Angry Obamacare supporters at an New Jersey town hall meeting Wednesday urged the public to repeal and replace Republicans who backed President Trump’s bid to nix the landmark health care legislation.
The hostile, standing-room-only crowd aimed its wrath at Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), who hosted the Willingboro meeting days after casting a vote that would do away with the Affordable Care Act in favor of the Republicans’ American Health Care Act.
MacArthur, a former insurance executive, wrote an amendment that revived the failed bill, which now includes a provision allowing states to seek waivers from the federal requirements that insurers offer a specific package of benefits and not charge more to those with preexisting conditions such as cancer or diabetes.
MacArthur has insisted that Americans with preexisting conditions still would be protected, but the crowd wasn’t buying it.
“What is it going to take. When are you going to open your eyes?” seethed Paul Ziegler of Edgewater Park. “When are you going to decide to be an American and not a politician?”
One member of the audience called out “shame” when MacArthur began discussing his daughter Gracie, who was born with special needs and died at age 11 in 1996.
MacArthur responded “shame on you.”
“I’m not going to fight with you. I’m not going to talk over you,” said MacArthur, who joined Trump and other Republican congressman in the Rose Garden last week after the overhaul bill passed. “You have to decide whether you’re going to respect one another.”
MacArthur was one of only two Republicans among five from the state to back the House legislation.
Michael McGuire, a local insurance broker whose wife recently died of brain cancer, said Obamacare had plenty of flaws.
“But this is a lot worse,” McGuire said halfway through the four-hour meeting. “With this bill, you’re letting people fall through the cracks.
“You lost a child, that’s why I can’t grasp why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
President Barack Obama received more than 90% of the vote in Willingboro in 2012, the most heavily Democratic town in MacArthur’s district. MacArthur received just 12% of the vote there when he was reelected last year.