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August 11th, 2009
11:12 PM ET

Are town hall protests threatening health care reform?

Sen. Arlen Specter, left, answers questions Tuesday during a forum in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
Sen. Arlen Specter, left, answers questions Tuesday during a forum in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

David Gergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

When a long-time voter favorite in Pennsylvania, Senator Arlen Specter, faces an hour of jeering and booing over health care reform, as he did today, the question arises: how will these raucous town halls affect the outcome in one of the central legislative battles of our time?

The answer does not appear to be encouraging for reformers. Granted, the way that opposition has been ginned up by outside forces does discount these outbursts some. The way that opponents are also disrupting these town halls, drowning out the capacity for civil discourse, is also stirring a backlash among many citizens on the sidelines.

But beneath the din it is also obvious that there is a growing bloc of voters on the right and a good many in the middle who are becoming passionately opposed to the overhaul of the health care system envisioned by liberal Democrats, especially in the House. It is the intensity of their feeling as much as the size of the crowd that may shape the voting on Capitol Hill in coming weeks.

The President’s White House team entered the August recess knowing that they had lost ground with the public during July. But they saw some evidence that opinion was stabilizing last week and with the Congress getting out of town, they thought that Obama would be able to recapture center stage and could hammer home his newly-crafted message about the consumer protections coming from reforms. If they could show opinion turning in their favor by early September, they would have a much better chance of securing major legislation.

But the way these town halls have turned noisy, and sometimes ugly, has kept much of the media focus on Congress and on disruptions. It is not yet clear whether the President can regain control of the argument.

For now, the intensity of the opposition – coming on the heels of a growing wariness in national polls – is shifting the odds for what will eventually happen with reform. In this week’s issue of the National Journal, correspondents Brian Friel and Richard E. Cohen provide a valuable insight into possible endgames. They report that there are four possible outcomes:

(1) A major bipartisan reform bill is passed;
(2) A major Democratic reform bill is passed over nearly united Republican opposition;
(3) The Democrats cannot agree among themselves and pass Health Care Lite, a very watered down version of reform;
(4) Failure

Looking at the chances today, in the midst of all this brouhaha, one would have to say that the odds for outcomes one and two are going down. It is hard to see how a lot of Republicans will sign up for a bipartisan bill in the teeth of this opposition; similarly, it may be tougher for moderate Democrats, especially new members from Republican-leaning districts, to sign on to a Democratic-only bill. That means the odds are going up for outcomes three and, yes, four.

Does this mean that reform is dying? Not at all. It is still possible that if the protests continue at a high decibel level, more people in the middle will grow disgusted and rally to the President. And given his political and rhetorical talents, it is more than possible that Barack Obama himself can turn this around. But for the moment, the raucous clips coming out of Senator Specter’s session with his constituents along with other clips from other town halls - as offensive as they are to many (including me) - are also presenting a growing threat to reform.

soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. Ken

    What many fail to realize is that the American public is fed up with all the lies and arrogance from Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al. They are saturated and have little patience left; hence, the shouting instead of calm debate. These people are neither Nazis, as Pelosi implies, nor are they loaded on a bus and shipped in from somewhere. They are Americans and not unAmerican. They are not up to something "fishy."

    August 12, 2009 at 3:40 am |
  2. Carol

    Why didn't CNN report on the guy that had a loaded handgun at Pres. Obama's town hall today? These people are nuts. Their rights take precedence over every else's and the safety of others.

    These people are drowning out others, monopolize the media, the forums, etc.

    This guy who sported the sign about "watering the tree of liberty" and the visible hand gun which he states was loaded in a crowd of people–in the Bush days he would be being waterboarded somewhere.

    Pres Obama ignored it. But somebody needs to teach this boy some manners. Ignorance abounds from these people.

    August 11, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  3. Dulcie - Denver

    I'm so incredibly disappointed in the wholesale disruption of the town halls. The dissenters SAY they want answers to their questions but then shut down any reply or intelligent discourse on the subject. That's not helpful at all.

