NEW BRITAIN - Dozens of people gathered in front of the Access Health CT office downtown Monday evening to protest the U.S. Senate Republicans’ Better Care Reconciliation Act health care bill.
“Health care yes, Trump care no,” protesters chanted as they walked from Central Park to the storefront office.
State Rep. Peter Tercyak, D-New Britain, said Connecticut has been a model of health care service under ex-President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and he doesn’t think parts of the ACA should be eliminated.
“Health care is a right. … We should have health care for everybody and make it better,” Tercyak said.
State Sen. Terry Gerratana, D-New Britain, shared similar sentiments. She said that the GOP’s Senate bill does not have the support of the citizens of the country.
“If you look at the facts, if you look at the statistics, almost 60 percent of Americans are against any change to health care, and that number is growing,” Gerratana said.
The state Office of Policy and Management released an analysis of the bill’s impact on the state at the end of June. The OPM said that because of the plan’s rollback of Medicaid, as many as 230,000 Connecticut residents could lose coverage. Further, changes to eligibility for premium subsidies could impact nearly 6,500 current Access Health CT enrollees who will no longer qualify for what they now receive.
The Medicaid expansion rollback in the bill will have a financial effect on the state, too. By the time that the proposed bill is fully implemented in the state, in 2026, it will cost Connecticut almost $3 billion per year, the OPM predicted.
The bill would also cut funding for Planned Parenthood in the state by $6.8 million.
Mayoral candidate Merrill Gay implored those who stand against this bill to contact their senators and express their feelings.
“This is all about giving the super-rich an enormous tax break,” Gay said. “We are literally talking about taking from the poor and the sick to give to the super-rich. Is that something you can stand for?”
The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the bill in May, and Republican leaders in the Senate have been working to get Republicans who aren’t yet backing the bill in line.
Uncertainty surrounds the bill’s chances in the Senate, though. Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., and other Republicans, have said they oppose the bill in its current form. Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate and need 51 votes - or 50 and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence - for the measure to pass.
In a report released in June, the Congressional Budget Office said the bill would cause an estimated 22 million more Americans to be uninsured by 2026. That is 1 million less than those projected to be uninsured ny the House’s version of the bill, according to the CBO.
Material from The Associated Press was included in this report.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.