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Small Town Hall In Kansas Reflects Troubled Mood Of Country Over GOP’s Health Plan

On Thursday night, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) did what many Republicans have avoided this recess: face head on his constituents' tough questions on health care. The concerns he heard are ones that echo across the country, and demonstrate how hard it will be to get the legislation passed.

The New York Times: Unlikely Holdout Underscores Challenge For Senate Health Bill
Cheryl Hofstetter Duffy began by telling Senator Jerry Moran that she was a breast cancer survivor. Then she asked why the debate over the Affordable Care Act was focused on repealing and replacing the law, rather than simply making it better. When she finished, the crowd jammed into a community center on Thursday applauded. Mr. Moran, a Kansas Republican who came out last week against the Senate leadership’s repeal bill, picked up on the sentiment, lamenting that both parties were locked in opposition over health care, with Republicans pursuing repeal and Democrats saying, he said, “Not one inch are we giving.” “And so the rhetoric puts us into the corners of the ring,” he said, “and never a meeting of the minds.” (Kaplan, 7/6)

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Senator Urged To Oppose Health Bill At Town Hall
At Mr. Moran’s town-hall meeting, no one spoke out in support of the Republican bill, though one voter sharply criticized the 2010 law, calling it “socialized medicine.” Mr. Moran said that rather than continue to push a flawed bill, GOP leaders should pursue negotiations with Democrats, including public hearings and amendments from both sides. He spoke repeatedly about fixing or repairing the law, saying it has “benefited some people.” For Mr. Moran, the first GOP senator to sponsor legislation repealing the ACA after its passage in 2010, his stance marked a stark shift. (Hackman, 7/6)

The Washington Post: A Town Hall In Kansas Shows Republican Struggles With Health-Care Bill
Moran, the only Republican senator holding unscreened town halls on health care this week, revealed just how much his party is struggling to pass a bill — and even how to talk about it. The people who crowded in and around Palco’s community center aimed to prove that there was no demand for a repeal of the ACA, even in the reddest parts of a deep red state. (Weigel, 7/6)

Politico: Moran Feels Surprising Squeeze On Obamacare Repeal
The Urban Institute says about 120,000 residents in Kansas would lose coverage under the Senate Republican plan, which disproportionately hits the state’s older and more rural population, according to David Jordan, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas. (Kim, 7/7)

A look at how other senators are faring at home —

Politico: McCaskill Finds Obamacare Fans In Trump Country
Claire McCaskill took a quick poll Thursday in the middle of her seventh town hall in two days, asking constituents to raise their hands if they supported the Senate GOP’s Obamacare repeal plan. Two hands rose among the crowd of about five dozen in this deep-red county. When McCaskill asked the same question earlier Thursday at a public meeting in Moberly, another rural Missouri town where President Donald Trump won overwhelmingly, no one raised their hands. (Schor, 7/6)

The CT Mirror: Himes Tells Town Hall Meeting Trump Is Playing To Public’s Fears
A fundamental battle between hope and fear is playing out in Washington, D.C., right now, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes says – and President Donald J. Trump has chosen fear as his political tool... Though he began the night expressing hope in the fight against Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, fear worked its way to the forefront later in the evening as several successive speakers asked questions about crisis in government. (Constable and Werth, 7/7)

Montana Public Radio: Montana Health Leaders Speak Out Against GOP Health Care Bill
Leaders of Montana doctors, nurses and hospital groups today spoke out against the health care bill being proposed by Senate Republicans. ... The head of the Montana Hospital Association also said the bill would be bad for health care in the state, because it would reduce the number of people with health coverage. A representative of the state's biggest physician's organization said, thanks to the Medicaid expansion, they're now seeing people who had been unable to afford care, and those people would be left without coverage if the Senate bill passes. (Whitney, 7/6)

Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press: Sen. Bob Corker Addresses Concerns Over Health Care Reform
Standing in front of the Council for Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services on Spears Avenue, Corker spotted four pro-Obamacare signs — and two people. ... Eric Reese, 37, told the senator that his conservative colleagues in Washington were going to put together a plan that is simply too harsh for the poor and the deathly ill. To that, Corker offered a rebuttal. "There is no attempt to do away with the pre-existing condition issue (in place under the Affordable Care Act)," he said. "There is an attempt right now to build up the subsidy level so that people who are lower income can actually purchase health care." (Jett, 7/7)

Denver Post: Disability-Rights Advocates Protest Outside Cory Gardner's Denver Office Again
Protesters who last week staged a 57-hour sit-in at Sen. Cory Gardner’s Denver office returned to the general vicinity Thursday with hundreds of allies, saying they would continue to make their voices heard until the Republican commits to a “no” vote on the Senate health care bill. The activists, clutching water bottles and sporting yellow T-shirts, gathered in the morning under pop-up canopies on the lawn outside Gardner’s office. They represented ADAPT, a Colorado-based national disability-rights organization, and more than a dozen other groups. (Baumann, 7/6)

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