August 12th, 2009
03:45 PM ET
5 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. CAL

    I say put all these ignorant, yelling morons all in a town hall and let them shout, cry, and yell among themselves. Nobody needs to be around this kind of ignorance from a bunch of idiots who are easily lead by lies and scare tactics the GOP and that stupid palin are dishing out. If i was the senators i would not tolerate this kind of animal behavior, it's ridiculous.

    August 12, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Eric

    No country without a robust and strong central government can compete in the 21st century against countries that have one. Want a small government? Visit Somalia for a week and then tell me how great the freedom is there, if you are still alive.

    The genius of our founding fathers was to put in place a system of government that can be changed and adapted to the times through the democratic process.

    The far greater sin is that the richest country in the history of this planet does not take care of all their people, not that we may give up the "freedom" to not have health insurance.

    August 12, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. gl, From Pittsburgh

    Soooo, comparing this to the GOPer town hall meeting a couple articles down on the Ticker, which was apparently calm and respectful, why is CNN and the rest of the media pretending there is any doubt as to whether this nonsense is staged?

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

    The government of this country has no obligation, moral legal or otherwise, to provide health care for it's citizens. We as people have a responsibility to each other. This problem can be fixed if you all acted locally. Government would be out and prices would come tumbling down.

    August 12, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. Joseph

    I keep hearing that Democrats are not able to get their message across at Town Hall meetings? Obama is constantly on TV and is always spouting generalizations or contradictory drivel without any details everytime. He will never sell this crap that way as people realize he is generalizing for a reason and it is eroding people's trust in his message.

    August 12, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. Troy from NJ

    The Media needs to sotp playing this foolishness up as outrage by the Amerian people. These people are the same folks they were showing up at the McCain and Palin ralleys. Most of these people were scared of the change that was coming and apparently the still are. These are not all Americans, becauses most Americans want reform. The media is playing this up for ratings!

    August 12, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Mississippi Mike

    That's pretty crazy. Maryland is about as liberal as it gets. If a liberal Senator is getting bombarded in his own state, the Democrats are in bigger trouble than I thought.

    August 12, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Ted Tartaglia

    This is just shows that those who are doing most of the complaining are people who seem to be capable of thinking for themselves. They believe all the lies being put forth about healthcare refor. Sadly most of the misinformation and lies seems to be coming from the Republican Party and their surrogates including some Congressional Leaders.

    John Boehner and Mitch McConnell show their true colors when they spread lies about healthcare reform. Do any of you believe that a remark by John Boehner that healthcare reform is starting down the path of euthanizing seniors has any place in the discussion? Is this the type of person you want representing you? If this is the caliber of the people we elect to represent us, God help us all!

    August 12, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. unshrub

    Why do these mob bums think they have a right to bully their way around? Obama and the Democrats won the election. Obama said very clearly thoughout the election here was going to do exactly what he is doing now. So why do these mobs of ignorant bums feel they have a right to bully their way around? These nuts think that they have a right push everyone who does not believe as they do. They lost the election, they should act like like patriots and except that fact, and stop stepping on my right..

    August 12, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. wisewords

    This who situation reminds me of a story my great grandfather used to tell me. Being a man who worked the land for a living he had no time for foolishness or wordiness. One day he told me the story of a man who came to save all people. He performed miracles, healed the sick, and gave hope for a glorious future. For his efforts the people took him to the nearest hill and nailed him to a tree for his efforts.

    The morale my grandfather informed me was that even when you are trying to help or save someone or promise hope, there are those who will view you as a threat and will punish you for trying.

    People know we need health care reform; however, their prejudices, hatred, and ignorance are causing them to ignore their self interest.

    Thank God old ideas die with old education. Please pray for wisdom and understanding.

    August 12, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. RDS

    I think overall I have good insurance now, but I was once the person last year w/o the insurance and it wasn't b/c I thought I was young and healthy it was b/c I couldn't afford it. $300 and $400 a month is ridiculous for 1 person. I've seen my friends and family have to bypass coverage on themselves just so they can pay for their kids b/c they worked at small business that couldn't provide employee insurance. Why does it cost $800 to go to the emergency room only to sit for 3 hours and see the doctor for 10 minutes. Does nobody think something is wrong with this. Why do doctors charge ridiculous amounts to give women pregnancy that they say they have to do when they are only using the $1 test anyways.

    August 12, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Independent

    How can you give people facts and explain things to them and answer questions when you have a handful of people screaming, and booing and not letting the man speak. I was taught to be respectful and treat people how you would want to be treated. Where are their manners?

    August 12, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Johny

    Hey I've got a great idea: How about everyone shut up and actually READ THE BILL. This goes for both the politicians and protesters. How can you debate and sell us a bill that has not even been read by the President?

    August 12, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. Typical Republican

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

    These are my kind of people. They cry anytime someone else might get health care. TRUE republicans, those that break down and cry when they are challenged to come up with intelligent thought.

    August 12, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. Brian0901

    This is getting out of control. I am ashamed of country. What is wrong with trying a system like health care and trying to provide coverage for all?

    I am ashamed a live in the same country as these right-wing morons spouting of the GOP talking points. These moronic piles of pure garbage have no clue what they are talking and all they are doing is proving how utterly stupid they really are.

