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West Virginia Archives — Protect Our Care

Shelley Moore Capito Suddenly Supports the Affordable Care Act

Facing re-election, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) is now telling voters one thing while consistently having done the opposite. This morning, she told the Los Angeles Times she supports maintaining protections for people with pre-existing conditions and letting children stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, two main provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Where has this been for the previous two years?

SHOT: “I think it would be in our best interest as Republicans to assure the public that [on] the issues like preexisting conditions, staying on your parents’ insurance until age 26 and things like that, we’re committed,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, who is up for reelection in West Virginia in 2020.” [Los Angeles Times, 12/30/18]

CHASER: Sen. Capito voted to fully repeal the ACA as a House Member, which would have repealed provisions to protect people with pre-existing conditions and allow kids to stay on their parents’ coverage until age 26. And she voted to repeal the ACA as a Senator last summer.

In 2011, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito Voted For A Full Repeal Of The ACA, “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” [House clerk, 1/19/11]

In 2012, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito Again Voted For A Full Repeal Of The ACA. [House clerk, 7/11/12]

In 2017, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito Voted For The Better Care Reconciliation Act, Which Would Kicked 22 Million Americans Off Of Their Insurance. [New York Times, 7/28/17; Congressional Budget Office, 6/26/17]

In 2017, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito Also Voted For The GOP’s Final Repeal Bill. [New York Times, 7/28/17]. As a reminder, under repeal:

  • 184,000 West Virginians would lose health coverage, a 208% increase in the number of uninsured. [Urban Institute]
  • West Virginians would lose $1.794 billion in federal financial assistance through the insurance marketplaces from 2019-2028, leading to a dramatic spike in the number of uninsured. [Urban Institute]
  • 29,163 West Virginians would lose an average monthly advanced premium tax credit of $388 which currently helps them pay for insurance [Kaiser Family Foundation]
  • West Virginia would lose $12.2 billion in federal Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding, currently providing lifelines to 562,183 West Virginians. [Urban Institute, Kaiser Family Foundation]
  • Repealing the ACA would result in 16,000 West Virginia jobs lost, including 7,200 jobs in the healthcare sector. [Commonwealth Fund]

West Virginians Stand Up to Say, “It’s Time to End the Republican War on Health Care”

Local Health Care Advocates Join Protect Our Care to Call for an End to GOP Attacks on West Virginians’ Health Care

Talley Sergent speaks in front of Care Force One in Charleston.

WEST VIRGINIA – Today, Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour arrived in West Virginia to call attention to the Republicans ongoing war on health care care. Joined by Delegates Scott Brewer, Linda Longstreth, and Barbara Fleischauer; Talley Sergent; Reverend Janice Hill; and cancer survivor Laura Packard, events in Charleston, Morgantown, and Parkersburg highlighted the actions Republicans are taking to harm West Virginians’ care and called on Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to work instead to protect our care.

“I’m alive because of the Affordable Care Act,” said Packard. “I’m a stage four cancer survivor and I’m on this tour to defend our attacks against the GOP. President Trump may have blocked me on Twitter, but he can’t stop me and the American people from fighting to protect our care.”

Similar themes were echoed by Delegate Brewer and Sergent, who highlighted Attorney General Morrisey’s lawsuit and Representative Alex Mooney’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, each of which would take away West Virginians’ care.

“The impact of this lawsuit and the actions of Congress are real,” said Sergent, who spoke of the more than 700,000 West Virginians who could lose their care if the lawsuit signed onto by Attorney General Patrick Morrisey were to be successful. “Lives are on the line.”

“Too often we’ve watched as Washington politicians have voted to take health care away from millions,” said Delegate Brewer. “Now is the time for D.C. politicians to hear our voices. Let them hear that we’re not gonna take this anymore.”

Delegate Brewer and Sergent were joined by Doris Selko of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, who spoke of the difficulties West Virginians had in obtaining care before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, and Gary Zuckett of West Virginia Citizen Action Group, who praised Senator Joe Manchin for his consistent leadership on the issue of health care.

