On the afternoon of Thursday, June 22, 2017, around 60 protesters gathered outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office where they chanted, "Don't touch Medicaid, save our liberty." They were fighting back against the Health Care Bill that is being pushed by the GOP.

Planned Medicaid cuts means diminished services for disabled people

The protest was planned by a national disability organization called ADAPT. Representatives said they were gathered for what they called a "die-in" to protest the cutbacks in federal support for Medicaid.

One of the organizers for ADAPT, Bruce Darling, said that the planned cuts to Medicaid would result in diminished medical care access and fewer services for both disabled people and elderly people. It could even result in many of them being forced to live in institutions.

Protesters were physically carried out by Capitol Police and there were 43 arrests. The people who were arrested were charged with crowding, obstructing, or incommoding, according to the Capitol Police on the scene. The police said that some of the demonstrators got out of their wheelchairs and lay on the floor, which made it difficult for others to get past them in the hallway so they could go to their offices. Of the 43 arrested, 28 were women and 15 were men.

Mike Oxford was one of the men arrested. He told CNN that, "the police acted professionally and used accessible paddy wagons with wheelchair lifts to transport the protesters with mobility disabilities."

Americans will pay more money because of the health care bill

One of the participants in the protest, Alison Barkoff, said that this health care bill would give tax cuts to wealthy Americans and it would be done at the expense of disabled people.

Dawn Russel, one of the ADAPT organizers, noted that not only would this cause problem for disabled people but it would also cost more money for Americans because of the people that would be forced to move into nursing facilities and other institutions.

Continuing to provide the community-based services that will potentially be cut with AHCA would cost less than the roughly $300,000 per year that it costs to have someone in an institution.

Is it a coincidence that the protest occurred 18 years after the Olmstead v. LC hearing in the Supreme Court that recognizes disabled people's right to live in the community. Perhaps. It is ironic though that 18 years later people are again fighting for the same rights to live a normal life.

What do you think about this? Do the benefits that the GOP say come with the AHCA negate the sacrifices that are being made on behalf of elderly and disabled people?