Comstock quiet on details of health care repeal
By ONOFRIO CASTIGLIA
The Winchester Star [February 4, 2017]
WINCHESTER — Rep. Barbara Comstock, R- 10th, has been silent on her party’s plans to repeal and supposedly replace President Barack Obama’s health care law, also known as the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare.”
Comstock has called the law a “ failed project” and pushed the GOP rhetoric of repeal and replace. While the repeal aspect of that promise is clear, there has been no straightforward resolution on what a r eplacement looks like. “… we need af fordable insurance that will be there when we need it,” read a prepared statement from Comstock on Friday.
“ I hear my constituents’ concerns and will work with my colleagues to enact policy that will allow for a wider choice of health care plans that includes coverage for those who have preexisting conditions and allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 while encouraging health care innovation and more choice and control in the hands of patients,” she stated. “Our health care sector is complex and we are working carefully and thoughtfully on how we can best improve it.”
That is nearly the exact same statement Comstock posted on her official Facebook page on Jan. 13, and references several of the more popular aspects of the existing health care law.
The statement went on to criticize the health care law as “flawed and ultimately unsustainable,” but did not offer new details about what a future replacement could actually look like. It wasn’t clear whether Comstock was part of a group of Democratic and moderate Republicans who met on Wednesday with Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, who is the presidential nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services and a longtime opponent of the Affordable Care Act.
A request for a phone interview with Comstock was not granted.
A newspaper advertisement circulating the 10th district and featuring Comstock’s photo and office phone number states that she has “ a plan to deliver quality, affordable, patient-centered health care” and encourages constituents to “urge her to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act now.”
Jeff Marschner, Comstock’s deputy chief of staf f, said on Thursday that her office had nothing to do with the ad, which is paid for by the American Action Network, a self- proclaimed “ centerright” Washington, D. C., issue advocacy nonprofit group.
It’s felt among some people in the 10th district — which covers Winchester, Frederick County and parts of Clarke, Loudoun and Fairfax counties — that Comstock is avoiding speaking about this matter in public.
As reported by Politico, there is considerable anger that Comstock did not appear at two town hall meetings last weekend meant to address a repeal of the health care law and the Trump administration’s travel ban.
The withdraw is angering Democrats in the 10th district — swelling a desire to flip the 10th district in the 2018 mid-term elections.
People have been taking to social media to share stories about Comstock not attending town hall meetings and being, they say, generally unavailable. Some of them share images, like one of a milk carton with a missing person notification and photo of the congresswoman.
“Have you seen me?” that image reads. As of Friday a new Facebook group called Dump Comstock had 380 members.
Marschner said Comstock will be hosting a “telephone town hall in the near future so that constituents throughout the district can participate.” A date was not given. “ As our congresswoman … [ Comstock] needs to be more responsive to the constituents,” said Patsy Brown, chairwoman of the 10th district Democratic Committee. Brown said Republicans like Comstock have been railing against the health care law since it was passed in 2010, but have never offered any alternative.
Recently, leaked audio recordings of closed-door discussions published by The Washington Post reveal arguments within the GOP about what an Obamacare replacement should be and how a repeal should be implemented.
“It seems to me like empty rhetoric,” Brown said. “ They’ve had… at least six years to come up with a plan.
“ I don’t see [ Comstock] taking any leadership.”
— Contact Onofrio Castiglia at firstname.lastname@example.org