Protesters descended on Republican Senators’ offices all over the country on Wednesday, demanding that their elected officials vote against the Senate healthcare bill—which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said this week would take away health coverage from 22 million Americans.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, a group of disability rights activists had been assembled at a sit-in at Senator Cory Gardner’s office in Denver for about 32 hours. After being threatened with arrest, they told Gardner’s staff that they refused to leave until Gardner agreed to vote against the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), also known as Trumpcare. Gardner is one of the 13 Republicans who wrote the bill in closed-door sessions in recent weeks.
The group of nine protesters were with the disability rights organization ADAPT. The national group also staged demonstrations this week at the offices of Ted Cruz of Texas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
Capitol police in Washington, DC arrested 40 healthcare protesters by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, according to reports. Demonstrators, including some with serious illnesses who would lose coverage for their medical care needs should the bill pass, staged sit-ins at the Senate offices of Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, Marco Rubio of Florida, and others. Many chanted, “Kill the bill, don’t kill me.”
The Republicans’ proposed bill would do away with a provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act, also called Obamacare, which requires insurance companies to cover critical care and prescription drugs for those with serious health conditions, or “pre-existing conditions.”
Without the requirement, Americans with disabilities and chronic illnesses could be forced into financial ruin paying out-of-pocket for necessary treatment. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine also found that about 29,000 Americans would die each year as a result of not having health insurance.
ADAPT was joined by several other groups in anti-Trumpcare protests. Housing Works, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL staged actions on Wednesday, with more demonstrations planned for Thursday.