    The fact is, yes, people come to the US for medical care. Many Americans ALSO go abroad for medical care. The two probably cancel each other out. I've known many Canadians and they were very happy with their health care. I've even been to a UK clinic myself and again, the standard of care I received was excellent. I saw a doctor within an hour of walking in the door without an appointment. My doctor's office here in the US wouldn't have been able to do that.

    Come on, people. Let's have intelligent discourse on the subject. I firmly believe that there are some great subjects for discussion and compromise.

    August 11, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Yes, these protests are clearly hurting the chances of health care reform getting passed. The angry protesters are succeeding in scaring the American people that health care reform will create a system in which "Big Brother" government will decide who gets to live and die.

    Unless the supporters of reform fight back hard and fast, this plan will go the way of Clinton's plan 15 years ago.

    August 11, 2009 at 9:04 pm |
  5. Bradley W

    I have an employer provided health insurance program. In my mid fifties, I have had to see my doctor more often, and I have had to call my insurance company and argue with some pencil pusher who is NOT a doctor, and going by some book as he second guesses my doctor's judgment and tries to save stockholder's money. This is as much of a bureaucracy as anything the ultra right wing blowhards pontificate against. So, I get coverage within a broken system, and in this sense I am lucky. But from my own study and interests I see that European Health care is more effective than ours, and although the taxes are higher, they aren't suffocating and everyone is covered; and every Western European country ranks higher than we do in health care provision, life expectancy and have lower infant mortality rates, often without the added disadvantage of their minority groups that we demonstrate. France, by the way, ranks first.
    And for those who say the government can't run anything, how about military medical care, or the military in general, which by its structure is socialist. Or consider NASA, OSHA, NOAA and NWS; the DOT with NHTSA and the FAA. And I'll add the Dept of Agriculture and Social Security, not to mention state departments of highways, police and fire protection, all of which make our lives easier, safer and comfortable. Believe it or not, government does more right than wrong.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:51 pm |
  6. Gregory Malkiewicz

    Hopefully, everyone will stop paying attention to those misinformed individuals who are ranting about socialism and comparing the U.S. to Russia. Most of these people know very little about world history or current foreign affairs. They still think Russia is a communist country! Almost, every civilized country in the world has government ran health care. I rather have a government health care plan then no health insurance at all. If people think that big private insurance companies are looking out for their customers best interests then they are as ignorant as the people comparing the United States to Nazi Germany, or the former Soviet Union.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:43 pm |
  7. Terry, TX

    August 11th, 2009 8:22 pm ET

    Expression of democracy…..yep…the sleeping giant has awoken.

    For those who don’t remember Pink invading Congress and recruiting stations, recruiters being assassinated, homosexuals invading churches, knocking down old lady with crosses, protesters at soldiers funerals, President Bush being called heinous names, the acorn protest, the seiu protests and beatings, the black panthers who intimidated voters then were found guilty and then let off by Eric Holder, Jackson and Sharpton protesting and demanding peoples jobs whenever they need to make money with their phony racist witch hunts….. hello……

    People are sick and tired of the rabid spending on pork and crap…. and now this govt who has….social security broke, medicare broke, medicaid broke, amtrak broke, us post office broke, cash for clunkers broke in one week……..you think these crooks can handle health care.
    Yeah right

    August 11, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  8. Olivia

    Today I saw true stupidity, hate and discrimination blatantly thrown in my face.
    I am a 16 year old rising high school senior. I am Hearing Impaired. I am
    African
    American and I also have a medical disability. THREE STRIKES AND I'M OUT.

    I have played volleyball and track for DH Conley high school for 3 years. For
    the first time I had a coach say, "I do not feel comfortable with you on my team
    this year because of your medical problem and my fear of personal liability if
    something were to occur on my watch. Therefore, I was removed from try-outs
    after the first day and sent home because the school, coaches, principal, and
    Athletic Director all deem me less than a person because I am disabled.

