Freedom Caucus Leader’s Town Hall Crowd Wants to Expand Medicare and Ditch Trump’s Wall

T’was a tough audience for North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows.

On Monday evening, North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows held his first town hall of the recess in the town of Flat Rock. According to a local ABC News affiliate, there were protesters gathered outside of the Blue Ridge Community Center, where the event took place, as early as 4 p.m. Meadows is head of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, and his comments to constituents offer hints of what the Republican agenda might look like when lawmakers reconvene next month.

Predictably, the evening was dominated by questions about healthcare, ranging from demands for a full ACA repeal to repeated cheers when Meadows uttered the phrase “Medicare for all”—which he did at least 5 times during the two-hour Q&A. Each time, the audience erupted into fierce applause. (Meadows is opposed.)

The congressman, who has been front-and-center in this year’s contentious healthcare debates, told constituents he anticipates a final vote on the matter early next month—and that if no legislation moves by the end of September, the repeal effort will be dead once and for all. He added that he will not support any legislation that doesn’t lower premiums and maintain coverage for preexisting conditions. When an audience member called for taxing the rich to fund single-payer, Meadows replied that “taxing the 1 percent fully wouldn’t even pay for it!” 

The evening ended on a sour note as Meadows affirmed his support for a wall along portions of the southern border, in line with President Donald Trump’s scaled back campaign pledge. The audience responded with loud jeers and boos.