TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Congressman Louie Gohmert was back in East Texas Wednesday, stumping against upcoming changes under the Affordable Care Act.
Gohmert served as the keynote speaker for a luncheon put on by the Healthy Aging Coalition of East Texas, a group that primarily works with seniors.
But not all professionals in the industry are onboard with Gohmert's attempts to derail the plan.
Jermaine Walker works at a Tyler rehabilitation and nursing home and calls reform for seniors a necessity.
"This is something near and dear to me because I work with seniors every day," Walker said. "I know what goes on first hand in skilled nursing as far as when a family has a loved one that is aging and the hardships that they go through."
Walker said the main hardships for families is cost.
"It's really heartbreaking to see when you've got an aging parent and they are not able to afford the quality of care that that loved one needs," Walker said. "That's really something I think needs to be expressed to our congressman, and we need to make that known."
East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert spoke on that exact issue at the luncheon. But his opinion was the exact opposite.
"Anybody that thinks the Affordable Care Act helps seniors doesn't really understand what's unaffordable to seniors," Gohmert said. "it makes most of the Medicare Advantage plans go up, but you've got to remember, Obamacare actually cut $716 billion dollars from Medicare and seniors rely on Medicare."
But supporters said those cuts were simply redistributed to better fund the program. And less than two months ago, the federal government said the average monthly Medicare Advantage plan cost will only increase by $1.64. The Department of Health and Human Services also claimed those premiums have actually decreased nearly 10% since the reform was passed in 2010.
It's that better, cheaper coverage that Walker expects when it's all said and done.
"What I anticipate is that families are going to be able to get the care that they need for their loved ones that they have not been able to before," she said.
However, Gohmert said he doesn't buy it and will continue to stick to his guns.
"We were trying so hard to just suspend it for a year because I think when people find out what's in it, they're going to demand it, especially seniors, they're going to be hurt more than anybody," Gohmert said.
But for Walker, it comes down to education.
"I know when you're on the front lines, you don't see what goes on behind and I'm one of these people," Walker said. "We see that and we deal with that on a daily basis and it's just something that needs to be known."