Approximately 300 citizen activists gathered for a Town Hall meeting with Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman John Sarbanes (Maryland District 3) last night at Asbury United Methodist Church in Annapolis. The event was sponsored by Anne Arundel County Indivisible and organized by Yasemin Jamison and Monica Lindsey. You can see the video of the full meeting here.
The Maryland representatives fielded a range of questions on four topics: 1) Russia, and related issues of transparency 2) the state of national health care legislation 3) environmental issues and 4) diversity, “or the lack thereof.”
The biggest applause of the night was for Chrissy Holt, a health-care lobbyist and specialist in care-networks, referrals, and cost-coding by insurance companies. “My family has three pre-existing conditions,” she told the assembly. “Hemophilia, alcoholism, and Lyme Disease. They are among the 300 hemophiliacs for whom the State of Maryland could pay over $75 million a year if Congress denies coverage and pushes the cost to the states. My husband died of alcoholism, in part, because quality rehab programs cost $20,000 a month. There are 14 million alcoholics, and 24 million drug addicts in this country.” Continuing, she said, “There are 300,000 people with Lyme Disease in this country no adequate treatment or robust research because of patents held by federal agencies and pharmaceutical companies.” Making a call for universal health coverage, Holt argued, “Profitability for these companies means overcharging, and underinsuring. They profit, and people die,” she concluded, as the audience rose to their feet.
Not content with merely criticizing the Trump administration, questioners focused in on specific strategies by the Democrats to reverse recent trends. “The message we are sending to independent voters out there is to hold the President accountable for his promises,” Representative Sarbanes said. “This budget proposal Trump made violates every single promise he made during the campaign.”
Senator Cardin, ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told the audience “The next war will be fought in cyberspace. Today Democrats worked with Republicans to create a network that lets us work with our European partners to protect ourselves from Russia, which is the greatest threat that faces our nation today.”
The evening meeting began with a moment of silence for 2nd Lt. Richard W. Collins III, who died Saturday, May 20 in College Park as the result of a possible hate crime.
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