Politics
Politics

Senator Faces Voters Upset Over GOP Health Care Bill (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio received flak from some of his electors during his "constituent coffee" meeting June 21 in Washington D.C. (video below).

The voters expressed their displeasure with the American Health Care Act, also known as "Trumpcare," which was passed in the House, and their concern about the Senate version, which has been negotiated by GOP leaders in secret, notes ThinkProgress.

The voters asked Portman if he would support open hearings for the Senate version of the bill, and how many deaths would be "acceptable" to him if the AHCA passes.

According to ThinkProgress, members of Ohio Organizing Collective and the Ohio Indivisible Group attended the meeting; members of the latter want Portman to hold a town hall meeting in Ohio before he votes on the bill.

A 16-year-old Ohio resident asked Portman about health insurance companies having power under the AHCA to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.

"I think supporters of it would say that they did cover pre-existing conditions," Portman responded. "But I don't think they did enough."

The Ohio senator asserted there should be a "continuation of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions."

Portman noted that House Republicans support giving states options (waivers to opt out) on pre-existing condition coverage, but added: "I think it needs to be clear on a national basis."

That answer drew a brief clap from voters in attendence.

Portman argued that covering people with pre-existing conditions saves everyone money in the long run.

The 16-year-old Ohioan told Portman there should be open hearings in the Senate, so that people would then know if their pre-existing conditions would be covered.

The Senate leadership has been holding health care bill negotiations behind closed doors for weeks, but The Washington Post reported on a discussion draft of the bill, given to aides and lobbyists, on June 21.

According to the newspaper, the Senate version cuts Medicaid deeper than the House version, but makes the cuts more gradually. The Senate version reportedly gives states wider options to skirt regulations of the Affordable Care Act -- commonly referred to as "Obamacare" -- axes federal money for Planned Parenthood, and changes Obamacare's subsidies that help people buy private insurance.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has promised to hold a vote before July 4, and only needs 50 votes to pass the legislation under reconciliation -- a budgetary maneuver, not an actual vote on a new bill, which would easily be filibustered by Democrats.

The Washington Post notes that moderate Republicans are worried about cutting off health coverage too quickly for people who received health insurance under Obamacare, while conservatives are anxious to get rid of the big parts of Obamacare.

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