Gardner grilled on health care
Cory Gardner faced several questions about health care — and about his votes last week to unwind the Affordable Care Act — during a telephone town hall that drew about 6,000 people Wednesday night, including a woman who accused the GOP senator of “voting against your constituents” and a man who said he was disappointed in Republicans.
Gardner defended himself by saying that the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, has worked for some and failed others and that he wants to ensure the parts that function remain while fixing aspects of the law that have left people facing high costs.
“I think we can do better,” he said during the hour-long event. “I’m going to continue to work to repair the damage of Obamacare. … I understand your frustration and disappointment.”
The town hall comes in the week after Gardner cast votes in favor of every major Republican proposal to undo the Affordable Care Act from repeal-and-replace to repeal-and-delay. The Senate’s GOP leadership was unable to get legislation moved through, however, and Gardner’s support for the efforts to dismantle Obamacare are certain to become fodder for liberal and Democratic ads.
Of the 16 questions the senator was asked Wednesday night, at least five dealt centrally with the Affordable Care Act. Several of those were critical of Gardner’s votes.
“I’m a little disappointed in the Republicans,” said John from northeast Colorado, who complained onethird of his income is going to pay for his health insurance premiums. “You guys couldn’t get (it) done.”
“There is no easy thing to do when it comes to health care,” Gardner said. “That’s why we have to get it right.”
Other questions centered on President Donald Trump and his administration. One woman from Wolcott said she thought Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt were ruining the environment, while another from Gunnison said of Trump, “We have a raging, narcissistic psychopath who is going to get us all killed.”
“I will continue to express my disagreements with President Trump and my agreements with President Trump,” Gardner said, also defending Pruitt and Zinke. “I’ll ultimately do what I believe is right for the people of Colorado”
Gardner has come under fire from liberal activists since Trump’s election for not holding in-person town halls with constituents. He has held other telephone town halls — including one that drew about 10,000 people in March — and met with Coloradans in smaller settings.