Capitol Police arrested 80 people protesting the Republican health care bill in Washington, DC, reports CNN. Over 100 protesters from across the United States gathered outside GOP lawmakers’ offices on July 10 to try to stop the Republican bill—dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)—that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare)
Many of the protesters were health care providers and people living with chronic health conditions, including HIV. According to Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki, the activists crowded around 13 different locations in House and Senate office buildings.
Those who arrested were charged with “crowding, obstructing or incommoding,” a misdemeanor, Malecki told CNN.
According to a press release from the protesters, the action was led by the Center for Popular Democracy and its affiliates, including Arizona-based LUCHA and Rights & Democracy Vermont. People’s Action also participated, as did New York–based HIV/AIDS groups Housing Works and GMHC.
Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Jeff Flake, Rob Portman and Lamar Alexander had protesters either inside or in the vicinity of their offices, holding signs and chanting.
Folks who staged a sit-in outside the office of Ohio Senator Rob Portman described their medical conditions and how benefits from the ACA helped them access lifesaving treatments.
Sasha, a 32-year-old woman from Ohio told ABC news about her battle with breast cancer, which included six rounds of chemotherapy, 28 radiation treatments and a bilateral mastectomy. “My care was paid for by an insurance company. Without the protections of ACA, I would not have access to that care because I have a preexisting condition,” she said.
Peter from Cleveland described a $90,000 bill he received from emergency surgery and said, “Senator Portman, do the right thing. Kill the bill. Don’t kill me.”
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Senate GOP bill would leave 22 million Americans without health insurance coverage and cut Medicaid’s projected budget over the next 10 years by a combined $772 billion.
For more about the bill, read “Senate GOP Health Care Bill Is ‘Disastrous’ for People With HIV and Hepatitis.”