Boehner: Town halls had 'dramatic' impact on health debate

The impassioned townhall meetings in August had a “dramatic” impact on the healthcare debate in Congress, House Minority Leader John BoehnerJohn BoehnerHouse GOP faces dilemma on spending bills Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return MORE (R-Ohio) said on Thursday.

Further, the top-ranking House Republican said that because of the uproar across the nation, Congress has a long road ahead before it votes on a healthcare bill.

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"It’s pretty clear that the American people are opposed to this big government healthcare system. We’re going to be talking about this issue for weeks and weeks and weeks and maybe even months to come,” he said.

Despite rhetoric from Democrats to the contrary, BoehnerJohn BoehnerHouse GOP faces dilemma on spending bills Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return MORE contended that if the at-times contentious public meetings with lawmakers had no impact, then the House would have voted on a healthcare bill by now.

Asked whether racism has ignited the fire behind opposition to President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaMiss. governor to join lawsuit against Obama transgender policy North Korea calls Obama’s Hiroshima trip ‘childish’ Sanders takes different position on superdelegates than he did in 2008 MORE's healthcare plan, Boehner responded that race has nothing to do with the widespread disapproval of the administration's proposals.

"The outrage has nothing to do with race but has to do with policies," Boehner said.