July 26, 2017: COUNCILMAN’S HEALTHCARE ARREST

New York City Councilman Corey Johnson’s demands to be heard during the healthcare showdown got him arrested outside of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office.  He’ll be here to give us the inside story.

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

AS THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE CONTINUES TO RAGE ON CAPITOL HILL OUR REPRESENTATIVES ARE MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN RALLY AGAINST TRUMP CARE ON THE STEPS OF CITY HALL.

AMONG THEM, NEW YORK CITY CITY COUNCILMAN COREY JOHNSON.

I HAVE A SISTER WHO AHEAD A BABY.

I HAVE A MOTHER WHO TAKES MEDICATION.

I TAKE LIFE SAVING MEDICATION EVERY DAY BECAUSE OF MY HIV STATUS.

THIS BILL IS CRUEL.

THIS BILL IS INHUMANE.

THIS BILL IS SICK.

THIS BILL IS DERANGED.

THIS BILL IS NOT COMPASSIONATE.

IT IS FOUL, AND IT IS IMMORAL AND EVIL.

THAT IS WHAT IS GOING ON IN WASHINGTON RIGHT NOW.

THIS IS THE CONCERTED EFFORT TO DISMANTLE THE SOCIAL SAFETY NET IN AMERICA.

LAST WEEK COUNCILMAN JOHNSON NOT ONLY TOOK HIS MESSAGE TO WASHINGTON, HE GOT ARRESTED IN THE PROCESS.

WE'RE HERE GETTING ARRESTED INSIDE THE CAPITOL BECAUSE WE WANT TO STAND UP FOR PEOPLE WHO PEOPLE WITH CANCER.

PEOPLE WITH HIV AND AIDS.

PEOPLE WITH ASTHMA.

PREGNANT WOMEN.

WE ARE HERE IN SUPPORT OF THEM.

THIS IS UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT IT'S NOTHING COMPARED TO WHAT IT'S LIKE NOT TO HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE.

THAT IS WHY WE DO THIS.

THIS IS IMMORAL.

THIS IS UN-AMERICAN.

IT'S AGAINST THE VALUES THAT WE HOLD DEAR.

THIS IS GOING TO HURT SO MANY AMERICANS.

COUNCILMAN JOHNSON JOINS US NOW.

WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

NOW THIS VOTE HAPPENED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THIS LEGISLATION, WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CONCERN.

IS IT THE REPEAL, THE SECRECY, WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST PROBLEM?

THE BIGGEST ISSUE HERE IS THAT MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF AMERICANS ARE GOING TO LOSE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE.

THIS IS GOING TO HURT EVERY TYPE OF AMERICAN.

THE YOUNG, THE OLD, THE SICK, THE DISABLED.

THE HEALTHY WHO MAY NOT BE HEALTHY FOR LONG.

THIS BILL IS A TRAVESTY IN MANY WAYS.

THIS IS THE REPUBLICANS ATTEMPTING TO DESTROY AND DISMANTLE THE SOCIAL SAFETY NET IN AMERICA.

I'M HIV POSITIVE.

I TAKE MEDICINE EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I WOULD NOT BE ALIVE IF I DIDN'T TAKE THAT MEDICINE.

I'M LUCKY.

I HAVE GOOD HEALTH CARE.

A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T HAVE THAT.

OBAMACARE HAS HAD ITS PROBLEMS BUT SUCCESSES ARE A LOT MORE OVERWHELMING.

OVER TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS NOW HAVE HEALTH COVERAGE BECAUSE OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.

THERE ARE TWEAKS IT IS MAKE.

REPEALING THIS BILL OR REPLACING THIS BILL IS NOT THE ANSWER.

YOU DID MENTION YOUR OWN PRE-EXISTING CONDITION AND ON TOP OF THAT THERE WAS A LOT OF CONCERN THAT SENATOR McCAIN WHO HAS GOVERNMENT FUNDED HEALTH CARE LIKE YOURSELF VOTED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THIS LEGISLATION.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HIS ACTIONS?

FIRST OF ALL, I HOPE SENATOR McCAIN GET BETTER.

I PRAY FOR HIM AND HIS FAMILY.

I WOULD SAY WE'RE LUCKY.

I'M LUCKY THAT I HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE.

SENATOR McCAIN IS LUCKY.

IT'S ABOUT THE GOLDEN RULE.

TREAT PEOPLE HOW YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED.

THE REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS, THIS WAS REALLY A TAX CUT WRAPPED INTO A HEALTH CARE BILL.

THIS IS ABOUT GIVING TAX CUTS TO THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS AND HURTING THE POOREST AMERICANS.

THIS IS ABOUT DISMANTLING MEDICAID, ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL SAFETY NETS AMERICA HAS SEEN.

MY HOPE IS PEOPLE WILL SEE THIS IS GOING TO HURT AMERICANS AND IT'S GOING TO KILL AMERICANS.

WHAT IS IT THAT PEOPLE CAN DO?

YOU MENTIONED CALLING YOUR SENATORS AND CALLED OUT SENATOR SCHUMER FOR BEING SO SUPPORTIVE OF BEING AGAINST THIS LEGISLATION.

WITH YOUR ARREST, WITH RALLIES LIKE THIS, THIS DOESN'T SEEM TO BE STOPPING THE CONGRESS.

I WOULD LET EVERY STENO THAT POLITICIANS ARE NOT THE ONES THAT LEAD.

IT'S CITIZENS.

IT'S AMERICANS.

IT'S EVERY DAY PEOPLE WHO RISE UP AND SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

AMERICAN HISTORY, WHETHER IT'S THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT OR WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE.

IT WAS LED BY CITIZENS WHO ROSE UP AND SAID ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

PROGRESS IS NOT GUARANTEED.

NEITHER IS JUSTICE.

IT COMES DOWN TO WHAT WE DO TO BEING ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS.

ONE LAST QUESTION.

WHAT IS IT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN?

YOU DID SEE OBAMACARE AND A LOT OF PEOPLE ACKNOWLEDGE IT HAS ITS PROBLEMS.

WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN?

I THINK WE SHOULD HAVE A SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM IN AMERICA.

I THINK THAT EVERY ONE SHOULD BE QUALIFIED.

WE SHOULD HAVE MEDICAID AND MEDICARE FOR ALL.

DOCTORS SHOULD MAKE DECISIONS, NOT HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES, NOT PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES.

HEALTH CARE IS A CIVIL RIGHT, A HUMAN RIGHT.

THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN UNDER THIS CONGRESS.

WE NEED STOP THE REPEAL AND ENSURE THEY DO NOT MOVE AHEAD WITH THIS HORRIBLE BILL THEY PUT FORWARD.

I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME.

IT WAS GREAT TO HEAR YOU SPEAK AND STOP AND SPEAK WITH US.

WE APPRECIATE IT.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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