Fighting Trumpcare: Activists Occupy Ohio Senator Portman’s Cincinnati & Columbus Offices
In Ohio, Republican Senator Rob Portman announced his opposition to the Senate attempt at a Republican health care bill in late June. After the release of the newest version of the health care bill on July 13th, Portman has yet to take an official position.
In response to Portman’s noncommittal stance, activists across Ohio organized sit-ins, rallies, and occupations calling on Portman to oppose Trumpcare.
In Cincinnati, Socialist Alternative, Our Revolution, and the Democratic Socialists of America rallied at Portman’s Cincinnati office to demand he vote against Trumpcare and to call for universal healthcare for all. Nine protesters occupied Portman’s office overnight, even after the police threatened to arrest those who did not disperse. After 22 hours, the nine activists marched outside to meet an enthusiastic rally of supporters chanting “We are ready to fight, healthcare is a human right!”
During the overnight occupation, Kevin LeMasters, a Socialist Alternative Cincinnati organizer, asked “What does a vote yes look like for Rob Portman? It means voting against the interests of the majority of working people and the poor in Ohio all to get a victory for Trump while stripping away the barest of protections for the most vulnerable among us. This is a bill that is a tax cut for the billionaire class disguised as a health care bill.”
In Columbus, members of Socialist Alternative Columbus and Junto Unsilenced also organized an overnight sit-in at Senator Portman’s Columbus office. Columbus activists were joined by disability activists from ADAPT, the organization that gained national attention after recently occupying Senator Cory Gardner’s Denver office. After occupying the lobby for hours, police took brutal action against ADAPT activists, dragging several out of their wheelchairs and arresting fifteen activists.
During the sit-in, activists demanded that Portman vote “no” on Trumpcare while also calling on him to host a town hall. The following week on Tuesday, July 11th, Socialist Alternative Columbus organized and invited Portman to a “People’s Town Hall: Speakout on Trumpcare.” While no Senator or representative showed up over 70 people gathered at the Ohio State House to stand up against Trumpcare and speak in support of universal healthcare for all.
Healthcare for People, Not Profit
In Cincinnati, one in three children live in poverty, and the infant mortality rate is among the worst 10% in the entire country. Almost 10% of Ohioans lack any health insurance. If Trumpcare passed, it is estimated that 22 million more people nationally will be left uninsured and thousands will die as a consequence of the bills’ defunding of Medicaid. In Ohio alone, 469,600 people are expected to lose their health care by 2026 due to steep cuts to Medicaid and coverage loss within private health care markets.
We need an improved Medicare for All system that provides healthcare for all people, not for corporate profit.
Watch Ritze Griffin speak at Cincinnati Sit-In.