In response to Vice President Michael Pence‘s visit to the National Governor Association‘s Summer meeting in Providence and to the release Thursday of yet another United States Senate Trumpcare bill that made only “cosmetic changes” to previous Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, nearly two hundred people rallied at Burnside Park before marching to the Rhode Island Convention Center in protest.
Karen Malcolm from the Protect Our Healthcare Coalition says that the bills from the Senate and the United States House of Representatives “radically reshape Medicaid, risking the wellbeing of the 64 million Americans covered under the program, including two-thirds of all nursing home residents and 2 in 5 of the nation’s children.” By reducing tax credits and subsidies even those with private insurance will be hit hard. Insurers will be able to drop coverage for pre-natal care and charge older Americans five times what younger people pay.
The Protect Our Healthcare Coalition, Indivisible Rhode Island and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) RI Council organized the protest. People joined the rally from throughout New England.
“The GOP has made only cosmetic changes to their Trumpcare bill that do nothing to alter the bill’s fundamental problems,” said Kamila Barzykowski representing Indivisible Rhode Island, “Make no mistake: this bill and the bill already passed by the House will have a devastating impact on people’s lives.”
Cheryl Frasier is a nurse at Women and Infants Hospital with 28 years of experience.
Monica Scott, direct service professional with the ARC of Blackstone Valley in Pawtucket.
“For disabled Americans,” said Colleen Flanagan, a disability rights activist representing Mass ADAPT and the Boston Center for Independent Living, “Medicaid equals life and liberty!
Jordan Hevenor of The Women’s Project thanked Mike Pence for coming to Rhode Island. Why? “Because we know that when Mike Pence shows up, the people rise up,” said Hevenor.
“When Mike Pence fought for and signed destructive anti-choice legislation, the women of Indiana responded with Periods for Pence,” said Hevenor, “after all, Mike Pence is an expert on women’s bodies and reproductive health. So he should be pleased to hear about our menstrual cycles, since they are part of our reproductive health. So thank you, Mr. Pence, for coming to Rhode Island so that I can tell you I started menstruating on Tuesday.”
Medicaid caps and cuts mean that seniors will lose services they need to age in their community, at home and with dignity,” said Marjory Waters with the Rhode Island Organizing Project.
Joharlen Carvajal from Family Support Specialist at Foster Forward
Jim Cowan gave presented the tightest argument I’ve ever heard for a single payer, Medicare for All health care system.
Finally, the Reverend Doctor Donald Anderson explained that healthcare is more than a political issue, it’s a moral issue.
“We are calling on you today to repent of your actions on this bill, that you’ve worked so hard for,” said Anderson to GOP Reps and Senators, “I you don’t repent remember this: The deaths of multitudes of Americans – the blood of those Americans – will be on your hands!”