.
August 11th, 2009
11:12 PM ET

Are town hall protests threatening health care reform?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/11/specter.town.hall/art.spector.twn.hall.cnn.jpg caption="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. MT

    A good number of the people who oppose health care reform only do so because they've been spoon-fed talking points by the right or the pharma companies. Oppose the plan if you understand it, but if you're only in the NO column because someone told you to be, please shut the heck up and the adults discuss it.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  2. Wayne in Virginia

    Mr. Gergen,
    I don't recall the mainstream news media or congressmen/women getting this upset at American citizens who were burning the American flag and being civil disobedients in protest of the Iraq war just a few years ago (Cindy Sheehan anyone)? It seems that as long as American citizens are complaining about a war it's ok, but it's not ok to complain about socialized medicine and deficits spiraling out of control? I just don't understand why the mainstream media is villifying people who raise their voices at a town hall meeting to express their displeasure with the unpopular policies of this administration and congress? I've listened to the majority of these town hall meetings (in their entirety) and there is nothing wrong with 95% of what happens in these meetings. Clearly anti-war protestors were far more violent in their disagreements with the government! I never heard 1 congessman/woman call those anti-war protestors UN-American – yet this HAS happened in this debate already!

    One observation: Now that we have seen such passionate disagreement from American citizens with the entire health-care reform initiative, why hasn't our "unbiased" news media thought to ask Mr. Obama a simple question: "Mr. Obama, it is now clear that your health-care reform plans are VERY unpopular with the majority of Americans. In retrospect, wasn't it a bit "Un-American" of you to try to force this bill through congress by the end of July, when you knew that the majority of America was against it (yes, he has internal polls that already told him this, right Mr. Gergen)? "

    August 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  3. BILL

    With respect to polls, they can be deceptive based upon how the question is positioned.

    Do you want to reform the healthcare system? What does that mean?

    How about asking more specifically-

    Would you like to make coverage portable across state lines, allowing carriers to compete?

    Would you like to reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals?

    Would you like to reduce legal costs and lawsuits (Tort reform) that drive up the cost of practicing healthcare due to defensive medicine while also driving up the cost of insurance to both consumers and practitioners?

    Would you like to eliminate pre-existing conditions which prevents people from securing or shopping for competitive insurance?

    It takes more than a simple, "Do you favor healthcare reform?" question to truly examine such a complex system.

    Reform doesn't require a forklift change to a government run and administered program. All of the above can be accomplished by addressing various dynamics in a concerted effort to improve the existing free-market system.

    Socialized medicine isn't the solution. Ask England. They've been trapped with a decision to institute socialized medicine. Now that the system has become the LARGEST EMPLOYER in England due to the bureacracy that it creates, it will never turn back, regardless of whether or not it works. Is this Obama's bet?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  4. Eric Keosky-Smith

    "Granted, the way that opposition has been ginned up by outside forces does discount these outbursts some"

    Now THAT's not unbiased reporting is it?! Can we see some hardcore facts about that kind of wild statement? I believe we call this process "democracy" in action, and what most of us resent more than anything is the attempt to squash debate.

    Loud boisterous and rude people at these events aside (which I do *not* support), there seems to be a strange thinking in the administration that a 1000+ page bill misunderstood by *every* congressional representative should sail through. Has the President even read and dissected it cover to cover?

    Now IS the time for the silent but very frustrated American majority to speak up.

    What you'll hear loud and clear isn't about the Health Care debate, but that we expect much, much more out every one of those we all elected to represent US in DC than we're getting. No more bridges to nowhere, no more unnecessary planes and trips and badly written laws and no more poorly executed bailouts. We want accountability. We demand results. We expect this from ALL parties present.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  5. Alan

    Mr. Gergen, ordinary citizens are turning out for the town halls and making noise because it's the only way to be heard.
    CNN and most other media outlets have chosen to play lap dog to this administration instead of speaking truth to power and giving a voice to the concerns held by over 50% of the nation according to latest polls. We write to our congressman but are ignored. We have no choice but to exercise civil disobedience to get our views and concerns recognized.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  6. Kirk

    KAT,
    Have you read the bill? Until you have you have no business criticizing anyone who hasn't. And, do you believe everything that an angry protester tells you? You shouldn't.

    If protesters want to be disruptive and have demonstrations, there's plenty of room outside. Go march on the capital, or whatever, but let meetings be for discussion. Have a valid point? Bring it up for discussion and show me your evidence to back up your claims. Want to scream and yell like a spoiled kid? Take it outside and let the adults talk.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  7. Carol

    The lies coming from the teaparty whackos are astounding. Senator Specter ducked nothing. He responded as did Pres Obama that no tax dollars would be used to fund abortions. This exchange would allow us to buy or participate in the SAME plan as the senators and Congress persons participate in.

    Brian, go to confession or whatever you teaparty people do. I am so sick of all your lying. And it is about racism. You are the anti-Americans. You would rather see hundreds of Americans go without needed health care than see Pres Obama succeed. You are the sickening one.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  8. Charles Morris

    The photo from Senator Arlen Specter's Town Hall Meeting that prominently shows a blonde women screaming and her face contorted in a rage sums up the mental reasoning ability and objectivity of these disrupters. She is the poster child for non-thinking.

    We need health care reform which must include a government alternative plan to make the private insurers competitive.

    I am sick and tired of my insurer (A____) making health care decisions for me in opposition of my doctors best opinions.

    Let reform roll!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  9. Jerry

    Would you believe this guy? David Gergen is the individual that constantly awarded NObama, his administration and Congress glaring reviews during CNN's special of the first 200 days in office.

    America, don't listen to this guy, we already know what and whom he favors. America, keep up the pressure. It's really working. We already saved ourselves over $500 million dollars!!! Now, I guess pop-up Pelosi and the other Democratic moochers will have to settle for traveling in their old, but nicely appointed aero planes.

    DO NOT allow elected officials to disrespect us. There is very little we can do about the NObama administration mouth pieces. But we can do something about the officials that fooled us into supporting their campaigns (Pop-up Pelosi, Castor (Oil?), Read Reed, etc., etc. etc.; and of course, the new CEO of the auto industry, health care, banking, etc., etc., etc.

    America, we have the power to win the next battles. Stay the course!

    And of course, STAY TUNED!!!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  10. Eric

    Note: there is NO bill, only formulations. The House and Senate would both have to pass bills and reconcile those. Until that happens nobody knows what will be in the bill. It's best to debate what people want and what they don't. Regardless, healthcare reform needs to happen. Most of the opposition in my opinion is just trying to make political points against President Obama.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  11. Matt

    Before, the Iraq War was absolutely necessary ASAP, and there was no time to talk or think; protesters who opposed it were a rabid and vocal minority with no basis in reality; Opposition was Anti-American and wanted the country to fail.

    Then Banking Industry bailouts were absolutely necessary ASAP, and there was no time to talk or think; protestors who opposed it were a rapid and vocal minority with no understanding of economics; Opposition was tantamount to wanting the president (and country) to fail. (Remember the Limbaugh comment?)

    Now Healthcare is absolutely necessary ASAP; protestors opposing it are a vocal and rabid "Astroturf" movement with no basis in reality.

    George Washington had it right when he said that political parties would be a huge impediment to a successful nation. Blind support and blind opposition are the enemies of effective governance, whenever (or on whatever side) they occur.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  12. Jack Brennan

    Lies, corruption, greed, and bigotry are full in display by the republicans and their rich "friends" the corrupt insurance companies lobbying group. In today's current environment, it is clear that democrats have moved into the moderates and the republicans have moved (from moderate) into crazy land. Thank you and God bless you Sarah Palin- please don't go away, we love you and need you. With regards, your opponents.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  13. Martha

    People who yell and scream and tearfully beg to be freed of socialism
    are a little nutty. I have always believed that far right talk radio
    encourages nutty behavior. A young woman fears dismantling of our country?? They should sit down and read the health care
    legislation rather than listen to harsh angry folks whose goals
    are to destroy. It does no good and quite a lot of harm when CNN and
    MSNBC, et al., repeatedly play the ill-mannered scenes from town
    halls. We need health care reform. We cannot afford to continue with
    Medicare and Medicaid as they are.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  14. James Farrow, MD

    I think options 2 or 3 is most likely. I am expecting, with the President's skills (today's NH town hall was brilliant) and a Democratic backlash over the mob's Republican and industry roots that the Democrats will pass a meaningful reform bill without Republican support this year. There is also the possibility that powerful Democrats are so beholden to the health insurance industry that a watered down bill which protects their interests may pass.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  15. Paul

    Yes, the protests are a threat to health care reform. They are a threat because news about protests supersedes coverage of serious debate over the content of the reform proposals.

