Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, a pediatric physician, started off the discussion Wednesday morning with a chilling statistic – there have been 860 deaths so far this year due to opioid overdoses. Virginia is on par to reach 1000 deaths by year end he said.
Dr. Northam, met with leaders at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital to discuss the opioid public health emergency and to highlight policy solutions he will push for in the 2017 General Assembly session and beyond.
Nancy Agee, President and CEO of Carilion Clinic
Steve Arner, President/CEO, Carilion Medical Center, Nancy Agee, President and CEO of Carilion Clinic, Dr. Willia
Obama Care, socialism, watered-down, slip-sliding that slippery slope to daemon national healthcare was the topic at Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s healthcare town hall meeting Thursday night. The auditorium at Hidden Valley High School was full.
The only thing missing were the “death panels.” Goodlatte assured an 85-year old women there was no such thing in any of the plans. He did call the current plan “rationed health care” but stopped short of actually calling them “death panels.” Instead Goodlatte took a more gentle approach by just calling them plain panels that would make medical care decisions based on age.
I sat next to Warren Hargis from Roanoke who became a bit vocal and animated during the show discussion. He finally got to speak his mind reading words written by Abraham Lincoln. He became calm after that.
Brian Lang, chair of the Roanoke County Democratic Party tried to get traction on the public option (aka government option). Lang was shouted down without Goodlatte calming the crowd so he could equally be heard. Lang was but one of a few that challenged Republican Goodlatte. There was no doubt that he is against the public option and there would be no persuading him on that – “scrap it” repeated Goodlatte.
“Associations” is what Goodlatte wants to see. It was not clear what these associations would be comprised of – partly small business pooling together along industry lines. Pooling is what Democratic Congressman Rick Boucher favors. Goodlatte also wanted tax deductions for healthcare premiums and lifetime spending accounts. A major theme throughout his talking points was to allow insurance companies to compete nationally bringing more choices for everyone.
He also wants to see “liability reform” in the bill which played well with the crowd. Goodlatte said he would favor term limits as long as they applied to everyone in the congress and senate.
Both Chris Head, business man and Melvin Williams, attorney were fingered as friendly speakers. They spoke eloquently in line with Goodlatte. Head and Williams both ran in the Republican primary to replace Delegate William Fralin in the 17thdistrict. Head asked what could he/we do to help defeat the bill. Goodlatte jumped in with “call your U.S. Senators.”
Bill Cleaveland, the 17th district successful primary candidate running against Democrat, Gwen Mason said after the meeting that:
“The town hall meeting was an excellent idea and there were a lot of good questions raised there and he [Goodlatte] was very helpful in explaining his position and its an indication of how serious the grassroots movement is and I encourage everybody to get involved and contact their senators and let their voice be heard.”
Goodlatte praised the crowd for their behavior compared to other town halls. I didn’t get a chance to ask Lang if he felt that way. (See Lang in the video).
Goodlatte called the 1000-page House Democratic healthcare plan “government interference … the government option would write the same rules for everybody.” Employers would drop their more expensive private health plans and then “everyone would go over to the government insurance option.”
President Obama has said lately that the government option is not an absolute necessity. This has not pleased some but “drew a negative response from those who wanted to see a single-payer health plan,” said Goodlatte. Now though he thinks the President has backed away from that and Goodlatte is looking to September 9 for direction when the President will address Congress.
Goodlatte would “scrap the current bill in congress and start over again.” This brought loud applause from the crowd. He believes Congress cedes too much authority to the executive branch – both Republicana and Democrata.
He touted his ever failing “balanced budget amendment.” To illustrate the trillion dollars in debt that the healthcare bill would accumulate Goodlatte said that the amount is equal to $1000 bills stacked to reach 75 feet high. “That’s where I’d like to put this bill,” said Goodlatte.