Before heading to the State Capitol, Care Force one was in Morgantown with Delegates Linda Longstreth and Barbara Fleischauer and local health care advocates.

Delegate Barbara Fleischauer speaks in front of Care Force One in Morgantown.

“We have 168,000 people on the Affordable Care Act, most of them in the southern part of the state,” said Delegate Longstreth. “Why do we have to argue about people being able to have health care for themselves and their families?”

“We have 1.2 million people in West Virginians. 738,000 of them live with a pre-existing condition,” added Delegate Fleischauer. “25,000 West Virginians have gotten care for their addiction through Medicaid. We don’t want to kick these people into the cold.”

Delegates Longstreth and Fleischauer were joined in Morgantown by Kelly Allen, a former health care navigator who spoke about being diagnosed with a pre-existing condition while attending West Virginia University, and the hard-working West Virginians she has seen gain insurance under the ACA.

Earlier in the day, another group of local health care advocates made their voices known in Parkersburg.

Reverend Janice Hill speaks in front of Care Force One in Parkersburg.

“I’m a pastor, I care desperately for the people of my congregation and the people of West Virginia,” said Reverend Janice Hill. “How can anyone in heaven’s name think it’s okay to deny health care to people who need it? West Virginia is especially susceptible to not having health care – how can both of our senators not be for it?”

Her sentiments were echoed by medical provider Simon Hargus, who noted that access to health care was necessary to tackle the opioid crisis; nurse Kim Cramer, who emphasized the importance of protections for West Virginians with pre-existing conditions; and Julie Schleier, who was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease which costs $11,000 per month to treat.

At today’s events, West Virginia residents, health care advocates, elected officials and members of Protect Our Care detailed the numbers ways in which Republicans have attacked health care, and how these actions have cut coverage and increased costs for West Virginians. Because of the Republican repeal-and-sabotage agenda:

  • West Virginians will see their premiums rise by an average of 14.85 percent next year. It’s expected that 40 year old West Virginians would face paying an extra $1,390 for marketplace coverage in 2019 because of sabotage of the ACA.
  • West Virginia expanded Medicaid under the ACA and the more than 225,000 West Virginians who have gained coverage because of this program would find their care at risk if the law were repealed.
  • 29,674 West Virginians who have obtained health insurance through the ACA marketplace could lose their coverage if a judge sides with West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, President Trump and the GOP in their lawsuit; and protections for 738,000 West Virginians, including more than 257,000 in WV-02 living with a pre-existing condition would be in jeopardy.
  • Hundreds of billions of dollars have been cut from Medicare.
  • Dozens of hospitals in rural areas have closed.
  • Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act who has vowed to try to repeal the law.  Although he claims to support protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Morrisey was one of the first state attorneys general to join lawsuit that would roll back that coverage and eliminate the protections for pre-existing conditions that exist in the ACA. Morrisey’s participation in the suit puts the health of the 737,900 West Virginians living with a pre-existing condition at risk and would take us back to the days when insurers routinely denied coverage or charged unaffordable premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, including cancer, asthma and hypertension.
  • Representatives Alex Mooney and David McKinley voted for and passed a health care repeal bill that would cause 23 million people to lose coverage and gut protections for people with pre-existing condition; voted for a budget amendment that would cut Medicaid by $700 billion over ten years, $114 billion in a single year alone. Mooney and McKinley also voted for a tax scam that doubled as a sneaky repeal of the Affordable Care Act  by kicking 13 million people off of their insurance and raising premiums by double digits for millions more.

Tomorrow, “Care Force One” will head to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Protect Our Care will be joined by Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. For more information, please visit protectourcarebustour.com.

Health Care Advocates Fight Trump-GOP Lawsuit and Kavanaugh in Washington, DC and in the States

Advocates Across the Country Demand GOP State AGs and Governors Drop Their Lawsuit Against Our Health Care, and Urge Senators to Block Trump’s ‘Rubber Stamp’ on the Case

As oral arguments took place this afternoon in Texas v. United States, and the Senate Judiciary Committee continued hearing the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, health care advocates from coast to coast demanded their state and federal leaders protect Americans’ health care.

