By Nikki McGee
Fox 17 Nashville, March 3, 2017
Congressman Jim Cooper held a town hall in Nashville Friday after a contentious week in Washington.
New policies from the Trump Administration on immigration, healthcare and the environment dominated the discussion at the meeting. Some also voiced their concerns on President Trump’s cabinet picks.
Out of these issues, Rep. Cooper said the people of Tennessee seem to be most concerned about health care.
“They’re not necessarily fond of Obamacare, but they don’t want to lose the good parts of Obamacare,” Cooper said. “They’re deeply worried, they don’t know what a republican replacement would be.”
The president of the Physicians for a National Health Care Program attended the meeting to talk about the state of healthcare and offer a solution. Dr. Carol Paris is advocating to expand Medicare and come up with a system that makes it available to everyone.
“It is a publicly funded, privately delivered way of financing health care,” Paris said. “For people over 65, it is a very well loved program. It could be improved and we could extend and expand it from birth to death.”
Legislation is in place to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which is one of President Donald Trump’s top campaign promises. Cooper said he’s concerned about what will replace it.
“In the latest news reports, Rand Paul, a republican, went all over Capitol Hill looking for the republican plan, couldn’t find it,” Cooper said. “Steny Hoyer, a democrat, tried to do the same thing, couldn’t find it. That’s pretty scary when apparently there’s going to be a vote on it next and nobody’s even seen the plan. That’s not a good way to govern.”
Other Tennessee leaders, however, said they feel very strongly about repealing ACA.
“If the federal government is in the driver’s seat for regulating individual health choices, competition cannot exist,” Congressman Marsha Blackburn said in a statement earlier this month. “Therefore, it’s important that we allow states and consumers more flexibility in purchasing a health plan that it truly tailored to their needs.”
Paris said she’s seen the need to improve insurance options for patients first hand.
“The American People are having to choose to forego other household expenses and even food to pay for health care.”
Friday’s town hall is one of five community discussions Cooper has hosted since the beginning of the year and he says he wants his constituents to feel that their concerns are being heard.
“The times are a little bit scary right now, but America’s been through way worse than this,” Cooper said. “We’ll get through this. We just need to be kind to each other and to pay attention to the news and not jump to conclusions, but try to do the right thing for the country.”