HCAN in the News — Highlights from State Partners, June-July

By August 8, 2017No Comments


In June and July, HCAN’s campaign focused on generating sustained and escalating activity across the states in order to drive a national narrative and to influence key legislative targets to oppose proposals to repeal the ACA and restructure Medicaid. HCAN and HCANEF’s state partners used public education, advocacy and earned media to increase pressure by contrasting devastating healthcare cuts that impact real people with billions in tax breaks for the rich, insurance and prescription drug companies. Through a combination of tactics including rapid response, organized direct actions, and in some cases civil disobedience, HCAN partners continued to engage real impacted people and mobilized constituents to confront lawmakers where it matters most: in their districts. Below are some highlights of HCAN and HCANEF activity during this period.


Faith in Public Life and allies worked on a number of activities in Alaska, including recruiting a member of the clergy to pen this op-ed that was published right before the final repeal vote.

Faith leaders delivered a moral declaration to Sen. Murkowski urging her to reject the BRCA and got good local coverage on TV.


HCAN’s partner LUCHA joined a protest outside of Senator Flake’s office in June that got press:

LUCHA staff and members also traveled to DC in early July to protest on Capitol Hill, risking arrest during an occupation outside McConnell’s office with allies from Center for Popular Democracy, HousingWorks, NNU, and Positive Women’s Network. The demonstration got press in DC and back in the state:


For the June 21st day of action ACO, HCAN’s Arkansas partner, organized about 50 people for rally in front of Boozman’s and Cotton’s offices including speakers Reverend Howard Gordon, Toney Orr, pastor and union organizer; Blake Ross, President of Arkansas Young Democrats; Camille Richoux, President of Arkansas NOW and public health worker; Lewis Shepherd, Medicaid recipient; Jerome Pitts, Arkansas Works recipient. After chanting “Don’t end it! Mend it! Don’t take away our health care!” speeches and a ceremony to put lipstick on the pig, the group marched to deliver with about 2,000 post cards and the pig to Boozman’s and Cotton’s offices. Press coverage below:

In July, ACO escalated to sit-ins at Boozman & Cotton’s office on the July 6th Day of Action. Around 80 people attended over the course of four hours. The event was sponsored by more than ten organizations. ACO member, Lewis Sheppard, is holding Medicaid Not Millionaires sign in a wheelchair is featured in the first clips below.

ACO also escalated their tactics, risking in DC to ratchet up pressure. The arrests got attention back home.

14 Arkansans Arrested in DC Health Care Protest

Arkies Again Arrested Protesting Health Legislation

Arkansas Senators Prep Healthcare Vote, 2018 Challengers & Demonstrators Oppose

Boozman’s a yes on ruination of Obamacare. Cotton dancing still.


Health Access California has continued their #Fight4OurHealth campaign over the past few months, engaging Senator Kamala Harris, advocates, partners and impacted people in holding CA Congressional delegation members accountable for voting to repeal the ACA. Since both Senators in CA fully oppose repeal, Health Access recruited volunteers to generate calls into states with moderate Republican targets to educate constituents about the repeal proposals and encourage those constituents to reach out directly to Senators with their concerns.


DACA organized an event to raise awareness about the attacks on healthcare in June that got good coverage.


Organize Florida, HCAN’s partner in Orlando has been active over this summer in organizing public education events to help their members and the public understand where Senator Rubio and Governor Rick Scott stand on the federal proposals to dismantle healthcare.

On June 13th and 14th, Organize Florida held two events in Tampa to educate the public about the impact of federal proposals to gut healthcare on Florida:

  • Tuesday, June 13th, Organize Florida Tampa held a panel discussion focused on health care that was live-streamed over facebook (link here). Medicaid ACA Subsidy recipients who have physical disabilities discussed the need for funding of the programs and the threat to their quality of life if the Senate GOP cut the programs.Speakers included: Michael Phillips, Tampa Activist; Karen Clay, Org FL member and Chair of FAAST; Brian Phillips, Brother of Michael Phillips; Nicole Coratti, Kiwanis International; Olivia Babis, Suncoast Center for Independent Living.
  • Wednesday, June 14th Organize Florida along with allies Florida Voices for Health and For Florida’s Future organized a press conference at the office of Senator Nelson and was live-streamed on Facebook (link here).  Speakers described how the AHCA and the Senate GOP bills will hurt them. The speakers urged Senators Rubio and Nelson to commit to no cuts to health care.

