CHIPPEWA FALLS — U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, heartily endorsed Donald Trump throughout the election process, but he strongly disagrees with the president-elect when it comes to thoughts on Vladimir Putin and Russia.
During a town hall gathering Monday in the town of Tilden, Duffy said he sees Putin as an enemy to democracy everywhere.
“I don’t think Russia is a friend of the United States of America,” Duffy said during his hourlong visit. “I don’t think Putin is a good guy. I have strongly disagreed with Mr. Trump on this one.”
However, Duffy agrees with Trump that the November election results were not impacted by Russia’s decision to hack Democratic Party emails and release information. Trump has expressed doubts that Russia had any role in the release of Democratic Party organization emails.
“I don’t know if anyone changed their vote because of what they saw in those emails,” Duffy said.
Instead, Duffy pointed to concerns over Hillary Clinton’s actions related to an attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, or her decision to not campaign in Wisconsin after the primary, as much larger factors in her loss.
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, expressed concerns Monday about Russia’s involvement in the election.
“I am deeply concerned by recent reports from our intelligence community that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” Kind said in a statement. “This is not a precedent we can afford to be set, and in the coming weeks I hope my colleagues in Congress join me in pushing to hold hearings to fully investigate the extent of Russian involvement.”
Duffy focused much of his discussion Monday on the Affordable Care Act and the Republican majority’s goal to “repeal and replace” the measure.
“We want to find a health care system that will work for all Americans,” Duffy told the 30 people who attended the meeting. He criticized the Affordable Care Act, saying people were promised by President Obama that “if you like our doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor,” but that hasn’t necessarily been the case.
He acknowledged that 20 million people now have insurance through the Affordable Care Act, but more people nationwide are now paying higher premiums.
“You are paying for something you can’t use,” he said. “We think we can get there (to an improved system) through competition.”
Duffy said the goal is to have a whole new system created and implemented at the same time the Affordable Care Act would end, so people would not have a period of no health insurance. However, he said it could mean the new system wouldn’t be in place until perhaps 2019 or 2020.
He added that he wants to see more transparency in medical costs, so people know how much services cost and they can shop around, which would increase competition and drive down prices.
“We buy everything in our life based on price and quality, except health care,” he said.
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