Utah Representatives Mia Love and Chris Stewart fielded questions from constituents about health care during separate telephone town halls Wednesday night.
Congresswoman Mia Love took about seven questions during her conference call with constituents from the 4th Congressional District, with several wanting answers on how Republicans plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Love promised no Utahns would be left in the lurch by a replacement plan, which would keep protections for pre-existing conditions and other popular parts of the program.
“There is no way we’re going to remove access to health care while trying to replace it,” she said. “So the repeal and replace will happen simultaneously, we will not pull the rug out from
under [people] and go without a health care plan.”
Love said she supports a plan from Republican leader Paul Ryan that would include refundable tax credits to buy insurance and remove prohibitions on selling plans across state lines.
Constituents also grilled Rep. Chris Stewart over health care, with one woman named Leslie asking him what type of insurance he uses.
“I actually love that question because I am on Obamacare,” said Stewart. “As is all my staff. We’re actually required to be on Obamacare, so I know how bad Obamacare really is.”
Stewart said their goal isn’t take away people’s health insurance, but help them gain better quality coverage.
Members of Utah’s Congressional delegation have faced criticism for favoring these types of remote video and telephone conference calls in which questions are more carefully screened by staffers.
But Love told callers she would be willing to meet one-on-one or in smaller groups with constituents, while Stewart said he had no problem facing tough questions, citing the 50 public forums he’s held over the last few years.
“Not everyone who comes to town halls comes to demonstrate or yell,” he said in a follow-up interview after the town hall. “A lot of folks come because they really want to hear what’s going on; they really have questions. And when it turns into something else, everyone leaves disappointed.”
Stewart announced plans to hold his next in-person town hall in Salt Lake on March 24.