Calmer weather in store this week

Oklahomans protest Senate health care bill

OKLAHOMA CITY - Protesters opposing possible changes for health care made appeals to Oklahoma senators Wednesday.

Many from Progressive Independence and Indivisible Oklahoma, contending the Senate health care plan will leave people left with little or no coverage, were on the steps of the State Capitol and at their Senator's office, asking their Senate representatives to fight the existing bill.

A group from Progressive Independence, representing people with disabilities, met with some of Senator James Lankford's staff. They wanted to show him what's at stake if the health care bill passes as is.

"If they pass this thing, they are truly sentencing a whole lot of people to die a slow gruesome death," said Lori, a member of Progressive Independence.

Lori was born with Cerebral Palsy, she's one of the thousands who rely on Medicaid-funded programs that help her get through everyday life.

Those are necessary services she may lose if the Senate health care bill were to pass.

"Without that, I'm forced into a nursing home," Lori said.

"They just need to leave it alone, stop trying to kill everybody out here in the community," said the Progressive Independence executive director, Jeff Hughes.

Press weren't allowed into the meeting, but afterward, Hughes said the Senator's staff insisted cuts wouldn't be made to assisted living centers. However, Hughes said they don't want to be forced to live in assisted living centers, they want to keep the waivers helping them afford in-home help, and maintain independence.

Hughes said this is also generally less expensive for taxpayers than putting everyone in nursing homes.

But the scope is much wider than people with disabilities, and dozens from Indivisible Oklahoma held a candlelight vigil at the the State Capitol. They were advocating for children, pregnant women and people with critical illnesses; everyone they maintain would lose insurance and drown under impossible medical expenses.

"My life depends on it, [my disease] is incurable," said Beverly Tuberville, founder of Indivisible Oklahoma. "With caps, people like me won't be able to survive. They'll file for bankruptcy and who's going to cover that?"

 “Senator Lankford greatly values and appreciates all constituent feedback. As Senator Lankford pushes for reforms that ensure that health care is affordable for Oklahomans of all socioeconomic levels and all health conditions, he encourages Oklahomans to contact his office with concerns and recommended solutions.” –Aly Beley, spokesman, Senator James Lankford

Senator Lankford has not decided how he will vote on the Senate bill but is reviewing it closely.