Nearly 100 gather in Public Square to express concern with healthcare bill

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A Senate plan to replace healthcare is proving to be a tough sell as protests were held Tuesday in Cleveland and across the country.

As Senate leaders announced a delay in the vote, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced he would vote "no" on the current Senate draft.

Portman and W. Va Sen. Shelley Moore Capito issued a joint statement this week after a meeting with President Donald Trump and other Republican Senators, who were trying to rally support for the bill.

In a statement, Portman said though he thinks the Affordable Care Act is not working for Ohio families and small businesses, he says he continues to have concerns about the Medicaid policies in this new bill, especially those that impact drug treatment at a time when Ohio is facing an opioid epidemic.

Gov. John Kasich is also speaking out about the damage the bill could do to Ohioans.

"If you don't have good health care, if you are sick, you can't work. If you are hungry, it's unlikely you're going to be able to work. What we are trying to do is to have a system that encourages people to work, to improve their lives and to help their families. And I think the bill is inadequate," Kasich said.

Kasich went on to say he believes fixing health care can be done and should be done, but in a bipartisan way.

As Congress delayed the vote, close to 100 northeast Ohio residents opposed the bill Tuesday in Public Square.

Demonstrators said if the plan goes through, it could be thousands of Ohioans without insurance. Many said they were concerned about potential cuts in coverage for millions, and also funding cuts to certain programs, including ones that help women and children.

One of the programs that could see funding cuts is WIC -- the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. It helps low income pregnant women, mothers, and children by providing healthy food. The proposed health care plan would cut about $200 million from the program's $6.4 billion budget.

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