August recess brings congressmen home to talk health care - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

August recess brings congressmen home to talk health care

By Laurie Bernstein - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The controversy over health care reform is spreading like wildfire in the online world.

Videos are uploaded daily on YouTube, with congressmen being attacked at town hall meetings, and constituents unhappy with what is coming out of the U.S. Capitol.

"In one day, we had 200 phone calls, and only one was for it," said Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, the republican covering North Columbus.

"I've heard a lot as you can imagine. I think people are confused about what the purpose is, and they are certainly confused about the implementation," said Congressman Nathan Deal, who is running for the republican nomination for Governor.

Everyone agrees that something needs to be done about health care...the sticking point is exactly what.

Most democrats have expressed the desire to fund a public health option, where people without insurance could go for affordable care.

Republicans say there are better ways to cover those people, without putting the government billions of dollars in debt.

"We have high risk pools, and could implement that by giving them additional federal revenue. It would be a lot cheaper, and would take care of people excluded by pre-existing conditions and losing insurance because of changing jobs," said Rep. Deal.

Another issue republicans are worried about--the rates that doctors are payed under the public plan.

Early drafts of the health reform bill say medicare reimbursement rates would be the standard.

"If that is true, a lot of rural hospitals will go out of business. We need to have better reimbursement system than Medicare," said Rep. Westmoreland.

At the same time, democrats point to the majority of people who are happy with their medicare coverage, and say the system works.

It's hard to determine what direction future legislation will go, but for now, lawmakers can expect to hear more than just an earful from their constituents this August recess.

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