Obamacare Repeal: Reps Member Faces Constituents Anger
Rep. Tom Reed of New York, who was among the Republican members of Congress to vote for a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, held a string of hometown forums on Saturday where he was lambasted by crowds of angry voters and signs that read, “GOP Disaster” and “Why do you want to kill my daughter?”
Reed, whose district in upstate New York includes the cities of Ithaca and Corning, held three town hall meetings where the overwhelming majority of attendees had questions about health care.
The congressman was met with boos and jeers throughout the forums, with people repeatedly chanting “Shame!” and “Vote him out!”
At the event in the town of Busti, a couple hundred people packed into a small firehouse holding up signs that read, “Agree,” “Disagree” or “Lies,” depending on Reed’s answers. Some of the harsher signs read, “This is not a victory lap. This is a walk of shame” and “Fire Reed.”
One man, who had recently donated his kidney, said he was told he’s now considered to have a pre-existing condition.
“Now that I have a pre-existing condition, my cost of health care could go up significantly or I could lose health care,” he said to Reed in front of the crowd in Busti.
Another person in the room interrupted the man, calling him a “hero” for his kidney donation and then said he was being “punished” for his good deed.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives narrowly passed the the American Health Care Act on a 217-213 vote, with all Democrats and 20 Republicans voting no.
The measure, which would repeal large parts of former President Barack Obama’s legacy legislation, is now before the Senate.
In a statement Thursday, Reed hailed the House’s passage of the health care plan 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 said the American Health Care Act “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.
Reed was among the first Republican House members to confront angry constituents at town hall meetings this weekend.
Other Republican as well as Democrat House members are scheduled to hold more town hall meetings in their home districts around the country in the coming days.
Photos posted on social media show Reed addressing his first town hall of the day in Dunkirk, with some people holding signs declaring: “Keep your profits off my healthcare,” “So long farewell Tom Reed” and “No conscience no heart.”