He used the occasion to restate his opposition to health care legislation making its way through Congress. The Republican from Tupelo said a better approach would be to fix what's broken with the current system, not initiate a complete overhaul.
"I've been in Congress more than 15 years, and this has been the most important issue of my entire tenure," Wicker said.
The Senate version of the health care bill passed over his "no" vote, and has gone to conference committee to be reconciled with the House-passed version.
Wicker pinpointed several ways he believes the bill is doomed to fail:
* The country does not need to turn over one-sixth of the nation's economy to the federal government by implementing this bill.
* Both the Senate version, at about $2.5 trillion over 10 years, and the House version, at about $3 trillion over 10 years, are very expensive bills, and despite statements to the contrary, the bills are not paid for.
* The government option contained in the House version of the bill is destined to drive private insurers out of business and result in a government-run health plan over time.
Among those agreeing with Wicker's comments were Magnolia Regional Health Center CEO Rick Napper, who has conducted two town hall meetings to oppose the health care bills.
Napper predicted Medicaid requirements the legislation would impose on states would force a dozen Mississippi hospitals to close immediately after it took effect.
Wicker noted that it had been four years since he spoke to a similar combined group of Corinth civic clubs. However, many of the individuals were among groups who hosted him during campaign events when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and during his Senate campaign.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org.