About two dozen people protested DeSantis' vote in favor of the American Health Care Act.
The figures sprawled across the grass in front of U.S. Rep Ron DeSantis' office in Palm Coast the morning of May 9 held signs behind their heads like headstones: "Death by DeSantis," read one. "R.I.P.: Pre-existing condition," read another.
The two dozen protestors held the die-in event outside DeSantis' office to protest his vote in favor of the American Health Care Act and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
"This is not a health care plan. It is a thinly disguised tax cut for the top 2% of Americans," Indivisible Flagler organizer and Palm Coast resident Diana Becker LeBrun said at the event, reading from a petition she was preparing to deliver to DeSantis' office. "It is shameful and grotesque. We will do everything that we can so that such a fraudulent sham cannot be played out upon hard working American taxpayers."
The version of the AHCA that the House passed on May 4 was not scored by the Congressional Budget Office before the House vote. CBO scoring of a previous version of the AHCA indicated that the legislation would increase the number of people who are uninsured by 24 million in 2026.
The new bill would let states opt out of the certain Affordable Care Act protections that prevented individuals with pre-existing conditions from having to go through the under-writing process, in which companies can screen applicants for potentially costly health conditions, then charge people who have them higher premiums. Under the AHCA, individuals with pre-existing conditions living in a waiver state could be subject to underwriting for one year if they have a lapse in coverage that lasts for more than 63 days.
Carol Fischer, 62 and a resident of Flagler Beach, came to the protest carrying a photo of her 2-year-old twin granddaughters. "This little one has had two open-heart surgeries," she said. "She will always have to have good health insurance.
Palm Coast resident Susan Green, 66, said she and her husband are both cancer survivors. "People who I know who don't support the ACA, they have a selfish mentality that you should be able to pay for it yourself," she said. "I would be happy to pay for universal healthcare."
Attendees at the event swapped stories of the astronomical health bills that their Affordable Care Act plans had saved them from paying out of pocket.
Fischer said she was hospitalized last year for two days for seizures, and that the total bill sent to the insurance company she'd chosen through the ACA came to about $89,000.
Ormond Beach resident Nancy Wilks, 57 and an organizer with the Ormond Beach-based Indivisible Floridian Unity, said that she has a pre-existing condition, but that she really came to the protest for her great nephew, who is 10 and has brain cancer. His parents had had to move to get him access to a good healthcare plan after they exceeded the cap on the one he was on, she said.
She also had a pre-existing condition, and saw her premiums drop once she was able to access coverage through the ACA, she said.
The healthcare vote seems to have added energy to the Indivisible movement, she said. "I feel like the momentum is only getting stronger, our groups are only getting stronger, and people are only getting angrier," she said.
Palm Coast resident Dan Malueg, 59, said that he and his wife now pay about $2,500 a year under the ACA. So they checked the website of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has rough calculators for how costs are expected to change under the proposed legislation, and found that Keiser estimated that they'd be paying about $20,000 a year under the AHCA.
"Before the ACA, our premiums were going up 20% on average every year," he said. "We were buying crap insurance for outrageous prices, and that's what Trumpcare is going to take us back to."