The fate of health care was a central topic Saturday at a packed town hall meeting held by Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who vowed to fight to preserve and improve the Affordable Care Act. “This is a life-and-death issue for a lot of families,” said Suozzi, who criticized House Republicans’ replacement proposal.
Around 300 people filled the Polish National Home in Glen Cove for the meeting, which the first-term congressman said he organized in response to overwhelming interest among constituents in blocking the Trump administration’s agenda.
Suozzi asked how many had never before attended a town hall and watched 100 hands go up. “This is awesome,” he said. “This is happening all over the country.”
Many came to hear Suozzi address the potential fallout from a repeal of Obamacare. “The Affordable Care Act is one of the first times insurance really became affordable for me,” said Andrea Ornstein of Glen Cove. “I’m afraid of losing that,” she said, fighting back tears.
Craig Wexler, a physician from East Northport, said his patients struggled with high copays and prescription drug costs, and asked Suozzi what Democrats in Congress will do to “mend the flaws in Obamacare.” Suozzi agreed the health care system needs work, and said Democrats must seek more input from doctors, hospitals and patients for future legislative fixes.
Trump’s alleged ties to Russia also came up. “There’s no question” that Russia meddled in last year’s presidential election, said Suozzi, who called for an independent investigation into the allegations.
Some expressed frustration with the congressman and his Democratic colleagues for not doing enough to obstruct Republicans. Joel Herman of Melville criticized Suozzi for voting for recent Republican legislation. “I’m not going to vote straight party line every single time,” Suozzi replied.
The congressman encouraged those in attendance to stay politically engaged. “Democracy does not work if people are not involved,” he said.