Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash on Wednesday confronted a hostile gathering of Democrats and progressives who took over a town hall event to demand that the U.S. government enact a single-payer health care system, MLive reported.
Speaking to his constituents at Ottawa Hills High School in Michigan's 3rd District, Amash faced boos and insults from the crowd as he attempted to explain his support for the American Health Care Act, the House-passed bill designed to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, according to MLive.
During the town hall, a man who said he was a Vietnam veteran voiced his concern that funding for his PTSD treatment would be dropped under the AHCA. And a woman expressed her worries about the costs of her husband's battle with cancer.
"The bill is not as dramatic as some Democrats are making it seem," Amash said of the AHCA, trying to assuage their fears. "This bill is very similar [to Obamacare]. It keeps in place the guaranteed issued provision and essential health benefits."
This was reportedly greeted with chants of "single payer, single payer" from the crowd, lasting nearly a minute.
Amash, a Libertarian-leaning Republican, told the crowd that if they want a single-payer system, then it should be done on the state level, not the federal level.
"If people in Michigan want a single-payer system, they should be permitted to have that," Amash said. "But people in Oklahoma should not have to have the same health care as people in Vermont and so on."
Vermont has attempted to pass a single-payer health care system in the past. In 2014, under the leadership of then-Gov. Peter Shumlin (D), Vermont was set to be the foremost example for the entire nation on the passage and implementation of a single-payer system.
Shumlin was forced to turn his back on the system when he had to admit that the state couldn't afford it. After consideration, Shumlin concluded that the necessary 11.5 percent payroll tax increase on businesses and the rising of premium costs to 9.5 percent of individual's paychecks "might hurt [Vermont's] economy."
California is taking its turn in attempting to implement a single-payer system. Called the Healthy California Act, this bill would replace California's existing health care market with a publicly funded system. According to the California Senate Appropriations Committee, the act would cost $400 billion — which is more than the state's entire annual budget.
The California Chamber of Commerce called the Healthy California Act a "job killer" and said that “it will cost employers and taxpayers billions of dollars and result in significant loss of jobs in the state.”
The Sacramento Bee called the passage of the Healthy California Act a "long shot," noting that the bill has to pass the state Senate by Friday in order to advance to the state Assembly.