Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) refused to answer a mother after she pleaded with him to stop Donald Trump from gutting coverage for substance abuse treatment for her heroin-addicted son.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) could not be bothered to address the concerns of a mother with a heroin-addicted son at a recent town hall meeting.
The woman explained to Zeldin that her son is addicted to heroin, and that she is pleading with him to oppose any possible changes to the health care system that would strip out treatment for addicts.
Zeldin's response was minimal, and heartless.
WOMAN: I have a heroin addict as a son, and I would like to ask a question. Would you commit to fighting against a healthcare act that does not include mental health substance abuse treatment? (applause) I want it in the act! I want it in the program! Will you commit to that? He's taking it out. We need it.
MODERATOR: So, there's like 70 moderators in here.
WOMAN: We want an answer.
MODERATOR: Hold on. We'll take this one and let him go ahead and discuss that. Then I've got to go back to the cards.
ZELDIN: There are amendments that are being discussed that have not yet been filed – okay. Now, okay, that's fine. Now, okay. What's the next question?
MODERATOR: Hey folks, if you all yell he can't even hear me ask.
The Republican-backed American Health Care Act has a provision that would repeal the Obamacare provision which currently requires states that have enacted Medicaid expansion to cover addiction treatment services. Experts say that leaving such coverage up to states, which are often under a budget squeeze, makes the most vulnerable users suffer.
Instead of answering her — even by disagreeing with her — Zeldin simply smiled and waved the clearly anguished woman off, even though he has previously expressed support, with some reservations, for the bill.
Republicans were forced this week to delay a vote on the latest iteration of the bill, but Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and other Republicans continue to insist they will repeal Obamacare, even though most Americans oppose such a move. Democrats have been unified in keeping the program in place, and it has risen in popularity.
And if Republicans cannot respond to concerns like those of this woman any better than Zeldin did, resistance to the repeal efforts will only continue to escalate.