© 2022 90.5 WESA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Pennsylvanians Pressure Republican Lawmakers After Health Care Vote

Manuel Balce Ceneta
Pennsylvanians protested Monday in response to Republican lawmakers' vote to repeal Obamacare.

Activists across Pennsylvania planned protests Monday to express their disapproval of the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote to appeal the Affordable Care Act.

The monthly protest “Mondays with Murphy” drew a sizeable crowd in Mt. Lebanon, following Republican Rep. Tim Murphy’s vote in favor of the American Health Care Act.

The bill, which would repeal Obamacare and its protections for pre-existing conditions, as well as reduce Medicaid spending, garnered 217 Republican votes. 

Kerani Sabo, 37, said that could push her family into bankruptcy. The Bethel Park resident’s 3-year-old son was born with a severe cardiac defect. His multiple open-heart surgeries were mostly covered by her employer-issued insurance and his first two years of exceeded $2.5 million in cost. Sabo’s son now depends on Medicaid for care and she said she worries about his ability to afford coverage as an adult.

“It feels like a moral obligation to make sure that the most vulnerable in our society are well treated,” Sabo said. "And I don’t see my congressmen doing that.”

Sabo said she was never politically active before this year.

“I feel dragged into it kicking and screaming,” she said. “As a matter of fact, I have been a registered Republican all of my life. I don’t know that I’ll always be one.”

Women’s March Pennsylvania Chapter is also calling on constituents across the state to protest the bill’s progress, according to Chairperson Shawna Knipper.

“From this point, we have to put quite a bit of pressure on our own Sen. Toomey to be inclusive of women’s health care issues,” she said.

The health care bill now goes to the U.S. Senate, which members said they will rewrite.

Sabo said she will likely change her registration to Democrat before U.S. Representatives are up for re-election in 2018.

“When the mothers and baby of your own party come out to tell you that you need to check yourself," she said, “maybe it’s time to take a look inside and see who you’re representing -- because it’s not me.”

Virginia reports on identity and justice for 90.5 WESA. That means looking at how people see themselves in the community, and how the community makes them feel. Her reporting examines things like race, policing, and housing to tell the stories of folks we often don't hear from.