Cancer survivors Jeff Jeans of Arizona and Joseph Merlino of Nevada, and Air Force Veteran Kelly Gregory of Tennessee, currently battling terminal breast cancer, traveled to Washington, D.C. to urge the Senate to reject the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, while local Protect Our Coalitions in ten states held events making the dangers of the GOP’s lawsuit clear.

In the nation’s capitol, Jeans, Merlino, and Gregory spent the day on Capitol Hill, speaking, meeting with senators, and attending the confirmation hearings, highlighting Republicans’ continuing war on health care. This morning, Gregory and Jeans joined House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Members, and other health care advocates at a press conference to discuss the threat Judge Kavanaugh represents to their health health care and that of millions of Americans.

And, as oral arguments took place in Texas, et al. v. United States, et. al., a lawsuit that could unilaterally end protections for the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions overnight, local Protect Our Care coalitions and advocates living with pre-existing conditions held events outside the offices of their Republican attorneys general, urging them to drop this dangerous Trump-GOP lawsuit and instead protect our health care.

For example:

In West Virginia, health care advocates with pre-existing conditions visited the office of Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, one of the eighteen Republican attorneys general on the Texas lawsuit, discussing their concerns about his actions to end protections for the 738,000 West Virginians with pre-existing conditions.

In Florida, health care advocates gathered outside of the Jackson Memorial Hospital to denounce Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit and the repercussions which could come from it. State. Rep. Shevrin Jones also highlighted the urgency to protect these protections in his South Florida Sun-Sentinel op-ed, “We must continue to defend the Affordable Care Act.”

In Maine, health care advocates and people living with pre-existing conditions held a press conference discussing the dangers 548,000 Mainers would face, should Governor Paul LePage’s lawsuit prevail.

In Missouri, a group of Missourians with pre-existing conditions, including a strong Missourian currently battling breast cancer, met with staff of Sen. Roy Blunt at his district office, noting their concerns about Attorney General Josh Hawley’s lawsuit and Kavanaugh’s nomination.

In Tennessee, local health care advocates called on Attorney General Herbert Slatery to withdraw from the Texas lawsuit and instead support the protections for 2.7 million Tennesseans with pre-existing conditions. Advocates requested a meeting with Slatery, but representatives from his office instead would only meet with three of the six Tennesseans in question.

And in Arizona, caregivers and health care advocates joined with Protect Our Care, the Human Rights Campaign, and Planned Parenthood to deliver letters to Attorney General Mark Brnovich, calling on him to remove himself from the lawsuit and instead protect the 2.8 million Arizonans with pre-existing conditions.

As the hearings and the Trump-GOP lawsuit continue, health care advocates from coast to coast will continue to stand up to the GOP’s war on health care, with hopes that Republicans will finally start listening.

Republicans At All Levels Face Fury from Their Constituents as the Coalition that Defeated Health Care Repeal Takes the Fight Local

As we head into the one-year anniversary of the Senate’s defeat of ACA repeal, Republicans are running scared of their own record, especially as Big Health Care CEO compensation soars on their watch.

Meanwhile, the coalition that defeated health care repeal is rising up to fight GOP sabotage at every level of government.

  • For a full month, Protect Our Care and its partners have continually sounded the alarm about Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, who is now opposed by 41 percent of Americans, the vast majority of whom do not want the Court to overturn protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • All week, the Protect Our Care coalition held events marking the anniversary of the Senate defeating repeal and highlighting continued threats to health care, and today Protect Our Care coalitions in Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia are holding actions to ask their Republican attorneys general and governors to drop their lawsuit to overturn protections for people with pre-existing conditions in the Affordable Care Act.
  • Looking ahead to August, Protect Our Care coalitions across the country are gearing up to confront House Republicans during recess about the numerous votes they have taken to repeal protections for people with pre-existing conditions, jack up premiums, reduce coverage, and give kickbacks to insurance companies, drug companies, and the wealthy – while doing nothing to bring down the cost of prescription drugs.

