Demonstrators protest Rep. Paulsen's support of health care bill
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (KMSP) - The Republicans' plan to replace the Affordable Care Act just barely passed the house on Thursday by just four votes.
Congressman Erik Paulsen was one of the lawmakers who voted for it.
On Friday, dozens of protesters showed up at his Eden Prairie office to express their concern with his support of the bill.
Several dozen demonstrators began their protest outside the office, but later marched straight inside to confront Paulsen's staff.
They are concerned the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions might suffer if the bill becomes law and eventually replaces Obamacare.
"Older people, like myself, are going to be put at risk,” said Terry Sherman, who lives in Paulsen’s district. “People on Medicaid and Medicare, like myself, will lose the opportunity to have affordable healthcare."
"Paulsen has voted to throw the whole healthcare sector into chaos,” said Jena Martin, another constituent. “People don't know how to plan for the future. Insurance companies, states. It's reckless."
Paulsen, unavailable for comment Friday, has said the current system is no longer acceptable and that the House measure is the first step to make sure Americans have access to "high quality, affordable healthcare."
What happens to that legislation is very much up in the air as it's not clear what the Senate will do.
The White House is confident.
"That's the whole point of this bill, it's to lower prices across the board not just those with pre-existing conditions, but to create competition, so you have lower premiums to give states more flexibility,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Deputy White House Press Secretary. “That's the entire purpose of reforming this system - is to have lower costs, so yes, that would certainly be the goal and priority of the President."
Meantime, people worried about their healthcare coverage, like Sherman, are just hoping for a little bipartisanship and common sense.
"What we really need to be doing is having both parties work together to fix what exists,” he said.
The House legislation ends fines and penalties for people who don't purchase health insurance.
It also cuts Medicaid, the federal program for the poor and disabled.
Congressman Paulsen has said that he wants a health care system that is more "patient-centered."