Iowa Congressman Has Rough Day Over Health Care Bill

Rod Blum cuts off interview, then faces a hostile town hall
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2017 10:15 AM CDT
Iowa Congressman Has Rough Day Over Health Care Bill
Rae Seaton challenges Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, on his answer to her health care question during a town hall in Dubuque, Iowa, on Monday.   (Eileen Meslar/Telegraph Herald via AP)

Iowa Rep. Rod Blum has become the temporary lightning rod for anger about the health care bill that just passed the House. The Republican congressman had a double whammy on Monday when he abruptly cut short a TV interview—see the video—and then faced a hostile town hall hours later. In the interview, a reporter from KCRG questioned Blum about why he was screening participants for the town hall to make sure they were from his district, reports Mediaite. "I don't represent all Iowans," Blum said. "I represent the First District of Iowa." That's when things got prickly: When the reporter asked why Blum would restrict his town halls in that way while accepting donations from outside his district, Blum declared, "This is ridiculous" and walked off.

He later characterized it as an ambush interview and said he had been misled about the subject matter (explaining the schoolkids around him), per the Washington Post. But things didn't get much better for the House Freedom Caucus member at the town hall, where he faced constituents angry at the prospect of diminished coverage. "This bill, TrumpCare—whatever you want to call it—is about the individual market only," he said. "If you're in the group health insurance program through your employers, if you're getting your insurance through the group health insurance, nothing changes." But that was met with cries of "That's not true!" Elsewhere:

  • GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik got a similarly rough reception at a town hall in northern New York state, reports NPR.
  • Also in New York state, a Democratic congressman showed up at a town hall in the district of a neighboring GOP congressman who was a no-show, reports the Register-Star.
(More Rod Blum stories.)

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