West Kentuckians speak up for single payer health care at Town Hall meeting in Marshall County

Judy Tuggle of Mayfield (on the right) at Comer's Town Hall in Benton, KY
Judy Tuggle of Mayfield (on the right) at Comer’s Town Hall in Benton, KY

On May 10, 2017, at First District Congressman James Comer’s Town Hall meeting in Benton, Kentucky, Judy Tuggle of Mayfield spoke up for single payer health care.

Judy Tuggle said, “I watched President Trump when the Australian Prime Minister was visiting last week, and I lived in Australia for over a decade.  They have cradle to grave, single payer, medicare for all.” (Applause)

“President Trump touched the Australian prime minister on his knee and said “I know you have better health care than we do,” said Tuggle.  (Applause)

“When are you and the rest of the 435 people not supporting what works in the rest of the industrialized world…  You say you’re pro-business.  It handicaps American employers to have to pay for healthcare for the employees.   The German employers don’t have to.  The English don’t have to.  The Australians don’t have to.  It handicaps our business people.  Single payer works,” said Tuggle.


Rep. James Comer said he was for free enterprise, but if something is not done that is the direction we are headed in. (Loud cheers and applause.)


Jennifer Smith’s speech at Rep. James Comer’s May 10, 2017, Town Hall:

“On March 24, I introduced myself to you, on April 12, I told you about my experience with single payer health care, and why I believe we need HR 676, which would guarantee health care for every American. I had hoped you were listening. You stated your commitment to protecting those of us with pre-existing conditions our access to insurance and health care, but instead, on May 4, you reneged on that promise, and voted for the horrendous bill, the AHCA.

Jennifer Smith at Rep. James Comer's Town Hall in Benton, KY, on May 10, 2017
Jennifer Smith at Rep. James Comer’s Town Hall in Benton, KY, on May 10, 2017

“In response to the outrage from your constituents, you stated on your Facebook page that the bill protected pre-existing conditions, and that those protesting and distorting the truth were far left liberals like the DNC, and Planned Parenthood.  You either lied, or in trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, you are naive and have been grossly misled by your friends in Washington.

“I am a two time breast cancer survivor.  I am a mother, and a grandmother.  I am not being paid by any organization to be here. I am a pre-existing condition that disagrees with your vote, as the AHCA will probably be the death of me.

“The radical left wing organizations that you say are against you include the American Cancer Society, Komen, the National Patient Advocate Foundation, and over 25 other cancer and health advocacy groups.  The American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association, and AARP have also come out strongly against the bill.  All of the organizations have cited the catastrophic impact this will have on those of us with pre-existing conditions, and every other consumer of health care.

“You attempt to distort the impact of the bill, by saying that the high risk pools will protect us.  That would have some truth, if the funding in the bill was anywhere near what would be required to have the high risk pools be functional.  The funding would only cover approximately 110,000 individuals with pre-existing conditions.  However, there are an estimated 2.1 million people in this country with pre-existing conditions, so what happens to us?

“You also neglect to mention that with the states right to opt out, that it is almost a certainty that Kentucky’s governor Bevin would take that option, just as Wisconsin’s Governor Walker has already stated his intent.

“The reality is that this bill with drive up costs for the poor and those with health issues to the point that there is no access, because we will not be able to afford to pay the premiums or out of pocket expenses.  This is a simple grammar lesson, just because we may buy health insurance doesn’t mean we can.

“The AHCA repeals the protections of the ACA.  Insurance no longer is required to cover:
Ambulatory care or outpatient care.
Mental health or substance abuse
rehab for injuries, disabilities, chronic mental or physical deficits.
Preventative screenings like mammograms or colonoscopies.
Maternity and newborn care,

“It also reduces payments for medicaid patient’s home health attendants.

“Many of these costs currently covered by insurance will now be out of pocket, and will certainly result in more bankruptcies, and in some cases, death, as people will skip getting their preventative screenings and care.

“The CBO has stated that with this bill, 14 million people will become uninsured, and that by 2026, 52 million people will be uninsured.

“All of this so that the wealthy can get tax cuts, when history proves that these tax cuts balloon the deficit.  The estimate attached to the tax cuts in this bill are that the deficit will be 111 % of the GDP by 2027.

“At the meeting in Cadiz, you stated that perhaps we had to consider that we could not as a country provide what was needed for our citizens, and turn to churches and charities to provide these services. When I was diagnosed for second time in 2015, my bill at Vanderbilt was almost $600,000 by the end of my chemotherapy and surgeries.  I had a Go Fund Me page, but what was interesting to me is that it was not people of wealth donating, but my friends who had also had cancer and were almost as financially challenged as we were.  I can assure you, Go Fund Me is not a health care provider!”

The crowd applauded Jennifer.

Others spoke as well, many concerned about health care.   The public radio report is here.

There is a full audio of the town hall here.

Article on this Town Hall by Berry Craig, Kentucky congressman wants Trumpcare, but town hall crowd cheered for single-payer