With an energized grassroots representing the will of the public, according to poll after poll after poll after poll, it’s no wonder why Democrats are rising up to fight for health care. Just yesterday:

  1. Senate Democrats redoubled their commitment to fight tooth-and-nail to protect health care for all Americans, while marking the one-year anniversary of their defeat of Republicans’ effort to repeal the ACA.
  2. House Democrats introduced a resolution that would intervene to protect the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions from the GOP-Trump Administration lawsuit working to overturn protections for them.
  3. A coalition of 12 Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit to fight back against the Trump Administration’s revival of junk plans that charge money for poor coverage.

###

Advocates Mount Defense of Health Care for Millions

Last night, President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice. To be clear, Trump had two litmus tests in selecting Brett Kavanaugh for the Court:

1) overturning Roe v. Wade, and

2) overturning Americans’ health care by gutting protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Across the country, health care advocates geared up in opposition, urging their senators to reject Judge Kavanaugh, an activist judge who was hand-picked to rubber-stamp President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ war on health care.

Here are some highlights, with more activity on the ground happening today.

In Alaska, Protect Our Care was joined by health care advocates, Alaska Native leaders, and former Alaska Superior Court Judge John Reese to urge Sen. Lisa Murkowski to do what is best for Alaska and reject a justice who won’t protect Alaskans’ care.

In Maine, Protect Our Care was joined by the Maine Women’s Lobby and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in calling on Sen. Susan Collins to protect pre-existing condition protections and women’s access to health care.

In Arizona, Jeff Jeans, a cancer survivor joined  state Rep. Athena Salman, and representatives from Planned Parenthood and ACLU Arizona urged Senator Flake to stand up for Arizonans’ care.

In Nevada, Protect Our Care and Laura Packard, a health care advocate living with cancer, Cyndy Hernandez of NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada, and Sam Shaw of SEIU Nevada Local 1107 urged Sen. Dean Heller to stand up and protect Nevadans’ health care.

In Ohio, Protect Our Care Ohio joined with Innovation Ohio, the Physicians Action Network, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio highlighted the current and long-term threats to health care under a conservative Supreme Court.

In Tennessee, Protect Our Care was joined by a coalition of concerned citizens including Jen Yamin, the mother of a son with pre-existing conditions, Kristen Grimm, the mother of child with special needs, and Anna Carella, Co-Chair of Healthy and Free Tennessee, outside Sen. Bob Corker’s Nashville office.

In West Virginia, Protect Our Care advocates went on the record to make it clear that they want their senators to stand up health care.

Advocates Gear Up to Defend Health Care for Millions

Protect Our Care Coalition to Host Events Across the Country As Supreme Court Pick Looms

Enough Is Enough Poster

  • As President Trump prepares to make his Supreme Court announcement Monday, Americans from coast to coast are gearing up to make clear to their Senators that they must not vote against health care by voting for an extreme nominee who will use their position to attack our health care.
  • Protect Our Care is active in fourteen states, and our advocates have already scheduled events on Monday in Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. We’ll be holding a rally at Monument Square in Bangor, Maine; a press conference in front of Sen. Bob Corker’s office in Nashville, Tennessee; and a press call with local leaders, health care advocates, and a former judge in Alaska.
  • President Trump and Congressional Republicans have spent the past 18 months waging a relentless war on our health care, with millions losing coverage, premiums increasing by double digits, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions eroding. But all of these pale in comparison to the damage that an extreme Supreme Court justice could do — read more to find out all that’s at stake for health care with this Supreme Court vacancy.

Protect Our Care’s national leaders and local advocates are available for on the record interviews. Please contact [email protected].

Protect Our Care Launches 130 Million Strong Month of Action

Washington, D.C. – The Protect Our Care coalition today launches “130 Million Strong Month of Action,” a campaign to warn Americans about escalating Republican attacks on Affordable Care Act-guaranteed protections for over 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. As the Trump Department of Justice asks the courts to take away these protections, the campaign will leverage earned and paid media as well as grassroots advocacy to highlight the true cost of letting insurance companies bring back discrimination.

