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Despite objectors, Rep. Comstock hosts second tele-town hall

U.S. Rep Barbara Comstock (R-Va.-10th) on Tuesday held her second tele-town hall of February, continuing on the same path as many of her fellow house mates who are batting off calls for an in-person town hall.

Since the election of President Donald Trump, the virtual town hall as opposed to an in-person town hall has been the route taken by many Republicans.

U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Penn.) is hosting virtual town halls for his constituents this week, while Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) is doing the same in the weeks ahead.

Despite Comstock's phone gatherings, citizens from the local Indivisible VA District 10 group plan to host a more traditional town hall in Sterling Friday night – one the congresswoman said she isn't attending. The group is one of a number of Indivisible groups to spring up around the country since the presidential election.

Comstock's deputy chief of staff, Jeff Marschner, said the congresswoman has a long-standing prior commitment that night.

Marschner described the virtual town hall as a way to talk to thousands of her constituents “in a civil and conversational manner.”

"She has done multiple telephone town halls, and has visited hundreds of businesses, schools, associations, Rotary Club meetings, fairs and events," Marschner added. "Just today, the congresswoman was in Manassas speaking to the local Rotary and answering questions."

Several news reports have tagged the Indivisible groups as left-wing activists, saying the participants are more interested in protests and disruption than conversation.

Jan Harland from the local Indivisible organization denies those claims.

“The event we have planned for Friday in Sterling aims to model values of civic engagement, inclusion, tolerance and fairness,” she said.

Comstock's preference for tele-town halls or smaller-scale methods of meeting with constituents comes on the back of a series of well publicized, heated town halls, like one for Rep. Tom McClintock (Calif.) in northern California, where the congressman was escorted from the event by police.

Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) was booed at his packed town hall meeting held this week.

President Trump has taken to Twitter to comment on the raucous town hall meetings.

“The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!” Trump tweeted.

Some Republicans, however, have bucked the trend of keeping away from large town halls. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) attended a meeting he organized in conjunction with Indivisible in Charleston.

The town hall stretched from a planned, hour-long meeting into over three and half hours. Sanford fielded questions on a range of topics with health care the most popular. Speaking in an interview with NPR, the congressman described the experience as a meaningful exchange, particularly after some “pent-up energy” had been spent.

“People, at a heartfelt level, told me why certain things were important to them, why they mattered as they did. And I think that that's what you'd want in any town hall exchange,” Sanford said.

Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), who made headlines after complaining that women were “in [his] grill” over his hesitation to hold a town hall meeting, decided to meet face-to-face with his constituents Tuesday after a flurry of daily calls and emails. He addressed a somewhat angry crowd in Nottoway County, where he was jeered as he answered submitted questions on President Trump's policies and health care.

“I'm having fun,” Brat said, “I like having debates.”

Organizers of Friday's town hall in Sterling say the format of the town hall is designed in such a way that, should Comstock change her mind, she can attend and address questions. The invitation remains open, organizers said.


Her Feb. 21 teleconference gave voice to about 2 dozen diverse commenters over an hour and a half, with no one interrupting or disrupting the meeting with rude noises.  Not everyone got to ask a question (mine was not selected) but I’m guessing that was more than what would have happened this year
in a live townhall filled with demonstrators.

counter sting caught provocateur james o’keefe who offered unlimited resources to agitators to disrupt inauguration

jan. 20 - “Washington, DC Police Chief Peter Newsham - “We had thousands of people that came to Washington, DC, to peacefully demonstrate, but unfortunately we had a small group that wanted to disrupt the inauguration.”

black-clad “antifascist” protesters, DisruptJ20

when protests are peaceful, newsfeeds cut out
when something is on fire, it gets all the attention

jan. 21 - 3.9 million marched across the us & world - no anarchy, no arrests, just peaceful protest

AreYouKidding, there is no way around this.  The horse left the barn a long time ago.  Whether it’s delivered without a formal insurance policy via community health centers/unreimbursed care as it was under G W Bush and before, or whether it’s a bare bones minimum insurance with the option to buy private enhancements like other countries (Swiss), the US doesn’t let people die for easily treatable conditions.

