Critics discuss health care reform with heated language

TUPELO – The U.S. needs to reform its health care system, but the plan put forth by President Barack Obama is not the right one.
That was the theme voiced by every speaker Thursday night at Good News Church in Tupelo where about 200 gathered for a forum on what’s been called negatively “Obama Care.”
The evening started with emotionally charged speeches that wove together Christian beliefs and political convictions.
Les Riley, a representative with the pro-life organization Personhood Mississippi, decried the legislation known officially as H.R. 3200 as “messianic stateism,” explaining that the government means to become the savior of U.S. citizens.
Tupelo dentist Ed Holliday described universal health care and its proposed $1 trillion price tag as “the pit of hell waiting to explode into the American economy.”
Not all the presentations were as heated, however.
As past president of the Mississippi Medical Association, Dr. J. Patrick Barrett sat in on some of the meetings when Obama first presented his idea to the medical community.
Barrett, an orthopedic surgeon from McComb expressed his belief that the American Medical Association has been “fooled” into supporting part of the legislation, adding that the AMA House of Delegates, of which he is a member, certainly does not support it.
Barrett said the AMA has long had a feasible plan for reforming health care but “nobody is listening.” Part of that plan includes offering some form of financial incentive, like a tax rebate, for people who invest in their own wellness.
That argument has been floated by people on both sides of the issue, considering that obesity rates have doubled nationwide in the last 20 years.
Barrett also suggested that health care insurance, as it exits, has evolved into pre-paid care. He suggested that if insurance were reserved for “catastrophic illness” and patients were required to pay out-of-pocket for routine services, the overall cost of health care would decrease.
Some of the presenters asked more fundamental questions about the nature of health care in American society.
Tupelo’s Dr. Ken Beeman with the Mississippi State Department of Health said he sympathized with those who suffer without insurance but he’s found no evidence in the country’s founding documents that health care is a right.
Beeman believes the current health care system could be improved but the August deadline Obama set for passage of his plan amounted to an “unholy rush to cram it down people’s throats.”

Contact Galen Holley at (662) 678-1510 or galen.holley@djournal.com.

Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal