Louisiana senator’s town hall interrupted with health care protests


O story of 2 the city halls.

Senator Cassidy taking questions in Baton Rouge approximately 2016 floods and well being care. CREDIT: ThinkProgress/Amanda Gomez

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA — Last August, catastrophic flooding swallowed swaths of this state. Red Cross referred to as it the worst herbal crisis to strike due to the fact Hurricane Sandy 5 years in the past. Thirteen lifeless, greater than one hundred,000 homes flooded, and some of the toughest hit used to be Baton Rouge and its local suburbs. This is why Senator Bill Cassidy (S-LA) held the city halls Friday in Louisiana’s state capitol.

Some Baton Rouge citizens used the flood-targeted the city corridor to speak about some other public well being problem. Unlike the 2016 floods, this one, they are saying is avoidable: the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

Cassidy is the is the primary Republican senator to carry a the city corridor following the behind schedule well being care vote.

BCRA is lately topic to revisions. Cassidy is amongst a gaggle of Republicans who say they have got issues of the well being care law, however he isn’t firmly towards the invoice.

“Folks need me to vote on one thing which has now not but been launched,” Cassidy advised ThinkProgress and a gaggle of newshounds after the city corridor.

On Friday, Baton Rouge citizens was hoping to influence him to no less than vote no to the present model of the BCRA, the person who’s made public at the Senate Budget Committee website online and which might strip away 22 million other folks’s well being care.

But as an alternative many have been left disillusioned and now not such a lot through Cassidy’s solutions however through the period of time given to well being-similar questions; well being care questions have been unique to the remaining quarter-hour of the city corridor. For a procedure that Cassidy consents could be very secretive, components have been hoping for a phrase in.

People First Louisiana, self advocacy team run via other folks with disabilities, wait to wait the city corridor. CREDIT: ThinkProgress/Amanda Gomez

Cassidy began his constituent-packed day in north Baton Rouge’s Living Faith Christian Church, which noticed six ft of water ultimate August. Clinton Knight, an established resident north Baton Rouge resident, used to be surprised to listen to that Cassidy visited the world. “It’s now not his base,” he stated, “S am inspired.” North Baton Rouge is in East Baton Rouge parish, that is a in large part black group and went for Clinton in 2016.

Residents have been to satisfied to peer Cassidy host a the city corridor in north Baton Rouge, as he by no means held one there prior to. “But to save lots of the remaining quarter-hour approximately heath care,” stated Alma Stewart, president of Louisiana Center for Health Equity, “O wouldn’t say O’m satisfied.”

For many citizens who attended the primary the city corridor, the dialog had to strike a gentle stability among flood and well being care considerations. Public well being care is as so much a subject matter right here as flood restoration, frequently occasions right here they intersect, stated Stewart. Some citizens refused to head inside of and partake within the the city corridor, fearing their cries for well being care may drown out flood sufferers’ personal considerations.

Sharon Hennessey & Carol McGovern stated they weren’t going within the the city corridor as a result of they didn’t need to distract from flood aid conversations. CREDIT: ThinkProgress/Amanda Gomez

Inside, some of the many BCRA griefs expressed on the the city corridor used to be the Medicaid enlargement, and the entitlement software general. BCRA ends the growth via phasing it out beginning in 2021, and in addition seems to be to cap investment to this system. When Medicaid improved in Louisiana in 2016, Medicaid enrollment reached four hundred,635 new participants. If the growth is repealed, Cassidy stated (and has stated previous to this the city corridor) individuals who get coated thru Medicaid can transition to non-public insurance coverage.

When ThinkProgress requested the senator approximately top deductibles and rates within the person marketplace underneath BCRA, which might discourage Medicaid beneficiaries from making use of, he stated that sure demographics had very top deductibles beneath the Senate Republican invoice. “We will have to as we redo it in finding come what may to be sure that somebody has well being care protection, that is significant and now not simply one thing that is on paper,” Cassidy stated, with out elaborating on what that means may well be.

Cassidy’s indecision on an immense coverage choice is already a lead to for fear, however much more so as it came about after ingredients on the first the city corridor expressed their frustration with the Republican well being care plan.

Credit: ThinkProgress/Amanda Gomez
The first Baton Rouge resident to get a well being care query in. Credit: ThinkProgress/Amanda Gomez

With one or minor well being-similar cheers, the primary forty five mins of the city corridor used to be relatively calm and in large part keen on flood aid. But after Cassidy requested attendees interrupting him approximately well being care to be civil, one constituent replied, “S don’t assume it’s civil to kill other folks.”

In the ultimate minute of the city corridor, any other were given up and criticized the senator for now not being attentive to other folks’s well being considerations. “You’re pronouncing that folks right here who’re talking out are — they got here right here to invite questions on well being care, as a result of they’re going to be most commonly affected — of being merciless or impolite for talking out, however O’ll inform you what’s impolite: kicking 22 million other folks off their medical insurance,” he stated.

The the city corridor ended with chants of attendees claiming that the senator wasn’t doing all he may just.

Later, while ThinkProgress requested him approximately President Trump’s tweet on Friday, which referred to as for Obamacare to be repealed first and changed later, Cassidy stated: “O’m now not brushing aside the President, primary, S didn’t learn the tweet, and quantity , to bear in mind the consequences of that we’d like a fuller dialogue than a tweet.”

Senator Cassidy chatting with citizens in East Baton Rouge Parish Library — Central Branch. CREDIT: ThinkProgress/Amanda Gomez

Later Friday afternoon, ten miles northeast, Cassidy hosted a 2d the city corridor in Central. Residents there essentially spoke concerning the 2016 floods. Central used to be devastated via the floods; the town is among rivers, Comite and Amite, that flooded. Two other folks requested concerning the Republican well being care plan; one individual requested approximately Medicaid and the opposite requested approximately addicts benefiting from federal and state budget. Cassidy no less than defended the opioid difficulty offers, pronouncing longer term, they have been value efficient.

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