PORTSMOUTH – Picketers outside 3S Artspace on Wednesday were not there in opposition to the event being held, and in fact applauded the honoring of the 10 to Watch.
Instead, members of Indivisible New Hampshire, Indivisible Portsmouth, Seacoast Huddle, Granite State Progress, and Rights and Democracy were there to see keynote speaker, Governor Chris Sununu, because of their concerns over the potential passage of the GOP health care bill, which some are calling Trumpcare 2.0, and what they say will be the devastating impacts of the bill which will replace the Affordable Care Act.
Each year, 10 to Watch recognizes young Seacoast entrepreneurs and professionals who are making a contribution to their communities.
“We think that’s wonderful,” said Linda Rhodes of Indivisible New Hampshire. “What we are doing is following the schedule of the governor because we want him to agree to meet with us. We have been asking and so far, we have received no response.”
Zandra Rice Hawkins of Granite State Progress said passing the Republican health care bill will be “rolling the dial back” on progress made to provide affordable health insurance, and that many people now covered will lose their insurance under the new plan.
The activists were handing out flyers with information, and band-aids. They were asking the attendees of 10 to Watch to wear the band-aids in support of their efforts to speak with the governor.
“We want a face to face with the governor to have a chance to voice our concerns,” said Rhodes. “The ACA added so many citizens to the insurance rolls and now all the games in this new plan will be reversing that. The governor is trying to place band-aids on the concerns and said the plan was a good conversation starter. He needs to hear what the people of his state have to say.”
When Sununu arrived, he politely took one of the groups’ flyers but did not stop to speak with them, heading to the scheduled event.
The groups say that the Republican health care plan will take away health care from 24 million Americans, send premiums through the roof, and put people with pre-existing health conditions at the mercy of insurance companies. If Sununu does not take steps to oppose the plan, they say 118,000 Granite Staters covered are at risk, and the risks also include 52,700 people now covered under the ACA Expanded Medicaid, and 597,100 NH residents with pre-existing conditions.