“There are over 130 million Americans out there with pre-existing conditions who deserve to know that Republicans are trying to let insurance companies take away their coverage,” said Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse. “The Trump Department of Justice just declared war on people who have a history of diabetes, asthma, or cancer. This month, our coalition of health care advocates will be conducting an aggressive information campaign to make sure people know what’s at stake.”

The campaign launches this morning with a new digital ad targeted to 13 states: Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Watch Digital Ad

Protect Our Care is also rolling out 51 fact sheets this morning highlighting the impact residents would face in each state if the Trump Administration wins its case and takes away pre-existing condition protections, and dozens of events are set to take place across the country between now and Independence Day.

Republicans in Indiana, Ohio & West Virginia Nominate Three Enemies of Health Care

Washington, D.C. – After candidates who have pledged to continue Republicans’ destructive repeal-and-sabotage agenda won Senate primaries in Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Ohio Republican Senate nominee Jim Renacci has voted to repeal or tear apart the Affordable Care Act 58 times, including last year’s House repeal bill that would have kicked 23 million Americans off of their health care, spiked premiums, undermined health care and reproductive rights for women, and imposed an age tax on older Americans; Indiana Republican Senate nominee Mike Braun has called for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, with no plan to replace it; and West Virginia Republican Senate nominee Patrick Morrisey has twice sued the federal government to overturn the Affordable Care Act, most recently joining a February suit to invalidate the law. In the Senate, these nominees would push a destructive agenda that represents a grave threat to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, placing millions of Americans’ coverage and access to care at risk. But they can be stopped: poll after poll, including a new CBS survey, continue to show that health care is the top issue on Americans’ minds, and that people of all political stripes reject the Republican war on health care. Despite what Renacci, Braun, and Morrisey might say, the majority of the American people are saying louder: enough is enough – it’s time for Republicans to end their war on our health care.”

Celebrating ACA Anniversary Week Recap: Protect Our Care Coalition Highlights Health Gains Made Under Affordable Care Act and Voters Across the Country Say “We Won’t Go Back”

In honor of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law eight years ago, last week the Protect Our Care coalition celebrated ACA Anniversary Week, highlighting the health care achievements made across America under the ACA and making clear that we won’t go back and erode this progress.

SUPPORTERS STAND UP FOR THE ACA: WE WON’T GO BACK

All across the country, from Alaska to Tennessee to the nation’s Capitol, health care voters held rallies for the ACA Anniversary Week of Action to made their voices heard and tell elected officials we won’t go back on eight years of progress.

ALASKA

Protect Our Care and the Alaska Grassroots Alliance held a rally in Anchorage.

ARIZONA

 

Protect Our Care and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona held a rally in Phoenix. They were joined by Dr. Wylie Carhartt of the Mountain Park Health Center Family Practice, Phil Pangrazio, CEO of Ability 360, Steve Gomez, whose child received a heart transplant under the ACA, and cancer survivors.

COLORADO

Protect Our Care held rallies in Denver and Grand Junction, visiting Sen. Cory Gardner’s Denver office and Rep. Scott Tipton’s Grand Junction office.

MAINE

 

Protect Our Care joined State Senator Dr. Geoff Gratwick and Nurse Practitioner State Rep. Anne Perry to hold a rally in Bangor. Rep Perry expressed her disappointment in Senator Susan Collins’ recent sponsorship of legislation which would weaken women’s care and her support for the ACA, saying, “Even though there may be complaints of more spent because of Medicaid, we will have a healthier population. And I don’t know of one business who doesn’t want a healthier workforce.”

Central Maine Editorial Board: Our View: Obamacare at 8 years: Much done, much left to do

Fox Bangor: Legislature still needs to write check for Medicaid expansion

NEVADA

Protect Our Care, OFA, Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates, the Alliance for Healthcare Security, and Battle Born Progress held rallies in Las Vegas and Reno. They were joined by representatives from Positively Kids, the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, SmartBuy Insurance, and the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans, as well as cancer survivors and health care advocates.

