York Daily Record: Indivisible FM holds pop-up protest against health care measure passed by House Republicans


FARGO – About 30 people from the group Indivisible FM on Saturday protested passage of the Republican-backed American Health Care Act by the House last week on one of the busiest corners in the West Acres shopping area.

Under sunny, blue skies, protesters chanted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Trumpcare has got to go!”, “Health care not wealth care!” and “Shame on Cramer!” (aimed at North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer), as they waved signs such as “Humanity is not a pre-existing condition” and “Honk if you have a pre-existing condition!”

“We’re really worried about health care and the health care of our neighbors,” said Nicole Mattson, who helped organize the hourlong “pop-up” protest at the southeast corner of 13th Avenue South and 42nd Street.

“We’re not here to cause any trouble. We’re here to let our representatives and our fellow citizens know how we feel,” Mattson said.

She said 24 million people could potentially be left without health care coverage under the Republican-backed plan, which she said has not been fully examined by the Congressional Budget Office to determine its true impacts in terms of cost and health care coverage.

The AHCA was passed Thursday, May 4, by the House, and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“They’re going to take away services” from children and the elderly, Mattson said. “People will die if this becomes law.

Kristin Nelson of Fargo has atrial fibrillation, one of the health problems considered a pre-existing condition under the AHCA, which could potentially cause her to lose insurance coverage, she said.

“That makes me nervous. I was hospitalized one time,” Nelson said. “I feel there are so many people who say this is going to affect me. It affects everybody. It’s a huge issue.”

Karen Rosby, a Fargo native and current Detroit Lakes, Minn., resident, helped lead the chants of the protesters who lined a strip of sidewalk by the former TGI Fridays restaurant building.

“I’m very, very concerned about this,” the retired teacher said. “It affects all of us. I am literally afraid for our future.”

Rosby said if people aren’t afraid of what could happen to their health care coverage if the AHCA passes the Senate and is signed into law by President Trump, “They’re not paying attention.”

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Drivers and passengers in many of the vehicles that zipped by on 13th Avenue honked and waved at the protesters, but a few cursed, or gave them a thumbs down.

Fargoan David Givers and his wife, Juneve, were also waving signs along the protest line.

David Givers, wearing a black “Veterans for Peace” hat, also waved a peace sign to passing cars.

“Most people seem supportive when they go by. I wonder how many people are paying attention to this?” Givers said of the issue.

Trumpcare is “wealth care for the wealthy,” Givers said. “It’s not a health care. It’s taking away what people have under Obamacare. We could do things to improve it rather than kill it.

“They (Republicans) just don’t like his (former President Obama’s) legacy” and are trying to kill it, Giver’s said. “It’s obvious they don’t know how to lead the nation.”

Mattson said Indivisible FM is calling on Republican North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven to vote against the current measure.

She said both Rep. Cramer and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., have held town hall meetings on the health care issue.

“Where’s John Hoeven on this? He needs to talk to his constituents,” Mattson said.

Mattson encourages lawmakers who want to replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” with new legislation to take more than a few weeks to hastily cobble something together.

“They need to take their time for this,” Mattson said.

She said House Republicans created the AHCA “to give tax cuts to wealthy people and corporations. They need to be honest about that,” Mattson said.

Emily Phelps