    Duke medical doctors were considered incapable of making my medical diagnosis
    and understand what I can and cannot do and the facts as they relate to my
    health. Therefore, his medical opinion was not relevant. 6 medical release forms
    from medical specialist all did not make the school believe I am fit enough to
    play on her team. The school backed her. The only thing that mattered was that
    I'm different from most in a world where some sports are only for the elite and
    white in rural white America.

    Who would think that in America people would be cruel enough to look you in the
    face and say in essence, I don't want you around, because you don't represent my
    team and your medical disability disqualifies you as being capable of playing on
    my team. Although I have played for the last 3 years in high school, travel
    volleyball clubs, and summer camps and conditioning. How stupid can a person
    be? How cruel?

    Olivia
    livvy@suddenlink.net

    August 11, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  9. Lilly Lyons

    When a reporter adds spin to the facts, then he is not reporting, he is twisting the truth.
    When I see in the first paragraph twisted statement, I do not want to read the full article because it will be biased...at least that is the impression you give.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:27 pm |
  10. Lilly Lyons

    I watched it live and did not see an hour of jeering and booing. It was rather orderly.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  11. Sabrina In Los Angeles

    Evil lies about euthanasia and other stuff presented to scare them from the fact that this reform will work and that the drug companies will make less money because people will actually get real health care, preventative care, and their pockets will be padded less from it.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  12. Charles

    This whole thing is so obvious and absurd. Big business and their GOP stooges are willing to say anything to stop change to the status quo and protect their bloated profits. They don't give a flip about the suffering their greedy policies create. What wonderful cristians.

    The amazing thing is that so many weak minded fools buy into such obvious nonsense. They don't seem to make the connection that a vote against healthcare is a vote against their own self interest! I mean duuuh... lowering your healthcare premiums, keeping insurance co's from coming between you and your dr., insurance co's not being able to cancel your policy if you become ill, no more 428% increases in premiums like we had between 2000 and 2007... yeah, I can understand why that would make so many conservatives so angry.

    In my opinion the birthers, the kill the old, and all the other obvious lies and fear mongering by the wingnuts shows what lousey excuses for Americans they are.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  13. Mary Ann King

    I think they are moving to fast on the health care what i think we the people should be heard in town hall meetings.If we have to have the health care it should go for congree President and his kids.
    I think in New Hampshire they picked and choose for that meeting.

    I also think the clunkers bill will back fire alot of people would have new cars if they could afford and alot will not make there payments what happens next.

    I wonder why these people think they are so much better than everyone else did they take a pay cut like alot of my friends have to or only work 4 days a week raising a family..I know i couldn't afford a new plane if i were the automakers excutives i would be appalled.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  14. Endo

    How naive can the media be!.... All these protestings at town hall meetings are being orchestrated by the conservative a.k.a. racists anglo-americans, who, despite the fact that there are now a minority in this country, still got the 'power' to move/control peoples' minds... The process of getting rid of racism is still a long way to go!

    August 11, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  15. lampe

    You people on here who are calling others names, and being out and out mean. Do you consider what you are doing any worse than the yelling and screaming at the Town Hall Meetings? Well I do. You are acting no better than anyone else. America is not going to be able to fix herself from this mess, if all this HATE and EVILNESS does not STOP. The Dems won, we all get that. They say, " We don't need the Republicans for anything, we have enough votes to pass everything we want." Well then go ahead and do it. STOP blaming The Republicans for things that are now totally in your control. Get over yourselves, GROW-UP. For the last 8 years, you all have done nothing but bad-mouthed GWB, Cheney and The Republicans. Well I say "TURN ABOUT IS FAIRPLAY." If Obama and The Dems can't stand the heat GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  16. Susan

    David

    President Obama's biggest mistake was allowing Big Insurance and Big Pharma to dictate and get concessions on how healthcare reform should happen. Both industries have huge lobby groups and are spending lots of money to get deals that will favor them. Our Congress
    ( both D's & R's ) receive large sums of money from these groups.

    President Obama said during the election that he was not going to allow special interest and lobby groups to rule Washington,DC in his administration. It appears that he did not keep his promise.

