100 hear Pompeo speak at town hall meeting

Two terms that are often used in healthy-eating circles – sustainable and local – are the ones U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, used Saturday in talking about how government and the economy should run during a town hall meeting at Wichita State University’s Hughes Metropolitan Complex.

About 100 people attended the meeting, which gave Pompeo the chance to tell constituents his views of what’s happening in Washington and to field questions.

This week in Washington, the House will vote on a Republican budget plan that Pompeo said is the only one that “presents a real opportunity to save Medicare for my son. He’s 21. … My dad loves his plan.”

Showing graphs of a spiking debt under President Obama, Pompeo said the Republican plan would make a dent in the debt, but not enough.

“History would say we will fail” by having current leaders “kick the can down the road” for future generations to deal with, he said. “We need more people talking about this in a serious way.”

Pompeo said in answer to questions:

•  On paying for health care for the uninsured: He pointed to the models of Hunter Health Clinic and GraceMed in Wichita as good examples of how to care for people who can’t afford health insurance.

He said the No. 1 rule about health care is that “we must drive down costs. … The single-payer system is not a good value.” He said that competition is the way to do it.

•  On sustainable communities planning grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development: Pompeo said he opposes the federal government redistributing tax money as it sees fit through such grants. While people who apply for the grants are just trying to get their money back, Pompeo said, the money should never have left the community in the first place.

He has introduced legislation that would take the money from grants not accepted by communities and put it toward reducing the federal debt rather than sending the money to another community. But that doesn’t solve the problem completely, Pompeo said. “We need to return decision-making to local entities. …

“We have centralized so much of the decision making for what is quintessentially local.”

•  On the American presence in Afghanistan: Obama has set a timetable for troops to pull out, so “the die is cast. … This president has done a good job in making sure to track terrorists around the world.”

•  On the government requiring all insurers to offer contraception coverage even if it violates an employer’s conscience: “When you get that much government, you get very little freedom.”