Rev. William Barber II, Hundreds of OH Clergy Call on Senator Portman to Defend Health Care and Vote “No” on AHCA

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Columbus, Ohio — Rev. Dr. William Barber II and hundreds of Ohio clergy rallied today at the Ohio Statehouse to call on Sen. Rob Portman to vote “no” on Congress’s cruel, destructive and immoral American Health Care Act (AHCA).

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote soon on the bill -- which could strip nearly 1 million Ohioans of health insurance. Sen. Portman faces a historic moral test. Clergy from all over Ohio called on him to stand up for our children, people with pre-existing conditions and those struggling with opioid addiction.

The faith leaders marched from the Statehouse to deliver stories of impacted people and holy texts to Sen. Portman’s office.

Rev. William Barber II, founder of the “Moral Mondays” movement, President of Repairers of the Breach:

“We come here today as people of faith to challenge and call Senator Portman to follow the politics of God, to follow the truth and the love of Christ and to renounce and stand against the meanness, the lies and the con-artistry tactics of Paul Ryan and Donald Trump. They call their act the American Health Care Act but it is an un-American, immoral health care act. To even be having a debate about how to deny and take health care away is immoral and a sign of a deeper spiritual malady that’s not about Republican or Democrat but is about sin.”

Rev. Dr. Tim Ahrens, Senior Minister, First Congregational Church:

“We are religious leaders of Ohio. We are here today to say – All of God’s children deserve health coverage to keep them healthy and to heal them when they are sick. The American Health Care Act will not care for ALL God’s children. The AHCA is bad for working families, bad for our economy and especially bad for our health and wellbeing. The bottom line is – people will die because of this legislation.”

Bishop Tony Minor, Pastor, Community of Faith Assembly:

"We have come to say to Senator Portman, we want and expect you to do right sir and to not yield to partisan politics. We applaud what you said last month and even last week that you will not support a health bill that harms the poor, takes away health care from the sick with preconditions, harms the underemployed by allowing states to end Medicaid Expansion, and harms those young adults who need to remain on their parents plan. But if you said it yesterday, we want you to say it today.  We have faith in you but we know that faith without works is dead.  May your words become deeds that meet needs.  Continue to stand up for the poor and marginalized."

Dr. Gregory Lam, Cardiologist, Physicians Action Network (Dublin, OH):

“This bill will cause 23 million people to lose their insurance. It castigates those with the worst health conditions. It takes away funding from those that need it the most, including poor and middle class families, women and children, and those with opioid addiction and mental health disorders. I know these people for they are my patients and I am a part of their community. I meet, consult and pray with them daily. They work hard for their families. They are not asking for a hand out, but they ARE asking to be included and listened to in this great debate. I ask you to stand with us, to call Senator Portman and ask him to oppose the AHCA and any efforts to weaken Medicaid.”

CONTACT: Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org(202) 735-7123

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