Sioux City Journal: Siouxland activists protest repeal of health care reform

SIOUX CITY | Jackie Stellish said she finally found a use for her yoga mat.

The Sioux City woman was one of about 12 people lying flat on their backs on the sidewalk in front of the downtown Sioux City office for Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, Monday morning. 

"We are protesting Republican House members who passed the bill to repeal Obamacare," Stellish said, laying a new blue mat onto the sidewalk. "This is not good for (Iowa's 4th District) where approximately 300,000 people will be dropped due to preexisting conditions."

The activists staged the demonstration as part of the Women's March Iowa, one of 12 locations across the state, including in front of King's district office in Spencer. The protests, timed to the six-month anniversary of President Trump's election in November, were organized by the American Civil Liberties Union’s People Power, United We Dream, National Lawyers Guild, The Gathering for Justice, Indivisible Guide and other national and local groups.

On Thursday, the GOP-led House narrowly passed the American Health Care Act, or AHCA, a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, approved by a Democratic congress and President Obama in 2010.

Protesters on Monday also picketed in front of district offices of King and two other Republicans who backed the bill -- 1st District Rep. Rod Blum and 3rd District Rep. Rep. David Young.

Brandishing a sign that read "Obamacare was healthcare for all ... with Trumpcare, some people will die," Jean Carlson, a retired educator of Sioux City, said she was "standing up for the little guy."

Between leading the group with chants of "Trumpcare is welfare for the rich," Carlson said Republicans rushed the health bill through the House without knowing what was in it.

"The Republicans did exactly what they accused the Democrats of doing with Obamacare," she said. "The difference is that Trumpcare will very likely hurt a lot of people by depriving them of their health care."