Demonstrators gather in front of Representative Steve Knight's Santa Clarita offices on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017 to voice their concerns over the Graham-Cassidy bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

New Republican proposal shifts protesters’ focus back to health care

Opposition to the new Graham-Cassidy Republican health care proposal brought over 50 Los Angeles County residents to Congressman Steve Knight’s (R-Palmdale) Santa Clarita office for a protest on Tuesday.

The proposal, spearheaded by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), would give states block grants to do with as they choose instead of the Federal government funding Medicaid and subsidies directly.

“The Graham-Cassidy Trumpcare bill takes money away from states that were succeeding under the Affordable Care Act,” Democratic Alliance for Action cofounder and Saugus resident Diana Shaw said. “It will suck the economy out of California. It is crazy for anyone in this state to support it.”

Mike Stutz of Los Angeles chants along with other demonstrators gather in front of Representative Steve Knight’s Santa Clarita offices on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017 to voice their concerns over the Graham-Cassidy bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Santa Clarita resident Peggy Stabile said she and her neighbors have all benefited from Medicare provided under the Affordable Care Act.

“It is wonderful,” Stabile said. “We depend on it and we could not live without it.”

Graham-Cassidy will deprive her and those she knows of the care they depend on, Stabile said.

Insurance executive and Santa Clarita local Harry Reed said the Affordable Care Act is not failing, it is being killed.

The Graham-Cassidy proposal would not work because insurance runs on volume, he said.

“The GOP is so anxious to do this because it will provide a tax cut for the rich,” Reed said. “It really is that cut and dry.”

Demonstrators gather in front of Representative Steve Knight’s Santa Clarita offices on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017 to voice their concerns over the Graham-Cassidy bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Palmdale resident and Democrat Brandon Zavala said he voted for Knight in 2012 and 2014 because he thought the congressman would represent his city well.

A graduate of Knight High School, named after the representative’s father Pete Knight, Zavala said many Antelope Valley residents support the Knight family because of their history in the district.

“We are taught that the Knights are a part of our legacy,” Zavala said.

Zavala now opposes Knight because of his health care stance.

After losing his mother at age 12 because of a lack of available health care, he has made advocating for health care his priority.

“I don’t want this to happen to someone else’s mom,” he said.

Matthew Wheeler, a resident of Lancaster, said the Affordable Care Act saved his life when he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure eight years ago.

He had spent tens of thousands of dollars on hospital bills prior to getting protections under the ACA. When the bill went into effect, he finally got the medication and doctors he needed.

“It is literally life or death for me,” Wheeler said.

Max Kleinman, left, and Mike Stutz, right, of Los Angeles chant along with other demonstrators gather in front of Representative Steve Knight’s Santa Clarita offices on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017 to voice their concerns over the Graham-Cassidy bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Knight has not given his viewpoint on Graham-Cassidy, but said he will keep an eye on the Senate’s actions.

“I will continue to closely monitor the Senate’s actions and proposals,” he said in a statement to The Signal Monday. “If the Senate passes something, then the House will do its part in reviewing the legislation.”

Advertisement

Latest Stories