Their signs spoke for them.
‘AHCA Vote will haunt you.’
‘Don’t cut our Medicare benefits.’
‘Tax cuts 4 rich a poison pill 4 Medicare.’
‘Valadao voted for Trumpcare this will haunt him.’
Community activists, health advocates and residents in Rep. David Valadao’s congressional district held up those signs during a peaceful demonstration last Thursday (July 6) outside his office to pressure him to oppose the Senate Republican Health Care Plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act if it returns to the House.
“Our representative will have one more chance to vote and we want him to vote ‘no,’” said Hanford resident Jacqueline Lowe.
The Senate was scheduled to vote on the bill late in June; however Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed the vote until after the July 4 recess.
“It’s going to affect each and every one of us,” said Pedro Ramírez, with the California Labor Federation.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that 22 million Americans will lose healthcare under the Senate Bill, with up to 5 million people impacted in California.
The Senate health care proposal, knows as the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, calls for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate, as well as drastic cuts to the Medicaid program. Under the bill, Medicaid expansion would be phased out over three years and federal funding for the program would be subject to a per-capita cap.
In California one in three are enrolled in Medi-Cal, including children, people with disabilities, seniors and people who work but earn far too little to afford insurance.
Pedro Elias said they are asking all constituents in not only in the Valley but in the state to call their representatives as well as their senators and ask to vote no on the bill and to keep safe the Affordable Care Act.
Elias said if the ACA is repealed; communities in the Valley will suffer.
“We want to have a productive community. And we can’t have a productive community if we don’t have a healthy community,” Elias said of people having access to healthcare.
In Fresno and Kern Counties, almost 50 percent of residents will face cuts to their care through the Medi-Cal program. In Kings County 38 percent of residents will face cuts, while in Tulare County, 55 percent will face cuts to their care.
Approximately more than 100,000 people in Valadao’s district receive help under the Affordable Care Act.
With the repeal of the ACA, Californians who are left with insurance after the legislation would see their premiums soar and their share of costs rise.
According to the California Department of Health Care Services, the Senate bill will cost California $30 billion annually, significantly more than the health care repeal bill passed by the House of Representatives in May.
Central Valley residents and Valadao’s constituents rallied with handmade signs outside his office while sharing their stories of how they would be affected if the ACA is repeal some talked about how specific medications and health care needs would be taken from them if the Senate bill were to pass as well as the importance of affordable, accessible health insurance.
The protest in Hanford was one of a series of actions organized by caregivers of SEIU Local 2015 and their care recipients taking place across the state outside of elected officials’ offices including Palmdale and Santa Clarita in Southern California.