August 12th, 2009
03:45 PM ET
9 years ago

Maryland senator has boisterous town hall on health care

Maryland Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin has been holding a series of town halls this week.

Maryland Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin has been holding a series of town halls this week.

(CNN) - There were tears, fears and lots of shouting Wednesday when Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland held a town hall meeting on health care at Hagerstown Community College in his home state.

Dozens of audience members crowded two microphones to ask questions, and many accused Cardin and President Barack Obama's administration of seeking to
bankrupt the nation's future by overhauling the health-care system.

"This government is out of control. We are in debt up to our eyeballs," one questioner declared, her voice rising in anger. "What are you going to do to restore trust and faith in the American people that you know what you're doing?"

Cardin, often speaking above booing and shouts of protest, said he believes the government has a responsibility to ensure that all citizens have access to affordable health coverage.

Much of the crowd's anger focused on one of three House proposals approved by different committees. As a senator, Cardin is considering versions that differ from the House measures, and he noted several times that Congress would continue negotiating to derive a single bill from the various proposals.

He also repeated four times that he won't vote for a bill that raises the federal deficit, and explained how the goal of overhauling health care is to end discriminatory practices by the insurance industry while bringing down costs.

The more he spoke, though, the louder the shouts of protest became.

"How will more bureaucrats and probably fewer health-care providers make health care better?" demanded another woman, adding that the plan seemed to be a "takeover, not reform."

Cardin acknowledged he wasn't going to change the minds of his loudest detractors.

"I was told that the people of Hagerstown are generally respectful," he said, adding that "90 percent of you are listening to what I'm saying."

As he left the stage, a woman in the crowd screamed at him and broke down crying.

Filed under: Health care • Maryland
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. Ava from Florida

    It is hard to combat ignorance. We don't need townhalls–we need Study Halls!!!!

    August 12, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. arivera

    These people did not vote for Obama and never would. They come from a generation that hates minorities. Their very hate will be the catalyst that brings this country a new day. Away from war profiteering and judgment of an individual by the color of their skin. As a Hispanic male I feel sorry for these people that they have moved so far away from a true American that they live in constant fear. This is not what our forefathers were, they were the brave that didn't need to beat others down to prove it.

    August 12, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. big papa

    The willful ignorance of conservative right wing town hall racists and traitors...

    ...demonstrates their incorrigibility...

    ...there's only one answer for them...

    ...America is changing for the greater good...

    ...Love IT or Leave It!

    ..."By any means necessary!"

    August 12, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. gl, From Pittsburgh

    As he left the stage, a woman in the crowd screamed at him and broke down crying.

    THIS IS WHAT HAPPEN WHEN YOU PUT FEAR IN PEOPLE. This woman is a prime exsample of the danger of what the Republicans is causing with all their lies. Repubicans in Congress are refusing to stop all this lying to regain power and it is going to cause them in 2010. I hope nobody get hurt at these Town Hall meetings that are getting out of control. It only take one to go mad and then you have a mess on your hands.

    August 12, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. I can see Canada from my house!

    I have one question for the people who are screaming at these meetings:

    Where EXACTLY are the items you are claiming are in the bill? Which line? Which paragraph? Where are the death panels that Quitter, er, Former Governor Palin, mentioned before she realized she was inciting a riot?

    Don't keep telling us to read the bill, when you clearly have not read it either.

    August 12, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. tonyt

    The Stuff The Media Loves;

    There were tears, fears and lots of shouting!

    The Reality Show Symdrome, The News Outlets Love., How Sad.

    The Sqeaky wheel Get The Oil. That's News Now!

    August 12, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. Kevin Collins

    Crying, huh? Surely not for the thousands of Americans who die every day because of their lack of quality health care from obscenely-overpriced doctors and hospitals; surely not for the 4000+ U.S. soldiers who've died in Bush's lies-based war in Iraq; and surely not for the nearly 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians due to "collateral damage". The bottom line is that most of the GOPers oppose health-care reform is selfishness in that they don't care about anyone but themsleves, and that they like having something a lot of fellow Americans don't. If there's anything even remotely in this that falls into the category of "moral values", it sure as heck is escaping me.

    August 12, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Pragmatic

    Since when did boo's and screaming add any knowledge to any debate: Decisions should be made on the facts, not by those who can yell the loudest! People have one mouth and two ears. Maybe the Good Lord wants us to listen more than we talk?

    August 12, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Torch

    Democrats! Will you give it up!!

    Nobody wants this!

    You want to screw 80% of people who currently have coverage in order to satisfy the others that don't!

    Your only solution to the problem is a big massive government entitlement! There are so many other ways to address this issue without having govt directly involved!

    This is not about reform, it's about control! And you sit there in front of God and everyone (from the President on down) and boldface LIE with a straight face! Then you have the nerve to call people who disagree with you as angry MOBS!


    August 12, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Roger from CA

    I only hope that one of these accursed Limbaugh-zombies flips out completely and takes a shot at somebody or something, so that the public will REALLY see that they are a bunch of whackos and are full of lies.

