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Letter: ‘Real’ Town Hall Meeting Needed

Thank you very much for publishing Congressman Ackerman’s interview with the Anton Newspapers’ editors (“Taking a Look at The Health Care Bill,” The Roslyn News, Nov. 19). The interview underlines the need for the congressman to hold a town meeting so that he can elaborate on his positions.

Ackerman stated that his “responsibility is to use my best judgments on behalf of my constituents … because they’re not always right.” As cited in the article, an example of this, Ackerman said, was national security. Very curious indeed! How does Ackerman believe his constituents’ judgments on this issue differ from his judgments?

Let’s look at some of Ackerman’s comments on healthcare reform as noted in the article cited. He says that he would have voted for “portable health care.” Would that include maintaining your current insurance plan if you got a job in another state? Is Ackerman in favor of allowing individuals to buy a healthcare plan in any state?

Ackerman says that he would not want to see a sick, illegal child sit next to his grandchild or an adult illegal alien become sick, go untreated and go out into public spaces. I suppose Ackerman is referring to the spread of infectious diseases which could be caught from anyone, legal or illegal. Should we, therefore, have each child go to school each day with a doctor’s note stating that he/she is healthy? Better still, should a doctor or nurse be stationed at the door of each school to assure that no sick child enters the school? Should we exclude children from school whose parents do not allow them to be immunized? Should we again set up Ellis Island and make sure all tourists, business people, and heads-of-states are examined by physicians before entering our country and mingling with our citizens?

Congressman Ackerman says that there is much misinformation out there. The congressman expressed his “disappointment” that abortion and a women’s right to choose was not included in the House bill. There has been no change in a women’s right to choose an abortion. What has been maintained is that the federal government will not pay for an elective abortion. Is Ackerman suggesting that all, or some elective procedures, be covered by the federal government?

The issue of “pre-existing conditions” is complex. Is it rational to force everyone to purchase high cost health insurance so that those with pre-existing conditions can be covered at a relatively low cost? A better plan would be to place high-risk patients in special insurance groups. These groups would receive some federal funding.

We can learn much from examining pre-existing conditions. In New York State, and probably other states, a child born with a pre-existing condition is covered for the first 30 days by the plan that covers the child’s mother. During those 30 days the infant is added to the plan and is covered thereafter. If this does not occur in some states the citizens of those states can change their laws and take care of this.

What if we like our own plan? What happens to seniors that have Medicare Advantage? If the government plan is so great, why doesn’t congress set an example and drop their own plan and require the Congress and federal employees be covered by the government plan?

There is so much to discuss. The only sound idea is to hold an open Town Hall meeting. We can learn from our congressman, particularly what he referred to as misinformation. He may learn from us. The people attending may learn from each other. Isn’t this the purpose of an open Town Hall meeting?

It is incumbent on our congressman to hold a real Town Hall meeting if he wants to remain the incumbent.

Marilyn Hollander