Anti contributors seem to want to talk about the health care debates.  Every news channel is filled with angry, often rude protestors hollering at an elected official about health care.  Let’s consider the following questions:

1.  Is this the most productive means of communicating?

2. Is this issue being discussed according to right or left ideology?

3. What about people who do not have health care? Are they being heard? How about those who are in jobs where it is not available or the 10% who are unemployed?

4. What is so great about our health care system?

5. If we exclude people from health care (illegal immigrants, food and beverage people, etc) have we really fixed health care? Won’t we still be paying for those who do not have insurance?

6. Do our congressmen and senators really ‘work for us’ or do we elect them to go represent us? Since ‘us’ have different political views, how can we say they ‘work for us?’

7. President Obama’s health care meeting would not have gone the way Senator Spectrum’s did. No one would have been allowed to get in the President’s face. Should congressmen have additional security during these times?

96 Thoughts to “Health Care Debates”

  1. rod2155

    “Angry artist’s painting angry signs
    Use their ‘vision’ just to blind the blind.
    Poison players in a grizzly game.
    One is guilty,
    And the other get’s to point the blame.

    Pardon me if I refrain”

    -Phil Ochs “The War Is Over”

  2. rod2155

    actually I guess it would be “artists.” I’m quoting from memory not a quote library.

  3. Mom

    OK, just went through the Senate version, the “Affordable Health Choices Act”. Not surprisingly it is much more compact, 615 pages compared to the 1017 page House treastise. It is much more streamlined while at the same time containing more detail on how the system is to be established. It is also less ambitious/onerous than the House version and at first blush appears to allows for individuals to opt out of coverage, ie: insurance or government coverage are not mandatory. Similarly the penalties and taxes levied in the House bill are absent from the Senate version. Typical Congressional game, the House plays bad cop and the Senate plays good/slightly less bad cop.

  4. If people can opt out, will this make both private and government plans weaker?

  5. Moon-howler

    But can people opt out of having insurance all together?

  6. Mom

    If I read the Senate bill correctly, you can opt out of insurance entirely, the impact both private and government plans is probably debatable but my guess is that it will have a near zero impact under the Senate’s version. Read it yourself

  7. Censored bybvbl

    I agree with M-h about calling people who disrupt the meetings exactly what they are – thugs. They can protest all they want outside, but their intention inside appears to be the suppression of discussion. They’re not there to get answers or to ask pointed, difficult questions. They’re there to squelch discussion. Period.

    I’ve seen that type of behavior over contentious issues within my own neighborhood. One informational meeting -which drew a crowd of perhaps a hundred people- was ruined by a dozen people jumping in, screaming, cursing – Roberts Rules be damned. They were going to be heard – unequally and loudly. This behavior scared off the older neighbors from further meetings. They were afraid of the thugs. (Some were actual thugs – with police records to match.) For the second meeting, which promised to be as contentious as the first, a lone woman armed with a video camera and a few citizens who yelled for the “thugs” to state their names and addresses for the record when they tried to disrupt the meeting changed the tone. It didn’t hurt that a county attorney and our supervisor attended. That meeting went well. Both sides of the argument were heard. Information was exchanged. Falsehoods were exposed. Concerns were expressed. That, in my opinion, is what a neighborhood meeting or town hall meeting should strive to be – an exchange of ideas and a consideration of new information. If a politician is merely offering platitudes or nothing of substance, the participants should ask harder questions and demand more info. And by demand, I don’t mean screech or name-call. And, of course, not everyone or even a majority will leave satisfied.

  8. Rick Bentley

    I’m not following the news closely, but the videos I watched were concerned citizens asking pointed questions.

  9. Moon-howler

    I sure haven’t seen that Rick. Censored, you hit the nail right on the head in my opinion. I will not retract the word ‘thug.’ Just calling it as I see it.

    Is everyone there a thug? No, of course not. I don’t necessarily support current health care plans. However, I would like to hear what is being said. I would like to be able to seperate information from the misinformation.

  10. Censored bybvbl

    If I remember Roberts Rule, the person presiding over the meeting should alternate between people with opposing points of view – if he or she knows the speakers’ opinions. No boos or hisses from the floor. Let the speaker make his or her point.

    I’m satisfied with my health coverage though I’ve not had a hospitalization to test that satisfaction. However, I believe too many people are uninsured whether by choice or by their finances. I’m not convinced that the whole system needs to be restructured to suit 10% of the population (if that percent is indeed accurate). I don’t rule out the idea of neighborhood,city, or county clinics to take the pressure off emergency rooms.

