Rep. Harris moves to teletown halls on Obamacare
EASTON — While U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, RMd.-1st, moves toward town halls conducted over the telephone, a grassroots organization in his district is organizing town halls of its own.
Harris, an anesthesiologist, has often voiced his concerns about the Affordable Care Act, including on Tuesday, Feb. 14, during a WBAL News Radio 1090 interview on the C4 Show, when he said the law has “driven up the price of insurance to where it’s just no longer affordable,” unless people are getting subsidies.
Rather than hold in-person town halls, Harris has started holding “teletown halls,” which his office has a history of conducting. He said it will allow his constituents to ask questions, and the audio will be posted on his official website afterwards. When the Republicans’ replacement plan is submitted, Harris said he will hold live town hall meetings around the district to discuss it then. “I am looking forward to discussing sev
eral important issues with you all on these teletown halls!” Harris posted on Facebook.
Harris’ offices have recently been contacted by multiple groups seeking an audience with him to talk about their concerns stemming from congressional Republicans’ agendas. But Harris said the people seeking to confront him at town halls meetings about the Affordable Care Act “don’t want to hear at town hall meetings, they want to disrupt town hall meetings.”
“This is George Soros-funded, it’s nationwide, it’s an organized, you know, it’s obviously an anti-Trump organization that just wants to cause trouble,” Harris said in the radio interview.
Soros is a billionaire often linked to progressive causes.
Harris held his first teletown hall Feb. 15. for northern residents in the 1st. District. Audio of the call can be found on Harris’ Facebook page, www. facebook. com/Andy HarrisMD.
Citizens for Health Care has organized town halls in Stevensville, Bel Air, Salisbury and Westminster that it said are aimed at an- swering questions people have about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The Citizens for Health Care town hall in Stevensville is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Queen Anne’s County Library, 200 Library Circle.
According to the group organizing it, speakers at the town hall plan to review and compare coverage options and statistics from pre-Affordable Care Act, versus cur
rent options, as well as the various policy aspects of proposed changes or replacements.
Health care professionals also will be available to discuss the implications for addiction treatment and mental health care in the community, and the financial costs of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses will be discussed to get a clear picture of the impact on the average healthcare consumer’s wallet, according to the group.
Congressional Republicans have worked to repeal the healthcare law for years, something that now seems inevitable under a Republican president’s administration and a Republican-controlled Congress.
“Congress is facing a dilemma at this moment, arguing whether to repeal or repair parts of the (Affordable Care Act),” said DeLane Lewis, a founder of Citizens for Health Care. “However, any decision they make will have a real, lasting impact on all U.S. citizens. It is our mission to keep the public informed and aware as to how these proposed changes could affect them.”
Citizens for Health Care said organizers invited Harris “in hopes of opening the lines of communication with their constituents and allowing for a discussion of what might come next.”
“Constituents in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District are growing increasingly concerned about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and are looking to their elected officials to help address those concerns,” reads a news release from Citizens for Health Care. “Many calls, letters, and emails to Representative Andy Harris’s of
fice have gone unanswered, or answered without addressing specific concerns. Constituent requests for Representative Harris to hold an in-person town hall meeting have not been successful.”
U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st, is holding teletown halls to discuss congressional Republicans plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.