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Health care debate comes to the SCV

McKeon holds tele-town hall meeting to discuss hot topics

Posted: August 17, 2009 9:08 p.m.
Updated: August 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Santa Clarita Valley residents sounded off in the health care debate Monday night during a tele-town hall meeting held by Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Santa Clarita.

More than 2,400 people participated in the tele-town hall meeting either by phone or on McKeon's Web site.

Steve of Valencia questioned McKeon's position on health care.

"Why do you oppose a public option? FedEx survives competition against the post office. Bookstores survive competing against the library," Steve said.

McKeon didn't waver from his belief that the government shouldn't compete with private industry. "When you get into competition with the government it's a lost cause," he said.

McKeon noted the government's ability to raise taxes to operate its health care system, which gives it a financial advantage over private insurers.

Steve argued that countries with government run health care provide better services than the United States.

"You stated that Great Britain and Canada have lousy health care," Steve said to McKeon. "The World Heath Organization ranks those countries above the (U.S.)"

McKeon deferred to Dr. Tom Price on the question of health care ranking. Price, a congressman from Georgia, joined the call to offer expert analysis of on health care reform.

Price said American health care ranks as the best in the world regardless of counter claims made by the World Health Organization.

"The (World Health Organization) doesn't speak specifically to disease treatment. They talk in terms of the number of uninsured," he said. Price laid out a scenario where a patient suffers a heart attack and talked about the chances of survival.

Although he provided no hard numbers, Price said the chances of survival for the heart attack patient are greater in the U.S. when compared to Great Britain or Canada.

Most callers during the tele-town hall poked holes in health care reform package as they dissected the plan being pushed by President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

"Where in the constitution does it say I need to be this compassionate and provide people these things?" asked Thomas. Another caller asked why health care needs to be reformed to benefit the uninsured many of whom don't want health care.

Many of the callers continued to echo rumors that Obama's plan calls for euthanasia of senior citizens as a cost cutting measure.

"I didn't work all my life so the government can decide whether I can live or die," said one caller during the tele-town hall meeting.

Obama spent last week dismissing rumors of senior mandate euthanasia and senior citizen advocate groups like the American Association of Retires Person have declared the euthanasia rumors a complete ruse.

McKeon and Price did little to dismiss the rumors Monday night.

"There is an end-of-life mandate in the bill," Price said.

Shortly after McKeon's tele-town hall meeting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issues a response.

"Congressman McKeon continues to perpetuate false claims to scare people into thinking they'll lose their health insurance. But independent, non-partisan organizations have found that McKeon's claims just aren't true - and in fact that they are wildly inaccurate."


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