    Health care is a source of fear for many in this country. If you don't have insurance, your family is one serious health problem away from financial ruin. We pay dearly for whatever protection we can get from this catastrophe. When we hear shouts that the proposed legislation will increase our cost and take away our safety net, we react like hostages who have bonded with their captors. It may be irrational, but we fear our perception even more.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  16. David Ferguson

    In all of this emotional discourse, why do the networks and politicians refuse to counter the statement that " we have the best healthcare system in the world". That's crap. The most expensive yes.......but measured by the WHO, we rank 37th .......a disgrace.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  17. Tim in Louisville, KY

    -> Isn't it interesting how the "nobama" posters claim to be in the majority? Whereas, an overwhelming majority elected the man because of his policies, such as healthcare reform. Hence, I must say that the "nobama" camp "doth protest too much!"

    When we read posters make claims about ACORN or MoveOn.org, they demonstrate to us that they do not care about the facts, but rather, they only desire to see the Democrats fail. ACORN acted as a non-partisan group to help poor people register to vote; the only illegal acts were performed by part-time workers fudging their lists. MoveOn is an entirely grass-roots (and non-partisan) group that opposes war, pollution, and the denial of civil rights. In other words, the "liberal" special interests performed transparently and within their stated purpose, however, the "nobama" people have a different agenda.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  18. BILL

    Mr. Gergen,

    Maybe you should ask why the media focuses upon public discourse as a negative when the entire healthcare system is being left open for total change, not improvement...especially when the CBO and other independent economic advisories indicate that these changes will cost Americans much more today and in the future.

    The media only seeks to sensationalize these events and to put a negative spin on these discussions. The vast majority of these town hall gatherings are civil but those meetings don't get coverage.

    The bottom line is that the polls don't lie. A strong majority of Americans do not want the healthcare system changed. The best idea that I've heard is that we should have a national referendum in 2010. Maybe you should follow up on that.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  19. DrMemphis

    Mr Gergen,
    I agree with your article however I cannot help but feel that all of this "noise" does nothing to further the cause of knowledgable conservatives and instead causes people from the middle (like me) to tune them out. I'm all for a legitimate debate about the costs of this program and how it will expand coverage. But all of this screaming and yelling, cries of socialism and more importantly blatant lies about rationing of care, "death panels", and cuts to Medicare, none of which have ever been proposed by either side, cut the debate to the level of a playground fight between school children. This fearmongering by the far right is no longer tolerated by today's society as we've learned our lessons before (remember WMDs?) As you noted, Obama still retains a good deal of personal popularity and excellent oratory skill. I hope he uses this to re-frame the debate into a discourse that produces a bill that helps all Americans.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  20. Kirk

    This country is, and always has been ruled by dog-eat-dog thinking. Until we as a people start actually caring about our fellow Americans, rather than blaming them for our problems, we will get exactly what we deserve, soulless corporations making huge profits off the misery of average people.

    Insurance companies are pretty much free to do whatever they want with peoples' health, and they create a huge amount of stress for people at the time when they can least afford to deal with it. How much does this stress cost? It's an important question.

    Who is covered and who is not seems so random. Our family has the same gross income as our neighbors. We work for large employers, they are self employed. We pay $40 per month for comprehensive health coverage, they pay more than $600 for lousy coverage. This just does not seem right to me.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  21. David

    I never cease to be amazed at the lengths some people will go to shut off free speech and debate. This is a slippery slope and becomes frightening when people question why opponents of whatever plan they are in favor of should be "allowed" to speak. What is up with that?

    Get over it. What is happening now is democracy in action. Have you ever watched the British parliament "debating" a bill? Are all the cat-calls, boos, and groans of our British cousins anti-democratic as we are being now told? When one side has control of the sycophantic liberal media, isn't fair to let the other side act up a bit without claiming some dark conspiracy?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  22. Mike

    Mr. Gergen

    The Media chooses to forcus on the few disobedient and miss the fact that the majority passionately voice their opinion in a respectful orderly way. Government programs, from Social Security which is a ponzi scheme to medicare starting as a $600 million program and is now hundreds of billions per year, all have good intentions. In fact, outside of the military and printing money, can anyone name one efficiently run program that doesn't swell into a giant money eating machine. How could anyone believe Obama's program is any different.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  23. thomas lybbert

    Protests are not a danger to reform because this is not reform. it is government take over of health care it is about gov't take over of our personal lives. It is about gov't gaining control of live and death decisions about us.By the way Gergen if you send any union thugs to beat me uup, I will have my union thugs beat up your union thugs.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  24. ojetunde kay

    Not at all. they are just treaten their ability to stand the next election. Republicans have lost again. they have been doing along with their associates insurance company. But not this time.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  25. Maureen

    Mr. Gergen,

    "Granted, the way that opposition has been ginned up by outside forces does discount these outbursts some."
    What proof do you have that this statement is true? Many of the good ole Americans in my neighborhood, who prior to this would not have gone to a summer break townhall meeting, are certainly looking to attend now. It is not just health care, it is the members of congress who are supposed to represent us, not listening to us. The elitest attitude of we know what is good for you even if you don't has gotten rather old. No, we will not always agree, but how dare any elected official, either call us unamerican or tell us to be quiet and get out of the way.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  26. TRW

    Pages taken right out of the liberal playbook...rant, rave, disparage those with whom you disagree. Eviscerate your opponent using personal attacks, insulting effigies, Hollywood schills. Hate above civility.

    The right is learning from the left. Throw in a little technology and social media and 2012 will be very interesting. Obama should be worried, this country is polarizing under his watch. United we stand, united we fall.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  27. Adam

    I am against the government getting bigger and more involved with my life. Everything the government does turns to dodo in short order.

    I am NOT offended that people are angry about not being represented in Congress. People ARE actually that angry in general and not just about this lone issue. This Congress has the lowest approval ratings of any Congress in my lifetime...there is a reason for that. They do NOT represent WE THE PEOPLE.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  28. Eric Keosky-Smith

    "Granted, the way that opposition has been ginned up by outside forces does discount these outbursts some"

    Now THAT's not unbiased reporting is it?! Can we see some hardcore facts about that kind of wild statement? I believe we call this process "democracy" in action, and what most of us resent more than anything is the attempt to squash debate.

    Loud boisterous and rude people at these events aside (which I do *not* support), there seems to be a strange thinking in the administration that a 1000+ page bill misunderstood by *every* congressional representative should sail through. Has the President even read and dissected it cover to cover?

    Now IS the time for the silent but very frustrated American majority to speak up.

    What you'll hear loud and clear isn't about the Health Care debate, but that we expect much, much more out every one of those we all elected to represent US in DC than we're getting. No more bridges to nowhere, no more unnecessary planes and trips and badly written laws and no more poorly executed bailouts. We want accountability. We demand results. We expect this from ALL parties present.

    Now IS the time for the silent but very frustrated American majority to speak up. What you'll hear loud and clear isn't so much about the Health Care debate, but that we expect much, much more out every one of those we all elected in DC than we're getting. No more bridges to nowhere, no more unnecessary planes and trips and BS, no more poorly executed bailouts. We want accountability, we want results.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  29. Jerry

    Mr. Gergen,
    I agree...I don't remember you condemning Code Pink or Sheehan. These are not paid hooligans, they are scared Americans! Democrats don't have a bill, they have some ideas. Why doesn't Congress commit to living under the new health plan?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  30. JZ

    Americans are finally standing up to this president all over the country this week regarding his government takeover of healthcare in public town hall meetings . Now Obama and all the left wing media have the balls to label American citizens who don't agree with him " an angry mob " . Not everyone voted for you and your polices . We HAVE a right to be heard and it's YOUR JOB to listen Mr. Celebrity President !

    August 11, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  31. Tee

    Good. This will be the biggest disaster the Politicians have ever done to the people if this passes. I've paid into Medicare for 40 years and will be paying into it for 10 more before I can use it. Now you want to cut 500 million worth benefits from it, and later tell me that I'm to OLD for a hip replacement because some 30 something is more qualified. After I've paid into it ALL MY LIFE and they may have paid in 15 years at that point. What's WRONG with you people.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  32. ve

    Folks, I was born and lived the first four decades of my life in a country the opponents of the President's health care proposals would like to decry as a socialist system: in Germany. The fact of the matter is that in those 40 years I have been both on private and public health care plans. Both offered the same benefits. And: Nobody ever told me which doctor to see. Coverage was for the whole country and for whatever doctor I chose. It's only since coming to this country that I find that I'm limited to my state and that I can only chose from a list of doctors that are part of the insurance's network. Make up your minds: which system do you prefer. Don't believe those who want to keep the status quo.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  33. Gary Jaussaud

    Gary's comment is:

    I don't think a few out of control uninformed people are going to change much. However the national press and how and what they
    cover of these town hall meetings will have a big impact on how all
    of us see things going, so its up to the national press to tell the truth
    and report what they see, not what they think they see or voice how
    they feel about what they see.

    If the American people like the way things are, well let it be, and let the
    chips fall where they may, and I don't want to hear complaints later on
    what we could or should have done.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  34. JPChicago

    From what I'm seeing on TV about the town hall meeting disruptions, most of the "protestors" seem to be on Medicare. If they are so against government run healthcare, perhaps they should be contacting their Congressmen to do away with Medicare and the Veteran's Administration (VA Hospitals). Maybe they would like to go out and try to get their own health insurance. Maybe the Senators and Representatives in Congress should give up their government run health plans, too. It's my guess that all of the people who are satisfied with their healthcare plans have never had to use it yet. Just wait!!!
    People are stuck in dead end jobs just because they are afraid of loosing their insurance. We need single payer now. No one wants the government to come between them and their doctor, but the insurance companies are doing just that!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  35. CMWJerseyCity

    Personally, I"m fed up with the way the President, Congress, and the Media are handling this. I don't feel like I have enough info to know who to agree with. What I want to know is, if 50 million uninsured Americans all join the health benefits plan Congress has (with its many options and variety of services) and we get rid of pre-existing conditions across the board for everyone, will costs go up or down?

    If we cover all preventive medical treatment (like colonoscopies and mamograms, well child visits, and regular check ups) does that make the price go up or down?

    What if every taxpayer in america were forced to make a $10 once a year payment, would that cover the uninsured?

    Should we simply just do three things–make all insurers cover everyone, and cap their profits, and make pre existing conditions illegal?

    When I see these I can make a decision.

    I need facts and analysis, and without them, my rational voice and sensible questions are drowned out by the fearful and hateful, often fueled by know-nothings on both sides. As if being a know-nothing is something to be proud of.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  36. KAT

    Let's hope the Town Hall Protests are threatning the health care reform bill. That is the whole point. Have any of the reporters bothered to read the bill? I've heard several people at the town halls actually state that they have read the bill which is more than you can say for most of the congressmen OR the president. All the CNN reporters talking about how disruptive the town halls are, people may have been loud because they are passionate about the subject BUT there was no violence until OBAMA and the DEMS send out the union thugs. The same thing needs to be done with CAP & TRADE and the Auto Industry & The Clunkers Program. The Dems are going to bankrupt the nation.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  37. jake747

    Fed up, sorry to burst your bubble, but almost every public opinion poll shows a slight majority FAVORS Obama's push for health care reform. The latest showed 50-45 supporting. Admittingly close, but 50 is still more than 45.

    I'm so tired of angry conservatives thinking they represent all Americans. You don't, you just don't.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  38. Tim

    This country will continue its downhill slide until people can start listening to each other again. It's o.k. to have different opinions, but as long as people continue to have the "You are with me or against me" attitude, NOTHING will get done. Debate is healthy... screaming like children and not LISTENING to anything but your own opinions (or to people who share your views) is NOT healthy, and unfortunately our country is NOT healthy. People/groups like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann, and Air America are NOT healthy... all they do is spread fear, discrimination, and blame. Unfortunately people do not see this and continue to follow them like lemmings.

    Without respect for others, our country is doomed.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  39. oz

    We all should be protesting health care reform, because well its pretty much not much. No free nation should require it's citizens to have health care. And we should also provide a public opinion that is payed for via the most corrupt government institution in the world the IRS, and for those of you airheads the IRS is a government agency that owns what ever quantity of money you possess. All our current reform is, is a way to beef up health care corporations' profits and increase taxes. Why can't we create a national sales tax, abolish the IRS, no easy task, but much more beneficiary, because wasn't our nation founded on the principal against direct taxes a.k.a. the IRS. Then we use that sales tax to pay for everything, we can also find a way to tax corps' independently, and create stronger trade tariffs, gas taxes and so on. Then yes we can use that money to pay for national health care if you want it, we must work indefinately then to insure that our nations health care is simply numero uno in the world. So to answer your questions I support the protests against what will be a very corrupt system, it will not lower drug costs sufficently, and it will not lower national costs sufficently, because the fact of the matter is that there is no price on a persons health. So I encorage the protests to stop THIS health care reform. And hopefully soon done the road we will see it fit to stop and create a better reform.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  40. Leni

    Why is option #4 "failure?" Why isn't it simply "A Health Care Reform bill does not pass." Many people today would see that as a success; not a failure.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  41. Joel - Kansas City

    Based upon the grammar and spelling in some of these posts I would say that education is the more pressing issue. As to those who disagree with the protestors that is too bad. The first amendment applies to everyone (even conservatives). Where was all of the uproar when anti-war groups interrupted numerous meetings held by the Bush administration? I guess the liberals don't like it when their tactics are used against them.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  42. Harold

    Why are these "town hall" meetings being held? The House has not voted on a bill. The Senate has two bills coming out of committee that are different from the House bill. President Obama has not endorsed any of these. Congress can not honestly answer all the questions people have when they do not know what the final bill will state. What follishness,

    August 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  43. RNC

    What would have happen if the members of the Boston Tea Party had stayed at home and been very quiet

    August 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  44. Sam Hines

    One of my mentors told me one time that the worst thing you can do is create a problem before one is actually present.

    Hello people................ the President has not signed a bill into law just yet. I don't believe the present bill will become the final one that President Obama signs.

    We also have to understand that this is all about politics and nothing else. The democrats control all three branches of government and the republicans are pissed about it. To aggravate things, you have both sides sending out their troops to these town hall meetings and setting a terrible example for our kids. The behavior of these people on both sides is disgraceful and I am saddened by this whole scene.

    I refused to be drawn into a debate regarding health care coverage because you are going to have many people who will agree or disagree. It is a dead end discussion for me but I will tell you that I don't feel in the minutest way that any of my liberties are being taken away to provide health coverage for people who need it.

    Why doesn't everyone chill until there is actually a piece of legislation about to be voted on by congress and then you can voice your opinions.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  45. Brandon Duncan

    Did anyone else notice how Senator Specter did not answer the question a lady asked regarding Health Care Reform and abortion? She stated she did not want her money being used to fund abortion. Senator Spektor replied that there would be two options, one which covers abotion, one which does not. What he did not tell her is that our tax dollars will be used to cover BOTH, including the the option which covers abortion.

    Yes, I know, our tax dollars already cover abortions via Planned Parenthood (an oxymoron if i ever heard one) and other government programs. Well you reverse a trend by first stopping its progression and then you work on reversing it. And yes, I think abortion should be outlawed. It is not being used in the 1%-3% cases of rape, it is being used as birth control....What happens when a heartbeat stops? Death.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  46. Phil Bowman

    The silent majority is getting up its ire! Finally middle of the road Dems and Repubs are taking the country back from he fruitcakes. Obama ran from the planted questions! It just shows you one more time that he was not knowledgable or mature enough for the job! We can not take care of everyone. At some point people have to help themselves. I am middle income America. made 155,000 and paid 26,0000in fed taxes and 8000 in state, plus SSI and Medicare. Time to leave a little on the table for me. North Carolina sales Tax is another 8% and now you want me to pay for 47,000,000 million uninsured. America you are over your credit limit! Socialized medicine will kill the system!

    August 11, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  47. codeX

    The problem is that the current House bill on health care reform contradicts so many statements that the President has stated in both past and present. That is the main issue that so many Independents such as myself have with health care reform. We feel that there is a significant difference between statements made by the President and supporting Congress against what is actually in the bill. I've read all 1200 pages, which in reality is only around 300 "full" pages. If some of you, including various House Reps, Senators, and media pundits who haven't, would actually read the bill, you'd understand the flurry of argument that the rug is about to be pulled from the feet of the people.

    Start with page 16. It specifically states how private insurance will be phased out as no new policy changes can take place, including changes in premiums. As inflation occurs over time, premiums must increase for insurance to be available, but this bill strictly prohibits that.

    That's just the beginning. There are so many kickbacks to "community organization" groups that should not be funded with taxpayer "health care" dollars as they are almost purely partisan when it comes to voting issues, and I'm just as upset with Republicans over the last 8 years as I am with Democrats. People need to open their eyes and get back to understanding that this divide in our nation has never been further apart.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  48. VPCAM

    Yes, as long as the news outlets and pundits selectively air only the lies and misinformation. CNN spends 60% of the time on airing the lies, 35% of the time is taken by the CNN hosts asking questions and 5% of the time on airing the counter argument.

    August 11, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  49. rob mcmillan

    i watched the specter spectacular and although there were a few emotional outbursts, ,i thought for the most part that the questions were heartfelt and sincere and that most everyone was fairly well behaved–obama made a mistake by trying to push this in under the radar so quickly–he misread the american public–this is just too important to ram down everybodys throat without some careful debate and deliberation

    August 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  50. tom s

    we can only hope so !!

    August 11, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
1 2 3 4