Sunday, August 16, 2009
Local Constitutional Patriots hold health-reform town hall
By Shannan Bowen
Published: Saturday, August 15, 2009 at 5:24 p.m.
She couldn’t come, but they pretended she was there, saying her absence wouldn’t silence their opinions about health care reform.
So, at Saturday’s “mock” town hall meeting, leaders of the local Constitutional Patriots hung an enlarged photo of Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and announced plans to send a video of all speakers’ questions and comments to her office.
Almost everyone who spoke to the crowd of more than 150 people seated at New Hanover County Northeast Library – and to Hagan’s photo – was opposed to the health care reform legislation lawmakers are considering.
“We’re in trouble if this thing goes through,” said Arthur Plante, 66, of Watha.
Marilyn Gore, of Wilmington, said she thought the health care reform would put a burden on taxpayers, and she gave the crowd a list of other things that worried her about the proposed health care bill.
“I’m afraid there will be long lines and waiting periods when people are sick. I’m afraid that the government plan will be forced on American people one way or another,” she said.
The crowd that gathered was a mix of ages, though most of the speakers were seniors who spoke of their worries of receiving adequate health care when they were sick.
The youngest speaker – and probably the youngest in the crowd – was the 13-year-old daughter of an anesthesiologist in Wilmington.
“I don’t want people’s hands in my pockets when I grow up,” said Jeannette DiGioia. She said that although she isn’t old enough to vote or have a job, she was well-versed in the recent health care debate and was concerned about her future.
“The Declaration of Independence said every citizen has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” she said. But, she added, the proposed legislation would stifle those constitutional rights.
Elli Klein, of Wilmington, was one of the few health care reform supporters in attendance. She said she didn’t know the meeting was being hosted by a conservative group, though organizers said anyone was welcome.
Klein said she liked several things about the legislation. “I like that there’s an opportunity to moderate what the insurance companies are doing for us. It’s the insurance companies who are making it so we never know if we have health insurance if we are sick,” she said. She said some interpretations of the health care bill are incorrect. “I agree with people who say you need to read the bill,” she said.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., the area’s other Congressional members, were notified about the town hall meeting a couple of weeks ago but weren’t able to attend because of short notice, said Mary Kay Mason, the event’s organizer.