    I am not saying that we do not need healthcare reform, but when you allow the two largest healthcare camels into the tent, you are setting yourself up for trouble.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  17. Christian in AR

    I can not believe that I saw those barbaric people in town hall on TV with lots of disrespects. It is a shame that they reacted in an unacceptable way in a democratic country and interrupted people who wanted to have their questions answered. Does it also mean that we should have a reform on education system with social manners and positive value in life and learn what is good and what is bad?

    Health care should be made accessible not just for those insured who can almost or barely afford it but also affordable to all people. Not only it will prevent STD or epidemics to spread but have more healthier and happier citizens with preventive cares and without worrying big large medical bills.

    It is also very immoral for those people who are voting against it and for those insurance companies to make large profit out of common citizens. A nation without healthy citizens is weak and a broken or poor health care system like the existing one certainly would not help at all. Health care reform is the way to go.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  18. N. Manetavat

    Ask the protesters;
    What is the function of Private Health Care Insurance?
    Who pays for their premiums?
    Don't compare US with other country. We're richer. We spend a lot to destroy life (war), we can spend for saving lives.

    August 11, 2009 at 8:04 pm |
  19. Ron San Bruno, Ca

    Pa Kettle , would no how to settle this debate .

    August 11, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  20. elZorro

    It's very stupid to see all those 'angry' protesters shouting and yelling at town hall meetings... So, I can only conclude that these 'signs of controversy' over the Health Care Reform are merely signs of HIPOCRASY! Yes, when in the eight years of president Bush he held any town hall meetings to discuss any of all the bad bills his administration brought upon the American People?

    August 11, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  21. John

    Not sure why or how the word change has been so powerful this past seven months.

    This country did not get as powerful or as rich as it has been in the past by changing everything at once.

    Yes we have been going through a recession, and a bad one at that for the past couple of years. But so has the majority of the world.

    We need to step back, calm down and get back to the way things were. I dont mean recently, look way back. Times were tough from time to time but all got through it, and we will also.

    Just because alot of people were fooled by the word play on the word 'change' does not mean we are done.

    Let get through this and pray we dont get fooled again. For no one man is responsible for averting anything. When this situation is truly averted it will be due to the people of the United States averting it, not the Government or any one person in the Government even if they do try to take the credit.

    The reason the Democrats are having such a tough time passing the Health Care reform is the knowing of what a mistake it would be for the Country and their careers.

    August 11, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  22. Annette

    Why did we NOT witness this display of outrage when the administration responded the way it did to the victims of hurricane Katrina??? I just watched Brian Williams documentary (earlier this afternoon) of his coverage of that tragedy after having watched those "protestors" in the Pennsylvania townhall. One will be in complete denial not to see the unfortunate difference.

    August 11, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  23. Jacquie

    I'm disappointed in CNN and other network stations for adding to the sensationalism of these town hall meetings. Instead of constantly running clips of the minority, let's see more facts presented.
    Apparently major media would rather resort to 'Fox' style broadcasting for ratings. When will the networks make the announcement that Medicare IS government run medicine?

    Healthcare is bankrupting America.

    I work in the healthcare industry & each & every day I witness the financial burden on average Americans who 'loved' their healthcare plan- not when they really need it they don't! Even with a pre-approval(which can take weeks or months) from an insurance company- the patient can still be declined payment or they find themselves responsible for 80% of the procedure cost. Insured Americans then face the horror of being held responsible in some cases six figures and more.

    Frankly, I'd like to see a return on my hard earned tax dollars by being provided with basic health coverage which won't rise 50% over the course of 2 years.

    August 11, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  24. Michelle

    No these town hall meetings will not derail healthcare.
    People using Hitler and socialism will never win. The
    American public is way too smart for that. The media
    might think that Americans are all angry. Some are,
    most are not. I have a strong feeling that these are
    people who hate Obama. This is not about healthcare.
    Only the American media would permit itself to be punked
    this easily.

    August 11, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  25. Erik H

    The Tea Party people are now bringing guns to the town hall meetings! A Nazi swastica was just painted on a sing in front of a congressman's office!This is insane and shameful. They are clearly trying to intimidate the Pro-reform people. I hope America wakes up and sees these people for who they are.

