PARKVILLE, Mo. — During one of eight stops across the state, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D) spoke to the need to meet with constituents and hear from the people.
McCaskill spoke to a packed crowd Thursday, April 13 inside the Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the campus of Park University. She said the town hall style meetings on a busy day of traveling to meet with the residents of the state that she represents in order to be held accountable to the voters.
“One of the most important parts of my job is listening to Missourians about their ideas and concerns, getting their input, and holding myself accountable face-to-face,” she said, “And while we may not always agree on everything, I find we can always respect each other. I wanted the folks at today’s town hall, and across the state, to know that the people they elected to represent them truly hear them and stand ready to take their ideas to Washington on how we can increase bipartisan results, ensure access to health care and quality education for all Missourians.”
McCaskill’s stops were made in Buchanan County, Callaway County, Greene County, Jefferson County, Marion County, New Madrid County, Phelps County, and Platte County. Her appearance in Parkville was the sixth of the day.
Park president Dr. Greg Gunderson introduced McCaskill, who spent some time afterward posing for pictures and talking with students.
“I wanted to thank Senator McCaskill for choosing Park University as one of the eight sites for her Meet Me in Missouri Town Hall Tour,” Gunderson said. “When looking at the chosen list of locations, I noticed a majority of them take place on college campuses. I can think of no better setting for these meetings in institutions of higher learning, where the virtues of civil discourse are valued, are championed and exercised just as they are across the City of Parkville and the great state of Missouri.”
After speaking, McCaskill was able to answer questions written by those in attendance on the current issues the country is facing including government oversight, the IRS, her stance on the Keystone oil pipeline, news media controversies, public funding for private education, dark money and Citizens United. However, the one subject that people submitted the most questions over was the Affordable Care Act and President Donald Trump’s plan to replace it.
“We need to fix some things in the Affordable Care Act,” McCaskill said. “Five percent of Americans that have insurance are buying their insurance on the exchanges and paying the full premium. Everyone else is either getting subsidies on the exchanges; they’re getting health care or they are on Medicare, Medicaid or on VA benefits or they’re uninsured.”
McCaskill further stated that there are some things that can be done to fix the issues with the Affordable Care Act and that she would love to work across the aisle with Republicans to improving the act.
However, McCaskill felt what was proposed only benefited the wealthy, corporations, medical device companies and insurance companies.
“What I can’t go for is what President Trump is proposing and I want to make sure everybody understands what was proposed,” McCaskill said. “What was proposed was not a health care bill. What was proposed was a tax cut bill. The bill cut taxes by over a trillion dollars. Now whose taxes did it cut? Any of you who make over $200,000 a year, your taxes will be cut under Trump Care. If you make less than $200,000 a year, you get no help.”
McCaskill also addressed Trump’s overwhelming victory in Missouri in the 2016 election and how it affects her office moving forward.
“This probably isn’t going to be what most of the people in the audience want to hear but I really feel that it’s really important that I say it: I found November’s election humbling,” she said. “I’ve told my colleagues in Washington that are from very different places when I hear them talk with disrespect towards Trump voters. I tell them to stop. “The people who voted for Donald Trump in my state, they feel pain, they wanted a disruptor.
“There are so many Missourians who take a shower after work who feel they have been forgotten, who feel like they have been left behind, who feel like everything that’s good in America is not really lining up for them and they’re frustrated and angry and mad and I get it. I really get it now.”
To wrap up her speech, McCaskill gave a closing list of numbers that she gathered for Platte County health care premiums compared between the Affordable Care Act and Trump’s proposed bill that ended up not going to Congress for a vote. She cited the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan health foundation that analyzed the proposal and compared premiums.
“In Platte County a 60-year-old man making $30,000 a year currently pays $2,480 under Obamacare for a silver plan,” McCaskill said. “That same plan under Trumpcare would cost him $10,000 so one third of his income would go toward his insurance premium. That is not accessible and affordable.”
While McCaskill delivered a message of cooperation with Republicans in office, the Missouri Republican Party disputed her stances. The group issued a statement later in the day, calling McCaskill a Washington liberal that has been obstructing Trump.
“Claire McCaskill’s liberal values don’t line up with the values of the Missourians who gave President Trump an incredible 18-point win over McCaskill’s friend Hillary Clinton,” said Missouri Republican Party executive director Austin Stukins in the group’s response. “And that’s something she can’t hide, no matter how many town hall dog and pony shows she drums up.”