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. richard trauben

    we are deluding ourselves. 40 years ago, this country rose to the challenge of puttting humans on the moon. now we seem unable to tie our shoelaces. its obvious health care expenses are bankrupting
    the country.. the over 70 crowd who wont be here much longer are afraid of change that in all likelihood wont affect them. half of them are so self centered they are willing to disrupt civil discourse on how to address public policy. the under 30 crowd is convinced of that they dont need the service or cost.. without coverage by the time they see a doctor the ounce of prevention that they could have paid will become a much larger expense to them and the community. anti-federalists are so afraid of a government oversight of their healthcare that they trust a for profit insurance company to provide a higher level of benefit.the masses are so concerned that a public option is mistaken and that purchasing supplemental health care wont be availble. listening to fox, noone believes the system is broken. cnn prostitutes themselves to the health care lobby between their "ask your doctor" ads and the right wind advocacy ads for the insurance company. apparently things must get alot worse before someone is allowed to make changes that we all know must come.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  2. Paul phoenix

    If only reasonable thinking and absorption of facts would return to the citizens of America they would calm down, get the facts and then decide what is right.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  3. Elizabeth Omps

    Discontinue these 'town meetings' immediately. They are no more than repug shills acting out like ADD kids. When the kids act out in school, we cancel the school trip OR we make them stay behind and only take the kids who know how to behave on the bus. Please. If this imbecilic yelling, screaming and other juvenile behavior is allowed to persist, there will be more violence than we are prepared to endure. End the silliness now and pass the initiatives. As a medical provider I'll tell you this: IF you like multi-tiered coverage which pays for services for those who have the ability to pay, then lets keep what we've got. America wants the million dollar workup for themselves and their family but when it comes to others or a different ethic group, then its all about fiscal restraint. People, You CANNOT have it both ways.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  4. Susan

    Why should protests affect health care reform? Can’t our Congress do their job without distractions?

    August 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  5. Ryan

    Has anyone here read the legislation? David Gergen have you read and researched this legislation? The "healthcare" reform bill is thousands of pages long. It will further enslave Americans to the Federal Reserve and their strong arm the IRS. David Gergen is a Washington-Illuminist-Bilderberg-CFR-Bohemian Club-tool. He knows what the big idea is he understands there is a false left-right paradym, everyone is in business together working toward globally enslaving the world one issue and nation at a time. WAKE UP visit infowars.com for hard hitting information about real political topics.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  6. Scott

    the same left that applauds pro gay outbursts or antiwar outbursts decry the elderly and vets across the political spectrum. WHy not try something that fits into the change ideal? Like BIPARTISAN legislation that actually works and is not rushed giving tax money outright to illegal immigrants for instance. Dissent is dissent and deal with it and regardless of the astroturf commentary some of these are astroturf on the left with set up questions and fixed audiences that would be Pravda town hall.....

    August 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  7. Elizabeth Omps

    When the kids act out in school, we cancel the class trip. If 'citizens' who are really repugnican shills paid to be belligerant and to bully the senators, throw them out and either keep them out or discontinue 'town meetings' and pass the initiatives. The ignorant fear mongering is so out of control now that we're going to have more violence than these meetings are worth. As a health care provider for 23 years I can say this: if you like multi-tiered coverage which only pays for services for those who are able to pay and rationing which NOW is the norm, then let's do nothing. But make up your mind America. You can't have it both ways. You can't demand surgery from the surgeon YOU pick who happens to be the best in his field and is booked solid for a year when say at the same time that he's overpaid and you want HIM but will only pay his 33 cents on the dollar.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  8. Bob Devine

    Are you telling me that health care isn't rationed under the current private insurance plan?

    Are you telling me that bureaucrats from the private insurance companies don't currently come between you and your doctors?

    Are you telling me that health care isn't currently denied to populations deemed unproductive or uneconomical?

    Are you telling me that your health care is a sure thing, and not subject to interruption or termination by (a) loss or change of jobs, (b) pre-existing conditions, or (c) caps on payouts for service?

    Are you telling me that the more than 400% growth in insurance company profits and the average $14 million insurance company executive salaries are not excessive and wasteful dimensions of our current health care system?

    Are you telling me that the cost of caring for the 46 million uninsured will not be a "tax" on our children and grandchildren?

