The raucous reactions at Republican lawmakers' town hall meetings are "legitimate dissent, and people are allowed to come do it," Rep. Tom Cole said Thursday.
While he's seen people at his meetings who were outspoken, they were not rude, he said.
"I had three chamber round tables that were open to the public, and we had people of all opinions," the Oklahoma Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "I have to tell you most of the people that came, they were alarmed and passionate, but they weren't rude."
Further, he said he often found the town hall meetings he'd held while discussing Obamacare's passage were probably even more difficult.
"The crowds were bigger, but they weren't happy with you no matter where you were," Cole said. "I think we will probably see something like this going forward for a while and again, that is okay. It's actually much more healthy for people to be engaged in civic activity and legitimate dissent than not participating at all or resorting to some sort of violence, and we don't have that going on at all."
Cole said he typically holds his town hall events in April and particularly in August, but meanwhile, he holds several public events, including his chamber round tables on Wednesday, and will meet with smaller groups in his office, while working to be as visible as possible.
Most of the arguments at the nation's town halls concern the talk about repealing and replacing Obamacare, and Cole said it's important to remember that actions on the Affordable Care Act will not occur as a single event.
"It's not a bill that will do anything like when Obamacare was created," Cole said. "It took 14 months to write and literally years to unfold and different parts of it to be implemented. In this case we will work through reconciliation."
Meanwhile, the move to repeal and replace the healthcare act doesn't have 60 Senate votes.
"You'll put in a lot of things like associated health care plans, the ability to buy insurance across state lines, medical malpractice insurance in separate bills," Cole said. "Nobody that is on Obamacare now needs to worry. You're safe through the end of the year.
"My guess is probably next year as well, because the plan for next year is being written now and have to be approved by April . . . There won't be a legislative alternative until then."
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