A group of people gathered outside of Democratic Sen. Bob Casey’s office on Wednesday to offer support for his opposition to the Senate health care bill and to protest Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s support of the legislation.
About 10 people showed up for the 24-hour event, which ends at noon Thursday. Throughout the rally, the group will be holding various sessions, including calling and writing letters to Toomey to voice their displeasure with what they believe is his lack of representation for his constituency.
“We want to make sure that Sen. Casey is getting credit for fighting for us,” organizer Jared DeLoof said. “But as long as the bill transfers money to his Wall Street buddies, Sen. Toomey doesn’t care how many people lose insurance in the end.”
The group is protesting following the results of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimate that 22 million more people will lose health care by 2026, but DeLoof said his focus is on the Medicaid cuts that would affect him.
“I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a year ago and at the time I didn’t have any health insurance, and because of the Medicaid expansion I was able to have my hospital stay and insulin covered,” DeLoof said. “If they cut Medicaid this way, I’m looking at a situation where if I transfer jobs, there goes my access to the drug I need.”
Last week on CBS News, Toomey argued that Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act would be preserved, but according to the CBO, Medicaid would lose about $800 million of funding over the next 10 years.
“I think Sen. Toomey does not care about working-class people,” DeLoof said. “I think he’s shown that many times in many votes.”
State College resident Laura Shadle is a member of the group, which she said has protested the Republican approach to health care several times. Shadle said her biggest concern with the legislation is the reduction in care for people with opioid addiction and mental health problems.
“I’ve seen, personally, that you can’t will yourself to not use or to recover from depression. You need professional help,” Shadle said. “We really need to think about that in rural Pa., where we’ve got a crisis on our hands.”
The Senate on Tuesday postponed a vote on the bill until after the July 4 recess, but the group intends on holding more events until the legislation in its current form is defeated or a new bill that maintains the core of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is drafted.
“We will continue to fight until we know that health care is saved,” Shadle said. “We’re not going to give up.”