Sen. Bernie Sanders delivered a speech on the Senate floor last night regarding Republicans’ health care plan, June 20, 2017.
Courtesy Office of Sen. Bernie Sanders
COVINGTON, Ky. — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders hoped to draw big crowds in Covington Sunday.
More than 2,000 people showed up at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, including the Covington Mayor, who introduced Sanders, I-VT.
Sanders and the crowd wanted to send a message to Republicans, particularly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his home state.
That message: Don’t destroy the Affordable Care Act.
Sanders lambasted the proposed Republican health care bill that would repeal the ACA, also known as Obamacare.
“I beg Sen. McConnell to listen to the organizations at the forefront of medicine who oppose this disastrous legislation,” Sanders said on Sunday.
Sanders flew to Northern Kentucky after headlining a similar rally earlier on Sunday in Morgantown, W.Va.
The crowd lined up for blocks outside the convention center. Many had earlier in the day linked hands across the Roebling Suspension Bridge in support of the ACA and in opposition to the Republican Health Care Plan.
Megan Meyer and her daughter Maya, 6, traveled five hours from their home in Cadiz, Ky.
Maya proudly held a sign aloft saying, “Even I know this is NOT normal!!”
Meyer said she didn’t have health insurance until the Affordable Care Act. She works for herself refinishing floors and catering.
She believes the demonstration and Sanders’ speech on Sunday were worth the five-hour drive.
“I think it’s already had an impact the way we’ve seen people resisting in the streets,” Meyer said. “Republicans are nervous.”
Was their message heard by Republicans? Before the event, the Republican Party of Kentucky sent a defiant message.
“Senator Sanders’ visit is just more proof that the leaders of the Kentucky Democratic Party are continuing to move their party away from Kentucky families and towards coastal liberal elites,” RPK spokesman Tres Watson said in a statement.
Covington Mayor Joe Meyer welcomed Sanders to the stage. Interim city manager Loren Wolff prior to that gave an emotional speech about how the Affordable Care Act helped her son, William, get a kidney transplant.
The crowd erupted as Sanders took the stage to give a 46-minute speech. He took aim at billionaires frequently and criticized the tax breaks the Republican bill would give them.
“We will not allow 22 million to be thrown off health insurance in order to give $500 billion in tax breaks to the top two percent,” Sanders said.
The loudest applause came when Sanders repeated his pledge to introduce a bill that would give the U.S. a single-payer health care covering everyone under Medicare.
Republicans have criticized a single-payer “Medicare-for-all” system they have claimed would cost $32 trillion over a decade.
The average family would save more in health care costs to make up for the rise in taxes to pay for his proposed health care system, Sanders told The Cincinnati Enquirer last week.
“Would taxes go up? The answer is yes,” Sanders said. “But for the middle-class family, they would be better off because of their outrageously high health care costs would go down.”
Sanders pledged to defeat the Republican health care bill.
“The bill currently in the U.S. Senate is a moral outrage and together we will defeat it,” Sanders said as he stepped away from the podium to raucous applause.
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