More Republicans Face Contentious Town Hall Meetings

Amash, Duffy hear criticism over Obamacare repeal

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., faced criticism when he said states would bear the responsibility for replacing the Affordable Care Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican House members heard from more constituents in town hall meetings on Tuesday about GOP plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In Grand Rapids, Mich., the Gerald R. Ford Museum was packed at capacity of 250 people for a town hall meeting with Rep. Justin Amash, MLive reported. Dozens more were outside and a security guard had to push the doors closed.

The news outlet reported the room erupted when Amash, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said the burden of replacing the Affordable Care Act would fall to state governments once the law is repealed. 

“You can have a repeal that is triggered by state replacement. In other words, you pass legislation to repeal. As states replace the legislation, then repeal is triggered in that state. That is what I’m talking about,” he said.

Amash got a more favorable response when he told the room that the country had to move past Democratic vs. Republican rhetoric.

“It matters that we are consistent as a people, that we are not thinking just in terms of teams all the time,” he said. “That it’s ‘Team Republican’ versus ‘Team Democrat.’ I think that is very dangerous for our country.”

He received another one when he reminded the crowd that he didn’t vote for President-elect Donald Trump.

In Merrill, Wis., Rep. Sean Duffy said that the health care law would be in place until at least 2018, which would give Republicans time to come up with a replacement, according to WSAW.

But Judy Weaver, a retired nurse, gave Duffy an earful about what Republicans had done since the law was enacted and they had spent much of the time since then working to repeal it.

“The Republicans had eight years to work on it and they just ignored putting bills in that would help and correct what they thought was wrong," she said.

In an interview with the Washington Post, President-elect Donald Trump promised “insurance for everybody” but Duffy said he would wait to see the plan before passing judgment.

The town halls come as an NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll shows that 45 percent of Americans support the law, the most support it has enjoyed since the poll began asking the question. The poll also showed 50 percent of respondents said they have little to no confidence Republican proposals would make things better.

Clarification 1 p.m. | This story has been updated to explain Amash’s point on how the repeal of Obamacare would be triggered by states’ alternative plans.

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