U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall said Thursday he would vote to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reform package — but he called that the wrong fight.
Marshall, a Democrat from Macon, voted against the health care bill. He doesn’t expect a vote to repeal the legislation will be held, but he said all that misses a greater point.
“Back to where we were is a disaster. Where we are is a disaster. Fiscally, it’s a disaster, either way. It’s like false choices,” Marshall said at a town hall meeting at Macon City Hall. About 20 people attended that meeting, far fewer than the thousands who crowded Marshall’s town hall meetings last year to talk about health care reform.
His Republican opponent, Austin Scott of Ashburn, also held an event in Macon a few hours before Marshall’s talk.
Marshall kept referring to a 2,000-word piece he got published in the conservative National Review Online with help from conservative commentator George Will. In the piece, Marshall calls for a move away from “third-party” payment to a robust private market for health care with clear prices and standards of care.
Macon nurse Diane Vann, who only a few weeks ago was running as a Republican in the 8th Congressional District primary, agreed with Marshall that ending the third-party payer system is the answer to lowering costs.
Marshall and Vann differed on whether the passed health care reform legislation would actually help anyone. Marshall said the reform package would help millions of people, hurt millions of people and increase costs.
Marshall said the problems with health care dwarf nearly every issue, such as waste in the Pentagon, because retirement and health care take up most of the federal budget. He said Medicare’s unfunded obligation is probably near $40 trillion.
“All economists agree that the huge problem is health care,” he said.
Macon resident Camp Bacon asked Marshall how long it would take to move away from a third-party payment system. Marshall predicted the big insurance companies would fight.
“There will be push back,” Marshall said. “We’re not united in understanding what the problem is, and agreeing on the problem.”
Bacon replied, “It’s important to solve the problems.”
Marshall said true health care reform needs to come.
“I believe in reform, just not what we did,” he said.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.