Medical School Affiliates Protest Republican Healthcare Bill

Harvard Medical School
Melanie Y. Fu

Harvard Medical School, pictured here in October, launched its capital campaign, "The World Is Waiting: The Campaign for Harvard Medicine" in the fall of 2013. The medical school has raised $467 million as of October.

Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School.
Holding up fake gravestones and wearing white lab coats, over 30 Medical School affiliates staged a “die-in” to protest the proposed American Health Care Act on earlier this month at the Medical School’s Tosteson Medical Education Center.

This was part of a nationwide movement protesting the AHCA, which is estimated to cut $834 billion in funding for Medicaid and leave an additional 23 million Americans uninsured by 2026, according to Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan government agency.

Last May, the House of Representatives narrowly voted to approve the AHCA. Many Republicans including President Donald Trump, support the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The event included Medical School students, faculty, physicians, and patients. Speakers shared brief remarks before the “die-in” demonstration.

Medical School instructor Michelle E. Morse described the current lack of moral and civic responsibility physician education as “off track.”

“We as health professionals have to take responsibility for our political education,” she said. “Because if we don’t, we will never achieve our goal of health for all. Health care is a human right, and why don’t we learn that in medical school?”

The participants held up cardboard signs resembling gravestone markers, some of which read “Trumpcare is a Lethal Disease” and “Silence=Death.”

Yuvaram N. V. Reddy, an internal medicine resident at Boston Medical Center, said his patients sometimes ignore his medical advice because it is too expensive.

“The AHCA isn’t just a step backwards, but it’s a harrowing step backwards into an elevator shaft 20 feet down,” he said.

Event organizer and incoming Medical School student Tiantian White said that student activists are considering contacting senators from other states and reaching out to local communities about the potential harmful effects of the proposed bill.

“It would be hard later to sleep at night as we think about the patients who we’re never going to see, who’ll never make it to our clinic because they don’t have the health insurance,” she said. “It would just be unconscionable.”

—Staff writer William L. Wang can be reached at william.wang@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @wlwang20.

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