Protesters stage “die-ins” at local offices of Republicans representatives Chris Collins and Tom Reed.

Signs reading “24 Million R.I.P.” and “No Congressmen Die for Lack of Healthcare” waved among many others Tuesday in a crowd outside the Geneva office of U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning. Some people threw themselves on the ground for what activists called a “die-in.” Similar protests staged Thursday took place outside the Geneseo and Williamsville offices of U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence.

The two congressmen — whose districts cover part of the Finger Lakes region, including all of Ontario County between them — voted for the GOP healthcare bill that passed last week in the House of Representatives' mostly party-line 217-213 vote. It advances a bill that addresses Republicans’ longtime pledge to erase the 2010 health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — colloquially known as “Obamacare.”

After the vote, Collins said it put the nation “even closer to ending the Obamacare nightmare.” But based on the protests taking place nationally and locally, many see the Republicans’ push to “repeal and replace” the ACA as the nightmare.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that under initial versions of the House bill 24 million fewer people would have health insurance by 2026. The bill hadn’t received a CBO score. The bill also eliminates tax penalties under Obama’s law and erases tax increases on higher-earning people and the health industry.

The bill includes nearly $1 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, much of that for the very wealthy. Families making more than $1 million a year would receive tax cuts averaging $51,000, an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center shows. The bill would raise taxes for some low-income families.

However, Collins and Reed both heralded the GOP bill with Reed calling it “a great victory for the American people.” According to Reed, the bill ”upholds protections for pre-existing conditions and the expansion of Medicaid, which help our most vulnerable populations.” Reed added the bill would also provide much needed property tax relief for New Yorkers “who are unfairly forced to foot the bill for Medicaid.”

Organizers of the die-ins said people are concerned about the bill’s failure to require affordable coverage for more than 50 health issues identified by insurance companies as pre-existing conditions — ranging from cervical cancer to cerebral palsy.

“My son has high-risk neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer with a 50 percent survival rate,” stated Melissa Leitzan, a constituent in Collins’ district who helped promote Thursday die-ins that included speakers telling personal stories. “I was so thankful for the ACA, knowing he would always be covered, but now I have real fear and anxiety that his pre-existing condition will prevent him from having affordable health care, especially if the cancer returns. The votes of Chris Collins and the GOP, in their haste to erase President Obama’s legacy, seem deliberately cruel,” Leitzan said.

The bill also rolls back Medicaid expansion programs designed to help the working poor, and enables the healthcare industry to place a higher burden on the elderly by charging them five times more for coverage, according to organizers, who also attacked Collins for not reading the bill.

“The Congressman voted in favor of the repeal bill without reading it, and is willfully blind to the impact this legislation will have on his constituents,” stated organizers.

The events were organized and co-sponsored by a long list including: GLOW Progressives; WNY Peace Center, Buffalo Resists; Sister District for WNY; Indivisible NY 27th; Emotion Into Action; ACTion Buffalo; Rochester ACT; Stand Up WNY; We The People; and Huddle for the 27th and Citizens Against Collins.

The die-in at Reed’s Geneva office Tuesday followed previous protests taking place on Tuesdays over Trump administration policies Reed backs, such as the refugee ban, border wall with Mexico and repeal and replace of Obamacare.