LENEXA, Kan. -- Kansas U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran faced a standing room only crowd Monday for his first town hall in Johnson County this year.
Moran listened to constituent concerns about the Affordable Care Act and the proposed Republican replacement at the Lenexa Conference Center.
"I have a lot to learn," Moran told those assembled. "I don’t know the answer to every question."
A sometimes raucous crowd confronted Moran, shouting slogans and waving signs, mostly targeted at health care and the actions of President Trump.
"It’s important for me to test ideas, how I think about things and bounce them off folks, who potentially have a different opinion," Moran said.
Hundreds jammed into the Lenexa Conference Center as the future of Obamacare dominated much of the meeting.
Moran says a Republican replacement must make sure those with pre-existing conditions still have affordable access to health care. And he says he's committed to making sure rural areas don't lose doctors or hospitals.
The senator wants unnecessary costs eliminated but he would not commit to opposing a Republican bill that doesn't get a public hearing.
"I would say the legislative process is such that every senator, including Democrats, has been invited to participate in this conversation taking place," Moran said. "I like the formality of having a hearing and bringing experts in. That’s not the decision that's been made."
Many in the crowd were organized by the group, Indivisible KC. Some want a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system.
"I really think it’s the insurance companies and big pharma companies that are gouging people," said Phyllis Greenquist of Olathe, Kan. Greenquist says she needs a lung transplant because of a mutation in her DNA, and can't afford the treatment she needs. "They’re unregulated at Wall Street. They’re making money hand over fist on pharmaceuticals. They are paying the lobbyists, paying politicians to keep them unregulated. That’s where it's out of control."
Moran received the loudest applause when he said he would buck his own party if he determines that's what's best for Kansans and America.
This is the first town hall in Johnson County since President Trump took office. Neither Kansas U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts nor U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder has chosen to meet with constituents at a public forum.
Following the town hall, a citizen upset with President Donald Trump confronted Senator Moran.
"He is putting our children-- I've had two children take the oath of enlistment," the constituent said. "My daughter joined the Army and him (referring to the picture in her hand). What can we do to protect our military who are serving right now for a man who feels they are pawns."