In less than 12 hours after the House of Representatives announced Wednesday night that it was voting to pass the American Health Care Act—a bill meant to replace the Affordable Care Act—Democrats and protesters organized a demonstration in front of the Capitol building Thursday to demand it be voted down.
The American Health Care Act will eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions, cut funding for Planned Parenthood, and phase out the Medicaid expansion. The bill was narrowly passed by the House with 217 in favor and 213 against and now moves forward to the Senate.
Senators Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer, and Elizabeth Warren gave speeches at Thursday's impromptu rally. In addition to other representatives, a variety of interest groups including Planned Parenthood, Voto Latino, VoteVets, and a multitude of religious groups also spoke on the Hill. Hundreds of protesters attended with signs like "ObamaCare saves lives" and "Hey, pro-life. A little help here?"
Senator Bernie Sanders surprises protesters with an appearance. "President Trump, you do not stand with the working class of this country when you throw people off of health insurance," he said.
A woman cries after hearing that the American Health Care Act was passed.
After voting, a representative comes to shake the hands of protesters who look defeated.
A protester shouts at the masses of representatives who are leaving the Capitol and boarding busses to go to the White House. "I am not a pre-existing condition," she said.
A congressman reminds protesters that 2018 is just around the corner and leads a chant: "Vote them out! Vote them out!"
Protesters gather around to showcase their signs, many of them homemade.
Senator Elizabeth Warren takes the mic. "The Republicans have come back and taken a terrible bill and made it worse," Warren said, referring to the previous attempt to pass the American Health Care Act.
A speaker and protesters point at the Capitol and chant "Shame! Shame! Shame!" as the vote unfolds.
In front of the Capitol Police, a demonstrator holds a sign that reads, "Medicaid saves disabled Americans. Save our safety net."
Fresh out of voting, a representative apologizes for what happened. "Thank you for coming out," she said. "You inspire me."
Mother Robin Schofer, 46, from Silver Spring, Maryland sits on a ledge her with son. "I am a two time cancer survivor, but because I've had preventative care I am alive," Schofer said. "Unfortunately, this may be our only hope to vote the Republicans out before the damage is too bad. I just want people to know there is still hope."
Minority leader Chuck Schumer points at the Capitol building mid-speech. "You know what this means?" Schumer asked. "It means parents will find out their kid has cancer and their insurance company takes health care away."
Disabled cancer survivor Ola Ojewumi shakes hands with organizers before sharing her story.