Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Make Your Voice Heard for Health Care

With millions of lives at stake, protests against the Republican no-healthcare plan filled streets and town hall meetings across the country during the Memorial Day congressional recess. The message was clear: voters will remember in 2018.

The 100 people who gathered in the rain on the New Haven Green holding up cardboard tombstones with captions exposing the horrors of the plan, were told that they made an impact far beyond Connecticut.

"Thank you for your activism," Sen. Richard Blumenthal told them. "Thank you for making your voices heard."

He, along with his Connecticut colleagues, has been leading the opposition in Congress against repeal of the measures in the Affordable Care Act that enabled 24 million people to get coverage, eliminated pre-existing conditions, and ended limits on coverage.

Two days earlier, at New Haven's Bella Vista senior housing complex, dozens of residents and guests applauded as Sen Chris Murphy and Rep. Rosa DeLauro arrived for a forum on healthcare.

"Enough is enough," said Murphy at Bella Vista "We have to speak as one" against making $600 billion in cuts to health care in order to give $600 billion in tax cuts to billionaires, drug and insurance companies, and allowing 23 million people to lose all coverage.

When one audience member said she didn't see how the bill could be stopped in the Senate, DeLauro reminded her that years earlier when it seemed impossible, Newt Gingrich's "Contract for America" that threatened every social program was stopped by a large public outcry.

The first version of Trump's American Health Care Act was also stopped earlier this year when the town hall meetings of Republican members of Congress were flooded with angry constituents who made it clear that they did not want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and all it's benefits.

The second version, even more draconian, did pass the House and is now before the Senate.

"The AHCA is dead on arrival in the Senate," said Blumenthal, adding that a select Republican group is re-working the bill in secret. He advocated a long term goal of Medicare for All. "Don't give up, it is not impossible," he said adding that it is a simple solution to insure healthcare as a human right.

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