The decisions here are twofold:

1. Will the system be a single payer and run as an extension of the gov’t (Canada, Britain).  This is a disaster.  Not only do we let bureaucrats ration care, but gov’t officials and well-connected folks get one set of care and the rest (regardless of financial means) get another.  Obamacare was in large part a rejection of this model, although Medicaid expansion is a single payer solution.

2. Given a system with private insurance/providers, do we require the same set of care for the welfare recipient or adult who irresponsibly foregoes insurance as we do for the person who is willing to purchase high-level insurance before they get sick.  I strongly oppose forcing the same level of care on both sets.

I am suggesting folks have different preferences for how much they want to spend to insure their health.  Different folks at the same income may choose the bare bones HMO (risk tolerant) or the gold-plated PPO (risk averse).  One should be able to choose how much healthcare they want to purchase BEFORE they get sick but not allowed to upgrade afterwards.  Otherwise, it’s tantamount to allowing the beach homeowner to buy hurricane insurance once the winds are felt on the beach.

The second factor is that we (particularly the gov’t) simply cannot afford to spend a Steve Jobs’ level of care on everyone.  Nor should we.  Pelosi would have everyone (except herself and well-connected friends) get exactly the same amount of care regardless of whether they’ve never paid net taxes or whether they pay $100K in taxes per year.  And neither gets to choose.  That’s nuts.

We can then argue over what is the base level of care and how to deliver it.  But if the pre-existing conditions ban has to be modified.  That’s why the exchange is failing now.

Speaker Ryan’s tax credit plan is effectively what I am suggesting.  Everyone can use the tax credit to purchase some minimum level of insurance.  Folks can then purchase an enhanced policy by adding in their own funds.  The truly catostrophic/chronic patients will be covered by state high risk pools.  The only question is how they propose pre-existing conditions be treated.  No insurance system can survive if you allow folks to spend a little bit more in premiums to get massive benefits only after they discover they drew the unlucky lottery number.

Obamacare is a disaster and the Democrats want to keep it but want the Republicans to fix it. The Republicans didn’t even want it. Why should they fix it. Get rid of it, come up with a program that’s privatized, affordable and not mandated. If you want it GET IT, if you don’t want it DON’T BUY IT. It’s called Freedom to choose. Isn’t that what women have when it comes to abortion?

Virginia SGP, I love that you complain that the Left just wants socialized medicine yet that is exactly what you propose, “Provide a base level care (e.g. Medicaid or something slightly less) to everyone.”

My point was to challenge those posters who demonize others or simplistically claim that dissent is the product of “losing” to actually cough up something constructive.

To disagree with an idea and explain why is a wonderful conversation-starter.  To just call someone weak, a loser, or a whiner?  What contribution does that make to the discussion?

Loudouncommonsense, whether these thugs are paid or not is not important to me. Take a look at the videotape. Show me Tea Party rallies where people were burning things, assaulting people, preventing people from speaking. Show me where they wore masks and dressed in black outfits, felt the need to hide their identities. Didn’t happen. No comparison to the tantrum being thrown now by leftist thugs all over the country. Also, watch some video of Tea Party people explaining why they are protesting. Coherent, relaxed, friendly. Then watch some of the current folks. The complete opposite. Many seem not to understand why there are out there, other than to be able to smash a window or push down a Trump supporter. Show me Tea Party folks doing that. No comparison.

Charles - I am another trump supporter that will not vote for Comstock. She is bought and paid for by the political class.  Gillespie for senate is no different…I hope trump primaries her next election cycle…

Not against the ACA in general, just against the mandate. It’s not a tax, it’s a penalty. The Supreme Court got it wrong by calling the penalty a tax. Get rid of the mandate and ACA all you want.

