Pro­test­ers urge Costello to pro­tect ACA, Med­i­caid.

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - By Bill Ret­tew bret­tew@dailylocal.com

About three dozen demon­stra­tors chanted and held signs high, Fri­day, out­side U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello’s, R-6, of­fice at the His­toric Ch­ester County Court­house.

Sings read­ing, “Save Med­i­caid,” “Pre­ex­ist­ing con­di­tions uh oh,” and “Trump care will make Amer­ica sick” were dis­played to hun­dreds of lunch time mo­torists along Mar­ket Street.

Demon­stra­tors have met weekly out­side Costello’s of­fice since the pres­i­den­tial inau­gu­ra­tion.

Or­ga­nizer Beth Sweet hopes Costello will lis­ten to his con­stituents.

“We are here to tell Con­gress­man Costello that we don’t sup­port the cuts pro­posed by the Repub­li­cans – cuts that will put the health and safety of res­i­dents at risk in or­der to fund tax cuts for the wealthy,” Sweet said.

Like Sweet, many of the pro­test­ers are at odds with con­tin­ued at­tempts by Repub­li­cans in Congress to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act, also known as Oba­macare. Ear­lier this year, Costello voted against a bill that would re­peal and re­place the ACA. This bill, known as the Amer­i­can HealthCare Act, nar­rowly passed in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Se­nate Repub­li­cans have so far been un­able to get the votes to pass their own ver­sion of an ACA re­peal-and-re­place bill. GOP Sens. Lind­sey Gra­ham of South Carolina and Bill Cas­sidy of Louisiana re­cently un­veiled a new health care bill which could be voted on later this week.

Mar­garet Reif is the Demo­cratic can­di­date for Ch­ester County Con­troller.

“This is not OK,” Reif said. “Why any­one can stand up and say they are go­ing to vote for it I don’t un­der­stand,” she said about Repub­li­cans’ plans to cut the ACA.

Tem­pers flared when mid­way through a pre­sen­ta­tion by four speak­ers, po­lice asked the pro­tes­tors to si­lence their sound sys­tem.

Costello said later that he filed a com­plaint with po­lice. He said that ex­ces­sive noise was dis­turb­ing work at his of­fice and likely at the nearby dis­trict court.

Costello has said of­ten that he sup­ports the right of demon­stra­tors to gather out­side his of­fice.

“It’s a pub­lic street,” he said. “If they want to have their voices heard and they want to do it at my of­fice that’s fine.”

Costello said he has spo- ken with the core group of reg­u­lar demon­stra­tors more of­ten than any other group of con­stituents.

“There are 705,000 peo­ple in­the dis­trict,” he said. “Ido my best to hear voices from all sides.

“Ev­ery­body has their own opin­ions and that’s what it’s all about. That demon­strates that I’m as ac­ces­si­ble as any­one could wish for a con­gress­man.”

De­mon­stra­tor Cor­reen Schall said she wants the Amer­i­can peo­ple to re­ceive the same “safety net” that cor­po­ra­tions that are bailed out re­ceive.

Fiona Al­li­son, board mem­ber of the West Ch­ester Food Cup­board, talked about the strug­gle for many to pay the bills.

“They are very de­pen­dent on gov­ern­ment pro­grams to sur­vive,” she said. “Food is a ba­sic need and no one should go hun­gry.”

Rafael Col­lazo, of Unidos U.S. Ac­tion Fund, talked about re­cent nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and tur­moil with for­eign af­fairs.

“We’re tired, but we will not let our guard down,’ he said.

“Ryan come out, we have some things to talk about,” chanted the demon­stra­tors.

Costello met briefly with pro­test­ers.

BILL RET­TEW JR. – DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Pro­test­ers rally in sup­port of the Af­ford­able Care Act out­side U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello’s, R-6, of­fice at the His­toric Ch­ester County Court­house Fri­day.

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