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Smith: Americans deserve better on health care

Rep. Adrian Smith meets with constiuents in St. Paul on March 13, 2017 (NTV News)

Congressman Adrian Smith says the American people deserve better on health care.

But the Republican plan faces new questions.

“It's terrifying, is what it is,” said Joan Hopkins of Grand Island.

The current system has its flaws, but Hopkins worries health care costs may rise under the Republican plan.

She said, “I'm one of those fixed income people. The more it goes up, the more I have to look at household budget.”

Coffee cup in hand, this double lung transplant recipient took her concerns to Rep. Adrian Smith, who says the Republican plan is about choice.

“More options, not just what the federal government is forcing upon them,” Smith said.

And that includes the choice to not have insurance.

Smith said, “The individual mandate I think is the heavy hand of government acting in a way that discourages innovation.”

But some say healthy young people need to be part of the system.

Hopkins said, “I understand the offense of the mandate, but if you want to license your car, you have to have insurance.”

Joan also has trouble under the current plan. She’s on Medicare and pays for a Medicare supplement.

Even with that, she ends up getting drugs from Canada, because they’re no cheaper under Pres. Obama’s health care law.

“It's nuts. It's absolutely nuts,” she said.

And on that point, Congressman Smith agrees.

He said, “Few Nebraskans think that our health care system as it currently stands is in good shape. A lot of promises made with Obamacare that have not been delivered.”

Some town halls across the country have been contentious.

Congressman Smith was questioned, but this 90-minute forum was civil, with health care dominating discussion.

Smith said, “Engagement is important, that the American people would weigh in I think is healthy, and we as elected members of government, we need to listen.”

Smith serves on the Ways and Means Committee that held an 18-hour session last week.

He says that’s just the beginning.

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