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By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on the American Health Care Act, the GOP bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare.

But the plan is coming under fire from both Democrats and conservative Republicans.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that under the GOP plan 14 million Americans would lose their health insurance in a year — and by 2026, 24 million would lose their coverage.

In Minnesota, the Department of Human Services estimates that under the GOP plan 1.2 million Minnesotans would soon lose or have their health care coverage reduced.

Both Democrats and conservative Republicans are critical of the GOP plan. They say it’s would lead to higher premiums for older Americans and a 30-percent tax penalty for anyone who lets their insurance lapse.

Minnesota Republican Reps. Jason Lewis, Tom Emmer and Erik Paulsen have all indicated their support for the GOP bill. But they have also faced criticism.

Last month, hundreds of people gathered outside Paulsen’s Eden Prairie office to voice their opposition and to protest what they claim is the congressman’s unwillingness to hold town hall, face-to-face meetings since the election.

Paulsen says he has held a number of telephone town halls and insists he has been accessible.

“I have always done the telephone town halls. They are very popular,” Paulsen said on WCCO Sunday Morning. “People don’t have to leave work to take part in those. Last year, we had a dozen town halls, including those that were mini-town halls…and I usually don’t do any in February, because that is when we are just going into session, so we will be doing those soon.”

More than two dozen protesters were outside WCCO TV Sunday morning. They confronted Paulsen as he left the downtown Minneapolis studios, saying that the congressman did not speak to them.

Paulsen and other supporters of the American Health Care Act say it will cut more than $300 billion off the federal budget deficit in 10 years and it would keep key provisions of Obamacare in place – including allowing young adults to stay on their parents health insurance until age 26 and barring insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.

Comments (3)
  1. I have tried to meet with Rep. Paulsen quite a few times, to no avail. Seriously, anyone that is interested in trying to meet with him or even understand his stance on an issue should try calling his office. It is beyond frustrating.

  2. Paulsen needs to be held accountable for numerous statements he made during this interview. These are to put it mildly “alternative facts” For example, aside from his preposterous claim that he has done 100 town halls (his distortion of the meaning of “town hall” should be noted), after Esme Murphy asked *explicitly* if he planned to do an in person, open-to-all-constituents and scheduled town hall, he said unequivocally yes.

    OK could WCCO get back to its viewers with specific details about where and when this town hall will take place? Many of his constituents, myself included, would like to go.

  3. Steve Mark says:

    Paulsen’s “Telephone town hall meeting”? It’s a recorded message for only those picked by Paulsen with no opportunity to question or comment. It’s a limited access robocall. There’s nothing about it that fits the description of an actual town hall meeting. Paulsen had his opportunity to attend a real town hall meeting back in February but he choose to ignore the hundreds of constituents who attended. A real leader would have come and heard the people. Unfortunately, Paulsen has become a representative of the GOP alone, not his district.

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