Here are the final questions from the Town Hall Meeting held by Second District Congressman Joe Courtney.
22. You haven’t taken my phone calls, your office has not responded to my questions so I came here in person. I am a small business owner. My standards are “profit and simplicity” (Loud cheers from audience). Looking at a 1016 page bill I find no simplicity. I can’t read it and understand it when it continually refers to “Section X, paragraph (3), line 52. This bill is too complicated. If you are so committed to health care, why not take one issue at a time so that issue is easily understood. Fight on my behalf, take one issue at a time, not full blown health care.
Courtney – I am on the Armed Services Committee and ship building is a big deal in my district. The Defense Bill is a ‘Hugh document” I wish you could put the U.S. Code changes on one page but the change has to refer to the previous law that is being changed. It is a tough challenge to the committee but the HR3200 bill will help small business by allowing them to join pools.
23. Health Care is only for those who can afford it. What safeguards exist to prevent companies from dropping health care coverage for employees when this bill becomes law?
Courtney – There are penalties for companies that “dump” employees. They will have to pay an additional tax. On the other hand, companies like Pitney Bowes that has a progressive welliness plan for employees are able to keep their plans unimpeded.
24. I don’t understand why people are against profit. This bill does not include any tort reform. I did not go to work for anyone but self and family.
Courtney – The bill is based on an employer based health care system. The focus of Section A is on this aspect of the health care system. Regarding tort reform, the Congressional Budget Office study shows that tort reform does not save money for the Health Care System. Expenses are the same or greater in states like Texas, who has strict tort caps, as in other states, without these caps. (Audience booing and shouting during this answer).
25. Will there be mental health parity in this bill?
Courtney – This is a key part of the bill. Mental Health parity was signed into law by President Bush about two years ago and this bill preserves that aspect of costs.
26. Why does the health care have to be government controlled? Medicine is personal. We may need reform but we don’t need government control.
Courtney – Right now the Insurance Companies have panels to approve your coverage. There are different forms for different companies. This is a great burden on doctors, hospitals, and other providers. The bill will establish a standard form. This, in its self, will keep costs down.
27. There are other studies that show tort reform will provide significant savings. There should be tort reform.
Courtney – no comment since time was running out.
28. Insurance companies don’t deny care. (Loud sounds of disagreement with this statement). All you have to do is go to the hospital and get the service and then pay for it your self. The bill will ration care and deny care unlike the current situation.
Courtney – There is no rationing in the bill. There are no “death panels” in the bill. There is no requirement to take action at end of life, the bill merely pays the doctor for his time when this discussion occurs. Currently, the discussion occurs, but the doctor does not get paid.
This was the last question. I found out later that Congressman Courtney then went to the high school cafeteria and talked with another group of people who were not able to get into the auditorium. This meeting lasted around forty minutes. According to a remark in the comment section of the New London DAY on line article, this session was not as volatile as the auditorium and everyone asked and answered questions politely.
Despite some comments attached to both the DAY and the NORWICH BULLETIN Articles, I believe that the crowd was evenly divided in the auditorium. After the meeting, one person commented that she thought the anti health care reform persons were rude and disrespectful but I thought the meeting was fairly tame when compared to some of the meetings seen on TV.
I hope the reader found these four posts useful in understanding the Health Care reform proposal.l