Frank Kratovil’s Rock Hall Town Hall Meeting
I attended Frank Kratovil’s “Congress in Your Corner” town hall meeting yesterday in Rock Hall. Contrary to the DNC there weren’t any angry lavishly funded, pitch-fork bearing mobs shouting down their congressional representatives. To be sure many were angry, but only because they are representative of the 80% of Americans who like their current healthcare, and understand the mendacity in President Obama’s clever rhetorical deceits. Supporters of Obamacare, most wearing open-toed shoes and bearing closed minds attended as well. There were no incidents. Perhaps that was due to the lack of SEIU purple brown-shirts.
In all, the crowd was roughly split 75% opposed to Obamacare, 25% pro. As the issue of astroturfing, many pro Obamacare supporters sported this sign, conveniently provided by Organizing for America—Obama’s campaign apparatus. How do I know? Organizing for America asked me to bring the same sign.
Kratovil’s staff asked that people with questions write them on index cards and submit them to staff. I asked how he would vote on the Weiner single payer amendment to HR 3200, which Nancy Pelosi has committed to the bill. Unfortunately, the staff member sorting through the questions did not select my question.
Another question asked of Kratovil, was if he would accept the same healthcare that citizens would get under Obamacare. He answered that he would not vote for any bill, which would result in the loss of losing the choice to select our own healthcare or lose our current insurance. This is of course, the same statement on his office website. However, immediately after that he states “I believe that a public option may help reduce costs by increasing competition and expanding consumer choice, but it is important that any public option be forced to compete on a level playing field with private insurers.”
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The second part of that sentence negates the first. You can’t assert that a public (government) option will increase competition then demand that it compete on a level playing field with private insurance. It is impossible to have a level playing field when government is both a player and a referee. Furthermore, a public option is first step on the path to eliminating private insurance—Obama and his allies have been stating this for quite some time now. As Chicago Congresswoman and single payer advocate Chicago congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky told supporter, “I know many of you here today are single payer advocates and so am I … and those of us who are pushing for a public health insurance don’t disagree with this goal. This is not a principled fight. This is a fight about strategy for getting there.”
Kratovil’s support for a public option and simultaneous pledge not to vote for a bill that takes away current coverage or eliminates choice is a circle he just can’t square. Perhaps the overwhelming NO response to his show-of-hands poll on who supported a public option will help him see the self contradicting positions in his rhetoric. I guess the good congressmen didn’t learn the Paul Krugman lesson on the perils of conducting a show-of-hands poll.
He evaded a query about tort reform. Instead he veered off into a sob story about trial lawyers getting a bad rap and that his dad and a lot of great Americans were lawyers. The crowd’s response: a sardonic “Awww poor baby.”
Kratovil, did say he opposes illegal immigrants receiving taxpayer funded health insurance, and that the bill does not allow it However, the House Ways and Means Committee rejected—on straight party lines—the Heller amendment, which would have expressly denied covering illegal immigrants.
The pro-Obamacare people had their moments, but those amounted to cheering for any mention of the public option. The closest anyone of them came to making an argument was a non sequitor from a woman, who claimed to be in the healthcare field. She said, “The insurance companies are for-profit,” which elicited applause from the Pro-Obamacare folks. Seriously, that was the extent of their argument. Government should take over healthcare because someone makes a profit.
If the event I attended is representative of the phenomenon taking place across the country (I believe it is) then those who, doubt and demonize the very real and very popular opposition to Obama’s healthcare agenda, are so arrogant in their own assumptions that they can’t see past them.