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Health care tops agenda at packed meeting with Grothman PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 18:26

Congressman’s Port event draws diverse crowd with array of concerns

 A standing-room-only crowd of more than 45 people from across the political spectrum filled the Common Council chambers at Port Washington City Hall Monday to attend a town hall meeting with Congressman Glenn Grothman.
     Throughout the session, one woman held signs reading “No To Trump. Yes to the Environment” and “Do Your Job” with the name Trump crossed out while Mark Friberg thanked Grothman for “representing my values. I want to encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing.”    
    Ray Cary told Grothman that “The 800-pound gorilla in this room is Donald Trump,” citing such concerns as the president’s pardon of former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord, joining only Syria and Nicaragua as non-signatories.
    “When are you going to stand up to him?” Cary asked.
    Grothman said he has disagreed with Trump on a number of things, including some of his proposed budget cuts and “the volume and tenor of his Tweets.”
    But, he added, “I think Donald Trump is going to be a very good president. Obviously, he’s an unorthodox president.”
    Grothman cited the Trump’s stance on tax cuts, welfare reform and immigration reform as areas he believes the president will do well, but he also acknowledged he’s frustrated that so far high-profile initiatives such as repealing the Affordable Care Act have not been accomplished.
    “I think (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell could have, if he fought, gotten something through the Senate,” Grothman said. “Ultimately, something is going to have to be done.”
    “I don’t understand why there is such a problem repealing it,” Robert Schmalz said.
    It comes down to the fact that once people “are used to getting something from the government, it’s hard to take it away,” Grothman said. “What we’ve got to do is focus on the cost. We have to hold down costs, and I don’t think either (proposed) plan adequately addressed that.”
    Christine Jenk questioned why the U.S. isn’t looking to other countries with universal health care that works, citing Canada as an example
    “Everyone, I think, needs health care,” she said. “Everyone, I think, deserves it. We’re the richest country in the world.”
    The Senate and House should have tried to repair Obamacare, not destroy it, she said, and deal with the greed of insurance companies.
    “They’re getting rich on us,” she said. “Why should there be millions of people who don’t get it (insurance)? I don’t understand why.”
    Another woman concurred, adding that there needs to be a “bipartisan, grown-up, adult discussion about health care” instead of the sniping that has taken hold in Washington.
    Grothman said America works best as a free-market system and health care shouldn’t be an exception.
    “I think the goal shouldn’t be to have more government involvement,” he said.
    Many counties have only one participating health care provider, Grothman said, and there are communities that potentially have no provider “in which case Obamacare has ultimately collapsed.” He said he prefers to deal with the issue “sooner, not later.”
    Steve Scheil told Grothman he wished leaders would reach across the aisle to get things done, noting that when Sam Rayburn was in office officials would gather after hours to     hammer out bipartisan agreements over drinks.
    “I’ll even buy you a bottle of bourbon,” he said.
    Grothman said that such deals may have gotten work done, but these deals cost the country significantly.
    “We’re $20 trillion in debt. That $20 trillion was built largely on a bipartisan basis,” he said.
    Marilyn Pape asked how Grothman felt about Trump’s threat to shut down the federal government unless funding for the wall between the U.S. and Mexico is included in the budget.
    “I think we have an immigration problem in this country. I hope (Senate Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer will be willing to compromise and allow some money for a wall,”
Grothman said. “That’s one of his (Trump’s) bottom lines. It’s what he ran on.”
    And because of that, he said, “if the government gets shut down, I don’t blame Donald Trump.”
    Trump is doing his best to rein in spending, Grothman added, something he supports.
    “I give Donald Trump a tremendous amount of credit for taking a run at this,” he said, adding Congress is doing its best to spend far more than the president wants. “The day  is going to come where we say I wish we had listened to Donald Trump on general budget spending.”

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Elizabeth McGlone
Health care
written by Elizabeth McGlone, August 31, 2017
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