About 75 Southern Illinois residents marched in front of Congressman Mike Bost’s Carbondale office Monday, protesting Bost’s vote in favor of the American Health Care Act last week.
Outside of the Hunter Building at 310 E. Main St., marchers chanted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Bost has got to go,” and “When is judgment day? November 2018.”
Bost was not in his Carbondale office Monday afternoon, nor did anybody come out to address the crowd. Unlike past protests, the crowd stayed outside of the building and did not attempt to enter Bost’s office.
However, the crowd was definitely seen as several cars and trucks honked and yelled out of windows as they passed on
The protest was without incident, until a truck attempted to pull into the parking lot near the Hunter building. The driver was attempting to get past the crowd when somebody struck his vehicle. The driver then circled the building’s parking lot and sped back near the crowd, but stopped short of hitting anyone. A few arguments that ensued, but nobody was injured, and the driver went on his way. Protester Sana Haque said the driver attempted to swerve into the group of people, nearing hitting one women when she hit the driver's vehicle.
Billy Rodgers of Du Quoin, said he came to protest as a bipartisan voter, adding Monday wasn’t about being a Democrat or a Republican, it was about people.
“It is about what’s right, and I don’t believe that what is right is the federal healthcare program,” he said. “I’m not here as a Democrat or a Republican. I’m here as a human being.”
The march was organized by the same group that promoted the Carbondale Women’s March in January. Unlike that event, Monday’s protest was part of a larger movement. It was part of the Women's March #PledgeOfLiberation. Protests were held throughout the country and there were several in Illinois as well, according to group member Elizabeth Hunter.
The group sent out an email on Sunday announcing the protest.
“Many Southern Illinoisans are feeling uncertain of their futures and have lost confidence in Congressman Mike Bost, who has supported every version of repealing the Affordable Care Act,” the email stated.
It added that despite saying he did not support taking coverage away from people with preexisting conditions, Bost voted for a bill in which “coverage for people with pre-existing conditions will be either non-existent or financially out of reach.”
“Mike Bost has irresponsibly let loyalty to his party and to Donald Trump get in the way of reality and the loyalty he should have to his constituent.”
After the march, Bost told the Carbondale Times in an email that the ACHA is not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction to decrease premiums and expand and enhance health care options so Americans can find a plan that’s right for them.
“Obamacare was based on a one-size-fits-all approach that put bureaucrats in Washington in charge of your health care,” Bost wrote. “Many of the counties in the Illinois 12th Congressional District only have one option through the exchange under Obamacare, and that plan’s premiums have skyrocketed by 70 percent. In some states, insurers are fleeing entirely.”
“We can stand by and watch Obamacare collapse by allowing health care options to become increasingly unaffordable and inaccessible … or we can take action to return control of health care from Washington back to the states and restore the free market so Americans can access quality, affordable health care options.”