Disability rights group ADAPT continued demonstrations even after news broke that Republicans will not take Graham-Cassidy bill to a vote on Senate floor.
This piece originally appeared in Common Dreams
Progressive groups celebrated their latest victory over the Republican-led Congress Tuesday after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would not go to a vote this week as planned.
The decision came a day after more than 200 members of ADAPT, the national disability rights group, stormed a hearing on the bill, chanting, “Kill the bill, don’t kill us!” and “No cuts to Medicaid!”
Murshed Zaheed, political director of CREDO Action, the social change network which has also mobilized against Trumpcare, credited the protesters with helping to push the Republicans to abandon the bill.
“Progressive grassroots activists just saved health care coverage for tens of millions of Americans—yet again,” he said. “Despite Mitch McConnell’s best efforts, even some Senate Republicans realized that this bill was too cruel to support.”
Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin of Indivisible said,“Despite repeated attempts, Trump’s number one legislative priority remains a pipe dream nine months into this Congress. The unified conservative federal government’s attempt to strip health care away from millions failed for one simple reason: people across the country stood up and fought back.”
McConnell’s announcement also came a day after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) officially announced she would not back the bill, becoming the third Republican to come out against it. With all 42 Democrats and two independents lining up against Graham-Cassidy, which the Brookings Institution estimated would eliminate health coverage for 32 million Americans over the next decade, McConnell could only afford to lose two Republican votes. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and John McCain (R–Ariz.) had said earlier that they would not support the bill.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Monday that the bill would severely cut Medicaid and would leave millions of people without comprehensive health insurance. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities said earlier this month that the block grants provided by Graham-Cassidy to replace Medicaid funding and subsidies for lower-income Americans would be “inadequate.”
The protests staged by ADAPT on Monday gained national attention, as more than 100 people were arrested by Capitol police. Some were carried out or dragged out of their wheelchairs during the arrests.