Crowd hears health care talk|Bonner: ‘I am opposed to this bill.’

Published 12:37 am Monday, August 24, 2009

By By Kerry Whipple Bean

U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner held up two thick three-ring binders filled with more than 1,000 pages of the House health care reform bill Thursday.
But Bonner also told constituents at the town hall meeting at the East Brewton Civic Center that he believes some health care reform is needed — just not as prescribed by the Democrats so far.
Bonner said he particularly is opposed to the “public option” — a government run health plan that Bonner said amounts to socialized medicine.
There has been some indication that President Barack Obama would be willing to drop that public option, but some House Democrats have said they would back the bill on their own without Republican support.
During their August recess, most members of Congress have held similar town hall meetings in their districts, with health care reform the dominant topic at the meetings.
Record crowds have greeted Bonner at his meetings throughout last week, he said. Thursday’s East Brewton town hall meeting was moved from the East Brewton City Hall to the civic center because officials knew they would likely have a large crowd.
Bonner said he has been asked several questions repeatedly about the bill — including whether Americans would be able to keep the health care plan they have and their current relationship with their doctors.
While the proposed legislation does allow citizens to keep their current plan, Bonner said he fears the government-run public option would eventually put an end to those private plans.
Bonner also addressed some of the controversies and misunderstandings about the bill, including the idea that the health care legislation proposes “death panels” that would decide whether the fate of the elderly.
While Bonner said he personally supports making such end-of-life decisions such as living wills and other options, Medicare is going to run out of money within the next decade.
Bonner also said the bill does not include abortion as a health care benefit. “But there’s not a provision that says it won’t be in there in the future,” he said.
Bonner said he believes there are other ways to reform problems with the health care system, including opening up borders between states so that residents can purchase health care plans in another state.
He also noted that businesses receive a tax credit for offering health insurance to their employees, so that could be extended to individuals as well.
Bonner also suggested allowing associations — he used the Rotary Club as an example — to band together to purchase cheaper health coverage in the same way that businesses do for their employees.

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