by Tara Walker
Senator Michael Bennet is having Town Halls to address concerns and questions by Coloradans. After a Town Hall in Steamboat on August 7th, Senator Bennet addressed questions during a Townhall at the Granby library on August 8th.
Healthcare was a large concern as many residents expressed concerns and questions over high drug prices, reduced VA benefits, and the high cost of medical expenses and insurance.
Senator Bennet explained his Medicare X program and emphasized that his bill is not a single payer bill and it is not Medicare for all, but is a way for rural communities to create an insurance pool to reduce costs and mitigate risks. Bennet repeated several times that he believes strongly that this country should have universal coverage in health care. Senator Bennet, “By and large, the people I meet are deeply unhappy with the way they intersect the healthcare system and they should be because our system doesn’t work as well as it does in many other places. There aren’t as many people covered. It’s much more expensive and much more unpredictable. And I hate to say it, but it’s true. The results aren’t as good in many cases.”
Senator Bennet was questioned on school safety and security in our schools and what the federal government was going to do about it. “I have three daughters and I think it is deeply unfair that they have to go to school worried that someone is going to blow up their school, afraid of semi-automatic weapons,” Bennet explained his priorities, “We should tighten up the background checks like Colorado did, limit the size of clips like Colorado did. I voted for both of those things on the floor of the senate. We could do a lot with mental health. The answers from DC and NRA are about arming teachers. I have yet to meet a teacher or kid that thinks that is a good idea.”
Bennet continued, “On so many dimensions, we are accepting things we shouldn’t accept. There is no one else sent here to do this. This is our work.”
An audience member questioned how Bennet could support the recent omnibus that funded Planned Parenthood when it is an organization that aborts 365,000 babies a year.
Bennet responded, “There are vast parts of America where Planned Parenthood is the only place for women to get access to health care, access for reproductive health and in many cases the only way to act on their choice on whether to get an abortion which the supreme court agrees is their choice. I believe strongly that the government should not be making that choice for women.” When questioned about the rising cost for college and the debt that students are facing when trying to obtain an education, Bennet said that he gets that question more than any other, “It is a travesty what we’ve done to the next generation.”
Bennet explained that we have removed taxpayer support and made college really expensive. He said that it’s shameful that we aren’t investing in the youth the way our education was invested in and that he supports renegotiation of student loans or discharging the debt through bankruptcy, but that is a symptom of the problem. Senator Bennet, “College costs too much and we need to find ways to make college less expensive. I think we need colleges that say that if you come to the college and work while you are here, you can graduate debt free.”
Bennet continued answering questions and emphasized that we are a Democratic Republic and it is our responsibility to vote and that we should continue to fight for a system that will allow Town Halls where citizens can question representatives. He defended our free press. He encouraged people to vote for our country rather than siding with parties and said that he hoped that we will continue to encourage compromise in government where solutions are the goal rather than divisiveness. Senator Bennet gave recent examples where he worked with Senator Gardner on immigration and water and hopes that more bipartisan solutions can be made in the future.