Almost a 100 arrested in Medicaid protests

Scores of protesters, many in wheelchairs, gathered in the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building in Washington DC on May 2 to protest planned Medicaid cuts that could result in people with disabilities having to move out of their homes.

Of the 300 protesters occupying the rotunda, about a 100 were arrested for unlawful conduct for trespassing in a federal building, a misdemeanor, according to an article in Politico. The disability rights group ADAPT organized the protests.

“We can not accept this invasion of our liberty any longer. The institutional bias in federal and state policies steals our freedom, our families, our homes, and our very lives,” said Bruce Darling, an organizer with Rochester ADAPT, according to an ADAPT news release. “The Ryan Plan’s claim of ‘flexibility’ is a lie. We don’t need flexibility in Medicaid cuts. We need flexibility in Medicaid spending so people can choose the less expensive community service options they want, and that will ultimately contain costs.”

Under a plan from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis), Medicaid, which is currently federally administered, would become run by the states through block grants, in pursuit of a goal of reducing Medicaid spending by more than $700 billion during the next decade. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the plan on near party lines last month.

Despite the arrests, several hundred ADAPT protesters are protesting outside Paul Ryan’s office today, according to an article in The Hill.