    I’m also not convinced that people should be able to opt out. Often younger, healthier people follow this route, but it’s no guarantee against car accidents, appendicitis, pregnancy, etc.

  11. Moon-howler

    And I am not sure that illegal aliens should be disqualified. Aren’t uninsured people causing part of the health care crisis? For everyone who doesn’t pay their bill, those of us with insurance end up having our premiums raised.

    I think the 10% uninsured is misinformation. If 10% of the population are unemployed, the what about the other people? How many people in food service have insurance? Some but not all. Lots and lots of jobs do not offer health care as a benefit. How about those on Medicaid? I don’t count that as health insurance. Someone is paying for us. Us. (again)

    I think I heard 91% of people in the United States do have health care. I see a pig flying out there right now. Bull. That is not accurate.

  12. Censored bybvbl

    That 10% figure sounds too low to me also.

    The town where I grew up has a clinic. A couple years ago, they started denying free benefits to people who weren’t US citizens but offered the services at a price. (This may have had to do with a change in state law.) They found that 80% of the illegal immigrants- if I remember correctly- chose to pay for the services they provided. This is not emergency room care.

  13. Moon-howler

    Did they have to take patients regardless of ability to pay?

  14. Censored bybvbl

    I don’t think the clinic had to, but the hospital did have to take them – at least for the illegal immigrant population. I’m not sure about the native population.

  15. hello

    Wow, the hypocrisy never ends does it… To all of you who are calling people who disrupt the meetings thugs, un-American, an angry mob, etc… lets take a look back a 2006 at the ugliness going on then (especially you all out there referring to the Iraq war).

    Before Pelosi called town hall ‘disruptor’s’ un-American (and you all keep repeating it) take a look at what she thought about ‘disruptors’ in 2006:

    Huh… in 2006 she (and I’m guessing most of you) were a fan of them, they were true Americans, in 2009 they are an un-American, angry, ugly, Nazi like unruly mob. HIPOCRATES, EVERY LAST ONE OF YA.

  16. hello

    Please pay close attention to the first few sentences…

    “do not destroy democracy at home by cutting off our freedom of speech”.

    “I thank all of you for speaking out, your advocacy… it’s all very American”.

    Today… she, and allot of you out there are singing a different tune, why?

  17. hello

    Nancy Pelosi, January 17, 2006: “So I thank all of you who have spoken out for your courage, your point of view. All of it. Your advocacy is very American and very important.”

    Nancy Pelosi, August 10, 2009: “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.”

  18. Moon-howler

    Hello, I will assume you are making as ass of yourself and are speaking to me since I am the one here who has been talking about thugs. Please correct me if I am wrong and have a doppleganger hanging about.

    I don’t recall speaking about anti-war demonstrators on this blog or any other blog. You have no idea how I feel about the war in Afghanistan, Iraq or about Iraq protestors.

    And for the record, I don’t think the war (any of them) have gotten too much coverage here on this blog. It is possible to dislike a war without turning into a rude pig. It is possible to dislike a war and support the troops serving in the war. Most Americans feel that way.

    If they disrupted town meetings or congressional hearings. I probably called them thugs also. Equal opportunity here. Bad manners are bad manners.

    Hello, you really have pigeon-holed yourself way too much–probably a direct result of reading too much right-wing crap. That’s what paints you in a corner. Most people here do not have a party line or a agenda.

    btw, I don’t give a rat’s ass about Nancy Pelosi one way or the other. She is who she is.

  19. kelly3406

    Censored bybvbl :
    That 10% figure sounds too low to me also.

    I believe the 10% figure refers to actual citizens who want health insurance, but cannot get it. It does not include people that should be able to pay for it, nor does it include illegal aliens.

    My main priority is to keep (or more accurately, remove) the federal government from its involvement in health care. I would even be willing to pay more in order to accomplish that goal. Nowhere in the constitution is health care a right, so I am not willing to support a huge entitlement program to provide medical coverage for those without it.

  20. hello

    Whoa Moon… no, take a look, your not the only one calling people thugs. Pinko and Censored are in your camp as well and I think it was awkward Rodd and JustinT who brought up the war. Don’t forget Moon, I’m an independent just like yourself. Do I lean one way, sure, do you lean in the other, you bet…

    Also, I never said or implied how YOU felt about the civil war, the Indian American war, WWI, WWII or the war against terror (sorry, the war against man made disasters). Lets just step back and calm down, sheesh…

  21. Censored bybvbl

    Kelly, do you intend to take advantage of Medicare when you’re old enough to qualify? I’ll be a contrarian and say I’m just as upset at politicians such as Bob Marshall or Bill Frist who stick their noses in others’ health care.

    A problem that I became aware of after talking to a friend with several family members who are medical providers (both docs and nurses) is that many doctors are starting to refuse to take new patients who are 62 and older regardless of whether they are insured. So people who are generally satisfied with insurance programs as they presently exist may soon become angry about the situation.

  22. Censored bybvbl

    Hello, I’ll call them thugs again. Thugs. Health care is an important issue that doesn’t need to be decided by demagoguery. If the Republicans had alternatives, why did they hide them under the rug for 8 years?

  23. Moon-howler

    Sorry Hello. I did personalize it because of thug. I started thug and guess I owned them, in my own mind. I doubt if Justin and Robb and I have much in common politically. Robb is a pacifist. Not sure about Justin. I don’t think I am a hypocrite at all.

    I don’t think that Justin and Robb spoke of thugs. It was mostly Censored and me. To be perfectly honest, I don’t really know what she thinks of any of our latest wars. It has never come up.

    I stand by thinking people who disrupt citizens meetings of any time with their own agenda are thugs.

  24. Let’s not forget that most of the “thugs” are being paid, which really does make them “thugs.” We aren’t talking about your run-of-the-mill p.o.’d person here. We are talking about people who are being compensated to be intimidating.

    Anyway, who cares what we call them? They are ensuring no discussion takes place. That’s the real problem.

  25. An Ordinary Joe

    Pinko, do you have a link that talks about “most of the thugs are being paid”? I had not heard it so I would like to read about it.

  26. Censored bybvbl

    Hello, I don’t care what Nancy Pelosi thinks about demonstrators. I didn’t care what George Bush thought of them either although I did notice that he tried to keep them out of his sight. I don’t think I’ve stated much opinion on the war protestors though I knew some of them. I think I know a “thug” when I see one though. I don’t need CNN, Fox, or any other station or blabbing head to tell me about them. I merely saw the behavior. Not all were thugs. Some were near emotional hysterics – particularly the woman who said she wanted her country back. WTF did that mean? Who took what away from her? It’s just the morons with their unexamined talking points that make me tune out. Llalalalala – I can’t hear you…mainly because you (the protesting thugs) aren’t saying anything worth examining but are just throwing out pablum and meaningless generalitites.

  27. @An Ordinary Joe
    –“Shut it down!”

    According to “The Rachel Maddow Show,” a leaked memo from a group called Right Principles was intercepted by the Web site Think Progress. This memo indicates that these town hall protests against Democratic senators speaking in support of public option health insurance are being orchestrated, even scripted. They are instructions on how to shut down the town hall meetings.

    Here are some sample instructions given to the supposedly “average Joe” voters:

    You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early. If he blames Bush for something or offers other excuses — call him on it, yell back and have someone else tallow-up with a shout-out. The goal is to rattle him.

    When the formal Q&A session begins get all your hands up and keep them up…. The balance of the group should applaud when the question is asked, further putting the Rep on the defensive.–

    (personal money store blog…can’t get the link in here without getting put into the spam box…but Hubby also heard it on Mix 107.5 FM that it’s the insurance lobbyists organizing mobs.)

  28. –UPDATE: AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka sends out a scathing statement about the town halls, hitting on Sweeney’s themes and calling the events corporate funded.

    Every American has the inalienable right to participate in our democratic process. Our politics is passionate, heartfelt and often loud — as was the founding of our nation. But that is not what the corporate-funded mobs are engaging in when they show up to disrupt town halls held by members of Congress.

    Major health care reform is closer than ever to passage and it is no secret that special interests want to weaken or block it. These mobs are not there to participate. As their own strategy memo states, they have been sent by their corporate and lobbyist bankrollers to disrupt, heckle and block meaningful debate. This is a desperation move, meant to slow the momentum for change.

    Mob rule is not democracy. People have a democratic right to express themselves and our elected leaders have a right to hear from their constituents — not organized thugs whose sole purpose is to shut down the conversation and attempt to scare our leaders into inaction

    We call on the insurance companies, the lobbyists and the Republican leaders who are cheering them on to halt these ‘Brooks Brothers Riot’ tactics. Health care is a crucial issue and everyone – on all sides of the issue – deserves to be heard.–

    8-6-09 Huffington Post

  29. Elena

    You are a perfect example of who SHOULD be debating this issue. You appear to have actually READ the legislation PRIOR to forming an opinion. The problem I have is that people listen to some pundit on a T.V. or radio show, spewing out exagerations and mistruths, then having been successfully freaked out, they attend a town hall meeting meant to create discussion, and instead they create an atmosphere where NO ONE accomplishes anything, but yelling.

