Here are some highlights from a town hall meeting tonight in Anthem, AZ (a master-planned community just north of Phoenix) with Congressman Ben Quayle. It was an interesting town hall. The room was filled, and the questions were dominated by seniors and retirees upset about Quayle's "YES" vote to privatize Medicare and raise the retirement age.
According to Mr. Quayle:
1. When asked why he would support privatizing Medicare when the cost to administer Medicare is currently at 3% and estimated to be 17-20% under the privatized plan, he responded that Medicare's administrative costs are too low at 3%. They should be much higher because there is so much fraud and waste in Medicare and the administrators aren't doing a good job finding it. (Does this mean he wants to grow government & add regulation? And what about the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Quayle? There are specific provisions designed to crack down on fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare.)
2. The Affordable Care Act is bad for seniors on Medicare. (What about the free annual physicals and preventative care screenings for seniors? Closing the doughnut hole?)
3. Social Security and Medicare are contributing to our debt and we must cut them in order to have a solvent society. (Nevermind that Social Security hasn't added a dime to our deficit! But what good are facts?)
4. If you're 55 or older you shouldn't care about these changes because they won't affect you, anyway. (Um, Mr. Quayle, most folks 55 and older have children and grandchildren they care about very much. So, YES, they should care about these changes, and YES, they should speak up at town hall.)
Well, we look forward to more town halls with Mr. Quayle and other members of the AZ Congressional delegation who voted "YES" on the Ryan Republican Budget. Thank you to those who have actually hosted public town halls. Rep. Gosar will be in Tusayan on Wednesday.. stay tuned!