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August 10th, 2009
07:53 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Town Hall Tension

A Tampa, Florida, health care reform meeting sparks noisy exchanges between attendees.

A Tampa, Florida, health care reform meeting sparks noisy exchanges between attendees.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

It's a tough summer break for many lawmakers back home from Capitol Hill. They're meeting voters at town hall meetings that have turned into brawl fests as both sides of the health care debate share their opinion. There's been a lot of shouting and shoving and not a lot of talking or debating. Tonight we'll take you to several town hall meetings. Who's showing up at them? Is the anger staged or is this simply democracy at work? What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

Also tonight, new insight on the deadly mid-air collision over the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey on Saturday. Did the crowded airspace contribute to the tragedy? Erica Hill went up in a plane to investigate. She's keeping them honest.

And, we'll take you to Mexico where the cartels aren't just dealing drugs. Authorities say they're also kidnapping and imprisoning people who are desperate to come to America. It's a violent and lucrative business. The drug cartels demand ransom. And, if it can't be paid the consequences are dire. Michael Ware reports on their human trafficking trade.

Plus, the Michael Jackson autopsy report is complete. But police don't want it released just yet as they continue their investigation into the singer's death. Investigators are trying to determine if anyone should be charged in Jackson's death. Meanwhile, there are new twists and turns in the legal battle over Jackson's estate. A judge weighed in on a couple of thorny issues. We'll have all the details for you tonight on AC360°.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Jacqueline

    I believe that people are just misinformed about the true nature of the healthcare reform bill. Even I'll admit they haven't been very clear

    August 10, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  2. John L.

    I just hate this I agree with everyone's first amendment rights and use their freedom of speech, but why go to the town hall meetings if your not going to listen. Yes the bill is not perfect, but it is a start. Yes people from other countries come to us to get medical assitance, but why do they do this? Because we do have the best technology, but those people can afford to do things like that. So tell me any person that is not rich who comes to America from another country to get treatment. Because if they do they are paying the full amount for medical care. I just suggest if you say you don't want to pay for everyone else's coverage thant stop paying taxes. Because if an un-insured goes to the E.R guess what you are already paying for it. I say everyone knows the system is not perfect and there needs to be something changed about it. If you don't agree with what is being proposed know then what can we do that would be better. Lets get some feedback just don't disagree.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  3. Denae

    Imagine our government being run by the people, our voices, our decisions; as a societal community. Too often our society remarks about the corruption in our politcal system... To begin with townhall meetings is obviously long over due... people desperately wanting to be heard. It will take practice for our local communities to learn how to function within the town hall structure.

    I believe seating hundreds of people in close quarters with no A/C was just asking for trouble. Is it that hard to provide a comfortable enviornment that aids in smooth flow of ideas?

    August 10, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  4. Joanne R. Pacicca

    The health care issue is not clear. If the elements, facts and cost were outlined for the American people for review, legislation may be enhanced or squashed. Why the mystery?

    August 10, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  5. Mark from Saint Louis

    Ask yourself why there might be this level of frustration? Could it be because the Government hasn't been listening? The un-American ones are those calling this un-American.

    History lesson:
    Protests by Liberal Union protesters over Bush's drive to reform Social Security in 2005 were actually worse.
    Also, ask the ACORN crowd if they have ever protested.

    So wake up and ask WHY the citizens are objecting to the presented Dems. Health Care Plan. Because it's badly flawed. Read it!

    August 10, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  6. JOE

    elizabeth August 10th, 2009 10:20 pm ET

    the best health care is in britain and canada believe me i dont understand why america doesnt get
    @@@ Actually it's France.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  7. mary

    I actually can relate to the anger and frustration. I don't want the government running my health care...they're having enough trouble with the tax system and the post office. If there was a town hall meeting near me I would go (and I'm not pretend and I'm not being summoned by "radicals".) I am deep down frustrated and I don't feel like anyone is hearing me. I don't agree with the shouting, just like I don't agree with the incidents on college campuses where people with differing opinions stand up and out shout the speaker. I am not an activist, but I am being driven to act out of my frustration. TOO FAST for something so important!!! I am a 28 year ICU nurse, people have no idea where this is taking us. Our congressional leaders are not helping anything by questioning our loyalty to this country OR our right to ask questions and dissent.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  8. allan

    Regarding the "town hall" meetings on health care. Two points. As a Canadian i cannot believe that the nay sayers do not care about their children or grandchildren, because the insurance companies certainly DO NOT. Secondly, the best examples of shouting down speakers was in the early 1930's, need i say more.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  9. Jim Montana

    What is desperately needed is calm, rational discourse on both sides of the health care reform issue. I'm a teacher, by the way, and I believe most of us try to teach children thoughtful, knowledgeable deliberation of any issue. What an example these people are setting for the children and young people of America! If you aren't heard, believed or understood, shout out in anger. If that doesn't work, perhaps push and shove. Are town hall meetings meant as a forum for reasoned discussion or are they supposed to be venting sessions for the frustrated? All ludicrous and quasi-literate comparisons aside, this is not the Boston Tea Party.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  10. Howard2

    This is EXACTLY why Obama was pushing so hard to get this passed before the summer break for Congress. He figured if he could slip it through, it would be impossible to get it over-turned. Hopefully our Congressmen/women and Senators will get the message. While it sounds good when you read it off of a teleprompter, when you get into the details and the $10 trillion price tag, Americans do not want another government program.

