Despite the town halls, the people feel shut out of the health-care debate

According to a new poll:

Can anything be done about this? I mean, it seems like members of Congress have been inviting public input on a scale unprecedented in the deliberation of any national issue. How can that not be enough?!

It’s not enough because of the last sentence of your quote:

I’m guessing that Ms. Turtenwald is one of those who believes in a strong public option, and think the insurance companies will stop at nothing to keep it off the table.

I felt this the first time around, when Clinton tried it. All we got were two or three phrases.
This time, Obama keeps saying general things when everyone wants specifics. His examples of saving money do not mention that the main waste in the system is insurance itself. Don’t collect payments and keep insurance records, just cure the sick and pay the doctors. No need for insurance. Other countries do that. Japan has no health care insurance industry.

There is no set policy. The Senate and House are working separately to formulate a plan. Then they will each pass one. Then the differences will have to be resolved. Obama can have input but unless he says he will veto a plan without the characteristics he wants, he will not be the force behind it. He has made a few speeches about it but he is not laying down the law.
He should say without a public option he will not accept any plan. Then they might get serious.
At this point the biggest force is the insurance companies and health care providers. How do we counter the power of huge money?

I feel this is a misleading statement, as health insurance is a critical part of the Japanese system whether employer or government provided.


But, for whatever reason, people do not typically refer to a government insurance program (nor to a government program of any kind) as being part of any “industry.”

I got the impression that the town hall meetings and requests for input were really just disguised sales pitches rather than sincere efforts to incorporate the will of the people into the plan.

Now I’m not saying that’s necessarily really the case, I’m just saying that’s the impression I personally got from casually being exposed to coverage of the issue. I might be more cynical than average, though.

Shouldn’t it be because of the town halls, people feel shut out? If all the Reps are going to do is cater to the lowest common denominator and shout and scream, then no wonder people feel shut out. Their side has absolutely refused to debate the issues honestly. When one party representing millions of people steadfastly feed lies and empty rhetoric into the system, then the obvious consequence is that people feel like they have no voice.

My recommendation: Listen to only Democrats talk about health care, that should give everyone plenty of honest information to make an informed opinion

I feel left out 'cause it’s a big miss-mash of ideas.

The town halls are bogus because you can’t just show up. Those town halls are very carefully orchestrated to have just the right amount of pro and a few “anti-reform” people to make it look good. Now that’s not a rap against Mr Obama, all politicians do it.

I can’t show up and ask Mr Obama anything I want, so the whole idea is bogus. Mr Obama knows in advance, what questions (from both pro and con) will be asked so he can study the questions and not look stupid with the answers.

Only once we get a plan passed can we get a true idea of what’s going on and then say “Yes, this will work,” or “No, this won’t work” and give reasons to back it up.

To get into debate, Mr Obama also has, at least in Illinois politics a favourite way of saying “Look I tried but failed,” this way he can get credit without actually producing results. Unfortunately other politicians do this as well and Americans no longer hold politicians up to backing their statements. If a politician can prove he tried and was knocked down… Well trying is as good as succeeding in this case

Lastely the economy is still a mess. Banks still are running amok doing what they want, and more Americans HAVE health care than don’t. So the economy or getting out of their economic mess, whether it’s credit cards, mortgages, student loans or whatever takes first priority and those people feel that their needs aren’t being addressed

I think people are referring to the townhall meetings of the Senators and Representatives.

I don’t think Obama knows all of the questions in advance. No question that the audience is as pro-Obama or pro-healthcare reform as possible. Bush used the same tactics. Some dissenters will slip past but not many.

No. Trying and failing is considered a weakness to the opposing party and dissenters within his own party. Once he fails on a large issue the opposition will smell the blood in the water. His allies will run for cover and will be less likely to support him on any controversial issues.

I agree

But the Japanese system isn’t entirely government run - employer provided health care is provided by private insurance firms, albeit heavily regulated ones that are run as nonprofits.

That is an industry indeed, and it has its own costs associated with it.

Well it could be that they are not debating. Maybe they’d feel like they were part of the debate if they were rational.

It’s not anyone else’s fault if you’re invited to a debate and instead of debating all you do is scream and yell.

Not to mention that Japan is in a worse credit crunch than we are, with a much higher proportion of debt to GDP precisely BECAUSE they were the first on the Welfare State bandwagon, and they can’t be bothered to produce new taxpayers to pay for their old folks.

Is that why? I thought our capitalistic meltdown had something to do with the financial problems of most industrial countries. I guess they were not in on credit default swaps . they must not have lost billions like every other country who as sold a bill of goods by our financial pros.

MHO: it’s not that people haven’t had an opportunity to express their views, it’s that people expressed their views and then Congress ignored all that and did something else instead.

Sadly, we can’t even blame the Republicans for this.

The industry and interest groups have spent $380m (£238m) in recent months influencing healthcare legislation through lobbying, advertising and in direct political contributions to members of Congress.

A primary target of criticism is Senator Max Baucus, the single largest recipient of health industry political donations and chairman of the finance committee that drafted the legislation criticised by Woolhander.
The committee this week twice voted against including public insurance in the legislation, with Baucus opposing it both times.
Baucus took $1.5m from the health sector for his political fund in the past year.