Town Hall meeting overflows with people, questions

By Greg Gelpi

Four hours of frustrations and questions were brought to U.S. Congressman David Scott, D-Atlanta, as concerned constituents from the 13th Congressional District filled his town hall meeting beyond capacity.

Scott held the meeting Saturday in the Clayton County Board of Commissioners boardroom, part of a series of town hall meetings to hear directly from those he represents.

One constituent, Anetta Willis, complained of her health insurance increasing by 50 percent.

"That's a lot when you're on a fixed income," she told Scott.

But another constituent laughed, saying her increase paled in comparison to his.

Health insurance costs will triple by the end of December, Ed Fahrenkamp, another constituent, said. He, along with 19,523 others will have their supplemental insurance dropped from Blue Cross/Blue Shield by Dec. 31. They do have an option, however, of picking up insurance at three times the cost.

"I was not aware of that," Scott said. "It's very alarming."

Opening with a talk about his efforts and plans since taking office 10 months ago in the newly formed district, Scott addressed a variety of issues from the Clayton County Board of Education to a prescription drug plan.

A bulk of the frustrations centered on veterans issues and healthcare.

The congressman vowed that he would continue to fight for a prescription drug plan, but cited different "political philosophies" as standing in the way. Both Republicans and Democrats want the plan, but Republicans insist on privatizing Medicare, he said.

"We're determined to get a prescription drug benefit," Scott said, but added that he would fight to prevent Medicare's privatization, which would allow a private company to determine the prices of medications.

If Canada can do it, there is no reason why the United States can't do it as well, Scott said, adding that he is working with Congress to enable Medicare to be able to buy prescription drugs at the same low costs as does Canada.

Along with the prescription drugs, the congressman is striving to get national healthcare and lower medical malpractice insurance rates, he said.

"We've got make doctors available and accessible," Scott told his constituents.

Although it's not a federal issue, several residents of District 13 voiced frustration with the Clayton County Board of Education, which remains on probation with its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Moans and groans greeted Scott, who said progress is being made with the school system and he will continue to work behind the scenes with members of the board, Gov. Sonny Perdue and State Superintendent of Education Kathy Cox.