On Sunday July 9, Congressman John Yarmuth held a Health Care Town Hall at Bellarmine University to discuss the Senate’s new healthcare bill proposal, how that bill would affect the Affordable Care Act, how it could affect Kentuckians as well as all Americans, and to hear the thoughts and concerns of the community. At the start of the Town Hall, Yarmuth asserted that Washington needs to improve communications between parties. “We need to change the tone of our dialogue, it really isn’t productive” said Yarmuth, “so if I believe that it’s accurate to say that a certain health care policy will result in people dying, it’s ok for me to say that. It’s not ok for me to say that the supporters of that proposal are killers. I think that’s the kind of distinction we have to make…I’m not going to make any personal attacks on people who are supporting policies that I don’t support, but I am going to attack the policies that I don’t support.”
A strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, Yarmuth discussed how much the bill has benefited Kentucky in particular with the uninsured rate dropping from 13.6 percent to 6.1 percent under the ACA. Along with Kentucky, which had one of the largest percentage decreases in those uninsured, it was also mentioned that every state that expanded Medicaid had huge drops in the number of uninsured as well. Yarmuth then moved to the Senate’s new health care proposal, which he stated would cause 22 million fewer Americans to have coverage. And with the threat of $772 billion in cuts to medicaid over the next 10 years, the more than 700 people who attended the Health Care Town Hall had reason to worry. Many in the audience took extensive notes, and many also shared their personal stories, concerns, and questions surrounding the future of a health care system that could negatively impact them and their families. Yarmuth encouraged those in attendance to continue to put pressure on Washington, and left with words of motivation, “Keep fighting, keep being loud."