Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cordele-Crisp County Chamber of Commerce Sponsers Pre-Legislative Forum

Peggy King of the Cordele Dispatch
CORDELE — Healthcare reform dominated the conversation as the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual pre-legislative forum this past Wednesday.

Representatives from U. S. Senator Saxby Chambliss’ and Congressman Sanford Bishop’s offices as well as State Representative Buddy Harden, Crisp County Commissioner Brad Faircloth and City Commissioner A. J. Rivers addressed the audience.

On behalf of Chambliss, Stephen Meeks said the Senator opposes the healthcare reform bill because it is too expensive, seniors who qualify for Medicare will see their benefits reduced and even with the new program, 24 million Americans still won’t have health insurance coverage.

Chambliss acknowledges that changes need to be made in the present system. Meeks said the Senator advocates that (1) insurance cover pre-existing conditions; (2) coverage be transferred from one job to another; (3) more emphasis be placed on preventative care; (4) that insurance be more affordable; (5) that treatment be based on a patient/doctor relationship and (6) that Americans be able to buy any plan available, even if it’s offered by another country.

The issue, Meeks said, “should be addressed in the most appropriate way so it doesn’t contribute to the national debt.”

Speaking for Bishop, Kenneth Cutts said the Congressman felt like he had to support the House Bill on healthcare reform because “1800 families in his district had filed for bankruptcy because of healthcare issues.”

Medical costs have skyrocketed, according to Cutts. “We have to get our house in order. If the government comes up with a program proposal, it must find a way to fund it.”

Cutts said General Motors spends more on healthcare than it does on the steel that goes in its automobiles. “Starbucks spends more money on healthcare than on coffee,” he added.

“We hope to pull combat forces out of Iraq next year,” he said. “With added troops in Afghanistan, we hope this will allow the people there to take over their country’s operation.”

He mentioned ongoing nuclear issues with countries like Iran and North Korea. “There are a lot of rogue regimes around the world,” he said. “We must be vigilant and not let the wrong people get nuclear weapons.”

As far as the economy is concerned, Cutts said, “we have to get our people back to work.”

Bishop supported the controversial stimulus package, he explained, because doing nothing would have been like “pulling the plug on a sick patient.”

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