Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) was probably expecting a different audience at his health care town hall on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
But when he invited members of his congressional district to attend the event on Saturday morning, nearly 200 people showed up — and the overwhelming majority of them were supporters of the health care law, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
One after another, protesters stood up to ask that Bilirakis — who describes himself as a “staunch opponent of Obamacare” on his website — not join the Republican push to repeal the 2010 health insurance expansion.
“I’m an independent who voted for you,” said one 21-year-old constituent with a heart condition, according to the Times. “Please don’t take my life away. Please don’t let me die.” Obamacare allows young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance until their 26th birthday.
Bilirakis didn’t budge. That sets him apart from other Republican members of Congress, several of whom have recently fled constituent town halls in order to avoid dealing with crowds of pro-Obamacare demonstrators. The same day that Bilirakis faced down his critics, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) ducked out of a constituent event after more than 300 protesters showed up; his staff later told ThinkProgress that local police had asked him to exit through the back of the building.
Rep. Tom McClintock faced a similarly-sized crowd that same day. Just days earlier, pro-Obamacare demonstrators went to the Arkansas office of Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) only to be met with a locked door.