Organize Florida organized a “Billionaires for Trump” event for HCAN’s June 21st day of action during which activists staged satire play outside Senator Rubio’s office to highlight the fact that by repealing the Affordable Care Act, the 400 wealthiest American’s will receive millions of dollars in tax breaks. The play was followed by four community members who shared their personal stories about how would be impacted by Congressional efforts to repeal healthcare and cut Medicaid. Press coverage below.

In addition, a longtime Organize Florida member who tweeted about his story was interviewed on the Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC. See clip: Mother and son: Medicaid isn’t about politics, it’s about lives.

Stephanie Porta, Organize Now Executive Director was interviewed on June 25 as well:

Then, on June 28th, Organize Florida continued to drive the narrative about cuts to Medicaid and tax breaks for millionaires with “Medicaid Not Millionaires” press events in Orlando and Tampa that got good coverage below.


HCAN partner IL Citizen Action along with allies organized a demonstration outside a $10k plate GOP fundraiser in Chicago that included all the Republican members of the IL Congressional delegation last Monday. In an interesting twist, Governor Rauner, who the activists have been pressuring to take a position against the Republican repeal bill and restructuring of Medicaid that will devastate the state, cancelled his appearance at the event.

Following the event, Illinois Citizen Action worked on the opinion pieces below that continue to focus on Rauner’s failure to weigh in in defense of Illinois and the impact on GOP federal health care proposals.

Then, on June 23, IL Citizen Action & Indivisible organized a large health care action that got coverage on the front page of the Chicago Tribune. This focus on Rauner has helped generate great clips also like this one:

Then, after rallies, letters, petition drives and non-stop press outreach, on July 18th Citizen Action of Illinois and their allies escalated to organize faith leaders, including Citizen Action’s Co-Executive Director William McNary, for a vigil to pray for Rauner calling on divine forces to move the Governor to pay attention to his constituents.

Citizen Action IL also worked with allies to help plan messaging for this action. It’s significant because the Gov. has fired and replaced a huge percentage of his staff with folks from the Koch-funded so-called think tank.


On Monday, June 19th, HCAN partner IndyCAN! worked with AFSCME to organize a tele-press conference featuring experts, impacted people and clergy that focused on how the Trump Administration’s sabotage of the ACA is creating pressure for insurers to hike rates. The press conference got good coverage below.

Later in June, INDYCAN leaders organized a die-in in downtown Indianapolis as part of the June 28th day of action that got great television coverage locally. See below:

IndyCAN also worked behind the scenes to support this op-ed from the CEO of St. Vincent Health in Inside Business.


HCAN’s Iowa partner, the Main Street Alliance, worked with leader Chris Peters to publish this op-ed in June:

This is a follow up to a great LTE that was published the following week.

In June, an MSA leader Mike Regan, who was also active in passing the ACA eight years ago, joined an Iowa press conference to oppose repeal.


In Maine, Main Street Alliance Member Emilyu Ingwersen published this op-ed in June that appeared a couple of outlets:


HCAN Partner Progressive Maryland organized an event outside Rep. Harris’ district office in Salisbury this past week.

Progressive Maryland and allies have also been working on pushing their Republican Governor (Hogan) to speak up against federal threats to healthcare.

Progressive Maryland, like other HCAN partners also focused a lot on moving Governor Hogan, a Republican, to weigh in in opposition to repeal and the negative consequences of proposals to cap Medicaid. They were ultimately successful getting the Governor to join a bipartisan letter rejecting the “skinny” repeal bill in the senate.


HCAN partner Take Action MN organized an event outside the office of Representative Lewis for the national day of action. This event is part of the on-going effort to hold Lewis accountable for supporting the House repeal bill that would put health care at risk for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans. TV coverage of the event below.

Take Action MN also got great coverage on the June 21st for an event they organized locally:

HCAN partner Main Street Alliance also generated this great Op Ed in the state:

ISAIAH and allies held a great event on July 12 that integrated the state and local message on Medicaid. Good coverage here:


HCAN’s partner Jobs With Justice organized a sign on letter from MO doctors that was published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on June 23rd.

