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March 25, 2017


Who is the Freedom Caucus?

by Anne Paddock

Over the past few weeks as I’ve listened to arguments over healthcare, the “Freedom Caucus” keeps coming up which made me wonder “Who is the Freedom Caucus?” The answer:  a congressional caucus made up of 30 men, almost all (28) of whom are white and middle-aged or seniors. The other two men include a middle-aged man who was born in Puerto Rico and an Arab-American.

The Freedom Caucus is a conservative group of congressmen who claim to represent the interests of their constituents.  There are no women and no African-American members of the Freedom Caucus, and this fringe group only has 30 members (7%) out of 435 members of Congress, which is telling. And, yet the Freedom Caucus is a powerful group in that they can withhold enough votes to stop the Republican party from pushing forward their agenda (which actually helps the Democrats much to their dismay).

At first, I thought the only lawmakers opposing Trump’s new healthcare reform bill (American Healthcare Act) were the Democrats but opposition is not limited to the liberals.  The ultra conservative lawmakers and specifically the Freedom Caucus are also opposed to the reform but for different reasons. That there is something the liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans agree on is nothing short of astounding resulting in the bill being tabled yesterday afternoon after the Republicans couldn’t garner enough support to get the bill passed. Surprisingly, Trump blamed the Democratic lawmakers but he should have placed the blame on his own party and specifically the Freedom Caucus because the Republicans control the House.

The Freedom Caucus detests Obamacare and greatly dislikes the American Healthcare Act for a variety of reasons but primarily because the bill doesn’t do enough to repeal what Obamacare put in place. The American Healthcare Act proposed a lot of changes but what the bill wouldn’t do is allow insurance companies to refuse to insure people with pre-existing conditions or stop parents from continuing to cover their kids on their insurance plan until age 26 – two aspects of the bill the Freedom Caucus doesn’t support. That 90% of Americans in almost every poll want these provisions seems to have flown right over the closed ears of the members of the Freedom Caucus.

The American Healthcare Act would have also eliminated the mandate penalty for those who don’t buy health insurance for themselves and their dependents.  Why the Freedom Caucus – a group of lawmakers who advocate personal responsibility – would support a provision (but it wasn’t enough to get them to support the bill) that basically allows people to go uninsured so that taxpayers can pick up the tab at the emergency room or any hospital that takes government funds is beyond understanding. It’s analogous to allowing car owners to go uninsured. If a driver gets injured in an accident or hurts someone else, then taxpayer dollars have to pick up the tab. Maybe these white middle-aged men just don’t like anyone telling them what to do and that’s why they formed a good ol’ boys club to stand together. But, the fact is many people won’t do the right thing – whether its buying car insurance or health insurance – unless they are forced to because they know they will get taken care of anyway (how is buying an i-phone ever more important than having health insurance?). So, we put laws in place so that everyone pays into a system where everyone benefits.

Below is a list of the members of the Freedom Caucus and their e-mail contact links:

If you live in the district of any of the above lawmakers (most only accept e-mail from those who live in their districts), consider clicking on the link to contact your lawmaker to share your opinion, especially if you don’t support healthcare reform that allows insurance companies to exclude people with pre-existing conditions and/or if you support allowing parents to carry their children on health insurance policies until the dependents reach the age of 26.

If you don’t know who your representative is, click here to enter your zip code which will tell you who your representative is.

  1. Mar 28 2017

    Thanks Fran…good to hear from you. Everytime I make brownies and chocolate cake from your Vegan Chocolate cookbook, I think of you. My next plan: to make your chocolate pecan pie!

  2. Mar 28 2017

    Thanks for a very enlightening post.

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