Trump opponents take concerns to Roe’s office

Hank Hayes • Feb 8, 2017 at 8:15 AM

KINGSPORT — About a dozen members of a group called Indivisible Tennessee visited U.S. Rep. Phil Roe’s district office Tuesday to air their concerns about the incoming administration of President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress.

Roe, R-Tenn., was in Washington, D.C., at the time.

The group didn’t immediately get into the Kingsport Higher Education Center, where Roe’s district office is located.

Instead, the group was met in the parking lot by district Director John Abe Teague, who gave each member paperwork to fill out, asking for contact information and a list of their concerns.

That information, Teague promised, will be forwarded to the congressman.

As for why the group couldn’t get inside, Teague pointed to building operator Northeast State Community College.

“The college will not let us use the interior of the building,” Teague told the group. “(But) getting back to you is important. ... We don’t own the building. We lease.”

After it began raining, the group did get to go inside the building and talk to Teague, according to a source.

The group has been making similar stops at the district offices of U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both Republicans.

Indivisible Tennessee spokeswoman Nancy Fischman, chair of the Washington County Democratic Party, said the group is concerned about the entire Trump administration, but it is trying to limit discussion to a few major issues.

Those issues, she said, include the planned repeal of the Affordable Care Act and congressional action eliminating the Stream Protection Rule.

“This is a group that came out of a MoveOn.org meeting several weeks ago,” Fischman said of Indivisible Tennessee. “We’re letting our federal and state representatives know that we are people ... and our American values are kept up and nothing goes against our Constitution, and all of our rights are protected — the rights of women and the rights of LGBT people.”

Roe has advocated repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

In the House, Roe has reintroduced his American Health Care Reform Act — a bill that came out of a Republican Study Committee — that would allow consumers to purchase health insurance across state lines and protect people with pre-existing conditions. The bill doesn’t mandate health insurance coverage or include tax penalties. Individuals with qualifying insurance would receive a $7,500 tax deduction and families would get a $20,500 deduction.

“Almost seven years ago, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was signed into law,” Roe said in a release. “President Obama promised this law would expand access to and lower the cost of health insurance coverage, but almost every promise the president made about Obamacare has since been broken. Americans were promised they could keep their doctors and the health coverage they had if they liked them, but many could not. In the meantime, the individuals and families who have tried to get coverage under Obamacare have seen their costs skyrocket while their options for coverage have dwindled. Nationwide, the cost of an average insurance plan on the exchange was predicted to increase an average of 22 percent in 2017. In Tennessee, roughly 131,000 people faced losing their coverage last fall when BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the state’s largest insurer, pulled out of the exchanges in three markets on the heels of an average 56 percent premium increase across the state. Thanks to Obamacare, roughly 1 in 5 patients only have one health insurance provider to choose from. Obamacare has failed, and the only way to provide relief to the patients struggling under this law is to fully repeal it.”


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