  30. Moon-howler

    How about the Republican congressmen and Senators who are trying to hold town hall meetings? Are they meeting with the same obnoxious, disruptive behavior?

  31. hello

    Hi Censored… “I didn’t care what George Bush thought of them either although I did notice that he tried to keep them out of his sight.”

    I feel ya, and what about some (not all, I give mad props to those Dems who have had them and faced the music… cough, Collonely). However, your not upset when SEIU or Acorn members are bussed into districts they don’t even live in to stack the deck to keep people who actually live there out?

    Or, how about my very own coward Gerry Connolly deciding to have his ‘town hall’ in a gated retirement community.

    Jason Connors is yella Gerry Connolly’s spokesmen and even said “”It’s private property,” Connors said. “We certainly don’t want things getting out of hand. It’s certainly within our right to ask people to settle down or leave the facility.”

    Censored, now who is trying to keep who out of sight?!?

  32. Censored bybvbl

    Hello, I’m an equal opportunity thug despiser. I’m willing to sit in a public meeting and listen – and possibly change my mind – when an orderly discourse takes place. Aren’t you? If that meeting is composed of thugs who won’t observe simple rules of order, act like bratty children, and don’t allow opposing views to be heard, I’m not likely to change my mind. Are you?

    I’ll say this about the Connolly meeting. You’ve seen the way these meetings have been going. You’ve seen our local loco blog wondering where Gerry’s been. Do you think the blogsters want to have a rational exchange of viewpoints with Connolly or are they looking for a “gotcha” moment in which to screech? So here you have an example of unintended consequences for people who are really concerned about health care issues. Politicians may choose more favorable venues for their discussions and the people most worried may be more shut out. (I’m not aware of anyone being unable to attend Connolly’s meeting because of its location. Maybe they just know they can’t go into that private community and make asses of themselves without suffering some kind of consequence.) If you drove the distance to attend this meeting, wouldn’t you be interested in facts rather than listening to some shouting boor?

  33. An Ordinary Joe

    Pinko, I thought you meant that the people themselves were paid. Watching the Rachel Maddow show, it sounds like lobbyists were paid (which they generally are)but she never mentioned that teh people at the town hall meetings were paid (at least I didn’t see that). I don’t discount the AFL-CIO just because they are a union but the White House itself called upon unions to join in the crusade.

    I was interested to see if there really was evidence or whether it was the same stuff that came from the Rachel Maddow show. I don’t get my news from her any more than from Hannity or O’Reilly. Haven’t seen most of those people for years except when I am channel surfing.

    I prefer reading news articles. As a former journalist myself, I realize that placement in a story can give a slanted view, but I focus on the facts wherever they appear in an article.

    One thing that troubled me when I was surfing yesterday and I came across the youtube from Rachel Maddow was that the logo she used put GOP in the same structure as thugs. But her talk said very little about the GOP so I thought it was disingenuous (sp). I am no Republican nor a Democrat but I do get offended by obvious campaign-type misinformation from a supposed news organization even in a commentary situation.

  34. kelly3406

    Censored bybvbl :
    Do you think the blogsters want to have a rational exchange of viewpoints with Connolly or are they looking for a “gotcha” moment in which to screech?

    Since George Allen’s macacca debacle, townhall meetings have been turned into youtube “gotcha” moments by people in both political camps. People now play to the cameras.

    But having said that, there is nothing historically unusual about shouting in townhall meetings. During the early constitutional conventions, disagreements were sometimes settled with brawls/duels. I am not advocating violence, but when people are being ignored, they tend to get irate.

    People are upset at the pretense that the purpose of these townhalls is to convey information — lawmakers have not even read the legislation. The purpose is to convince people that the current legislation is a good thing. You cannot convince me that Gerry Connolly has not already made up his mind to vote for Obama’s health care initiative. People are extremely frustrated that their representatives are not willing to consider voting no on what they perceive as extremely bad legislation.

  35. An Ordinary Joe

    Sometime, I wish the different factions in this country would just try to understand the other side and craft legislation to meet the common things.

    It sounds like most of the opposition is coming from the issues of the government making medical decisions rather than a patient and the patient’s doctor (hmmm, sounds like Roe V. Wade) and the cost/potential taxes. If those are the major stumbling blocks then why don’t people try to alleviate those fears. The President merely saying that we are only probably go after those making $250K per year and the rest will be in undefined “efficiencies”, doesn’t sound like a well thought out part of the plan.

    I think the issue over government decisions is that although it may not be the intention to have government control healthcare (although that also raises skepticism), there will be bureaucrats in the future perhaps that will read the law so strictly that they are actually making decisions that may not have been intended.

