SEATTLE — Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., held a town hall on health care Wednesday night attended by hundreds.
It was the first town hall the senator has hosted this year, but she promised it won’t be her last. Cantwell is up for re-election in 2018.
Some Republican members of Congress have faced yelling and catcalls from the public at town halls this year, but Cantwell’s was very mild.
The town hall event lasted for an hour and a half at Kane Hall on the University of Washington’s campus. The senator answered questions posed from the audience about health care concerns.
“In 2015 we both found ourselves unemployed, and so we went and bought our insurance on the open market,” said Bill Coburn, a town hall attendee.
Coburn said the Affordable Care Act worked for his family. “It was awesome! Was the premium a little bit high? Sure. Were the deductibles a little bit high? Sure,” he said.
ACA needs refining, he said, it does not need to be repealed and replaced.
"I know why the first GOP health care bill failed, it failed because of us," he said.
The congressional GOP health care plan is not the answer, said Coburn, and he is doing his part to let every one of his representatives know.
"I never really called on a daily basis, but I literally call (Congress) every day," he said.
Coburn said he calls his congressman, Dave Reichart, along with Cantwell. One of those calls, he said, was answered on Wednesday night when the senator hosted a long-awaited town hall.
"Thank you for coming tonight, it takes a lot of guts," said one man in the microphone before starting his question.
Concerns over the Republican 'repeal and replace' of the Affordable Care Act underlined the town hall. Many also asked what Washingtonians can expect to happen in the other Washington -- from Cantwell.
"How do we get to a bipartisan bill for health care?" asked one man.
"What are the non-negotiable elements of health care?" asked another woman.
"I think what we should do is go back and focus on the individual market and what are some of those challenges, and what we can do to fix that and quit beating up on Medicaid," replied the senator. When it comes to non-negotiables, the senator mentioned Planned Parenthood as a key part. She promised she will not defund the program, saying it's ridiculous how many times she has had to fight to stop it from happening.
"I know that what we’re doing is making a difference," said Coburn.
After the town hall, he said he will continue to call his representatives every day. "I am not scared, I am determined. I am energized and I am determined," he said."
Cantwell has two more town hall events this week.
Net Neutrality Town Hall
On July 7th, Senator Cantwell will host FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn for a town hall discussion moderated by Michael Schutzler, CEO of the Washington Technology Industry Association, on how rolling back net neutrality protections will hurt internet users and Washington’s tech industry. The pair will answer questions about net neutrality and related issues and discuss a way forward. Recently, rules put in place during the Obama Administration protecting a free and open internet have come under attack.
Date: Friday, July 7, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Location: Town Hall Seattle
On July 8th, Senator Cantwell will answer questions from constituents on a variety of issues and discuss her work in the U.S. Senate.
Date: Saturday, July 8, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Location: TEC High School Gymnasium