Hundreds of activists plan to converge on congressional Republicans’ iciness retreat in West Virginia to protest doable cuts to the social security web, together with a contemporary Trump management coverage permitting states to enact Medicaid paintings necessities.
The protest march, which can 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 methods like Medicaid, meals stamps and money welfare. Buses also are slated to deliver 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 innovative umbrella workforce 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 chance to dispel the racist misnomer that the security web is someway designed to profit folks of colour, in line with Epps-Addison. The motion can also be directed at mobilizing West Virginians, two-thirds of whom voted for President Donald Trump, Epps-Addison famous, and who is probably not 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 web “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 position in mass acts of civil disobedience in opposition to the Republican tax invoice, is anxious 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 methods.
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 methods like meals stamps, Ryan declared, “Welfare reform is our subsequent large carry.”
We don’t need to upload to that feeling of misery if you find yourself looking to make ends meet.
Sammi Brown, West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition
A extra speedy fear for innovative teams is the Trump management’s coverage of permitting states to experiment with paintings necessities for his or her Medicaid methods.
Liberal coverage mavens see the constraints as a punitive coverage this is prone to motive susceptible folks useless struggling via depriving them of very important well being care.
The overwhelming majority of non-elderly, grownup Medicaid beneficiaries already paintings or are contributors of families that paintings, in line with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Those who don’t paintings are incessantly sick or disabled, taking care of a beloved one, or document being not able to discover a process, KFF discovered.
In addition, there may be plentiful proof that making sure more straightforward get entry to to well being care makes folks extra, no longer much less, prone 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 methods, it will hit West Virginia specifically arduous. The state has the fourth-highest share of folks on meals stamps, and the seventh-highest price 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, depends upon Medicaid to finance scientific protection for her Four-year-old son who has a unprecedented type of hemophilia.
Powell has foregone paintings to take care of her son, who wishes round the clock consideration and is incessantly 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 position 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 may well be centered via Medicaid cuts. She hopes to make it to the protest the next day to come
“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.”