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. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Honestly, I feel sorry for these protesters. I don't think they quite understand why they are so afraid, they just know they are afraid, thanks to people like "Death Panel" Palin and the Faux News crowd. But it is hard to explain the benefits of universal health care to them when some of them are simply there to yell. I cannot hear you when you scream so loud.

    August 12, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. Harry from Los Angeles

    Tell our legislators that a Health Care bill written in clearer language, will prevent a lot of misinterpretation & stop the lies.

    August 12, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. d in fl

    If all these protesters were minorities they would be arrested for public disturbance. Just ask prof. Gates.

    August 12, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. Ed in Oregon

    Republicans ARE doing town halls. They're sending very loud people who they have filled with lies and fear to shout down the Dems who are trying to EXPLAIN what they are trying to do.

    BIG money is involved here, and the status quo doesn't want you to change the healthcare system, its far too profitable for THEM.

    Poor people, dumb people, working class people, you are getting screwed.


    August 12, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    New republican talking points: Medicare and Social Security are NOT government run programs.

    Looks as if most of those "spontaneous" protestors have paid in every dime they now receive in monthly allotments from the government.

    Yep, and the earth is flat.

    August 12, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Independent, NC

    What great entertainment these racist town hall meetings have become. Dumb and Dumber. Where can I find a paid job as a Protester at a town hall meeting. I am afraid of racist, dumb, angry white people, they give white people a bad name.

    August 12, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. jack

    Republicans! You and you alone are destroying this country. First running up the national debt, then giving the Wall Street crowd the deregulation of that industry with their promise of self regulation. Letting politics play into the firing of US Attorney Generals for not doing the bidding of Karl Rove, talk about unconstitutional and criminal. The sooner this party implodes the better for all Americans, yes, including the right wing christian nut jobs that have set about destroying everything not in their image.

    August 12, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. alvino

    The only way government spending is justified in the mind of a right wing nut:

    1. Tax cuts for the wealthiest

    2. Illegally invading a country

    August 12, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. Matthew

    Yikes, the right wing is getting downright scary and hysterical. There's a lot of loonies on the left for sure, but its really amazing how imbalanced, enraged and confused the right wing is. Frightening times. More violence and intimidation from these quarters can't be far off.

    I guess we got a taste of this madness, with its not-so-subtle hints of racism, at the tail end of the campaign. Its terrifying to see it in action.

    August 12, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. Brian

    Socialist takeover whining RePigs - Dumb as Rocks -
    Crying about Obama's supposed nefarious attempt to turn the Country into Venezuela a La Chavez
    Meanwhile all these seniors are collecting off Our current Socialist health Programs-
    Medicaid Medicare social security etc

    i guess it proves Our State run socialist school System is lacking–
    What a crock of GOP Propaganda!!!!

    August 12, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. donttreadonme

    Yes to Healthcare reform – no to socializing medicine.

    Do people actually think that the insurance companies are creating the costs? If the Government takes it over there will still be costs to employ all of the new Government workers that will be needed to process claims and manage this monster.

    Let's put it to a vote!

    August 12, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. tonyt

    The Media Wants to insight a health care riot.

    sizzle only news reporting

    There were tears, fears and lots of shouting and lets no forget the signs!

    No Information on the plan being discuss, Just the illadvised
    Angry Mob!

    Any real reporters out there, please stand up!

    August 12, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. Jude

    I will take the supposed Dumb people Democrats call Americans trying to get answers to this healthcare debacle. Anything is better than they Union Thugs they send to silence most of these individuals who are mostly elderly. Democrats = Terrorize anyone who dares to ask questions.

    August 12, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  14. John from California

    These so called town hall protesters are agents of the Insurance Companies and they should be investigated by Homeland Security.

    The disruptions caused by the provocateurs is akin to Hitler's Brown Shirts and the Republican Party is looking more and more like the Republican Nazi Party.

    August 12, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. Willy Brown

    The liberal must be approving blog comments tonight. They deleted my Buh bye democrats because they know too at CNN that they will be gone starting in 2010. That's Change America will believe in!

    August 12, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. donttreadonme

    We can cover everyone, lower costs, add protections for pre-existing conditions WITH OUT Socializing medicine.

    August 12, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. Enough

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

    This is a prime example of the unruly outbursts from the far right fringe. All Americans deserve a constructive discussion with our representatives on important issues.

    Keep it up, though. The lobbyist enablers on the right are doing a heckuva job ensuring civil Americans want nothing to do with their over-stepping behaviors.

    August 12, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Jim

    The Media use to be the first line of defense to get to the truth or to warn of danger. But, those days are gone. It's about ratings. Even if the Media knows the truth will let the story hang out there until they get a wild response. Well that method backfire with this "Death Panel" junk. People are really scared and not to mention the sensitively to people who once was subjected to that method. Foxs News use expageant contestants,alcoholics and college droupouts to report their news. I can expect that type of behavior with no real journalism credentials. But, CNN there is no excuse to follow Foxs News lead. Foxs News have the ratings,but so did Enron and
    WorldCom. It will be through their own greed to do anything for a ratings that will bring Foxs News down.

    August 12, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  19. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    I think the enormous scope of change is one of the things scaring people about this health care reform bill. Perhaps it would behoove the President & all of Congress to step back and re-think how they go about this. Perhaps it should be something they look at doing in phases?? That way people won't have to be so totally blindsided with enormous changes all at one time. I know it's sometimes best to "just rip off the bandaid and get the pain over with"– but maybe not so in this case. My suggestion to Congress is step back, re-think, re-plan. I'm for a health care overhaul, but even I would like to see it phased in more slowly so as to give people a chance to better understand the changes and to make the adaptations easier.

    August 12, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  20. tonyt

    Any real reporters out there, please stand up!

    August 12, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. Jay

    People keep on asking where was the outrage when Bush was up to his shenanigans. I submit that there was an outrage, and thus the Republican Party lost. Is it not possible that the same people who were outraged with Bush and the Repubs are now outraged at Obama and the Dems. American's want to see black and white, but there are a lot of gray areas where INDEPENDENTS are just mad at the spending.

    August 12, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. John from California

    John McCain presented the Republican Health Care plan during the last election and we the people rejected the Republican Plan.

    It's time for the republicans to accept that they lost the last election and stop this insane political theater.

    The Town Hall protesters are republican agents for the Insurance Industry and they should be investigated for influence peddling and for being unlicensed lobbyists.

    August 12, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  23. RR

    Republicans CANNOT block anything! They do NOT have the votes! Stop blaming the GOP!

    August 12, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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