Protesters Voice Anger Over Health Law in Downtown Wheeling

Crowd opposes repeal of ACA

Photo by Drew Parker Brittany Sterling of Martins Ferry attends a protest in Wheeling on Monday opposing a vote by U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va, in support of the American Health Care Act of 2017.

WHEELING — A series of chalk outlines appeared on the sidewalk along Main Street in Wheeling Monday afternoon in protest of House Republicans’ measure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Those images, accompanied by phrases including “Death by Republican,” were drawn by about a dozen protesters gathered in front of the Horne Building on Main Street, which houses Republican U.S. Rep. David McKinley’s Wheeling office. They were there to voice their displeasure with McKinley’s vote in favor of the American Health Care Act of 2017.

Kelci Crawford, a Saint Clairsville-based web artist, said she attended the protest to support the concerns of her online fans regarding the health care bill, as well as the concerns of her and her sister, who are currently on Medicaid.

“As a professional comic artist publishing work online, I get a lot of readers telling me about their experiences on Medicare and Medicaid and they thank me for posting comics because it helps distract from the pain. I’m here for them, but also for my sister and myself, because my sister and I are both Medicaid recipients, and to hear that the American Health Care Act is planning on making cuts to Medicaid means my sister and I could lose our insurance and because of the pre-existing conditions listed I could not qualify for new insurance once my insurance is renewed.”

Erika Scott, of Wheeling Island, said she came to oppose President Donald Trump and Republicans supporting the plan.

“People shouldn’t have to live in fear of dying,” Scott said.

“It’s really scary.”

Brittany Sterling, a current Martins Ferry resident and former Wheeling resident, said she wanted to express her disappointment in McKinley.

“People are going to die. Health care is a human right and we as human beings should be taking care of one another,” Sterling said. “This decision might make sense in a business world, but we’re people, not commodities. This is a direct assault on the working class and poor in America. … I just want David McKinley to know that he has let us down. He has betrayed us and he did not do what is good for his constituency. Anyone who voted for that health care bill abandoned us.”

Glen Dale resident Alicia McClintock said she contacted McKinley’s office prior to the vote.

“He doesn’t care about people. He can’t, or he would have voted no,” McClintock said of McKinley.

When contacted after Monday’s protest, a spokesperson from McKinley’s office said the congressman welcomes diverse opinions and viewpoints from the district and is grateful many of his constituents are sharing their thoughts on the issue.