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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Congressman visits area to speak with seniors

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Congressman Rick Crawford(left)spent the morning of July 3 in Cherokee Village meeting with a 65+ Senior Advisory Council about healthcare issues raised by the recent Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. Photo/Submitted [Order this photo]
First District Congressman Rick Crawford spent the morning of July 3 in Cherokee Village, speaking to his 65+ Senior Advisory Council about the recent Supreme Court decision on Obamacare.

Crawford's visit with his constituents was an attempt to hear, first hand, their concerns about the decision, and how it affects them.

The Congressman explained the Cherokee Village meeting was one of many he holds in the district with seniors, including sessions in Jonesboro, Mountain Home and Cleburne county. He said he is especially interested in getting their feedback on healthcare, one of the most sensitive issues seniors face.

"Most would like to see a more patient based, market centered solution to their healthcare problems. The main concern is cost," the congressman explained. While there is access to healthcare services and a good quality of healthcare in the region, it is very expensive. Addressing ways to reduce the cost curve seemed to be the main concern of local residents who attended the meeting.

Crawford said, like himself, the seniors feel the cost issue can be best addresed through a market approach, as opposed to a complete government takeover of the entire industry. Seniors also talked about tort reform, state to state competition, and portability of policies between employers to address pre-existing conditions.

Some expressed the opininon that more competition was needed to drive costs down, and create improvements in services.

Crawford said the seniors explained they do not want the government to restrict competition, an opinion that goes back to when Medicare was enacted in 1965, and has always been a political issue. The congressman explained that todays seniors are people who are active in social media, computer savvy, networking with others to make themselves aware of the issues.

"We are talking about folks that get it, and they understand it. They are pre-attuned to what is going on, and they are in a position to make their own decisions about healthcare. What they don't want to see is a government takeover, which essentially puts a government bureaucrat between them and their doctor. They are perfectly capable of making the decisions they want and need with their doctor, without any input from a Washington bureaucrat. I will acknowledge that we certainly need to reform our healthcare system, but that reform needs to take place in the marketplace and not in the context of a government takeover," Crawford stated.

According to Crawford, since many are forced to choose between food and their medications, healthcare is very sensitive to seniors. Other concerns raised included the possibility of healthcare and medical supplies prices being driven up because of the Supreme Court decision.

Crawford said the House is preparing to vote on a repeal of Obamacare, and he feels it is likely the House will pick up more Democratic votes, because, to some, the legislation is not what they "signed on for." He went on to claim the high court decision will lead to the largest tax hike in history on the middle class.

Tax initiatives only require 51 votes in Senate, rather than 60 for other legislation. Crawford predicted, if the repeal was to go before the Senate, repeal supporters could, very possibly, get the 51 votes needed, which is why he feels Senate leaders will not allow it to make it to the Senate floor. "In the event it did pass, it would then go to the President. The likelihood of him signing away his signature piece of legislation is virtually impossible," Crawford said.

"We have already repealed about seven different provisions of Obamacare, and will continue to do that and continue to chip away and hope that in some time it will collapse under its own weight," Crawford told the Villager Journal.

Congressman Crawford, who was the first Republican in years to capture the First District seat, centered his campaign on repealing what he calls "Obamacare."

The issue is sure to be prominent as Crawford seeks re-election against Democrat Scott Ellington, a Craighead County prosecutor.

The Congressman also spoke about the problem of funding local fish hatcheries during his visit to Cherokee Village. See next week's edition for the conversation about his proposals to solve the funding issue.

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