Video produced by Cristina Rayas, Center for Community Change Action
By Dorian Warren
Who wants to place a bet? How many Republican senators are going to be brave enough to hold town hall meetings during the July 4th recess?
I’m betting next to none. I haven’t checked the Vegas spread, but I think I’ve got good odds.
As we mark the holiday that celebrates America and our country’s values, GOP senators’ refusal to face their constituents makes us wonder whether they really hail from the home of the brave.
I hope I’m wrong. Our elected officials need to continue to hear from their constituents about the impact their party’s mean-spirited health care proposal will have on people’s lives.
Men and women across the country have called, tweeted, and shown up to explain how the GOP health care bill could cost them their livelihoods, their life savings and possibly their lives. The public outcry about the harmful effects this plan would have on everyday Americans forced Senate leadership to abandon their plan to force the bill through before July 4th. But the fight is far from over.
Lawmakers are returning home hoping that the fervor over their cruel health care proposal will dissipate and the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that 22 million people would lose their health care under the law will fade from voters’ memories. They are woefully misguided.
After the recess, Republicans in the Senate will pick up where they left off, and continue working to advance this unpopular bill. That’s why this Independence Day, it’s more important than ever for Americans across the country to do their civic duty: show up at their lawmakers’ offices and confront them with the consequences of passing a bill that would strip coverage from millions, raise costs for millions more and make it harder – even impossible – for the sick, the disabled and the elderly to afford the health care they need.
The consequences for the Tuttle family in Cordova, TN are dire. When Marise and John Tuttle’s toddler, Gabe, was diagnosed with severe autism ten years ago, the medication he required to stay safe and healthy was already more than their family could afford – never mind the therapy and psychologist appointments Gabe needed to truly thrive. But Medicaid coverage ensured Gabe could get the care he need, without thrusting the Tuttles into financial ruin. The Senate’s proposed cuts to Medicaid of more than $770 billion would put the physical and financial well-being of the Tuttles – and millions of families like them – in jeopardy.
Cutting critical health care coverage for those who need it most to finance a massive tax cut for the rich isn’t just unfair – it’s un-American. Our friends at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities did the math: three-quarters of a million people would be thrown off the Medicaid rolls to give the 400 highest earners in the country a $33 billion tax cut.
That imbalanced equation is why Republican lawmakers coming home from Washington are likely going to avoid protesters, media and public forums: because they know this bill – and what it means for American families – is indefensible.
That means we must get even louder and more impossible to ignore. We need to raise the voices and share the stories of those families who have everything to lose if this bill moves forward. When lawmakers return to Capitol Hill, they won’t be able to deny the human toll this bill will have on families.
So place your bets. Are the Republicans going to listen to the heart-wrenching stories of people whose lives will be destroyed by this so-called health care bill? Or are they going to sell out their voters to give a tax break to their billionaire buddies?
If we keep up the resistance and opposition, I like our odds.
Dorian T. Warren is President of the Center for Community Change Action (CCCA) and Vice-President of the Center for Community Change (CCC). He is also a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and a contributor to MSNBC.