abstraction: For many people with disabilities, Medicaid covers the adaptive equipment and medical care they need to live independently. The Senate's plan to eviscerate Medicaid is a far more tangible threat to their liberty than a ban on certain types of semiautomatic rifles could ever be to gun-humpers who worry they may be unable to overthrow a tyrannical federal government (which would crush them anyway). More than 40 of the protesters were arrested -- which is what civil disobedience is all about, after all. Some of the activists were on ventilators and breathing tubes, which Capitol Police were kind enough not to disconnect.
The woman in the above video is Stephanie Woodward, an activist with the national disability rights group ADAPT, which staged the protest. She was among the roughly 60 protesters who crowded into the Russell Senate Office Building to protest the planned Medicaid cuts with a "die-in," which, again, is only metaphorical at the moment. Once people start losing coverage, there are going to be deaths from preventable illnesses. Ms. Woodward told Upworthy,
"My parents were working-class people," says Woodward, who was born with spina bifida. "They couldn't afford to keep me alive if it wasn't for Medicaid. Medicaid paid for all my surgeries growing up, paid for my wheelchairs. I wouldn't be who I am today ... without Medicaid getting me here."
Woodward is also the woman in this photo, which already appears to be well on the way from "viral" to "iconic."
Image by Colleen Flanagan
ADAPT organizer Bruce Darling, who was also among the protesters, wrote in a statement released beforehand,
The American Health Care Act caps and significantly cuts Medicaid which will greatly reduce access to medical care and home and community based services for elderly and disabled Americans who will either die or be forced into institutions [...] Our lives and liberty shouldn't be stolen to give a tax break to the wealthy. That's truly un-American.
For the sake of Glaring Historical Irony, the Senate's plan to leave many Americans with disabilities without the assistance they need to live independently happened to get released on the anniversary of 1999's Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which held that people with mental disabilities have the right to live in communities instead of being shunted off to institutions -- and that the state is obligated to make such transitions possible with "reasonable accommodations."
Wonkette would like to offer a tip of our leather cat-suit headgear to ADAPT, which has been among the loudest and most effective groups in the fight for disability rights. Rachel Maddow had a terrific piece on their history of advocating for accessibility and integration, going back to the '70s, where in Denver, protesters commandeered two city buses in 1978 and blocked a major road for several days to demand buses be equipped with wheelchair lifts. They also had a nifty bumper-sticker slogan while pushing for the Americans with Disability Act:
ADAPT is a good bunch -- we figure if this shit sandwich passes, they'll be among the top groups fighting to get it repealed, so maybe send them a donation. $20.18 -- or multiples thereof -- seems an appropriate amount.
In addition to the protests on Capitol Hill, activists also made a point of gathering at DC's Reagan National Airport so they could say goodbye to senators heading home for the weekend, which in Washington starts on Thursday nights. Topher Spiro, the VP for Health Policy at the Center for American Progress, said Hi to Chuck Grassley, who didn't especially want to talk about the bill he helped write. Or at least, not about people losing Medicaid:
You know who else will be dramatically affected by decimating* Medicaid? Babies and their moms. Nearly a third of American children rely on the S-Chip program -- part of Medicaid -- for healthcare, and almost half of the maternity services in the country are paid for by Medicaid.
* Wrong word, maybe, since it originally meant killing a tenth of a group of soldiers. Medicaid is getting killed far worse.
This little person may not know what their sign says, but it's pretty sucky Republicans want children to lose their health coverage. Maybe little babies should get jobs, huh? Pfft, they're born already, which means they're Takers.
There could be less than a week before this abomination comes to a vote. If you haven't called your Senator, call them today. And Monday. You get the idea. Find local protests and go. If this thing becomes law, people will die, and that is not hyperbole, as Elizabeth Warren warned on the floor of the Senate yesterday:
This bill has one flashing neon sign after another telling us who the Republican Party cares about - and it is not American families.
The Senate bill is crammed full with just as many tax cuts as the House bill. Tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, tax cuts for wealthy investors, tax cuts for giant companies. But all those tax cuts don't come cheap. They start to add up after a while. So Senate Republicans had to make a choice. How to pay for all these juicy tax cuts for their rich buddies?
I'll tell you how: blood money. Senate Republicans wrung some extra dollars out of kicking people off tax credits that help them afford health insurance. They raked in extra cash by letting states drop even more protections and benefits, like maternity care or prescription drug coverage or mental health treatment.
We have to stop this bill. It's going to kill people.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.