As ThinkProgress has been reporting, all over the country a Main Street Movement of ordinary Americans is fighting back against right-wing attacks on their basic services and safety net. In recent days, this movement has been focused on conservative legislators who voted for the GOP budget plan that would effectively end Medicare.
Rep. Charlie Gibson (R-NY) felt the heat of that movement last week when constituents responded to his fear mongering about undocumented immigrants not paying taxes by asking him, “You mean like GE?!” Yesterday, at yet another town hall meeting captured on YouTube, his constituents angrily and passionately rejected the GOP’s budget plan and demanded that the rich pay their fair share.
At one point, a young man named Daniel challenged Gibson about eliminating Medicare and handing seniors over to insurance companies. Gibson earned lengthy applause from the audience when he said it is “unconscionable” to put Medicare in the hands of the insurance industry:
GIBSON: As it [the GOP plan] relates to out of pocket costs, I think that’s an assumption you’re making as to how the insurance companies would react to that, isn’t it, Daniel?
DANIEL: No, actually the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan organization, said that this would cost about 68 percent of seniors’ [income for] health care. And you mentioned how Congress, it’ll be like what Congress has, and yet they only pay about 28 percent.
GIBSON: Well, this is coming from the Congressional Budget Office, the figures that I have… I think the open question is how are the specifics of the law written, as it relates to the insurance company’s role in this. That’s where I think the specifics are yet to be defined.
DANIEL: I’ll have to disagree and say that the more important thing is that Medicare is something there’s been a consensus for decades that this is important American institution and to put in the hands of the health insurance industry who obviously are only concerned with their own profits is unconscionable.
(applause from audience)
GIBSON: I have to tell you one last thing though, if you’re preparing our proposal with the status quo, that’s a false choice. The CBO says that in a decade the plan’s going to be broke. Something has to be done to save it.
MULTIPLE PEOPLE IN CROWD: Tax the rich! (applause from audience)
At the same town hall, Gibson was also booed over his vote to de-fund Planned Parenthood and angrily confronted over claiming that the GOP plan does not privatize Medicare. (h/t: GibsonTownHall42611 YouTube account)