Around the country, and right here in Michigan, progressives have torn a page from the tea party playbook, and Republican politicians are running scared.
Drunk on power, Republicans have made gutting the ACA without offering a replacement their top priority. The misery this will inflict on millions of people in the U.S. is profound. Parents won’t be able to afford asthma inhalers for their children. Moms with breast cancer won’t be able to afford treatment. Women will lose access to critically important reproductive care, just as the ACA was starting to reduce unintended pregnancies. Not even people who have employer-paid health care would be safe. Gone would be the pre-existing conditions clause, the ability to keep a child covered to the age of 26 and the prohibition on lifetime benefit maximums.
People are rightfully angry. And people are speaking out.
Here in Michigan, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R) was shouted down at his own town hall.
“Do you or do you not support the immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act with or without a replacement?” one attendee asked.
When Amash answered, saying he expects the burden of replacing the federal law upon repeal to fall to individual state governments, the crowd erupted with dissent. — (Source MLive)
And in Colorado, Congressman Mike Coffman (R) refused to meet with constituents at the town hall he had planned, instead meeting with just three or four at a time, and then ran away from his own event through a back door:
(Citizen Berthie) Ruoff was not one of the people who got to meet with Coffman.
“I am trying to get an answer and I can’t even get in,” Ruoff said.
While the crowd was waiting inside the lobby, singing and chanting, Aurora Police officers are putting up crime scene tape to create a perimeter outside of the library. This allowed Coffman to leave secretly at about 3:24 p.m. unbeknownst to those still waiting to see him. The community event was scheduled from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. — (Source: 9 News Denver)
Later, Coffman weaseled his way through an explanation on Facebook, calling his concerned constituents “partisan activists” who “came with the goal of making a show.” Not acceptable.
The House’s fourth highest-ranking Republican was heckled during a speech at Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally by attendees protesting the GOP’s plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“We may not always agree with one another, but we can come together and find common ground to create change and progress right here in Eastern Washington,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said before being interrupted by chants of “save our health care.”
Twitter user @bdbrownie captured video of the interruption: (Source and see video at Talking Points Memo)
Even in deep-red Texas, Congressman Kevin Brady’s (R) town hall went off the rails:
Emily Hoppel, 39, of The Woodlands, who spoke up several times during the event, said afterward that she has concerns about the healthcare options for women in Texas and rising infant mortality rates without the ACA and Planned Parenthood.
She later told Brady that she voted for him when he first ran for office.
“I’d love to see some moderation,” she said.
Brady defended taking away the health insurance mandate, saying that it simply doesn’t work, and suggested replacing it with the right incentives would be more effective. He said he would hope to retain the ACA’s “commonsense” solutions, including coverage of pre-existing conditions and children staying on their parents’ healthcare until age 26.
Those who disagreed continued to share their opinions, lining up to speak with the congressman, who lingered after the event concluded.
“People are angry,” said Tomi Phillips, a cancer survivor and resident of The Woodlands. “I don’t feel like I’m heard by Mr. Brady.” — (Source: MySanAntonio.com)
It’s working. We’re being heard. Seeing your elected official in person is always the most effective way to get our point across. If you haven’t done this yet, all your representatives’ and senators’ offices and ask them when their next local meeting will be. If they don’t have any scheduled, tell them you expect them to meet with their constituents regularly and publicly.