    Are you telling me that the necessity for our children and grandchildren to pay one out of every three dollars they earn for health care is not mortgaging their futures?

    Are you telling me that the people who are yelling and screaming at town hall meetings aren't simply repeating the talking points that they've heard on radio or TV, or have read on blogs?

    Are you telling me that the $1.4 million being spent daily by the insurance, pharma and health care industries to shut down this health care reform process is not having any impact?

    August 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  9. robin

    Why isn't anyone focusing on the fact that health insurers & drug companies are controlling OUR Congress through lobbyist bribes and this MUST end! Healthcare must be made affordable and equal for every American. And we’d save a fortune by NOT covering illegal aliens!

    August 11, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  10. dd

    If you want pharmaceuticals and research to not be driven by profit, then you will have no new advances in medicine.

    We would be at using penicillin for everything. Open appendectomy. Bypassing everyone's blocked cardiac arteries.

    Some of the statements on here are so ignorant. It makes me sad that some of you even understand medicine and how it works.

    Until we get more knowledgable citizens, we will have people making unsubstantiated remarks b/c it sounds good.

    Yeah.... free health care for all..... it will cost less..... it will be better..... everyone will live longer.

    Good luck on that. No one in this world has figured this out.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  11. Scott

    When the left including anti war or progay protested in the exact same manner the left applauded. Now when seniors, independants and vets protest across the spectrum the left calls them criminals, nazis, mobs or unamerican???? You cannot have it both ways. Some of these town halls are set up audiences of mostly democrats the hard core left with set up questions for media consumption of course people are angry about a topic affecting them directly. Why not try something different like CHANGE????Like working across the isle instead of name calling and forcing the digestion of a rushed one sided bill??? Why do American taxpayers have to pay to insure 20 million illegal immigrants for instance for Nancy Pelosi's benefit?

    August 11, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  12. Jo Dawkins

    Anderson I respect CNN but CNN has been running a commercial
    that completely lies about the Health Care Reform. I haven't read
    that bill because it would cost me $100 to just print it. I am not opposed to reading it. I feel that CNN should not take ads that
    distort the truth.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  13. American whose mad as hell

    Only one thing – Republicans lost the election because their party lost the purpose of our country and tried to push through a veteran who has good ideas with a whack-job evengelical who didn't realize she can't see Vladamir Putin from her door step.

    So republicans your frustration is honorable, but sit down and talk like a rational human instead of like Sarah Palin!!

    August 11, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  14. john b

    Obama has succeded in alienating one of the strongest Democratic groups...Seniors. They are rightfully worried that under the so called reform that care will be rationed and that as they age they will come up on the short end of the stick. Obama and his left wing cronies want to remake America by redistributing wealth and health care. the American people are finally seeing that he is not the middle of the road, new age, post racial politician but a hard core leftist on the outter edge of the Democratic Party.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  15. Steve Lyons

    To call those that questioned Specter uninformed is laughable. Many of them had copies of the section of the bill specific to their objections. Even Specter said he was impressed by how well informed the people were that were asking the questions. These are not activists, they are angry citizens. And yes it is boiling doe to US or Them when it comes to controlling 1/6th of the US economy. That's way to big for the government to run.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  16. Bill

    Put up a national referendum on the healthcare in the 2010 elections.

    A. Do you support a government managed healthcare program for all Americans?

    B. Do you support improving the existing healthcare system without an additional government insurance option?

    C. Do you support Tort reform?

    E. Do you support insurance portability (competition across state borders)?

    F. Do you support elimination of pre-existing conditions?

    G. Do you support increased taxes upon employers and penalties for employers who do not provide healthcare?

    H. Do you support requiring individuals to switch to a government managed and regulated insurance plan?

    Let the American public weigh in and let their voices be heard.

    Let the people speak. Clearly, they have a lot to say about this vital issue which could forever change our healthcare system as we know it today.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  17. Scooter

    A couple points...
    First, what's wrong with a raucous town hall meeting, especially if no one gets hurt and the issue is one that people feel passionately about?

    Second, I'm pretty liberal and right now can't support what the Democrats are proposing because what are they proposing? There isn't a health care plan or a real bill out there to discuss, so it's easy for misinformation to be spread. What politicians (be they Dem or Repub) say is one thing, what they do is another. People want some straight answers. For example, who's going to pay for this health care reform, etc. Tthe politicians aren't giving straight answers, and this is making people frustrated. One one level, the Democrats have brought the raucous town hall meetings on themselves.

    Third, I went to a town hall meeting last night, not as part of any group, but as an individual looking for some factual information.

    Fourth, yes the town hall meetings are threatening reform but that's the risk you take when you host town hall meetings. The Democrats misread the public mood and they're talking in platitudes. They lost control of the issue and that's what's threatening reform.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  18. Sam Rudolph

    What really stuns me is that five years ago when seas of people swarmed Washington D.C. and other major cities burning effigies of President Bush and loudly protesting at least as vigorously as the more recent town hall protests have been, nary a peep was heard from Anderson Cooper and the national media about how "offensive" this speech was to them.

    When organized anarchist and hard left groups violently riot and disrupt WTO meetings and the RNC, it's public sentiment, but when conservatives and conservative groups raise their voices, they're trying to suppress the voice of the people? Come on.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  19. Annie Kate

    I'm really sick of seeing and hearing about these rude, loud people who don't want things to change because hey, they have insurance, don't need what is going to be provided, and don't want to pay for it even if it provided insurance to someone they care for. They cannot conceive of ever losing their insurance, or having a catastrophic illness that their insurance won't cover, etc. All they see is that they may have to pay more money to help with the uninsured.

    What they fail to see is that if we don't get hold of public health costs (part of this would be insuring the ones who do not have insurance) then they are going to pay more for their private insurance. They don't look ahead to that because for some reason they feel like they are immune and they are also against health insurance reform because the Democrats are for it. Partisan politics never dies. Their behavior just lessens their image more than the last election did and makes it less likely that anyone come this next election will be interested in anything they have to say.

    August 11, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  20. Stewart

    Every American has a right to provide an opinion but YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO DISRUPT A PUBLIC MEETING.

    Healthcare reform was a solid part of Obama'a campaign. Now some people have turned healthcare reform into rumors of "death panels" and "welfare health",

    The current American healthcare plan shares the same plan with only one other country, MEXICO.

    We spend more for healthcare than any country in the world yet we are not in the top 10 nations with the best healthcare. Our people do not live as long as those in other countries and our infant mortality rate is much higher than any other developed country.

    I'm a business owner that finds it harder and harder to provide reasonable healthcare for my employees.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  21. Patricia On the Potomac

    These rabblerousers are disrupting these town hall meetings in an attempt to create the impression that they represent a majority of Americans, which emphatically is not the case. I believe that a majority of Americans know that our healthcare system is not working well and needs to be overhauled.
    It is very interesting that the people who complain so loudly that they are not being listened to or are having their free-speech rights trampled upon by some awful "liberals" never offer any fact-based specifics at all when they have the floor, only top-of-the-lungs generalities about "socialism, "communism," "The Constitution," love for America, or unspecified losses of freedoms, together with the innuendo that the rest of us are not as patriotic as they are. They don't engage in actual dialogue at all and don't put forth any plans or ideas of their own.
    Has "Middle America" morphed into "Medieval America"?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  22. Steve Lyons

    Reform must first and foremost be fair by requiring Congress and all federal employees to pay their full share of their health care plan premiums out of their salary without any taxpayer subsidy. Their plan or plans must be open to all employers to purchase if they are better than private plans and employers need to retain the right to self insure. Individuals not covered by employers need to have open access to the same plans available to Congress and any other Federal employee. And the plans offered to the Federal Employees and Congress may not charge individuals or businesses any more than Congress pays and may NOT receive taxpayer subsidies. It would be better by far to make becoming a doctor more appealing than becoming a lawyer.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  23. Mike W

    Some of the comments on here that is pro universal health care are appalling!!!!

    The poor grammar and spelling are so bad that I can not even understand what is said. How are we to make decisions on such complex issues when people on either side can not even master the English Language?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  24. Medicare Patient

    CNN video with ALI explaining a few terms–still does not explain many other points that bother people.Don't waste time–saying Health Care costs are rising.We all know it when we pay the bills.
    TELL US:
    1) How does this reform planning to lower costs without affecting quality?
    2) How is one trillion$ going to be funded?

    Congressman Eric Massa who I respect told us that he will NOT VOTE for this bill.HE IS A DEMOCRAT.He said 40% of the costs will come from Medicare.
    I find CNN reporting on this subject USELESS–all I see is Fights/Shouting–I WANT TO BE INFORMED.
    I had to go to NY Times–on 8/9/2009 to find an article that confirmed what I heard from MASSA–A Primer on the DETAILS of HEALTH CARE REFORM.
    Why can't ALI do similar PRIMER on CNN?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  25. John

    I think that the antics and obvious lies coming from the organized groups that are disrupting the town meetings will have just the opposite effect from what Gergen suggests – they will create a strong backlash and will show John Q. Public who is really lying and who is telling the truth about health care. These well-organized groups of hecklers and disrupters, acting at the behest of the insurance industry and extreme-right radio talk-show hosts, have behaved so outrageously and told such flagrant lies that they risk being seen by the average American as the face of the opposition to health care reform. If that happens, health care reform, which in fact is supported by the majority of Americans, will pass and pass easily, because more and more Americans will wonder why those opposed to reform have to resort to lies and disruption.

    In fact, I am much more frightened of the prospect of no reform than of the prospect of reform. With reform, the health care that I now have will be less costly and more efficient, and Medicare in less danger of going broke. America will no longer suffer from the moral scandal of 45 million uninsured. Without reform, we will go on with health costs increasing at triple the rate our incomes rise, we will continue to pay more and get less than any other industrialized country, and we will continue to have growing millions with no insurance at all. Now, that is what I find scary!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  26. joe

    For all those that wonder why people are so angry at these meetings, here are some highlights from the proposal by Mr. Obama:

    Page 304, lines 17-19 — Government does not have to protect your private information.

    Page 427, lines 15-24 — Government mandates programs for orders for end of life.

    Page 429, lines 10-12 — "Advance care consultation" may include an order for end of life plans.

    Don't you think we have a right to be angry to be heard!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  27. D-SEA

    As a Libertarian I'm amazed that the Dems are hating on loud debate. Isn't it the Dems who embrace this kind of discussion? HYPOCRITES! But that is to be expected with Pelosi as the head of your party.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  28. American

    I sure do hope they pass free health care for me. I am unemployed (jobs are hard work!) and I want someone to help take care of me and my illegitimate kids. This way, I have more money to buy meth and spinning rims! Sweeet! Those fat-cat rich owe it to me for being rich! How dare them, don't they know that some of us are struggling?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  29. steve

    I wonder how much it would take in terms of an across the board income tax increase to cover the costs of a universal health care plan.
    In essence it would be Medicare for all. I'm certain this is no new idea. I just wonder realistically how much it would cost. My guess is that it really would not be nearly as much as the costs of our current health care system 10 years from now if systemic changes are not made. I, for one, would be more than willing to pay the percentage of increase necessary.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  30. Denise

    "UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. "It's the Post Office that's always having problems."

    This is Obama's argument? So we should WANT government health care that would have problems like the post office?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  31. Jeff

    Is there no low ground for liberals like yourself and your maligned loathsome, visceral hatred toward anyone who does not bow down and kiss the ring of the Anointed One?

    It's called Freedom of Speech and it applies to EVERYONE, not just your cronnies on the left. How many hundreds of special interest groups on the left have organized protests against Bush or any other conservative? And they had that right! But how dare conservatives dare speak out against this plan.

    The short answer is that people are as mad as hell about this plan and they're not going to take it any longer. Organized or not, that is why the protest. It is about facists like yourself learn that.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  32. Bill

    Just think...

    If the U.S. government was a private corporation, it would be the biggest failure due to unbridled spending, and quarter over quarter financial losses.

    It's not just analagous to mention that such a company that continues to lose money and is sabotaged by its leadership decisions to continue down a path of self-sabotage ends up in financial acquisition by its competitors or ceases to exist in a competitve marketplace.

    Other major countries are watching...and waiting. So keep spending, keep driving up our foreign debt until we're junk bond status and we can't borrow any more from other countries. You see, this country loses its leverage on a daily basis as it becomes more and more dependent upon other countries to buy our debt.

    At this stage, the U.S. is on track to lose its independence permanently in a world economy.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  33. Eric from CO

    Those who would lobby against providing other Americans healthcare are people who don't support our country. There are some things in America that should not be profit driven, healthcare is one. Prisons another as is detention centers for youth. Those fighting against providing healthcare are either incompetent or have another agenda such as pharmaceuticals which account for 50% of all profits of the the S&P 500 or the insurance companies which have their profits to lose. Sometimes it is time to stand up for our people.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  34. Steve Lyons

    I watched Specter face the hard questions and do way too much sidestepping. The tone of the hall was clearly not in favor of the reform and I didn't see any disruptive behavior. Would someone ask Obama why he isn't pushing to increase the number of Doctors BEFORE he seeks to increase the number of consumers. And also leave the conscription based insurance participation out of the equation. The only people that need to be forced into the public option are the federal employees including Congress and they need to fully pay the premiums not leave us paying the premiums.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  35. john

    Why does CNN not cover the stories like news use to not slanted..we all know the Presidents town hall was hand slected we need both sides to know Americans are not stupid, we want Health Care Reform but at the cost of our pockets...

    August 11, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  36. Shelley Dee

    Of course they are a threat to the democratic process. That's what they're intended to be. If they can keep people from hearing what Health Insurance Reform is really about, then they can stop the process. Why? Because they KNOW if people know the truth, that Health Insurance Reform is not only needed, but will either PUT or KEEP money in their own pockets, it will have massive support. They don't want that. "They" is the insurance industry, who is backing all these disruptions in cahoots with the neo-cons.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  37. Monica

    I would like to see more "keeping them honest" reporting on healthcare. All of the disrupted town hall meetings seem to be hosted by Democratic representatives and senators. Where is the coverage of the Republican town halls? Are they not hosting so they don't have to face the public?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  38. True Observer

    "From what I’m seeing on TV about the town hall meeting disruptions, most of the “protestors” seem to be on Medicare."

    You just don't get it.

    They paid for their medicare.

    They're afraid that medicare is going to be merged with medicaid.

    All the decades of paying in gone.

    Have to stand in line with the welfare people.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  39. Barbin

    The outbursts we are seeing I believe are driven by scare tactics that come from the right (the Rush Limbaughs of the world). Beyond that though there is a lot of pentup anxiety and anger as a result of the economic downturn and I believe that a good deal of the contentiousness we see is a release of anger over job loss, home loss, etc. Those who shout and interrupt should know they are not getting their points across, they are only showing the rest of us that they can't engage in civil debate. I personally am happy with my present health insurance and I plan to keep it, but I think it is a moral imperative that we find a way to cover those who have no coverage.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  40. lu in Calif.

    You can't control costs until you change medical malpractice. Yet this piece of reform was taken off the table in April.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  41. Anne Marie in Florida

    Dear Mr. Gergen and Mr. Anderson,

    I am a registered Democrat who voted for McCain. I identify my views as moderate to conservative. I proudly call myself American.

    I have to respectfully disagree with your assessment of the growing opposition to President Obama's and the Democratic Congress' push to institute universal health care. Dissent is the cornerstone of Democracy. Dissent is our first line of defense against tyranny. Dissent, even if you find the particular message offensive, is what our First Amendment rights are about. For, if you do not protect the offensive who is going to be there to protect you?

    Referring to the protestors as "raucous", as a "brouhaha", as "offensive", as a "high decibel level" ridicules, demeans and denigrates people exercising one of our most cherished First Amended rights – The Right of Free Speech.

    The level of ridicule that your throwing at these ordinary U.S. citizens, rightfully and honestly vocalizing their objections to this bill, is reprehensible. Your role, as members of the media, should be as a watchdog for the people of the United State of America.

    If you want these people to not be angry, address their fears. If you want to address their fears provide them with the truth. If want to provide them with the truth, then please do the investigative journalism that us ordinary citizens of the U.S.A rely upon.

    May God Bless Us All and May God Bless the U.S.A.!

    Thank you,

    August 11, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  42. Donna

    I do believe the contentious town hall meetings are destroying many of the values we profess. I have never heard such bitterness and anger. What saddens me most is that so many of the denounciations of the health care reform are untrue. It appears the sleeping giant of American anger at government has found a way to unleash it's rageful voice. This is not a recent anger. It is an historical reality.

    If we do not want government involvement in insuring affordable access to health care where is the private sector, insurance companies, drug companies, etc. in proposing solutions for this terrible problem. I doubt seriously that those protesting the reform of health care are without health care.

