Leonard Lance‘s position on Obamacare can best be summarized as follows, Save Jerseyans:
Repair the (Un)Affordable Care Act a/k/a Obamacare.
“I want to make sure there is continuous coverage for everybody,” Lance asserted from the podium at his capacity Wednesday evening town hall meeting in Branchburg, New Jersey, while also noting the ACA marketplaces were in pretty bad shape and that the Medicaid expansion funding situation was “untenable.”
It’s a position the federal legislator has repeated many times in recent days, one that represents arguably more of a Republican semantics shifts than a substantive change in direction for the House of Representatives’ majority party facing vocal albeit minority opposition to Obamacare’s expected demise.
“We want to repair the A.C.A., and I have never favored its repeal without a replacement,” Lance had said during a recent House subcommittee hearing. “I think it needs to be repaired, and we are trying to focus on repairing it, and that is why we’re conducting this hearing along with other hearings.”
He did vote to repeal and replace the badly-flawed health care law in the past. Lance’s chosen “repair” formulation, however, differ sharply from those of the White House and other members of his party at this critical pass when Republican town hall hosts are facing tremendous pressure from professional organizers over the ACA’s fate.
“We are absolutely committed to follow through on President Trump’s directive to repeal and replace Obamacare and to have the Congress do it at the same time,” Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News back at the beginning of February.
Whether Lance and his fellow Republicans can coalesce around an Obamacare strategy in 2017 may well decide his electoral fate – and the fate of his colleagues – in the 2018 midterm election cycle. Speaker Paul Ryan knows it and is reportedly pledging to introduce a plan after the current congressional break.
Rep. Lance did field a variety of other questions on Wednesday evening at Raritan Community College’s campus though the questions were decidedly flavored by the attendees’ liberal tint.
“My views are that Russia is not a friend of the United States,” Lance said to light applause from the largely hostile audience after a local psychologist prodded him to support an investigation into alleged Russian hacking of the 2016 U.S. election.
He also discussed educational reform and environmental issues (including the PennEast Pipeline) among other topics pitched by the audience during the lottery-driven exchange and, of course, immigration and President Trump’s planned wall for the U.S. Southern Border with Mexico entered into the conversation which was frequently peppered with loud jeers and boos from the crowd.
“I do not believe it is necessary to have a wall in places on the Southern border based on my having been there. I do think we need to beef up security, and that may mean a better wall, or better fence, at certain points on the border. But I do not believe we need a wall throughout the whole Southern border particularly in Arizona,” explained Lance, adding that the much-discussed $20+ billion price tag was “too much” for the House to approve.
A second Lance town hall is scheduled for this upcoming Saturday, February 25th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.