Poughkeepsie Journal: As health care battle builds, Maloney targets Faso in his own district
The Republican push to repeal the Affordable Care Act has elicited an impassioned response from some mid-Hudson Valley residents, fearful for what a change in health care could mean for themselves and loved ones.
On Monday afternoon, Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney listened to their concerns in his 18th Congressional District. Then, he listened to concerns from constituents in the 19th Congressional District Monday night.
Maloney, D-Cold Spring, took the rare step of appearing outside of his district, in the area represented by Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, at the Senate Garage in Kingston in front of a crowd of more than 300.
The town hall meeting came in the wake of the House of Representatives, including Faso, voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. All New York Democrats in the House voted against the American Healthcare Act, also known as Trumpcare; all but two Republicans voted for it. The legislation is now being debated in the U.S. Senate.
Maloney said he was on hand to “adopt” the 19th district, after he said Faso rejected Maloney’s invitation to visit the 18th district to explain his vote. Maloney said Faso on Monday night was at a fundraiser in Albany. An empty stool had a card with Faso’s name.
“If at any time the current Congressman wants to come here and do his job, well I will pack up and I will leave,” Maloney told the boisterous crowd. He later said, “I’m not doing you a favor by answering your questions if I represent you. It’s my job.”
Faso brushed off the criticism earlier Monday, citing televised appearances as a way for his constituents to hear from him, knocking Maloney and claiming the Democratic Congressman is distorting the bill.
“There are many conflicting reports regarding what is covered and what is not covered under the American Health Care Act,” Faso said in a statement. He added that New York is one of 45 states that have consumer protections “that would prevent insurance companies from discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions.
“The claim that rape and sexual assault would be considered as a pre-existing condition ... is false,” Faso added.
John Reilly of Red Hook attended Monday night’s event and lauded Maloney.
“I think it shows a lot of courage, on Sean Patrick Maloney’s behalf, to show up and answer for Faso because he’s not willing to come,” he said.