GOP Rep. Raul Labrador asserted, "Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care."
- Added: 3 months ago
- House Republicans face voters in home districts angry over health care bill
By MORGAN WINSOR
WATCH: GOP Rep. Raul Labrador asserted, "Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care."
Some Republican members of Congress who voted for a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare are already facing angry voters at hometown forums.
GOP Rep. Tom Reed, whose district in upstate New York includes the cities of Ithaca and Corning, was among the first to confront angry constituents at a town hall meeting Saturday morning, the first of three forums he held today.
Photos posted on social media show Reed speaking to a crowd in Dunkirk, with some people holding signs declaring: "Keep your profits off my healthcare," "So long farewell Tom Reed" and "No conscience no heart."
Reed tweeted photos of him engaging with attendees and thanked people for coming to the 9 a.m. ET meeting in Dunkirk and the 11:30 a.m. ET meeting in Busti.
In a statement Thursday, Reed hailed the House's passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as “a great victory” that will provide property tax relief for New Yorkers "who are unfairly forced to foot the bill for Medicaid."
"Today is a great victory for the American people. We are finally on the path to fixing our broke and broken health care system," Reed said.
The congressman also asserted that "the AHCA upholds protections for pre-existing conditions and the expansion of Medicaid, which help our most vulnerable populations,” although one of the most controversial provisions of the bill would give the states the option of seeking a waiver to allow insurance companies to raise premiums for people with pre-existing conditions.
“The bill will also provide much needed property tax relief for New Yorkers who are unfairly forced to foot the bill for Medicaid," he said in the statement. "We care about giving people the freedom and flexibility to make their own health decisions while providing promised tax relief for middle-income families and small business owners."
The House narrowly passed the bill Friday on a 217-213 vote, with all Democrats and 20 Republicans voting no. The measure is now before the Senate.
Other Republican as well as Democratic House members are scheduled to hold more town hall meetings in their home districts around the country in the coming days.
'Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care'
An Idaho Republican congressman is facing criticism for a comment about the health care bill that he made at a town hall in his district Friday.
A video posted on YouTube shows the Republican congressman responding to a woman who suggested that people die from a lack of access ti health care.
“That line is so indefensible,” Labrador said. “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”
His remark sparked an uproar at the event in Lewiston.
'If you want to run for Congress, you had your chance'
It doesn't appear to be only the House Republicans who voted for the measure who are taking heat.
Wisconsin's Republican governor, Scott Walker got into a heated exchange with a Democratic county official in his state over the House bill at an event Friday to promote tourism.
A video of the exchange shows Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson approaching the Republican governor as he was about to speak with reporters. Nelson claimed that 300,000 people in northeast Wisconsin could lose their insurance if the American Health Care Act becomes law.
"This is a big deal. Three hundred thousand people in Northeast Wisconsin,” Nelson told the governor.
"If you want to run for Congress, you had your chance," Walker said, repeating essentially the same reply several times during their exchange.
Nelson, a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year, losing to Republican Mike Gallagher, who voted in favor of the American Health Care Act.
Walker also told Nelson that the House bill is not something that Wisconsin has to deal with at this point.
"It's not in front of us right now. It's not in front of this stage," Walker continued. "The plan is, I'm going to wait for what the Senate and the President do and see from there."
Their conversation was captured on video by ABC affiliate WBAY and continues for several minutes.
Next steps for the health care bill
The American Health Care Act is now before the Senate, and the Senate Budget Committee must review it to determine which portions are in compliance with the rules of reconciliation, under which the bill only requires 51 Senate votes for approval.
Republicans hold a slim majority in the Senate but several members are already wary of the health care plan.
“At the end of the day, I think it'll be a Senate bill and then those two bills at some point will have to come together and we'll get started on that Senate bill immediately,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, a member of Senate leadership, told ABC News on Thursday.
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- GOP Rep Raul Labrador asserted Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care