Frank Pallone Health Care Town Hall – Piscataway

Frank Pallone took questions about health care reform in an increasingly heated room for more than 3.5 hours last night, at Piscataway Municipal Hall. Overhead lighting was harsh and the room filled to capacity, with people standing eight deep in back, and down both sides.

So many, that Pallone ran 3 full sessions, emptying out each time for a new crop of people. Each session, its own rhythm. The first had the most organized agitators from the teabag movement. Their antagonizing started outside, even before the doors were opened. Section 2, the most substantive questions – on both sides – and people willing to listen to the answers. The weary third session – most people waiting hours hours to get in – the largest, and the most concerned with preventive care, and with the side issue of abortion.

It was also the only session with many young people.

I was glad to see them show up. Particularly given this, noting that young Obama supprters are AWOL from the health care fight. And that’s messed up. This is signature legislation from the Obama era and change still needs the life, drive and energy of young progressives.

Most of the people walked into the room with opinions gelled, looking for that microphone. Pallone, even-tempered even when the room got shouty, sometimes veered into the wonky.

Substantive questions were on mental health parity, fraud prevention, impact of public option on the deficit, and impact on the disabled. But those were high points.

Cuckoo. Liars. Nazis. Socialists. “He hasn’t even read the bill!” You heard this, too. People angry, mistrustful of government, certain they’re getting bamboozled. A stunning number expressing complete indifference to people without care.

Here’s what surprised me:

I expected misperceptions, even deliberate misdirection. Got that. I wasn’t prepared for so many of the anti-reform agitators fully believing that what HR 3200is, is single-payer health care.  

Make the distinction more effecitvely between the public option and single-payer. Dial down the anger (both sides, I hope).Get me some young blood. And then, maybe we got ourselves a ballgame.

Pallone has another Town Hall TONIGHT 7pm, Red Bank Middle School, 101 Harding Road, Red Bank, 07701. Rush Holt’s is Wed 7pm: Middletown Arts Center, 36 Church St., Middletown 07748. John Adler’s Wed 4pm: Energy Expo, Burlington County Inst. of Technology, Westampton Campus, 695 Woodlane Road, Westampton, 08060. And Adler needs your help on a course correction.  

Comments (8)

  1. zora01

    paraphrased “Greed is the penultimate human quality. It’s the engine behind innovation and ingenuity. If we take away the profit motive it will be like socialism. Trust me, I’ve lived under socialism half my life. We should go back and follow the path of Regan!”

    Reply
  2. tabbycat31

    I have a few signs from a rally I attended on Sunday that I plan on bringing, but i would rather see a civil process than an all out war with teabaggers.  Maybe I should not attend the first session if he has three sessions.   For the record, I am under 30 and working on this fight.

    Reply
  3. Got Kids

    Bill Clinton implemented the Direct Loan program to stem the tide of rising costs to finance higher education. It worked for me. And when the Republicans took control of Washington they did everything in their power to destroy the program. John Boehner made it his pet project.

    Turns out most people don’t like getting ripped off to pay for college and/or a post graduate education. For example, Direct Loans never charged me a Late Fee. There is a strong analogy here which I have yet to hear a politican make.

    That may be becuase after the banks realized they were not going to win, they have moved away from student financing and more loans are flowing into the Direct Loan program. Ala, the “back door to single payer” argument. But iI still think the analogy is worth exploring.

    Reply

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