The answer, my friends, from Briarwood Presbyterian Church, and most of AL Congressional District 06, is a resounding, “Hell, no!”.
“Is health care a right or a privilege?”
Our friends in District 6 have answered, “Privilege!” loud and clear.
The rest is window dressing and talk.
I have just returned from the Health Care Town Hall featuring Rep. Spencer Bachus. It was a GOP love-fest folks, and we Reform supporters were outnumbered about 200:1.
Over 1,000 people attended. A Boy Scout Color Guard opened the proceedings.
The event was well-managed from start to finish, Rep. Bachus retained control over what could have been a very ugly crowd, and did himself credit by allowing the Left some time of their own, over the loud (very loud) objections of some of his supporters. According to the three policemen at the exit, it had been a boring evening with no ruckus of any kind.
On Country Cat’s advice, I arrived quite early, but was not alone for long. The event started at 7:00 pm; by 5:15 there were about 25 people waiting, and by 5:30 it was up to 50. With nothing else to do, I wandered around a bit asking people what their views were, which they were only too happy to share. Two women processed up and down the line handing out flyers: both violently opposed Reform. The local Scout Leader kept order in the line.
Preliminary ceremonies included a rendition of the National Anthem by none other than Bo Bice, and quite a lovely prayer by the Rep.’s pastor, whose name escapes me. He asked God’s blessing on the President and the Congress, asked that both mercy and justice would prevail, and especially asked the Lord to help the Congress not to be unduly biased toward the rich.
It was the first and only truly Christian sentiment to be expressed in the entire evening.
Here’s what The People and their Elected Representative had to say:
First the People – these are the comments and opinions I gathered from inviting folks to share their view with me:
1. Health care for illegals is particularly galling. I cannot stress enough how angry they are over the thought that some might receive treatment for free, while they themselves ‘worked hard all their lives’. The hatred is palpable. You really have to have attended one of these things to know what I mean. You come away feeling in need of a long, hot bath.
2. They are under the impression that the Bill requires that, if once you elect to switch Plans, you are “forced to take the Government Insurance”.
3. They are thinking that the Bill makes it against the law to privately pay for care; rather everyone will be forced to take insurance.
4. One couple told me that the ‘IRS will be collecting information on you’.
5. I also got an earful on government bailouts for GM and others. They have zero kind words for that strategy. All I heard was, “Let them go bust.” You can say one thing for these folks: they are consistent. They don’t give the tiniest crap about anyone but themselves, and they aren’t the least bit ashamed of that.
6. Another big point was “no government control”. People are also combining this one with a mantra I heard more than once about “Let them fix Medicare and Medicaid, THEN maybe we’ll see if they can expand it.” It was repeated almost word for word several times, so I assume it’s a line they have been fed for a while now. (Well done, GOP – they have it memorized.)
7. The general flavor is GOP, although many call themselves Independents, but it is really a Libertarian crowd as far as I can discern. These folks work hard, and they want to keep what they work for. End of story. If their house catches on fire, or they want to drive to Florida, or there are armed gunmen about to rape their wife, I suppose one might elicit a slightly softer stance on Government, but not until they are genuinely in the shite. If it’s anyone else in it, they have less than no concern. No pity, no mercy, no quarter. They are a hardbitten bunch.
All I can say is, I’m glad to be a Democrat.
Enough of the Sheep (although these are very wolfish sheep, I must say) and on to their Duly Elected Shepherd, Rep. Bachus.
Bachus had a glorious evening. He might have been the Beatles, for all the shouting and ecstatic screaming that met his every utterance. I came away disliking the Politician (and who ever likes one?) but respecting the Man.
Rep. Bachus has returned the raise Congress got to the Government this year. Rep. Bachus has promised that, if the Bill passes, he will sign up for the government plan. Rep. Bachus has read every word of the Bill, and had his staff analyze it. He has signed a Healthcare Reform Pledge to personally read every word of the finished Bill, and to ensure that it is available on the Web for at least 72 hours prior to voting on it. He made a passing remark that he ‘wished it could be 30 days’.
Ah, if only they had treated the Patriot Act with half as much respect. We might still have a Constitutional Government. but never mind, let’s see the Politician.
NO support for the President
NO support for single payer
NO mention of an alternative plan with discernible checkpoints
1. Projected Budget for health by 2082 up to 38% of GDP
2. Medicare will reach 447 bn by 2010
3. Medicare Part A insolvent in 8 years (2018)
4. Fraud & Abuse: 1 bn in false claims in Miami alone – Obama and McCain fail to investigate despite a promise to do so
5. Blames Medicare for higher costs of insurance, due to government’s ‘inability to pay a fair price’ which is then passed on
6. His breakdown of the uninsured:
11 m eligible for Mediaid but not taking it
9.7 m illegal immigrants
4.7 m students
9.1 m income > 75k
13-16 m remaining
7. Says an attempt to add an amendment requiring immigrants to show papers before being eligible was ‘shot down in committee’, and may be the ‘deciding factor’ in a NO vote. (I’d love to know who shot it down, and why)
8. Cuts in Medicare if HR 3200 passes
9. forced to buy coverage if you make over 50k
Contradicts himself several times, but the crowd just loves him more 🙂
While blaming Medicare for increased cost, he makes a big point that Insured are paying 113% to cover uninsured.
Well, according to one of the People, the Insured aren’t paying squat for the uninsured, because Insurance companies set a price per procedure. According to this man, who works in Hospital Administration, the hospital simply eats it all. When asked if it is still profitable, he assures me that, despite the uncollected debts, the hospital is still showing a healthy profit.
Bachus gave a real virtuoso performance on Illegal Immigration. He was able to work it in solidly to Health Reform, and get the crowd really whipped into a frenzy of ill-disguised racism, selfishness and xenophobia.
CONTROL THE BORDERS drew huge cheers. At least there were no suggestions of sewing the Mexican flag onto immigrant’s clothing, but I can’t swear that this crowd would’ve objected to the idea.
Southerners haven’t changed, nor do they look likely to in the foreseeable future. It’s still the same bunch who used to beat Bibles on Sunday and slaves on Monday.