Protesters angry over cuts to Medicaid in the Senate Republicans’ health care bill filled a hallway outside of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Thursday. Capitol police made 43 arrests while some officers were forced to drag protesters out of the building.
The arrests were made when protesters refused to end the demonstration. One protestor being carried out by police was reportedly dropped.
The protesters were demonstrating against what they believe to be cruel cuts to health care that could put lives in danger. Many were yelling, “no cuts to Medicaid,” as the police attempted to herd them out of the Senate office building.
Some of the protesters were disabled or there to defend family members who live with disabilities and depend on Medicaid for treatment and medications. One such protester was Phillip Corona, who said he traveled from Wisconsin to make his fears known to lawmakers in the case that Medicaid is slashed.
He said he helps his son Anthony get out of bed every morning and is afraid that changes to Medicaid “would possibly mean putting him in a nursing home.”
Alison Barkoff, the director of advocacy for the Center for Public Representation and an organizer of the protest, echoed the concerns of many of the bill’s critics, saying that it represents little more than “tax cuts for the wealthy on the backs of people with disabilities.”
The bill, however, could be on its own form of life support after four Republican senators announced late Thursday afternoon they cannot support the bill in its current form.
The four men — Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky — issued a joint statement in which they said they are willing to negotiate before the full Senate considers the controversial health care bill.
The Republicans can have no more than two senators not vote for the bill if it is to pass.
As of now, the four defectors don’t believe the bill will actually lower health care costs, which the GOP promised to its voters if it repeals the Affordable Care Act.