    What has happened to our country? We used to be a proud nation that could pull together to find a solution. Love it or leave it some like to say. More and more everyday I would love to leave it.

    August 12, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Hammerer

    Obama promised change you can believe in, a new way business was handled in Washington, an open and transparent government, no pork, lobbist would have no place in his administration, no new taxes no anyone making less than $250,000, every bill would be posted on the internet 5 days before a vote was taken, and that he would represent all citizens equally.
    What has he done so far? And he is asking the citizens to believe that he is telling the truth on the healthcare issue(or whatever he is calling it now).
    How can you believe Obama when he has not honored his word on any promise that he made so far!

    August 12, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. No More Gov't Control

    I have a question for you liberals that think the only opinion that matters is yours? Why does health care reform have to include a gov't option??? People who oppose ObamaCare do not deny the fact that reform is needed. Putting Gov't in competition with private business is simply UNAMERICAN, by the definition of capitalism. Medicare/Medicade is going broke. The post office is going broke. Social Security is going broke. Why not fix what govt runs/funds now to see if they can? We know they can't. And you pitiful liberals that think that because we disagree with making gov't larger and in charge of a program we all know is uncapible of running without endless funds, we love the current system. WRONG!!! There are problems, but gov't is NOT the answer to all your problems. If you think you are so dependent on gov't, then you do not believe in a capitalist system. Did you really vote to "change" from a capitalist economy??? Are you so infatuated with Obama that you are willing give up your freedoms to him???

    August 12, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Please go deeper!

    Today I called my representatives and my senators here in Ohio. As an African-American, I will not attend a town hall because I fear for my safety. Call your representatives and senators and tell them what you want in regards to healthcare. Your comments are important to them. Explain why you desire healthcare reform, be personal, tell your life story. It really matters. People in my state need help! My friends and family are dying from cancer, losing their homes, and their jobs. These ignorant people screaming that healthcare is not a right are WRONG! I voted for Obama because he understands this. You shouldn't have to choose between getting the best healthcare to live and paying your mortgage!

    August 12, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Every tax is a loss of our freedom,"

    No it's not. You're represented. That's what was fought for and blood was shed for i nthe 1700's. That is what our country was founded upon. Taxation is right there in the Constitution that all the meatballs at these town hall meetings are claiming Obama and the Dems want to destroy...the same Constitution they're claiming defines our freedom. Don't give us this double-speak trying-to-have-it-both-ways garbage...we're sick of it...and it's precisely why you people are flipping out, becuase it's the primary reason we're at the point that we ignore everything you have to say.

    August 12, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. Charles

    Hmm. Suddently these people are talking about debt. They didn't complaint Bush (last administration) that "more than double" our national debt to almost 11 trillions. They didn't complaint teh debt left by Regean and first Bush. If we don't make move on health care, then everybody suffers – sooner or later.

    August 12, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Kobie

    Peope....This is unproductive and down right dangerous! The Republican Party needs to really stop and think about what they are doing to this country before it is too late. The spreading of lies and hate among their constituency is bordering criminal.

    The proposals laid out by the Democrats thus far are simply to present an option to individuals who are interested in pursuing it. These options will help facilitate a competition thus driving down cost considerably. As much as I want to see this legislation pass, I KNOW IT HAS NO CHANCE. If so many Americans are ignorant enough to let those who spread politically motivated lies convince us that what they are saying is the truth causing widespread panic and fear....then we do not deserve CHANGE and we will reap what we sow.

    August 12, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. WIll 18E

    When I see the pictures or videos of these mobs, shouting talking points,
    As this article pointed out, the more Senator Cardin spoke "the louder the shouts of the protest became.." The simple truth is that these well organized mobs do not even want a response to their own questions.
    Or anyone else to hear there questions of doubt addressed, for fear they are wrong. Allot of these folks have grey hair. I wonder if the tables were turned if they would give up Social Security and medicare to "restore trust and faith in the American people..." Not even remotely likely,

    August 12, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. Greg

    lol where have these people been for the last I dunno eight years. They act as if the government started spinning out of control just recently. Obama was elected the first black president because this idiot George Bush did such a bad job he made whites realize they may need to try a new color. Where was the outrage when they lied about the war? Where was the outrage when Bush put you in this hole? Where was the outrage during katrina? Where was the outrage during scooter libby? Don't kill the man thats trying to pull you out the hole. You should kill the man who dropped you off in this hole in the first place. Your hate has made you blind.

    August 12, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "Putting Gov't in competition with private business is simply UNAMERICAN, by the definition of capitalism."

    Newsflash: Nowhere in the Constitution, the document upon with America was founded, does it either (a) require capitalism or (b) prohibit other economic systems. Ergo, for something to be "American," it is not by definition nor of necessity capitalismtic.

    August 12, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. donttreadonme

    The Republican plan is less expensive and it requires that insurance companies be allowed to sell insurance across state lines. Allows us to have portable insurance plans not tied to our employers. Would give us tax vouchers to pay for them.

    Would provide “light” regulations to ensure consumers are not ripped off. Would allow for more people to pool their insurance together to lower costs. Would provide grants for IT infrastructure. Would put an end to frivolous law suits.

    August 12, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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