Obamacare is much more popular than Republicans counted on. In fact, it’s coming back to haunt them as they try to take it away from their own voters.
Representative Mike Coffman bravely held a town hall in Aurora, Colorado (unlike so many of his Republican colleagues, who are hiding out in fear of the people) Wednesday evening, but it didn’t go well. Angry constituents, both Democrats and Republicans, hammered the Republican for agreeing to try to repeal Obamacare and supporting the wildly unpopular “Trumpcare” replacement.
“‘I’m concerned you don’t understand how Medicaid works’ GOP Rep. Mike Coffman gets pushback,” Kyle Griffin wrote above a Morning Joe clip of angry constituents yelling at the vulnerable, moderate Republican during a town hall Wednesday evening.
"I'm concerned you don't understand how Medicaid works"
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 13, 2017
Saying that nearly every other constituent brought up healthcare, Rachel Bade wrote in Politico, “But not a single one did it to thank Rep. Mike Coffman for backing the House GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Instead, dozens of local residents — Democrats and Republicans — pummeled the Colorado Republican for supporting legislation they said would harm their community.”
Bade wrote that the crowd erupted in cheers after this comment from a life-long registered Republican, “‘I’m sorry to say I was shocked when you declared your intention to vote for the American Health Care Act,’ said Steven Haas, a 68-year-old life-long registered Republican. ‘That is not the way we do things here in Colorado.'”
We said from the moment Obamacare was passed into law that once people were using it and understood it, they wouldn’t want it taken away. And that’s what’s happening here. Anyone who has gone without insurance or bought insurance that didn’t work before the regulations included in the Obamacare law (ACA) should have been able to foresee this problem for Republicans. People will put their own lives and the lives of their family above ideology, once they understand what’s at stake.
Here Coffman gets yelled at as he tries to apologize for Sean Spicer’s Hitler remarks, even as he says Spicer needs to go:
— ABC News (@ABC) April 13, 2017
Coffman is facing a challenge from Democratic Iraq War Veteran and Bronze Star recipient Jason Crow.
Kudos to Coffman for even having a town hall; most Republicans are avoiding their constituents in a cowardly effort to dodge accountability. This town hall didn’t go well for Coffman, but he put himself out there to hear feedback and that’s the least your representatives should be doing (how else can they represent you?). Just because they aren’t having town halls doesn’t mean this issue isn’t going to haunt them at the polls.
This isn’t just a Trump branding problem, because Republicans have been running on repealing Obamacare for years. But their own base doesn’t want the law repealed only to be replaced with a crap policy like the wildly unpopular Trumpcare that Speaker Ryan failed to even get his own Republican caucus to back.
The Republican replacement has only 17% strong approval. Repealing and replacing is Republicans’ entire raison d’etre. This is the only policy that they have been able to say they are for or against as a party to such an extent that it dominated every election since the law was even brought up for debate.
Add to this the GOP’s Trump problem, the Russia scandal, and the never-ending incompetency scandal of this administration as well as their ability to bleed taxpayer money for their own purposes and add a huge dash of relentless ethics problems. Now mix in the Republican auto-defense of their own.
It’s not pretty. That’s the long term takeaway.
But another takeaway, perhaps most important at this moment when people are suffering due to any of the above, is that people matter. Your voices matter. You can be heard. You can make a difference.
You can’t change everything overnight, but you can affect change simply by being involved and speaking up.