As Needed Votes for Healthcare Plan Fall Short, Citizens Protest Bill in Springfield

Jul 18, 2017

Amid uncertainty in Washington regarding the future of a Senate healthcare bill, over 50 people gathered in Springfield Tuesday to advocate against the measure.

Standing in front of Republican Sen. Roy Blunt’s office, demonstrators voiced opposition to a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as some passing motorists honked their horns in support.

“The health of Missourians is on the line,” Amos said. “We’re out here to help encourage people to call and act on this and other health care bills that are attacking Missourians, trying to take away their access to affordable quality health care.”

Lexi Amos, a member of the advocacy groups Missouri Jobs with Justice, joined with citizens and those of several other local groups. Susan Schmalzbauer with Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri believes the ACA has offered a good first step.

“We want to see that the ACA is repaired, and not repealed. We want it fixed fair.”

The U.S. Senate was set to vote this week on a revised version to the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Among the changes, enabling health savings accounts to pay for insurance premiums and more funds toward combatting the opioid epidemic. It still would repeal the individual and employer mandates, cut Medicaid spending, and allow states to opt out of key parts of the ACA.

The previous version of the bill would have, according to the Congressional Budget Office, increase the uninsured population by 22 million over the next decade. A new budget score for the revised measure has not yet been released.

50 votes were needed among the 52 GOP senators to advance the legislation. It became clear Monday night the votes weren’t there, when the number of Republicans publically opposed to the bill raised to four. Then a backup plan to repeal the ACA failed just hours later

The latest news on the bill Tuesday came just as citizens were lining up in front of Sen. Blunt’s Springfield office. Sherri Adams with Springfield Indivisible is concerned how the bill would impact her cousin Andy, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer two years ago.

Sherri Adams of Springfield holds a piece of paper that explains how her cousin, Andy Edgerton, would lose his cancer treatmeant if ACA was to be repealed. Her and roughly 60 others protested outside Sen. Roy Blunt office Tuesday.
Credit Ryan Welch / KSMU

“He’s been notified that he will be dropped by a major insurance company in January, and he’s wondering every day not just whether he’s going to make it another day, but where his insurance is going to come from.”

Members of another group, Stand and Resist Howell County, drove 100 miles to attend the protest. Lois Reborn came even though her daughter was admitted to the ICU this morning to speak up against the proposed law.

“It’s just nuts. There will be people losing their jobs, there will be people losing their lives, we have to be here and stand up.”

Blunt’s Office had not responded to request for comment as of Tuesday afternoon. The Republican has been a longtime opponent of Obamacare. Earlier this month, he said the Senate bill "is not perfect," but Obamacare has to be eliminated.

"Obamacare has left Missouri families with higher costs, fewer options, and less access to quality health care," he said. "The Senate draft health care legislation is not perfect, but it takes some important steps to help families and small businesses that are struggling under Obamacare."