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Four Weeks In, ‘Care Force One’ Bus Tour Still Picking Up Momentum

By October 19, 2018No Comments

On Deck for Next Week: Kathleen Sebelius, Donna Edwards, Neera Tanden, Cecile Richards, and more

View All the Stops of Protect Our Care’s Nationwide Tour Here

For the previous four weeks, Protect Our Care has been taking the health care fight to communities across the country in its first-ever nationwide bus tour. Covering nearly 12,000 miles, Care Force One is making 49 stops across 24 states. So far, Care Force One has visited Connecticut, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Joining Protect Our Care’s leaders Leslie Dach and Brad Woodhouse and cancer survivor Laura Packard on the bus have been U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Angus King (I-ME), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Tom Udall (D-NM), U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Jacky Rosen (NV-03), and Dina Titus (NV-01); former Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02) and Steven Horsford (NV-04); Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Tolleson Mayor Anna Tovar, former Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci, former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, and more.

At a time when health care is consistently ranked as a top issue for the public, the tour is highlighting that the Republican war on health care is very much alive, with Republican leaders doubling down on their calls to repeal health care, including pre-existing conditions protections, and cut billions from Medicare and Medicaid, all while using regulations and the courts to continue their attacks on protections for the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, for women, older Americans, and Medicaid and Medicare enrollees.

Here’s a snapshot of the tour thus far:

At Care Force One’s kickoff event, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal were joined by nearly 100 community members outside a Bridgeport Community Health Center to call attention to Republicans’ ongoing war on health care care.

“Connecticut made the decision to try to make the Affordable Care Act work, not undermine it like many other states did,” said Senator Chris Murphy. “Think about the 20 million Americans who have been given access to health care, whose lives have been changed. Just imagine what that number would be if every other state approached the Affordable Care Act the way Connecticut did.”

In Maine, U.S. Senator Angus King and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree joined state representatives and Mainers with pre-existing conditions at Portland City Hall to speak out against the devastating repercussions of health care repeal before the bus headed to Bangor.

“We’ve got to continue to fight against repeal,” said Senator Angus King. “I call it a zombie proposal because it keeps coming back, and it’s a terrible idea and we have to keep trying to push that back to try and protect Medicare as well as the Affordable Care Act.”

Care Force One then headed west for three events in Pennsylvania, where state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, former Congresswoman and current Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, state senators, state representatives, and Pennsylvanians of all backgrounds hosted rallies in Harrisburg, Erie, and Pittsburgh to defend the ACA and Medicaid.

“The Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage for millions of Pennsylvanians, especially those living with pre-existing conditions, and I will do everything in my power to protect that coverage,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Now more than ever, we need our elected officials to stand up and defend the protections created by the ACA.”

In Ohio, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, and others spoke out about the devastating repercussions of health care repeal.

“Everyone is one pre-existing condition away from bankruptcy. This is about making sure there’s a basic level of health protection for every single of American. We have an obligation to stand up for everyone in this country,” Randi Weingarten said.

In its second week, Care Force One was welcomed to South Bend, Indiana by Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “This isn’t about politics, this is about our lives, our livelihoods, and our well being,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “This is our opportunity to raise our voices and say enough is enough when it comes to baseless attempts to take away the protection of our health care.”

(Photo by C.S. Hagen, High Plains Reader)

After stops in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, week three brought Care Force One to Fargo, North Dakota, where the bus was joined by State Sen. Jim Dotzenrod, former State Sen. Mac Schneider, former State Rep. Ben Hanson, and North Dakotan Jennifer Restemeyer, who shared the story of her daughter, Allison, who suffers from a genetic disorder. As the High Plains Reader reported, Allison “wouldn’t be alive today if the Affordable Care Act hadn’t been passed.”

(Photo by Larry Mayer, Billings Gazette)

From there, Care Force One headed west to Montana, for a series of health care roundtables at health centers in Billings, Butte, and Missoula with local elected officials, health care professionals, representatives from the office of Sen. Jon Tester, and Montanans who have gained coverage under the ACA. After enactment of the law, the states has seen its uninsured rate cut in half.

Week four of the tour found Care Force One in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico with a number of elected officials, including U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, U.S. Senator Tom Udall, Congresswoman Jacky Rosen, Congresswoman Dina Titus, and former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick and former Congressman Steven Horsford.

“The Trump Administration’s repeated efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act threaten to put the cost of health care out of reach for too many families and once again allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in Las Vegas. “I’ll continue fighting to improve the ACA, make premiums more affordable, and ensure that every Nevadan is able to access quality, affordable health care.”

“Right now, our health care system is under attack from the Trump Administration and Republicans in Washington,” said Congresswoman Jacky Rosen in Las Vegas. “I’m fighting in Congress to stabilize the markets, bring down the cost of premiums and prescription drugs, and ensure hardworking Nevadans with pre-existing medical conditions are protected. It’s time for Republicans to work with Democrats to protect and improve our health care system instead of sabotaging and dismantling it.”

“Republicans in Congress and the White House have waged a war on Americans’ health care, including protections for those in our community who live with pre-existing conditions,” former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick said in Tucson. “It’s critical that we all stand up, take action, and fight for affordable healthcare for Arizonans and all Americans.”

“Washington should protect our health care — overwhelmingly, New Mexicans want us to protect people with pre-existing conditions from being gauged by insurance companies or thrown off their insurance altogether,” Senator Tom Udall said. “Overwhelmingly, they want to keep the Medicaid expansion. And the American people don’t want the Trump administration or the Republicans in Congress dismantling Medicare.”

Today, Care Force One is in Denver, Colorado. Next week, the bus will roll into Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. Next week’s headliners include former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, and more.  More information about the remaining stops can be found here.