Town hall protesters worry about women's health, Medicaid expansion

Caresse Jackman talks about women's rights protesters at a town hall meeting in Metairie.

METAIRIE, La.- Chanting and shouting from protesters of different ages and backgrounds raised their voices outside of the Jefferson Parish library Wednesday night.

With the library packed, many of the people were not allowed inside but continued to shout their concerns with their senator and President Donald Trump.

Jane Weaver carried a sign outside that read: "Stop the War on Women."

"I've been carrying this sign for about 8 years," Weaver said.

Weaver worries about the shaky future of the Affordable Care Act and what it may mean for women's health and even broader; women's rights.

"They have a war on women. And if they say there isn't, they are dumb and ignorant!" Weaver said.

Metairie resident Dumb Rome disagrees.

"I don't think a woman has the right to tell a woman what to do with his child either!," Rome said. "The child is half a man's child!"

Across the country, protesters packed town hall meetings loudly expressing concerns to politicians as they visit the people they represent. Senator Bill Cassidy received it not just in Metairie, but also in Livingston Parish last night. Despite the tension, the Republican senator say she welcomes the feedback.

"I'm a physician," Senator Cassidy said. "I've been in the ICU with patients bleeding out. That's stressful. This? This was actually a great time. I enjoyed myself tremendously." 

Cassidy strongly believes in President Trump finding a better healthcare solution for Louisiana.

"(President Trump) ran saying he  wants to repeal and replace Obamacare," Sen. Cassidy said. "And he wanted to replace it with something which covers everyone. Caring for those with pre-existing conditions, without mandates at a lower costs. Now, those are great goals."

Dr. Jason Halperin specializes in HIV at Crescent Care in New Orleans. Halperin said he attended the protest on behalf of his patients.

"If we lose Medicaid expansion, then we are going to have people in the state of Louisiana who no longer have insurance, and their lives will be at risk," Dr. Halperin said.

Dr. Halperin also said that Cassidy, a physician himself, should remember his roots, especially when talking about Medicaid expansion.

"I've heard stories that he was one of the only people providing care, which is great and I commend him for that," Dr. Halperin said about HIV care. "But please, now that he's in Washington, do not forget those who are at most need here in Louisiana and those are people that are dependent on Medicaid," 

Cassidy said governors do not mind covering people when it comes to Medicaid, they just do not want the federal government giving them entanglements and telling them what to do.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu held a press conference Tuesday, emphasizing the importance of the Affordable Care Act, especially when maintaining Medicaid. Landrieu said about 400,000 people in Louisiana rely on it.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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