Katie O'Donnell and her eighteen-year-old son, Conner, found relief from the sun under a tree outside Senator Cory Gardner's office in downtown Denver around noon today, July 6.
In many ways, the tree has been the only comfort Gardner has provided O'Donnell and her son in recent weeks. At age two, Conner was diagnosed with disabilities that have confined him to a wheelchair and necessitate around-the-clock care, something only Medicaid covers. The Republican senator and his colleagues' health-care bill — the American Health Care Act, a replacement of sorts for the Affordable Care Act — would make cuts to the low-income health-coverage program that also provides many services for the disabled, including home care. Services that Conner relies on to live.
O'Donnell and Conner joined protesters outside Gardner's office to ask that he vote against the bill. The way O'Donnell tells it, she and her husband drained their bank accounts and retirement funds to care for their son in his first two years of life, before Medicaid kicked in...and she's prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure his care continues. Because "if the bill passes, people will die," she says.
Here are a few snapshots of the day's activities. For more photos, don't miss Brandon Marshall's slideshow.
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