Goal of protestors: Stop proposed healthcare bill
Nearly two dozen individuals gathered at the wall outside McMurran Hall Friday evening to participate in a die-in to protest the proposed American Healthcare Act and to call on Sen. Shelley Moore Capito to vote no.
Organizer Jessie Ward, captain of the Women’s March Outreach for Shepherdstown, said that Capito’s vote was a key one on the issue.
“We believed she promised she would vote against anything that would harm West Virginia,” Ward said. “We are relying on her to vote against the AHCA.”
The die-in usually involves individuals lying on the ground holding gravestones representing deaths that will occur should the Act be passed. However, Shepherdstown police officers informed the group they could not lie on and block the sidewalks so the group sat on and against the wall on German Street holding signs proclaiming that the AHCA would cause deaths and calling for the Senator to help stop the act.
Susan Pipes, Women’s March outreach captain of Shepherdstown, also helped organize the evening’s event as well as one in Martinsburg and Charles Town. While she admittedly has not read the complete bill, she believes that it will be detrimental to West Virginians by cutting funding to Medicaid and cutting benefits for those with pre-existing conditions.
Also protesting was Tracy Riordan, of Vigilance Jefferson County, a group focused on “contacting representatives to resist the current executive agenda.” She explained that her group contacts representatives weekly with alerts, talking points and suggestions on issues they believe are important to West Virginia.
Prior to the 7 p.m. protest, Riordan said that members of the Vigilance group gathered at Maria’s Taqueria to hold a post card station allowing locals to send post cards to Capito requesting she vote against the AHCA.
Riordan also had not read the bill; however, she said that she has read some summaries.
“People we trust read and put out points we care about, such as maternity,” Riordan explained.
Chess Yellott protested Friday saying, “I’m afraid all my patients will have their healthcare taken away.” Yellott is a retired physician who said during his career he saw many patients go without care because of lack of Medicaid funding.
“Many, many went without care but all have care under Obamacare,” Yellott said. “We need universal healthcare like they have in all civilized countries,” he continued.
Yellott shared that he has written Senator Capito on multiple occasions about various cases but has never heard back from her. He, like many at the protest, had not read the bill but was there to call for Capito’s negative vote on the AHCA.
Pipes explained that the die-in was a form of protest that would hopefully grab people’s attention and lead them to contact representatives about this important issue. Pipes believes that while the Affordable Care Act has its flaws, Congress should focus on fixing those issues instead of creating new ones as will be done with American Healthcare Act.
A third die-in protest was scheduled at the Charles Town Library on Saturday evening.