Memphians stage rally against Republican health care proposal

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphians gathered downtown to protest the Republican-backed health care plan, better known as the Graham-Cassidy bill.

The "Kill the Bill" rally took place at noon Monday at Civic Center Plaza.

"This is not a political issue. It is not an ideological issue. This is a matter of right and wrong," Sarah Turner, who opposes the bill, said.

Organizers cited the following reasons for the protest:

  • 32 million Americans would lose health care
  • The bill would take away federal protections for pre-existing conditions
  • The bill proposes 34 percent cuts to Medicaid via block grants
  • Premiums would go up
  • The plan would defund Planned Parenthood

Turner's children have preexisting conditions, and she fears if the Graham-Cassidy bill passes she will not be able to afford their healthcare.

"I cannot imagine the turmoil that this is going to put families in if I have coverage on Dec. 31, or whatever year this bill takes effect, and lose it in January," Turner said.

More than 500,000 Tennesseans could lose their health care if Graham-Cassidy becomes law, according to the Center for American Progress. The flip side, according to Senator Lamar Alexander, is Tennessee would get more than $6 billion for TennCare.

In a statement, Alexander said:

I've always supported block grant plans that would give states more flexibility, in education, health care and other areas. I am reviewing the Graham-Cassidy plan carefully to see how it would affect Tennessee.

"We have to do something because this bill is worse than all the others," Emily Fulmer of Indivisible Memphis said.

Those at the rally sent a message to senators like Alexander who will soon have to vote on this controversial bill. The vote is expected to happen next week.

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