A first-hand account by Michael Iurilli
There was a women’s health fair today at Middlesex County College from 9am-12pm. An email had gone out telling the TEA-parties that the event was happening, that Frank would be there, and asking for people to go and try to talk to Frank on healthcare related questions, because he’s hiding from his constituents. I arrived at 9:00, with my mother, and sister, and found about 75 people there. Without disturbing anyone, the three of us quietly took seats at a table to wait to see when (of IF) Frank would arrive. Looking around, I saw there were about a dozen groups, including the congressional glaucoma caucus providing eye exams and glaucoma screenings, the cancer institute of NJ, the HealthCare institute of NJ, the Family Support Center, the AHA, the American Diabetes assoc., St. Peters Hospital (a ‘pro-life’ Catholic hospital), Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, the Lupus Foundation, and others, some of which were providing glucose tests, blood pressure tests, information on osteoporosis and its prevention, and stroke awareness and prevention. Frank even had a table for his Congressional office, run by staff. I picked up a booklet titled ‘End of Life – Helping With Comfort and Care’. I was disturbed by the order of the title – comfort before care. It reminded me of Obama’s comments about just giving granny pain meds, instead of care. A quick scan of the table of contents confirms the order of importance to the author: Providing comfort comes before finding care.
The event was advertised as a HealthCare Institute of NJ event, with Frank as a "featured guest". They must not have gotten the memo that it was really a Frank campaign event, because at about 9:15 we were approached by an event administrator and the Chief of Police, and asked why we were here. They must have seen the sign that my mother carried, which said "Hey Frank, I have special needs too!" We were informed that the congressman's office had reserved the location through proper channels, and that if we were there to protest, we would have to do so outside. We responded that we were there to ask the congressman a question, and inquired as to when he was scheduled to arrive. We were told he should be arriving at approximately 9:45. After telling us again that protesting must be done outside, they wandered off, but stayed within line of sight to make sure we didn’t cause trouble (like a visually impaired 50 year old woman, her 26 year old son and 19 year old daughter would cause trouble).
At 9:30, I wandered past the tables, and asked one of the ladies manning Frank’s congressional table when he was scheduled to arrive. She said that she didn’t know, and that she didn’t know his schedule. He arrived at about 10:00, and he talked with some of the patrons at their tables. I guided my mom over to him so she could ask her question, while I set up my phone to try and record the exchange. (Unfortunately, the memory card in my phone got jostled – causing it to not read properly, and not record). While we were waiting for him to finish talking with 2 ladies at a table who were fawning over him “I watch you on CSPANN and CNN”, and “you look so good on TV”, and “we’re all supporting you”, my mom overheard some of the conversations at a nearby table. One lady visiting the table that provided blood pressure and glucose tests was saying “I don’t really need to be checked, I saw my doctor last week, and I’m taking my meds”. -- Well, if that’s the case, why are you here wasting the nurses’ time, and using the equipment for unneeded medical care? Let someone else who hasn’t been to see their doctor and needs the tests done see the nurse and get tested. --
When it was our turn, my mom asked him “why should I trust you, when you won’t take the health insurance you’re trying to force on me”? His response was “that’s not true, I will be using the same insurance”. She obviously didn’t believe him, as she has read about what’s going on with the health care bill and its implications. She told him that she was from Canada, and knew first-hand how bad the healthcare system was there, and asked why we would want a system like Canada’s or Europe’s. He responded that the bill wasn’t a government takeover, or a single payer system, and that it didn’t even include the public option “which [he] would have liked to see”. He said that we need to force “more competition among companies, while providing a base coverage for everyone”, because some people don’t have all types of coverage. She responded to that by saying that she wanted to choose whether to carry coverage for a certain type of procedure or not.
He told us that we “shouldn’t listen to the insurance companies, because they’re only trying to make a buck”, and that “the insurance companies will lie to you”, to which she replied “and I’m sure you would too”. She also mentioned that she was disturbed by the bill because it would cover abortions, which he said was untrue, because the law prevented money from being spent in that manner. She asked him how he knew that, and if he had read the bill, and he said “of course I read the bill, I wrote it”.
I then asked my question about why I should be forced to pay for health care? His response to that was the only totally true thing he said in our conversation. He said “without the young and healthy, and the wealthy paying into the system, it is unsustainable”. Well DUH! I then asked “why should I be forced to spend my money on healthcare – which I (up to now) could CHOOSE not to carry, especially if I want to save for a down-payment on a house, or save to buy an engagement/wedding ring. The bill even allows you to go to the IRS and withholding my tax return to pay for it”, and he repeated his previous response about the “healthy and wealthy needing to pay, to balance the expenses for all, otherwise the costs would continue to rise for everyone, which is what’s happening now.”
At this point, his aide came up to him and said he needed to move on. I guess they didn’t want to hear from those that disagree with him, and don’t think that he knows what’s best for us. Instead, they want to hear from those who will suck up to him, and fawn over him. So, reviewing what we learned about the event, He paid for the space. He brought a photographer (with a compact body/model camera). He had a table. And he had people there to fawn over him. Overall, I think it shows he’s all for shills who’ll make him look/feel good, not the voters who actually have a real opinion.
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