Some thoughts on Gwen Moore’s information session

Here’s my report from Rep. Gwen Moore’s health care informational session held today at North Division high school:

  • Despite the location in Milwaukee’s super-scary inner city, some health care reform opponents did make an appearance:

  • Some protesters did make their way into the auditorium, and here’s some video of those folks:

  • As was previously announced, Rep. Moore did answer questions submitted to her via email, but despite what some cynics in the audience (and in the blogosphere) might have been thinking, the questions she answered were definitely not “softballs” from health care reform supporters. Here’s an example of some of the questions Rep. Moore fielded:
    • Will health care be rationed under H.R. 3200? Her answer: No.
    • Will the bill raise taxes? Her answer: While the exact funding source for H.R. 3200 hasn’t been set in stone, one proposal would impose a 1.2% surcharge for couples making $350,000 a year or more, and the same surcharge for a single person making $280,000 a year.
    • Has Rep. Moore read the bill? Her answer: She has read most of the bill, but not all of it. She has attended a lengthy briefing on the bill, and she has also read a number of reports that have been written about the bill.
    • Will the bill bring about euthanasia for seniors or the terminally ill? Her answer: NO. Rep. Moore said she’s read Section 1233 (which deals with end of life planning) in detail, and nowhere is euthanasia mentioned. She mentioned the section in question is all about end of life planning, such as living wills, resuscitation orders, etc.
  • Rep. Moore also took questions from the audience, and in the interest of fairness, those who asked questions alternated between those who were opposed to health care reform and those who were in favor of health care reform. Both groups were given an equal opportunity to voice their opinions and ask their questions.
  • And curiously enough, I didn’t see any brown-shirted union thugs in attendance at the meeting, which is surprising, because I expected them to be there in force to administer “beatdowns” to anyone who dissented. < / sarcasm >

EDIT: I’ve edited the post to include a few more pictures, as well as a link to all the video I took, which I’ve posted on YouTube.


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24 thoughts on “Some thoughts on Gwen Moore’s information session

  1. Thanks for posting this…Zach. I am not sold on the health care bill…although I do think we do need health care reform. One thing that bothers me are all the bizarre claims being made about this health care bill…by people like Sarah Palin (who should know better). Can you believe there are some people who actually believe Sarah Palin’s claim that this bill includes “death panels” that want to kill the elderly?? Of course…she has since backed down from her reckless comment…but she was successful in doing what she intended to do…which was to inflame/incite the fringe right even more (at least I’m hoping it’s just the fringe right who are believing this completely ridiculous claim). I noticed there is a woman in one of your pictures who is holding a sign saying something about not killing her mother. I really feel sorry for people like her. How can anyone believe President Obama wants to kill off the old people??

    1. I agree on the wild accusations (though both sides are quite are guilty). From my side of this, there are mountains of legitimate complaints to be made about this bill – no reason to make stuff up or exaggerate.

      I might add that this sort of problem takes care of itself when we have legislation that isn’t hundreds or thousands of pages and (intentionally) written so vague and/or abstract.

  2. Despite the location in Milwaukee’s super-scary inner city, some health care reform opponents of HR 3200 did make an appearance

    Fixed that for ya.

    1. Locke, I didn’t get that wrong. I didn’t hear a single alternative health care reform plan offered by anyone at that meeting who voiced opposition to HR 3200, leaving me to wonder if they’re just opposed to health care reform in general.

  3. Great Post Zach. I was at the meeting and I was very proud of Milwaukee and of our Congresswoman Gwen Moore. I was actually amazed how much I learned today, I got my questions about the plan answered. It is too bad all Town Halls can’t be this productive.

    I was sitting closer to the front so it was nice to have the prospective from the back, because the opposition really didn’t sound that loud from where we were sitting. They did a great job of controlling the crowd.

    1. Mary, I think it was a successful event. Those who oppose health care reform had an opportunity to speak their minds, and it was nice to see that they didn’t drown out the folks who were there to hear about the health care reform plan being considered in the House.

    2. Did anybody perchance ask if she was willing to support an amendment to require Congress and their families to use the public portion of the plan?

      As a rule they should always be required to follow the same rules they force on the general public, and all the more so, with this one. BTW, an amendment requiring just this didn’t get out of committee in the House, failing 21-18 in Ways in Means. (The 21 all had D’s after their name.)

      1. Do you really think the 18 R’s would have voted for it if it had a hope of passing? Get real; the amendment was political theater. Those 18 Republicans knew they had insufficient votes to get that amendment out of committee, so they could pretend to make a brave stand without fearing that their own health care would actually be impacted.

        1. Yes, I’m sure that’s probably true. But you know what? As a general rule, it’s clear we can’t trust most of Congress to do the right thing on principle. If it means making them feel uncomfortable or look bad to try to shame them into doing the right thing, where’s the downside? If it means it becomes a campaign issue and they actually have to run a tough election instead of just passing by on the power of incumbency, that’s a great. And if the situaiton were reveresed with 21 R’s voting nea and 18 D’s voting yea, I’d be saying the exact same thing.

