Rep. Lungren (R-CA) held a town hall meeting in Rancho Cordova yesterday. It was the last meeting out of the three-meeting series focused on health care reform. As in the other two meetings, participation was overwhelming. Although I came about 20 minutes before the meeting started, the room was full. I did not see the point of staying much longer, so I left after 30 minutes or so.
Based on what I saw and overheard, the majority, including many seniors of the Medicare age, were vehemently against the reform. Lots of folks seemed bitter about the Government in general and President Obama in particular. I could not quite figure out what they were angry about: they were dressed nice, came in expensive cars, did not seem hungry or sick, and made an impression of above-average-income earners. I heard lots of crazytalk about panels that would be evaluating people’s worth based on age before making medical decisions, socialism and Nazism coming (apparently together), and other nonsense. A lady was driving in a car along the line advertising an upcoming “Tea Party”. It was rather depressing.
I only heard the beginning of Rep. Lungren’s speech, in which he expressed a deep concern about the growing budget deficit, at which point the crown started applauding. The questions that immediately popped into my mind were: “When exactly did Rep. Lungren and his supporters turn into fiscal conservatives? Did they express the concerns about the Iraq war, Bush’s tax cuts, or the Medicare Part D?”
Anyway, I had not not expected to get a chance to ask Rep. Lungren any questions, but if I had, this is what I would’ve said:
“Mr. Lungren, do you believe that U.S. should have a system that would guarantee health care to its people — young and old, poor and rich, employed and unemployed — as in the rest of the civilized world?”
“Mr. Lungren, since you strongly oppose the public health care options, what do you think about Medicare, VA, and over government-run systems? Would you want to dismantle these services? If not, why would extending Medicare or another public program to the currently uninsured be so bad?”
“Mr. Lungren, do you believe that the goals of private insurance companies and health care providers aimed at maximizing profits (less care=more profits) conflict with the need of people to get health care? If so, what do you think about making private health care providers non-profit, as in all other capitalist democracies, such as Switzerland or Germany?”
Would’ve I gotten a chance at an honest answer? Nah, don’t think so.