Las Vegas Sun: Analysis: Advocates look to 2018 midterms to restore, protect ACA

CBS News 4: News 4 examines Obamacare’s impact on Nevada on the bill’s 8th anniversary

OHIO

Protect Our Care and For Our Future joined with DeWayne Lee of Healing Heart, local pastors, and city councilmembers to hold rallies in Cincinnati, Mansfield, and Toledo, outside of Sen. Portman’s Toledo office.

WNWO: Sen. Portman Constituents Rally in Support of Affordable Care Act

Richland Source: Mansfield leaders advocate for access to quality healthcare

TENNESSEE

Protect Our Care and the Southern Christian Coalition joined with physicians, registered nurses, local faith leaders, and Sara Scott, whose son has asthma and progressive heart disease and whose daughter has developmental disabilities, neither of whom would be insurable without the ACA, to hold rallies in Nashville and Chattanooga, outside Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office.

Chattanooga Times Free Press: An imperfect journey: 8 years of Obamacare

WEST VIRGINIA

Protect Our Care, West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, Our Children, Our Future, and West Virginians Together for Medicaid joined with staff from the office of Senator Joe Manchin to hold a rally in Charleston.

HOUSE DEMOCRATS JOIN HEALTH CARE GROUPS TO CELEBRATE ANNIVERSARY

Last Thursday, Leader Nancy Pelosi, Whip Steny Hoyer, Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn, Rep. David Cicilline, and Rep. Brenda Lawrence joined Protect Our Care, Little Lobbyists, Health Care Voter, Doctors for America, and other health care advocates at a press conference celebrating the millions of lives which have benefited since the ACA was signed into law.

Washington Examiner: Pelosi celebrates eight-year anniversary of Obamacare

POLLING SHOWS: HEALTH CARE A TOP ISSUE, VOTERS BACKING PRO-ACA CANDIDATES

Last week, Public Policy Polling released a series of polls which found that not only is health care a top issue for voters across the country, but in battleground states pro-repeal candidates are being rejected. The polls found the following results:

  • In Arizona, health care is a top issue for 68% of voters, with 21% saying it is the most important issue. In a hypothetical Senate election, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema leads pro-repeal candidate Martha McSally 46-41
  • In Nevada, health care is a top issue for 65% of voters, with 27% saying it is the most important issue. In a hypothetical Senate election, Democrat Jacky Rosen leads pro-repeal Dean Heller 44-39.
  • In Pennsylvania, health care is a top issue for 71% of voters, with 25% saying it is the most important issue. In a hypothetical Senate election, Democrat Bob Casey leads pro-repeal candidate Lou Barletta 54-36.
  • In Tennessee, health care is a top issue for 71% of voters, with 31% saying it is the most important issue. In a hypothetical Senate election, Democrat Phil Bredesen leads pro-repeal candidate Marsha Blackburn 46-41.
  • In Wisconsin, health care is a top issue for 72% of voters, with 25% saying it is the most important issue. In a hypothetical Senate election, Democrat Tammy Baldwin leads pro-repeal candidates Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson 51-39 and 51-38, respectively.

PHOTOS: Health Care Protests at GOP Retreat in West Virginia

As Congressional Republicans retreated to West Virginia to discuss their plans for 2018, they were greeted by protesters who are furious about the GOP’s ongoing war on health care. Hundreds of protesters greeted Vice President Pence at the airport, lined up along the President’s motorcade route, and made sure every Member of Congress in attendance knew just how furious voters are about their party’s health care sabotage:

[Beckley Register-Herald]

The protesters made clear just how devastating the GOP’s health care attacks would be to West Virginia:

“An issue on the minds — and signs — of many of the protesters was health care. Hanno Kirk, 78, of Lewisburg, said his main concern as a health care provider is the 230,000 people in West Virginia who are in danger of losing health insurance if the GOP succeeds in dismantling the Affordable Care Act. ‘It’s totally misguided to attempt to do away with the ACA simply because it’s called ‘Obamacare,’ Kirk said, noting he used to be a ‘liberal Republican in Washington, D.C., back when there was such a thing as a liberal Republican.’ Stephen Josephine Fritsch of Harrisburg, Pa., the daughter of a combat veteran, said it appears the values her father fought for are slipping away. ‘This is America,’ she said. ‘It should be we the America, not me the America.’ Fritsch expressed concern about the state of U.S. health care under GOP leadership.”