    Morally repugnant, each of them!

    August 12, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. aware of nothing

    Please, I hope none of these dingbats are on medicare or medicaid

    August 12, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Eric

    "As he left the stage, a woman in the crowd screamed at him and broke down crying."

    Wah wah, how dare you care about the uninsured.. wah wah how dare you fight for those with pre-exisiting conditions.. its so so scary, wah wah wah!

    August 12, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. D. Tree

    Those people yelling about the Deficit ought to know we will never get spending under control unless we reform health insurance now.

    If we don't pass health insurance reform, health care costs will take over 30% of our GDP.

    The best way to reform our health insurance practices, is to make the same choices our Senators get, available to the rest of us who need it.

    August 12, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. gl, From Pittsburgh

    It is a shame that these angry town hall nutts didn't say not one word against the Bush Administration for lying to the American people and sending our troops to fight a war on lies. Where is the outrage of our troops being killed everyday in iraq a war that was started on lies? This country was already in bankrupty when President Obama took office and I didn't hear none of this nutts screaming at Bush. Where was all the angry then?

    August 12, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. notfooledtx

    What a shame that the opponents can't act rationally. They're so caught up in their delirium that they obviously can't think straight. Why else would they buy the hooey about death panels, etc. – and why would they be working so hard against their own personal best interests?

    August 12, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. mike

    "Real Americans" are outraged by this new healthcare bill!! Or at least the interest groups say they are. The same 24% of America that come to these townhalls shouting at the top of their lungs against this bill are the same idiots that voted for Bush... TWICE! We need healthcare reform!!! The current system is broken! My healthcare insurance has gone up over 100% in the last 5 years and i'm a healthy 34 y/o. So please, stop being a Fox Koolaid drinker and actually do some research into the subject. And most importantly – stay home and let real debate take place at these townhalls.

    August 12, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. St. Louis Jake

    Welcome to the new Republican Party- we can now safely rename it the Conservo-Fascist Party.

    No discourse allowed – our way or the highway.

    This will backfire on the right. Good luck to the "Conservitaves" in the next few election cycles – you're gonna' need it.

    August 12, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Hillary Clinton warned us in the 90's that this was looming, and look at us now. Healthcare for profit is not healthcare. Me being a medical biller, I know that the system is broken. I speak to insurance companies everyday. They consistently deny patients care because they find that treatment is no longer medically necessary when in most cases, patients have multiple diagnoses which require long term care. Long story short, the insurance companies are death panels. They will deny you treatment so they don't have to continue paying your claims. It's sad but true. Look at the CEO of United Healthcare. He makes $102,000 a day.

    August 12, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Buh-bye democrats!"

    I know right? You GOPers and conservatives are going the way of the dinosaur. Have a nice trip...wish we could say we'll miss you, but ummm, we quite honestly won't.

    August 12, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. Respect

    The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY – my thoughts exactly. NO more foreign aid.

    August 12, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Doraine Gordon

    I watched this Town Hall meeting today and could not believe what was happenng. Where did all these crazy acting people come from? I think they all hatched out overnight. It's too bad that out Representatives are even having to try and talk with these folks. Most of the people don't even want to discuss Health Care. They are hollering about everything but Health Care. I think the Senator should just go back to Washington and vote the way he wants to. He tried very hard but it was like talking to a board fence. This was an unruly crowd of crazy people. They need to go crawl back under where ever it was they came from. They are all NUT CASES!!

    August 12, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. kim

    The Republicans had 8 long years and did NOTHING!
    Get over yourself people and lets try to get something accomplished.

    August 12, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. obama, a failed experiment

    If someone doesn't agree with you, they must be phonies.

    Isn't this what the democratic party is saying?

    Are they that arrogant that they cannot believe someone has a different opinion that they do?

    These town hall meetings are real and I share the sentiment and the anger at the politicians trying to shove something down our throats.

    49% are against obama and the democrats versions of change, only 43% support it.

    Why do they continue to push what the people do not want?

    Oh, as they say, the people must be phonies.

    I can't wait for 2010 and 2012 when we bring sanity back to politics, (at least GWB's mistake was Iraq and it didn't bankrupt the country. Not even close to what obmama's done in 7 months. Hopefully there will be a country to fix once obama leaves in 3 years)

    August 12, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. dreamer

    What i would like to know?where is all the other americans of differnt ethnic races that also live in america?I'm imbaressed to be white with the way my brethern have been acting.We the people means all the people and should also be heard from in these meetings.where are they?are they not getting into them?are they not being imformed of the meetings?why do all I see are whinning complaining white people in these town hall meetings.and somehow the only republican one i saw had 15 people there and the dems are getting 100 old white people who beleave what rush spews.please can we have meetings with a fair representation off all of us and not just old white people more worried about medicare then what is accually going on with this debate.BTW Medicare is a GOVERMENT program,stop the whinning and get the facts.

    August 12, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |

    These are the Same nuts who supported Bush and His lying war in Iraq killing our men and woman and spending all of our money there that was ok with these nut jobs?

    August 12, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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