‘Nobody’s listening’: Health care backlash overwhelms GOP congressman at Iowa town hall

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

Another day, another contentious town hall for a Republican congressman. In Dubuque, Iowa, on Monday, Republican Rep. Rod Blum faced pointed questions from constituents angry about his yes vote on the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Blum, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, initially opposed the GOP plan, but wound up voting for the updated legislation, which narrowly passed on Thursday without receiving a score from the Congressional Budget Office.

“You voted for this bill in a rush,” one woman said. “There were no committee hearings. This is my life. The Congressional Budget Office didn’t score this bill. … What was the rush?”

“I have always said the process was bad,” Blum said. “It was rushed. There should have been hearings.”

Blum insisted that the current version of the health care bill — now in the Senate — is “better than what we have” and is “heading in the right direction.”

The argument drew boos from the audience.

As the boos grew louder, Blum turned to an aide and said, “Nobody’s listening.”

Related: GOP rep: ‘Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care’

According to the Washington Post, Blum was just one of 14 House Republicans who voted for the bill to schedule a town hall this week. (A total of 217, all Republicans, voted for the legislation.)

Earlier Monday, Blum abruptly walked out of an interview with a local television station at a community center when a reporter asked why he was requiring town hall attendees to show their identification to be admitted.

“This is ridiculous,” Blum said as he left the room, which was filled with schoolchildren. “He’s just going to sit here and badger me.”

Blum later said he was “ambushed” by the reporter, KCRG-TV’s Josh Scheinblum.

But Scheinblum tweeted that he had informed Blum’s staff of his intentions weeks ahead of time.

On Friday, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, was booed during a town hall when he claimed, “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care,” while defending his vote for the GOP bill.

Over the weekend, Labrador conceded the quip “wasn’t very elegant.”

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