Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.
One look at the crowded parking lots affirmed my suspicions: Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner's Town Hall meeting was going to be packed!
The meeting was in Elm Grove's Village Hall courtroom. About 175 people packed the room with about another 75 out in the hallway. Prior to the meeting, one woman summed up the sentiment in the room when she greeted a friend in the audience, "I've never been to one of these before, but I'm so mad!"
The colossal 1,990 page bill was sitting on the judges bench. Congressman Sensenbrenner posted the bill on his website, if you need a little light reading. State Representative Leah Vukmir was also present, but since ObamaCare (my term throughout for government health insurance reform) is a Federal issue, most of the questions were directed to Congressman Sensenbrenner.
To aid you in viewing the subject matter, the question - Q: - or concern will be stated first, the response - A: - after. Subjects are in bold.
Q: Government control: Nearly all of the attendees who spoke, were against ObamaCare in any shape or form. The first question cut to the heart of the issue, This isn't about health care, it's about controlling our lives. Judging from the reaction of the crowd, the vast majority agreed with her statement.
A: Congressman Sensenbrenner pointed out that ObamaCare doesn't train 1 more doctor, 1 more nurse or build 1 more hospital, yet it is to cover millions more Americans. [How many more? 36 million is often referenced.] When you put all these new people in the system, we are going to have delays. I hate to use the word rationing, but we are going to end up having delays and [some government board] will decide, this person's problem is worse than this person's, Sensenbrenner explained.
Q: We're broke! Question 3 was puzzling. A woman, who was quick to point out she was an independent, chided Sensenbrenner and the audience, I'm angry at all people who think the government must pay for them. We're out of money! In other words, she was yelling at us for wanting ObamaCare!
A: Sensenbrenner replied, With all due respect, we [Republicans] all voted against the stimulus, etc....then added that the President said he will not sign a bill that adds "1 cent to the deficit". [The audience laughed.] We should not be spending money on ourselves and sending the bill to our grand and great grandchildren.
Q: What can we do to stop this?
A: Sensenbrenner: Contact your Senators and remember who votes which way 1 year from now! Good advice. Calls do influence.
Q: Republicans shut out? Is it true that Republicans aren't allowed into meetings?
A: Our bill was written in Democratic Caucus. [Yes] I will give Baucus some credit, he welcomed 3 Senate Republicans in committee [Olympia Snowe was one of them] BUT since it got out of committee, Reid re-wrote the bill. Snowe doesn't support the government run [insurance option] now in the bill.
All new private insurance company policies illegal after 2013: Sensenbrenner affirmed what we have all heard, but the president, senate, and house leaders have denied: The bill does make it illegal for anyone to sell private insurance after [ObamaCare] takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013! He then gave the example of an employer who opts out of providing group insurance to their employees after the January 1st deadline. They might do this because they can choose to pay the 8% penalty instead of the average 15% of payroll costs. Opting for the penalty saves them money. Now you, the employee, have no choice but to sign onto the government run option because it is now illegal for private insurance companies to write policies.
This private insurance policy prohibition also carries over to Supplemental Medicare plans. Not to be confused with Medicare Advantage, these are the plans that seniors purchase--at a monthly premium--to pay for the remainder of health care expenses that Medicare doesn't cover. So Supplemental Medicare policies will also be outlawed under ObamaCare.
Medicare Advantage, the privately run voluntary Medicare plan, will also suffer under ObamaCare. In Sensenbrenner's district alone, about 25,000 of those enrolled now, will lose their coverage.
Q: Constitution: What provisions in the Constitution are there to order an individual to buy a product they don't want? (Applause)
A: They say the Commerce Clause, "necessary and proper" will be used. [Sensenbrenner didn't believe this was a proper application for that clause. The Constitution's Commerce Clause deals with the activity of commerce or regulating interstate or international commerce, not mandating or regulating activities.]
Q: Hardship for small business: A small business owner expressed concern that by being forced to pay an 8% penalty because he didn't provide insurance for his workers, he would either have to drop employees, vacation days, or other benefits to pay for the new 8% penalty.
