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Bernie Sanders to Visit Columbus for Rally Against Senate Healthcare Bill

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Bernie Sanders to Visit Columbus for Rally Against Senate Healthcare BillPhoto by Cat Cutillo.
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Opponents to the Senate healthcare bill will hold a rally on Sunday, June 25 at Express Live. Organizers MoveOn.org and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 partnered with former presidential candidate and current Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will speak at the event.

The Senate released its divisive bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, on Thursday morning, spurring an immediate backlash from Democrats and progressives. Five conservatives have publicly opposed the bill as well, putting its success in jeopardy as it awaits a full Senate vote next week. The cuts to Medicaid and the loss of insurance coverage for millions were cited as the main reasons for conservative dissent.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman has remained quiet on the issue, at least in public. A group of protesters traveled to Washington D.C. this week to force a meeting with him. From their interaction, they learned that Portman is not satisfied with the bill in its current form.

“Most of us thought he had made his decision about repeal and we surprised [sic] he had not,” said one protestor, who asked not to be identified, in an email. “In fact he seemed to us to be very disturbed and not pleased because he had not been consulted as much as he thought or as he deserved to be. He said he had never seen a draft of the repeal bill and cynic as I am, I believed him.

“Senator Portman had several issues around repeal but his core issue was additional $$ for opiates,” the protestor added. “He wanted $45 billion of additional spending on opiate treatment over 10 years and this was well known. When we asked him if this was in the the bill he grimaced and shook his head no.

“He didn’t tell us how he would vote but it was clear to see he was troubled. He took copious notes, particularly when we had numbers and percentages.”

Troubled as he might be, Portman hasn’t made a public statement about his support or opposition. To pressure him into a “No” vote, protesters will gather for the morning rally at Express Live. Doors open at 10 a.m., and the program starts at 11:30 a.m. While it isn’t a ticketed event, those interested in attending are encouraged to register.

For more information, or to RSVP, visit go.berniesanders.com.

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