The Roundup -

Organization Mounts Resistance to American Health Care Act


Activist and Community Organizer, Jeannie Brown, testifying on the importance of public entitlements. (Photo by Mom's Rising)

The Center for Community Change, a non-profit and progressive organization headquartered in Washington D.C., is currently focused on creating grass-roots resistance to the American Health Care Act, which has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and will be considered by the Senate. As a part of the effort to stop reform of the national health care system, the Center for Community Change has encouraged their paid staff to travel throughout the country to explain what they perceive to be possible negative ramifications, should the bill be passed by the Senate. One such activist is Jeannie Brown from Belgrade, who recently visited Sidney and spoke to the Roundup about her mission.

"What we're encouraging people to do," Brown said, "is to contact their senators and encourage them not to pass the American Health Care Act, which will repeal the Affordable Health Care Act."

Brown, who was accompanied by a granddaughter with a disability, told the Roundup, "If she reaches the newly proposed life-time caps, she'll be denied services at that point, and she'll literally die."

Brown argues that people need to have an attitude of charity toward one another, because one never knows when a health disaster or catastrophe may personally strike them and they would have to rely upon fellow tax-payers to take care of their medical bills, saying, "When everyone is doing well, everyone is helped."

According to Brown's research, Richland County has 512 families on the SNAP food stamp program, 7 people on the Temporary Public Assistance Work Program, 140 families on the Montana Low Income Energy Assistance program, 41 receiving childcare assistance and 1,573 who receive subsidies for health care. All of these would be adversely affected by proposed changes in the Republican-led legislature.

When asked if she thought these various government programs amounted to a redistribution of wealth, Brown responded, "We all have to help one another. Some CEOs make seventeen million dollars. Nobody needs to make seventeen million dollars."

Brown told the Roundup that proposed changes will bring havoc to Montanans, saying, "These programs are safety nets. Currently, Montana receives matching funds, but if we go to a block grant system as proposed people are going to lose services."

Brown told the Roundup that a number of disadvantages to Montanans could be expected with upcoming legislative changes promoted by the Trump Administration, including a farm bill that would reduce the distribution of food stamps and more pertinently to her mission in Richland County, the removal of health care subsidies and other entitlements gained for the public during the Obama presidency.

Brown says that she is sympathetic with the Eastern Montanans who have told her their problems with the Affordable Health Care Act (also known as ObamaCare) while on tour to different communities, but says that all those problems can be fixed not with a Republican-led "repeal and replace" strategy, but instead with a single-payer health care system. When asked if she shies away from the term, "socialism," Brown said, "Personally, I do not have a problem with socialism."

Aside from advocating against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the Center for Community Change also lobbies for the asserted rights of illegal immigrants and LGBT individuals, access to financial services by minority communities (in its previous coalition with ACORN, it played a role in the sub-prime mortgage crisis) and has formed partnerships with groups like the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood.

When asked how her organization is funded, Brown said that she wasn't sure. In fact, Center for Community Change is funded in part by billionaire financier, George Soros, as well as by other special interest groups that are primarily outside of Montana.


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