“‘Well, we have a lot of issues in West Virginia,’ said psychotherapist and protester Hanno Kirk. ‘As a healthcare provider, I am acutely aware how many of my patients are reliant on Medicaid and Medicare and CHIPS. And if those two are eliminated, as there is a threat to that, we would have a huge number of uninsured people.’” [WVVA, 1/31]

[Beckley Register-Herald]

Protesters gathered at Senator Moore-Capito’s office ahead of Congressional Republicans’ arrival:

Protesters are hitting the streets in Charleston, a day ahead of the GOP retreat at The Greenbrier, to voice their concerns about cuts to health care and Medicaid. A rally Wednesday evening included people from all over the eastern U.S. gathering in Charleston, including one woman from as far away as Vermont. It is a test run for a bigger demonstration on Thursday in Greenbrier County. By the end of the night Wednesday, the group is expecting about 500 advocates in town — standing together against Medicaid and health care cuts. [WSAZ, 1/31]

They met Vice President Pence at the Charleston airport:

“‘We’re just ready for that change,’ Debbie Naeter says. She’s right outside the Greenbrier Valley Airport gates with protestors prepared to welcome Vice President Pence with their concerns. ‘It’s health care, and fracking, and equality, and being nice again,’ she says.” [WDBJ, 1/31]

Engaged activists traveled from all over the country to make their voices heard:

“Protesters came from all over the United States. WDBJ7’s Sara Machi spoke with protesters from West Virginia, New York City, Charlotte, and Arkansas. Many protesters present Thursday said they have decided to protest because of issues important to them. These issues include immigration, healthcare, the recent tax bill, clean water, and other issues.” [WDBJ, 2/1]

[Beckley Register-Herald]

As Paul Ryan raised the specter of “entitlement reform” inside, protesters at the gates of the five-star resort raised awareness about the GOP’s proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid:

“President Donald Trump’s address to Republican congressmen at The Greenbrier resort in southern West Virginia has drawn several hundred protesters with signs and chants criticizing him and calling for living wages, protecting Medicaid and Medicare, defending immigrants and decrying hate speech.” [AP, 2/1]

[Twitter]

The bottom line from protesters: Enough is enough. It’s time to stop the Republican war on our care.

“While President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence plan to attend a GOP congressional retreat in West Virginia, some health care advocates plan to attend rallies to protest Medicaid and health care cuts… Organizers said in a news release that West Virginia health care advocates would join more than 500 people gathering to protest and send a message ‘that any cuts to health care — the issue expected to top the GOP’s agenda — will be met with a fierce nationwide fight.’” [WCHS, 1/31]

[Beckley Register-Herald]

Lest anyone be confused, they made clear what the protests were really about:

“Sammi Brown, the federal campaigns director for Our Children, Our Future, said this started after activists in Greenbrier County reached out to individual groups, and word of the action reached organizations in West Virginia and other states shortly afterward. ‘It is folks all along the East Coast that are standing in solidarity with West Virginia. We are expecting upwards of 600 people tomorrow to march with us,’ she said. Brown said the protest was not about Trump but rather the agenda of what she called ‘attacking health care.’” [West Virginia Metro News, 1/31]

And Vice President Pence found one special health care protester – West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. After Pence chided him for not voting for the GOP tax scam, which kicked millions of Americans off of their coverage, Manchin hit back:

[Twitter]

As President Trump, Vice President Pence and GOP Members of Congress were shown upon their arrival in West Virginia, Americans, from local organizers to United States senators are furious about their repeal and sabotage memo. They’re furious over their weakening of the Affordable Care Act; they’re furious over their attempts to gut Medicare and Medicaid; and they’re furious over their unnecessary attacks on America’s health care system. And if they don’t stop, it’s only going to get worse.

Enough is enough – it’s time for the GOP to end their war on health care.