Rep. Har­ris moves to tele­town halls on Oba­macare

Kent County News - - NEWS - By JOSH BOLLINGER jbollinger@star­dem.com

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.”

PHOTO BY DORIAN MITCHELL

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.

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