1 Day. 1000 Protesters. 181 Arrest. 1 Final Victory!

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This just doesn't get old.

Once again, a grassroots-powered movement defeated a disastrous plan to kick millions off of health care. So, here we are again in what seems like umpteenth time this year to thank our amazing RAD community.

6U8A0678.jpgTo the incredible activists from around the country who descended on Washington, DC this week to shut down the Senate and help to kill the GOP's cynical attempts to take health care from millions of people, including tens of thousands of Vermonters: THANK YOU!

To our very own Rights & Democracy members and allies Mari Cordes, RN, Elizabeth Deutsch, RN, Marit Young, Jim Vires, TW Collins, Drew Peltier, and Aaron Sawyer for trekking to DC to help support direct actions led by National ADAPT, the Center for Popular Democracy, and Housing Works: THANK YOU!

A special thanks to Drew (pictured right), who was one of 181 people arrested this week. Drew is active in our Rights & Democracy Bennington Organizing Team (as is TW Collins who took these amazing photos, Jim, and Aaron, who also serves as the outreach director for the Vermont Democratic Party). In all, more than 400 people were arrested protesting the GOP's assault on health care rights, including several RAD members and staff—some of whom were arrested more than once! (Staffers Elise Greaves and Emma Schoenberg were in DC, too, because they had to appear in court to answer to previous arrest charges.)

To our annual donors and monthly supporters who, along with our national partners, help make our work possible: THANK YOU!

6U8A0494.jpgThe bill’s final demise took place at Monday’s hastily organized Senate committee hearing, which was disrupted by throngs of protesters whose numbers approached 1,000. At the very front of the line, having waited since dawn, were hundreds of disabled individuals from ADAPT and hundreds more from the birddogger network. Fewer than 20 people from the general public were allowed into the Senate hearing room. Even so, the hearing was interrupted from the outset by the small group that did manage to get in, “No cuts to Medicaid. Save our liberty!” This chant immediately triggered simultaneous protests by the masses locked outside the hearing room. Their chants of “Kill the bill, don’t kill us!” rocked the entire building, and it took more than three hours to arrest and remove all of them. Collectively, Monday’s protests resulted in 181 arrests.

With the bill’s failure, Republicans have lost their last best chance to repeal ACA, marking the end of an immediate threat to the health law, and dealing yet another blow to the Trump Administration’s agenda. Tuesday’s victory is the latest in a series of healthcare activist wins to protect ACA. The GOP has attempted to ram through various versions of TrumpCare since early spring, but has failed in the face of steep opposition from constituents in every state. With this win, the activists are now pushing hard for Congress to quickly pass a package of bipartisan fixes to the ACA, urging members of the Senate HELP Committee to introduce a bill in the coming week, as well as supporting renewed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health centers—vital programs which expire soon.


So, we know that they'll be back again. And, we'll be ready and waiting to greet and defeat the next bill whenever it comes back to life.

Until we embark to DC again, consider taking these simple actions here at home:

Sign up to be a RAD Health Care Justice Voter to help move forward a vision for universal health care in Vermont.
• Text "Health" to (802) 881-0020 to be part of our RAD Rapid Responders network for Health Care Justice.
• Come to Winning the Fight for Universal Health Care: A Talk with Tim Faust (in Burlington, Oct. 7, 4-6 PM). Click for details.


All photos by TW Collins

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