Last Thursday, Sept 3rd several Richmond Patriot drove to Fredericksburg to attend Senator Warner’s Town Hall Forum on Health Care. Thirty minutes before the doors opened and an hour and a half before it started we were 400th or so in a line that wrapped around the building. There was a good mix of people for and against health care reform. As we waited for the town hall to start, people started exercising their first amendment right. A crowd gathered at the stage holding up various signs for and against health care reform.
When things finally got started the sound system was loud but muffled, making it difficult to hear. Warner presented a series of charts and graphics to show how bad thing will get if we “do nothing”. He said, “If we do nothing Medicare and Medicaid cost alone with dwarf everything else the federal government does.” Even though he quickly moved through each slide, it did not take very long to see through the data. The charts and graphs did show the cost of health care is high and yes, I think we can all agree that is true. However, comparing food cost to health care cost is, well, comparing apples to oranges. The other thing to note is Warner repeatedly said “this is not my data, but from independent source, we can find it on his website.” And “not his facts, but were fact and a starting point” Well, I am still looking, so I can verify. It seemed to me he was trying to convince the right that things are so bad, we must act and the left that it not bad enough to enact total government take over. Here are the main points that I took from the whole meeting.
1. Senator Warner is opposed to a single payer system. He said that health care needs be competitive; however he did not specifically say he was against a public option.
2. Senator Warner believes health care reform is economic reform, because Medicare and Medicaid increase federal spending, but health care cost increase the income exemption, which equals less revenue for the government.
3. Senator Warner will not vote for anything that will not drive down the cost of health care. He said that, but I question how he will know.
There were many great questions from the constituency but two of them were my absolute favorite. Here they are:
How do we bring the country back together?
Warner stammered and stuttered for a minute. Then said “no single bill is going to…Politicians are trying to do the right thing and if we don’t like it fire them. We should look inside ourselves and should not question each other patriotism”
My other favorite question was from a High School Government Teacher, she asked Warner to state specifically, Article and Section of the Constitution that allow the federal government to control healthcare? The crowd, including myself, erupted into cheers and applause.
Let’s just say that Warner did not like this question at all. He tried to turn it around to make the questioner look like the bad gal. Asking her if she advocated Medicare going away? He then continued with, “there’s no place in the Constitution for Medicaid, there’s no place in the Constitution for social security ……. Educations …….. to get a telephone. But we have made those choices over the years and we have made those choices a right.”
And on that note, we left.