Wood County Indivisible protests GOP health bill
PARKERSBURG — It’s not over until it’s over.
Wood County Indivisible and the West Virginia Citizens Action Group held the Kill the Bill, Don’t Kill Us rally Monday to protest the latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Graham-Cassidy health care bill being drafted by Senate Republicans.
The Rev. Janice Hill thought when the last attempt to repeal – the skinny repeal – died in July, it would be the last time.
“Yet here we are again,” she said from the stage at Bicentennial Park.
The Graham-Cassidy bill, named after the chief sponsors Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, is on the fast track so a vote can be taken by Saturday when a simple majority of 51 is needed for passage.
After Saturday, 60 votes will be required for passage, which means Republicans – minus several including John McCain – will have to find Democrats for their side.
About three dozen members of Wood County Indivisible, dressed in black and carying signs, stood in the hot sun over grave stones and cut outs of bodies to depict those who would die if the Affordable Care Act was repealed.
Temperatures were near 90 during the rally. An ambulance was dispatched to the park upon the report of a woman succumbing to heat exhaustion.
On the stage was a banner asking Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., to vote against Graham-Cassidy.
“Folks, I’m really, really scared,” said speaker Jeff Rapp about the future of health care, society and democracy.
With the song “Sing On” by the Eureka Brass Band playing, a funeral procession was led by the Grim Reaper at the beginning of the rally.
Rallies such as these and across America have informed people about what the end result would be if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, Sarah Townsend, a speaker, said. It impacts life and the quality of life, she said.
The Graham-Cassidy bill “is the most disgusting, distasteful piece of legislation that has ever been introduced in the 32 years I have been involved in this business,” Rapp said.
Repeal of the Affordable Care Act, dubbed ObamaCare by opponents, will return things to like it was before when people couldn’t find coverage, couldn’t afford coverage and couldn’t afford health care, Rapp said.
Estimates are 32 million people nationwide will be affected. States which expanded Medicaid coverage with the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, including Wesr Virginia, will lose those funds, he said.
Rapp called himself a health care advocate and became involved more than 30 years ago when he advocated for health care benefits for HIV and AIDS patients.
“You don’t want to go back to that time,” he said.
In the meantime, the Save My Care Coalition and the West Virginia Alliance for Health Care Security have organized a bus for local residents to go to Washington, D.C., today to ask Capito to vote against the Graham-Cassidy bill.
The first stop will be the park and ride on Staunton Avenue at West Virginia 47 and U.S. 50 from 6:30-7 a.m. The second stop is at the Shinnston Park and Ride, Exit 125, at 8:25-8:45 a.m.