The letter was a follow up to an earlier piece that appeared on June 17th:

Jobs with Justice and allies also organized multiple events, including a die-in that got good media attention. See below:

On June 29th, protesters also demonstrated outside Senator Blunt’s St. Louis office and got TV coverage below:

Finally, HCAN partners organized activists to attend Senator Claire McCaskill’s town hall to demonstrate support for the Senator’s continued role in championing Medicaid. The meeting focused heavily on the GOP proposals on healthcare and impact on Missourians. One of the more telling moments at the Town Hall itself was when Sen. McCaskill asked anyone who supported the current GOP bill to raise their hand, and not even those sporting their ‘Make America Great Again’ gear raised a hand!


NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada has been doing tremendous work over months to put pressure on Senator Heller to oppose the Medicaid cuts that would devastate the state and disproportionately hurt women. In July, they stepped up even further with calls, actions and demonstrations like this one just days before the vote:


Partners in New Hampshire led by HCAN ally Granite State Progress with participation from Granite State Organizing Project (GSOP) and Rights & Democracy NH have spent a good part of the summer pushing Republican Governor Sununu to speak out against healthcare repeal, ultimately with pretty successful results.

Partners organized a vigil in June outside the statehouse calling for Governor Sununu to speak out against the proposed healthcare bill that 35 people attended. Holding the vigil by his back door paid off –the Governor both saw the activists and their message and actually spoke with attendees.

In late June Governor Sununu became the latest Republican Governor to oppose the Republican proposals to repeal ACA and cap Medicaid.

Granite State Organizing Project also generated these great letters to the editor in the state.


New Jersey Organizing Project (NJOP) leader Joanne Robinson wrote and published this op-ed in early June relating her person story about how Medicaid helped her recover from addiction after attending a town hall meeting in which Representative MacArthur asserted that no one would lose coverage under the Republican health care proposal he supported in Congress: 

New Jersey Citizen Action also challenged MacArthur in the piece featured here in the Burlington County Times, noting that the Representative gets a lot of support for Trump while claiming to be a moderate. NJCA has been leading weekly demonstrations outside MacArthur’s office.



HCAN’s lead partner Citizen Action of New York has continued to drive activity, public education and create accountability for House members upstate to voted to support the AHCA. On June 5th, CANY’s Jess Wisneski was interviewed in the clip below, urging New Yorkers to take on President Trump’s agenda, including plans to dismantle healthcare:

For the June 21st Day of Action, CANY’s upstate team organized an event in Binghamton in which activists linked hands in front of Lourdes Hospital to send a message about the impact of ACA repeal and changes to Medicaid. Good clip below.


In the week leading up to the action, the story below appeared featuring CANY activist James St. Jacques who got healthcare thanks to Medicaid Expansion. James also spoke at an event in Albany on Thursday, June 22nd in reaction to the release of the Senate draft bill that would end the Medicaid expansion.

On June 22nd, CANY and statewide allies organized a rapid response press conference in response to the release of the Senate bill. Advocates were joined by state legislative leaders, people with stories including James St. Jacques, featuring in the clips above, along with healthcare providers. See the press coverage below:

On June 28th, CANY coordinated vigils for the HCAN day of action in upstate NY and generated some attention including this clip:

On July 8th, CANY and partners were back it again in Binghamton and Long Island with more events targeting Tenney this time and targeting Faso. 


Our HCAN partner Action NC placed this op-ed by staffer Kevin Rogers in mid-June (below) as well as a number of Letters to the Editor from members that are listed below.

In addition, Action NC worked with partner Progress NC on logistics and turnout for a flotilla (two rented boats) that sailed up to the back of the Senator Tillis’ yard on Lake Norman in Charlotte in an effort to confront the Senator and challenge his support on healthcare repeal. See the coverage below.


MVOC, HCAN’s Ohio partner, helped lead the passage of a resolution opposing repeal locally in the Youngstown City Council. Clip here:  

Earlier in the month, HCAN partner Faith in Public Life worked with Reverend William Barber and clergy from around the state to organize a rally with over 50 clergy and 150 people of faith in Columbus, Ohio. The interfaith group (which included Evangelicals and Catholics) held a rally and marched from the Ohio Statehouse steps to Sen. Portman’s office. In addition to speeches from Rev. Barber, prominent clergy from Columbus and Cincinnati, doctors, and impacted people, four delegations of clergy delivered to Sen. Portman’s office a stack of bibles, each stuffed with the health care stories of Ohioans.  The rally was live streamed on FaceBook with over 221 shares and 58,000 people reached.

Protesters at another vigil organized late in June at the courthouse in Warren by the local PICO affiliate and HCAN partner also got coverage with a quote from an impacted person making the powerful headline below.

