Even With Snow, Health Care Rallies Press On

Democrats and Republicans expected at two events on Capitol Hill

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has railed against a GOP-backed bill that would repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, will join a rally Tuesday touting the current law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has railed against a GOP-backed bill that would repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, will join a rally Tuesday touting the current law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted March 13, 2017 at 5:53pm

Members of Congress are expected to join dueling rallies in Washington this week organized by advocacy groups on opposite ends of the health care debate despite the threat of a late-winter snow storm prompting cancellations on Capitol Hill.

Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire are scheduled to join the Save My Care event on Tuesday morning during what is projected to be peak hours of the storm.

Upper Senate Park had been booked for the group that also includes doctors and patients touting support for the 2010 health care law. But organizers, who now expect a smaller crowd, will move into a room in the Capitol Visitor Center.

The event culminates a two-month long bus tour filled with people who traveled the country making a pitch in support of the Affordable Care Act. The tour will make its ceremonious final stop on Capitol Hill for the rally.

The Save my Care tour touts traveling 14,000 miles through 22 states. It held 45 events throughout the country. Patients from Arizona, Nevada, Ohio and Tennessee will urge congressional Republicans not to specifically cut Medicaid and tell a variety of stories of how the 2010 health care law helped them.

The legislation in its current form would phase-out federal funding of expanded Medicaid programs leaving the future of the government health care plan uncertain. It would also make major changes to subsidies, premium payments and provide for tax credits based on age alone.

Patients will point out how they have benefited from the law and therefore fear losing coverage under GOP-backed legislation making its way through the House.

Republicans, for their part, also booked Upper Senate Park for a rally early Wednesday afternoon, inviting Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan to advocate for the wholesale repeal of President Barack Obama’s landmark legislation. That is still planned to be outdoors.

The invite for that event did not specify support for the House GOP bill, which several moderate and conservative Republicans, including Jordan, have taken issue with since it was introduced in the last week.

The Tea Party Patriots and FreedomWorks are pegging their event a joint Day of Action in which activists will also go to House and Senate office buildings to meet officials to discuss priorities that, in addition to health care, include confirming Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and lowering taxes.

Wednesday is also the same day the House Budget Committee is scheduled to hold its markup on the GOP-crafted repeal and replace legislation but that may be delayed due to weather.

The D.C. region is bracing for a late-winter snow storm starting Monday night that is expected to dump two to 12 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

The House cancelled votes on its first legislative day of the week Tuesday. It instead met in a pro forma session on Monday to allow the chamber the option of not meeting due to bad weather. As of Monday afternoon, members were expected to return to Congress for late votes Wednesday evening.

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter