The Beloit Daily News reported today that Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has no plans to conduct town halls on health care reform in August. Instead, she will hold teleconference calls where citizens can listen to her presentation; and if they want answers, they can submit questions electronically. This way, less people can participate in the meeting, her staff can filter out tough questions, and Baldwin can shelter herself from the true frustration of her constituents.
Baldwin’s apprehension to face her constituents is justified. She sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee which, on July 31st, approved H.R. 3200 with high marks on promoting competition, improving quality care, and protecting consumers from waste, fraud, and abuse. What the Committee doesn’t do is give low marks on expanding government at the cost of 1 trillion dollars, failing to address the spiraling costs of health insurance premiums, ignoring the unsustainable costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and slowly destroying the private health insurance industry.
On July 18th, Tammy Baldwin wrote an editorial for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stating that those who oppose this reformist legislation are in the minority. However, recent Rasmussen polls report that 44% of voters strongly oppose H.R. 3200 while only 26% strongly support it. Not only does the public opposition dwarf the liberal agenda, support for the bill continues to decrease with each passing week it’s scrutinized by the media. According to Rasmussen, approval for the bill fell 5 points from two weeks ago and 8 points from 6 weeks ago.
Weeks ago, Democrats understood that the longer this bill was exposed to the public, the more challenging it would be to process it through the halls of Congress. Initially, there was an urgency to ram the bill through without public knowledge. The 1018 page bill passed through two House committees in just 3 days until some Bluedog Democrats began to consider the longitude of their careers. And now, there is a substantial public outcry about H.R. 3200 – a cry that Democrats have foolishly called a manufactured protest by the GOP and their corporate backers. If the outcry is truly manufactured, then why has H.R. 3200 stalled in the House? The polls do not support the Democrat accusation.
Baldwin’s constituents should admonish her. Her tactics to shut out frustrated citizens is an abridgement of her duties as a representative. Baldwin and the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee are responsible for crafting a bill that will destroy the private health insurance industry and set up a path for a single payer system. And it's time she learns that her viewpoint on health care is not supported by her constituents.
Universal Health Care