Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Local "Bergman/Trumpcare Die-In" event to expose dangers of "American Health Care Act" May 13

"Die-In" participants display signs to warn of the potential deadly consequences of the "American Health Care Act" passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives. (Photo via @Indivisible_SAZ and courtesy Marika Seigel)

HOUGHTON -- Veteran's Park in Houghton will be the scene of a "Bergman/Trumpcare Die-In" at noon on Saturday, May 13. The Houghton County Democratic Party, in partnership with Indivisible and Houghton/Keweenaw Forward Action Michigan, will host this event in order to expose the "American Health Care Act" (AHCA, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week) for the harm it will do, to hold Congressman Bergman accountable to his constituents for the lives that will be lost, and to put the Senate on notice that the only way forward for the American people is Medicare-for-All.

According to the progressive group Indivisible, "A die-in is a form of nonviolent direct action protest where participants publicly pretend to die to highlight a deadly problem."*

Here is the problem:

Under the AHCA, as passed by the House, more than 24 million Americans would lose their health insurance over the next 10 years. This includes over 40,000 residents of Congressman Jack Bergman’s 1st District of Michigan. It is estimated that upwards of 44,000 Americans could die every year from lack of health insurance. Guaranteed protection for persons with pre-existing conditions would end, resulting in no coverage or premiums that are unaffordable by many Americans. Older Americans would pay far more for health insurance and health care. The tax on high income taxpayers that extended the solvency of Medicare would be repealed, throwing the future of Medicare into doubt. Medicaid would no longer be a program for anyone who qualifies but, rather, a block grant to states who would have to ration care and cut the quality of services.

The only people who come out ahead under the AHCA are the wealthy and corporations. They would get over $600 billion in tax breaks while the rest of us pay more for health care or are denied access to affordable health care. Bottom line is that the AHCA is nothing more than a tax break for the wealthy. This is the bill that Congressman Bergman -- who is supposed to represent the constituents of the 1st District -- voted for. He must now own it and all the adverse consequences that follow.

This bill now goes to the Senate but, unless the Senate adopts Medicare-for-All, there isn’t much that the Senate can do to take the harm to Americans out of the AHCA. This is an immoral piece of legislation that must be defeated.

How to participate in the Die-In:

Gather at Veteran's Park at noon on Saturday, May 13. Bring a sign shaped like a tombstone. The sign could name a pre-existing condition that would no longer be covered, comment on the AHCA, or call out Bergman/the GOP directly. A sign-making event will be held in the Michigan Room of the Portage Lake District Library from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 11. You can drop in at any time during these two hours to make a sign. Supplies will be on hand. (If you don't have time to make a sign but would still like to participate in the die-in, please come anyway!)

Program:

The MC will make opening remarks about the AHCA, and then signal that it is time to die (lie down) with the phrase "Here are the consequences." At that point, participants lie down and hold up tombstones. (If you are not able to lie down, you could bring a folding chair to sit in or remain standing).

Several people will share brief (1-2 minute) stories about how the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) helped them, or about how the AHCA would negatively effect them or people they love. If you would be willing to share a story, please email Marika Seigel at marika.seigel@gmail.com. Those who are sharing stories should remain standing and lined up next to the MC.

The MC will make closing remarks and then signal that it is time to stand with the phrase "We will rise."

* Click here to learn about Indivisible.

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