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Obamacare town hall in Chico draws lively debate

By Colin Steiner, csteiner@krcrtv.com
Published On: Aug 27 2013 12:20:06 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 27 2013 12:52:18 AM CDT
Obamacare town hall in Chico draws lively debate
CHICO, Calif. -

Congressman Doug LaMalfa hosted a town hall meeting Monday night in Chico on the soon-to-be implemented Affordable Healthcare Act, or Obamacare.

More than a hundred people showed up for the meeting at the Veterans Hall.

Also in attendance were State Senator Jim Nielsen and a now retired OBGYN, there to answer some of the more technical questions.

Many aspects of the Affordable Care Act are set to go into effect October 1.

And Congressman LaMalfa kicked off the night by saying he and many of his fellow Republican congressman are intent on slowing it down.

"It's implementation is impending upon us here and many of us feel like there's no way it's going to be ready to implement," LaMalfa says, "and in the process it is actually going to be more harmful to the healthcare needs of Americans and give them less choices."

Later, while LaMalfa was fielding questions from the audience, he said something that drew a very strong reaction.

"Health care is not a right," the congressman said, followed by an audible response from the crowd. "You have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

While some in the crowd answered those statements with applause, others, like Chicoan Lupe Arim-Law, did not agree.

"My response to that is, 'Is education a privilege as well?'," Arim-Law says. "People are dying. People are sick today. I have health care insurance. I have been fortunate throughout my whole adult life to have it but I know so many people that don't have healthcare. And it breaks my heart. What do I say, 'oh, too bad for you?' Absolutely not."

The crowd wasn't all against the congressman's stance, many stood up and told stories of how they've seen universal healthcare work negatively in the U.S. and abroad.