Friday, September 4, 2009

Rep. Kevin McCarthy: Town hall meetings a success, but most folks oppose Obamacare

Here's the weekly post from Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who just wrapped up a couple of town hall meetings on health care. If you have a question, post it under comments and I will ask Kevin to respond. Here he is:

"The August district work period has been productive as I spent most of my time traveling our communities, from Ridgecrest to Paso Robles, to listen to concerns and answer questions from local community members about health care reform.

"On Wednesday, I held another town hall meeting to listen to thoughts and concerns about the current health care reform bill (H.R. 3200) that will be the focus of Congress’ work when it reconvenes next week on September 8th. This town hall was held in San Luis Obispo County, and like the Bakersfield Health Care Town Hall last week, due to the growing number of RSVPs early on after the meeting was announced, we had to change the location to accommodate more people. Over 1600 attended and over 1000 of them participated in a quick yes or no survey on whether they support H.R. 3200. Here are the survey results:

Do you support H.R. 3200?
-Yes - 18.2 %
-No - 77.7 %
-Undecided - 4.1%

"The same survey was also given to the 3,000 who attended the Bakersfield health care town hall meeting at CSUB’s Icardo Center on Wednesday, August 26th. Over 1,300 responded with the following results:

Do you support H.R. 3200?
-Yes - 5.85%
-No - 90.03%
-Undecided - 4.12%

"From the survey results, it is clear that many residents are not in favor of the current bill moving through Congress that can lead to a government takeover of health care. Like I stated at the town halls, I am not opposed to health care reform, but I am opposed to the direction H.R. 3200 would take our health care system. August has brought a renewal in participation in our country’s political >process, and I believe that our Founding Father would be proud of this democracy in action. Members of Congress should return invigorated after listening to their constituents at town halls, and ready to work together on bipartisan health care reform that focuses on common sense solutions.
"One such example of a common sense solution is reforming costly medical liability abuse to decrease frivolous lawsuits and duplicative and unnecessary tests. This is a reform solution that I strongly support to lower costs, which is unfortunately not included H.R. 3200. From over 1300 responses at the Bakersfield town hall meeting, here are the results:
Do you support reforming costly medical liability abuse to decrease frivolous lawsuits and duplicative and unnecessary tests?

-Yes – 90.68%
-No - 2.74%
-Undecided - 6.58%

"I will take common-sense ideas like these back to Washington. I urge residents to stay involved and continue to make your voices heard. As we know, this is not just our country’s health care future, but also our health care future and our children’s health care future."

1 comment:

Dorsilaw said...

I attended the McCarthy Health Care Town Hall in Paso Robles on 02 SEP 2009, and the Capps Health Care Forum in SLO on 03 SEP 2009. The Capps forum was broadcast on The McCarthy event was not.
At McCarthy's event, I was given a Constituent Resource Packet with 4 pages of questions and answers about health, one page of health insurance statistics, and one page entitled Projected Deficit Spending and National Debt, summarizing debt created before the end of 2008 under prior Congressional approval.
At the Capps forum, I was given the 18-page summary of the proposed health care bill by the Congressional Research Service, entitled, “Private Health Insurance Provisions of HR 3200", - - a 4-page timeline of the implementation of HR 3200, - - and 13 pages of information on how Health Care reform will affect me, small businesses, senior citizens, disabled citizens, prevention, discrimination, existing conditions, health care delivery, waste and fraud prevention, and the cost of inaction. -
The McCarthy event started very late, but ended on schedule. The Capps forum started early and ended late.
The McCarthy event had an aura of an amateur hour (40 mins) of comments from a (pre-picked) rowdy audience. The Capps Forum panel consisted of Capps who is a registered nurse, an emergency room physician and community leader Rushdi Abdul Cader, and the director of the Area Agency on Aging, Joyce Lippman. Capps presented 1 ½ hours of information concerning the pending bill with responses to written questions about the effects of the Health Care plan. The League of Woman Voters grouped questions by topic, and questions from each topic were addressed. Capps and her staff did not select questions. It wasn't surprising that the Capps forum handled 5 times more questions than the McCarthy event.
Capps included fact check monitors who actually corrected her when she misstated one provision of the bill concerning the coverage for imaging tests under Medicare. McCarthy made numerous erroneous statements which are contradicted by the bill and by his own webpage. Capps handed out a blank form to submit questions collected before the forum opened, and a blank form for your comments and questions after attending the forum. McCarthy handed out a prepared check list of 17 statements about Health Care for you to indicate which statements you agreed with. You could agree with all 17 of McCarthy's prepared statements, and you could agree with the proposed health care bill without being inconsistent.
Interestingly, about 25 people thought that it was appropriate to complain about the smaller capacity of the hall where Capps conducted her forum, while organizing a preplanned walkout - leaving about 25 empty seats (10 % of the available seats) which could have been occupied by open-minded people who desired to learn something about the Health Care bill. (They should learn that a walkout should be planned in private, not while standing in line. I came alone and was standing in line between a group of the protesters, and was told to walk out when a certain person stood up and yelled “Don't insult us”.) - Freedom of expression vs. responsible behavior.
If you totally disagreed with everything Capps and the distinguished panel had to say, you could not deny that you walked away from this forum with more information about the Health Care bill than you had before attending the forum. Unfortunately, the opportunity for a similar result was wasted by McCarthy.