NEW BEDFORD — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren got an earful when she visited the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center on Wednesday: America ought to have universal health care, one physician said. Others said the New Bedford area sorely needs more outpatient psychiatric services.
Employees greeted Warren and asked to snap selfies standing beside her, which she obliged with a smile. The health center and Warren’s staff banned the press from taking photos on the tour for fear of breaching patient confidentiality.
Warren met Dr. Naomi Rappaport, who made the pitch for universal health care, calling it “the only answer.” The senator visited the pharmacy, medical offices, WIC area and pediatrics.
During a roundtable discussion afterward with providers and patients, Warren said the debate around repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, did two things: It put a human face on Medicaid — the faces of babies who need care, and of grandmas in nursing homes. And it shifted the national position on health care, according to Warren.
“I think most of America is ready to say now that health care is a basic human right,” she said, drawing applause.
When Warren asked what the staff would most like to add to the local health care landscape, several called for more outpatient psychiatric services, especially for children.
Dr. Nancy Langhans, a pediatrician, said many children in the area have a history of trauma, and finding clinicians who specialize in trauma is difficult, especially for families who don’t speak English.
“I have a number of children whose parents speak Spanish who have to go to Boston to see a psychologist because there is not someone for them to see down here,” she said. “It’s really difficult for our families.”
Warren, asked in a later interview with The Standard-Times if she believes President Trump’s actions rise to the standard required for impeachment proceedings, said it’s too soon to know if interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia rise to that level.
“We need to let that investigation go forward, and when it concludes, we’ll know where we stand,” she said. “The president has clearly pushed on people in government to try to stop the investigation, but he in turn has received a lot of negative public attention for that.”
She said she hopes the investigators are acting independently and that they know they have the backing of the American people to conduct a full and fair investigation.