Columbia Rally Against Graham-Cassidy

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COLUMBIA - Como for Progress held a rally Monday outside the office of Sen. Claire McCaskill’s office to support her plan to vote “no” on the Cassidy-Graham Bill.

The measure is the Republicans latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The proposed bill would get rid of Medicaid expansion, premium tax credits, cost sharing reduction payments, individual and employer mandates and the Basic Health Program.

The Cassidy-Graham Bill would, in return, provide states with block grants to fund health insurance coverage. States would then have more power in deciding coverage requirements.  

President Donald Trump publicized his support last week in an effort to boost the chances of the bill being passed

The party needs 50 of 52 GOP senators to vote yes for the bill to be passed. Senators from Arizona, Alaska, and Kentucky have shown little support for the bill.

Senator McCaskill released a statement before Monday's rally saying she will vote against the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill:

"All this bill is, is a bait-and-switch, in which they're trying to buy off certain states with promises of more money now, but with no guarantee that healthcare dollars in our state won't ultimately go down. And that's to say nothing of the folks in Missouri who've been sick before and have a preexisting condition, and older Missourians, who'll get slammed by this bill. If this proposal is such a good idea, why do healthcare advocates across the country - along with several Republican governors - oppose it?"

Andrea Adams, a volunteer with Como for Progress thinks the rally is a great step towards the future.

“It gives me hope that our democracy will still work even though the Republicans pushed this through without regular order,” Adams said.

Adams said everyone should be concerned because the Senate is "not doing it properly."

“They are not debating and there are no hearings and that sets precedent for another party to turn around and do it again,” she said.

Pat Holt, who opposes Cassidy-Graham, said said the rally shows how important democracy is.

“This is how our country was built,” Holt said. “This is what makes America great.”

Holt is a veteran who has supported McCaskill since she first started in office.

“It’s important to me that people are taken care of,” Holt said. “One of the things that veterans fight for is so that the people back home can be free and have good live, and you can’t have a good life when you are worried about how you are going to pay your medical bills.”

Chris Vas, the chairman of Mizzou College Republicans, said McCaskill should side with most Missourians.

“It’s really sad that she is choosing to stand with most liberal and radical wings of the Democratic party,” Vas said.

Vas said McCaskill should not spend all her time only listening to her own supporters.

“They are entitled to their opinions, but I would say they aren’t in majority of Missourians. We have six of eight representatives who want to repeal and McCaskill is standing on her own. It would be best that she sticks with the mainstream Missourians.”

Even if the Republicans are unsuccessful this week, Vas believes that, at some point, a repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act will get done.

“The immediate next step is to get tax reform done, it took Obama quite a long time to get Obamacare through, he took it to the eleventh hour, and I have no doubt during Trump's term that they will get it done.”

Boone County Republican Chair Mike Zweifel put out a statement about McCaskill and the  rally.

 "It’s not surprising that Senator McCaskill plans to vote no on the Graham-Cassidy Bill. Senator McCaskill and her liberal allies supports the status quo of what is commonly called Obamacare, in which many Missourians are losing or have lost their health insurance, paying much more for their insurance if they can keep it, paying much higher deductibles when they do visit a doctor, and are not keeping the doctor they had before Obamacare became law. White Senator McCaskill is fortunate to be multi-millionaire for whom high health costs are not a problem, many Missourians, particularly those in rural areas, are choosing between either paying ever-increasing amount of Obamacare or meeting their families’ basic needs.”

Sen. Roy Blunt said in a post on Twitter last week that he is supporting Cassidy-Graham.

"Proud to support thebill that would provide better healthcare for Missourians. Graham-Cassidy bill repeals Obamacare mandates protects those with pre-existing conditions, makes quality care more affordable," Blunt said.

The Republicans will have until September 30th to pass the bill through the senate without Democratic support. 

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