Archive for Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Editorial: Few surprises at town hall

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins’ stance on Obamacare is clear, but more honesty is needed on how she and other GOP figures would replace it.

March 15, 2017


There was more than a bit of political theater Monday at the Dole Institute of Politics during a town hall meeting featuring Republican U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins and constituents.

Give Jenkins credit for hosting the town hall. She knew, based on similar events by Republicans throughout the country, she was likely to face an angry, organized group focused on trying to protect the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare.

Sure enough, a crowd of about 400 people turned out for the event, and often drowned Jenkins out by shouting “We don’t believe you,” and “Do your job.”

The irony, of course, is that Jenkins is doing her job, voting as she always has and as she always said she would. Elected to Congress in 2008, Jenkins voted against Obamacare when it was approved in 2009 and has since voted 19 times to either repeal or diminish the health care law.

Northeast Kansas voters have rewarded Jenkins for her stance by voting overwhelmingly to re-elect her four times, including a few months ago when Jenkins got 61 percent of the vote to defeat Democrat Britani Potter.

During that same election, President Donald Trump, who repeatedly called Obamacare a disaster and made repealing it one of his signature priorities during his campaign, won 103 out of 105 Kansas counties and netted 56 percent of the state’s vote.

So no matter how much noise 400 people make at a town hall in Lawrence, polls speak louder. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Jenkins supports Republicans’ current plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

That said, voters should expect Jenkins to be honest about the plan, something she didn’t exactly do on Monday. The crowd’s chants of “we don’t believe you” were on the mark.

Americans who have benefited from being covered by Obamacare are concerned they will lose coverage if it is repealed. Jenkins and her fellow Republicans have dodged questions about how many will lose coverage under the proposed replacement plan.

“The intent is to provide transition rules so that no one that has health care is thrown off of their health care, and folks that don’t have coverage are able to get coverage,” Jenkins said Monday.

But the Congressional Budget Office, the nonprofit agency which reviews proposed policies for financial and other impacts, estimates that some 24 million Americans are in danger of losing their insurance if the plan is approved. That’s because the Republican plan eliminates the mandate that Americans get health insurance or face tax penalties. Instead, it offers modest tax breaks to incentivize acquiring insurance.

As the CBO pointed out, millions of Americans will choose to go without health insurance for a myriad of reasons, including because they simply can’t afford it, if the Republican plan is approved.

It would be good if supporters of the repeal-and-replace plan, including Jenkins, would acknowledge that’s the case.

Likewise, if the crowds at town hall meetings like Monday’s really want to affect change, their energy would be better spent identifying, supporting and voting for like-minded candidates than yelling at someone like Jenkins, whose record at the ballot box indicates considerable support for her stance on Obamacare.


David Hann 1 year, 2 months ago

Agreed, Of course it feels good to let off steam and express dissatisfaction, but real change must come at the ballot box from identifying, supporting and voting for like-minded candidates.. The Republicans have had several years to come up with a decent alternative to the ACA but have been more interested in tearing down anything Obama has done rather than come up with a health care plan that helps their constituents.

Rob Chestnut 1 year, 2 months ago

While I am not in favor of shouting matches, I think the town halls have shown a desire to maintain elements of the ACA that will set a baseline for any new legislation. Recent days have seen a number of Republicans hedge on the current proposal due to estimates of displacement of coverage for many current enrollees. The process is working.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 2 months ago

But it would be easy to make changes to Obamacare, otherwise known as the ACA, to fix it. But no. They have to make something new. That's how much they hate Obama, instead of loving their country.

Lynn Grant 1 year, 2 months ago

Rep. Jenkins' job is to listen to her constituents. Our job now is to find someone who will.

Brandon Devlin 1 year, 2 months ago

You are correct. . .except, do you think she isn't? Lawrence is not the only town in the 2nd District. . .it's just the only one in the 2nd District that generally doesn't elect Republicans.

Lynn Grant 1 year, 2 months ago

No I don't believe she listens. It goes in one ear and out the other. And Lawrence is not the only Democratic spot in the 2nd District. She tends to pick and choose her audiences. I respect her for having the forum in Lawrence but wish she would actually hear what people are saying and take that into consideration when she flies back to the smoke filled Capitol.

Ben Cobb 1 year, 2 months ago

Unfortunately, the only way to get our Congressional representatives and Senators to listen to us on the ACA issue is to get together and shout at them. Repeal of the ACA would be a disaster for those whose lives are at stake. The Trump-Ryan plan does not do what most Republicans promised - it's a con job and needs to be vigorously opposed.

Clara Westphal 1 year, 2 months ago

There is such a thing as civil discourse.

Daniel Whedon 1 year, 2 months ago

This article fails to mention how Trump lost to in the Republican primaries. It also fails to understand that equating Trumps electoral votes with him winning the state (not to mention he lost in the popular vote nationally) (I am unsure how this worked out in Kansas specifically)). It also fails to mention that Lawrence is in one of two democratic counties in Kansas that are intelligent enough to know that Trump wants to do to the US what Brownback has done to Kansas.

Carol Bowen 1 year, 2 months ago

Did we really vote for Lynn Jenkins or did her large campaign fund overwhelm voters with advertising? Most of her support was from out of state like Citigroup and other large financial interests.

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