Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Senator Cardin's Healthcare TownHall info

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Massive turnout! Huge contrast from Cardin's Largo meeting. I estimate crowd at high hundreds or more, not counting the 500 people allowed inside the hall.Anti-Obamacare outnumbered Cardin supporters at least 5-1. Probably more, since there were lots of people milling around without signs. Crowd was noisy but friendly.Rumor was that Cardin pulled some sort of stunt and called a "meeting" for his supporters in the hall at 5:00pm, so they'd already be inside when the doors opened at 7:00. Lots of people got turned away. Hundreds of HSM membership forms were handed out.

Cardin skipped around the illegal alien issue - when asked if he could look the questioner in the eye and tell him they're not included in the bill (HR 2300, the one he was talking about at that moment) herightly said, no, they're not in the bill. I've listened to the recent House hearings and amendments specifically calling for EXCLUSION of coverage for illegal alien have been voted down again and again by the majority!

Baltimore ABC affiliate (channel 2) gave the Towson Town Hall the first 3 minutes of their 11:00pm news last night. It was VERY accurate -- showed people yelling at Cardin inside the hall, and only showed anti-Obamacare signs outside. Commentary was that people are angry & Obamacare is in trouble. They also estimated the crowd as 5-1 against. This morning's DC Channel 9 news also mentioned the Towson event. Again, they only mentioned the opposition, and showed Cardin being shouted down. PERSPECTIVE OF MARYLAND DELEGATE RICK IMPALLARIA

I hope you all are enjoying your summer. As you know, I try not to bombard you with emails. But having attended Sen. Cardin's Town Hall Meeting on health care reform last night, I want to share with you my observations, especially because of the inaccurate media reports, which said that there were a "few hundred" inside listening and a "few hundred" outside.Inside the meeting there were 500 people -- the hall was filled to capacity. Outside, I and others estimated there were between 2000 and 3000 (thousand) people. The entire crowd could have been accomodated in the gymnasium across the street, and I believe this would have been better than having so many left outside in the heat.The "organized" group of anti health care reform bill protesters well outnumbered the supporters. They came disguised as ordinary people. Many made themselves appear old, and many made themselves appear young. They intentionally wore clothing that would make them not seem to be an organized group. Their most ingenious ploy was to carry home-made, rather than professionally made signs.The "unorganized" pro-Obamacare group, which numbered between 100 and 200, curiously all wore the same shirts, and somehow all managed to accidentally used the same sign shop to have their professionally printed signs made.Both groups were loud and spirited. I personally witnessed no inappropriate behavior, especially from such a large group of people.Now for what occurred at the meeting. The first speaker was a young lady who has a young child with medical disorders. While all the attendees respectfully listened to her and her family's plight, it was seen as a ploy by Sen. Cardin to jerk at people's heartstrings and to eat up time before taking questions. The good news about the young lady is that her family's medical problems were fixed -- without health care reform. Mr. Cardin then presented a slide show on the health care bill. For the most part the crowd attempted to pay attention, but as the presentation went on, it seemed clear to the majority that the information was not wholly truthful, and was seen as another attempt to burn up time before the question and answer portion.While the crowd was spirited and boisterous, their responses were directed not at Mr. Cardin personally, but at the misinformation they believed he was giving. Mr. Cardin constantly talked about things not being in the Senate bill, but my understanding is that there is no official version of a Senate bill at this time. There are at least three House versions, which Mr. Cardin danced around, not having read them, as he admitted. One question from the audience that got loud applause was "Why not support tort reform [civil lawsuits against doctors] before changing health care as we know it?" Mr. Cardin, a life-long trial lawyer, had absolutely no answer. Is it a coincidence that 80% of the elected officials in Washington are lawyers, including Barak Obama? (I wonder what this bill would look like if 80% of Congress were doctors and nurses.)Another question was, would Mr. Cardin put in and vote for an amendment requiring Congress to be on the government plan. This yes-or-no question was not answered yes or no. He said, "I'm already on a government plan." But as you and I know, Congress has the best plan anyone could have, but it is available only to Congress and high-ranking government officials.Mr. Cardin praised Medicaid and Medicare as examples of how efficiently government can run health care programs. He failed to mention that these programs are subsidized by the taxpayers and by those having private insurance, or that the government has done a horrible job of monitoring and prosecuting fraud in those systems. He avoided all questions on specifics in the bill, including questions of death counseling. He said that illegal aliens will not be eligible under this new program, but every attempt to put language in the bill to exclude illegal aliens has been blocked. He said that no additional money will be spent on abortions by the government, whereas sections of the bill clearly state otherwise.As one gentleman so eloquently stated, "Mr. Cardin, I have never heard so many mistruths and out-and-out lies being told by an elected official," and he proceeded to explain the provisions in the bill concerning pre-existing conditions. Mr. Cardin then asked the gentleman whether he would hear him out. The gentleman replied, "That would be fine, Senator, if you stop lying." Mr. Cardin finally admitted that the gentleman was much more informed on the issue than he was, and asked if the gentleman would agree to sit down with him and help him understand the issues (the very issues that Cardin was at the meeting to explain!).All in all, I don't believe that Mr. Cardin swayed anyone to his side. Having spoken to some of his supporters afterwards, they came in supporting the idea of free health care for all, not understanding the overall ramifications of Obamacare. But they left feeling that they needed to not merely support the general concept of health care, but to understand what the bill would do before supporting it.I must hand it to Mr. Cardin. He stood up to the firing squad, and was always polite and respectful to the audience. The attendees, while very spirited, did not indulge in personal attacks on Sen. Cardin or Pres. Obama, but attacked the policies they proposed. It was a wonderful exercise of free speech.

Rick ImpallariaDelegate, District 7


Let's return the favor. Please contact Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer and let him know that these verbal attacks on Maryland citizens are unacceptable. Tell Steny that citizens have the right to petition our government and express dissent. It's right there in the First Amendment to the Constitution! No Healthcare for Illegal Aliens!

Brad Botwin, Help Save Maryland

Steny Hoyer (D) - Maryland 5th 202-225-4131 fax 202-225-4300301-474-0119 fax 301-474-4697

'Un-American' attacks can't derail health care debate By Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer
Americans have been waiting for nearly a century for quality, affordable health care. Health coverage for all was on the national agenda as early as 1912, thanks to Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose presidential run. Months after World War II came to an end in 1945, President Harry Truman called on Congress to guarantee all Americans the "right to adequate medical care and protection from the economic fears of sickness." From President Lyndon Johnson to President Bill Clinton, to President Obama's winning campaign on the promise of reform, there hasn't been a more debated domestic issue than the promise of affordable health care for all. (Steny Hoyer)

(Nancy Pelosi/USA TODAY)
We believe it is healthy for such a historic effort to be subject to so much scrutiny and debate. The failure of past attempts is a reminder that health insurance reform is a defining moment in our nation's history - it is well worth the time it takes to get it right. We are confident that we will get this right.

Already, three House committees have passed this critical legislation and over August, the two of us will work closely with those three committees to produce one strong piece of legislation that the House will approve in September.In the meantime, as members of Congress spend time at home during August, they are talking with their constituents about reform. The dialogue between elected representatives and constituents is at the heart of our democracy and plays an integral role in assuring that the legislation we write reflects the genuine needs and concerns of the people we represent.

However, it is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue. These tactics have included hanging in effigy one Democratic member of Congress in Maryland and protesters holding a sign displaying a tombstone with the name of another congressman in Texas, where protesters also shouted "Just say no!" drowning out those who wanted to hold a substantive discussion.

Let the facts be heard These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views - but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.Health care is complex. It touches every American life. It drives our economy. People must be allowed to learn the facts.

The first fact is that health insurance reform will mean more patient choice. It will allow every American who likes his or her current plan to keep it. And it will free doctors and patients to make the health decisions that make the most sense, not the most profits for insurance companies.Reform will mean stability and peace of mind for the middle class. Never again will medical bills drive Americans into bankruptcy; never again will Americans be in danger of losing coverage if they lose their jobs or if they become sick; never again will insurance companies be allowed to deny patients coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

Lower costs, better care Reform will mean affordable coverage for all Americans. Our plan's cost-lowering measures include a public health insurance option to bring competitive pressure to bear on rapidly consolidating private insurers, research on health outcomes to better inform the decisions of patients and doctors, and electronic medical records to help doctors save money by working together. For seniors, the plan closes the notorious Medicare Part D "doughnut hole" that denies drug coverage to those with between $2,700 and $6,100 per year in prescriptions.

Reform will also mean higher-quality care by promoting preventive care so health problems can be addressed before they become crises. This, too, will save money. We'll be a much healthier country if all patients can receive regular checkups and tests, such as mammograms and diabetes exams, without paying a dime out-of-pocket.

This month, despite the disruptions, members of Congress will listen to their constituents back home and explain reform legislation. We are confident that our principles of affordable, quality health care will stand up to any and all critics.Now - with Americans strongly supporting health insurance reform, with Congress reaching consensus on a plan, and with a president who ran and won on this specific promise of change - America is closer than ever to this century-deferred goal.

This fall, at long last, we must reach it. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is speaker of the House and Steny Hoyer, D-Md., is House majority leader.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "BIG LIE" in this legislation is language that claims to say illegal aliens are not eligible for government subsidies to purchase health insurance. Congressman Sarbanes and Senator Cardin have been quoting this section of the proposed bill over and over.

Sounds good, doesn't it?

But nowhere in the legislation is there the requirement that a person's immigration status be checked before getting these subsidies!

If people tell you that HR 3200 denies health insurance subsidies to illegal aliens, remind them that it already against the law to enter the US without permission, yet 12+ illegal aliens have done just that! It's already against the law to hire illegal aliens, yet 8+ illegal aliens have jobs!

Just because it is "against the law" for illegal aliens to get publicly funded health insurance won't mean they won't get it -- unless there is specific language in the law REQUIRING a person's immigration status to be checked first!


8:57 PM, August 12, 2009  

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