Raul Labrador is clearly a man of unusual conviction. While many House and Senate Republicans were attempting to assuage the fears of their constituents about shutting down Obamacare, Labrador – a congressman from Idaho – took an entirely different tack. As reported by CNN, Congressman Labrador contended to a disbelieving audience that "Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care." Not surprisingly, this rather unusual opinion hasn't earned Raul Labrador a lot of friends on the internet.Republicans across the land have been going to town meetings over the last few months, arguing for the supposed benefits of their healthcare plan versus Obamacare. As noted by CNN, one of the principal reasons that Donald Trump and Paul Ryan were unable to force their healthcare plan through the first time was the vehement opposition representatives and senators received from their constituents.
This time, the plan was rushed through the House so quickly that there wasn't even a chance for the CBO to evaluate the impact it would have. But one impact it is clearly having is on the town hall meetings being held by Republicans throughout the country. Loud opposition doesn't begin to describe the reaction most people have to the plan once they learn the details.
However, Raul Labrador is one of those Republicans who opposed the initial plan not because it was too harsh and likely to annoy his constituents, but because it was far too generous – in his opinion – in the things that it provided.
So it must have come as a surprise to Congressman Labrador when he arrived at a town hall meeting – perhaps expecting accolades – only to be greeted by shouts and jeers from angry voters concerned about what he had just voted to do to their healthcare.The Congressman's statement that "nobody dies because they don't have access to healthcare" came in response to the concerns expressed by a woman in the audience. She had suggested that "Lack of healthcare was essentially asking people to die."
Oddly, Raul Labrador doesn't seem to think this is the case. Exactly what he meant by his statement isn't entirely clear. It may be that he intended to say that – somehow – people would continue to get health care even if they didn't have health insurance. Of course, since that's not true, perhaps he meant something else.
On the other hand, it could be that Congressman Raul Labrador is so distanced from the concerns of ordinary working Americans and the poor that the concept of someone being unable to get the medical care they need is simply inconceivable to him.
There's also the fact that Labrador is from a solidly Republican district, so he might think there is little likelihood he will lose his current position in the 2018 election over this particular vote. Of course, stranger things have happened, and the voters he met in this particular outing certainly didn't seem especially pleased.
In addition, Raul Labrador hasn't done his fellow Republicans in other less secure districts any favors. It's almost certain that in the 2018 election, the Democrats will play Congressman Labrador's statement endlessly on television and on the internet. He, along with Trump and Ryan, will be the poster boys for the new Republican/Trump healthcare plan that it seems few people are going to like.
It was all well and good for people to grumble about Obamacare and its flaws, but if they find that it's being replaced by something far worse – perhaps something even worse than what they had before Obamacare – it's likely to have a very detrimental effect on Republican prospects in future elections. And the Republican Party will partially have Congressman Raul Labrador to thank for that.
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