My congressman, Mr G K Butterfield, was in the Chowan County town of Edenton to listen to his constituents and also to talk with them, primarily about health care. To say the latest, it was a bit of a rambunctious session. Many members of the audience were not happy campers about the recent health care reform legislation and were eager to share that opinion with Rep Butterfield, who voted aye. I was quite intrigued with some of his comments in response to their opinions and questions.
Rep Butterfield defended the legislation in some interesting ways. He alleged that the country was on the verge of a depression and that the reform was needed to help alleviate that crisis. Not at all about either of those statements. In fact, I disagree with the first assertion and remain unsure how the legislation could be helpful. He trotted out the number of near 50 million Americans being uninsured, a figure I had not heard in a while. It seems to be a number that at any given time could range from 30 -60 million depending on how the Democrats were making use of the number. Needless to say, his audience was unconvinced.
The next interesting comment dealt with the greed of insurance companies which may actually have some truth to it. But he chose to make his point with the assertion that there were insurance company ceo’s that make $12 million annually as evidence of that greed. The article did not provide any verification of that figure. But assuming that it is true, one wonders if that means all health insurance ceo’s ( probably not true) and if it does, how many people would be included? I don’t know how many health insurance companies there are but let us say there are 30 or 40.At its worst that is $300-400 million. That figure pales in comparison to the amount lost in Medicare fraud and that earned by trial lawyers (aka John Edwards). And jus so happens there was no tort reform in the legislation.
But, for me, the most interesting comment made by the congressman was near the end of the session. Just guessing a bit but I think it reflected some frustration on Butterfield’s part. He said tha after all we live in a democracy implying I guess, that the law was passed by a majority and we need to move on. His comment was met by an audience member saying that no we don’t, we live in a republic. Butterfield reiterated his previous statement.
Now, who was correct ? Was it a sitting U S congressman who should know these things or by a regular citizen ? And does it matter?
My understanding of a democracy is all citizens voting directly on the issues of the day. A republic on the other hand provides for the election of people who decide those issues on our behalf. Perhaps it coud be said that we some elements of each, but I don’t think so in the way the Congressman intended.
Sounds like it was quite a vocal meeting and maybe a little example of democracy at work – lol.
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