Local Politics

Health care an emotional issue, lawmaker says

Posted August 10, 2009

— Health care reform is an emotional issue all around, Rep. David Price, D-N.C., says.

As the debate continues over how to ensure affordable health care coverage for every American, Price and two fellow U.S. lawmakers on Monday attended an open house and luncheon for Wake Health Services, a private nonprofit health center, in observance of National Health Care Center Week.

The center has eight sites in Wake and Franklin counties and serves about 25,000 patients regardless of their ability to pay. About 25 percent of patients there have no insurance at all.


Health Care Reform Health care an emotional issue, lawmaker says

"There's emotion all around," Price said. "You know, health care is one of those things that everyone is an expert on or thinks they are because everyone has a stake in this."

Across the nation, town hall meetings have sparked shouting matches and shoving between supporters and opponents and public officials.

"The average family is paying $1,000 to cover the uninsured as they come into emergency rooms," Price, D-N.C., said.

Locally, Rep. Brad Miller, also in attendance Monday, had his life threatened by a caller upset that he was not holding a public forum on the proposal.

That, however, did not stop hundreds of protesters lining St. Mary's Street outside the 13th District congressman's office Friday to express their opposition to the proposal.

"In my political life, which isn't that long, I've never seen anything like this," Miller said.

Much of the debate centers on the so-called public option, which would create a government-sponsored health insurance plan for people who cannot obtain other coverage.

President Barack Obama backs the plan as a way to guarantee that every American has health insurance, but opponents say a government-run plan would increase bureaucracy raise the costs of private insurers and provide fewer choices and less access.

Supporters argue that without reform, premiums would likely double in 10 years, and deductibles would rise. Certainty about coverage would decline.

"Nobody can say, 'That's a good plan,'" Price said. "Now, there can be legitimate debates on exactly how we fix it."

Price, Miller and Rep. Bob Etheridge admit the current system is broken, yet Etheridge would not commit to comprehensive reform.

"You ought to have all the evidence and do legislation that's good policy," he said.

Democrats are hesitant to hold large meetings on the issue, because of the violence and outbursts in other parts of the country.

Price and Etheridge say they plan to hold telephone town hall meetings later this month.

First District Congressman G.K. Butterfield said he would hold a two-hour forum on health care reform at 6 p.m. Tuesday at J.W. Parker Middle School in Rocky Mount.

It's unclear whether other members of North Carolina's congressional delegation plan to hold such meetings.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • protestthis Aug 11, 2009

    I don't doubt that the proposed plan has its issues, but outside of all the folks causing the disruptive meetings and the republicans who right now are just "say no" to everything men, I have yet to hear any suggestion on an alternative plan(s) that will cut costs for all and make it so that my medical insurance don't cost 1/2 of my salary. Don't come back with the "let the market" fix it - ya they've done a great job of that... Give the insurance co a millimeter and they'll take a mile.

  • jet2rdu Aug 11, 2009

    Rep. Price should stop reading and repeating the DNC and House Speaker Pelosi's FAXs which include the daily Democratic Talking Points. He should listen to his constituent's concerns of the proposed National Health Plan. The informed voters who have read and understand the Democratic plans and their costs to the taxpayers of it, are the people he does not want to hear
    from nor discuss the plan with him.

    He and his staff don't want to hear from citizens who disagree with HR3200. Don't worry David, after the next congressional elections you, Bob and Brad won't have to listen to the voters and can spend full time on the golf greens discussing where you went wrong.

    Some of the biggest supporters of the Dems health plans are those who it doesn't apply to and those who pay little or no income taxes. They are not concerned about the "budget breaking costs" of the plan since it sure looks like they won't have to pay its costs. Rep. David, "The Price Is Wrong" and the plan is wrong too.

  • superman Aug 11, 2009

    Working Americans are just sick and tired of paying for the dead beats who dont work and dont pay taxes. Yes, I am upset every time you keep putting your hand in my pocket day after day. Yes it is an emotional issue-- yes I am angry. Just leave me and my pocketbook alone. I am not surprised with the angry mobs. Our politians need to learn-- no more spending-- no more increases-- no more taxes-- no more of anything! Give it a rest.

  • jet2rdu Aug 11, 2009

    If Rep. Price would just stop believing his daily talking point FAXs from the DNC and Speaker Pelosi's office and started listening to his constituents, it would be a first step in him understanding what is wrong in this bill and what we have problems with. Many here in NC who are concerned enough to try to communicate their views to him are just ignored by him and his staff.

    People are not only concerned with the care medical care they and their loved ones will receive with the Dems Health care plan but also the high costs to the taxpayers. It is no coincidence that some, but not all, of the biggest supporters of this "break the bank" National Health Plan are those who pay little or no federal income taxes or are not subject to it. You might say to David "The Price is wrong". Rep. Price should represent us and not Speaker Pelosi.

  • lizard78 Aug 11, 2009

    If doctors stop making the big bucks do you think we'll still have quality doctors?
    How has that worked for teachers?
    People who work hard to become something special should be rewarded for their hard work. We are not all equal.

  • lizard78 Aug 11, 2009

    Health insurance is expensive because health care is expensive. Research was done on every treatment there is available. In order to keep the high quality care in this country there must be competition between drug companies. There must be competition between health insurers. Money is one of the driving factures for the drug companies that save lives. Insurers pay out large amounts of money on claims. They must charge people in order to have money available.
    I don't understand why the supporters of this health reform don't understand that we will be sacrificing quality of care. Do you think we would have so many wonderful cancer and aids treatments available if everything was run by the government?

  • vote4changeASAP Aug 11, 2009

    I'm still pee-owed by Miller's "paranoid fringe element" comment. I guess he thinks those who have dissent against following blindly behind his Democratic party are nuts. He's too chicken to hold a town hall meeting.

  • Trabman_san Aug 11, 2009

    Last night, David Price was holding a "Call-in" telephone town hall meeting on TWC's channel 24(Cable Access). I tuned in to watch, and was ready to call to ask him a question. The beginning of the program, they requested the viewers to please wait til 7:15 to begin calling.

    At 7:16, I called the number and got the following message:

    "Thank you for calling TWC's live call in broadcast line. There is currently No broadcast program at this time! (Not exact quote, but very close)

    At first, I thought, well, I've dialed the wrong number for this show. So I verified the number and called back. SAME THING! I personally tried to call about 12 different times during that broadcast hour. Same message each time!

    His town hall meeting was a complete fake! It was staged! It was NOT a "LIVE TOWN HALL MEETING"

  • timothycapwell Aug 11, 2009

    "In my political life, which isn't that long, I've never seen anything like this," Miller said.

    Really, Brad? You've never encountered informed citizens before? Perhaps you should visit your district more often. I hope the Republicans have a viable candidate to run against this lying sack of human waste. I now realize why Brad Miller wouldn't debate Vernon Robinson a few years ago.

  • inform Aug 11, 2009

    The divisiveness the country is experiencing over the distribution of health care ignores the real issue of controlling cost. One can empathize with those having little faith in the trickle down benefits of reduced costs, and see re-distribution as a requirement of reform. In the sixties when Medicare was passed, rather than address the affordability of care, the real cost was hidden in the national deficit. Now, four decades later, health care has become unaffordable for millions of Americans. Subsidizing medical care across the board would remove the stigma of redistribution. The issue then becomes how to address the rising cost of health care, which is as complex an issue as our society faces today, but let's begin by removing the obstacles to healthy debate, which requires compromise by both sides of the distribution argument.