A Politician Tried to Dredge Up an Old Obamacare Myth, and People Shot Him Down

February 11th 2017

Willie Burnley Jr.

A Republican party official was booed Saturday morning when he voiced opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by arguing it forces the elderly to stand before a “death panel” - a lie that was deemed PolitiFact’s inaugural “Lie of the Year” in 2009. There was no fooling those in attendance at the town hall in New Port Richey, Florida. The ACA allows the elderly to have doctor’s visits related to end-of-life care and living wills be charged directly to Medicare; a proposition dropped from the healthcare law and later adopted in 2015.

“You’re wrong!” Bill Akins, secretary of the Republican Party of Pasco County, shouted in defense of the lie over the crowd's roar. He then tried to shout down the visibly adult and elderly crowd by calling them “children” repeatedly.

It was one of the latest skirmishes Republicans have faced since returning to their districts to find an increasingly enraged base of voters that are openly displeased with some appointments and less tolerant of partisan falsehoods, especially those long discredited. With the Affordable Care Act under threat, many of these confrontations have centered on losing access to healthcare, with protesters expressing dissatisfaction in concert. 

Thousands of protesters appeared at a town hall for Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and repeatedly booed him, shouted “shame,” and chanted “do your job” as they pressed him on policy issues. One woman who credits Planned Parenthood with helping her survive cancer questioned why he plans to defund the health organization.

Chaffetz went on to claim without evidence that the protesters were paid and not from Utah. Despite this blasé response, reporting from POLITICO reveals that Republicans across the country have been frightened by the level of resistance they’ve received from protesters in favor of preserving the ACA and other progressive causes.

That may be why Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are calling for national rallies to be held Feb. 25 across the country to prevent the repeal of the law.