    August 11, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  26. Jan

    I'm in favor of health care reform, but I don't understand Obama's need to rush a plan through, without giving both the public and all members of Congress time to review and question and possibly suggest improvements to the plan.

    After reading the posts to this blog, I feel most people believe it's just the insurance companies fault that costs are so high and the quality (or value) of care is so low. That's only partially true.

    I'm still in recovery from a critical illness that kept me hospitalized for nearly 7 months. Yes, I pay a high premium for individual comprehensive health insurance but after seeing the bills from various doctors and hospitals I have a better understanding why my premium is so high.

    I've reported several of my doctors for billing errors. I've disputed hospital charge for tests and procedures I never had done. And don't even get me started on the hospital cost for giving me a Tylenol!

    True health care reform needs to address doctor fees, hospital charges, the cost of medication, as well as the premiums and restrictions set by the insurance companies.

    What we know so far is that the Obama administration has had closed door meetings with Big Pharma. Not only have they betrayed their "transparency" promise, they have also made an agreement that agencies such as Medicare can NOT negotiate for lower, bulk costs on drugs. The rest he has left up to Congress. So if health care reform legislation fails, or fails to address the needs of the people who most need it, will it be the fault of Congress or of the President?

    August 11, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  27. Iven

    It seems to me that these terrible disruptions – at town hall meetings -are the result of brainless human sheep listening to so-called media personalities and following their suggestions on how to disrupt reponsible discussion about something that is vital to all Americans.

    So, yes they are threatening positive reform, and in my opinion these tactics are the death-knell of the Republican Party. I was once a Republican, but the despicable actions during the Presendential election made me ill, (V.P. Palin) and these moronic tactics being employed now will only further their (Republican) demise. Anyone who activrly promotes insurance companies making healthcare decisions deserves them but, the rest of us deserve better.

    August 11, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  28. a mccormick

    I agree with JBChicago,.

    Many of the people in these town hall debates are expressing real concerns and are specifically asking questions SPECIFIC sections in this bill – example end of life. These people truly want answers and are not just looking to disrupt meetings. For you to say these are raucous clips is very arrogant.

    If this type of grass roots debate is stifled, we will be moving to a very arrogant totalitarian society where only a few opinions really matter.

    August 11, 2009 at 7:08 pm |
  29. larryboy

    Are town hall protests threatening health care reform?
    I sure hope so!
    No health scare reform!
    It's an insurance problem, not a health care problem!
    Stop stupid government melding by Obama!
    Vote all incumbent legislators out this fall!

    August 11, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  30. i see ignorant people

    all i see is a bunch of ignorant people who dont fully understand that having national healthcare reform would do not just for them, but for this country. This country needs healthcare reform. I have insurance, but i still have to pay more out of pocket expenses for my healthcare bills than i do for my already very expensive healthcare insurance. how could someone without insurance or with insurance like mine which is a high deductible not want reform? even people with "good" insurance will benefit as the insurance companies will not be able to deny you coverage, and especially not for pre-existing conditions. makes sound sense to me to have healthcare reform, so those who oppose must be ignorant.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  31. Jason

    I am so sick of the misinformation out there on this issue.

    First, there should be something that we can all agree on: Health Care Must be Reformed. We can't afford to keep doing things they way they are now. We spend over 2.2 trillion on health care and yesterday CNN reported that 1.2 of that is waste! Premiums for insurance companies have tripled in 10 years, but wages have gone up less than 30%. Over 60% of the personal bankruptcies in this country are because of health care. Over 700,000 people each year lose it b/c they can't afford it. Enough is enough.

    2) There is no "death panels" in any of the legislation that has been passed by committees

    3) None of the plans have abortion provisos in their to federally fund abortions.

    4) There is no ONE plan. There are commonalities across the bills (i.e. getting rid of exclusions for pre-existing conditions, a health-exchange, a board for Medicare to ratify specific cost-savings reforms).
    There are five health care committees working on this in Congress and the most important committee, the Senate Finance Committee, hasn't even produced a bill yet.

