TOMS RIVER – Protesters were once again waiting outside for Congressman Tom MacArthur as the 3rd congressional district representative made another radio appearance Wednesday afternoon at WOBM’s Downtown Toms River studios. Demonstrators expressed support for the Affordable Care Act in the wake of Republican plans to repeal the healthcare law, with one key amendment being championed by MacArthur.
With chants of “Mend it, not end it,” a group of demonstrators waiting for Congressman Tom MacArthur had a strong message for their representative: don’t take away our healthcare.
The protest was coordinated by the New Jersey Organizing Project and New Jersey Citizen Action and saw demonstrators protest MacArthur’s “Ask the Congressman” radio appearance where he answered questions from constituents who called in to the show hosted by WOBM’s Tom Mongelli. Callers to Wednesday night’s program brought up issues ranging from healthcare to veterans and environmental issues, some of which were topics of discussion at past MacArthur town hall meetings.
The demonstrators were out in full force to oppose the congressman’s stance on healthcare and potential Medicaid cuts that could be looming in the next federal budget.
Priscilla Robinson, an activist from the New Jersey Organizing Project said her and her group were at the Toms River protest to “…speak out against MacArthur’s decision to put party politics over the people of New Jersey and the people of his district.”
“If you don’t know, 40% of people in Ocean County are working poor,” Robinson told the crowd of demonstrators. “That means many of them depend on the programs that we are trying to fight to protect.”
Robinson cited her own family’s reliance on the programs, such as Medicaid, with the organizer sharing a personal story about her own sister’s battle with addiction and reliance on expanded Medicaid coverage.
“I don’t what my sister would do without Medicaid now with her newborn baby,” she added.
Jody Stewart, an NJOP member and resident of Little Egg Harbor told fellow demonstrators that if not for the Medicaid expansion component of the Affordable Care Act, she would still be picking and choosing between which medicines to purchase each month due to a lack of coverage.
“I am the face of Medicare expansion,” Stewart said. “I could not afford health insurance. I could not afford to have my Hepatitis-C treated. I could not afford to take care of my bipolar. I had to choose monthly which ones I could take.”
“So when Obamacare came out I had a chance to get healthy again,” Stewart explained. “I cannot afford to lose my Medicaid.”
Additional photos of the protest: