We’re going to be publicly demanding more
-Meryl Neiman, trip organizer with Indivisible
This afternoon, activists & voters embarked on a bus from Columbus to demand Senator Portman address their concerns. Sick of Portman refusing to hold a public town hall while writing legislation behind closed doors that could strip over 500,000 Ohioans of health insurance, we’re bringing the town hall to him!
Organized by Meryl Neiman from Indivisible Ohio, we’re going to meet Portman at his constituent coffee and ask him the questions he refuses to answer in Ohio. Questions like “Will you commit to not vote for the AHCA before public hearings are held?” and “Why is this legislation being written in secret?”
When I asked Benita Kahn, a retired attorney, what question she wanted to ask the senator, she told me: “I want to know which of the essential benefits Portman supports keeping.” Essential benefits are services all health insurance plans must cover under the ACA, including such basic obvious ones such as emergency room trips and pediatric care. I was shocked when Benita told me she had asked Portman’s staff the same question four times and they refused to commit to a single one.
My favorite part about this trip is the group. From a high school student to AARP members, from long-time activists to those engaging after the 2016 presidential election, we have people from all walks of life and pasts, here with one purpose: to demand transparency and accountability in our system.
Personally, I’m on this bus not only as a representative of ProgressOhio, but as an Ohioan worried about our country. Healthcare is one of the very few issues that affects every single person, and the Senate is planning to overhaul that system without: 1.) any attempt at a public debate; 2.) potentially knowing how many people will lose their health insurance; and 3.) hearing from their own constituents back home (not a single Senate Republican has a town hall scheduled until well after they’re scheduled to vote on the bill).
That’s insane. That’s wrong. And that’s why we’re demanding more.