Dispatches from the fight against homelessness and AIDS
Posted by Elizabeth Koke , March 10, 2017
GUEST POST BY JARON BENJAMIN, Housing Works VP for Community Mobilization
Housing Works and Health GAP joined dozens of activists from NJ 11 for Change outside of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen’s Morristown office to demand their representative change his opposition to the Affordable Care Act and to hold a public town hall to discuss other issues important to his constituents.
NJ 11 for Change has demonstrated outside of their congressman’s office every Friday this year, and the snow and cold temperatures didn’t stop them from hosting the weekly protest to make their demands. Most of the activists made their way into the office to voice their concerns about changes to healthcare.
Among the activists was Thomas Howe, a retired physician whose main concern is the loss of health care coverage for individuals and insurers leaving the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. He’s also concerned that Medicaid could be changed from an entitlement to a block grant, which would kick many recipients off of the program. “It’s unconscionable to see Medicaid turn into a block grant. People will be deprived of care or they won’t get good care,” Howe said. Dr. Howe was also concerned about affordability laid out in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan, especially for seniors. “People 55 and older will be shocked by the reduction in benefits covered and the amazing increase in the price of these reduced benefits. The proposed tax credits will not come close to making up the gap caused by the loss of ACA subsidy and jump in premium.”
This was Margaret Babcock‘s third time out with the group. She’s a retired high school math teacher, and joined the group because of the link between income inequality and political power. “I’m here today because we all need medical care we can all afford,” said Babcock. She cited that many disenfranchised groups – black people concerned with police violence, women seeking equal pay, and even poor white voters who voted for Trump because of their dissatisfaction with Washington – are suffering because they don’t have the same political power as the wealthy. And the lack of wealth also plays into health coverage.
According to Health GAP’s Emily Sanderson, Congressman Frelinghuysen’s office still haven’t given into demands of hosting a public town hall or changed their position on the ACA.
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