Hard Questions, But No Fighting At Health Meet
Brian Donegan defied doctors' prognosis 27 years ago, just by living past his infancy.
He had one question Thursday for two Georgia congressman: If a currently proposed health care reform bill had been in effect when he was born, "would they have deemed my life worth saving?"
U.S. Rep. John Linder, whose district includes much of Gwinnett, hosted a town hall meeting Thursday, like many that have been held across the country during Congress's summer recess.
But unlike others across the nation, few people were protesting at the Suwanee event.
Instead, the crowd often erupted into applause as Linder and U.S. Rep. Tom Price, a Cobb County physician, explained their own Republican version of reform.
"There is no reason why we should give the power to the federal government to make medical decisions for you and your family at all," Price told Donegan.
There were a few emotional moments among the nearly 1,300 attendees spread across an auditorium and gym at North Gwinnett High School.
Shauna Young, a Sugar Hill woman who said she would leave town in the morning to go bury her father, begged the congressmen to put politics aside to find a solution to the nation's health care issues.
"Just fix it," she said. "I don't care if it's the Republicans who fix it or the Democrats who fix it. Stay to the topic of health care and fix it."
But Linder said there were real differences in the bills devised by the two parties. "We want individual choices. They want government choices," he said. "There is no middle ground."
Questions ranged from medical malpractice to abortion, and some challenged the congressmen about a lack of leadership amongst Republicans to stop the Democrats' plan.
"We are dying for a solid voice from our Republicans," David Johnson said. "We are getting no voice, no strength of opposition. ... What they are doing is not constitutional. Please stop them."
But Linder and Price said it would be events like Thursday's town hall meeting and the voices of residents that would bring about change.
"We can't move the agenda in Washington. We trust you to do that," Linder said. "They're listening closely."