More than 200 healthcare professionals, students and patients are expected to join other advocates in Chicago on Saturday to protest against the projected loss of health coverage for millions if the Republican replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act becomes law.
The event marks the second such demonstration this year organized by a group of Northwestern University medical students, who will be joined by other medical students from across the city to oppose the proposed ACA repeal and its potential impact on patients.
The protest will include staging a die-in for 24 seconds to represent the 24 million individuals the Congressional Budget Office projected will lose coverage by 2026 under the American Health Care Act.
“We think that having the Affordable Care Act repealed without having an adequate replacement puts our patients at risk, especially our most vulnerable patients,” said Apoorva Ram, a first-year medical student and one of the organizers of the event. “Having health insurance coverage really is a life-or-death situation.”
The event is similar to other types of political demonstrations held by health professionals throughout the country in recent months in opposition to the Trump administration's positions on several issues.
More than 4,800 physicians signed a letter in December expressing their opposition to the American Medical Association's decision to endorse Trump's pick of Rep. Tom Price to become HHS secretary. As of January, more than 6,400 physicians have signed onto the letter.
In January, hundreds of medical students in several cities held a national protest against efforts to repeal the ACA. Last month, many of the nation's leading medical organizations railed against Trump's Jan. 27 executive order temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
Many of these actions have been led by young physicians and medical students.
“As our generation of medical students grows into becoming doctors, we are being taught to advocate for our patients,” Ram said. “And right now is a time when that is being tested to see whether we really can advocate for our patients in a way that's going to make change.”