    5) For those people afraid of your grandparents being euthanized, well as I noted, it just isn't true (www.factcheck.org has specific articles on each of the points above.). However, everyone that is concerned about it should be having conversations with their parents or grandparents about end of life care. What do they wish? If you aren't you being fundamentally negligent with your duties as a spouse, sibling, son/daughter, and citizen. These conversations are hard, but they are absolutely important.

    Ultimately, reform needs to happen. We need to restructure the way we deliver care, how we communicate our medical records, etc. The whole shebang. If we do nothing, the problem will only get worse. If you think health care costs are bad now. Wait 10 years and they will dwarf our current conversations.

    Frankly, if legislation is passed with tort reform, fine with me, but it must bend the cost of health care, expand it for all, and we need to have a sea change in this country on how we deliever and pay for care. The alternative is too costly, economically and morally.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  32. Lacey

    There's one thing missing from your assessment. The reason for the raucous outbreaks at town hall meetings is due to the thorough misinformation spawned from interested parties for the sole means of profit. It is indisputable that once facts (not lies) begin integrating thier way into the issue, people will support a move forward. The insurance CEO's are afraid that they will lose control. But, isn't it ironic that these companies are providing rationed care right now? Why don't they want us to know the truth? This is not a debate over whether to upgrade the health coverage, but rather the fear injected by opportunistic people who selfishly look at human beings as numbers.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:55 pm |
  33. Anita

    Hi, my name is Anita and I am a Canadian citizen. I am disabled with a condition called Chronic Pelvic Pain, and have been for ten years. I have been watching the health care debate on CNN, and I am amazed at the misinformation about Canada's health care system. I am equally amazed at the anger towards improving U.S health care reform. Why wouldn't you want health care to improve? Why wouldn't you want a provision in your system that no one be excluded due to pre-existing conditions? I have been sick on and off with other medical conditions for years before I got sick with pelvic pain. I thank God that I live in Canada, b/c without free health care, I would be in more financial debt than I already am in due to my medical costs. Of course we have problems in our system that could be improved, but every system has those same problems. But I don't have to worry about paying the insurance companies for costs that they would never cover 100%. I don't have to worry about paying for any doctor, specialist, or any medical tests needed. Health Care is free! My government doesn't stop me from picking my own doctor. My government doesn't exclude me from any health care due to pre-existing conditions. Why would u want insurance companies to continue to have the power to deny u b/c of cost or pre-existing conditons? Do you really think they have your best interest at heart? I have had 7 surgeries in my lifetime, and I am only 32. If I had to even pay a fraction of that ( since the insurance companies would of probably not paid the whole cost for me), I would of been bankrupt years ago. Anyone can get sick at any time for any reason. Health care is a necessity, and everyone should be covered. Canada has a great system, great doctors, and as much as I love the U.S., I am grateful that I don't have insurance companies making my health care decisions. I am grateful I was born in Canada, which automatically gives me free health care for life. I would like to add that when I initially got sick in 1999, it took 2 years for doctors to diagnose me, b/c Chronic Pelvic Pain was not widely understood back then. I went through many doctors, specialists, medical tests, etc, for a 2nd and 3rd opinion. Do u really think an insurance company would of paid for me to see the same type of specialist more than once when they couldn't figure out my condition? All those tests, and doctors visits were free! The government does not control my health care. I do.

    Thanks, Anita

    August 11, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  34. Josh Trump

    I think that the town hall meetings will not hurt health care reform. The meetings which result in disruptive individuals are more often than not fueled by the representatves actions or issues and not the HR3200. For example it seemed quite a bit of the anger with Mr. Spector's meetings were do to his recent jump of parties and not as much valid issues with HR3200. As seen in President Obama's town hall meeting, differing points can be discussed without yelling when the meeting is run by a liked individual like Mr.Obama.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  35. Claudette

    Healthcare reform is winning!!! Disruptions' get on the news. Lobbyist for insurance companies and angry people fed by lies of Palin and the like are disrupting discussion for those who have questions. However, I talk to people on the street and they want reform!

    We are fighting with truth on street corners, and will not stop until we get true reform with a public option.

    We must reduce some of the exorbitant profits to the health care and primarily the health insurance industries. For small group insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, our premium for two reasonably healthy 52-year-old adults is $1,772.84 per month (a copy of the most recent premium notice is attached). Yet our deductibles and co-pays for this year-to-date amount to over $1,600.00, for nothing more than routine and preventative medical care. Each year our premiums increase and our coverage is reduced, while insurance company profits and executive compensation skyrocket.

    We need significant controls on health insurance companies along with the true competition that would result from a public option for health insurance.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  36. JB

    typical liberal media crap. you find outbursts at town halls to be offensive? what about free speech? the right to assemble? government monopoly of banking, housing, automobiles, energy, finance, and now healthcare?

    August 11, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  37. Dale

    The issue is the pro Obama faction wants to decide what to do with others money. Why don't all the pro Obama/anti Bush Americans pool their monies for your health care reform and start your own exclusive health insurance company similar to Credit Unions. To force your hands into my pockets to create another Amtrac, United Postal Service, Fannie Mae, Fannie Mac, etc is not intelligent. But you already know that, preying on the ignorant and stupid is how Obama got elected to begin with.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  38. Clement Moore

    Democracy is a contact sport and these disruptive meetings are less of a threat to the country than organizations like ACRON that get illegal immigrants to vote in our elections. Be it union thugs or right wing zealots this stuff is part of our history.
    Democrats would have a much better chance of support if they put together a plan based on capitalism. How about spending trillions to build new medical schools and vastly increase the number of doctors and hospitals in the country? How about tort reform that forces incompenent doctors to lose their license and lowers the cost of medical insurance? How about increasing the consumers voice in medical decisions rather than the governments?
    The nation was founded on disrespect for authority and is a liberal value. They just don't like it when it happens to them, 2010 elections are fast approaching!

    August 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  39. George from Memphis, TN

    We are witnessing people who are in need of something to be mad about. They are fed a constant diet of negativity on Limbaugh and from Fox. A couple of generations ago these are the same people with attack dogs, water canons, and bricks against another important milestone in American history. They say...we want our country back. Back from where? Who took the country away? Whenever I hear that phrase I hear...a black man can not be president. I blame all of this stuff on three things: racism, ignorance, and gullibility. They don't even know that the last time the WHO did rankings (2000) that the US was 37th in healthcare. I shudder to think what the rankings would be if they were on intelligence.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  40. truthislove45

    40 years ago people were put on the moon, yet they can't do it now in a more advanced age! Healthcare reform isn't an advanced thought-Hitler used such talk to impose his will and control of the people. What I have read in that bill, is of the same wicked, evil spirit. A distain for God and human life.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  41. truthislove45

    What is threatening healthcare reform is Obamas and his mouthpieces con games. Have you noticed how Obama never points to words in the actual bill! As he doesn't have a bill in hand. How then can you trust he is being truthful. Who would sighn a contract without reading it? Don't allow Obama and his fancy talk and scripted meetings FOOL you. As Jesus Christ said KNOW the truth and the truth SHALL set you free. Do not be duped or deceived by a man who mocks truth. Peoples anger these stems from a man and his puppets now being transparent. I pray in Jesus name God does not allow this bill to pass. If God does allow it to pass. KNOW he is permitting evil to have its way in this country-like never before. As people choose to be willfully blind that Obama is a worker of wickedness. Jesus Christ is the way of TRUE change-Obama is the way of chump change. I pray stop allowing Obama too be an instrument of robbing from you. God bless!

    August 11, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  42. Oscar DeGrouch

    God forbid people voice their opinions to legislators and try to take control of their district representation.

    Oh, wait – I almost forgot that the Constitution is obsolete. Silly me.

    You're all a bunch of crybabies who can dish it out but can't take it in when things don't go your way.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
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