Mainers praised for health care activism, and they aren’t slowing down

Mainers praised for health care activism, and they aren’t slowing down

The Republican health care repeal effort has sparked a firestorm of protest across the country, but it was activists in Maine who came immediately to mind for Ezra Levin, a co-founder of the Indivisible movement, when asked about opposition to the Senate bill on the Rachel Maddow show on Monday night.

“There are groups in Maine that spent last week going to every single congressional district office that Susan Collins had,” said Levin. “One of the groups drove four hours to the Caribou office, did a sit-in there, drove back the next four hours, and then what did they do when they went back? They went to their weekly Indivisible meeting, to do more.”

“And she announced that she is against the bill. This is working, because people are standing up,” said Levin.

Senator Susan Collins announced on Monday that she opposes the current Senate health care repeal bill, and spoke in strong terms about her disappointment with the deep cuts to Medicaid and cost increases for older and rural Mainers. Maine health care activists aren’t letting up, however. They plan to continue to advocate against the bill publicly and ask Collins to raise up her voice and lobby her colleagues against the repeal.

“Collins has not said that she opposes repealing the Affordable Care Act and has not said she will vote no on a floor vote,” said April Humphrey, co-leader of Mainers for Accountable Leadership, which held a vigil outside Collins’ Portland office on Tuesday. “While we’re optimistic and grateful that she’s taken this first step in committing to voting no on the motion to proceed, we know Mitch McConnell is negotiating with members to try to push this through. We need Senator Collins to say no to repealing the ACA.”

On Monday, 10,000 Maine seniors joined a telephone town hall hosted by AARP advocating against the bill and on Tuesday supporters of Planned Parenthood unveiled a large banner on the side of a Portland clinic asking Collins to oppose health care cuts.

“The CBO score confirms what Mainers already knew: this is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. It makes it harder to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family,” said Nicole Clegg, Vice President of Public Policy for the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund. “One in five Mainers, and nearly one in three Maine women, has relied on Planned Parenthood. Their health care shouldn’t be subject to a political agenda.”

Angus King, Maine’s junior U.S. Senator, and first-district Representative Chellie Pingree have continued to speak out against the legislation. Second-district Representative Bruce Poliquin voted in favor of the House version of the bill.

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