Learning By Listening: An Epilogue

A follow-up by the congressman to his post leading up to the Town Halls. – – – Promoted by Rosi

Cross Posted on Daily Kos

We have all seen the news and read the reports about the disruptions and obstructionism taking place at town hall meetings all across the country. However, this did not deter me from coming home from the legislative session in Washington to brief my constituents and neighbors, just as I have done the last 20 years as a member of the House of Representatives.

The health care debate brings out strong opinions on all sides of the political spectrum.  And these feelings surely were on full display at my recent town hall meetings last Monday and Tuesday.  Both in Piscataway and Red Bank, we had huge crowds, as many people waited several hours to come and discuss the pending health care legislation in Congress, among other issues. Emotions ran high in some instances, because clearly we must fix our broken system to cover 46 million uninsured Americans and usher in new medical technologies to increase efficiency and accessibility.

Overall, I think we had a productive discussion about the reform bill and how it will bring costs down.  However, some town hall attendees showed up with no interest in taking part in civil discourse, but rather to simply shout and heckle the other participants.  While this is a testament to the First Amendment and the democracy we live in, we must not let the loudest and most vocal opponents deter our ultimate goal of passing meaningful health care reform.      

Families in New Jersey’s 6th District and all across the United States need strong, decision action when it comes to health care reform.Behind the statistics are real stories. Right now, our health system is working against our families, not for us.  When dealing with illness and at their most vulnerable, the last thing people need is an insurance company fighting tooth and nail about coverage they need and deserve.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has district-by-district analysis of the effects HR 3200 would have on small businesses, seniors, Medicare, health care providers, and the uninsured.

America’s Affordable Health Choices Act would provide significant benefits in the 6th Congressional District of New Jersey:  up to 17,300 small businesses could receive tax credits to provide coverage to their employees; 4,300 seniors would avoid the donut hole in Medicare Part D; 800 families could escape bankruptcy each year due to unaffordable health care costs; health care providers would receive payment for $99 million in uncompensated care each year; and 59,000 uninsured individuals would gain access to high-quality, affordable health insurance.

I am confident we will have real health care reform this year…not merely health insurance reform.  I know we can create laws that meet the fundamental principles President Obama campaigned on in 2008. And I am confident this reform will contain a public option.  All along, I’ve maintained that the only way to bring true health care reform with a strong, robust public option, and I’ll continue the fight to make sure the House bill contains such a provision.  Rest assured, I am lobbying my colleagues in the US Senate, as well.  

While it is true that the recent town hall meetings have been more eventful than in recent years, but it has always been one of the more fulfilling parts of my job as a your congressman.  Representing my constituents and engaging in civil discourse is a key part of the democratic process, and I hope everyone who took part last week got something out of the conversation, as well.

As always, I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, or visit my website to stay up-to-date with the latest news.

Comment (1)

  1. rjsnj

    Thank for having the town halls.  The people that constantly disrupted and heckled do NOT represent your supporters.


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