In his traveling road show of “hearings” on the Affordable Care Act rollout, Darrell Issa has hand-picked the people testifying, and has excluded those who want to speak in favor of the ACA. In Gaston County, North Carolina, two women who requested to speak at the hearings told a local TV station that that they had written to Issa, saying they wanted to testify, but neither received a reply from his office.
The hearing got off to a contentious start on Friday, as people complained that they won't get a chance to be heard. They were also told they would be removed from the meeting if they spoke out of turn.
Residents were angry because Issa picked the five witnesses that we will hear from, all residents of North Carolina.
Allison Ward will NOT be among them. A proponent of the ACA, she wrote this letter to Issa, saying "I want to testify for one reason. I cannot do this by myself. I cannot afford healthcare."
"I haven't heard any word back," Ward says.
And she probably won't. A representative from Issa's office says all speakers had to be vetted in advance...that the format tomorrow will not be a town hall...that they're trying to keep the hearing short - about two hours.
But Ward says her message is important. The ACA offers her insurance she can afford for the first time in years.
"My president has said I hear you, I'm going to help you and frankly the way I see it is that other people are getting in the way," she says.
Dana Wilson is another Charlotte resident who wants to speak, but has not gotten a response to her request. As a teenager, she was diagnosed with MS.
"No one would insure me at all," Wilson says.
But the ACA will finally change that.
"I think if it's a true hearing than all sides should be heard," she says, "and they don't want to hear us."
Both women said that they feared "that all the negativity surrounding the ACA could somehow result in a repeal of the law."