LITTLE ROCK — Nearly 50 people gathered Wednesday in downtown Little Rock to rally against the American Health Care Act and closed-door negotiations on the Senate’s version of the legislation aimed at repealing and replacing the federal Affordable Care Act.
“Don’t end it, mend it! Don’t take our health care away!” was among the slogans chanted at the noon rally organized by Health Care for America Now, Arkansas Community Organizations and other groups.
The event featured a symbolic application of lipstick to a papier-mache pig made by Marthella Johnson of Little Rock. Johnson’s 6-year-old daughter, Anneliese Myles, colored the pig’s lips with lipstick as the ralliers looked on.
“If you try to put lipstick on this broken-down health-care bill that they’re trying to ram through, it still is going to be a pig,” said Toney Orr of Little Rock.
Orr also said something is not right when a small group of senators, including Cotton, is working on major legislation behind closed doors.
Threasa L. Stuart of Pine Bluff said in an interview she was concerned that changes to the federal health-care law might result in her losing coverage.
“I had a fall in 2001 and messed up my C3, C4, part of my spine, and so I have to have this medication continuously,” she said.
The American Health Care Act, which the House approved in May, would cause 23 million Americans to lose health-care coverage by 2026 and give substantial tax cuts to the wealthy, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
After the rally, participants delivered to the Little Rock office of Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton stacks of cards signed by Arkansans stating opposition to ending Medicaid expansion, repealing health-care coverage provided under the Affordable Care Act, cutting Medicaid and privatizing Medicare. About 900 cards were delivered to Boozman’s office and over 1,000 to Cotton’s.
On Wednesday night, Planned Parenthood Great Plains was scheduled to hold a rally calling on the Senate not to block Medicaid patients from obtaining services from Planned Parenthood.
Other rallies on health care were held across the country Wednesday.