    Can we ever forget our personal agendas and seek the common good...not the republican good or the democarat good but the good of all especially the least among us?

    August 11, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  43. Tony Zito

    It baffles me. Many people face arbitrary increases in their premiums and copays every year, and arbitrary limitations on coverage and choices, all imposed by corporations over which they have no influence and no contral. Many of these same people object to health care reform because...they're afraid it will cost them more and affect their choices. Why is it anathema to face these possibilities at the hands of your own elected government, but a-ok to get knocked about by a company whose only concern is making money at your expense? Suppose health care reform does cost you something? Is it really better to pay more next year to some profiteering scumbags and still have 47 million people uninsured, or to pay more next year due to reform by our democratically elected government and have only 7 million or 17 million uninsured? I read comments from people red-face with hysteria about government involvement in their lives, people who are taking it up the behind from corporations every day. I think a lot of individuals are on automatic pilot when it comes to hating and fearing government – it's a knee jerk reaction that simply makes no sense.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  44. Jules Mancow

    Mr Gergen:

    You obviously don't understand democracy. because that is exactly what we are seeing at these town hall meetings. And it's the Democrats worst nightmare. Recall that Obama, Pelosi, and Reid all wanted bills passed in both the House and Senate by August 1st. No discussion, limited debate, no scoring by the CBO, all things that would just slow down the vote on the bills. A funny thing happened though, a few congressmen and Senators decided enough was enough and the American people should have a say. Well, the people are certainly getting their say now. And for some reason Mr..Gergan, you seem to oppose that process

    August 11, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  45. joe

    It is a shame that they are so unruly, but what are people to do – Mr. Obama loves to be on TV and sell his snake oil with a smile – he won the election in just the same way; town hall meetings filled with empty promises and a great smile – people are angry, Specter is alive today because of the plan we have now, that is a fact! Dodd is already recovering from his cancer surgery because of the plan we have now! Senator Kennedy beating the odds because of the plan we have now! And Mr. Obama is going around with his smile trying to take that away from the rest of us and the generations to follow. People have no choice but to scream to be heard over the President's constant media blitz.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  46. The Fact is..

    This bill in its present state will NOT pass. The majority in this country will not allow it. Get it through your thick skulls!!
    We will clean-up Congress in 2010 regardless.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  47. Thomas

    The public does not want this health care shoved down their throat. You can see the tactics of the President, Pelosi–"Un American" comment about the protestors, and others. Accept the fact that americans want health care, yet we dont want a Canadian or England Health care system for the US. Our health care system is the best in the world and has notable institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and John Hopkins, and the Cleveland Clinic. Medical care in the US will disinigrate and eventually top medical facilities will no longer be around and people from other countries will no longer come to the United States for care. It will be a disgrace and this damage will be the responsibility of Obama and Pelosi. What a scandal!!!

    August 11, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  48. vero from Denver

    I love Mr. David Gergen and agree with him 100%

    August 11, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  49. giselle

    Its so upsetting to me to see people behave in such an uncaring way for other people. This healthcare reform is needed and everyone knows that its needed. The problem is the messenger, I still can't believe that they have people that can't stomach the fact we have a minority as the President of the U.S. PRESIDENT OBAMA will have to deal with this type of unrest and just plain ignorance for the next 4 or 8 years.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  50. John

    This whole thing is just another attempt by the rich (the insurance industry) to get richer. And believe me, they do. I work for one.
    We spend more money on health care than quite a number of other countries put together, but what do we really have to show for it?
    46 million uninsured, and a ranking of about 36th in the world in the various criteria for a good health care program, people going bankrupt in large numbers due to their medical expenses – even with health insurance, horror stories about people being dropped from their coverages, companies not being able to afford to give their employees any kind of health care coverage, health care coverages being dropped for retirees – even those who are not yet near Medicare age, wives who no longer have any kind of coverage when the husband retires because of her age being a long way from Medicare, etc, etc. What are these people screaming about at these town hall meetings? Throw them out and get on with a civil debate or END the town hall meetings!
    All you hear on the radio talk shows is about Nazism, Socialism, Marxism, Communism, etc, etc. Boy these big interests sure do have a lot of money and sway with the radio media. Sickening.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
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