U.S. Rep. Yarmuth: ‘Keep being loud’ to protect healthcare

U.S. Rep John Yarmuth told a crowd recently that the tone of debate over healthcare must change from one of personal attack to one of policy debate.

“We need to change the tone of our dialogue, it really isn’t productive, so if I believe that it’s accurate to say that a certain health care policy will result in people dying, it’s OK for me to say that. It’s not OK for me to say that the supporters of that proposal are killers. I think that’s the kind of distinction we have to make,” he said during the town hall meeting Sunday July 10, at Bellarmine University.

I’m not going to make any personal attacks on people who are supporting policies that I don’t support, but I am going to attack the policies that I don’t support,” he told the audience of more than 700 people.

A strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, Yarmuth discussed how much the bill has benefited Kentucky, in particular causing the uninsured rate to drop to 6.1 percent from 13.6 percent. Every state that expanded Medicaid had huge drops in the number of uninsured as well.

Yarmuth said the Senate’s healthcare proposal, written by Kentucky’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell, would cause 22 million fewer Americans to have coverage. And then there is the threat of $772 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next 10 years

Many in the audience took extensive notes, and many shared their personal stories, concerns and questions surrounding the future of a healthcare system.

Yarmuth encouraged those in attendance to continue to pressure Congress, and he left with words of motivation: “Keep fighting, keep being loud.”

Shauna Turner-Smith, who has stage 4 cancer and is currently receiving treatment, speaks during the Q&A portion of the Health Care Town Hall. “I am not of either party, I am of the peoples’ party. And I do believe that we have the power to eliminate the middle man…I think insurance, as well as Big Pharma, is something that we could eliminate, and we could really have the power for the people.”
Mayor Greg Fischer speaks to Pavan Venkatakrishnan at Congressman John Yarmuth’s Health Care Town Hall on Sunday.
Robert D’Angelo asks Congressman Yarmuth through a sign language translator how the Affordable Care Act has helped Americans with disabilities, and how the Senate’s proposal will effect Americans with disabilities if it is passed.
Kelly Knoop uses assistive technology to speak at Congressman John Yarmuth’s Health Care Town Hall during the Q&A portion. Knoop, who has cerebral palsy due to complications at birth, voices her concerns about how the possible changes in health care would negatively impact her life and the lives of others. “I just ask you please to help stop these changes. Please do not take away my freedom, do not take away my choices.” Knoop is an advocate of human rights and is on the board for Kentucky Protection and Advocasy, a state organization out of Frankfort. Knoop and others in the organization have been attending workshops to prepare to tell their stories at events such as the Health Care Town Hall.
Many attendees of the Health Care Town Hall took careful notes while the Congressman spoke about the Affordable Care Act and the Senate’s proposal bill. It is estimated that over 700 people were present for the event.
Bronson Rozier’s wife and daugher are on the medicaid expansion and 6 years ago, medicaid paid for his cancer treatment. Rozier suggested an emergency march on the capitol to put pressure on Washington. “It’s not just statistics, it’s real people…As long as health care is under the profit system and not for human needs, we are going to suffer.”