Loudounsense, there are lots of potential alternatives to the ACA.

First, start off with all the obvious low-hanging fruit.

A. Allow health savings accounts for folks outside employer plans.  This incentivizes folks to minimize their care because any contributions that go unused in one year can be carried forward to future years for use.

B. Allow insurance across state lines.  This isn’t as much about spurring competition but allowing folks more choices (think freedom).  If a NY resident doesn’t want the gold-plated minimum care mandated by their NY bureaucrats, they can choose the SD plan which still must adhere to federal minimums.

C. Provide community health centers that are located in the communities where folks live. Just like Planned Parenthood, this worked for many ailments for decades and is much cheaper.

Then, move on to the plan issues:

1. Follow Speaker Ryan’s lead and stop trying to pay for the elderly off the backs of the young who often have no money.  Widen the ratio of premiums allowed for the older enrollees (60ish) relative to the younger enrollees (20ish) to 5:1 from the current 3:1.  If folks go without health insurance, allow them to enroll in the future but charge them higher premiums a la the current Medicare program.

2. Allow enrollees in the exchange to deduct their premiums from their taxes.  Currently, only folks who have insurance through their employers or those who are essentially freeloading off the gov’t (exchange plans are paid for by us taxpayers) get such tax breaks.  The freelancers should be allowed the same treatment.  (this is currently in a lot of the alternatives)

2. Provide a base level care (e.g. Medicaid or something slightly less) to everyone.  Only generic drugs would be authorized (that entitles one to 1000’s of years of medical advances up to the latest 16 years when a drug’s patent is still in force.  Your parents had even less access since the recent drugs weren’t invented yet).  If you want more things covered (advanced treatment, experimental medicine), you must maintain enrollment in a private add-on/plan.  But you don’t get to upgrade if you have been living on the bare-bones gov’t freebie.  This is how many systems work outside the US.

3. Allow insurers to charge different rates for weight.

4. Require all service providers to post the prices they charge (this was proposed by the Republicans in the 2009 discussions)

5. Require all service providers to post outcome metrics so patients can choose their hospitals/doctors from an informed position (this was proposed by the Republicans in the 2009 discussions).

6. Require all insurance companies to allow enrollees to pay the difference for any doctor’s service.  Currently, most plans force doctors to accept an allowable amount above which neither the patient nor insurer has to pay.  This reduces choice.

7. Use gov’t risk pools for those with chronic conditions that require higher costs.  The gov’t will have to subsidize these folks one way or another but current system is not working.

And there are others.  But none on the Left even understand half of the alternatives discussed, they just want socialized medicine or anything Obama passed because it was passed by Democrats.

As a proud Trump supporter I wear my Trump shirts and hats everywhere. I know a lot of Trump people that are very unhappy with this Comstock. I bet 50% of the people at her town hall will be Trumpsters.

NOTAPAJAMABOY: Your comment brings little to the discussion. Dismissing individuals acting just like the Tea Party did and calling your neighbors “weak, pathetic, paid agitator party” makes you seem shallow, not strong. It’s like someone who buys a gun because they think people will respect them more.

Why don’t you offer some solid reasoning and constructive rebuttal? For example, what is your solution for replacing the ACA?

Why hold it in person when she’ll just be shouted down and threatened by a bunch of weak, pathetic, lunatics from the paid agitator party.

I don’t care what political party you choose to associate with, the appointments being approved are a disaster for this country, Comstock is part of that! Also never she gives a straight answer or even addresses most of the questions/issues that are brought up in the “town hall” meetings. She is bought and paid for like 95% of all of your politicians at this point. Just watching out for herself and those that give her the big money!

I’d like to point out that Frank Wolfe never had these kinds of issues. Why does Barbara Comstock? Perhaps it’s because Rep. Wolfe was always out and about in the community and available to his constituents. And perhaps people feel that Rep. Comstock isn’t available. Certainly, based on comments here (I’ve had no personal experience with her)there’s apparently a valid concern that only donors are being heard and responded to.

