Chaos erupted outside the office of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Thursday, shortly after Republican leaders unveiled their closely guarded plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Capitol police were seen physically removing demonstrators, many of whom were in wheelchairs and holding medical equipment, as they chanted their disapproval of the draft legislation.
“No cuts to Medicaid,” they said, while blocking hallway access from McConnell’s office.
The protest was reportedly organized by the group ADAPT, an advocacy organization for people with disabilities. Images and video recordings of the scene quickly circulated on social media:
Protesters with disabilities stage a "die-in" over cuts to Medicaid outside of Sen. Mitch McConnell's office. pic.twitter.com/Tk94QHb6kY
— Seth Lemon (@Seth_Lemon) June 22, 2017
— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) June 22, 2017
Blood on the floor outside of Leader Mcconnell's office as protestors are physically being removed. pic.twitter.com/z4gVd9t1qe
— Mariam Khan (@MKhan47) June 22, 2017
While the dramatic scene unfolded, Democratic senators led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blasted the bill as “heartless” and a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
— CNN (@CNN) June 22, 2017
The public release of the controversial plan followed weeks of secret negotiations in the legislation’s drafting process, prompting criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for the lack of transparency by Senate leadership. The Senate’s version of the bill, which calls for deep cuts to Medicaid spending and the defunding of Planned Parenthood, is said to largely mirror the bill passed in the House. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the House version would lead to 23 million more uninsured people.
The Senate’s measure could be called to a vote as soon as early as next week.