Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA 3) held what was, I believe, his last health care townhall in Des Moines on Sunday, 8/23/09. I was about 40 minutes early. I heard there was an issue with having to RSVP, but had forgot that until I saw his announcement about this event on Sunday – that was published on Friday. They did announce it earlier back on the 12th. I sent my email wondering if it was going to somebody’s Blackberry, but I then I knew I could at least say I sent an RSVP (they didn’t have a deadline). Honestly I think the RSVP thing likely dissuaded people who thought about coming last minute.
When I arrived I saw the grassroots force of the opposition to common sense. There were a bunch of signs in support of the Democrat health care plan, pre-printed signs paid for by Organizing for America (which is the Obama campaign renamed). I saw a bunch of green t-shirts identifying AFSCME members, and SEIU was on hand as well. Real grassroots, no formal organized strategy from activist groups mobilizing people to show up to this townhall in support of Obama whatsoever! It felt more like a campaign rally. And they all had the best seats right in front of the platform (not that there were any really bad seats in the AIB Activities Center).
Boswell shared his opening remarks. One of the first questions/statements was asked by a gentleman by the name of Fred. Fred, who is a Vet, said, “Don’t tell me the Federal Government can’t provide good health care… look at the V.A.” What? I know, things have magically improved under the Obama administration, everything except that pesky death book thing.
I remember when I was in a car wreck going to a National Guard drill, and I requested to be checked out at the V.A. hospital (which was my right since I was en route to drill). The doctors there were… are you crazy (until they found out we weren’t really injured) so top notch health care there. Which, by the way, our veterans do deserve top notch health care, but the V.A. system isn’t a shining example to lift up.
Congressman Boswell also pointed out a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation which he says is “non-partisan” (I’ll have to check that out). In which 53% of the public “believes that tackling health reform is more important than ever.” Sixty-three percent say they are “hopeful” about reform. This goes against other polls and Obama’s job approval rating. Not to mention just because they think health reform is important; doesn’t necessarily equal support for their plan.
Boswell also mentioned that 1 in 4 Iowans are without health insurance. That seemed too high to me, and it is. Iowa has 13.5% of it’s population that is uninsured signifying a 2.1% increase from a year ago. Not wonderful, but let’s not embellish the numbers either.
Basically Congressman Boswell made it pretty clear he supports the public option, it is doubtful he read the bill, and when asked difficult questions he didn’t really answer directly. Typical.
You can watch the videos of his opening remarks and some questions that were asked below.
Update: The Des Moines Register’s article – notice how he doesn’t quote any of the dissent…. fair and balanced reporting for you. They unlike my blog should get both sides… I at least have Congressman Boswell’s remarks in full even if I didn’t provide video of supporters (it took me long enough to render the video I did want to use).
Update II: Another account from Polly Two Cents.
Update III: Krusty Konservative calls Congressman Boswell on flip-flopping, gives a new definition to the term “Blue Dog Democrat,” and has the same opinion of The Des Moines Register article.
Update IV: The Iowa Independent notes the flip flop, unlike The Des Moines Register.