The senate hearing on the Graham-Cassidy bill attracted several protesters with disabilities
Protesters, many in wheelchairs, were forcibly removed from today’s senate Finance Committee hearing on the Graham-Cassidy bill, the latest GOP-led effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, the nation’s 2010 health law. The footage and photos are beyond disturbing and just another horrifying reminder that this is where we live now. A country where citizens with disabilities have to beg for health coverage.
According to ABC News, protesters started lining up as early as 5:00 am to make their feelings on the proposed healthcare bill known. Not that the politicians in the session were willing to listen.
“If you want a hearing — if you want a hearing, you better shut up,” Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said before adjourning the session until protesters could be cleared out.
Which is exactly what police did, causing some people to slide out of their wheelchairs as law enforcement removed them from the hearing.
BREAKING: Senator Hatch orders Graham-Cassidy health care hearing to recess as protesters in wheelchairs are removed by authorities pic.twitter.com/St8sBGbzEn
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 25, 2017
Sen. Hatch also cruelly accused protesters of “showboating” for the assembled media.
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) September 25, 2017
The bill, authored by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, fortunately has yet to move any “no” votes over to a yes, and according to Politico, it looks like it’s already doomed to fail. Hatch said, “Well, I wish ’em luck. But I’m not convinced they have much of a chance.”
But as long as the bill is still on the floor, people are protesting it. Those assembled can be heard shouting, “No cuts to Medicaid! Save our liberty!” as officers pull them away from the scene, one by one.
Horrific: protesters in wheelchairs literally dragged away and arrested for speaking out against GOP health bill. pic.twitter.com/IhhtzOB7d8
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) September 25, 2017
The senators reportedly left the room the hearing was in while the protesters were taken away so they wouldn’t have to watch. It looks like even spineless politicians who are doing all they can to take healthcare from those who need it most don’t enjoy actually seeing the people their cruel policies would doom to die.
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) September 25, 2017
Some protesters, like Mike Oxford of the group ADAPT, have been arrested countless times as they fight to retain health coverage for those who rely on Medicaid for their extensive medical needs.
ADAPT's Mike Oxford, who has a degenerative spine disease, now in hearing.
He's from Lonestar, Kansas — been arrested "80 or 90 times" b4 pic.twitter.com/7VJUoz3Cwp
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_Vox) September 25, 2017
Law enforcement lined the halls before the hearing even began.
A line of Capitol police now lining the hallway pic.twitter.com/N6ieC5tT9x
— Kira Lerner (@kira_lerner) September 25, 2017
They had plastic handcuffs ready in anticipation of having to restrain and arrest protesters. Protesters, many in wheelchairs.
Despite being told there was only room for seven wheelchairs in the hearing, the protesters continued to chant, “Access is a human right” outside the room.
This entire situation should make every single American nauseous.
Because this isn’t about a difference in political ideology — this is a matter of life and death for our country’s most vulnerable citizens. And what could be more American than protecting and caring for those who need our help?
If the people who live here have to beg their leadership to let them live, how can we call ourselves the “greatest country in the world?”
— Fran Berkman (@FranBerkman) September 25, 2017
Outside Dirksen there's a long table of cops doing paperwork, with a whole block of protesters, many in wheelchairs, waiting to be processed pic.twitter.com/ihUuBmu9Lk
— Joe Perticone (@JoePerticone) September 25, 2017
Sadly, this is where we live now. And we should be ashamed.