Monday, February 13, 2017

Tennessee teacher goes viral after using Christian values to question lawmaker about repealing ACA

Cookeville, Tenn. high school French teacher Jessi Bohan has gone viral after a town hall meeting Thursday at Middle Tennessee State University in which she used Christian values to challenge Rep. Diane Black, a Tennessee Republican, over concerns that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be repealed, Greg Sargent reports for The Washington Post.

Bohan said to Black: “It’s my understanding that the ACA mandate requires everybody to have insurance, because the healthy people pull up the sick people. As a Christian, my whole philosophy in life is to pull up the unfortunate. The individual mandate, that’s what it does. The healthy people pull up the sick. If we take those people, and we put them in high risk insurance pools, they’re costlier, and there’s less coverage for them. That’s the way it’s been in the past, and that’s the way it will be again. So we are effectively punishing our sickest people.”

Black said, "About 20 million people did actually come into the program who were uninsured. You don't want to hurt one group of people to help the another. We can help both groups at the same time," Jen Hayden reports for the Daily Kos. Bohon responded: "How many of those people were in states where they played a political game with people's lives?" Black, who appeared flustered, declined to continue, saying "I'm going to pass this one."

Bohan, who made the 90 minute trip to the town hall in Mufreesboro, said she purposely "framed the question the way she did because she is irked by politicians who say they are Christian but advocate for policies that don’t, in her view, reflect the faith’s principles—the looming repeal of the ACA, which could leave millions uninsured without a viable replacement," Helaine Olen reports for Slate.

Bohan, who grew up as one of three children of a single mom in rural Grundy, Va., a small Appalachian coal-mining town near the border with Kentucky, told Olen, “We were the poorest of the poor. We had no car, we were on welfare.” She said her mother “raised me with the belief that Jesus loves poor people, he loves the oppressed, he loves the most vulnerable and I will tell you that’s a lesson that stuck with me. I don’t go to a fancy church, I don’t really have a good grasp on the literal interpretation of the bible. I believe in the central message of Jesus, which was pull up the people.”

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