Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-2-Ga) held his final town hall meeting on healthcare reform Thursday at Albany State University. I attended the meeting to hear what our congressman had to say about the bills. Congressman Bishop said that he had not made up his mind yet about the various bills floating around Washington because they are a work in progress. Then he proceeded to tell us why the bill in the House will be great for the country. It was apparent that his mind was made up even before the question and answer session.
He said that his vote on healthcare reform does not belong to Obama, Pelosi, or the House leadership, it belongs to the people of the 2nd District. He said that he would not betray the trust of his constituents. I could not help but think if the Cap and Trade bill where a staffer of Bishop’s said that calls were coming in 100 to 1 against the bill, but he voted for it. Did the vote belong to the people of the 2nd District then?
On some occasions, Bishop said that the bill was about healthcare reform. At other times, he said that it was about healthcare insurance reform. Those are two different things.
Bishop said, “Some will argue that Congress should not be pushing healthcare reform now given the state of our economy, yet the worst thing that we could possibly do is do nothing. The cost of inaction is too great.” According to the chart and study quoted by Saxby Chambliss, the House bill will increase the cost of healthcare more than doing nothing at all according to the Senate Budget Committee.
Bishop quoted facts from the state of Georgia which included us ranking 14th in obesity in adults. He then went on to say that, “These numbers are unacceptable for the United States of America that is supposed to be the number one super power in the world.” The problem is that he is comparing one state to the others and saying that Georgia’s ranking somehow reflects the standing of the nation when compared to the world. In other words, he did not compare apples to apples. What I find to be unacceptable is a nanny state that tells its citizens how much they are allowed to weigh
Before visitors were allowed to ask questions, Congressman Bishop quoted Edmund Burke. He explained that Burke was one of our founding fathers and made this statement in 1774 on the roll of the Representative. “Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”
The only problem is that Edmund Burke was NOT a founding father and he made that statement in his address to the electors of Bristol. The year was correct though. Burke did say it in 1774. This may seem like a minor detail, but if we cannot trust the congressman to know the founding fathers, can we really trust him to know what is in the healthcare bill.
The congressman gave the web site where the draft of the bill from the House could be viewed. He also made it a point to hold the bill up before the crowd twice and say that he has read it. If you did not want to read the bill, Bishop provided the people with a summary of the bill.
Bishop talked briefly about cooperatives, but he also talked about the public option plan. He said, and repeated it for emphasis, that it would not be funded by government subsidies, but would be funded by the premium that it collects. He said government will have to advance start-up costs, but those costs would be repaid. This will give competition to the private sector to help drive the price down.
Since when does the government need to provide competition to the private sector to drive the price down? There is competition in the private sector already. Should the government start setting up fast food restaurants to provide competition to McDonalds or does Burger King do that? I have been puzzled by this for awhile. How can the government with its deep pockets provide fair competition to any business in the private sector that has to make money to pay employees and expenses? Furthermore, he says that funding will come from premiums, yet the CBO says that taxes will go up and still there will be a deficit of over $250 billion.
Written by Bill Waller.
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Clip of Sanford Bishop’s Speech in Albany, Ga on August 20, 2009.