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2 Arkansans talk

of health law's ills

As it attempts to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the White House is highlighting the stories of Americans it says have been hurt by the Obama administration's health care law.

On Friday, the Trump administration released testimonials from more than two dozen people -- including two Arkansans -- who say the current health care system is flawed and needs to be fixed.

One is Gina Martin, founder and vice president of Little Rock Tours and a longtime critic of the Affordable Care Act.

The other is Benton resident Tonya Horton, the 42-year-old owner of Horton's Orthotics and Prosthetics.

Horton was invited to a June 14 listening session at the White House that featured Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Seema Verma, the new administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Until the White House summoned her, she'd never been to the nation's capital.

"I'm not really sure how they got my name but they just called and asked me if I'd be interested in participating," Horton said in a telephone interview Friday. "It was exciting to be able to go up and speak on behalf of myself and on behalf of my patients, but it was also, of course, very nerve-wracking."

Many of her customers have been hurt by recent changes in the health care system, she said.

Because of the steep deductibles, some of them have to pay thousands of dollars before their insurance kicks in, she said. Co-pays also have jumped, she said.

As a result, "I've seen more patients that can't afford our services. They go without," she said.

Hendrix grads get

D.C. poverty lesson

A group from Hendrix College spent a week in Washington, D.C., shortly after graduation, learning about poverty in the nation's capital.

The program was sponsored by the school's Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics and Calling.

Students and faculty members served meals to some of the city's homeless population, heard from anti-poverty activists and learned about the effect of Washington's skyrocketing rents on those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

They also traveled to Capitol Hill, where they visited with their district's congressman, U.S. Rep. French Hill, a Republican from Little Rock.

Robert Williamson, an associate professor of religious studies, said Washington isn't unique when it comes to poverty and homelessness.

"The same things are happening in Little Rock, you know. But sometimes students have an easier time seeing things in a place that's unfamiliar to them," he said. "We hope they come home to Arkansas, and they're more aware of the issues of hunger and homelessness and poverty that are here as well."

Boozman travels

state during break

U.S. Sen. John Boozman crisscrossed the state during the Independence Day recess. On Tuesday, he was on hand for the unveiling of the Fallen Veterans Memorial in Springdale. Har-Ber High School student Hogan Maestri spearheaded the effort to build the monument as part of his Eagle Scout project.

On Wednesday in Little Rock, Boozman participated in a round-table discussion with Vietnam veterans. On Thursday, he spent time with Delbert DuCharme in Prescott. DuCharme, 90, is a former Navy SEAL who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, Boozman said.

Also last week, Boozman focused on anti-hunger efforts. He traveled to Arkadelphia on Thursday to learn about a summer meals program organized by the Arkadelphia Parks and Recreation Center. On Friday, he stopped in Nashville to learn about its summer meals program.

As co-chairman of the Senate Hunger Caucus, the Republican from Rogers has worked on a number of hunger issues, including giving greater flexibility to the people who run summer feeding programs.

Boozman's calendar also included a visit with Dallas County officials, a tour of the Domtar paper mill in Ashdown, a stop at the University of Arkansas Community College at Cossatot and a park dedication in Springdale.

For Womack, home

then to West Point

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack headed to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., on Friday for a meeting of the school's board of visitors.

In March, the Republican from Rogers was elected as the board's chairman.

Federal law created the board and put it in charge of monitoring the academy's "morale and discipline, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, academic methods, and other matters."

Womack made another trip to West Point in May, attending the school's graduation.

Earlier in the week, Womack also traveled around his district. On Wednesday, he visited a microbrewery and a medical waste services center in Harrison. On Thursday, he met with disabled veterans in Russellville and toured the town's new aquatics center. In addition, he spoke with members of the Arkansas Valley Alliance during a stop at Arkansas Tech University, his spokesman said.

New interns start

in Boozman's office

A new batch of interns is working for U.S. Sen. John Boozman on Capitol Hill. The college students started Monday and are scheduled to remain until Aug. 4.

Those selected are either Arkansans or attend Arkansas schools. They are: Wes Wiechman, Rogers; Nikki Anderson, Fayetteville; Danielle Zapata, Arlington, Texas; Madie Carpenter, Jonesboro; Brooke Taylor, King City, Calif.; Natalie Proctor, Memphis; Clinton Summers, Berryville; Lindsay Cross, Clarksville; Chloe Riggs, Bentonville; Laura Michenfelder, St. Louis; and Anna Lants, Little Rock.

Planning to visit the nation's capital? Know something happening in Washington, D.C.? Please contact Frank Lockwood at (202) 662-7690 or Want the latest from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Washington bureau? It's available on Twitter, @LockwoodFrank.

SundayMonday on 07/09/2017

Print Headline: West Point, then For Womack, home then to West Point 2 Arkansans talk of health law's ills Hendrix grads get D.C. poverty lesson Boozman travels state during break Womack stops in N.Y., then at ho...

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  • 23cal
    July 9, 2017 at 7:10 a.m.

    I notice none of Boozman's itinerary included obtaining input from his constituents on the extremely important healthcare bill for which he will be voting this week.

    How odd. One would almost think he was dodging his constituents because he didn't want to face them on the issue of responsibility in the deaths to which his vote will contribute.