Keith Wilhelmi holds up a sign.
Keith Wilhelmi holds up a sign.

Constituents greeted Yarmuth with agreement at town hall

Congressman John Yarmuth held a town hall meeting about health care at Bellarmine University on July 9, after the House passed the American Health Care Act of 2017 and while the Senate is still considering the legislation.

Congressman John Yarmuth gives a speech at the town hall. Photo by Phoebe Monsour.

“So many people are willing to come out on a Sunday afternoon, a beautiful Sunday afternoon, to talk about health care and express their concerns, that sends a message to other public officials about how important this issue is,” Yarmuth said.

Indivisible Kentucky attended the meeting to show support for Yarmuth’s progressive stance on issues, especially on health care.

Chris Rowzee was one of the members of Indivisible Kentucky that handed out green agreement cards to the audience members.

Chris Rowzee hands out papers that say “agree.” Photo by Phoebe Monsour.

“We’ve done a lot of protests of Senator McConnell and Senator Paul because of their stance against quality affordable health care for all Kentuckians, and I think it’s also important to show our support for those congressmen that support us,” Rowzee said.

Christine Perlin, who attended the event as part of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care, came to promote HR 676.

“I think people are dying in this country because they do not have health care,” Perlin said.

Christine Perlin talks to a man with an “agree” paper. Photo by Phoebe Monsour.

Perlin said that she had a personal experience with the issues of health care, as one of her family members died of cancer after going to India to get cancer treatment because she could not afford it in the U.S.

“I wanted to make sure that my constituents had an opportunity not just to hear from me about the way I perceived the situation, but to ask questions so that they feel competent to make judgments about whether these are good or bad ideas,” Yarmuth said.

Many of his constituents voiced concerns, including Pavan Venkatakrishnan, an 11-year-old student at Meyzeek Middle School whose brother, Mukund, is a Manual alumnus.

Venkatakrishnan asked Yarmuth about why Democrats did not do a better job at marketing the Affordable Care Act.

Pavan Venkatakrishnan asks a question to Congressman John Yarmuth. Photo by Phoebe Monsour.

“I feel like I can’t sit idly by and criticize the president without involving myself in public processes and representing the first amendments of the Constitution and petitioning my government to listen,” Venkatakrishnan said.

“There really weren’t any hostile questions but I think one thing that this really illustrated is how individualized and how personal health care is,” Yarmuth said. “Everybody gets affected differently.”

Keith and Gale Wilhelmi had personal issues with the American Health Care Act of 2017.

“One of my daughters graduated from college and was denied health care because she had a condition that is very common but insurers don’t want to insure it,” Keith Wilhelmi said. “We got very lucky because Obamacare was passed about that time.”

“Right now health care is probably the number one issue on people’s minds in terms of domestic policy, and I think you saw a reflection of that with how many people came out today,” Yarmuth said.

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