**MEDIA ADVISORY FOR WEDNESDAY, JULY 19**
500+ CONSTITUENTS OF ALL 52 REPUBLICAN SENATORS TO OCCUPY CAPITOL HILL OFFICES TO TELL THEM: “KILL THE BILL, DON’T KILL US!”
Following the huge direct actions of June 28 and July 10, in which 140 Americans, including many with serious health conditions, were arrested in their Senator’s DC offices for civil disobedience, still more constituents plan to flood Capitol Hill Wednesday to stop the repeal of the ACA.
People with disabilities and life-threatening chronic illnesses, cancer survivors, Medicaid recipients, Affordable Care Act (ACA) policyholders, registered nurses, doctors, and others directly impacted by the Senate healthcare bill will be traveling from all states represented by Republican Senators to descend upon Capitol Hill on Wednesday, July 19, with a strong message: “Kill the bill—don’t kill us!”
At least 200 will risk arrest in acts of civil disobedience—a sign of just how critical it is to them that their Senators hear their pleas not to put their lives and those of people they love at risk with a bill that leaves many millions of people without health care and strips protections for preexisting conditions, essential health benefits and other key features of the ACA that have allowed 20 million Americans to access coverage since its implementation. The protesters will call on their Senators to vote against the proposed bill, and to support a Medicare for All system instead, which would guarantee access to high-quality healthcare for every person living in the United States.
The actions will be led by Center for Popular Democracy, Housing Works, National Nurses United, Rise and Resist, Positive Women’s Network – USA, and Health Care for America Now.
WHAT: National health care town hall, followed by massive civil disobedience action, with over 500 participants and over 200 risking arrest in sit-ins
WHEN: Wednesday, July 19, starting at 1:00 PM
WHERE: Capitol Hill Location TBD, then patients and providers depart in waves to descend on Senator’s offices
WHO: 500+ constituents of all 52 Republican Senators, including many with serious health conditions and disabilities.
VISUALS: Crowds of constituents chanting with signs, sharing their personal health care stories, occupying Senators’ offices and hallways, and being arrested
“I’ve been living with HIV for 26 years and I am alive because of my medication,” said Barb Cardell of Boulder, Colorado, who was arrested on July 10, and plans to risk arrest again Wednesday. “Without my medications, I would die, and without my health insurance, I can’t afford my meds, which cost $10,000 per month. I remember the early days of HIV when people got sick and just died. Today the science and the medications are better. We don’t need to die, but under the Senate bill we will. I have tried to speak with Senator Gardner about this many times and wasn’t able to reach him in Colorado, so I’m going back to Washington on the 19th to try to find him myself.”
The new version of the Senate’s bill, ironically called the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” (BCRA), released by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday, is even worse than the previous bill, as well as the House bill:
Medicaid would still be slashed under the new version of the bill, putting people with disabilities, children, and seniors in nursing homes at great risk of losing access to the services they need.
The provision added by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) would allow insurers to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions by offering bare-bones policies that would only cover few essential services. Comprehensive plans will become more expensive because younger, healthier people would be more likely to opt into the cheaper, skimpier plans, with older people and those with more complex health care needs requiring the more robust plans.
“With this bill, Republican Senators are doing the bidding of their billionaire donors, not the voters who sent them to Washington DC. This travesty of a healthcare bill is about a transfer of wealth from the poor to the wealthy. This is a historically unpopular bill that, if passed, will remain in the memories of voters for years to come,” said Jennifer Flynn, director of healthcare justice at Center for Popular Democracy.
“The bill proposed by the Senate leadership will be devastating to our patients– it poses a mortal threat to the health and well-being of millions of Americans, and to the health security of the country,” said Jean Ross, the co-president of National Nurses United, the largest union of nurses in the country. “We are here today to call on Senators to vote against this flawed and deadly proposal, and to instead support guaranteed health care for all, through an improved, expanded, Medicare for All program.”
“We are here because we desperately need our Senators to understand that no number of ‘tweaks’ are going to fix a bill that aims to gut Medicaid to pay for tax breaks for billionaires and corporations with more tax breaks,” said Charles King, CEO and co-founder of Housing Works. “Even if some of the tax cuts for are being delayed till the next reconciliation bill, this vicious bill still comes at the expense of the health of poor and working people, the sick and the elderly. In the richest country in the world, it is unacceptable that 51 Senators would vote to take away the services their constituents need to survive, just for the benefit of billionaires and insurance CEOs.”