Politics & Government

Opponents of GOP’s health-care plans will rally the opposition

‘Jones,’ an assistance dog, watches the goings on, as her owner, Cindy Singletary, right, and her mother Bobbie Singletary, both of Biloxi, join others calling for support of Medicaid, during a peaceful protest in Jackson on Thursday. Medicaid recipients, social service activists and representatives and Medicaid supporters staged protests outside the offices of both of Mississippi's Republican senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker. Cindy receives Medicaid care because of complications of dwarfism.
‘Jones,’ an assistance dog, watches the goings on, as her owner, Cindy Singletary, right, and her mother Bobbie Singletary, both of Biloxi, join others calling for support of Medicaid, during a peaceful protest in Jackson on Thursday. Medicaid recipients, social service activists and representatives and Medicaid supporters staged protests outside the offices of both of Mississippi's Republican senators, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker. Cindy receives Medicaid care because of complications of dwarfism. AP File

South Mississippi Indivisible will have a “Healthcare Rally and Die-In” on Saturday in Long Beach to protest the health-care plans proposed by House and Senate Republicans.

The protest will be at 10 a.m. at the entrance to University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park campuson U.S. 90

“Bring your signs and be ready to show our senators and neighbors that we want to #ProtectOurCare,” reads the Facebook invitation, which has six people going and 21 interested. “We will fight to preserve Medicaid and accessible/affordable health care for all Mississippians.”

Indivisible has been pressing Rep. Steven Palazzo and Sens. Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran to hold town halls to explain their health care positions. Palazzo voted for “TrumpCare” or the American Health Care Act, which he said repealed the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and replaced it “with a conservative health care bill that is good for families, businesses, and individuals.”

Indivisible and other groups disagree. They say it will knock many people off Medicaid, the health-care program for low income people and families, and off regular insurance.

Cochran’s office said late last month the state’s senior senator hadn’t made up his mind on the Senate bill that was pulled from consideration until after the holiday recess. A spokesman said that calls to his office opposed the bill by 224-2. At about the same time, Wicker said he was optimistic that the Senate would reach a consensus on a health-care bill to replace Obamacare and would offer senators ample time to offer amendments to the Senate bill.

Thursday, the Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities rallied at the senators’ Jackson offices to ask them not to vote for a bill that could cut Medicaid, which provides coverage to about 700,000 Mississippians, about a quarter of them disabled or blind.

Mississippi Against the Better Care Reconciliation Act will protest against health care cuts at 9 a.m. Saturday at the state capitol. Twenty-seven people said they are going and another 161 are interested as of about 3 p.m. Tuesday.

One of those hosts for that rally is Nicky Nichols, an activist fighting to keep Medicaid coverage for children with Type 1 diabetes.

Paul Hampton: 228-284-7296, @JPaulHampton

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