Earlier this evening, Congressman Harry Mitchell held a Telephone Town Hall on Health Care Reform.
For an hour, approximately 14,000 CD5 residents listened as the Congressman fielded a couple of dozen questions regarding the current health care reform proposals before Congress.
The callers came from all over the district, and their question were all over the place, too.
This being Arizona, a couple of the callers wanted to make sure that undocumented immigrants wouldn't be eligible for benefits under any plan (they won't be). One of the callers even blamed them for the high cost of health care in the U.S. and stated that they should be barred from even using emergency rooms (regardless of the pesky law from 1986 that bars ERs from refusing to take care of anyone who needs their services.)
Some callers supported a single-payer system, some supported a public option, and others totally opposed any government involvement in health care. A couple were obvious insurance industry/Shadegg plants harping on tort reform and letting insurance companies sell their products across state lines without regard to state laws and regulations.
Through it all, Congressman Mitchell emphasized that he does not support a single-payer plan or any proposal that would lead to a complete government takeover of health insurance. He does support proposals to create health insurance pools (the "co-ops" that have been bandied about as an alternative to a public option). He stated that one of his problems with a single-payer plan is that all current proposals for one have them structured to pay healthcare providers based on Medicare reimbursement rates, which are too low.
Mitchell also emphasized that he will only support a plan that supports increased competition among insurers.
Anyway, I've got to go because of work early in morning. I'll cover more tomorrow.