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.
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.
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.
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?