    Hopefully Congress will go back and focus on a real problem, Social Security

    August 10, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  11. doug

    I'm amazed at the number of ignorant people at these town hall meetings. It's very difficult to hear when your lips are moving!!

    August 10, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  12. ray

    We haven't even heard what those people were arguing about. Look... this is a long time coming and its going to happen. So the best thing would be for our president to host some meetings himself. Telling us ablut this such fragile legislation. And we should listen with all ears!!

    God bless amereica
    Ray MO

    August 10, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  13. Cami, NYC

    I am for the single payer provider, and 100% coverage for all Americans. What a crazy idea, I suppose that simple idea is too much to ask. Bonus for providers that render the best care (patients getting off smokes, loosing lbs., getting and staying healthy at home...)
    I can't believe I am seeing and hearing Americans crying and stating that things should stay the same?!?! I'm afraid that's the voice of a well insured, well heeled American. That view is no longer an accurate view for many of us. Again, the haves are afraid of the have nots and the rest of us needing a change.
    I do agree that Congress should not rush to sign any Bill untill Americans are heard and have a chance to understand the consequences of the new bill. God Bless us all, Cami, NYC

    August 10, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  14. Rob S

    Being from Canada, our system is flawed as well but I dont think these town hall meetings are the answer to the american peoples questions and concerns.
    Why dont you set a precedent and develop a system that triumphs all others and benefits the people. It will take some time and quite an influx of cash but the pay off is worth it

    August 10, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  15. jordon

    I think that the town hall meetings are spining out of control. Its hard to understand the new bill when people are yelling and screaming. I have a strong feeling that Republicians have a strong part in this. In order to direct the attension away from president Obama and focus it on them selves.

    I peresonaly wish Anerica had a single payer system like Canada and other develop countries. Canadians dont have to worry about thier health care knowing that thier covered by thier goverment. I only wish America would try to work together in the same direction. as president Obama wanted.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  16. lampe

    I have an IDEA: how about if the Senators, and Congress members actually do what you elected them to do. What you voted for. This is a disgrace, that elderly people are afraid that they might lose the Health Ins. You all better remember these are the same people who fought in wars, just so you could have the right to choose what you want. How about if we wait till most of you are Senior Citizens, and rely on your medical ins. then turn around and tell you well we're going to change it to something else. You know something that you know nothing about, or something that's going to end up costing you more money or worse.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  17. Tim Wilson

    The modirator for AC360 miss-quoted Nancy Pelosi: Here is correct quote. He indicated she said that having an opposeing view was unamerican. I know that the fine reporters and moderators for CNN would like to get the quote right. Thanks

    "We believe it is healthy for such a historic effort to be subject to so much scrutiny and debate," Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Hoyer (D-Md.) wrote in a USA Today opinion piece published today.

    "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," the two leaders wrote. "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."

    August 10, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  18. Checheetah Courtney

    I have heard the conservative talk show commentators insighting this type of behavior as "our American rights" to disrupt these town meetings. They are not getting anything accomplished or getting any questions answered. It is only serving to disrupt and taking attention away from the real issues.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  19. Jacqueline

    I think that a lot of people showing up for these town hall meetings are misinformed about the healthcare reform legislation. I will admit that congress is not being very clear about what is in the bill, however things that protesters are saying at these town hall meetings are just not true. This is a health INSURANCE reform and though people are expressing doubts about the government's ability to be competitive that really makes no sense because the government; unlike private insurance companies will be operating with no intention to make profit meaning they will likely have the lowest rates on the market. on 360 one of the men interviewed at a town hall meeting mentioned he is a Union man so clearly he already has healthcare covered by his employer. My question is why is he even there? nothing is going to change for him. The only people who's opinions really matter are the people effected by this legislature: the self employed and employees of small companies who can't afford benefits for it's employees. Frankly I wish you guys have as good a healthcare system as we do in Canada and I feel that the American people are very misinformed about how our system actually works. So let me set the record straight we pick our own doctors, we might have to wait a bit longer for ELECTIVE surgery but nobody in Canada dies because we can't afford cancer or HIV treatments and our health insurance doesn't have lifetime limits (because believe me i would be WAY over mine and i'm only 19) sorry about how long this is, i guess I'm just opinionated

    August 10, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  20. Don Gracey

    I must agree with Cindy's statement that the town hall meetings are getting out of control. I also agree that the disruption have been planned by the Pharmaceutical Companies and health insurance companies.

    This Country already has a Health care or Socialized Medical plan in place that has been working very well, Medicare / Medical.

    Being a father or a child that was born with several medical challenges needed to take advantage of every Federal, State, and County program to aid low income families. I personally feel that having a health program would the young families and elderly of the country. Yelling and protesting at these town hall meetings, are un-productive and childish.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  21. Cleandean

    So many peaople seem to be misinformed and lack the correct info. I think until we have just one Bill and are aware of what's in it, then conduct the Town Halls. Maybe at that point adult will act as such.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  22. Joseph,Canada

    Freedom of speech ,used properly, is one thing. Many of these disruptive people (even if they might not know it) are plants,put in place to blindly sabotage Obama's plan for health care. Some of them don't even seem to know what the proposed bill says.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  23. C. Monroe

    I can't really understand the fierce objections to health care reform in general. We are a democratic nation that supposedly believe in fair market value, yet most other democratic countries are paying a mere fraction of the costs we pay for prescription drugs. This keeps the costs of insurance at astronomical rates. Who wouldn't be against that?

    Of course it's understandable that many people are leery of the whole so called "government run" health care issue. But if we are so afraid of the government in our lives, why aren't people as outraged at the things they are already paying the government to handle. Ever heard of public school, public defenders, fire departments, police, and our whole justice system, just to name a few? A society as a whole is nothing without good health. Who can pay taxes if they can't even manage the physical demands of working to pay the taxes?

    Besides, if the current health care system is so great, why do people pay so much for it and yet, still get denied for medical procedures? Not the cosmetic stuff. Who doesn't know someone who was ill, but had to play the whole "red tape game" with their insurance provider in order to get the okay for their doctor to do the job he/she determined necessary?

    Come people, give your high horses a rest for just a minute and think. National Health Care may not be the answer, but to completely deny that a problem exists is ignorant.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  24. Derwin

    I think that alot of this anger is actually just redirected hatred for the President. If the meetings were about anything else that the President supported, there would still be a crowd of angry people shouting negativity and falsehoods. It's not democracy it's just foolishness and sad.

    Concerning healthcare, the current system needs to be improved. I've been out of work twice in the past seven years and both times my healthcare through COBRA ran out. Rather, I just couldn't afford to pay for it out of my unemployment. The first time, I caught pneumonia and was treated pro bono by the doctor who delivered me. The second time, I caught MRSA and paid for treatment with credit cards. The current system has to be improved. What is the problem with a public option? If you don't want it, then pay for a private insurance. Other than the insurance companies losing some customers, what is the problem having government-sponsored competition? The free market option will still be there if government quality is not up to it.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  25. Vince

    Why is all the opposition to health care reform coming from white senior citizens who for the most part are already on Medicare like me? I'll tell you why. Because most white seniors are selfish, easily frightened and racist. Remember the old saying – There is no fool like an old fool! Think about our children and how they will have to pay for baby boomer care!

    August 10, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  26. watson Jones

    Insurance reform...YES..no pre-ex...insure all comers...subsidize those thar need help.......................Single payor /National HealthCare...NO...Healthcare rationing......destruction of the Employer based system in America....shortage of doctors and healthcare facilities...Canadian/British type system is UnAmerican and will not fly here....................Lastly to talk about reducing the costs of HealthCare and not even putting TORT REFORM on the table just shows how bad these proposed bills are as defensive medicine and mal-practice costs are major drivers in medical costs.......Old people VOTE..See you in NOV..2010.....THKS...

    August 10, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  27. cheryl kuechler

    My husband cannot retire because to do so would require him to spend 89% of his retirement income to keep our healthcare. A friend is losing her home because she didn't do the math and now does not have enough to pay the mortgage and her health insurance coverage. We are PAYING, RIGHT NOW, FOR ALL OF THE UNISURED AT A RATE MUCH HIGHER THAN REFORM WOULD COST. We wait, with our 900 a month insurance, sometimes weeks for an appointment. Two of my children and their families have no health care. Their bills are mounting as the only health care they have is the ER. Another spends nearly half of her pay on insurance for her and her son. Do we need health care reform? I should say so! So you may have to give up some fast food trips or one binge at Walmart a month. Really- what kind of world do YOU want to live in?????????? If we don't reform healthcare you are paying in ways you don't even realize. Don't you want to know where your money is going?

    August 10, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  28. Andy

    It's all a joke, It's all about greed and who really knows what their talking about? I believe everyone is mis-informed. Just look at the coverage and what people are saying, their getting excited, screaming and some even crying....come on! And our news just supports and even fuels some of these false claims. Why don't they just put all the politicians in a room and make the best plan possible, greed driven agendas just get me sick!

    August 10, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  29. Bradley W

    People at these meetings keep spouting the Limbaugh mantra that we have the best health care in the world and Canadians come here to be saved. The reality is that we rank 25th to 30th in health care, life expectancy and infant mortality; and those are averages, it's worse for minority Americans. Before they mindlessly shout down proponents of health care, they need to find better sources of information. Blurting out that we have the best care when we clearly don't does nothing to help the debate.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  30. elizabeth

    the best health care is in britain and canada believe me i dont understand why america doesnt get

    August 10, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  31. stacey sullivan

    i have health care! i have a great doctor! but i want other americans to have the same!

    i'm in europe 20 days out of the month every month. europe has it problems, but one thing i do know, if you get sick you won't loose your house or your savings!

    i was always taught when you give you get so much more in return. we need to help our neighbor just as our grandparents did in their generation!

    August 10, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  32. Kathleen H

    I always thought congressmen (women) were supposed to vote the way their constituents prefer. So why are our representatives arguing with their constituents instead of listening to their views?

    August 10, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  33. Murphy

    Why isn't someone challenging the statement I heard 3x in tonight's broadcast - that people from Canada and Europe are coming to the US in droves for medical procedures. That is simply NOT true and it reflects the American tendency to distort the truth. And the truth is that the medical care in the US is not head and shoulders the best in the world - unless you have one of the blue chip plans? How can people in this country actually think it's OK to have millions of people with literally no access to health care?

    August 10, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  34. Tom in Mission Valley

    All the noise reminds one of the same stuff that happened when the "R"s interfered in the vote counting process in Florida when George Bush was in jeopardy of losing the state and the presidency. In the end, the counters quit, George won (thank you stacked Supreme Court) and Bush got us into the Iraq situation which got us NOTHING other than dead American service men and women. Think about that when you boorishly shout down your elected officials. It appears to be weak-kneed Republican, Carl Rovian tactics at best and then Sarah Palin ventures into the fray with nothing to offer, but her usual whining. Stop and listen to yourselves, then think about what you're doing. Free speech is one thing; abusing it is another story.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  35. Dorothy Turitto

    What is wrong with these people. They are satisfied with the current healthcare situation? How about my situation – I was laid off after 22 years at the same company and have to pay $716 per month for COBRA coverage. How does one pay that on unemployment insurance? It's a joke. There are so many horror stories concerning healthcare coverage, how can they be so indifferent?

    August 10, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  36. imecca

    I agree the health care and pharma. Comopanies have too many officials in their pocket, where are the reps. Who are responsible for voicing the opinons of their constituents. To argue with your constituents is simply going to go nowhere.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  37. Braedon Rosenberg

    I have seen some people at town hall meeting saying that American health care is good beacuse Canadians come there to have there work done. As I Canadian I can say that my grandfather has gone to the USA to have work done, not beacuse it was better, but beacuse there he could pay to get ahead of the line of Americans who DIE waiting for the same procedure beacuse they don't have enough money. These people don't understand that people who cannot afford healthcare in your nation are dieing daily well the machine that could save there life sits unused. IF YOU DON"T ALLOW FOR HEALTHCARE REFORM THEN YOU, AS AMERICANS, WILL BE KILLING MORE AMERICAN PEOPLE DAILY THAN OSAMA HAS IN HIS LIFE.

    August 10, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  38. Annie Kate

    I haven't heard of any town meetings in this part of the country – I guess since Alabama is GOP majority wise that the state doesn't need to talk about it – maybe they are just automatically against it. Looking forward to seeing what the rest of the country is doing and thinking though.

    Also looking forward to Erica's report from the Hudson. Erica did a wonderful job last week filling in at the anchor desk. See you tonight!

    August 10, 2009 at 9:40 pm |
  39. Cindy

    I think these town hall meetings are just getting way out of hand. Shouting over everyone, fighting and the rest is not going to help solve anything.

    Glad to see that Mic Ware is staying on this drug cartel thing in Mexico. I love when he is on. Can't wait to see his report.

    I could care less about MJ. Please move on!

    Cindy..Ga.

    August 10, 2009 at 9:03 pm |
  40. Remby

    This kind of behavior is "un-American". America is about letting everyone openly discuss, question, and work out our problems, NOT have an individual come in and deprive everyone else a chance to discuss the issue !

    But this disruptive type of behavior is exactly what the Health Insur. Companies & Pharmaceutical Companies want us to do. If we get nothing accomplished, then they can continue bleeding us dry. Money, Money, Money...... that all the American people are good for as far as they are concerned.

    August 10, 2009 at 9:02 pm |