People are removed as they protest proposed cuts to Medicaid (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

Republicans yawn as protesters in wheelchairs dragged out of healthcare hearing

Protesters forced the only Obamacare repeal hearing to recess on Monday


Leigh C. Anderson
September 25, 2017 8:13PM (UTC)

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.

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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.

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Some of the protestors were literally removed from their wheelchairs and carried out.

Arrests were made outside the hearing.


Leigh C. Anderson

Leigh C. Anderson is an editorial intern at Salon.

MORE FROM Leigh C. Anderson

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Gop Health Care Bill Graham-cassidy Bill Healthcare Medicaid Obamacare Repeal Protestors

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