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Protesters hold ‘die-in’ as objection to Buchanan’s vote on health care bill

More than two dozen people laid down on the sidewalk and held signs made to resemble tombstones outside the Manatee County Judicial Center and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s Bradenton office on Thursday.

They were hoping to raise awareness and show Buchanan, who voted for the health care bill known as the American Health Care Act, that they do not agree with his decision.

About 25 people brought signs and yoga mats for the “die-in,” showing their disdain for the Republican health care legislation.

“They killed the (Affordable Care Act),” proclaimed a Facebook page for the die-in event. The page also encouraged those who were coming to wear “funeral attire,” and most of those in attendance Thursday wore black. The page also detailed that a similar event would be held outside Buchanan’s Sarasota office.

After a few words of protest, a bell rang, and the group took their places lying on the ground, where they stayed for several minutes. When they returned to their feet, they lined Manatee Avenue holding their signs.

Those who spoke at the rally said that while their lives have not been directly impacted by the ACA, they know of many people who have.

Rita Trammell picked up a megaphone and said that during her time as an immunologist at Southern Illinois University, she had great health care. But many of the patients she worked with during clinical studies did not.

“After the ACA was passed many, many people that had never had insurance were able to come into the clinics and get health care that they’d never had access to before,” Trammell said.

Special clinics were set up for those who needed treatment. It followed the patients, got them in programs and a “huge majority” of these people saw a difference in their health, Trammell said.

Jody Huntley said she came out to the die-in because, as a former educator, she wants to educate people about the bill.

“A least get them to think about other people,” Huntley said. “You need to research and educate yourself. Look around and see what’s happening to other people.”

Though she has health coverage, members of her own family would suffer if the Republican health care bill was passed. Huntley even explained that she worked with special-needs students during her time in education, and she worries for those families who rely on Medicaid for their children.

The bill, which was passed by the House 217-213 earlier this month, heads to the Senate next.

For more, visit the Bradenton Herald.

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