Several Republican lawmakers have decided to do the right thing, and they have separately hosted a few town hall forums this week where they’ve taken questions about the Affordable Care Act from their constituents. But they all quickly found out that the public is angry about the thought of repealing Obamacare, and these voters personally warned these Republicans that they want them out of office as soon as possible. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this.
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The Republican Party is still absolutely hell-bent on destroying the Affordable Care Act, but at least a couple Republicans are doing the right thing, and they’re taking their case directly to their constituents back home. Representatives Jason Chaffetz and Representative Diane Black each hosted town halls this week with their constituents. More than a thousand people showed up to Chaffetz’s thing in Salt Lake City, but it didn’t go exactly as Representative Chaffetz had planned. He thought he was going to go there, explain to people what the Republicans wanted to do, walk out a hero, possibly be hoisted on everybody’s shoulders as they exited the building. Well, it turns out that Chaffetz — and Black, in Tennessee — discovered that people hate them, and that is not an overstatement. Both town halls erupted in chants of “We don’t want you. We want you gone.”
Republicans still don’t seem to understand the fact that people do not want to kill the Affordable Care Act. Do they want it improved? Absolutely. We all do. Do they want lower insurance premiums? Yes. Again, we all do. Lower prescription drugs, they want that. But they damn sure don’t want to lose their current health insurance while waiting for idiot Republicans to draft a replacement bill which probably will never happen. The headlines this morning tell us that the Republicans are doing this whole thing in secret. They do not want anybody to see the draft of the bill so far, because it’s going to be unpopular. That is what one unnamed Republican senator had to say about it. They know it’s going to be unpopular, so they don’t want people to see it.
Listen, you are public officials. It is your duty to represent and protect your constituents — you know, in a broader sense, everyone in the United States, but at the very least, your constituents — and both Chaffetz and Black learned this week that people do not want to lose their health care. They do not trust the Republicans to come up with a replacement plan, and they saw first-hand that if they attempt to do this, they could easily lose their seats in Congress. And that’s a first, because last couple elections, Republicans have won by telling their constituents, “We’re gonna get rid of Obamacare.” And as Bernie Sanders pointed out in the debate against Ted Cruz earlier this week, the majority of Republicans did not know that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were the same thing.
Many years ago, I was talking in a segment, and I said, “We shouldn’t use the term ‘Obamacare.’ That is opposition language, and you’re never supposed to use opposition language. Uh, Politics 101 right there. Don’t use their words to describe your thing.” And look what happened. Everybody, even the Democrats, started using the word “Obamacare,” and so Republicans got confused. They didn’t know that it meant “Affordable Care Act,” which they like — gave them health insurance. “But that Obamacare thing with all those death panels going on, man, we gotta get rid of that. Oh, wait, it’s the same thing.”
And that’s what’s happened. Because the people who were speaking out, the people asking questions, the people confronting these Republicans, were not all Democrats. Republicans were there too, and we saw it during the town hall debate. They don’t want to lose their health care. They want it to get better, for sure, but they don’t want to lose it. So in 2018, we could be looking at the first midterm election since 2010 where the Republicans finally stop running on the issue of repealing Obamacare, and finally start feeling the heat for wanting to repeal Obamacare.