Tensions continue to rise across the country as more and more people are calling on GOP Senators to oppose the bill aimed at replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Here in Austin, about 50 people held a protest outside of Senator John Cornyn's (R) downtown office, calling on him to vote no on the bill.
The group chanted "Vote 'no', have a spine! Your job is on the line" as they marched on the sidewalk.
The group of protestors were from a dozen different organizations and were also joined by two congressional candidates.
Senator Cornyn was one of the 13 republican senators who helped write the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). Democrats have criticized it saying people will die under the plan and that it's nothing more than a tax break for billionaires.
"It is very draconian because it will absolutely do away with healthcare for many, many people. And what that means is everybody will be going to the emergency room for their care because they will not be able to afford it, they won't be able on the rolls and so it's got many, many vices to it," said Lou McCreary who leads the Austin Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America.
Seven protestors were arrested for obstructing a highway or other passageway, including District 21 congressional candidate Derrick Crowe. The charge is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail.
The BCRA would not require Americans to have health insurance. Instead, they could buy coverage with tax credits based on income. It also includes cuts to Medicaid. But it does preserve Obamacare's access to care for people with pre-existing conditions.
If it becomes law, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the BCRA will decrease federal deficits by $321 Billion over the coming decade. But staff also estimate the number of people without health insurance will increase by 22 million by 2026.
The Senate is set to vote on the bill when lawmakers return to Washington D.C. after their July 4th break, but as of today, nine GOP Senators, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R), oppose it. So it doesn't have enough votes to pass.
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