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. Island girl

    These people were quite complacent when Bush and his posse were burning up US dollars in Iraq which is still reeling from mass killings. There are buildings which were erected with US funding and which are nothing but relics in that country (no use for them). Now they are screaming? Give me a break! Will all you college educated young ones please sit down with your elderlies and help them to understand what is being proposed?

    August 12, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Runar Gustafson

    It seems that a lot of representatives are not hearing what the people are saying. It is type of unresponsiveness from our representatives that is driving us to speak out. How can you push a Health Care Plan through without reading it? How can we pay for this type of Health Care program when we can't even balance the national budget. Why are they (our representatives) not listing? Well I hope that when the 2010 elections come around our voices will be heard!!!!

    August 12, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. Matt

    "to ensure that all citizens have access to affordable health coverage" Then how do you justify giving 30 million illegal aliens healthcare for free paid for by me? And you wonder why there is opposition.

    Another typical ignorant politician. Their goal is to move those 30 million illegal immegrants over to the Democratic Party. And they are going to do it by first bribing them with free healthcare then Amnesty.

    August 12, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "Why aren't republicans doing town halls?"

    They are. You know, if you want to copycat me, you might try reading what I've posted below first...there really wouldn't be a reason for me to ask this question in light of my explicit comparison of Dem and GOPer town halls below.

    August 12, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |

    These People have no manners no morals I was taught and teach my children to give respect and let people speak but these Rabid dogs have NO MANNERS!

    August 12, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. duke of omaha

    Wow, Democrats have full power in both houses and the white house and still won't get a socialist healthcare plan passed. The polls I saw today had it 53-42% against this healthcare plan. I'am a registered independent who didn't vote for Obama or McCain. I want to see the final plan that will come up for the final vote. Alot of people are getting angry over a non-existing plan. Let's see what the final one looks like.

    August 12, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. N

    So everything has to be about race, maybe, just maybe, people do not want anything to do with the government running their healthcare. Are the Democrats and the Administration going to move back to race every time someone disagrees with them? All they are doing is fueling hate when they do so. Every time they revert back to racism to use as their defense they fuel how many more to hate? You all can hate, but don’t be so surprised when people start hating back. So all of you posters that call up the race card because someone does not agree with you, remember that. And also, you cannot blame G. W. Bush forever, at some point you are going to have to take responsibility for the state of the nation under your own parties watch.

    August 12, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Randolph Carter, the evil narcissistic Obamabot

    No more government control wrote:
    If you think you are so dependent on gov't, then you do not believe in a capitalist system.

    The capitalist system is what twisted our once great country into a society where everything and everybody is a commodity to be bought or sold. Now bend over for your corporate masters. Have a nice day!

    August 12, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Jaybird

    Sen. Grassley just had a town hall meeting on healthcare.

    August 12, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. tonyt

    For The Media, It's All About Reporting Sizzle!

    "There were tears, fears and lots of shouting"

    They Love This "S"

    August 12, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  11. WIll 18E

    Simple solution to the town hall meetings. Follow the Bush Cheney modle.
    Have all participants searched by security, and forced to sign a a pledge of loyalty before gaining entrance to the halls. And those who freely choose not to, a free speech zone created miles away for there dissent.
    Problem solved

    August 12, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. malclave

    "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. "

    Probably wise, especially if any of Obama's union thugs are present, like in St. Louis. Last thing Obama supporters want to see is an African American willing to think for himself.

    August 12, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. Randolph Carter, the evil narcissistic Obamabot

    Funny, every other civilised country in the world can do this but we can't. I guess we just like to be different. Have a nice day!

    August 12, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. tonyt

    This Is Reporting in America, What Happen to insightful reporting?

