Garden City residents defend Obamacare to Marshall

Rep. Roger Marshall.

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — Today, we’re learning new details about the GOP plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

It comes as southwest Kansas residents had their chance to take their concerns about healthcare directly to Representative Roger Marshall, who held a town hall today in Garden City.

“I’m excited about it,” said Marshall about the American Health Care Act, a bill meant to replace the Affordable Care Act. “I’m excited to be this far forward in it. It’s not perfect. Not everything’s in it that we want to be in it because of reconciliation issues, but there’s lots of good things about it.”

Nearly every speaker that took to the podium defended the Affordable Care Act.

“It needs some work,” said Leonard Rodenbur, a professor at Garden City Community College, “but it does not need to be repealed. It has a lot of great things in it. My son’s on it. He does fabulous with it.”

“I know the ACA isn’t perfect,” said Lindsay Byrnes, “but it’s bending the cost curve. It’s had a lot of good reforms, and I’d like a more considered approach than what is being offered right now.”

Byrnes is a physician who says she’s studied a variety of models of healthcare systems before telling Marshall what she’d like to see.

“I’ve been very much a proponent of the single payer systems.”

Marshall also took time to defend a statement he made recently. “Just like Jesus said, ‘the poor will always be with us.’ There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

Marshall explained himself by saying, “Medicaid patients don’t like primary care. A lot of Medicaid patients use emergency rooms as their primary care doctors, and that drives up the cost of healthcare.”

Some residents didn’t accept that explanation.

“Poor people avoid the doctor and use the emergency room as their primary care because that’s what they can afford,” said Zach Worf, chair of the Finney County Democrats, “and at the point of going to the emergency room, there’s no other option.”

Overall, the discussion was civil, but heated at times.

Many of those in attendance say they support Marshall and his efforts in DC, but they also support the Affordable Care Act and don’t want it to go away.

According to just-released numbers by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the Republicans’ plan would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over a decade. In that same time, it would leave 24 million more people uninsured than under Obamacare.