    It serves no purpose to give broad campaign style rhetoric at this point to “reassure” the public. Give them facts–if there are protections in the drafts, then say, “that is covered by section XXX, please read it.” It says “blah, blah, blah.” But in the absence of that kind of specificity, it sounds like the Administration and Congress just wants us to trust them by citing thing like “that is not part of the bills” or “that can’t happen.” We all know it can and does happen.

    If it isn’t covered by a section of the draft, then elected people can say, “I see your point, I intend to do something about that.”

  36. Mom


    I already have a guest pass for Heritage Hunt, I guess a few pointed questions about the cost and efficacy of the House Bill would be in order for our Congressman. I will have to be unusually un-thug-like however (even though it will require extraordinary self-control), given other considerations.

  37. Censored bybvbl

    Kelly, I’d just ask the participants for the same level of decorum that is shown at BOCS meetings. That means that they can say stupid things, intelligent things, ask questions (don’t expect an answer though),etc. without the boos, catcalls, yelling.

    I’d say that the summer recess is about gathering constituents’ opinions as much as giving them a concrete plan. The plan is subject to change. The opinions should be heard equally and fairly.

  38. kelly3406

    Censored bybvbl :
    I’d say that the summer recess is about gathering constituents’ opinions as much as giving them a concrete plan.

    I doubt that. Remember that the initial plan was for Congress to approve the health care plan BEFORE the August recess. The Blue Dogs did not allow that to happen, but you can rest assured that the liberal wing of Congress, which includes Gerry Connolly, would have already voted ‘yes’ if it had the opportunity.

    So no, the purpose of the Town Halls is not to gather opinions. You can repeat that mantra as often as you like, but I am not buying it. This legislation could have a profound life-and-death impact on all Americans, but this Congress tried its best to ram it down our throats. So if Congress is not listening, then boos, catcalls, and yelling may actually be the right response. Desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures.

  39. Moon-howler

    Regardless of how people have been behaving at town hall meetings, it would be an improvement if they were used as a question and answer session by people who know how to behave themselves.

    Events held in gated communities can be attended by saying your purpose for being there if for an event and say which one. I have never been denied access. There is also the point that perhaps those people there invited him and accepted. Does that make him a bad person?

    As for ACORN, I am not sure who is ‘sending ACORN.’ Perhaps they are sending themselves. I don’t think they ought to be able to go in to a meeting before residents of the area. I don’t like bus loads of people as a rule, except when it involves carpooling.

  40. @An Ordinary Joe
    I actually put more credence in the AFL/CIO letter.

    Since lobbyists are present at these meetings, it doesn’t seem to matter too much who is being paid. However, I would not be surprised if the lobbysists are actually paying Joe Schmoe to go in and raise hell. Plenty of people would gladly accept $50.00 to go in and scream at a politician for an hour or so, especially if they wanted to do it anyway!

  41. Censored bybvbl

    Kelly, if constituents opinions didn’t matter, why did the Blue Dogs hesitate? Of course, being from PWC, I’m aware that a politician’s office can be flooded by emails from a special interest group claiming to be concerned residents. Haha.

  42. kelly3406

    Censored, the Blue Dogs, which are a minority of the Democrats in Congress, absolutely have to pay attention to their constituents or they may not be re-elected. But is there anyone who actually thinks that Gerry Connolly has not already made up his mind on this? If I put up $1000 that Gerry Connolly WILL vote for House Bill 3200, are you be willing to bet that he will not?

    People are upset that, like Gerry Connolly, most Democrats have already decided to vote for the Health Care bill, regardless of what is in the bill. All that the Democrats are trying to do now is determine the bare minimum it will take to buy the votes of the Blue Dogs so that they can pass the health care bill. That is the exact blueprint used to gain passage of the Stimulus Bill and Waxman-Markley Climate Bill.

    People are wise to the strategy now and that’s why they are expressing anger and frustration at the town hall meetings. Unfortunately, the only town hall meetings where the constituents’ opinions actually matter are those held in the districts/states of the Blue Dogs. People in non-Blue Dog districts can scream until they are blue in the face and it will make absolutely no difference. That’s why Congressman Sheila Jackson Lee was on her cell phone during the very courteous statement of a cancer survivor — she has already made up her mind to vote for the bill.

  43. Censored bybvbl

    Kelly, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out Connolly had made up his mind. He’s not exactly a Blue Dog. That said, he may still have to compromise.

  44. Moon-howler

    Perhaps we are asking SPLC to be something it never set out to do. Here is what it is, by its own definition:

    Founded in 1971, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a
    civil rights organization dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights of minorities,
    the poor, and victims of injustice in significant civil rights and social justice matters


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