At the Senate's first hearing on the Graham-Cassidy legislation, Republicans' latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, disability advocates were dragged out of the room by Capitol Police for protesting the bill's proposed cuts to Medicaid. Chairman and Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Ut., declared a recess and ordered the protesters forcibly removed. "If you want a hearing, you'd better shut up," the senator told protesters, as they were detained by police on Monday.
Many of the protestors who were hauled out of the room were in wheelchairs.
BREAKING: Senator Hatch orders Graham-Cassidy health care hearing to recess as protesters in wheelchairs are removed by authorities pic.twitter.com/St8sBGbzEn
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 25, 2017
The Graham-Cassidy proposal needs a 51-vote majority to pass. With John McCain, R-Ariz., still undecided, the fate of the bill hangs in limbo. Republicans in Washington, including at the White House, are scrambling to get at least 50 Senate Republicans to vote for the bill before September 30. Vice President Mike Pence would provide the tie-breaking vote, if necessary.
If passed, the bill would make cuts to Medicaid, disadvantage people with pre-existing conditions and potentially leave as many as 32 million more Americans without health care by 2027, according to a report by NPR. Such proposed changes are what sparked Monday's protests, which began as soon as the hearing did.
The protestors were quickly escorted out, but they could still be heard chanting outside the room when the hearing restarted, according to USA Today.
"If the hearing is to devolve into a sideshow . . . there is absolutely no reason for us to be here,” Hatch reportedly said, in reference to the protestors.
Bill Cassidy is literally yawning as protestors are carried away. pic.twitter.com/TqINKjrLx6
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) September 25, 2017
Some of the protestors were literally removed from their wheelchairs and carried out.
Police remove protester as demonstrators shout "No Cuts to Medicaid, save our liberty" at hearing on health care bill. (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/Z769C7BmUe
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 25, 2017
Arrests were made outside the hearing.
— Rachel Bluth (@RachelHBluth) September 25, 2017