At a rally Monday, around 20 demonstrators gathered outside U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s office in Johnstown to speak out against the latest proposed health care legislation.
“It is bad public policy,” said Lyle Cope, a Richland Township resident.
Cope said the proposal would cut Medicaid funding and allow states to waive regulations protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
Demonstrators said medical providers in rural Pennsylvania would lose patients and eventually jobs.
“It will throw millions of people off of insurance. It will cut billions of dollars off of Medicaid. It will bankrupt rural hospitals. It will bankrupt countless nursing homes,” said Cope.
Cope worked with people living with developmental disabilities, many of whom received healthcare through Medicaid.
“Sixty percent of all nursing home beds are filled by Medicaid patients. When they lose Medicaid funding, many of those people are going to lose services,” Cope said.
Protesters said they support a bipartisan approach to fixing the country’s healthcare system.
“We all knew it wasn’t perfect, but you promised us you would make it better. And they have not offered anything that even comes close to that promise,” said Becky Hess, a SEIU Healthcare union representative.
Protesters also encouraged others concerned about the bill to speak up.
“I would say anybody who is at all upset, angered, concerned with the way things are going right now, get active. Get involved,” said Cope.
Protesters plan to deliver the petition with 20 signatures to Sen. Toomey’s office on Tuesday, Sept. 26. They are urging the Republican senator to oppose the bill.
Another health care rally will be held on Thursday 9/28 at 4:30 p.m. outside Rep. Keith Rothfus’ office in Johnstown.