Republican who helped pass health bill faces angry voters
Republican who helped pass health bill faces angry voters
Republican who helped pass health overhaul meeting voters
17 May, 2017, 13:28
A Republican who headed the effort to revive the health care overhaul passed by the GOP-led U.S. House faced jeers and insults Wednesday as anger boiled over among voters at a town hall in a heavily Democratic part of his district. He opened with a story that, in other settings, would have been a gut punch - the decision to raise a daughter with special needs, and to take her off life support when, at 11 years old, she passed away.
In Illinois, liberal protesters laughed and said "ugh" when a Republican congressman was talking about his wife's cancer, and now, in New Jersey, liberal hecklers yelled "shame" when a Republican representative was talking about his dead daughter.
"It seems like they're kind of hell-bent on repealing Obamacare despite what the constituents say", said Whiting resident Robert Clark, who was waiting in line to enter the town hall.
"You brought it back from death", one man shouted in a long diatribe that stretched several minutes.
"You submitted it! You were an architect!" one person yelled, referring to his amendment.
MacArthur has insisted that people with pre-existing conditions would continue to be protected, and that an alternative to the Obama law was desperately needed due to skyrocketing insurance premiums and decreasing consumer choices from insurers leaving individual state markets. "I will not describe a violent act against a woman as a pre-existing condition", he said. "I don't see that as some silver bullet", MacArthur said, adding he wanted to give the House and Senate Intelligence committees an opportunity to investigate the matter.
"I'm acting as an individual trying to solve a problem", MacArthur said last month about his work on the measure.
From that point, MacArthur was on defense, assuring constituents that he was saving the health-care system from itself, and challenging the hecklers who questioned his motives.
"You are the reason I stay up at night", said Pine Beach resident Geoff Ginter at a packed town hall meeting in Willingboro. MacArthur has been lambasted by critics of the Republicans' health care bill, namely those against the MacArthur Amendment, which would allow states to opt out of important provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
Menendez criticized the Republican plan because it would make deep cuts to Medicaid - almost $900 billion over 10 years, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office - because it would eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, leading to a domino effect that would likely hike health care costs for women who depend on those clinics. MacArthur wrote a key amendment to the American Health Care Act. MacArthur said those people would be covered by high-risk pools. She said the debate over health care and concern over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act motivated her to come out Wednesday.
"The Senate chair and the ranking member have both declared that they're working together", said MacArthur. She said her top concern was the Trump's decision to fire Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.
"I think it's ludicrous".
"Twenty-five percent of the USA population is on Medicaid and it's on its way to being a $1 trillion expense", he said, adding that the caps were meant to get states to partner in controlling costs. "You've really taken a beating tonight", one elderly woman said.
MacArthur started to respond "Well, because the tax cuts perform the same function" before being drowned out by shouts of incredulity.
At times, MacArthur admitted that his legislation isn't flawless.
"In terms of dollars, that was one of the smallest ones", said MacArthur, highlighting the bill's other tax cuts.
"I understand there are different views, but I hear people calling me an idiot". "I wonder, I really wonder how any of you would perform in Congress with that attitude".
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