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Wednesday, 29 March 2017 13:47

Meadows in the middle of repeal and replace

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Republicans under President Barack Obama voted more than 40 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no luck. Now, with the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate all firmly in Republican control — and even a pending Supreme Court majority — the party of opposition has become the party of proposition, but their proposition to repeal and replace the controversial universal healthcare system has been derailed by members of their own party.

The face of that opposition is Congressman Mark Meadows, R-Asheville, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus whose members derailed what President Donald Trump hoped would be an early and major achievement of his administration. 

“I’m here to support our congressman — he’s our congressman, not Trump’s congressman, and he’s doing what we want him to do up there, and that’s stand firm and get us an affordable care act that really is affordable,” said Haywood Republican Ted Carr, who held a banner expressing his support at a rally in downtown Waynesville March 27. 

Billed as a “thank you” event for Meadows and organized by national conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks, the rally drew about 25 people to the Haywood County Historic Courthouse, where they were greeted by the honks of cars driving down Main Street. 

Gail Mitchell made the drive from Buncombe County to give thanks to Meadows as well. 

“I’m thanking him for his number one concern — the health care bill,” Mitchell said. “It needs to be affordable. I know somebody that’s paying $25,000 a year for insurance for just him and his wife.”

Haywood County resident Herb Trenka didn’t have to come far to attend the rally, but in reality, he’s come from quite a distance. A native of Germany, Trenka has been in the United States for 59 years. 

“There’s too much bureaucracy, high taxes and disregard for the Constitution,” he said. “I’m here to thank him for standing up for principle and not wavering from the principles he was elected for.” 

Unlike Carr and Mitchell, Trenka has experience with socialized health care and doesn’t think the government should even be involved at all. 

“We should be out of it entirely,” he said. “I lived through it as a young child in Germany, and saw what socialized medicine does to the doctors, and the populace. It’s no good,” he said. “Longer wait times, poor service. If you need to really find out about it, talk to people from Canada who come here to get services.”

Carr and Mitchell, in relation to Trenka, illustrate the divide between the Republican “repeal and replace” crowd, and the “repeal” crowd that wants nothing to do with more compulsory insurance. 

Carr — a former Haywood County GOP Chairman — said he thinks that 60 or 70 percent of Haywood Republicans support Meadows’ stance. 

But now that Republicans have absolutely devoured their main foe — Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment — and have turned on each other, can the federal government even be called a Republican majority anymore?

Weeks ago, President Trump threatened to “come after” Meadows if he didn’t support what some call Ryancare and what the Congressional Budget office said would pull the rug out from under more than 20 million Americans.  

Meadows in his role as chairman of the HFC has been all over the national news as of late, appearing on Joe Scarboro’s MSNBC TV talker and on Wolf Blitzer’s CNN show March 16, Sean Hannity’s radio show on March 21, granting interviews to USA Today March 21 and Breitbart News March 23 and appearing on ABC’s “This Week” March 26. 

Yet Congressman Meadows’ office did not return repeated calls and emails from The Smoky Mountain News requesting comment for this story.

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