Casper Residents Hold ‘Die-In’ To Protest Proposed Health Care Act
At noon Friday, Casper resident Mona Maxwell-Creel played dead at Conwell Park across the street from the Wyoming Medical Center.
Maxwell-Creel joined about 20 other people for a "die-in" to protest the American Health Care Act, President Donald Trump's proposal -- approved by the U.S. House last week -- to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
It's more than politics, Maxwell-Creel said. "I'm talking life and death here."
They arrived about 11:50 a.m., distributed signs and heard the agenda for the protest: holding the signs for motorists to see, and then lie down to underscore what they believe will be the 24 million Americans who may lose coverage including 24,000 Wyoming residents.
The home-made signs declared, "RIP Pre-existing Conditions," "AHCA Killed My Mama," "Healthcare for All," "Mourning In America," and "Trumpcare Kills" -- the latter with a couple of hammer-and-sickle logos of the defunct Soviet Union drawn on it.
The few motorists who honked their approval seemed to outnumber those who disagreed. One person yelled, "take that, damned liberals," and threw a pop can at the protesters. One of them picked it up and put it in the trash.
Maxwell-Creel didn't hold a sign because she marked the die-in by lying in a makeshift gurney covered in a sheet.
The protest was personal for her, she said.
Her husband has diabetes and her four-month-old grandson has Down Syndrome, both of which are pre-existing conditions, Maxwell-Creel said.
Her brother and sister-in-law also will be among the 24 million Americans estimated to lose coverage by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office report on the proposed Act. The White House disputed the findings in the report.
Her sister-in-law has cancer, will lose all coverage and possibly die as a result, she said.
Maxwell-Creel has no confidence in President Donald Trump's assertions, as well as those of Wyoming's all-Republican delegation, that the American Health Care Act as approved by the U.S. House will maintain coverage of pre-existing conditions, she said. "If this passes, they are going to be very limited."
Jane Ifland, the organizer of the die-in and the Casper branch of the nationwide anti-Trump Indivisible movement, said the die-in graphically illustrated the possible results if the American Health Care Act becomes law.
"People will die from pre-existing conditions if they can't get treated; people will reach their lifetime caps (on insurance benefits) some of them within weeks of being born like Jimmy Kimmel's baby; kids who, under the Affordable Care Act, were covered until they reach age 25 won't be anymore," Ifland said. "(A ton) of bad stuff is going to happen and people are going to die because of it."
The Affordable Care Act covers about 24,000 Wyoming residents, she said.
Besides individuals, the proposed American Health Care Act will significantly affect hospitals because so many more people won't have health insurance and the hospitals will need to cover their costs by passing them off to other patients, she said.
Wyoming Medical Center spokeswoman Krisy Gray said the hospital had no comment on the die-in, nor is it affiliated with the Indivisible movement.
Ifland said Wyoming U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso are among the 13 on the committee to write the Senate's own version of the American Health Care Act.
"Our hope is our senators will look at Wyoming's situation -- sparsely populated, rural, we need those hospitals and we need that coverage -- and do their best to make sure that health care in this country is affordable, available, universal and not limited by somebody's ideology," she said.