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Town hall no substance, just noise

Posted: October 3, 2009 4:17 p.m.
Updated: October 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.
I am writing this letter to express my great disappointment with the town hall meeting on Sept. 26 hosted by Congressman Howard P. "Buck" McKeon relative to HR 3200, the health care initiative.

I had hoped attendees would receive a brief exposition of the proposal, a review of the most significant items contained within, followed by a discussion of the relative merits or possible negative effects of the bill.

McKeon did provide a handout regarding some "frequently asked questions," but it was not reviewed prior to his opening the meeting for questions.

Very few questions were asked. Most of the people chosen to speak appeared to have attended the meeting to state their own personal views, not to review the facts of the bill.

Those who spoke in opposition to HR 3200 (the majority of those attending) were loudly applauded.

Those few who spoke in favor of the bill were loudly booed, accompanied by foot stomping so loud it shook the gym.

(An elderly lady sitting near me stated that she was quite frightened.)

McKeon did little to curb the raucous behavior nor did he remind the audience that courtesy and respect should be shown to all speakers.

Nor did he correct erroneous impressions.

One woman voiced concern that illegal immigrants would have access to this new health care proposal.

She seemed unaware that under federal law (Hyde Amendment, 1976) there is already a ban on undocumented immigrants receiving Medicaid.

Under all three of the present health care reform proposals, uninsured undocumented immigrants would not be eligible for federal subsidies.

The Senate finance bill would require verification of citizenship or immigration status as well as income when applying for subsidies.

There was no sense or substance to the meeting ... just a lot of noise.


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