Calmer crowd for Cassidy town hall in Thibodaux

Sen. Bill Cassidy holds town hall meeting in Thibodaux

THIBODAUX, LA (WVUE) - Right away, Sen. Bill Cassidy felt it would be different.

"People in the bayou are always civil, so let me just compliment you," Cassidy said to chuckles Thursday during a town hall meeting in Thibodaux.

Like many Republicans nationwide, Cassidy has faced angry protesters. In Metairie, hundreds filled his public meeting, many slamming President Donald Trump's policies and Republicans in Congress who vow to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's signature law, the Affordable Care Act, under which the federal government has helped to provide health coverage for 20 million Americans.

While the town hall in the bayou community south of New Orleans was calmer, some still had pointed questions for Cassidy.

"Will you guarantee that your health care plan or any Republicans' health care plan that you sign will cover everyone who's covered by Obamacare? You as a doctor who swore an oath to do no harm," said Thibodaux resident June Butler to applause.

"Now she's asking me to guarantee. How do I guarantee that somebody doesn't call up and refuse coverage? How do I guarantee that a state does everything?" said Cassidy to the crowd.

Cassidy is co-sponsoring legislation on Capitol Hill that would serve as a replacement for the ACA. He said it would cover more Americans than the current law. However, under his plan, states and individuals would have a choice whether to opt-in.

"He did not give me the guarantee," said Butler.

"I almost felt like somebody wanted me to guarantee like God guarantees. There is a limit to what a single senator can tell a state legislature or an individual," Cassidy.

"I had a grandson who graduated from LSU, and he got a job with no health insurance so he was able to stay on his parents' plan. So in that way, it's personal," Butler added.

Others asked why Trump had not released his tax returns.

"I think Trump should publish his taxes," Cassidy said in response.

Some of the strongest audience reaction came as questions were asked about EPA regulations going forward and Trump's choice to lead the agency.

He has sworn to upload the law," said Cassidy to some jeers mixed with applause.

Some in the audience fear EPA regulations will be gutted and the public will suffer.

"With regards to air quality and water quality and my family, there were five cases - including my own - of cancer, and two of my brothers worked in chemical plants," said Kathleen Joffiron, of Golden Meadow.

"I don't understand how he can support him and at the same time be concerned about people in Louisiana who are getting cancer," added Caroline Portier-Gorman.

"Folks are saying, 'Oh my gosh, he is going to allow things to be emitted that shouldn't be.' If it is the law, then they should not. He should respect the law and I expect him to," said Cassidy.

At the end Cassidy said he was pleased with the give-and-take.

"This was better than yesterday," he said.

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