    August 12, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Marie

    Let them scream and yell as much as they want because this bill will get passed whether they like it or not.Why haven't they been sceaming about this broken health care system we've had long before Obama took office or the many countless jobs and homes were lost because of poor regulation...Hey Obama just entered the arena so don't start this fight with him.You mostly find most of these people don't like or did not vote for our president so no matter what he does it wont change their minds because never in their lifetime would they have thought they'd see a minority especially (a black ) as president .But for the sake of those who come peacefully to these meetings try to be considerate of them that they also be heard without your yells drowning them out and taking away their rights to be heard

    August 12, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. Ex-Repug

    If people spent more time reading exactly what these plans that are being considered entailed, they would stop making so many false assumptions. It's amazing to me that such a majority think that their healthcare is going to take a change for the worse. Anyone I tallk to, including many small business owners tell me that if the costs don't go down soon, they will not be able to offer it aymore to their employees. I pay my own premium, but I can barely afford it anymore. What is wrong with getting a public option to keep the competition in line? And please, my last operation, I had to fight tooth and nail with the insurance company. Why would the majority of Americans not want a change?

    August 12, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. tonyt

    This Is News Reporting in America, What Happen to insightful News reporting?

    August 12, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. Brad

    This is the problem. CNN keeps reporting on this and its gaining more fuel. We know why these people are acting outrageous (they are being instructed to and we have already been presented the truth). All poles show that they are the extreme minority in this issue. Yet CNN continues to cover these outrageous acting people as if it were breaking news (which CNN has single handedly dilluted that phrase). It is the loudest that are getting the most attention..not the majority. And because of this coverage I cannot watch CNN anymore. NPR is the last place to go anymore where I get facts and news.

    August 12, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. ran

    I want shout it but I will continue to say it: Single payer non-profit is the only true way to health care independence.

    Our health should not be for profit. Our premiums should go toward health care not multimillion $ salaries/bonuses for executives or dividends for shareholders trying to make a profit off our health or for insurance companies' private jets.

    Non-profit does not mean Government run health care. It means the money you pay in premiums goes toward your health care not so people can profit from it.

    NGO means nongovernmental organization.

    Also, medicaid and medicare are both governmental single

    August 12, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. Respect

    No More Gov't Control – last I checked capitalism has gone broke. We had the S&L scandal, and the current meltdown.

    August 12, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. donttreadonme

    Fact: we can cover everyone, lower costs, add protections for pre-existing conditions WITH OUT Socializing medicine. This is not a question of reform or not. It is a question of what kind of reform is best. To make it any other argument is just plain liberal bullying by the dems.

    August 12, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Don't you get it yet? The majority of us do. IT IS NOT ABOUT HEALTHCARE, IT IS ABOUT SINKING PRESIDENT OBAMA.

    You cannot reason with them because they are not looking for reasonable answers. You cannot have a dialogue with them because they rant and yell versus discussing. You can bring all the charts and figures and it won't matter.

    Healthcare= the new attire for bringing down President Obama.
    How dare this uppity negro come into OUR HOUSE and outperform us; out think us; be more popular than us; have all these White folks (and women!) admiring and beatifying him; try to take away our big business bribes; HOW DARE HE CARE ABOUT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN? What do they have to offer, NOBODY cares about the average American.

    Think what you want. Dress it up pretty and take it for a buggy ride. BUT THAT'S WHAT'S UP. It's a darn shame.

    August 12, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. alvino

    I have an idea to quiet the anti health care idiots at the town hall shout downs. How about bringing in bananas in bunches, and when the wing nuts sit down to peel them with their feet, they will forget that their purpose is to prevent dialogue.

    August 12, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. Sam Sixpack

    You won't get to stand in front of President Obama's "Independent Medicare Advisory Council.”

    This panel, which will include five bureucrats to be hand-picked by President Obama, will decide who does and doesn't get care and you won't have any say about it.

    When you discover your grandmother's condition isn't covered by Medicare anymore, don't say you weren't warned.

    Check out President Obama's proposed panel at the White House's website, or just type "Independent Medicare Advisory Council” into your favorite search engine.

    August 12, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. alvino

    Grassley owes Iowans an apology for lying to them about health care.

    August 12, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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