GOP Congresswoman Tells Uninsured Woman at Town Hall to "Be a Grown-Up"

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins responds to a question posed by a 27-year old waitress who cannot afford health care.

 At a recent town hall meeting, a 27-year old uninsured waitress named Elizabeth Smith asked Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) why as a working mother she can’t “get an affordable option” for health care. According to the AP, Smith’s 2-1/2-year-old son “hasn’t been to a doctor in 21 months, except for emergency room visits for ear infections, because she can’t afford either insurance or a doctor’s visit.” When Smith asked her question, Jenkins criticized creating “a government-run program” and said that she advocated tax credits so people like Smith could “go be a grown-up and go buy the insurance“:

SMITH: I want an option that I can pay for. I work. I pay my bills. I’m not a burden on the state. I pay my taxes. So why can’t I get an affordable option. Why are you against that?

JENKINS: A government-run program (laugh) is going to subsidize not only yours (laugh) but everybody in this room. So I’m not sure what we’re talking about here. Well, I think it comes down to the whole discussion of…OK folks. Let’s be respectful. UH-OH (talking over crowd). We’re gonna make time for everybody. We’re gonna all listen to each other respectfully, even if we disagree. I think we can agree we need reforms, again it’s just how we gonna do it. I believe people should be given the opportunity to take care of themselves with an advanceable tax credit to go be a grown-up and go buy the insurance.

Video here.


Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

Matt Corley is a Research Associate for The Progress Report and at the Center for American Progress.