Published May 16, 2017 in The Stand
Unions in Washington state that represent people who work in the health care industry bought a full-page advertisement in the May 16th edition of The Spokesman-Review — headlined “Shame on you, Cathy” — to criticize Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ vote last week in favor of the controversial Republican bill to overhaul Medicaid and the U.S. health care industry. Signatories to the advertisement’s open letter to McMorris Rodgers are the Washington State Labor Council, Spokane Regional Labor Council, AFT Washington, Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME 28, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, SEIU 775, SEIU 925, and UFCW 21.
McMorris Rodgers, the six-term Republican representing Spokane and surrounding counties in Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District, was the only member of Washington’s delegation who voted “yes” on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which narrowly passed 217-213 on May 4. Twenty Republicans, including Washington Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-3rd) and Dave Reichert (R-8th), joined every Democrat from Washington — and in fact, every Democrat in the entire House of Representatives — in voting against this bill. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-4th) did not vote because he was home attending to a family medical emergency.
“We’ve disagreed with Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers in the past on many issues but as we explained in the ad, this legislation is not just irresponsible, it is cruel and inhumane,” said WSLC President Jeff Johnson. “Union members who work in hospitals, clinics, mental health and other health care facilities are outraged, as is the rest of the labor movement. What House Republican leaders have done is truly shameful.”
“Just now reading your ad in the Spokesman Review. Thank you for doing that. Maybe it will get her attention,” wrote Marilyn Vollmer, a 73-year-old former small business owner from Spokane Valley, this morning. “I have cut out the page and will mail it directly to her. May I suggest that when you publish this again that you suggest that everyone do the same.” (Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, U.S. House of Representatives, 1314 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515)
Here is the text of the advertisement in the news section of The Spokesman-Review:
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers:
Last week you were the only member of Congress from Washington state — Republican or Democrat — to vote for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the controversial legislation overhauling Medicaid and the U.S. health care system that narrowly passed the House, 217-213.
Shame on you.
Shame on you for supporting this bill, which will cause at least 24 million Americans to lose health insurance, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analysis. That includes more than 42,000 of your constituents here in the 5th District, over 10,000 of whom are children.(2)
Shame on you for supporting $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid, which provides no-cost health coverage to millions of low-income Americans, so you can give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for people earning more than $250,000 per year.(1) And shame on you for converting Medicaid into block grants and enabling states to cut benefits and restrict eligibility
Shame on you for allowing insurers to charge dramatically higher premiums to older Americans and people suffering pre-existing medical conditions.(3) That will put the cost of health insurance out of reach for many families. For those of us who get health coverage through our employers, shame on you for allowing insurers to impose annual and lifetime caps on coverage, revoking that critically important consumer protection from the Affordable Care Act.(4)
And shame on you for invoking your son, who was born with a serious medical condition, in your attempt to defend your vote on this bill.(5) Your family is fortunate enough to have good health insurance, so your already traumatic circumstances didn’t also include bankruptcy. Millions of Americans in your position won’t be so fortunate if the AHCA becomes law.
In fact, it does not overstate the matter to say that if the AHCA becomes law, people will die. People who lose Medicaid or health insurance — which will happen to thousands of your constituents and millions of Americans — won’t go to the doctor and find out how sick they are until it’s too late.
This is serious. This is beyond politics, beyond “Obamacare” vs. “Trumpcare.” This is literally a matter of life and death.
Shame on you for voting for this cruel, inhumane legislation.
Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Spokane Regional Labor Council
Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME 28
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW