Supporters of Medicare, Medicaid rally at McCarthy's office

People who have concerns over health care descended Friday on Congressman Kevin McCarthy's office in Bakersfield, chanting and singing about health care being a right, not a privilege.

Protesters were brought in from other areas of the state on several buses.

Campaign for a Healthy California said the protesters are seeking support for Medicare and Medicaid.

The group said in a news release that they're targeting McCarthy, the House majority leader, because he "plays a leading role in moving the Republican agenda forward. This agenda includes plans to privatize Medicare, roll back Medicaid expansion, and convert Medicaid to a block grant program, all schemes that put millions of people's healthcare at risk ..."

Speakers at the rally said McCarthy's district has been a big beneficiary of the Affordable Care Act. Tens of thousands of south Valley residents gained insurance because of the Medicaid expansion, known here as Medi-Cal. Obamacare increased the number of people who qualify for the low-income health care program.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Washington pressed forward with dismantling the law that Gallup polling indicates more than half of Americans dislike. Protesters at Friday's rally looking to further expand the federal health care law said one in three people who purchased insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act's exchange continue to avoid seeing a doctor because of high co-pays and deductibles.

"This law has failed. It's getting worse. Families are hurting, no one has choices," Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said. "We've got to fix this by replacing it with something better and in that transition we want to make sure we don't pull the rug out from anybody."

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