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Rupar writes: "Las Vegas resident Laura Packard is a self-employed small business owner who has stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma and health insurance through an Affordable Care Act exchange. On Saturday, she was thrown out of a town hall event featuring Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) after she tried to ask him why he supports legislation that would strip coverage from people like her."

Las Vegas resident Laura Packard at town hall with Senator Dean Heller. (photo: Battle Born Progress)
Las Vegas resident Laura Packard at town hall with Senator Dean Heller. (photo: Battle Born Progress)


Woman With Stage 4 Cancer Thrown Out of Town Hall After Asking GOP Senator About Health Care

By Aaron Rupar, ThinkProgress

07 December 17


Dean Heller had few answers.

as Vegas resident Laura Packard is a self-employed small business owner who has stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma and health insurance through an Affordable Care Act exchange. On Saturday, she was thrown out of a town hall event featuring Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) after she tried to ask him why he supports legislation that would strip coverage from people like her.

After the moderator of the LIBRE Initiative read Heller a question about the Republican tax cut plan that was written by Packard, she got up and said, “That’s my question, and I also have stage 4 cancer. Obamacare is keeping me alive. Why do you not care about the lives of thousands of Nevadans and millions of Americans? Why are you voting for me to lose my health coverage? Without it I will die.”

As Packard sat back down, a security guard approached her and asked her to leave. Video of the exchange was uploaded to Twitter by Battle Born Progress. (Heller’s staff denies they had anything to do with the decision to kick Packard out.)

Heller didn’t directly respond to Packard’s question as she left the room. Instead, he defended the inclusion of the repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate in Senate Republicans’ tax bill, saying, “We got rid of the individual mandate. Ninety-thousand people within the state of Nevada have to pay a tax because they can’t afford Obamacare, and of those 90,000, 80 percent of them make less than $50,000. Tell me how that is fair?”

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 13 million people will lose health insurance over the next decade if the individual mandate is repealed, and that the Republican tax plan will result in a $25 billion cut to Medicaid in fiscal year 2018.

During Saturday’s event, Heller went on to mention that aside from repealing the individual mandate, “the ACA is not touched” by the Republican tax plan. But that doesn’t shed any light on why Heller allowed himself to be strong-armed by President Trump in July into voting in favor of an Obamacare repeal bill that would have stripped more than 276,000 of his constituents of health care coverage and cost the state billions of dollars of federal funds.

In an interview with ThinkProgress, Packard — who had her last day of radiation treatment on Tuesday — said she didn’t hear Heller’s response because she “was in the midst of getting thrown out, so I didn’t really get a chance to listen to it, and I have not been calm enough to go back and watch his response.”

However, in a statement distributed by Battle Born Progress, Packard characterized the tax bill as “a giveaway to the rich [that] is paid for by throwing patients like me under the bus. Removing the mandate means fewer healthy people will sign up for insurance, leaving the sick people like me behind. Insurance costs will spiral out of control, aka the death spiral.”

Saturday wasn’t Packard’s first brush with Heller. In May, she starred in a viral video aimed at the vulnerable Republican senator in which she says, “I have gone through five treatments and I have several more to go, but the good news is that my doctors believe that I can be cured. I just need to keep my health insurance. So I’m asking Senator Heller, I’m begging Senator Heller… vote no on Trumpcare and save my life.”

Heller’s office responded to the video with a statement that didn’t address any of Packard’s concerns, but instead merely said, “Laura’s story is heartbreaking.”

In September, President Trump blocked Packard on Twitter after she posted a string of tweets criticizing him for supporting health care legislation that would jeopardize the lives of people like her who rely on Obamacare exchanges for coverage.

Packard said that the security guard who admonished her before the event wouldn’t give her his name or tell her who he worked for.

“I’m paraphrasing because my adrenaline was up, but the gist of what he said was ‘sit down and shut up,'” Packard said. “I’m just sitting there, I’m a citizen here to speak to my senator.”

On Twitter, Keith Schipper, a communications staffer for Heller, said security staff at the LIBRE event wasn’t working for Heller, and dismissed the controversy surrounding Packard’s ejection as “#fakenews.” Packard replied by asking him to clarify what part of her story is “fake.”

An NBC affiliate in Las Vegas reports that at least 10 people were ousted from the LIBRE event.


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+28 # indian weaver 2017-12-07 14:58
Surround his home, daily forever, and keep it up until he moves. Harass him endlessly until his life isn't worth living. Many passive / aggressive actions can now be waged against this Nazi Heller. Send him to hell on Earth, where he deserves to rot, like all GOP congress evildoers.
 
 
+15 # jwb110 2017-12-07 23:42
There is a special place in hell for the likes of Heller and his cohorts.
 
 
+1 # jsluka 2017-12-08 15:24
I wish.
 
 
+1 # Robbee 2017-12-08 08:49
Woman With Stage 4 Cancer Thrown Out of Town Hall After Asking GOP Senator About Health Care
By Aaron Rupar, ThinkProgress
07 December 17

this is the single most important word on our manufactured healthcare crisis - manufactured solely by reliance on private, profit-taking middlemen and women corporatists - i have ever read

and there are tens and tens of thousands more of these "single most important" stories left unwritten every day, in states where repuke legislatures and governors refuse to expand medicaid by journalists who are too busy to write them up

in other words, by the simple mathematics of unneeded death, we should be reading several of these "near-death experiences" EVERY DAY!

american journalism a/k/a liberal media a/k/a MSM are negligently in on the "cover up!"

m. moore, author of sicko has published on 80,000/year who died unneeded before ACA and has something to add!

the healthcare industry is damn lucky no executive has ever developed a conscience! merry christmas death industry! how many will die needlessly before christmas day?
 
 
0 # economagic 2017-12-08 22:19
Yes, I'll give you one for once. Regardless of the Senator's involvement with or even knowledge of the questioner's removal from the hall, removing her was the only plausible response because there is no solid argument for the Republican position on health care, even though there are valid arguments from their arguably false premises.
 
 
0 # economagic 2017-12-08 22:29
Yes, I'll give you one for once. Regardless of the Senator's involvement with or even knowledge of the questioner's removal from the hall, removing her was the only plausible response because there is no solid argument for the Republican position on health care, even though there are valid arguments from their arguably false premises.
 

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