For Chris Reed, protesting in front of Senator Capito’s office the other day was something he had to do. The Morgantown native said he wanted to make sure his voice was heard.
Reed and five other West Virginians were arrested Monday after protesting in the Russell Senate Office Building, urging Capito to vote no against the proposed healthcare bill.
Senate Republicans unveiled their updated version of the bill Thursday, which would keep cuts to Medicaid but raise funding for the opioid crisis.
Reed said he’s afraid of what would happen to his family if this bill passes since they all are insured under Medicaid. He’s worried his family, who all have pre-existing conditions, will be negatively affected by the cuts.
“My mother will be affected to the point where there’s a good possibility that my mom will die,” he said. “My sister, if she manages to survive, the way she lives will be forever changed.”
One day after the protests on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Senate would push back their August recess by two weeks in hopes of passing the healthcare bill. Senator Manchin said no one should be angry about this announcement and that the Senate must get their work done first before leaving.
But for Manchin, in order to get his vote on the legislation, he said changes must be made first.
“My yes is going to be based on repairing what we have in front of us – The Affordable Care Act. I’m not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said. “I’m not going to give a $600 billion tax cut to the wealthiest Americans and then take the services of $800 billion to the most needy and poorest Americans. I’m just not going to do it.”
And with more than 30 percent of West Virginians on Medicaid, Reed said he wants politicians to look at those figures as something else – American citizens.
“Realistically every one of those people have people that they love, and people that they care who care about them and love them,” Reed said. “These aren’t just numbers, these are real people.”
A Congressional Budget Office report will be released next week, which will project what the updated bill’s effect on the budget will be. After that, McConnell said there will be a vote on a Motion to Proceed.