Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Disabled protesters dragged out of wheelchairs during healthcare protest

Disabled protesters dragged out of wheelchairs during healthcare protest

Some protesters with physical disabilities were dragged away, and witnesses claimed that one officer even dropped a protester in a wheelchair.

ADAPT, the grassroots disability rights organization that organized the protest, brought roughly 60 people to Capitol Hill to protest Senate Republicans' proposed health care legislation.

These patients would be especially harmed by the bill that includes deep cuts to Medicaid. The Senators have a couple of days to decide whether to support or vote against the bill with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pressing ahead for a vote next week. They blocked the hallway, chanting: "Don't touch Medicaid, save our liberty".

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Reporters tweeted photos of the protesters being carried out by Capitol Police. "Today is the 18th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision which recognized that right, and it is an insult to the Disability Community that today Senator McConnell is going to release a bill which eliminates that right for millions of disabled Americans".

The attempted "die-in" in opposition to the legislation was organized by ADAPT, a national advocacy group for those with disabilities.

As Capitol Police conferred about what to do, the protesters changed "No cuts to Medicaid!".

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Identifying themselves as Medicaid recipients, the protesters - many of whom were wheelchair-bound - chanted, held signs, and staged a sit-in.

State officials had previously said about 63,000 people had accessed drug treatment through the expansion during its first year.

The people who were arrested were charged with crowding, obstructing, or incommoding, according to the Capitol Police on the scene.

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"We look at things like the opioid epidemic and the incredible meth use and other critical issues that are hitting our communities", she said. "Most people are opposed to this bill, yet it is still moving along".

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