Congresswoman Comstock has been quite remiss in her communications with her constituents.  I have repeated called and emailed and have received only form letters back.  In most cases simply acknowledging receipt of my email.  In a handful of cases, clearly on hot topics, I have received a canned form letter pertaining to the general subject of my email, but answering none of my questions.  Ms. Comstock’s refusal to hold town hall meeting with her constituents is further troubling.  I am not part of any group or co-ordinated effort.  I simply a concerned resident of district 10 and can get no answers from my Congresswoman.  To boot, former Delegate, David Ramadan, has seen fit to bully Ms. Comstock’s constituents on her FB page for asking questions.  At this point, my question is who will be running against Ms. Comstock in the next election?

Us Trump supporters need to demand Comstock have a Town hall to explane why she refused to stand with our President in the last election. President Trump needed Comstock to stand with him on the Muslim ban. She was no where to be found.

I’ve been hearing Trump is going to primary her. He already has Trump National to run the whole show out of. What a great place to showcase a political candidate with extravagant parties, golf outings, celebrities, ect.

Poor Barbra needs to show up at town halls and make friends with gov’t workers, women, gay people, old people, young people, brown people, yellow people, ect. I’m afraid the corporate shrill in her might make that hard to do.

JPLEGEND: you persist in trying to dismiss this activism as simply voters’ anger because they “lost.” 

Dig deeper:  why don’t you put some effort into telling us why you disagree with the same expressions of democracy the Tea Party used?

“Paid organizers” is a nice myth, but is fake news.

If congresspersons were more respectful of their constituencies they wouldn’t be mad as hell to begin with, but when you have a ruling class that disrespects the hard working people that pay for everything than you tend to get a rebellion which is what Locke indicated should happen….represent the people and not a party or special interest and she could then show her face in public—obviously she is catering to the defense contractors, healthcare industry, metro crew instead of the folks….big mistake these days.

She should have a couple town halls.  Only people with valid proof of address in her District, admitted to the hall ten at a time for a limited amount of time.  Limit each speaker to about 2 or 3 minutes (so be succinct) then clear the Hall for the next ten speakers.  The questions and answers could be broadcast into the waiting area so that things never get out of control.  Problem solved.

Comstock needs to respect her constituents, and that means meeting face to face. During her campaigns and in between them she has avoided segments of her constituents in conflict with her ideological beliefs. She has shown she has no interest in engaging with those constituents and understanding their lives or concerns.

No response to emails or letters, unless you a corporate donor forget about the phone.  Hopefully there will be someone else to vote for in the next election.

Somebody needs to send Congressman Comstock to Oz to see if the Wizard can grant her some Courage.  You opposed Trump, so you got a reason to dance around his policies.  When are these people going to understand the cover up is worse than the crime.

If constituents would be a bit more respectful, maybe congresspeople would schedule more in-person town halls. Otherwise, why venture into something you know is going to turn into a circus?

bring out the paid Soros Agitators who will no doubt shout her down and bring their signs.

I don’t blame any of our reps for wanting to avoid the clown show that would result from a “town hall” style meeting in this political climate.

Would you want to be verbally abused for a couple of hours by partisan hacks most of which don’t even live in your district?

All of this complaining about town halls comes down to one issue:  Democrats are mad and want to yell at someone and they’re frustrated by the lack of opportunities.

the Democrat party meltdown and tantrum continues…

How do I prevent her from calling my home say she is holding a town hall ? I don’t want these calls ?

With 100 other constituents waiting to ask a question, Barbara Comstock called on a professional GOP campaign consultant first.

We need more “stand and deliver” from our representatives and less obsequiousness to “stand your ground.”

Weakest attacks: “liberals are angry because they lost…” and “these crowds are hired professional agitators”

Comstock can run…but she can’t hide.  Voters in the 10th are pretty upset with the circus in Washington and the inability of the GOP to do anything to investigate and stop the excesses.

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