Debate Rages On At Health Care Town Halls

News — By on August 12, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Constituents Continue To Voice Concern To Lawmakers Nationwide
It is intended to the benchmark of the Obama presidency: sweeping health care reform that provides universal coverage. Yet the matter has been a hot button issue in town hall meetings nationwide, including here in the tri-state.

Whether for or against, residents are voicing their concerns to lawmakers about the plan and how much it’s going to cost.

“Nobody tells me how to live my life! Nobody tells me how long I should live and when I should die!” one woman shouted during a town hall Wednesday in Englewood Cliffs. Congressman Steve Rothman (D-N.J.) led the meeting, which he also held last night.

The fears continued coming from worried constituents. Some who jammed the auditorium are worried about euthanasia, about government control, and about the cost of health care reform.

“We cannot afford this program which puts $1 trillion more running through the government,” said Michael Ross, one concerned resident.

“I don’t want a public option, because it’s like the camel’s nose under the tent. It never stops,” another person said.

But the tone Wednesday seemed milder than some of the wild, vitriol, lashing outs we’ve seen in days past. People are worried about what the changes might mean, but there is more listening. Like the young man who wanted to know about health insurance coverage for young adults – a big hole in the current system.

“[Ages] 18 to 25 are among the largest groups of people who are uninsured. How with health reform address that?” he asked Rothman.

“If nothing is done, you’re stuck,” Rothman replied. “The goal is not to affect Medicare now or in the future.”

That’s the new message Democrats are pushing: that inaction has consequences too.

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