‘America’s Town Hall’ in Georgia Draws 12,000
Since the August recess began, the buzz anywhere regular people gather has been about health care reform. These are not the type of folks who you usually find in a protest, but they are riled up.These are the types of folks who let their congressman know how they feel about things on a regular basis and that is what they are doing in Georgia.
Georgia’s congressional delegation is seven Republicans and six Democrats. On the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee — which has already passed a version of the Obamacare bill — there are three Georgians. Rep. Nathan Deal has the most knowledge about health care issues and is the former Chair of the Health Subcommittee. Rep. Phil Gingrey is a physician by trade, and Rep. John Barrow is a Democrat. Barrow is not a Blue Dog, but he voted against the bill coming out of Energy and Commerce right before the recess, and he’s being targeted by MoveOn.org.
The noise in Georgia started with a transportation-themed town hall Rep. David Scott had in the western part of his Metro Atlanta district. A group of constituents attended the meeting. Dr. Brian Hill was one of the constituents. He is a Board Certified Urologist. He contacts his congressman’s office regularly and did so regarding this meeting. He spoke with Scott’s staff and got “permission” to ask a health care question during the question and answer portion of the meeting.
That led to the congressman accusing Hill of trying to hijack the meeting. The congressman treated his constituent shabbily, and that is just the beginning. In the days following, Scott claimed vandals painted a swastika on the sign at his district office.
Have you seen the people showing up at town hall meetings? Most are middle aged and elderly and don’t buy spray paint or much less are a part of the “tagging” revolution in America. Tagging a building or sign with spray paint is something the MoveOn.org crowd participates in, and grandma on Medicare doesn’t.
On Monday, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) held a meeting in Clarkston, Georgia. When I arrived, the line was around the block of Georgia Perimeter College.
This is a very liberal district. It had earlier been represented — if that is the term — by Cynthia McKinney. The crowd was about 60-40 in favor of Obamacare. Johnson played the class warfare card right off the bat and said he strongly supports the “public option, but he assembled a panel of health care experts that gave both sides of the debate a fair shake. The attendees were passionate, loud at times, but not threatening.
The same was true when Deal and Gingrey accepted an invitation by the Greater Hall Chamber to have a health care forum. It was amusing that the organizers were adamant it was “not a town hall meeting.” But, as one of the members put it to me, “this is a town hall, whether the management likes it or not.” Gingrey and Deal gave the most in depth discussion of the details of the plan I have heard.
The Democrat talking points of last week were of the manufactured crisis variety. Every Democrat Congressman and Senator quoted from World Health Organization statistics that would make you think people are dying on the streets in America because of lack of access to medical care.
If memory serves me right, those entities are run by the government. Even last week, President Obama had a rare moment of clarity on the subject when he said, "UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It’s the [p]ost [o]ffice that’s always having problems." Mr. President, UPS and FedEx are the private parts of the parcel business. The government runs the post office. That statement, in the president’s own words, is the best one made against Obamacare.
The thing that should scare you right out of your AARP membership is the details are not in the bill. A 1000-page proposed bill and the details to run the system will be left up to the Executive Branch and the bureaucrats to “flesh out.” If you can’t spell out what you want in health care reform in 1000 pages that can be easily condensed into a 10 page summary that everyone can understand, it’s not reform: it’s just more of the same kind of bad government.
In Georgia, the week ended with “America’s Town Hall” in Atlanta. One of the organizers, Joel Aaron, my colleague from the We the People Revolution, Next Steps Training had this to say, “On a hot day in August, a crowd of over 12,000 participated in an exuberant rally and panel discussion about the state of healthcare with HR 3200.” Twelve thousand people from all over the Southeast, now that’s a movement.
The crowd was passionate, respectful and engaged in the process of finding meaningful and realistic reform. And the presentation included a panel of experts on health care. The panel emphasized the doctor-patient relationship above government control. The focus was how this plan would affect business owners.
When Joel Aaron took the stage, he focused on the hard decisions of economic models. “Universal coverage is unrealistic when the few who do not carry insurance are controlling the legislation’s agenda at the expense of the 85% of Americans who do have healthcare insurance.”
He went on to say, “[M]ost Americans would rather have a competitive environment decentralized across the insurance industry than a monopoly under one entity that is sure to encourage tyranny over healthcare decisions.”
From cancer to heart disease to diabetes, in America treatments are being personalized. Obamacare goes against that trend in every way. Reform the system, restore it to a free-market system, but don’t make it one size fits all. That will bring an Armageddon in health care results — in costs and quality of care — for all of us.