Thursday, February 23, 2017
Through a heroic effort, I made it into the meeting and found a front row seat. Bill Cassidy arrived on time, and talked and talked, yada, yada, yada, running out the time of a one hour meeting. Here are my notes as I wrote them as I sat and listened.
President O'Trump (He really said that) will spend 1 trillion on infrastructure
Trump will bring back energy jobs
Trump will bring back manufacturing jobs
The Dakota pipeline is good and will create many jobs in the US
He's talking too much. Get to the questions
Cassidy talks too damned much
Running out the clock, blah, blah, blah
I sat patiently for a good while and was tired of wasting my time, so I started waving my hand. Cassidy paid no attention, so I shouted out, "Senator, you're talking too much. Listen to the people. Also, I have a question."
He didn't get to me, and people were pointing to me and telling him to answer my question. He finally turned to me, and I asked:
"Will you guarantee that your health care plan or whatever Republican health care plan you sign will cover everyone who is covered by Obamacare? You are a doctor, and you took an oath to do no harm."
He answered something like nearly everyone. I said, "That's no guarantee."
Then he said, "What if people don't want coverage?"
I said, "That's not what I mean, and you know it."
Cassidy never got to the written questions that were handed in, so I'm glad I shouted out and didn't wait. He left promptly after an hour with a number of people still waiting to ask questions.
Among the few questions and comments that time permitted, one man spoke of how Medicaid expansion helps hospitals that had to take losses in the emergency room before the program was implemented.
In answer to a question that I could not hear, Cassidy said, among other things, that Jeff Sessions is an honorable man. [Edit:] The question was from a woman wanted to know if Trump was Putin's puppet. Jeff Sessions served on a Trump campaign committee, and, as Attorney General, prosecutors will be reporting to him during the inquiries looking into contacts between the campaign and Russia. Honorable or not, many think Sessions should recuse himself from inquiries into the campaign in which he had a role.
Another asked about an independent investigation of Trump's Russian connections. Cassidy said he's very concerned about Russia, but he did not state he would support an independent, bipartisan investigation.
Then, a woman asked about Trump's appointment of Pruitt as administrator of the EPA, who is on record as wanting to destroy the EPA. Cassidy said the EPA will not be destroyed.
I was briefly interviewed by the local paper, the Comet Courier, Fox 8, the New Orleans local station, and The Nation magazine.
Update: Here's the link to my minute of fame with Bill Cassidy from Fox 8 news in New Orleans.