The enormous cafeteria at Lexington High School was filled to overflowing last night for a town hall meeting conducted by Congressman Joe Wilson. Health care reform was the primary topic of concern. Participants tossed their questions into a box before the meeting and Wilson responded to them for a few hours.
Wilson said the US Constitution allows for government to have a role in health care. But he said that role should be limited. “It should be limited to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Ronald Reagan said that. But it doesn’t mean you do everything for everybody anytime. President Reagan also said, “any government large enough to give you everything is large enough to take everything away.”
That statement drew more than 30 seconds of applause.
Wilson said the Obama reform bill would provide health care coverage for illegal aliens. He also asserted that the health care system would be overwhelmed by the plan, especially since it could accelerate a growing shortage of doctors.
Wilson asserted that the speed with which patients are treated would eventually resemble the treatment rates in other countries. As an example he used diabetes, since South Carolina has one of the worst diabetes rates in the US. Wilson said 90 percent of diabetes patients in the US are now treated within six months.
But the Republican asserted that nationalized systems were slower. “In Canada, 45 percent of patients receive care in the first six months. In the United Kingdom, it’s 15 percent. I don’t want a system like that.”
Gordon Hayford drove all the way from Aiken to attend the meeting. He’s not happy with President Obama’s health care proposal. “I don’t know where they think they’re going to get the money for all the extra people, or the doctors for that matter. Nobody has convinced me that it’s going to work.”
But there were regular dessenters during the meeting, led mainly by Maria Calef(KAY-lef).
Calef grew up in Panama but has lived as an America citizen since. She spoke outside the cafeteria, saying that she grew up in a free health care system. And she wasn’t pleased with President Bush. “Those people in the Bush Administration were in there for eight years, and did nothing for health care reform. Now Obama tries to do something for the people, and what? They try to sabatoge, to give misinformation, to confuse the people and devide them more.”
Calef said the US is spending $160 billion each month on the war in Iraq but Republicans complain that they the US doesn’t have the money for nationalized health care for everyone.
Gil Borrero(bo-RARE-ro) of Columbia says the main thing with such debates is that the opposing sides don’t listen to each other, only to what other people on the same side tell them.