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GOP rep tells mom: Your son's service industry skills mean he doesn't deserve health care

Republican Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio, the tea partier who replaced former House Speaker John Boehner, appeared unmoved at a town hall meeting, when a mother told him about her fears for her son’s health. She explained that her son’s health care coverage was only possible because of Obamacare’s provision for Medicaid expansion, and that the […]

By Oliver Willis - April 22, 2017
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Warren Davidson

Republican Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio, the tea partier who replaced former House Speaker John Boehner, appeared unmoved at a town hall meeting, when a mother told him about her fears for her son’s health. She explained that her son’s health care coverage was only possible because of Obamacare’s provision for Medicaid expansion, and that the Republican repeal plan would kill it.

Instead of sympathizing with a constituent understandably worried about her child’s well-being, Davidson cited her son’s “skills” as justification for why Donald Trump’s plan would exclude him. He added, “I don’t believe that these taxpayers here are entitled to give that to him” and suggested her son “go earn those health benefits” — a response that immediately provoked boos from the crowd.

WOMAN: My son did not have health insurance for four years, until the ACA when Medicaid was accepted. He didn’t have health insurance because he’s in the service industry. And that industry pays minimum wage and they keep their employees below a certain number of hours so that they cannot — so that they don’t have to pay health insurance. So, many of the people that are on Medicaid are working, and they are the working poor.

Under Trumpcare, one of the major ways to make health insurance affordable is to bring back catastrophic insurance, which is basically no insurance at all. Given that, given that preventative health care is the number one way to keep people healthy in our society. Can you explain why my son and millions of others in his situation are not deserving of affordable, decent healthcare that has essential benefits so that he can stay healthy and continue working?

DAVIDSON: OK, I don’t know anything about your son, but as you described him, his skills are focused in an industry that doesn’t have the kind of options that you want him to have for health care. So, I don’t believe that these taxpayers here are entitled [sic] to give that to him. I believe he’s got the opportunity to go earn those health benefits.

Davidson’s indifference is symptomatic of the failed American Health Care Act, which would have stripped coverage from 24 million people and tilted the system away from helping seniors. These provisions, along with a tax cut for the wealthy and provisions designed to line the pockets of health care executives, prompted overwhelming opposition from voters across the country, including Republicans, only 37 percent of whom supported it.

Voters care about the well-being of their loved ones and fellow citizens and do share not the mean-spiritedness of the
Republican Party, so perfectly demonstrated by Davidson at his town hall. That is why, despite the puzzlement of Trump administration officials, Democrats opposed the bill as a bloc, and why future versions of the legislation will continue to face major opposition.

These town hall confrontations continue to show that the victims of the GOP’s policy choices are not just faceless numbers, but real people who will suffer serious consequences if Obamacare is repealed. Still, Republicans remain beholden to their cruel ideology and the leader of their party — a choice that may doom them with their constituents.


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