A rally of about 20 people this afternoon in downtown Martin, Tennessee called for Republican Representative David Kustoff to vote against repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Attendees chanted "Medicaid for All" and "Universal Healthcare" to people driving by.
A group called ‘Progressive Dems of TN CD8’ and March for Action protested the GOP Health Care Bill outside of the congressman’s Martin office.
David Barber is one of the organizers. He said Kustoff has been ‘noncommittal’ on this issue and hopes the protests send a message about needs in the district.
“Congressional District 8 is a poor district so I hope that Representative Kustoff will respect the fact that the people in his district need healthcare and that this is going to hurt them," Barber said.
Barber said more than 23,000 people in District 8 received health care for the first time through the Affordable Care Act. He worried access to health care could become more difficult if the Republican bill passes.
A WKMS listener provided some audio from the rally:
Cassie Morris said "I'm getting healthcare that I wouldn't be able to get without the ACA."
"I think healthcare is a right, not a privilege. As if as a tax payer, I'm paying for Congress and other elected officials to have healthcare that's 'platinum' why should average citizens not have equal, quality, accessible healthcare for all?" Asked Joyce Washington.
"One of my frustrations is partisan politics. And yes, I'm a Democrat. But people are elected to care and govern for the people in their districts. And so to me that has to be the overwhelming, driving force is 'what do the people of the district need' and what the people of the district and of the state of Tennessee need is healthcare and jobs, but it doesn't' do you any good to have jobs if you don't have healthcare and you're sick, because you can't work if you're sick." Washington said. She suggested fixing some of the problems with the Affordable Care Act and not 'throw the baby out with the bathwater.'
Heidi Hughes worries her Medicare rates would go up as she ages.
Erin Garcia-Fernandez said, "Every member of my family has a preexisting condition and would be devastated to lose their healthcare because of that."
The rally coincided with others at Kustoff’s offices in Jackson and Memphis.
Kustoff field representative Heather Wagner said Monday afternoon they were aware of the rallies and had no further comment.
This story has been updated.