Although there were only 150 seats, Congresswoman Brownley’s aides managed to fit everyone into the meeting room to form an audience of over 200 encouraging supporters for the ACA Town Hall last night.
Ms. Brownley reiterated her position that she would only cooperate on legislative issues that included the essential basics of the ACA, including the elimination of life-time caps and discrimination against pre-existing condition and the retention of the Medicaid/Medical expansion. She would also press her colleagues to improve upon them as part of basic human rights.
She stopped short promising bring out a single-payer proposal, a suggestion from an audience member that received a standing ovation, saying that it was unrealistic from the minority position she occupies.
She did encourage supporting “The Healthy California Act” (SB 562 – http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB562) co-authored by Sen.Ricardo Lara (D, Bell Gardens) and Sen. Toni Atkins (D, San Diego).
Abbi Coursolle, Staff Attorney of the National Health Law Program, National Health Law Program, a group that advocates, educated and litigates on health policy issues, gave a historical review of health care coverage before and after the institution of the ACA and what requirements insurance companies would like to eliminate. (There will be a quick review of ACA’s policies in the next post).
Barry Zimmerman, Director of the Ventura County Human Services Agency, gave us an overview of how many people would be affected by a repeal of the ACA in our area and Nancy Gomez of Health Access California, http://www.health-access.org, a statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, talked about the ACA being a work in progress and how legislators should concentrate on improving it, not repealing it.
There was general support and cheering for the various speakers, and the audience asked Brownley questions and shared stories of how the ACA had saved lives, either their own or their family members.
There was only one noticeable protester, who stood up to declare that she supported Trump, that her fellow supporters felt excluded from this discussion process in a blue district and that she felt unwelcome to voice her views. Brownley replied that the meeting was publicly noticed and open to all, and, in a moment of true grace, another audience member stepped up to give this woman a big hug. This is what “Go high” looks like. Bravo!
Discussion ended at 8:00, in accordance with the library’s closing time. Thanks to all the Indivisians that came and to all that provided letters. We had over 3 dozen to give to the Congresswoman at the end of the evening. These, along with all the cards filled out by audience members, will give her a lot of source material in her upcoming debates.