Congressman Mark Schaurer says “Health system needs fix”

… from the Lansing State Journal

Rep. Mark Schauer said last Thursday he won’t vote for any overhaul of the nation’s health care system that leads to more deficit spending, but that the system is broken and needs to be fixed.

Speaking to about 35 people invited to meet with him at an apartment complex for seniors, the Michigan Democrat said he’s spent much of Congress’ August recess debunking myths being spread about the Obama administration’s proposed plan, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s assertion that government “death panels” would decide who gets treatment.

“That’s offensive to me, that anyone would use that tactic to scare you into opposing this bill,” he told the mostly elderly audience. “We should be working together to fix our broken health care system.”

The Battle Creek, MI congressman isn’t holding any town hall meetings on health care during August. But he said he planned to talk with more than 10,000 constituents during an hour-long Thursday night conference call on health care and plans a similar call later this month.

The only Michigan member of Congress who has held a public town hall meeting this month is Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn. The back-to-back town hall meetings he held last week grew so raucous that police had to escort people out.

Other members of Congress are going the phone-call route as well. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, held a July 29 conference call on health care with more than 3,500 constituents and plans to hold a similar call in late September.

Although Schauer’s meeting Thursday was invitation-only, he still is hearing plenty from constituents, some of whom he says have been “pretty aggressive” in opposing the overhaul. Callers and visitors to his district offices often bring up flaws they see in the health care plan.

“I listen first, thank people for their input and then try to rationally and systematically talk about fact versus myth,” he told reporters after the 90-minute meeting. “I’m not saying I’m always able to convert someone who comes with those concerns, but at least I hope they’re dwelling in real information rather than some of the myths that they come in with.

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