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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rep. Gus Bilirakis hears from another angry crowd



By William R. Levesque, Times Staff Writer

NEW PORT RICHEY — U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis got another earful Saturday from opponents of the proposed Republican repeal of Obamacare.

But this time out, opponents of the Affordable Care Act had their own cheering section.

The mix, while combustible, proved loud and often rude but stopped short of actual fisticuffs.

More than 300 people came out to the West Pasco County government center for the second of Bilirakis' "listening sessions" on health care reform. And as happened during a session last week in Pinellas, a majority of those who spoke offered strong support of the law and urged Bilirakis to vote against killing it.

"We're not afraid of Syrian immigrants," said Donna Bradley, 60, of New Port Richey. "We're not afraid of these seven countries that (President Donald Trump's) put on this watch list. We're not even afraid of the Mexicans coming with the wall not being built. We're afraid of losing our health care."

Bilirakis, a Republican who wants to replace Obamacare because its costs have skyrocketed, once again had no change of heart on his opposition to the health law. He told Bradley, "President Trump has stated he wants to expand health care." Boos followed.

"It's a fact," Bilirakis said. "It's a fact."

[Last modified: Monday, February 13, 2017 12:49pm]


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