Memphians Rally for 'Health Care, not Wealth Care'

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MAYA SMITH
  • Maya Smith
Although on Tuesday the vote to overhaul Affordable Health Care (AHC) was postponed until after the Independence Day recess, groups from around the city gathered Wednesday morning to rally against the possible repeal.

Dozens of individuals, holding signs reading phrases like, "healthcare not wealthcare" and "healthcare is a human right," crowded in the parking lot of 1870 Madison Ave near N. McLean Boulevard.

Organized by the Coalition for Organizational Protection of People and Equal Rights (COPPER) in collaboration with the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist (CBTU), the rally was meant to grab the attention of Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, says Vee Banks who also helped to organize the gathering.

Banks told the group of ralliers that it is important that they stay focused and continue to put pressure on Tennessee Senators in the upcoming weeks. She encouraged the group to "not go out without a fight."

The fight for affordable healthcare is one that the executive director of COPPER, Rhonnie Brewer says is personal and "not about politics."

"This is something that would impact the daily lives of over 20 million Americans," Brewer said.

Brewer says the new bill would specifically be detrimental to the city of Memphis and its large population of people who depend on Medicaid.

CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Greater Memphis Region, Ashley Coffield was also present at the rally and says the new healthcare bill would be the "worst bill for women's health in a generation," as it would block women on Medicaid from using Planned Parenthood to receive birth control, cancer screenings, and other services.

"We don't want healthcare taken away," Coffield said. "And we don't want to block women from coming to Planned Parenthood. The delay in the vote shows how powerful our voices are, but make no mistake; it's far from over."

Others present were representatives from the Memphis Center for Independent Living, Indivisible Memphis, and United Methodist Church.

Banks says more rallies like this are planned to take place in the next couple of weeks as officials in Washington D.C. prepare to vote on the repeal of AHC.
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