Allen Worrell, News Writer
August 4, 2009
A grassroots organization seeking to prevent a government seizure of American health care found plenty of supporters in Hillsville on July 28.
Ben Marchi, Virginia State Director of Americans for Prosperity, rolled into the Carroll County Governmental Complex with a Hands Off My Health Care tour bus urging citizens to sign a petition against President Barack Obamas health care plan.
Lobbyists, unions and politicians in Washington are trying to seize control of our health care. Patients like us have been left out. We cant sit by and let this happen, or else we lose our choice of doctors, all control of our health insurance options, timely access to quality health care, money by paying for a government takeover, the group claims in literature passed out at the event.
Marchi urged citizens to go to www.JoinPatientsFirst.com to sign a petition asking legislators to oppose greater government control of health care. Local Delegate Bill Carrico was also on hand to lend his support to the group and to speak out against the current health care plan currently sitting before Congress. In proposing the plan, Carrico said Congress is using the number of 47 to 49 million people in America without health insurance. That is probably an accurate number, Carrico said, but doesnt tell the whole story. He said among those that dont need health care reform are the 20 million people in America illegally that havent paid taxes. Carrico said they arent deserving of a health care system because they havent paid into it. Carrico said 18 million other Americans choose not to have health care because they are healthy and dont need it right now.
So we are looking at about 11 million people who really need some reform made to where they can afford health care, Carrico said. Thats the problem, making health care affordable. There are ways that we can do that.
Part of those reforms would be cutting down on frivolous lawsuits that drive the cost of health care up, Carrico said. Investing in programs to provide insurance for the young and those in need that cant afford health care is another method of reform Carrico mentioned.
We can do that, but we cant do it with a rushed government that cares nothing about the people with a president at the helm that is arrogant, Carrico said. That is why we are standing up here today to appeal to you. Lets do something great for America and lets develop a team with Americans for Prosperity. Lets tell our congressmen and lets tell our senators that if you vote for this somebody will take your place in Washington, D.C.
Marchi urged the Carroll crowd to write letters to the editor and take action or else Congressman Rick Boucher and State Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb would think the proposed health care legislation is acceptable. Marchi said he got an e-mail earlier in the day from a group in favor of the health care legislation urging citizens to tell Warner and Webb to stay in session until the August recess.
And you know why? Because they know that if they adjourn to the August recess without having health care reform that we are going to slice and dice. We are going to cut it to pieces, Marchi said. We are heading after we leave here to Wytheville and then we are heading down to Bristol because we want to make sure Bristol is warmed up for when President Obama gets there (on July 29).
Marchi said the tour bus plans to make 26 stops in Virginia on a 13-state tour in an effort to reach constituents of key senators on health care, urging them to speak out on behalf of patients and against a government takeover.
Carroll County Clerk of Circuit Court Carolyn Honeycutt said politicians dont like to have their feet held to the fire. She said Boucher was in the area for a Town Hall meeting recently, where he was questioned on some of the things he voted on, especially the 300-page Cap and Tax Bill.
Bill (Carrico) asked him if he read it. He said, I dont have to read it, I wrote it. That was his response because he is as arrogant as the man in the White House is, Honeycutt said of Boucher. I like my healthcare. I am happy to have it. I am happy to pay for it. I am sporting a new knee right now that I am very delighted to have. I went to my doctor last fall and we did a few treatments.
Honeycutt said she knew of someone from another country who has waited two years to have the same procedure done.
That is the difference in making my decision about my own health care as compared to a lady who would like to have that done. She is waiting on her government to decide if she can have it done and when, Honeycutt said. We dont want to go there folks. The only way they are going to know that we dont want to go there is for you to go to these town meetings and tell Mr. Boucher, No, dont vote that way. You represent me and I am telling you not to do it. You work for me and no one else. So participate like you are today. This is just one issue, but if you think about everything that has happened since January, everything has gone down the tube in my opinion. We need to protect our freedom, we need to protect our insurance, we need to protect our pocketbooks. We need to protect our children and our grandchildrens pocketbooks as well.
Marchi urged citizens to get copies of the petition and to distribute them as widely as possible. He said rural hospitals would be affected greatly by government-controlled health care because they would have a hard time getting reimbursed.
Carrico said small businesses would also be affected because they would be penalized eight percent of their salary if they dont carry into the federal program. He said it would also put a strain on the number of doctors that will be able to provide health care. The bill would also often prevent patients from getting the best possible care, he said. The burden to cover the plan would also be on the backs of the American taxpayers, Carrico said.
One citizen asked about a mandate from Congress that would include Congressmen and their officials to be a part of the same health care system.
A Congressman from Louisiana introduced a bill that said if you vote for this then you will agree to be a part of this, Carrico said. I havent seen a whole lot of names on that bill.
One citizen wanted to know where the proposed plan for government-controlled health care came from. Marchi said Hillary Clinton rolled the plan out, but Obama has taken it further.
We need to be very brave and serious about this because Barack Obama is a lot smarter than Hillary was about this plan. Hillary rolled it out and said, Here is my plan, and we decimated it. We cut it to shreds, Marchi said. Barack Obama was a lot smarter. He told Congress, You send me something and I will sign it. And thats why we didnt have an actual plan until a couple of weeks ago. We didnt have a bill until just recently because they know the less time they give the American people to look at it, the more chance they have to pull the wool over our eyes.
Carrico said Hawaii tried a similar state-run government health care plan that failed.
Seven months into the program they had to throw up the hangar because it was costing so much money, Carrico said. It will be a trillion or two trillion dollar program and it will continue to grow until we cant afford it.
One citizen asked if all doctors, physicians, dentists and optometrists would be forced into this plan.
Yes, and one of the biggest problems with that is the issue of abortion, Marchi said. In this bill is government-funded abortion. The fact that you have so many Catholic hospitals that will absolutely refuse, they will shut down. And as a result you will even have less health care to go around.
Marchi said citizens can go to www.JoinPatientsFirst.com to find points to draft letters to the editor. Carrico said letters from citizens are extremely important in this endeavor.
It is really important that you send them because Congress needs to dust off the Constitution. It is we the people. It is a government of the people and thats where we have went astray, Carrico said. It is not Washington, D.C., it is us. It is us who will be directly affected, so the people have to speak. You need to get that message to them because we have such a big problem right now with our president running around other countries saying something so half-cocked that it doesnt make any sense and doesnt represent the people of America, so you need to do that.
One citizen wanted to know what the government plan would do to Medicare. Marchi said it would be gone in universal health care because everybody would be treated the same.
At that point, citizens began to speak up.
People better wise up to our government, one woman said. They are taking too many of our freedoms away from us.
The American people had better take this country back from these nuts, another person added.