Garland County Democrats resist GOP health plan

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STILL RESISTING: Garland County Democrats, barred from this recent event by Bruce Westerman in Hot Springs Village, will rally against his health care vote Saturday in Hot Springs.
  • STILL RESISTING: Garland County Democrats, barred from this recent event by Bruce Westerman in Hot Springs Village, will rally against his health care vote Saturday in Hot Springs.

The Democratic Party of Garland County isn't submitting quietly.

It plans a "Healthcare Not Wealthcare" rally at 2 p.m. Saturday at its headquarters at 608 W. Grand Ave. Hayden Shamel, the chair of the county party, says the rally will focus on 4th District U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman's vote for the House health bill. The plan, Shamel says, will allow insurers to charge the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions much higher rates than their younger, healthier counterparts.

“The Republican plan is estimated to end coverage for over 24 million Americans in order to eliminate taxes on the wealthiest 2% of the country,” Shamel said. “We are highly disappointed in Congressman Westerman’s recent vote, which strips $880 billion from Medicaid. We believe that healthcare should be a right, not a privilege only to be afforded by the wealthiest among us. We will not sit idly by as Congressman Westerman votes to harm the most vulnerable segments of our community, including the elderly, the disabled, and those who have a fixed or low-income.”
People will talk about how the Affordable Care Act helped them and how repeal will hurt their health and finances. Doctors will be on hand to answer questions.

The party continues to call on Westerman to hold a face-to-face town hall with voters. He's resisted, following the course of several other Arkansas Republicans in using only tightly controlled telephone sessions. Westerman had one last night. One listener clicked off after one speaker began an extended round of praise for Donald Trump.

Garland County Democrats tried to attend a breakfast Westerman held recently in Hot Springs Village, but were barred from entering though they had signed up in advance as required. The event was deemed open only to Westerman supporters.

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