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Our own town hall meeting
Radanovich hosts public forum on health care reform
College professor Lori Sylvester reads a list of questions her students prepared for Radanovich. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal
The nation-wide controversy over health care reform came to the Valley Friday afternoon when U.S. Rep. George Radanovich held his own town hall meeting in Oakdale. While there were no violent confrontations that led to arrests — as has happened in St. Louis, Mo. — booing and heckling were common during the question and answer time.
Over 400 people filled the Gene Bianchi Community Center in Oakdale to hear what Radanovich had say about health care reform, get their questions answered and to voice their own opinions.
“Health care and the reform needed is increasingly important,” Radanovich said.
The Congressman began the town hall meeting with a presentation on H.R. 3200 — America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, which just made it through committee, but has not yet been put to a vote on the House floor. He went on to discuss the Senate Finance Bill on health care and President Barack Obama’s speech to Congress last week.
After Radanovich outlined his health care reform ideas, which center on insurance industry reform and not government-run public insurance for all, he opened the floor for questions.
Just as in town hall meetings across the country, audience opinions on health care reform varied and ran the gamut from liberal to conservative.
“You know for a fact (the Democrats) are going to push this through. How did we get to this point? Is there nothing you can do?” asked one man.
“The Republicans don’t have a majority,” Radanovich answered.
“They’re cutting our education now due to health care reform,” said Oakdale High junior Leonard Bowlin.
Chris Henry of Turlock Nursing & Rehab was most concerned about recent cuts in Medicare long-term care coverage.
“I see seniors and their health care on the front lines,” Henry said. “Seniors are facing a severe uphill climb. We don’t want to see the deficit climb because of health care reform.”
Many in the audience voiced their support for Obama’s Health Care Proposal.
“I don’t trust the free market because I’ve been a victim of it,” said Oakdale resident Mary Brown. “I want the public option.”
One woman asked Radanovich to read aloud the saying on her T-shirt — “Healthcare Not Warfare.” She then lamented the federal government for spending money on war, rather than on taking care of its citizens, and said a for-profit health care system will never work. Radanovich reiterated his belief that insurance industry reform was a better solution than government-run health care, to which she replied, “What can I do to convince you that you’re wrong?”
Radanovich ended the one and half hour meeting by asking everyone to fill out his “Health Care Solutions Survey.” A list of possible health care reform points were listed and participants were asked for a “yes,” “no” or “maybe” response on whether they would like to see the reform included in legislation. Some of the points included: Allow individuals and companies to purchase health insurance across state lines; Allow small businesses to pool together and reduce risk when purchasing health insurance; Require individuals who use emergency rooms for non-emergencies to pay higher co-pays; and Create a government run, public insurance option for individuals.
To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.