Monday, August 10, 2009

Aug. 10: Congress, Grow a Spine Against Town Hall Tantrums

By Sylvia Gurinsky

A lot of members of Congress are baseball fans. So they might try taking a hint from the umpires when people at their health-care town hall meetings turn unruly: Eject them.

The town-hall tantrum throwers are nothing more than rabble-rousers, nothing more than operatives (possibly paid ones, in a number of cases), designed to sabotage any attempt at health care reform. So far, members of Congress in both parties have been shell-shocked against them. Some, including, sadly, South Florida's Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ron Klein, seem to be resorting to telephone "town hall" meetings.

The behavior of the saboteurs is most harmful to the people, often in the hundreds, who honestly do want to understand what health care legislation Congress and President Barack Obama propose to pass, and how it will affect them in terms of coverage and cost. Those people go to the town hall meetings because they want honest answers to their questions.

At these meetings, if anyone gets out of line, the member of Congress presiding should tell them the basic facts: If they don't behave, they'll be kicked out. Period.

Maybe they'll shut up long enough to remember that 60 million fellow Americans don't have health insurance, and many of them have illnesses that put everyone's lives and livelihoods at risk.

Will members of Congress be criticized for the ejections? Sure. But it's better to be criticized for action than for the paralysis they suffer from now.

1 comment:

puerst said...

The reason Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ron Klein are doing telephone town hall, is they are defending an unpopular 1000 page bill,they probably haven’t read.

Simply put insuring the uninsured is a noble goal. But the bill has many flaws. First there is no mention of tort reform. The deficit will skyrocket. (CBO’S number has it costing 1.3 trillion over ten years.) Taxes will have to rise on the middle class to cover the cost. A public option will lead over time to a single payer. No private insurer can compete again the government, which doesn’t have to make a profit, pay rent or taxes and has a printing press behind if it loses money.