A college student has responded to the House Republicans' vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by starting a new business: mailing the ashes of Americans who die as a result of lacking health insurance to members of Congress.
On May 4, the American Health Care Act narrowly passed in the House on a vote of 217 to 213. None of the House Democrats supported the bill, but it was able to corral enough GOP support as only 20 Republican lawmakers voted against it, according to Business Insider.
Zoey Salsbury, a college student attending American University in Washington, D.C., was horrified that the legislation cleared its first hurdle to becoming law. While Salsbury is under the age of 26 and still on her parents' health care plan, a provision that the AHCA will keep intact, she worried that the bill may result in Americans losing their health insurance.
Should the AHCA be signed into law, Salsbury's new online service will mail the ashes of those who die after losing their health insurance to the lawmakers who voted for the ACA's repeal. Salsbury's site is called Mail Me To The GOP.
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"Millions of Americans rely on protections and coverage from the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare," the website stated. "The Republicans new bill will gut these protections and many will die. They deserve to know it. Fill out our form and we'll help you get papers in order to send your ashes to a GOP member of Congress if you pass."
In its first day, the website received a massive amount of traffic and crashed. Its creator does not want anyone to confuse her startup for a bad joke.
"Yes, it is real," Salsbury told the Huffington Post.
The college student explained that she created the website because she felt that GOP lawmakers were not considering the human cost of repealing the ACA and replacing it with the AHCA.
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"Many of my friends will die," Salsbury continued. "People will literally die, and they don't see that that's going to happen ... It's really morbid and not fun to talk about. But that's the reality of passing a health care bill like this."
If any applicants' remains are actually mailed to members of Congress, their ashes will not be presented in an ornate urn. Instead, they would be delivered in a standard U.S. Postal Service package, the only legal way to mail ashes.
While supporters of the AHCA may view Salsbury's startup as alarmist, there are no current estimates of how the bill would impact the U.S. health care system. On March 13, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the legislation would result in 24 million fewer Americans having health insurance by 2024 than if the ACA was kept in place, the Washington Post reports.
Since then, the bill has changed with several amendments. House Republicans passed the latest incarnation of the AHCA before it could receive a CBO score, Politico reports.
On May 5, President Donald Trump took to social media to praise the House Republicans for advancing the AHCA to the Senate.
"Big win in the House -- very exciting!" Trump tweeted out. "But when everything comes together with the inclusion of Phase 2, we will have truly great healthcare!"