Shea-Porter Speaks to Constituents
DOVER — The lack of unity in Congress, climate change, and health care topped the list of concerns at a forum Wednesday hosted by U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H, a the McConnell Center in downtown Dover.
Shea-Porter opened with an update of everything that has been going on in Washington since the beginning of the year and compared the situation to waiting for ice-out on Lake Winnipesakee. She said even that first bit of water amid a sea of ice is a hopeful sign.
“The Armed Services committee has been pretty bi-partisan and it is surprising what we have been able to do,” Shea-Porter said. “We got an amendment on climate change passed.”
According to Shea-Porter, the military has been focused on climate change, and of particular concern are east coast installations dealing with flooding, such as in Norfolk, Va., and Newport, R.I.
“As you know, the last scientist left the White House a while ago,” Shea-Porter said. “They have gutted a lot of programs and taken down information.”
She said she saw a film about flooding at Norfolk and the impact on the troops.
“This military is already onto this,” she said. “The potential for food shortages to create instability in parts of the world, the impact of weather events on troops.”
Answering a question about Medicare, Shea-Porter said she has always believed in Medicare for all, that there was a public option in the Affordable Care Act that was stripped by the Senate and that she has a bill to allow people to opt in to Medicare.
“I am really proud of our state legislators for working together on Medicaid expansion, but even that is not enough,” Shea-Porter said. “We have had to play defense and have not been able to improve the ACA, but it needs a public option.”
Responding to a question about the health-insurance mandate, Shea-Porter said no one knows what the future will bring and she is hopeful that a public option measure will pass to cover essential benefits. She talked about how risk pools work and said ultimately people do pay for those who don’t have coverage.
“You should have insurance so if you have to go to the hospital, these nice people won’t have to pay for you, and it’s good for you that these nice people have insurance so you don’t have to pay for them,” Shea-Porter said.
Answering a question about nuclear weapons and escalating tensions with North Korea, Shea-Porter said she signed a letter on Wednesday that said President Trump would need to confer with Congress on what military steps to take.
“Congress is asserting itself again and that is a good thing,” Shea-Porter said. “It is a co-equal branch of government (and) we have oversight responsibility.”
She said there is a lot of discussion going on and said the president needs to surround himself with people who have skills and knowledge and understanding of the region.