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Dying for Care: Protestors set to hold die-in at McMurran Hall

By Staff | Jun 23, 2017

Photo courtesy of Pang Tubhirun Demonstrators of a previous die-in event in Martinsburg are shown.

Imagine needing medicine for a life-threatening illness, only to find out that you cannot afford the medication because you no longer have insurance.

This is the exact situation the Shepherdstown arm of Women’s March West Virginia is trying to prevent in calling on Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., to not vote in favor of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

“Those with pre-existing conditions – which can be basically anyone – will lose their insurance,” said Women’s March Outreach Captain for Shepherdstown Susan Pipes. “I have a pre-existing condition and if I had a lifetime cap, then what would happen? Who would pay for it? Other West Virginians will pay for it and I believe we will then all go bankrupt.”

However, Pipes isn’t the only person in the state who would be at risk of losing coverage.

“About 200,000 West Virginians may lose their health care. This isn’t a partisan issue … health care matters to everyone,” Pipes said.

Courtesy photo

In order to make their collective voices heard, Pipes and Women’s March are organizing “die-in” events this weekend to bring exposure to what they consider to be a paramount issue.

“The event is called ‘Senator Capito: Save Our Healthcare!’ and will take place in both Shepherdstown and Charles Town this weekend,” Pipes said.

The Shepherdstown die-in will take place tonight from 7 to 8 p.m. at McMurran Hall, located at 131 W. German St. The Charles Town event will take place Saturday from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Charles Town Library, located at 200 E. Washington St.

“These are visceral and visual forms of protest. Different groups do it for different reasons, but for us it is a form of protest over the health care bill that is being presented. We want our representatives to know the impact a repeal of the (Affordable Care Act) would have on the people of the state,” Pipes said.

The overall goal of the events is to bring the community’s attention to the health care issues their fellow West Virginians face.

“(The die-ins are) to grab people’s attention and raise awareness as to why this is such an important issue and make them care more. Hopefully they will contact their representatives and tell them (AHCA) is not OK,” said Women’s March Outreach Captain for Shepherdstown Jessie East Ward. “We want them to see the faces of the people their decisions affect.”

While the Affordable Care Act has its flaws, Pipes said it is important for Congress to focus on fixing those issues, instead of creating new ones.

“We want the (ACA) to be fixed and made better, but when only 13 people – who don’t fully represent the diversity of America – are making decisions for the health care of all Americans, how can they represent those who need coverage,” Pipes asked. “I’m concerned about my fellow West Virginians, but I’m also concerned about all Americans. We should all be concerned.”

Prior to the die-in event tonight, Vigilance Jefferson County will be holding a postcard station at Maria’s Taqueria, located at 108 E. German St. from 3 to 5 p.m. People will gather prior to the die-in to write postcards to state representatives, asking them to vote “No” on the AHCA.

“The postcards are a way to let our representatives know that the citizens of Shepherdstown are not in favor of the AHCA,” Ward said. “We want them to see the faces and hear the pleas of those who would lose their health care coverage.”

According to Ward, health care concerns are at the heart of the Women’s March.

“The Women’s March works to bring people together to work toward a common goal, for the common good,” Ward said. “We don’t want to get caught up in the drama of partisan politics, but health care isn’t a partisan issue – it is a human issue.”

Women’s March is taking the initiative to spread awareness and help combat the possibility of a potential health care crisis, according to Ward. Their end goal is to make sure affordable health care is available to all West Virginians – and all Americans.

“The AHCA is not in the best interest of people; of all people in the United States,” Ward said. “Why is it such a bad thing to want people to be taken care of?”

For more information on the die-in events, visit http://bit.ly/2tLhGmf.