My friend Rottenchester, who maintains the blog FIghting29th, just returned from a town hall meeting near Rochester, NY, held by my Congressman, Eric Massa (NY-29).
The crowd seemed equally divided between supporters of single-payer health care, and those opposed to government-run health care. Some of the supporters of government health care were identified by signs supporting HR 676. A few of the opponents sported yellow t-shirts and caps emblazoned with wesurroundrochester.com, which marked them as Glenn Beck followers. Why anyone would want to be identified as such is yet another mystery of the evening.[…..]
Massa, who had to remind the crowd to be polite a number of times, took the heckling in stride. He began the meeting by displaying the current healthcare bill, HR 3200, and pointed out that he had read the whole thing. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of most of those in attendance. Instead, many had to make do with emails from right wing organizations eager to spread falsehoods about the bill.
Perhaps the most glaring example of that was a gentleman who was actually crying by the time he was done asking his question. He believed, wrongly, that some language had been added to the bill that would allow government funds to pay for abortions. Massa repeatedly and patiently explained that this was impossible, because the Hyde Amendment prohibits the use of government funds to pay for abortions. This has been true since 1976, and, unfortunately, will be true for years to come, but green polo shirt in the front row wasn’t going to accept Massa’s answer. He thought government funds were going to be used to “kill babies”.
Politico has an interesting story about the pressure Massa has been getting from health care reform advocates as well.