Town hall meeting panel slams healthcare reform

Thu, 10/22/2009 - 3:40pm
By: Ben Nelms

Town hall meeting panel slams healthcare reform

Rain-filled skies Oct. 15 did not deter more than 160 people from Coweta, Fayette and surrounding counties from making their way to Christ’s Church at Whitewater outside Fayetteville for a town hall meeting on national healthcare reform and cap and trade efforts currently underway in Congress. The event sponsored by the Southern Crescent Tea Party Patriots included a panel that was far from shy in insisting that government control of healthcare, and the sale of carbon emission credits, would only exponentially worsen situation that exists today.

The panel included urologist Brian Hill, accountant Ron Bachman, attorney Damon Green from the Herman Cain radio show and Rep. Matt Ramsey.

Though the emphasis of the meeting was on healthcare, the evening began with Green and cap and trade.

“This is the issue that’s hiding behind the curtain and waiting to jump out at you,” Green said unapologetically. “This is the largest power grab and the most needless legislation I’ve ever seen. This is absolutely wrong.”

Green explained the proposed process whereby, among other things, carbon emissions would be capped and those using more than the allotted amount would be required to pay for that use.

“This is wealth re-distribution and a tax on the companies that will pass that tax on to the product and the consumer,” Green said. “This will mean higher prices and job losses. The government says job losses will be replaced by green job creation. But this is not true. No scientist on the planet says that cap and trade will have any measurable impact on the environment. It’s only a money grab for the government and an enormous amount of room for politicians to determine what happens in the free market. And cap and trade is coming right after healthcare.”

Turning the event specifically to healthcare, Bachman took on the current system and the ones being proposed by some in Washington. Noting his work on both sides of the political aisle, Bachman is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, a fellow of the American Society of Actuaries, a Senior Fellow with the Center for Health Transformation (CHT) and a retired accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

As with his other appearances at Southern Crescent town hall meetings, Bachman said he agreed with Pres. Obama that healthcare situation is indeed a moral issue.

“The current system is totally dysfunctional. The system is broken. Thousands of people are dying from things like medication errors. So do we need a government system or a patient-centered system?” Bachman asked. “This debate has nothing to do with health and healthcare. It has to do with power. Unless it is stopped, the House and Senate bills will be consolidated into another bill that will be more expensive.”

Bachman referenced Health Savings Accounts that have been dismissed by the politicians in Washington because such a vehicle “would change the power in the wrong direction from where the politicians want to go.” Citing an example of the issue, Bachman said it is illegal in 24 states for small employers to help contribute to their employees’ purchase of an individual policy.

The list of studies and statistics elaborated by Bachman only continued when Brian Hill took the podium. Hill is the urologist who was interviewed by Sean Hannity, Larry King, Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC Nightly News after his recent healthcare-related comments to U.S. Congressman David Scott at one of Scott’s town hall meetings.

Flying through a lengthy powerpoint presentation due to time constraints, Hill touted an evidence-based approach to healthcare reform.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to reform healthcare. But this is being done for ideological reasons, not to improve healthcare,” Hill said.

Focusing his attention on quality, costs and coverage and access to healthcare, Hill noted the success rate in America in his field of cancer compared to that of many other countries. But when it came to the cost involved, Hill said those costs are unsustainable. And when government is involved the matter becomes much worse, he said.

“Medicare is going broke and insurance premiums are increasing. Fixing the economy will fix a lot,” Hill said, questioning what access to healthcare will look like in the United States in the coming decade. “We will have a shortfall of 90,000-200,000 doctors by 2020, according to the American Medical Association. And as for treatment, the government can’t do it better. Medicare and Medicaid costs have gone up 33-37 percent more than private industry, depending on the service area.”

Citing other studies, Hill said the notion that administrative costs are cheaper through government than through private industry is complete fallacy. Healthcare administrative costs in private industry average 12.4 percent over the past 40 years, he said, while the administrative costs associated with Medicare, which are spread through other government agencies such as the IRS and Dept. of Justice, total at least 24-25 percent.

Also at the podium at Christ’s Church was Rep. Matt Ramsey, who offered suggestions on how citizens can effectively impact the political process. In the short term, Ramsey said letters, phone calls and emails are all effective and should be used. But do not stop with your local people, Ramsey cautioned. Georgia has 13 Congressional districts in the House, and among those are two that residents should especially focus on, he said.

“Blue-dogs Jim Marshall and John Barrow have statewide aspirations. Call them. Let them know you’re going to remember how they vote,” Ramsey said of the healthcare legislation now in process. “If we can push healthcare into next year - they don’t want to vote on a big-ticket item in an election year - we will have a shot at holding off something really egregious until the next election.”

As for having a long-term impact, Ramsey said the Obama machine has targeted Georgia for Democrats to take over the House and governor’s mansion. On a related issue, Ramsey suggested that voters ask candidates if they will stand up for the 10th Amendment in response to an over-reaching federal government.

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Submitted by doright on Fri, 10/23/2009 - 7:00am.

This was a great town hall and I appreciate the Tea Party Patriots for putting together a very informative event. The speakers were very thorough on explanations and questions. I hope people will not grow weary but will stand up against Power and Money Hungry Congress and Administration. Fiscally conservative is where we need to be as a country.

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