At telephone town hall, Rep. Ken Buck promises to fight to keep pre-existing condition requirement in health care reform
February 23, 2017
About the 4th Congressional District
The heavily Republican district includes almost all of eastern Colorado, stretching from the Wyoming state line in the north to New Mexico in the south. It includes all of Weld County, as well as portions of suburbs in the Denver Metro Area.
Rep. Ken Buck held an hour-long telephone town hall Thursday night, fielding questions from constituents on health care, immigration and tax reform.
About 60 callers signed up with questions for the Windsor Republican, but there was only time for 21.
"The difference between health care under the Affordable Care Act and the health care that the Republican majority in the House and the Senate and President Trump want to see is a move from a government-mandated health-care system to a free-market system," Buck said in response to a question. "We are going to help those folks who have pre-existing conditions. We're going to help those folks who need to stay on their parents' insurance till they're 26."
Buck did not offer details about how that would be accomplished.
Another caller pushed Buck on his commitment to preserving the requirement that insurance companies offer coverage to those who have pre-existing health conditions. She said her son is disabled because of a cancerous tumor.
"Prior to Obamacare — and I'm proud to call it that — he found it very difficult to get any kind of decent health care. He has since been able to get health care that he can afford," she said. "I want to know what you will do personally to guarantee that he will be able to get affordable health care with a pre-existing condition."
Buck said many residents share that concern.
"It is something I'm taking back to Washington, D.C., and will do my very best to make sure that it is in future health-care plans," he said.
Buck held the telephone town hall at a time when elected officials across the country have faced criticism for dodging in-person town hall meetings as emotions run high in the wake of Trump's election.
Spokesman Kyle Huwa said Buck's aim was to reach as many constituents as possible.
"The telephone town hall allows congressman Buck to reach thousands of constituents at one time and answer a number of their questions on the call," Huwa said.
Of the questions he took, Buck refused to answer only one. It came from a caller in Douglas County.
"I am so concerned with the rise of the neo-Nazi movement and the White supremacists in America right now. If you look at some of the last terrorist attacks, it's been White supremacists and neo-Nazis that have done it, not from outside but from within," she said before an organizer cut her off.
Though Buck didn't hold a traditional town hall, he has met in person with groups that have reached out to him through his website, Huwa said. Tuesday night, Buck met with an anti-Trump group in Douglas County. Organizers agreed to meet on the terms that there would be no signs, no video or audio taping and no reporters.
"He's holding events where everyone can have a civil discussion and where there aren't organized disruption and yelling and shouting," Huwa said.