U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston held a series of four town hall meetings on healthcare reform at the Valdosta State University Center Monday afternoon.
The meeting had originally been scheduled to take place in the University Center Theater, but was moved to another room to better accommodate the larger than expected crowd. It quickly became apparent, however, that this room was also inadequate. The room was packed to overflowing with a long line of people still waiting to get in.
Kingston’s assistants passed out petitions for those in attendance to sign voicing their dissent with President Obama’s healthcare reform initiative currently being debated in Congress. Forms voicing approval with the government-managed plan were available courtesy of the group Organizing for America.
The heading on the petition opposing a national healthcare plan states: “We, the undersigned, oppose a government takeover of our healthcare and urge Congressman Jack Kingston to vote against any bill that creates socialized medicine.” In the survey on Kingston’s Web site, the word “socialized” is replaced with “nationalized.”
The democratic petition states, “I support President Obama's three principles for real healthcare reform, and I call on Congress to enact a plan upholding them in 2009.” The principles themselves are to:
*Reduce Costs — Rising health care costs are crushing the budgets of governments, businesses, individuals and families and they must be brought under control.
*Guarantee Choice — Every American must have the freedom to choose their plan and doctor – including the choice of a public insurance option.
*Ensure Quality Care for All — All Americans must have quality and affordable healthcare.
Several audience members brought up overspending during the Bush administration.
“That’s a good point,” Kingston said. “The thing we have got to learn to do in Washington is start acting like we’re spending our own money, right now with our national debt. And I’ll say this, as a Republican, we blew it, we spent lots of money.”
When questions about Bush administration policies persisted, Kingston said, “I’m not here to defend the Republican party. I’m here to say as a Republican we spent money, and if you want to say as a Democrat you did not, I don’t think you’re coming to the table with sincerity.”