Martin Heinrich's health care Town Hall was yesterday. Heinrich is our rep for NM-01. I contributed money to his campaign. I voted for him.
After participating in the Town Hall yesterday, I am not so sure he will be a second termer. I am concerned.
A whole bunch after the fold.
While waiting in line....
The tools for the Heritage Foundation were out in force.
I heard them talking in the two hour line I stood in prior to the event. I had a group of them in front of me and one behind me. I had their talking points down before I even entered the building:
- Make it look like Heinrich hadn't read the bill (as if those blockheads read the 1000 plus pages of it) BTW, Heinrich did have a copy of the bill during the meeting. I was very pleased.
- Talk about the Constitutionality of health care.
- Everyone already has health care.
- Medicare is failing and costs much more than private health insurance.
An older woman in front of me got into my face about the sign my sister was carrying. Our conversation went like this:
Tool: Why is she carrying that sign?
Me: Because she believes the system is flawed and needs to be reformed. Do you have Medicare?
Tool: No, but my husband does.
She took out a sheet of paper with a cost breakdown on it. She said she pays $4700.00 a year for health care under Medicare.
Me: Wow. That is much less than I pay for my health insurance. My deductible is 3k and after that I pay 20% of covered medical treatment. If it isn't covered I pay for all of it. And, that doesn't even include the premiums I pay per month for coverage that doesn't actually cover much.
Tool: You are lying.
Me: No, I am not. If you don't like Medicare your husband should reject it and get coverage elsewhere.
Me: Why do you not support a public option?
Tool: I don't want to pay for anyone else's medical care.
Me: What if they are uninsured and the only option they have is to go to the emergency room?
Tool: I don't want to pay for them.
Me": I guess that means you don't support a public option because you are greedy.
Tool: I am not greedy.
Me: Yes, you are. If your whole reason for not wanting a public option is because you don't want to pay for people to have health insurance that makes you greedy. Especially since I am paying for your husband's health care.
Tool: OKAY, I AM GREEDY. LEAVE ME ALONE.
Her male elderly friend (MEF) chimed in.
MEF: Right before I die I am going to go shoot as many lawyers as I can.
Me: What? You are going to shoot people? You are going to commit murder? Why would you shoot lawyers?
MEF: Because they are all driving up the cost of health insurance.
Me: So you are willing to tell anyone in this line who is a lawyer that you want to KILL them?
He starts motioning with his arms and yelling "come on over lawyers."
A Heinrich staffer walks by. I go over to him and tell him that the elderly guy behind me is making comments about shooting laywers. The staffer looks at me like I have two heads and walks away.
Me: Do you have a gun on you now? Because if you do I am going to call 911.
MEF: No. I didn't bring it.
The group behind us were listening to our debate so they chimed in.
Woman who looked like Tammy Faye Baker (WWLLTFB): My husband is an economist. You don't know anything about the economy.
My sister: My husband is a PhD Economist. I know quite a bit about the economy and economics.
WWLLTFB: Oh she thinks she is sooo smart. Her husband is a PhD. So young and stupid.
My sister: Where do you get your information?
My sister: I get my news from legitimate sources.
At this time a hostile woman who claimed to be a nurse got into both of our faces. Everytime my sister would make a comment, to me, from that point forward, the alleged "nurse" would yell, "BLAH, BLAH, BLAH."
In the auditorium...
We finally got into the auditorium and found some seats. The Heritage Foundation folks disbursed themselves in little pockets all over the auditorium. Some of the same group who was behind us in line sat behind us at the Town Hall. The bating started immeidately. As soon as we sat down a middle aged guy (MAG) behind us called my sister a "Socialist." She engaged him and she kicked his ass with the truth.
MAG: You are a socialist.
My sister: No. I am not a Socialist.
MAG's wife: He didn't call you a Socialist. He was just commenting...
Me: Yeah, he called her a Socialist. I heard him as clear as day.
MAG: I didn't call you a Socialist.
Me: Yeah, you did. Now back up your name calling.
My sister: I am actually a Capitalist who believes in a mixed system. I happen to like my fire department, police department, the FBI, DEA, the librarians and the roads I drive on. Why don't you like the police department?
My sister to MAG's wife: Where do you get your information about health care reform?
MAG's wife: The Heritage Foundation. Don't you get your information from them?
My sister: No, I get my information from the people who actually wrote the bill.
MAG's wife: Well, I home schooled my kids.
WTF? Where that last comment came from I have no clue.
I was hopeful that once the Town Hall got going legitimate information would be passed onto the audience. If you wanted to ask a question, you had to put your name in a box that was being walked around. There were roughly 600 people in the audience. There were more health care reform advocates in the audience than there were Heritage Foundation folks.
The absolute lowest part of the meeting came when a physician, who works in a small New Mexican community, was commenting about his treatment of a young boy with leukemia. He was booed. Those heartless tools booed a doctor. A doctor who wasn't an oncologist yet was treating a boy with leukemia because he was the only doctor in his town.
Heinrich came out strong on many issues. I certainly didn't question his desire for much needed reform. He answered questions posed by some members of the audience but, unfortunately, his panel answered most. I wanted to hear more from him.
There were no women on his panel. His panel was composed of an ER Doctor from the University of New Mexico Hospital, the director of a local clinic (who stated he does not treat Medicare patients and was a strong advocate for tort reform) and a lobbyist. Yep, a lobbyist.
The ER Doc was the most informing on the panel. I didn't get much from the clinic director other than he wanted tort reform.
Then there was the conservative lobbyist....
The lobbyist is from one of the most conservative alleged "research institues" in New Mexico. I was absolutely
disappointed pissed off that he put Paul Gessing on a panel discussing health care reform. Gessing brought nothing to the table except to rile up those in attendance who were shills for the Heritage Foundation.
He wasn't a doctor, he wasn't a nurse, he wasn't even a health insurance administrator. He was a lobbyist who regurgitating the same talking points I had heard in line, and, while sitting in the auditorium.
Why was Gessing asked to be on the panel? What legitimacy did he bring to the debate? I have heard Heinrich wanted some "balance." Bad choice. Lobbyists don't bring balance. They only bring talking points from those that pay them. If balance was needed then put an insurance executive on the panel.
I'll borrow a question from a blogger friend of mine,
was Heinrich punked?
Why are we continuing to pander to these people? The health care reform we all want, whether it be a single payer system or a strong public option, won't be accomplished this way. And when Progressive candidates have conservative industry hacks/shills/lobbyists answering questions at a Town Hall meeting, how will we respond?
Hopefully we won't respond by sitting on our thumbs and biting our lower lips. I saw way too much of that yesterday.