Ady Barkan & Be A Hero Tour Come to Central NY


In Press Conference Outside Katko’s Office, Barkan & Local Residents Emphasize Human Impact of Katko’s And Tenney’s Votes To Pass The TrumpTax

Barkan Will Kick Off Health Care Canvass In Utica To Highlight Tenney’s Attempts To Take Away Health Care From 37,000 Of Her Own Constituents

SYRACUSE — Ady Barkan, the leader of the Be A Hero campaign and a lifelong progressive activist widely known for his work defending the Affordable Care Act during last summer’s health care fight, is joining Speak Out Central New York today and Saturday for a series of events in Congressmembers John Katko’s and Claudia Tenney’s districts, emphasizing the human impact of ongoing Republican efforts to sabotage health care for working families.

Barkan, a 34-year-old father from Arizona who is also fighting ALS, gained national attention last summer when he confronted Senator Jeff Flake on an airplane shortly before the Senate voted to pass the TrumpTax into law. Barkan asked Flake to be an American hero and vote against the Republican tax scam, during a conversation that was captured on video and rapidly became national news.

“My experience is proof that medical emergencies can happen to anyone, at any time, and no family should face financial ruin just because they don’t have health insurance,” Barkan said. “John Katko and Claudia Tenney failed their constituents when they voted to pass the TrumpTax, and raised Central New York families’ premiums by more than $2,500. It’s because of that vote that their Republican colleagues are now threatening care for 130 million Americans who suffer from pre-existing conditions. We have to hold our members of Congress accountable for their votes to destroy health care for millions of families and to jeopardize the well-being of their own constituents.”

Barkan’s stops in Syracuse and Utica are part of the Be A Hero campaign’s nationwide tour in an RV this summer, which is traveling to 30 congressional districts in 22 states. Barkan is also running television ads in Central New York telling Katko and Tenney to repeal the tax plan.

Barkan led a press conference outside Katko’s Syracuse office on Friday, calling on the Congressman to put an end to Republican health care sabotage and repeal the TrumpTax. Katko joined with his party to pass the TrumpTax in December, despite the warnings of health care experts nationwide – including President Trump’s own former Health and Human Services Secretary – who predicted massive premium hikes if the individual mandate were repealed. Now, New York insurers are requesting double-digit rate hikes for 2019, with some insurers requesting increases of nearly 40 percent. Families of four in Tenney’s district will face a $2,510 increase, while those in Katko will see average increases of $2,760.

Katko proudly calls himself a moderate, despite voting in line with the Trump administration’s agenda nearly 90 percent of the time. He and Tenney recently attended a$30,000-per-plate fundraiser with Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, D.C., and both also recently hosted events with Ivanka Trump in their districts, touting the TrumpTax as a supposed win for their constituents.

Barkan will join Speak Out Central New York and its allies in Utica on Saturday to kick off a health care canvass, reminding local residents that Claudia Tenny has consistently voted to take their health care away.

Tenney voted repeatedly last summer to repeal the Affordable Care Act altogether, which would have stripped health care away from 23 million Americans, including 37,000 of Tenney’s own constituents. As the New York Times reported earlier this year, Tenney “shows no regret” for her votes, and has indicated she would vote the same way yet again if given the opportunity.

Six months after voting to pass the TrumpTax, Tenney joined with other Republicans invoting for draconian cuts to the Suppemental Nutrition Assistance Program, in an attempt to pay for the $1.5 trillion hole created by the tax scam. The program helps 1.2 million New York families, including more than 63,000 in Tenney’s district, put food on the table when they struggle to make ends meet.

Because of Katko’s and Tenney’s support for the TrumpTax, a group of Republican-led states are now also attempting to use the repeal of the individual mandate to overturn other critical patient protections in the Affordable Care Act, which would allow insurers to once again deny coverage to the 130 million Americans who need ongoing treatment for their pre-existing conditions.