Health Care Debate Heads to Town Halls

The summer recess is no holiday for Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor - conservative, or blue dog Democrat.

"We need to keep the promise that we already made," Taylor said.

He's opposed to his party's health care reform bill, yet still taking a beating at home.

"I want to know what price tag does Gene Taylor sell out for?" asked a man at a town hall meeting.

The town hall meeting that usually draws two dozen brought 200 or more this week, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella. Some part of an organized grassroots campaign against the president's health care reform and his party in general.

"They're Marxists, they're socialists and you will not abandon that party," said another man.

In this part of Mississippi where logging and an electric blanket manufacturer are the big employers, the jobless rate is higher than the national average. Nearly one in four people in Wayne County is uninsured. Even so, many have serious concerns about a government solution.

"I don't see how they can put another government funded healthcare plan out there," said Lorie Mills, who works for a local hospital.

Even with insurance, Mills' last pregnancy cost $10,000 out of pocket. Still, she doesn't think the government can do better.

"We can't manage Medicaid and Medicare," Mills said. "I don't see us functioning with another government mandated program."

Congressman Taylor told a skeptical crowd over and over he didn't either.

"You count on me," Taylor said. "If I get an opportunity to get a better price on drugs, I'm going to do it. A better price on generics, I'm going to do it, you can count on me."

Taylor said the crowd at the town hall meeting is against the health care plan - and so is he.

"I don't think they'll change their opinion, I don't think I'll change my opinion," Taylor said.

If he does, he knows there will be even more to answer for on his next trip home.
  • Kelly Cobiella

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