In a shocking interview that received virtually no media coverage, two House Republicans revealed their complete ignorance about how Obamacare repeal-and-replace will affect their own constituents.
Steve King (R-IA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) told MSNBC’s Christopher Hayes that they don’t even know how many of their voters get their health coverage through Obamacare (Affordable Care Act, ACA) exchanges.
These numbers aren’t secret. Congresspeople don’t have to go door-to-door to count the numbers of constituents using Obamacare. Reputable think tanks have done this research, Republicans just disregard their constituents to such a great extent that they won’t look up the figures.
Hayes turned to King first, asking, “How many people in your district are on the [ACA] exchanges, congressman?”
King replied, “I don’t know that number. You may have that in front of you, Chris, but I don’t know that number.”
The number is 11,400.
And King had no answer to Hayes’s question about what his constituents who currently get their healthcare from Obamacare are going to do once the law is repealed.
Hayes asked, “What’s gonna happen to them under this [replacement] bill. Have you talked to constituents, particularly in rural areas, who are going to be paying more out of pocket under this plan?”
King insisted that that data is not available yet. He lied.
Around 43,100 people in King’s district will lose their healthcare under Trumpcare, the proposed Republican replacement for Obamacare. Many of them are poor who currently receive coverage through Medicaid, a program that is going to be cut back if Trumpcare passes.
Then Hayes turned on Lance, asking the same questions. When pressed about how many people in his district get their coverage through Obamacare, Lance responded, “I would say roughly 5,000 or so.”
Hayes tore into Lance for providing such an outstandingly low figure. “My understanding from Kaiser Family Foundation is it’s as much as four times that, I think it’s much more like 20,000 [people in Lance’s district using Obamacare exchanges].”
Hayes, of course, is correct while Lance missed the mark by four-fold.
This segment illustrates how profoundly uninformed Republican congresspeople are about how Obamacare benefits their constituents. Attempts to completely overhaul the healthcare system for the second time in a decade should be made with a keen awareness of how the entire American public will be affected.
Instead, a Republican-strangled Congress is now trying to ram a bill through that benefits the wealth and healthy at the expense of the poor, sick, and elderly, with a total disregard for relevant statistics that are available.
For millions of Americans this is a matter of life and death, and they stand to suffer in order to fund a handout to the rich. They deserve better treatment that what Republicans like King and Lance have planned for them – two men who don’t even care to know that they exist.
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Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.