Monday, August 3, 2009

Driehaus Town Hall Meeting

Tonight, I (and some church buddies) attended Congressman Steve Driehaus's Health Care Reform Forum. It was a town hall style meeting held at a local Unitarian church in Avondale. The temperature inside the auditorium started at about 85 and rose steadily thereafter. It got particularly heated for this "blue dog" politician.

Despite being organized quickly by a liberal women's organization and held in a less than desirable part of town a good distance from the main body of westside constituents, the event was well-attended by the Cincinnati Tea Party and other like-minded conservatives. One liberal blog has already claimed that the meeting was "hijacked" by the conservatives. This is misleading. Yes, we were vocal at times. However, we were also interested in allowing the congressman and others to speak.

Driehaus is fairly adept at talking a long time without really saying anything, an important skill for any modern politician. However, no amount of stalling or double-speak could conceal the utter folly being considered by U.S. lawmakers. To his (little) credit, Driehaus did vote to delay the vote for a month. Beyond this small step, he seems unwilling to engage in further skepticism. He does seem extremely eager to assure voters that he is "deeply concerned." We'll soon get to see just how concerned he really is when the health care monstrosity comes up for a vote. My guess is that he's more concerned about Pelosi's cold, steely fingers jerking his funding away.

The health care debate seems to keep coming back to one fact: We don't have enough money to pay current health care prices. A single-payer system would require significantly higher taxes, printing lots of money or both while also lowering quality and availability of care. What we need to do is lower prices, not by mandating lower prices (leading to rampant shortages), but by limiting malpractice lawsuits. Another important step is to limit illegal immigration. No one wants to turn people away from emergency rooms, but we must take proper steps to avoid this situation in the firat place. Insurance premiums would decrease if companies could no longer hide behind state lines--give us true competition between the multitude of private plans, not a low-ball "public option" that doesn't have to worry about profit. Finally, we need to eliminate the massive fraud and waste associated with the current government health care program. Medicare enables over $70 billion in fraud each year.

When the meeting ended, the crowd broke into a rousing chant of "Vote For Chabot, Vote For Chabot!" I only hope that westsiders are awake enough to put Chabot back in his rightful place once the midterms roll around. Judging by the sweat pouring off Driehaus, I'd say we have more than a fighting chance. See this blog for another summary of the evening's event.


etu2000 said...

too attended the town hall mtg. My husband I had enough when he start saying the deficit was in part because of the Bush Tax cut. I didn't agree w/bush et al 1st TARP nor any stium U Less that followed. Basically they are not going to renew the bush tax in 2010 and more of taxpayer monies will go to Washington.
Also, Many doctors do talk to their patients about end of life issues. What does he think Hospice, which is a beief system in health care. What i'm saying is there just isn't one Hospice of Cincinnati.there are small businesses that run Hospice Philosphy and it's covered under medicare. The government needs to focus on what they already run, have tort reform, unlease federal mandates, and increase the competetion between insurance companies. What was really sad when i saw a peditrican coming to the mtg saying he's all for single payer system.. I guess he's fed up w/ fighting insurance companies

The Machiavellian said...

Thanks for attending.

Didn't get a chance yesterday to go.

I'll post a link latter tonight.

Jen-Jen said...

I attended the townhall event as well. I was the last member of the CTP in. I was dissappointed at some of Driehaus's comments.

Can someone verify if I need to get my ears checked, but I thought I heard him say that he felt that America's health care system is immoral. What does that make a system for rationing and marginalizing health care in canada.

And question, if I have a living will, does that become null and void? Will my life be worth saving or too costly?

He also made a comment that 70% of medical costs are from end of life care, in which I interepretate that a majority of that costs applies to Medicare. Therefore, it is Medicare that is truely in a deficit, despite his claim of savings. And we don't need health care reform.

This will be the biggest Con if this passes and firmly believe that it is the beginning of the end of America.

Philip said...

Thanks for the comments. etu: I was also pretty incensed when he blamed the deficit on the war and the Bush tax cuts. The biggest item in the budget is Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid--never mind the fact that we just spent untold billions on untraceable "stimulus" which mainly ended up funding ACORN and the like.

Jen: I believe that comment about the American health care system being immoral came from his doctor. Nevertheless, it is an outrageous statement to say the least. Dying in an ambulance because your health care is rationed--that's immoral!

Let's keep the heat turned up on this issue!

Canadian Friend said...

Hi there, I am a Canadian on the west coast, in British Columbia. I was reading your comments tonight with interest, as we in our province our having a health care debate much as you are in the US. It is interesting how our system has been characterized as deficient, and that you have heard that people have died in ambulances. Wow. That sounds like a third world country. In fact, last Saturday, I stepped on a rusty nail at a time when all of the clinics were closed. I called our "Nurses Line" at 811. A very kind nurse went through a list of symptoms and options for me. She told me to get to an emergency room immediately, partly because I haven't had a tetanus shot for years. So, I hopped in a cab, as my husband wasn't home, registered at the hospital ten minutes from my home which serves the municipality of 400,000. It was busy, but I was out of there after showing my Medicare Card - no cash, only proof of being on the system - within 45 minutes. Very nice staff and service. My daughter once had to take an ambulance to the same hospital. We paid a user fee of $54 for the ride. The two men driving were there very fast. My mother had a heart attack and stayed at the hospital, and surviving, thank God, she is so appreciative of how she was taken care of.

Please do not be afraid of our system. It does have its quirks and its hiccups. It is very expensive to run health care, as you know. My husband pays $50 a month for health care. I have a plan through work, and my employer pays the remainder after I pay $28.80 for myself and my daughter each month.

However, we hear in Canada that per person with your private system, that it is much more expensive and fewer people get service. Some people in the US don't even have health care. Our American friend in Blaine, Washington, pays $175 a month for health insurance, but must pay the first $5000 a year, himself. That's a lot of money for average working class, even middle class, like myself. The problem with our system and the reason for the debates, is political ideology simply that one group feels it is not right to pay for others, while the other group does feel compassion even morality in looking after all people. It would be terrifying to be sick without any money, if you weren't going to looked after. I think that's why most Canadians feel they wish to hang onto a system where they can count on service for a set fee per month, the same that everyone else pays.

I, personally, believe in capitalism and that business should be allowed to make money in any arena. However, in the case of those who are sick, dying or dead, it just shouldn't be allowed.

I am surprised by your comments about Bush not being responsible for the deficit. Don't you think that war is a siphon of money from taxpayers into hell? Since our Prime Minister started supporting war effort, our entire surplus and more has dried up. I'm not saying he should or should not support war, but it is an obvious drain of money which could be used to help people.

Well, I am sure to cause a few ruffled feathers on this chain.

From your neighbour up north.

Linda said...

It does seem from your stories that your health care works for you. However, can you explain the other stories reported in your newspapers and from other Canadians that reveal your healthcare to be worthless; ie. 6-10 hour waits at the hospital BEFORE SEEING A DOCTOR, three year wait to be assigned a doctor. My neighbor here in Ohio lived in Canada for several years. She never experienced your type of expediant care. It is real easy to question the morality of others when you know nothing about their situation. My friend who is a nurse confirms that people in the US do get care whether they have insurance or not. That care is also the same care that those with insurance get. When doctors take thier oath to care for everyone, they do just that. The hospitals are the ones forced to eat the deficits.
As for Bush, he is not without blame, but Obama has sent us over the edge for many generations to come. Bush did the right thing in standing up for this country; something I wouldn't expect people who didn't have two planes flown into their city builings, killing thousands to understand.

Philip said...

Canadian Friend: This is the story I was referring to. There were no actual deaths involved, only extraordinary waiting times (many hours) in ambulances so the hospital could abide by arbitrary government-set targets.

The fact is we already have a sort of universal health care in the US. Show up with a serious emergency and you will be treated. Medicare and Medicaid also provide lots of "free" health benefits for the needy. What Obama and congressional Democrats want to create is a system fully under their arbitrary control. Socialized medicine can't offer equal care without also giving us equal misery. And it lasts forever.

Let's fix what we've got rather than starting up a brand new government disastrously expensive monstrosity.

LMills259 said...

I am strongly against conservatives shouting down US Reps in order to give the perception that Americans think our dysfunctional health care "system" is just fine. This behavior prevents civil discussion. You have the right to be angry; you don't have the right to commandeer the discussion so that no useful information can be expressed.
I am also totally bemused by the notion that the insurance companies should have no competition. And by the arguments being used that only apply to single-payer systems (Canada). Under the Obama plan, NO ONE TAKES AWAY YOUR CURRENT INSURANCE IF YOU WANT TO KEEP IT. Single-payer is not even on the table. It's so strange to see people debate the imaginary Obama that apparently lives inside their heads. The real Obama is trying to throw a lifeline to those who have no insurance. How can anyone with a shred of humanity oppose that?

Philip said...

LMills: Were you strongly against liberals doing worse? The Driehaus meeting was no more raucous than the UK parliament. Plenty of useful information was exchanged.

We are all for increasing competition among insurance companies. Lifting arbitrary state limitations would do this in spades. What we don't want is a public "option" that doesn't have to concern itself with economic realities. The choice will be a $500 private plan vs. a $50 public plan. How long do you think private companies will last with that kind of "competition"?

Great, you say? That cheap pricetag comes at an exorbitant cost: significantly higher taxes, more money-printing inflation and rationed care. This has been demonstrated time and again in every country where it's been tried.

Most of the uninsured are that way by choice. The others can still receive treatment under the current system. We conservatives do not lack compassion, we lack naivety.

etu2000 said...

Many Americans don't believe that the system is just FINE as you put it, But we don't need the Bueracratic wasteful spending Government to take it over. There are non profits, churches, charities that can and do help those who can't make medical payments and give care. Unfortunely the Government is trying to etch out private charitable organizations and put heavy mandates on them so they are unable to assist.
HUMANITY with Humility will help those in need. The Government needs to get OUT OF THE WAY. It's not just conservatives speaking out for FREEDOM, IT's many taxpaying Americans of all walks of life. The all arrogant non caring millionare who never ran anything except community organized to speak out against freedom and oh went to the best schools. is not imanginary he is real. The only life line he throws are to the UNION Bosses, The Banks such as Goldman Sachs and Acorn which is somehow suppose to be a volunteer organization and Chicago gangland political machine. Wake up Mills.