When I learned that my Representative, Sue Myrick, would hold a health-care town hall meeting at our local high school, I decided to attend to see firsthand how much of the passion against socialized medicine was the result of real grass roots or just “Astroturf” (as Nancy Pelosi put it). Sue is a strong conservative who came to office as part of the 1994 Republican revolution. Since she’s against the current house bill (HR 3200), I didn’t think all that many would turnout. Wow, was I wrong!
Let me set the context for you. I live in a half-rural half-residential town about 30 minutes outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Our population is about 8,000 (not counting cows and horses). There’s one small shopping center with a food store, gas station and a few retail and professional shops. To call it sleepy would be understatement. Comatose is better. In this conservative town, zoning is about the only political issue that gets people fired up. That’s why I didn’t expect too many people to wake themselves up for a healthcare town hall, especially when they knew that their conservative representative was already solidly on their side (our county went 63% to 36% for McCain).
We arrived there half an hour early behind my neighbor, a sheriff’s deputy, who told me that he was called in at the last minute for crowd control. He was right—we found the 600-seat auditorium nearly full. Fifteen minutes later, there was not a seat in the house, and people were gathering outside the doors in the cafeteria. We just didn’t know how many were out there.
Sue opened to applause when she let everyone know that she was against HR 3200. She then offered personal reasons why she opposes socialized medicine in the United States.
"I’m a cancer survivor,” she began. “In 1999, I knew something was wrong and I went to five doctors, I had three mammograms, and it was finally a sixth doctor who ordered an ultrasound that found my cancer. Under a government health care plan, I would not have had the advantage to get all of that done so quickly. In fact, they may have never found my cancer or found it too late."
That resonated with a good friend of mine, a Canadian, who was sitting with us. Ten years ago she lost her father to colon cancer after he was put on a waiting list for a simple colonoscopy. Rationing is the inevitable result of a public takeover, and recent news stories from Canada and Britain confirm it’s happening there.
Frank Turek is coauthor of I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, and the author of Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case. See more of his work at CrossExamined.org.