More than one hundred protesters rallied outside Senator Thom Tillis' Raleigh office Tuesday afternoon calling for the Republican senator to reject his party's bill to replace Obamacare.
In the crowd was Chris Rivera, with the Alliance of Disability Advocates. Rivera is a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair. He worries that with the bill's large cuts to Medicaid, he could lose the money he gets to pay for the several catheters he goes through each day.
"I can't reuse catheters," Rivera said. "I've done that before. It results in UTIs. It results in me being in the hospital. It results in my health going down."
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill would cut $770 billion in Medicaid spending over the next ten years and force 22 million Americans off health coverage. That worries Corye Dunn with Disability Rights North Carolina.
"There's no way to cut $800 billion from Medicaid without hurting people with disabilities," Dunn said.
Dunn said the bill will also impact the poor and the elderly, who rely on Medicaid for health care costs. She notes half of Americans in nursing homes use Medicaid to foot the bill.
"That's the unfortunate truth," she said. "Most Americans can't afford to pay for the kind of care they will use at the end of their life, and so many, many older adults rely on Medicaid.
Around 2 million people in North Carolina are on Medicaid, up from about 1.6 million before the Affordable Care Act took effect. North Carolina's other Republican Senator, Richard Burr, has said he supports the overhaul. The Senate voted Tuesday to delay a vote on the bill until after the July 4 recess. Tillis has not said how he will vote when, or if, the bill comes to the floor.