In Cinncinnatti, this great July event featured leaders connected with Faith in Public Life and children with pre-existing conditions:


Unite Oregon and allies staged a protest at Walberg’s Medford office that yielded great press below in June.

HCAN partner Oregon MSA also got coverage in this piece:


HCAN partners led by Pennsylvania Health Access Network, POWER, POWER NE organized great 24-hour events in June that were bolstered by the participation of Reverend William Barber of the Moral Mondays Movement and Repairers of the Breach. Thanks to Faith in Public Life for help with engaging clergy in this event and to SEIU and CPD partners among others for sending attendees to support the vigil. Hundreds of folks came out across Pennsylvania to participate in 24 hour vigils in 6 out of 7 of Senator Toomey’s offices.

For the kickoff with Reverend Barber over 300 people packed the sidewalk outside of Senator Toomey’s office. In Pittsburgh over 100 people came to the kickoff. Dozens of impacted consumers spent the night at all of the offices.


PHILADELPHIA (Clergy led, headlined by Rev. Barber)






In addition to the event, PHAN, POWER (& POWER NE) coordinated on a clergy sign-on letter to PA Senators Toomey & Casey signed by 55 Catholic clergy including the Sisters of St. Joseph-Baden, women and religious leaders in Catholic institutions.

The following week, PICO affiliate POWER NE organized a great “Medicaid Not Millionaires” Rally outside of Toomey’s Allentown District office:


TNCA joined allies for a June press conference and action in which they placed tombstones on the

lawn of the Senate offices to represent kids, veterans others directly impacted by cuts proposed at the federal level.

In early July, TNCA joined with the TN Justice Center to highlight the impact of repeal prposals and cuts to Medicaid on rural states like TN with a Tractorcade action that got some good media attention. See clips below;


HCAN partner Texas Organizing Project focused their energy on lifting voices of impacted people as well as pushing a number of targets including Senators Cruz and Cornyn to stop their repeal efforts.


MHAction is HCAN’s newest state partner. It’s an organization that mobilizes people who live in manufactured home communities to advocate on issues that impact them. Shirlene Stoven, MHAction Core Team Leader published this great piece on the impact of proposed Medicaid cuts in June:


Rights And Democracy VT (RADVT) held a State House rally in late June with over 100 people turning out to hear voices from diverse key constituencies (nursing, faith leadership, patients, unions) and calling on Governor Scott to resist the national GOP proposal. Speakers included Mari Cordes, RN and RAD leader speaker (she emceed event), Brenda Patoine a beneficiary of the ACA, and Reverend Earl Kooperkemp.

Mary Gerisch, RAD VT leader from Bennington, appearing as one of the demonstrators at the beginning of this NBC nightly news clip:

RAD VT also worked on a great coalition sign on letter to Governor Scott, urging him to speak out against federal repeal proposals which ultimately was successful when Scott signed onto a bipartisan letter with 9 other governors to oppose the “skinny” repeal vote in the Senate.


Virginia Organizing (VO), HCAN’s partner in VA held a rally in Charlottesville calling on Senators Warner and Kaine to protect Virginians against repeal and changes to Medicaid.

Virginia Organizing also placed a series of letters to the editor lifting up the voices of impacted people opposing repeal of the ACA and Medicaid cuts.


HCAN partner WACAN! held a successful action for the day of action outside of the Federal Building to educate the public about the federal attacks on healthcare. Here are some pictures. They delivered 1000 handwritten letters to Senator Cantwell’s and Murray’s staff. Coverage here:

In addition, WACAN published this article from Gerald Hankerson, their policy director who is also president of the NAACP:

After WACAN!’s action on Wednesday, the group participated in a press conference with Senator Cantwell at Virginia Mason, a local hospital. WACAN Member George Poston from Auburn shared his story on how Medicaid saved his life after he lost his job as a chef and found out he had life threatening blood clots in his leg shortly thereafter.

In addition, the group generated this Op Ed targeting Rep Reichert:

Earlier this month, WACAN! members organized a protest our side a fundraiser attended by Representative Cathy McMorris Rodger, the lone Member of Congress from Washington to vote for the ACHA. McMorris Rodgers has refused to meet with her constituents in Spokane because she knows her district opposes the AHCA. On June 1st, McMorris Rodgers hosted a $5000 a plate fundraiser with a Microsoft PAC on the other side of the state. Washington CAN member Bonnie Roberts traveled from Spokane to confront McMorris Rodgers while over 100 protesters demonstrated outside of the fundraiser. Washington CAN members Joelle Craft and George Poston also led chants, emceed the program, and shared their stories about how the repeal of the ACA would impact them. This video highlights Bonnie’s story:


HCAN partner WVCAG continues to work with state allies on pressuring Senator Capito to oppose repeal. The group helped generated the op-ed below:

Activists and impacted people also took a bus DC to share health care stories with Senator Capito & Senator Manchin on June 20.