      2. “As a rule they should always be required to follow the same rules they force on the general public,…”

        I’m in complete agreement with that idea Locke.

  4. How can Rep. Moore say that health care will not be rationed?! Does that mean anyone can get any service, procedure, or test anytime they want? Surely at some point the government will have to say no to someone. Especially when they run out of money. I guess I would asked what happens when the gov’t runs out of money to provide all of these health services? Or will it just keep raising taxes to pay for it all?

  5. That first video, is that the 70 year old retired fire fighter that was trying to tell them that they had the flag on the wrong side of the stage? I hear he was a real rabble rouser, huh? Imagine a 70 year old man being threatened with eviction from the event because he pointed out that the “patriots” that set up this event don’t know basic flag etiquette.

    1. Patrick, I can’t speak to what he was saying, because as the video shows, he was inaudible from where I was sitting.

    2. I was sitting a few rows behind the man and I couldn’t tell what he was screaming while pointing directly at Rep. Moore. This man that you are defending sat there for quite a while before the event started. He did not stand up to scream until Rep. Gwen Moore entered the stage. I would think that if he were just trying to be “True Patriot” he would have contacted one the organizers or maybe the High School’s Principal and let them know it was wrong before the event started, instead of trying to scream out in a crowd. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone who is just trying to correct a misplacement of a flag stand up and scream.

      It was completely disrespectful of this 70 year old retired firefighter to stand and scream like an immature child.

      So don’t tell me he wasn’t there to interrupt Rep. Moore simply for the sake of disrupting the meeting, because I don’t believe you.

      1. Oh…but he’s a 70 year old retired firefighter…(eyes rolling). Too bad he wasn’t worried about his own etiquette as he was being disruptive. I wonder what his age or former occupation has to do with anything??? How old was that WW2 veteran who shot and killed an innocent security guard at the Holocaust Museum??

  6. Dave, the point is not that it is rationed today, but how can Obama, Moore, and other proponents of this package say that government won’t ration it?

    Just like Obama keeps repeating “if you like your health care, you can keep it.” Yeah right. What employer is going to keep providing health benefits when the government is doing it for “free”? Employers aren’t going to pay 8% or whatever to pay for the government program on top of providing their own health benefits. Therefore, we all end up in the government program. True, Obama didn’t FORCE us into it, but ultimately there will be no other option.

    1. I do agree with your sentiment, but need to clarify – the 8% is penalty for the larger companies that do not offer healthcare, not an additional fee no matter what. But the point is, on average, employers pay somewhere around 11% of their payroll to healthcare benefits. Some/many/most will choose to stop paying 11% (or more if they’re above average) on their own plan and dump it and pay the 8% penalty.

      This really highlights the dishonesty of “if you like your current plan, you won’t have to change.” Who knows how many would change, but we can say with absolute certainty the SOME will.

    2. forgot, H.R. 3200 would allow folks with private insurance to keep their current plans, and what’s more, as the bill is written now, folks who want the government-offered plan would have to contribute towards the plan, based on a sliding fee scale.

      1. forgot, H.R. 3200 would allow folks with private insurance to keep their current plans,

        How? If an employer decides to skip the headache of administering their own plan and pay the lower 8% penalty – whether the employee likes it or not, that plan is dead. Or am I reading something wrong? At best, it’s like saying I would be allowed to play in the NBA. When on it’s face, barring some sort of virus that paralyzes anyone over 5’9″ it ain’t gonna happen.

  7. I probably should be embarrassed for chuckling about the Republican argument that businesses will drop their health insurance in favor of the public option. But I am not.
    I seem to remember a time in America when the unions were forcing businesses to provide healthcare to their employees. Those very same crazy socialist unions once opposed by big business that the police, firefighters, construction workers, teachers,and US government people all have representing them today. My how times change. Republicans defending business healthcare costs, who would have thunk?

    It seems obvious to me that any business manager worth his salt will recommend dropping company healthcare for employees if it saves the company money… unless the plan is needed to remain competitive in the job market.
    I suspect that jobs with high education and skills requirements will continue to have employer plans and jobs which require few skills will go to the public option.

    I would like to see an option for HSAs remain along with company contributions. Seems to me that a federal ‘public option catastrophic plan’ along with HSA paid routine care would be a good approach for business and employees.

  8. I seem to remember a time in America when the unions were forcing businesses to provide healthcare to their employees. </blockquote

    Of course health insurance tied to employment is one source of the problems we’re facing.

    One thing that is absolutely not helping is the conflation of healthcare and health insurance. Otherwise intelligent people are constantly doing this – if you can’t grasp that they are different, then you have little hope of actually understanding the issue. PB – you clearly get it and the next step – that insurance to cover major/catastrophic health problems is a different creature than routine healthcare maintenance.

    We have a market solution to life, auto and home owner’s insurance that works really well. It’s a highly competitive industry where customers can comparison shop & find the best price for the coverage they need. Why can’t we do the same thing for major medical? All that’s missing is some minor government help – to help define the plans groups so it is easier for consumers to compare apples to apples & oranges to oranges.

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