PHOTO: Former congressional candidate Justin Kanew (left) confronts congressman-elect Mark Green (right) about previous comments regarding Medicaid in Franklin Tuesday night. / Photo by Alexander Willis
By ALEXANDER WILLIS
Former congressional candidate Justin Kanew confronted his past opponent and the current congressman-elect, Mark Green, during Green’s town hall meeting in Franklin Tuesday night over past comments Green made regarding Medicaid.
The open town hall meeting in Franklin was the first of six planned visits across Tennessee’s District 7, where Green plans to speak openly with residents in an open question and answer format.
In addition to the dozens of Williamson County residents in attendance, state congressman Sam Whitson, former state congressional candidate Kristen Grim, and Green’s former opponent Kanew were also in attendance.
Towards the end of the meeting, Kanew raised his hand for the chance to ask Green a question.
Kanew opened by criticizing Green’s history as a state congressman with Medicaid, saying he “led the fight against it.” Expanding on this point, Kanew brought up a past comment of Green’s regarding the expansion of Medicaid.
“A video that we put out during the campaign was of you in a Brentwood church saying that you believe that government programs like Medicaid are bad because they keep people from a saving knowledge of who god is,” Kanew said to Green. “Can you promise us that you’re not going to make decisions like that in the federal government also?”
Green immediately responded by saying Kanew’s “video was incorrect.”
“First off, if you want separation of church and state, you should probably not go to a church and take a video and then bring it into the public square,” Green said. “That’s not separation of church and state.”
Below is the aforementioned video released by Kanew’s team during his 2018 congressional race
NEW VIDEO: My opponent Mark Green explains the radical religious views behind his decision to reject billions of our federal Medicaid expansion dollars – which caused many rural hospitals to close and 300,000 Tennesseans to go without health coverage, including 30,000 veterans. pic.twitter.com/Q7bURIFuGc
— Justin Kanew (@Kanew) September 13, 2018
“My problems with the Medicaid expansion issue is that we’re doubling down on a broken system,” Green continued. “All the Affordable Care Act does is take billions of dollars that we borrow from China, route it through an exchange system to the third-party payer system, which is what the problem is.”
Green went on to explain that he has a vested interest in providing accessible health coverage to Tennesseans, citing a health coverage idea he had previously sent to Washington D.C., but not heard back on. Green’s proposal was for a health coverage system similar to the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. This system would see eligible people in need of health coverage receive a swipe card with a finite amount of funds, thus incentivizing patients to shop for the cheapest prices, which Green argues, would incentivize health care providers to provide cheaper services.
“Now if I were all religiously against doing health care, why would I create a program that would do it better,” Green asked Kanew. “Now wouldn’t you want to do it right, instead of just wasting more money like the federal government does?”
Kanew tried to continue the discussion, but was cut off by Green, who told Kanew “we’re done on the topic Justin, we’re not having our debate here tonight.”
“Yea, we never had it,” Kanew replied, referencing the fact that the two former candidates never had a proper debate, as Green’s team had taken issues with a debate’s format.
“Yea,” Green responded, “we didn’t because of your negativity in attacking my faith.”
Kanew denied that he was attacking Green’s religious faith, and said he also wasn’t the one who captured the video of Green at the Brentwood church.
“He says I’m attacking his faith, I’m not doing any such thing,” Kanew said following the town hall meeting. “I just want to make sure that he’s going to support programs that help people, and not put politics over people, and not let his faith get in the way of that.”
Green’s next town hall meeting will on Friday at 2 p.m. at Square-Forty Restaurant in Lawrenceburg.