Rep. Blum Defends Vote to Pass Healthcare Bill at Contentious Town Hall

May 10, 2017

Iowa Republican Representative Rod Blum was drowned out by constituents Tuesday night as he defended his vote to pass the House GOP healthcare bill at a contentious town hall in Cedar Rapids. 

Several audience members asked the 1st District congressman to explain why he voted for the House Republican plan to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Constituents raised concerns about Medicaid funding, the individual health insurance exchange, Planned Parenthood funding and the tax credits meant to help people buy insurance. 

Blum said the GOP plan only affects people who buy individual health insurance on an exchange.

"First of all, the individual market--that's what we're talking about," Blum said. "We’re not talking about Medicare. We’re not talking about Medicaid. We’re not talking about the group health insurance plans." 

However, the bill that was passed on to the Senate could impact people who have insurance from their employer or through the expansion of Medicaid.

Asked why he voted for the bill without waiting for more information about its financial impact, Blum said he wanted the House to hold hearings on the bill.

"I told [House] Speaker [Paul] Ryan, I told President Trump, this is not a good process. I don’t think something this important should be rushed through Congress," Blum said.

But Blum said he ended up voting in favor of the plan to repeal and replace parts of Obamacare because, "you can’t have everything you want." And he said he worried much of Iowa would be left with no individual health insurance carriers in 2018 if Congress did not act quickly.

Blum also said he supported President Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.