CEDAR RAPIDS – U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley, one of the foremost supporters of Obamacare in Congress, is conducting deficit reduction workshops in Iowa’s First District. However, Braley’s constituents taking part in the exercise are telling the congressman that Obamacare should be repealed, even if that would add to the federal deficit.
The workshops challenge citizens to examine a mock-up of the federal budget. Participants are then tasked with finding ways to reduce the projected federal deficits.
Braley, partnering with the Concord Coalition, a fiscal policy advocacy group, held one of these workshops on Tuesday at Kirkwood Community College. The 25 attendees were divided into five groups and given 70 minutes to choose which programs in the federal budget to cut, which ones to increase funding for and which ones to continue. Ultimately, the final result was supposed to reduce the deficit.
Congressman Braley told his constituents that he would use the information gathered at this workshop to help him make decisions in Washington, D.C.
“We are going to be getting the information that we obtain from this and also seeking feedback from people throughout the First District of Iowa to help inform decisions that we will be making going forward,” Braley said.
According to the worksheet provided to attendees, repealing Obamacare would add $124 billion to the federal deficit. Despite that impediment to their project goal, at least two of the five teams in Bruce Braley’s own workshop told him they want Obamacare repealed.
“There were at least two groups that were in favor of repealing the health reform bill,” said Sara Imhof , Midwest regional director of the Concord Coalition, as she read the results to the group.
Imhof added that the groups found other ways to reduce the deficit in the exercise, without relying on the assistance of the unpopular Affordable Care Act.
“They also came back with different reforms to Medicare and social security, so in that category, as a net result, they were able to bring down the deficit, but they did have a feeling that they wanted to repeal Obamacare even though mathematically that increases the deficit,” Imhof said.
Actually, it remains undetermined whether or not Obamacare will reduce or add to the federal deficit. However, for the purposes of the exercise, Braley’s constituents used the Congressional Budget Office’s original estimation from four years ago. However, even the CBO calls its estimates “highly uncertain”.
Regardless, Braley’s constituents, working in groups with people they likely had never met before, still came to the conclusion that the Obamacare is a bad law that should be repealed even if it does reduce the deficit.
Prior to the exercise, Congressman Braley told attendees that if they remember only one thing from the workshop, it’s that their voice matters.
“You get to decide because you deserve a government that works for you. That’s what this exercise is all about,” Braley added.
However, Congressman Braley continues to advocate for Obamacare and that is unlikely to change no matter what his constituents tell him
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