A: Sensenbrenner agreed the insurance requirement/penalty would be a hardship. One half of all jobs in the country are from small businesses...raising taxes is already a job killer, in a recession it's even more... the last guy who raised taxes during a recession was Herbert Hoover!
Q: How many unelected bureaucrats will this bill require?
A: The CBO doesn't talk about how many will need to be hired, but you don't administer a new program without people to do it. One recent program was Cash for Clunkers. It ran out of money early on, auto dealers weren't paid [on time]. ...IF we couldn't deal with a $2 billion clunker program, how will we with a $900 billion one for health care? [House Republicans have found 111 New Bureaucracies in the Health Care bill.]
Q: Voter Fraud: Our president took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution. What can we do to relive this man of his office? ...Joe Wilson was right. [...crowd affirmation of President being less than truthful.] We don't have free elections anymore. How do we go about stopping voter fraud?
A: By showing a picture ID, Sensenbrenner said. [Crowd affirmation] Since this is a state issue, Rep. Leah Vukmir was able to address how Wisconsin had a chance to finally get a Voter ID referendum question on the ballot last spring, but a certain Senator voted against bringing it to the ballot. [State Senator Jim Sullivan was one of 2 who voted to defeat the measure last year, if memory serves correctly]
Q: ObamaCare and organ transplants: One woman was for ObamaCare because she was involved with [advocating] raising money for transplant patients. [I can't see the government program, which must delay and ration care to make it fiscally viable, will be handing out organ transplants.] Is there anything you see in ObamCare that is positive?
A: If they don't allow amendments, we can't make it better. If Sensenbrenner could, he would get rid of pre-exisiting conditions, allow shopping across state lines, offer group plan rates for small businesses, use vouchers for health insurance for the poor, add medical liability reform, use health savings accounts, equalize the tax treatments for employer and private purchaser plans. He then added, I don't know what will happen with organ transplants because Pelosi's bill will have government boards making this decision vs. doctors.
Q: Doctors paid only 20% of fees: A doctor from Elmbrook Hospital: The bill is said to be backed by the AMA, I haven't belonged to the AMA for years. This bill is strictly a vehicle to control the Dr./Patient relationship. It is a single payer option. I lose 80% of income under Medicare. [Who will want to invest in becoming a doctor to only be paid 20%?] It is a misnomer that doctors get reimbursed 80% under Medicare, It's NOT TRUE.
Other questions dealt with the crushing debt level, Amnesty bill, concern over the Copenhagen Treaty, ACORN funding [still unfunded until Dec. 19th], The Fairness Doctrine, and abolishing the Federal Reserve.
There is a lot of talk about abolishing the Federal Reserve, but Sensenbrenner was quick to point out that if that were the case, monetary control would revert to the Congress! The cure would be worse than the ill, he said. Sensenbrenner does favor the audit of the Federal Reserve.
One bit of excitement was a woman fainted in the back of the courtroom. Is there a doctor in the house? A nurse friend of mine, who happened to be in the audience, promptly attended to her needs. The Elm Grove police were also of service. I believe the woman was fine.
There was a little discussion of Cap and Trade, or Cap and Tax, as Sensenbrenner likes to characterize it, and our massive deficit leading to inflation, the tax increase no politician has to vote for but every politician can run against.
2 protesters: There were 2 young men there with protest signs, Health Insurance Reform Now [signs were loosely folded, not held up], in the back of the room. They left the courtroom before the meeting officially started. Another older man stated his support for ObamaCare.
The meeting ended at about 2:30pm. The remaining portion of time was devoted to specific problems with government agencies. Representative Leah Vukmir and Congressman Sensenbrenner stayed to assist their constituents.
Congressman Sensenbrenner was on the Jay Weber radio show on Monday. He mentioned many of the same points he made at Saturday's Town Hall meeting. Program highlights.
The Pelosi version of ObamaCare, as well as the Reid Senate bill, both cover taxpayer funded abortion and insurance for illegal aliens. House Republicans have proposed many health care reforms, but they do not receive media or house floor attention. House Republicans are expected to unanimously vote against The Worst Bill Ever this week.
Will the Democrat Blue Dogs join in the nay saying? Time will tell.