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Bergman talks health care, tax changes at town hall

Matt Mikus

Northern Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman took questions in Petoskey over the weekend. Bergman spoke at North Central Michigan College on Saturday.

He was asked about natural resources, immigration and health care reform.

Bergman said he wants to find solutions to improve health care but the problem is challenging, especially in rural areas.

“Whatever changes are instituted, if they'll work in the first district of Michigan, they'll work anywhere, because we have one of the most complex health care delivery environments, because of the spread-out rural nature,” said Bergman.

Cindy Kress of Indian River said Bergman was “evasive” on health care reform.

“Even though it went for two hours … I thought that he was saying a lot but not saying much,” said Kress. “I hope he understands that there are real people behind his decisions. If he votes to eliminate the [Affordable Care Act] … I hope he understands that that’s going to impact real people, real families and real communities.”

Bergman also spoke about a Republican plan to change the country’s tax system for the first time in more than 30 years. He said he hopes to see tax forms that are as simple as one page for most citizens.

“What I heard that everybody wants is … more details,” said Bergman. “That’s what we want before we make a judgment. Now as we negotiate the details at the congressional level, that’s where the rubber begins to meet the road. So that’s the next step here.”

Chuck Leedy of Cheboygan said he hopes the tax plan will benefit small and medium-sized businesses, but he’s concerned about how the middle class might be affected.

“My concern is, even if we have a slightly lower marginal rate for the people who are retiring and low income, they may end up paying more taxes,” said Leedy. "I don’t want to see that happen."

Bergman said he was happy to see civil discourse at the town hall meeting.

His office says another town hall will be held in Traverse City later this month but a date has not been set.