#TuesdaysWithToomey Keeps Healthcare Heat on Senator Toomey in Allentown

Photo credit: Kevin Mahoney, Raging Chicken Press

Every Tuesday since January, Senator Toomey’s Allentown office has been the site of #TuesdayWithToomey actions. Earlier today about fifty activists picketed, staged a die-in,  and delivered letters to Senator Toomey’s office on Cedar Crest Blvd.

Activists chanted “people before profit,” “which side are you on,” and “healthcare is a moral issue” as cars and trucks drove by and honked in support.

People Before Profit

Carrie Santoro from POWER Northeast, one of the original organizers of Tuesdays with Toomey in Allentown, addressed the crowd in front of Toomey’s office. She broke down exactly what the Republican healthcare “repeal and replace” plan would mean for Pennsylvanians and millions of other Americans. Santoro warned Toomey that there will be a reckoning for him and his party if he continues to put people before profit.

When you look at pictures the bodies of your constituents today, will you circle them as prey, beholden to your donors in the insurance industry? Because make no mistake. How you exist in this moment will have a long-lasting effect on your party. Now is the time to access your humanity. Put people before profit and Pennsylvanians before party.

Life or Death

Today’s die-in featured cardboard tombstones dramatizing the very real consequences of the Republican plan to repeal and replace the ACA. Not only will 23 million Americans be thrown off health insurance, but people will die from lack of care. “Died from loss of Medicaid for nursing home care” and “Died from loss of Medicaid health coverage,” read some of the tombstones.

But for Tom Latzgo, one of the participants in the die-in, the consequences of the Republican health care plan will mean confronting his final days in the near future thanks to provisions in the Republican plan that will allow health care companies to set limits on the amount of care they are willing to pay. Latzgo has a medical condition that requires him to have biweekly injections of a life-saving drug. The drug is made by only one company and costs about $450,000 a year, according to Latzgo. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Latzgo can get treatment. However, if the Republican health care plan passes and Trump signs it into law, Latzgo will hit his lifetime healthcare limit “almost immediately.” Without treatment, Latzgo will have to begin saying his good-byes to loved ones.

No Media Allowed

Several Tuesday with Toomey activists delivered letters to Senator Toomey’s office telling their stories about the impact the Republican repeal and replace plan will have on them and their families. One woman’s postcard read, “Senator Toomey, You will kill my child with this bill. She has a preexisting condition.”

I accompanied activists into Toomey’s Allentown office as they delivered their letters. In a matter of seconds, Toomey’s staffers told me that media were not allowed in the office. They thrust paper brochures in front of my camera and corralled me out the door. Not only has Senator Toomey not made himself available for town halls and other constituent-held events, he also seems to want to prevent all public scrutiny of his actions.

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