Then Cong. Smith asked for comments, and the comments began. The first question: would this new plan include tax payer support for abortion? The next question, from one of the young fellas sitting in front of me: on page … of the House bill, (reading from a copy he had obtained from the internet) it says plainly that if an individual elects the public insurance option, he can never ever have private insurance again. Then many people in the room started to vocalize and clap, drowning out Cong. Smith’s response, and shouting arguments to him.
He asked for people to line up at the microphones for comments. Many people did line up… They spoke of their distrust of the government; the post office, social security, etc; they did not want their health care in the hands of bureaucrats. Several people said in a very angry tone of voice, I just want you (Cong. Smith) to be the first to take this new public insurance, and see how YOU like it. At this, the people in the room jeered, some shook their fists, some said angrily Yeah!
When Cong Smith then took a question from an elderly person sitting up front, who had not lined up at the microphone, a young man shouted loudly that she should wait her turn, why did HE have to stand up if she didn’t… Much supportive vocalization from the seated people. More comments from the next person at the microphone: People who are uninsured now can afford to buy insurance, they just don’t. Many people qualify for medicaid and they just don’t bother. The statistics of infant mortality (the US being number 42 or so in industrialized countries) are false…
So um, hey, maybe reporters could say, walk up to these “opponents” and ask them basic stuff. It wouldn’t be that hard, if there were reporters available and if they knew how to do their jobs and stuff. Just an idea. I guess it’s kind of hard to do since so many veteran political reporters are not working for newspapers any longer.
All this “anger,” and nobody to cover it. If editorial boards ever caught wind of this from reading their own newspapers, fainting couches and smelling salts would be in darn short supply. There is nothing more horrible than partisan incivility, as the editorial boards so frequently remind us.
(Props to WFSE Political Blog.)