Reported here first, U.S. Congressman Dave Trott is caught trying to fool constituents about the American Health Care Act and proves his ignorance about the Affordable Care Act.
Ed Weberman has been trying to get a meeting with his Congressman, Dave Trott, for months. Thanks to his persistence, Weberman was successful, traveling to Washington, D.C., on March 21 to meet with Rep. Trott. What Weberman learned in the meeting is a bombshell: Congressman Trott has lied to his constituents about the GOP healthcare plan, the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
Weberman has become a champion for protecting the gains made under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare), because his son’s life was saved by access to coverage under his parents’ plan when he was diagnosed with cancer, as I wrote about here. His son Alex, now 24 years old, is in remission — but what will become of him if the consumer protections under the ACA are repealed, as they would be if Congress passes the AHCA, the GOP plan designed to fulfill their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare?
At Rep. Trott’s town hall last weekend — where the Congressman was caught on a hot mic trying to paint his constituents as “un-American” — Weberman stood up and made an impassioned plea for the sake of his son and the 24 million Americans who stand to lose health insurance under the Republican plan. During the town hall, Weberman asked the Congressman a yes or no question: “Do you think there should be healthcare for everyone and that healthcare is a human right?” Rep. Trott responded “yes” and agreed to meet with Weberman.
During the 45-minute meeting with Rep. Trott, attended by one other constituent from Michigan’s 11th Congressional District and Rep. Trott’s legislative assistant, Bridget Sobek, Weberman continued to push for answers. Weberman says the meeting was cordial, but at one point he told Rep. Trott he wasn’t interested in hearing a stump speech. Here’s the crucial portion of the conversation as reported by Weberman:
Weberman: Let’s cut to the chase. You and President Trump have said children should be able to remain on their parents’ policy through age 26, there should be no lifetime caps on coverage and there should be no change in the way pre-existing conditions are handled now under the ACA. But you and I know as businesspeople that the insurance companies can’t afford to pay for sick people if healthy people aren’t paying premiums and if you’re cutting the tax on the very wealthy [which the AHCA would do]. We’re headed toward a high-risk pool for people with pre-existing conditions.
Trott: You’re right.
Weberman: Excuse me? Two weeks ago in a letter to constituents you told us people with pre-existing conditions would be protected. You weren’t telling the truth. And if you won’t tell your constituents, I will.
The conversation about pre-existing conditions continued, with Weberman educating Rep. Trott on the facts.
Trott: Under the ACA, people with pre-existing conditions can be charged three times as much as healthy people.
Weberman: You’ve got this wrong. What you’re talking about under the ACA is that older people can be charged up to three times as much as younger people. Under the GOP plan, it’s going to be five times as much. It doesn’t relate to pre-existing conditions.
Sobek: Congressman, he’s correct.
Weberman: Congressman, you have not told your constituents the truth.
I’m one of Rep. Trott’s constituents and received the letter Weberman mentioned — in response to my repeated calls and emails to the Congressman’s office about the fact that my premiums will skyrocket if the ACA is repealed and replaced with the AHCA, because I have diabetes. Countless other constituents have tried to tell Rep. Trott their stories, which have fallen on deaf ears.
Later in the meeting, Rep. Trott directed Sobek to “drill down on the pre-existing condition issue” and get back to him and Weberman about it. But with a vote in the U.S. House scheduled for Thursday, how can Rep. Trott support a bill he simply does not understand?
During the meeting, Weberman pursued the issue of high-risk pools, which have been shown through experience to be an unsuitable way to insure people with pre-existing conditions. Despite Rep. Trott’s assertion to Weberman that high-risk pools work in some states, that’s simply not true. As the Center for American Progress explains, quarantining the sick into high-risk pools drives up premiums and they don’t have enough funding to cover everyone who needs care. Insurance works when both the sick and the healthy pay into the pool, because everyone will get sick someday and their insurance will be there for them at that time. This is a concept Republicans either do not understand or don’t care to.
“The most shocking thing to me is when Congressman Trott admitted he didn’t tell the truth about pre-existing conditions in his letter,” Weberman says. “That’s what President Trump has been saying to the American people [that people with pre-existing conditions would be protected]. I asked the Congressman how he could send a letter like that and he was caught flat-footed.”
Weberman tried to get more information about the plan for high-risk pools, and Rep. Trott told him it was in one of the next steps in a 3-phase plan to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system promised by President Trump, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and House Republicans.
Weberman believes Rep. Trott and other House Republicans know more about phase 2 and 3 than they’ll admit. He asked Rep. Trott about the fact that the next two phases would be done as changes to regulations that can be made unilaterally by Secretary Price, instead of being voted on in Congress, and the only response he got was “That’s what Obama did” — more stump-speech rhetoric.
The same kind of response was Rep. Trott’s answer to why Republicans don’t work to fix the ACA instead of repealing it. Weberman says he gave a lot of thought to Rep. Trott’s response after the meeting.
“The Congressman said, ‘Government doesn’t do things right,’ Weberman says. “He is representing himself to be our representative in Congress, but he’s not really representing us because he thinks the government shouldn’t be involved in our lives. It’s negative representation.”
Ultimately, Weberman’s reason for speaking out goes beyond wanting to protect his son and the millions of others who rely on the ACA so they can afford health insurance.
Republicans are pulling the wool over constituents’ eyes. What people have been told about protections for people with pre-existing conditions and other aspects of the law are false.
He believes if Congressman Trott had the political cover — and wasn’t subjected to arm-twisting by President Trump, as every Republican in Congress was on Tuesday — he would vote “no” on the AHCA.
Could minds like Congressman Trott’s be changed by people like Weberman, who actively sought common ground during the face-to-face meeting he fought so hard to get? There’s only one way to find out: Contact your Representatives TODAY and let them know you’re onto their lies and manipulations. If they’re not willing to represent the interests and wishes of their constituents, we’ll be happy to vote them out in the next election.
[Photo courtesy of Ed Weberman.]