Plans by President Trump and Congressional Republicans to repeal Obamacare have spurred activists to be extremely direct in their approach to resistance. Mock funerals and shipment of ashes is in order for direct actions. Trump plans on making a multibillion dollar cut to Medicaid and with the list of over 50 pre-existing conditions, marginalized groups affording insurance is going to be tough.
Activists know that nothing short of extreme direct action will get the attention of Republicans. This is a real possibility though. People could and will die without access to adequate healthcare.
Students are also joining the actions. Zoe Jordan Salsbury, junior at American University, started Mail Me to the GOP. She plans to consult with an estate planner and help people write wills and plan out which Congress member their cremated remains will go to after death. She hopes that the Republican bill that passed will never become law. With these hopes in mind, she is having individuals submit testimonies on, “Why will you die because of the Republican health care bill?” When you look at the complete list of preexisting conditions you can see why and how one might die or have concerns of deteriorating health if this bill is made law.
Social justice groups like MoveON, Indivisible, the Women’s March, and the Town Hall Project launched the Payback Project which offers help to local groups who are targeting their representatives and holding them accountable for their votes on the Affordable Care Act. The Payback Project events include die ins and attending various meetings with representatives as an act of protest.
So many of us are concerned about what this means for our access to affordable care. Mark Hannay of ACT UP put it best, “We cannot take anything for granted, and continued resistance and expressions of outrage and fear are essential. Share your story with local media, social media, your Rep. and both your Senators. Show up at demos and protests. Write letters and make phone calls. Much grassroots activism from the ACT UP community is being expressed through actions led by the Health Care Action Group of Rise and Resist, which is being led by ACT UP members.”
That said, Rise and Resist , direct action group in NYC are participating in several town halls, vigils, and die-ins this week.
On May 10, they were in attendance at a Town Hall meeting sponsored by Rep. Tom MacArthur (NJ-3), representative of Burlington and Ocean Counties in south central New Jersey. He voted for the bill and also wrote the amendment to the bill that brought the Freedom Caucus back on board. The amendment MacArthur wrote will allow states to apply for waivers so insurers don’t have to cover the ACA’s 10 Essential Health Benefits and will also allow insurers to discriminate against people with pre-existing health conditions. On May 11, a vigil was held outside the home of Rep. Peter King of Suffolk County on Long Island. Housing Works organized transportation from their Downtown Brooklyn office.
There will be a die in today Saturday May 13, outside the office of Rep. Lee Zeldin in Patchogue (Long Island) at 31 Oak St. The die in will start at 10:30 am. Organizers are catching the LIRR train at 8:42 am and are asking anyone who is interested in going to meet in the waiting room around 8:15am.
There’s so much that we as individuals can do as well. You can use this full list of representatives to call, or sign up for the Calls for Change newsletter so that you can know which members of Congress you should call.