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Protest outside Sarasota Memorial Hospital targets health care bill

SARASOTA — With GOP lawmakers contemplating big changes to Medicaid and two of her relatives depending on the program to pay their nursing home bills, Mary Scott took the day off work Wednesday to stand in the heat outside Sarasota Memorial Hospital and let her anger be known to passing drivers.

Photo by Zac Anderson

“This is crazy, crazy, crazy,” Scott said as she waved an American flag and held up a sign blasting the GOP health care reform legislation. “They’re doing this change on the backs of women, children and the elderly and it’s reprehensible and it’s wrong.”

Scott was among nearly 30 activists affiliated with various Indivisible groups who gathered outside the hospital. Indivisible chapters across Florida staged protests after the Fourth of July holiday as they tried to keep the pressure on Congress during a critical period for the health care legislation.

Senate leaders opted not to vote on the bill last week after encountering resistance to the legislation from some GOP lawmakers, but they are regrouping and working to mollify GOP opponents in the hopes of putting the bill up for a vote soon.

“What they did with the House bill, we thought it was dead and within 48 hours they had it resurrected and passed,” said Karen Curlin, a retired educator from Lakewood Ranch who helped organize the protest outside Sarasota Memorial. “We’re very concerned that could happen with this bill.”

Scott, 59, took the day off from her job as a project manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers to attend the rally. The East Manatee County resident said her 87-year-old mother and 95-year-old aunt both rely on Medicaid for nursing home care after exhausting their financial resources. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that Medicaid spending would be reduced significantly under the Senate legislation when compared with the current law. That has Scott and others worried about cuts to the program that serves large numbers of children and a significant proportion of nursing home residents.

“Where is the charity now?” Scott asked. “This is like Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol.’”

For more, visit The Herald-Tribune.

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