The Agenda

Openly gay members of Congress take the lead in healthcare debate

In the wake of the passage of the American Health Care Act, many Republican members of Congress have avoided facing angry constituents at town halls to discuss the legislation.

In response, Democratic lawmakers have begun holding town halls in districts represented by Republicans to address concerns about the AHCA and to highlight the unresponsiveness of Republicans in the aftermath of its passage. Openly gay New York Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, the first member of Congress to hold a healthcare town hall in a Republican district, coined the phrase “adopt a district” to promote this new movement.

The “adopt a district” movement has started to gain traction. Openly gay Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan will visit Paul Ryan’s district and Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego held a town hall in Martha McSally’s district. Only 14 of the 217 Republicans who voted for the AHCA have scheduled town halls in the coming weeks to hear constituent concerns. Representatives Maloney and Pocan hope that more Democrats visit Republican districts so the movement garners national media attention. Studies show that the AHCA has a host of negative consequences for LGBTQ people and individuals living with HIV. This underscores the importance of having LGBTQ voices like Sean Patrick Maloney and Mark Pocan in Congress to fight discrimination and secure equality for all.

LGBTQ, U.S. Congress