This week, as Republicans tripled down on their repeal-and-sabotage campaign against Americans’ health care, advocates in cities and towns across the country were fighting back. On the same day that the House GOP released a budget which would pave the way for the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act and massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, the Trump Administration finalized a rule on junk association health plans (AHPs) which was opposed by 95% of health care experts. The next day, Govs. Matt Bevin (R-KY) and Phil Bryant (R-MS) joined former senator Rick Santorum to announce the latest iteration of repeal legislation, which would gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, impose an age tax on older Americans, and end Medicaid expansion. And all the while, the Trump Administration continued its Department of Justice’s attack on protections for 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Health care advocates weren’t intimidated, though, continuing to fight tooth-and-nail from coast to coast:
In Alaska, Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development Mike Navarre, Dr. Jay Butler, Chief Medical Officer for the State of Alaska, Dr. Alan Gross, and Alaskans who will be deeply impacted if these protections are repealed gathered to speak about what changes to pre-existing conditions protections could mean for Alaskans.
In Arizona, patients and advocates including Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, State Rep. Kelli Butler, and parents whose children have pre-existing conditions gathered in front of the State Capitol to discuss the importance of pre-existing condition protections.
In Maine, health care advocates from Maine Equal Justice Partners, Planned Parenthood, and Consumers for Affordable Healthcare held a press conference to shine a light on the Trump DOJ’s new attack on protections for Mainers with pre-existing conditions.
In Nevada, health care advocates gathered outside the First Med Health and Wellness Center in Las Vegas, with speakers including Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, Andres Ramirez of the Alliance for Healthcare Security, and Allison Stephens, whose child has juvenile arthritis.
In Ohio, the Moms Clean Air Force and Valley Voices United for Change joined local advocates for a press conference in Youngstown discussing Washington Republicans’ recent attacks on protections for pre-existing conditions.
In Pennsylvania, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania’s Lisa Frank joined Joe Defazio and Jill Helbling, Pennsylvians impacted by pre-existing conditions, at an event in Pittsburgh.
In Tennessee, health care advocates held a press conference to discuss the GOP’s war on health care, including its effects on rising premiums and recent attacks on pre-existing conditions. A mother of kids with pre-existing conditions, an economics professor, and a young progressional with a pre-existing condition joined the discussion.
In West Virginia, health care advocates, with pre-existing conditions visited Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office to discuss their concerns about his actions to weaken access to care for West Virginians with pre-existing conditions, including the 20-state lawsuit he recently signed onto to that attacks pre-existing conditions protections. Activities also gathered for a rally to ask Rep. Alex Mooney why he voted to take away health care and increase costs for West Virginians, especially those who have pre-existing conditions. Rep. Mooney was a no-show.
And in Washington, D.C., as Governors. Matt Bevin (R-KY) and Phil Bryant (R-MS) and former senator Rick Santorum announced the latest iteration of the GOP’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act at the Hoover Institution, they were greeted by chants of “Shame! Shame!” from gathered health care advocates.