Thursday, August 27, 2009

Patrick Murphy Teletown Hall

This evening Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-08) held a teletownhall meeting on health care. Due to technical difficulties I only caught the last half of the call and then lost most of my notes transferring from one computer to another.

Murphy was joined by Ray Landis, advocacy manager for Pennsylvania AARP. People could send in questions in advance to the Intelligencer newspaper. Murphy had introductory remarks but I missed those entirely.

The questions I heard were often asking for clarification on things people had heard. For example when asked about illegal immigrants Murphy said the bill did not call for paying for health care for illegal immigrants. He also countered rumors that health care records would be made public (they won't) or that federal funds would be used for abortions (the Hyde Amendment makes this illegal). He said the bill included tort reform measures and tuition assistance for doctors going into family practice and that the bill has been endorsed by the American Medical Association.

When asked why he hadn't held the meeting in person he said that he was holding meetings with community groups and had been at Ann's Choice retirement community earlier in the day. [Blogger's note -- I'm told about 6,000 people were on the call, which is far more than could attend a physical town hall meeting.] Murphy also mentioned his frequent "Congress on Your Corner" meetings with constituents; he has held over 80 so far.

There were questions on the costs associated with the bill which Murphy described as "deficit neutral," meaning it wouldn't add to the deficit. There will be a $100 million billion per year cost for the first 10 years but he said this cost will be offset by contributions from hospitals and pharmaceutical firms who know often bear the cost of treating the uninsured [blogger's note -- I may have this wrong, it is from memory]. Ray Landis also offered that comment comparing medicare advantage to regular medicare, noting that regular medicare helped support medicare advantage as it got a larger subsidy.

Murphy has a section on his legislative web page providing more information on health care and bills on it.

Apologies for not having a more complete report.

No comments: