Rep. Tom MacArthur, Republican who helped pass health overhaul bill, holds town hall

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Rep. Tom MacArthur speaks to the crowd inside his town hall meeting. Rep. Tom MacArthur speaks to the crowd inside his town hall meeting.
WILLINGBORO -

Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur, a New Jersey congressman who helped pass the health care overhaul bill, held a town hall meeting with voters in Burlington County Wednesday.

Hundreds of demonstrators who weren’t able to get into the town hall protested outside. A crowd chanted, "Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Tom MacArthur's got to go."

Inside the meeting MacArthur was heckled by a group critical of the new health care plan, often times not allowing him to speak.

An audience member Wednesday called out "shame" when MacArthur began discussing his 11-year-old daughter Gracie, who was born with special needs and died in 1996. MacArthur, a former health insurance executive who has cited his daughter's death as one of his reasons for being involved in the debate, responded "shame on you."

The congressman says that he came to the Democratic part of his district because he wants to represent both sides and that he's aware of the "anxiety" in the country at the moment over health care. He told the spectators that he "didn't come here to defend the president."

MacArthur was one of only two New Jersey Republicans among five from the state to back the House legislation, which would dismantle Democratic President Barack Obama's signature law. The Republican-led Senate is expected to author its own version.

MacArthur played a leading role in helping the measure gain support from conservative colleagues. He authored an amendment that would allow states to get federal waivers to the requirement that insurers charge healthy and sick customers the same premiums.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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