More than 130 North County residents gathered on a sidewalk outside Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas on Sept. 22 to urge Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) to vote against the latest legislation aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act.
The Graham-Cassidy bill, if passed, would "provide states with funding to establish health insurance programs outside ACA protections and mandates, an approach that could force millions off insurance rolls," according to the Washington Post.
Congress was expected to vote on the issue this week.
Protestors at the rally, presented by the SoCal Healthcare Coalition on Sept. 22, held up signs with sayings like "Issa, don't hurt my kids" and "Put people over politics" during the half-hour-long demonstration, as cars honked in support as they drove by along Santa Fe Drive.
Carlsbad resident Misty O'Healy said the bill might terminate care for her 13-year-old grandson, Lucas, who is battling a rare genetic condition of which he is the only known survivor in the world.
Those in opposition worry the bill would make it harder for people with pre-existing conditions to receive healthcare.
"[Lucas] will die if this passes," O'Healy said. "He has fought hard and beaten all the odds. I have promised to fight at least as hard as he has for his survival."
O'Healy said everyone has a family member who would be affected by the passing of Graham Cassidy.
Encinitas City Council member Tasha Boerner Horvath said to the crowd that the issue was important to her partly because of her own daughter's health problems, which might not be covered under Graham-Cassidy.
"It is my job to fight for the people I represent," she said. "It’s my job to act in their best interests. I am deeply concerned that our congressional representative is not listening and not acting in our best interest."
Boerner Horvath estimated 85,000 of Issa's constituents would lose healthcare under Graham-Cassidy.
"That is larger than the City of Encinitas," she said. "That’s like saying, 'Encinitas, you aren’t covered. You’re out. We don’t care about you.'"
She said the bill would have a "ripple effect" on jobs, education and opportunities.
Congressman Mark Takano, of the 41st Congressional District in western Riverside County, was present at the demonstration to let protestors know he would not be supporting the bill.
Takano called out Issa, who represents the cities of Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Carlsbad, Vista, Oceanside and Camp Pendleton. Issa was not present at the demonstration.
"I'm doing all I can for my district," he said. "Issa needs to know [his district's] voice, and he needs to understand that choosing his party over his constituents is not acceptable."
Takano said he considers the bill to have nothing to do with healthcare but instead serves as a "prelude to tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens."
As of press time, Issa's vote on the bill had not yet been announced.
In May, Issa told reporters that how he intended to vote on healthcare initiatives was "none of your business," according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Copyright © 2017, Encinitas Advocate