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Questions for My Dem Congressman after His Health Care Town Hall, where he pointed me out as a liberal he disagrees with

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Saturday I went to a town hall in front of Patrick Murphy's Bristol office. 40-50 people were there-- at least 80% supporting the public option.

Murphy walked up to the group with a three inch binder with a lot of tabs in it. It was the house health insurance bill. He told us he'd read it and when anti-public option people brought up issues, like free health care for illegal immigrants, he was quick to point out the page where that is specifically not allowed.


Murphy's a bluedog Democrat, meaning he insists that legislation pay for itself, or be budget neutral and that's what he said he would require for any healthcare reform.

I was impressed by the way he handled the impassioned concerns of anti-health reform constituents. He usually had answers and when he didn't he offered them further access for discussion. I talked to a few afterwards and they were satisfied with his responses.

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But during the town hall, Patrick pointed out to one reform opponent that he doesn't always go with the liberal point of view. He specifically pointed to ME and said, I don't agree with liberals like Rob, who supports single payer." Later he went on to say that he would oppose single payer which makes all doctors government employees, and which would make all health care run by the government. (I had mixed feelings on him pointing me out. It gave me street cred among other liberals there, but I have his bumper sticker on my car-- one he handed me personally at a house party I held for him, which over 60 people attended, before he was first elected. I felt a bit used, as an example of a liberal he doesn't agree with.)

Note the nurse with the pursed lips. She opposed health reform
That's perrennial Bucks County Nam Vet activist Bill Perry holding the sign

When he gave me my turn to talk, I accused him of using right wing talking points. I don't know of any single payer advocates who support making all doctors government employees or governmentalizing all health suppliers, like hospitals. All single payer means is that government pays the bills. There's no hiring doctors or taking over hospitals. It's all about the PAYMENT system, not about operating businesses.

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Congressman Murphy is not alone. Recently, Joe Sestak and Arlen Specter have been guilty of the same kinds of mis-characterizations of single payer-- describing it in ways that right wing opponents to all health care reform use. Maybe it's an honest mistake or maybe they've talked to too many lobbyists. But this has to stop.

After I chastised Patrick on his using GOP talking points, I asked him a few questions. I didn't get to ask him all the questions I wanted. I'll ask them here.

1- If you really want the most cost effective health plan, why not tell the Congressional Budget office that has told us that it will cost a Trillion dollars over ten years for the Obama plan to do a study on what it will cost for single payer. Previous studies suggest that it could save a trillion or more. That would be a $2 trillion saving over ten years. Last week, at Netroots nation, Howard Dean told me that congressmen have the right to ask for such studies.

2-Why don't you factor in the cost of lost jobs? America's failure to provide single payer, putting the weight of health care on businesses, makes them less competitive with manufacturers in nations where health care is government covered. That's one big reason our automotive industry has been hurt so badly.

Those were the questions I asked. He replied that he didn't think single payer would save money, but didn't say what he based his opinion. He agreed about the lost jobs factor and brought up the cash-for-clunkers program, which he helped sponsor as a way he's helped the auto industry.

I praised his backing this "wildly successful" program and pointed out it was the only one so far implemented which actually used a true bottom up approach. I suggested that we should switch to only using a bottom-up approach with the banks and finance companies-- putting up loan subsidies that banks could use only when consumers and businesses took loans.

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Here are a few more questions I wanted to ask.

3-You mentioned that 20,000 people died nationwide due to lack of healthcare. Do you know how many died in Bucks County? And how many people go without prescription drugs because they have to choose between medication and putting a roof over their children's heads and food on the table?

4-Over a million people, nationwide, went bankrupt and over 60% of them did it because of medical bills, a majority of them WITH health insurance. How many of those bankruptcy victims are in Bucks county? How will a public option system that keeps private insurers in place protect the rest of us?

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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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