Earlier in the month, on June 16th, the group held a rally against AHCA in Charleston calling on Senator Capito to oppose the bill.

On Monday, June 26th, WVCAG and allies went back to Capito’s office to keep up the pressure, urging her to reject the repeal of the ACA and gutting Medicaid. Six constituents sat in at Senator Capito’s Charleston, W.Va. office all day. This clip includes live stream of arrests and rally:

WVCAG & Allies + Ohio allies held action on Williamstown bridge calling on Capito & Portman jointly to reject repeal and restructuring of Medicaid. Over 100 demonstrators gathered on the bridge from both states. Video:

WVCAG and coalition partners worked with allies in the faith community in early July to keep the pressure on Senator Capito. Great events including his one led by the interfaith coalition in the state:


Citizen Action of Wisconsin also connected the federal fight to protect healthcare and Medicaid with their state work to advance healthcare and protect Medicaid that focuses on WI Governor Scott Walker:

in early Judy, Citizen Action of Wisconsin held a press event at the Wisconsin State Capitol to introduce a Medicaid (“BadgerCare”) “Public Option” bill. Approximately 30 citizens participated together with Citizen Action of Wisconsin Executive Director Robert Kraig, five state representatives, and two state senators, including the bill’s author, Rep. Eric Genrich, who is also a Citizen Action member. Citizens with signs advocating for the bill and for the protection and improvement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) flanked the speakers throughout the event. This event followed a recent state poll done showing the majority of the Wisconsin public wants to improve not repeal the ACA, so this presented an opportunity.

In Madison on July 5th with SEIU, AFL-CIO and others, Citizen Action members rallied to oppose Trumpcare, to tell Senator Ron Johnson to stay FIRM in his opposition to the Senate Health Care Bill and to call for Medicare for all instead. ~70 people attended, with limited media interviews

CapTimes (Jul 3, 2017) As Ron Johnson continues to negotiate Senate health care bill, progressives plan Wednesday rally

Action’s Western WI Organizing Cooperative held a rally at an intersection in Eau Claire to call for an end to Trumpcare and to support the launch of the BadgerCare Public Option bill. Members rallied, received TV coverage and urged people to keep calling Senator Ron Johnson relentlessly to keep delaying the vote as well as urging to vote no.

Wisconsin Citizen Action also placed this Op-ed in the largest weekly newspaper in Wisconsin, the Shepherd Express, as a featured story on how bad the Senate health bill actually is.

The following day, more activists organized a follow up action outside Johnson’s office.

People Gather at Sen. Ron Johnson’s office to protest Senate health care proposal 

NBC 26 (Jul 6, 2017) Angry over health care plan, protestors stage sit-in at Sen. Johnson’s office 





Faith leaders including Repairers of the Breach, a progressive faith organization run by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, and Reverend Jennifer Butler of FPL were joined by faith leaders from around the nation yesterday for an event at the Capitol where the leaders where then arrested after taking turns making remarks and calling up Senators to stop their repeal effort.

“This is not a health care bill,” said Rev. Jennifer Butler of the liberal religious group Faith in Public Life. “It is a death bill. And we are here to urge life. We stand for life, not death.”

Faith in Public Life Executive Director Jennifer Butler published this piece in religious outlet RNS:


Nevada’s Small Businesses Would Suffer Under Senate Health Care Plan

The Hill, Op Ed by MSA Director Amanda Ballantyne & Rhett Buttle: Senate Health Bill Gives Small Businesses a Splitting Headache, 6/29

Repeal-and Replace: Amanda Ballantyne was also quoted in this piece that appeared in a local Kansas outlet


Leeann Hall, People’s Action Co-Executive Director, Highlights Rural Impact & Rx Drug Gouging in two great pieces that appeared in numerous outlets:

Rural Communities Have the Most to Lose With Health Care Repeal

People’s Action President Jay Johnson, highlights the impact of Republican repeal proposals on black lives in a piece that appeared all over: