Hundreds of activists plan to converge on congressional Republicans’ wintry weather retreat in West Virginia to protest attainable cuts to the social security internet, together with a contemporary Trump management coverage permitting states to enact Medicaid paintings necessities.
The protest march, which is able to culminate at The Greenbrier, a lodge in White Sulphur Springs, is because of come with a large contingent of folks from West Virginia who rely on means-tested help systems like Medicaid, meals stamps and money welfare. Buses also are slated to carry protesters to the development from 9 different states, together with Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Arkansas.
“We’re stronger together. And right now, more than ever, we need our elected officials to be looking at how we expand the safety net, how we provide more opportunities and more stability to communities across the country, not less,” mentioned Jennifer Epps-Addison, a co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy Action, a modern umbrella team organizing the development with the assistance of native companions.
Since the vast majority of West Virginians are white, the deliberate demonstration at The Greenbrier supplies a possibility to dispel the racist misnomer that the security internet is in some way designed to learn folks of colour, in keeping with Epps-Addison. The motion can be directed at mobilizing West Virginians, two-thirds of whom voted for President Donald Trump, Epps-Addison famous, and who might not be acutely aware of the danger his insurance policies may pose to their residing requirements.
Trump and congressional Republicans play up alleged over-dependence at the security internet “as a dog whistle to get people like the folks in West Virginia to support an agenda that is going to harm them more than anyone else,” she mentioned. “We’re not gonna let them try to brainwash or confuse the white working class without standing up and having a say and helping people understand how these policies impact them.”
CPD Action, which performed a key function in mass acts of civil disobedience towards the Republican tax invoice, is worried that GOP leaders are gearing as much as pay for the $1.Four trillion their tax cuts will upload to the debt with large cuts to social systems.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) mentioned in December that reforming “health care entitlements” ― Medicaid and Medicare ― are a best precedence. Later that month, in an obvious connection with safety-net systems like meals stamps, Ryan declared, “Welfare reform is our subsequent giant carry.”
We don’t wish to upload to that feeling of misery if you end up looking to make ends meet.
Sammi Brown, West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition
A extra instant concern for modern teams is the Trump management’s coverage of permitting states to experiment with paintings necessities for his or her Medicaid systems.
Liberal coverage mavens see the constraints as a punitive coverage this is more likely to motive prone folks unnecessary struggling by means of depriving them of very important well being care.
The overwhelming majority of non-elderly, grownup Medicaid beneficiaries already paintings or are participants of families that paintings, in keeping with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Those who don’t paintings are ceaselessly unwell or disabled, taking good care of a beloved one, or document being not able to discover a process, KFF discovered.
In addition, there may be abundant proof that making sure more uncomplicated get right of entry to to well being care makes folks extra, no longer much less, more likely to search paintings alternatives.
West Virginia activists like Sammi Brown, federal marketing campaign director for the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, are already preventing a state-level proposal so as to add paintings necessities to Medicaid.
“We know that if you did not have to [seek help], you wouldn’t,” Brown mentioned. “We don’t want to add to that feeling of distress when you are trying to make ends meet.”
If Congress have been to impose further price range cuts and restrictions on federal investment for social systems, it might hit West Virginia in particular onerous. The state has the fourth-highest proportion of folks on meals stamps, and the seventh-highest charge of Medicaid enrollment, with about 30 p.c of citizens receiving protection from this system.
Courtney Powell, a 29-year-old unmarried mom of 3 residing in Wheeling, is dependent upon Medicaid to finance clinical protection for her Four-year-old son who has an extraordinary type of hemophilia.
Powell has foregone paintings to take care of her son, who wishes round the clock consideration and is ceaselessly hospitalized. Federal incapacity advantages for his situation permit Powell to make ends meet.
“If he didn’t have this diagnosis and they could take it away, there’d be nothing I wouldn’t do for him,” Powell mentioned, imagining the chance to place in an 80-hour week. “But right now, the ‘nothing I wouldn’t do’ is being there for him and doing his meds daily and being his advocate for all of his medical problems.”
Now, Powell is anxious that as an grownup who’s technically able-bodied, she might be centered by means of Medicaid cuts. She hopes to make it to the protest day after today
“The most important thing is that … they get real stories and they know who is truly, truly being hurt,” she mentioned, choking again tears. “It is not just about the numbers.”
CORRECTION: A prior model of this tale misstated Courtney Powell’s first title as Amy.