Several hundred protest Issa's health care vote

May 9, 2017

Several hundred people — some carrying canes and crutches — gathered outside Rep. Darrell Issa’s Vista office on Tuesday to blast the Republican lawmaker for voting in favor of a House bill to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a plan that could mean sweeping changes in health coverage for millions of Americans.

“This turnout shows that people are enraged,” said Vista resident Marcheita Stringfellow, one of an estimated 800 people gathered outside Issa’s office.

Many of the protesters shared fears that repealing the Affordable Care Act will strip them of coverage.

“For me, it’s important — my son has Tourette’s (syndrome),” protester Jodi Peters said. She started to cry as she added,” I can’t believe this is happening to us.”

The gathering was among the largest to date in a series of weekly protests held outside Issa’s office over the past few months. The protests, organized by local Indivisible groups, are tied to a national effort known as Resist Trump Tuesdays.

This week’s event was the first since the House of Representatives voted 217-213 to approve the American Health Care Act, also being dubbed Trumpcare. Among other things, the plan eliminates the Obamacare mandate that required all Americans to buy insurance; allows insurers to charge older consumers five times more than younger customers, compared with Obamacare, which allowed companies to charge older customers three times as much; and it allows states to scale back benefits that insurers must cover. It doesn’t explicitly eliminate guaranteed coverage, but gives states the power to sidestep several consumer protections that are in place under the Affordable Care Act.

No Democrats in the House supported the bill, which now heads to the Senate.

Issa was not in town Tuesday, but he issued a statement through his office saying he works hard “to cultivate a productive and open line of communication” with his constituents in forums from town halls to phone calls and face-to-face meetings.

“Throughout all those meetings, the most common story I hear is about how Obamacare is hurting Californians,” Issa said. “Plans have been cancelled. Premiums continue skyrocketing and constituents are counting on me to deliver relief. I’ve made a commitment to repair the damage Obamacare has caused and I plan to deliver on that promise.”

After last week’s vote, he called the Affordable Care Act “a failure from the get go.”

He is not alone in facing backlash over the healthcare vote. Protesters have turned out across the country to rail against Republicans who backed the bill.

Issa’s seat, however, is considered especially vulnerable.

The nine-term congressman only narrowly won re-election in November against Democratic opponent Doug Applegate — by a margin of about 1,600 votes out of more than 300,000 cast — and Democrats have targeted the 49th District in hopes of flipping it in 2018. Republicans are putting in extra money and attention to keep Issa in office.

Issa’s office announced Monday he’s planning a town hall meeting with constituents, tentatively set for May 31 in Oceanside.

Working Families First