Trumpcare defeated after wave of grassroots opposition in Maine and across the country
When members of the New Mainers Public Health Initiative and the Maine People’s Alliance visited Second District Representative Bruce Poliquin’s office in Lewiston multiple times on Thursday, hours from when the Republican health care repeal plan was originally scheduled for a vote, they were surprised to find the lights off and the door locked. That didn’t stop them from delivering their message, however, and as TV cameras watched they slid hundreds of personal letters under the door urging Poliquin to reject the bill and protect important health care provisions including coverage through Medicaid.
“By cutting Medicaid, it will affect those who needs it the most in the community – elders and disabled youths and adults,” said Abdulkerim Said, executive director of NMPHI. “It is unfortunate that this great nation who was known to protect the most vulnerable members should do such a thing.”
Mainers from all over the state flooded Poliquin with calls, emails, tweets and office visits over the last few days, at such a volume that for long stretches of time callers could only reach full voicemail boxes or busy signals at all his office lines.
Maine’s other Representative, Chellie Pingree, an opponent of the bill, was more responsive to constituents and posted videos from the halls of the House updating Mainers of the progress of the repeal effort.
The prospect of a bill that would dramatically increase premiums for older, rural and poor Americans in order to cut taxes for the wealthy prompted similar outrage and outreach in congressional districts across the country, and on Friday a series of more-moderate Republicans abandoned the legislation, putting a nail in the coffin of a bill already rejected by a majority of the far-right House Freedom Caucus.
Poliquin, while initially supporting the bill, became noticeably quiet over the last few days. In the end, while he took a rules vote to advance the proposal, he managed to avoid taking a position on the final legislation before it was pulled from the House by Speaker Paul Ryan.
Grassroots leaders are glad that the health care repeal has failed, but they aren’t taking anything for granted. Maine activists plan to deliver thousands of personal messages to Senator Susan Collins at her Portland office on Monday, asking her to listen to her constituents and reject future attacks on the Affordable Care Act.
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