Rep Warren Davidson 2
Rep. stands by controversial town hall remarks
01:09 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

The woman is worried about plans by President Donald Trump to kill a key Medicaid expansion

Davidson stood by his comments on Monday and urged people to listen to the entire response

Washington CNN  — 

An Ohio congressman who attracted criticism for telling a mother that her grown son has the “opportunity to go earn” better health benefits is standing by his remarks.

Republican Rep. Warren Davidson made the remarks at a town hall last week in response to a woman’s concern that a GOP plan to kill a Medicaid expansion provision in Obamacare would leave her son, who works in the service industry, without sufficient coverage.

“Under Trumpcare, one of the major ways to make health insurance affordable is to bring back catastrophic insurance, which is basically no insurance at all,” she said, referencing low-premium, high-deductible plans that only cover certain procedures. The comments were first reported by left-leaning website and picked up Sunday by The Huffington Post.

“Given that preventative health care is the number one way to keep people healthy in our society, can you explain why my son and millions of others in his situation are not deserving of affordable, decent health care that has essential benefits so that he can stay healthy and continue working?” she asked.

“I don’t know anything about your son, but as you described him, his skills are focused in an industry that doesn’t have the kind of options that you want him to have for health care,” Davidson replied. “So, I don’t believe that these taxpayers here are entitled to give that to him. I believe he’s got the opportunity to go earn those health benefits.”

Davidson, who won a special election last year to replace former House Speaker John Boehner’s seat, also likened finding a better plan to purchasing a cell phone, a response that was met with groans and boos from the audience at the town hall, which was hosted by “Indivisible,” a group organized to oppose President Donald Trump’s agenda.

“If he doesn’t want a catastrophic care plan, don’t buy a catastrophic care plan. If you don’t want a flip-phone, don’t buy a flip-phone,” Davidson said.

“I’m sorry, health care is much different than a cell phone and I’m tired of people using cell phone analogies with health care,” the woman responded, before walking away from the microphone.

Asked Monday if he had anything to add to his remarks, Davidson stood by them in a statement released through a spokesperson, urging people to listen to the entire response in which he goes on to outline his stance on the “social safety net.”

“Rep. Davidson does not believe that taxpayers should be providing more and more people health care,” according to the spokesperson, Alexei Woltornist.

“This is unsustainable, as we’re seeing with Obamacare, and it ignores the real problem of ever-increasing health care costs,” the statement said. “The congressman has been laser focused on solutions that lower health care costs, so that everyone can get the kind of health insurance they want at a price they can afford.”