Hoyer draws jeers, cheers at healthcare town hall
It was the largest town hall meeting of his career, and the crowd of 1,500 was raucous and ready.
“You’re late,” a woman roared. Hoyer showed up nine minutes behind schedule for the meeting in Waldorf, Maryland.
“We don’t believe you,” others shouted when Hoyer rejected as myths complaints that the legislation would raise taxes or the deficit.
But along with the jeers there were cheers. Many in the crowd voiced support for the drive to provide health insurance to all Americans and scores wore “Health care for America now” stickers.
“I’m glad we are finally moving forward,” said Mary McHugh, a union lawyer, drawing sustained applause and cheers.
Hoyer stated his support for one of the more controversial provisions of healthcare reform, a government-run component. “Public option is an option. You don’t have to belong to it,” he said arguing that it would lower insurance premiums by providing competition to private insurance companies.
While there is broad Democratic support in the House for a public option, Hoyer declined to predict its fate in the Democratic-led Senate.
“It is difficult to determine where the Senate is headed,” said Hoyer, reflecting the uncertainty of what will happen when Congress returns next week.
At the end of the often stormy two-hour meeting, Hoyer voiced appreciation. “I want to thank all of you for coming — whether you agree with me or not.”
Photo credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts (Hoyer on Capitol Hill in March)