After meeting with Trump, Rifle’s Couey says he cares about average folks | PostIndependent.com

After meeting with Trump, Rifle’s Couey says he cares about average folks

President Donald Trump on Monday holds hands with Carrie Couey, from Rifle, after she spoke during a meeting on health care in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Also at the meeting is Louis Brown, right, from Virginia.

A Rifle rancher, who happens to also be the new Garfield County Republican Party chair, went to the White House Monday to tell the president about her family's struggle with the Affordable Care Act.

And though she initially supported Ted Cruz for the Republican presidential nomination, she said Donald Trump's first months in office and her trip to meet the man in person have her convinced that he's right for the job.

Carrie Couey, a Rifle rancher who got the invitation late last week to join Trump's health-care listening session, said she didn't know what to expect from him.

"At first I thought I was being pranked by the local news media because I'm the new chair of the Republican Party in Garfield County," she told the Post Independent on Tuesday.

Even before she stepped into the local party's leadership, she had been vocal about her opposition to the ACA and how it has impacted her family. She appeared in a political commercial opposing Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat who voted for the ACA. That appearance must have caught the eye of someone at the White House and led to her invitation to meet Trump, she said.

"It's a great honor for you to share your personal stories of struggle under the enormous strain imposed on you by the very, very failed and failing Obamacare law," Trump told Couey and others invited to the White House to speak against the ACA.

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"You represent the millions of Americans who have seen their Obamacare premiums increase by double digits and even triple digits … And the deductibles are so high you don't even get to use it," said the president.

"Our rates are three times what they were before Obamacare started," and Garfield County has only one provider now, Couey told Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. A photo of Trump grasping her hand was distributed nationally by the Associated Press and published in Tuesday's Post Independent.

"It was very positive for me," Couey said Tuesday. "He was very easy to be around, and he was respectful and attentive. He obviously appreciates the perspective of the average Jane and the average Joe. I'm very excited to have a president who makes campaign promises that he tries to the best of his ability to keep."

Couey said she went to the meeting to give a voice to the self-employed, especially those in agriculture and ranching.

Also in attendance was Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

The president said that his administration and his allies in Congress are "committed to repealing and replacing this disastrous law with a health-care plan that lowers cost, expands choice, and ensures access for everyone."

Also on Monday, the Congressional Budget Office issued a scorecard saying that in the next 10 years, as many as 24 million fewer Americans would be insured under the Republicans' health-care plan. The Trump administration has disputed those numbers.

The American Health Care Act also would cut $337 billion from the deficit in that same period, according to the CBO's estimates.

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