"Can I be disrespectful on behalf of all the people you're gonna kill?" responded one constituent who was angry over the health care vote. Then, two representatives - Tom MacArthur and Mark Meadows - got together and came up with the MacArthur amendment. Another Republican source said MacArthur would consider challenging under-indictment Democratic Sen.
"How's it ever going to get finished if you keep firing the people who are investigating it?" asked another constituent.
"I'm acting as an individual trying to solve a problem", MacArthur said last month about his work on the measure.
"Enough of the canned responses!" one constituent yelled.
What if MacArthur's town hall had been the first one held by a GOP member of Congress who voted "yes" in which constituents could state very real grievances in a calm and precise way?
"I am not saying this is a flawless solution, but the current system isn't ideal either and that is what we are trying to fix", the congressman said in response to another question. It was dead in the water and could have stayed dead in the water.
"You brought it back from death", one man shouted in a long diatribe that stretched several minutes.
The edits were focused on the health care section, which was rewritten to eliminate key phrases, such as "Obamacare's ban" and "higher premiums", the paragraph about his amendment. It makes one wonder: how might things have been different if women - seriously, even one woman - were involved in the Republican negotiations about health care?
Rep. Tom MacArthur speaks to the crowd inside his town hall meeting.
When MacArthur began taking questions at 6:30 p.m., hundreds of constituents were still outside, unable to fit inside the crammed rec center.
MacArthur, a former insurance executive, wrote an amendment that revived the failed bill, which now includes a provision allowing states to seek waivers from the federal requirements that insurers offer a specific package of benefits and not charge more to those with preexisting conditions such as cancer or diabetes.
MacArthur repeatedly declined to give a yes or no answer in two separate exchanges on whether the GOP health care bill classifies rape as a pre-existing condition. "That is the only place they exist, and they only exist for people that have not had continuous coverage in the individual market who have a condition".
"He let me down", Kevin Kapuscinski told CNN.
In another exchange, MacArthur cast his role in helping craft the bill as not allowing ideal be the enemy of the good ― arguing that members of Congress don't always "vote on the bill they wish was in front of them".
After that, and for the rest of the night, MacArthur said that questions about whether Russian hackers interfered to help Trump's campaign - and whether Trump's campaign knew about it - were best handled by Congress.
"I understand there are different views, but I hear people calling me an idiot". That's all I can tell you. Outside the event and at congressional offices across the country, activists held "die-ins" to protest the estimated 24 million people who will become uninsured if it becomes law; in some districts they've recruited neighboring Democratic representatives to answer their questions instead. But the line failed to quell his constituents, who booed and shouted him down once more.
"I think it's ludicrous". The congressman's position on health care has bought (forth) many questions and concerns. In other words, MacArthur and Meadows - who are both millionaires, by the way - wanted to make sure that insurance companies were protected from sick (read: expensive) customers.