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Democratic US Senator Claire McCaskill was in Springfield today for a town hall meeting on healthcare. The event drew supporters and opponents of proposed changes to healthcare. KSMU’s Missy Shelton was at the meeting and files this report.
The Gillioz Theatre in downtown Springfield was full—more than 11 hundred people were admitted to the venue on a first come, first served basis.There was a mix of McCaskill supporters and opponents in the crowd. Anyone could submit a question in writing. The questions were placed in a basket and an audience member drew questions for McCaskill to answer.McCaskill says, “The next question is from Dale Davidson of Springfield. Here’s what you wrote: With all the vagueness in the proposal as it stands now, will you vote for a bill that funds abortion, gives healthcare to illegal aliens at our expense and gives government access to our personal bank accounts? Let’s talk about this proposal…”
McCaskill spent more than hour answering audience questions. There were questions about why she didn’t support federal legislation to limit liability lawsuits. There were also a couple of questions about whether the government should provide a healthcare option since the Constitution does not say anything about government being involved in healthcare. This was McCaskill’s response.
"The welfare of the people is in the Constitution. There are a variety of things we have done in government. Nothing says we can give money to dairy farmers to help them with their milk prices. There's nothing in the Constitution that says we should provide a safety net for farmers in terms of crop supports. There's nothing in the Constitution that says we should do a lot of things we have done in our government, including healthcare...(noise from the crowd)...You guys, all you're doing is cutting down the time we have. You're being rude to other people who have come."And at times, McCaskill paused in answering a question until the shouts or boos died down. After the town hall meeting, McCaskill told reporters this was the first time she had been booed right from the start.Still, McCaskill says she believes in the need to hold town hall meetings like the one in Springfield. She says it’s her job to stand before the people she represents and answer their questions.
Republican US Senator Kit Bond was in Kansas City today, along with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator John McCain for a discussion on healthcare proposals at Children’s Mercy Hospital with quote-parties involved in the health care debate.