Rep. Mike Coffman has taken a lot of grief for not meeting with constituents concerned about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
The Republican congressman who represents Aurora announced Monday he’ll hold two listening tours related to health care access — one tour next week with health care providers and patient advocacy groups and one in March with constituents via telephone town halls.
Coffman said he wants to hear about how the ACA has affected people’s access to health care, the good and the bad.
This is the statement that accompanied the announcement:
“During this district work week, I look forward to meeting with many healthcare providers and patient advocacy groups. My objective is to personally hear from them on how the ACA has affected the healthcare system, medical professionals, and most importantly, how it has affected patients’ access to medical care. I will use their input not only to review my own plans on how to proceed, but also to communicate their concerns to my congressional colleagues — Additionally, I want to communicate again that no repeal will take place without first having a replacement.”
Coffman said he supports keeping aspects of Obamacare like coverage for the low-income Americans who got access under the Medicaid expansion and coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. However, he’s concerned about premiums going up, people who have had their health insurance policies canceled and the lack of insurance providers in rural parts of Colorado.
Whether to keep the Medicaid expansion that was part of Obamacare could divide conservative and moderate Republicans. Huffington Post reported Monday that the House Freedom Caucus voted to not support any repeal effort that keeps the Medicaid expansion, even as some Republican governors have asked Congress to keep it. Some 14 million people have gained coverage through the expansion of Medicaid to people who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, or $16,000 a year for a single adult. Before Obamacare, Medicaid was largely limited to poor children, their parents and people with disabilities.
Republican elected officials have faced unruly crowds that don’t agree with them at in-person town halls and constituent meetings in recent weeks.
Information about the telephone town halls will be released in early March on Coffman’s congressional page.
This article has been updated to provide additional national context.