Friday, August 28, 2009

Disgraceful and Unsettling?

That is how the Asbury Park Press characterised the "incivility on display at Rep. Frank Pallone's health care town hall meeting in Red Bank Tuesday night" in an editorial posted on their web site Wednesday afternoon and in the print edition yesterday.

The APP was talking about most of the 1500 citizens who showed up to let the Chairman of the Health Care committee of the House Energy and Commerce committee know what they thought of the bill he is a prime author of.

Does this look like a crowd that "descends into the oratory of the lynch mob, the rhetoric of a rugby scrum or the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution," as the APP referred to those of us who were there:

It looks to me that the room was full of patriots who care passionately about their country, their freedom, their own health care and that of their loved ones.

As James Hogan points out the real disgrace is that Pallone does not represent the people of New Jersey's 6th Congressional District. He started the forum letting the crowd know that HR 3200 was his bill and that there was nothing they could say or do to change his mind about that. Here Pallone gives his spin as the crowd listens politely:

The APP said,

Many of the 1,500 people who showed up at Red Bank Middle School didn't seem interested in learning anything or engaging in the reasoned give-and-take necessary to gaining a fuller understanding of an extraordinarily complicated issue.

Quite the contrary, in my experience most of the 1500 people who showed up were well informed and prepared to ask reasonable questions. While the subject matter is somewhat complicated, it was made extraordinarily so by Pallone's disingenuous spin and double speak. Pallone made it very clear that he didn't want to learn anything or engage in a reasoned give-and-take. He told the group that he was an advocate of the bill and would remain so. He told the group, easily 90% of whom were opposed to his position, that he believed the majority supports his position.

The APP went on,

Many of those in attendance were more than rude, heckling and booing those who had the temerity to express an opinion that differed from their own. And their opinions seemed little more than an echo chamber of misinformation, misconceptions and just plain ignorance. Facts and honest discussion don't stand a chance in such an atmosphere

There is no question that the crowd was passionate. However, the rudeness, heckling and booing were appropriate responses to Pallone's misinformation, spin and just plain dishonesty.

Overall, I was proud to participate in the forum. While, some people of both sides of the debate went too far in belittling the other side, this was a well informed and passionate group. There was no violence. There were no arrests. This was civil democracy in action.

Captain Steve McCarthy of the Red Bank Police Department characterised the crowd as "orderly, patient and well behaved, there were no problems." He said the event went better than expected, inside and outside, given the size of the crowd and the passion over the issue. To his surprise, those who were very passionate inside the meeting were thanking the police and shaking their hands on the way out.

Rather than belittle those who attended, the APP editorial board, who so often laments how apathetic voters are, should be congratulating those are participating passionately.


Anonymous said...

The most disturbing part of this video is this:

Pallone states that someone who is healthy in new jersey and buys individual coverage pays less than someone who has diabetes and buys individual insurance. This is simply not true as new jersey is a guaranteed issue state with no pre-ex exclusion. The fact that he does not know this is frightening.

Chris said...

When I was in the 2nd session, a speaker forced him to admit that there's no pre-ex exclusion in NJ, and even in most states. Then he said something like if you make X amount of $ in Alabama, you can be excluded, and that's why he's fighting for this law. I think it's Alabama also where you can get a decent plan for $50/mo. Of course we pay more in NJ because our premiums must cover people who have pre-ex and go get insurance after they got sick.

Anonymous said...

Look,he's gotten away with being this frightening on many issues,and being so out of touch with real people it's sick, for far too long: the whole thing is a disgrace, and we need to keep up the noise and pressure: THE MORE THEY TRY TO SILENCE US, THE WORSE IT WILL BE FOR THEM NEXT YEAR, BUT, please,everyone,you're doing great, WE ARE STARTING TO WIN OUR COUNTRY BACK, BUT IT WILL TAKE FAR MORE TIME AND PRESSURE ON THESE ARROGANT,ELITIST SOCIALISTS,WHOSE LIVES WE HAVE MADE CUSHY, (NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND), TO GET IT DONE!..if our soldiers can do it around the world for freedom, we can sure do it here!!

Anonymous said...

NJ has plans with pre-ex exclusions because my son enrolled in Horizon BC/BS EPO(in 2006) and had a 6 month pre-ex exclusion rider. Only if you had group coverage within the past 30 days was this rider waived.

Anonymous said...

you are correct that if you have no prioir coverage you have a six month pre-exisiting exclusion - that is true. what is not true is any differential in the rate. you paid the same rate as someone without pre-ex. realitically, and not specific to your case, having no pre-ex perioid at all would make the only point in time to buy coverage to be when you are driving to the hospital. there has to be some form of coverage requirement to continue to waive pre-ex

Anonymous said...

True the premium was the same but payment for claims was a real headache for the first 6 months.