August 2013 is not looking a whole lot like August 2009, not where town meetings are concerned, anyway. Wednesday night, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), an ardent Obamacare foe, didn't face an adoring crowd of teabaggers there to shout their support for him and scream their hatred for Obamacare.
Instead, he got a message about the law that he probably wasn't expecting, including from the woman in the video above who lost her son to colon cancer, largely because it was caught too late. It was caught late because he didn't have insurance because of a preexisting condition, a birth defect. She wasn't the only one McHenry heard from.
They all wanted direct answers from the congressman Wednesday evening, and many of them, including Skip Edwards, questioned the Republican’s position on the Affordable Care Act.McHenry's response was typically lame—he loves the stuff about no more discriminating for preexisting conditions and allowing young people to stay on parents' plan until their 26, but didn't explain how his repeated votes to repeal and defund the law that includes those protections preserved them.
Edwards and his wife, both 63, had health insurance until he lost his job during the recession and the East Asheville couple found themselves in financial trouble despite staying relatively healthy.
Both had pre-existing conditions and were denied insurance, making them eligible for a state plan called Inclusive Health.
“It cost us $1,300 bucks a month — extremely expensive,” Edwards said. “It taps us out every month. But at our age and health, we’ve got to have it.”
Instead, he talked about the usual stuff Republicans talk about: expanding high risk pools, "adding 'That is more of a solution than I think that Obamacare will be,' as many in the crowd groaned." He also said that people should be able to buy insurance across state lines, another big Republican "solution." Not surprisingly, "Edwards was not satisfied with the congressman’s answer."
That's what happens when Republicans are forced to confront the reality of actual people who really need health insurance. They've never had real answers and they've never been able to present a valid alternative. That's why we haven't heard "repeal and replace" since 2010; they've never had a "replace." It's why the answer now is "repeal, defund, and/or shutdown government." It's only ever been about selling the rabid base the idea that they could kill the law.
11:03 AM PT: American Bridge has released their video of the exchange between Mr. Edwards and Rep. McHenry. The audience reaction to McHenry is priceless. And it's about time he heard it.