Republican congressman Doug LaMalfa drew more than 1,400 people to a town hall Saturday at the Nevada County Fairgrounds about an hour north of Sacramento.
The crowd peppered LaMalfa with questions on the environment and immigration. LaMalfa backed the idea of building a wall along the border with Mexico, saying the country has to defend its borders.
But health care dominated much of the two-hour discussion. Many in the crowd appeared eager to voice their support for the Affordable Care Act and their displeasure with Republican efforts to repeal and replace it.
Some, including Stan Bunstock from Oroville, had very personal stories to share.
“Myself I would have died. I would have lost everything,” he said. “I had esophageal cancer. Thank God for the Affordable Care Act.”
Facing a rowdy crowd, LaMalfa maintained that the Affordable Care Act is in a death spiral and he defended his party’s plan to overhaul health care.
“We have to have a system that offers more choices. And you’re having less and less choices,” LaMalfa said to boos. Many in the crowd chanted “24 million,” the number of people the Congressional Budget Office estimates could lose insurance under the Republican plan.
Still, LaMalfa says he’s heard from hundreds of middle-class families who are seeing big premium increases under the Affordable Care Act.
Those in attendance held up either green or red signs to signal whether they agreed or not with LaMalfa. The congressman often faced a sea of red when responding to questions. Still, Nevada County is a rare spot of blue in a solidly red district that voted largely for President Donald Trump.