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Health-care back talk

Citizens respond to U.S. House's Saturday vote

Editor's note: With so much controversy surrounding President Barack Obama's push for health-care reform, and strong feelings on both sides of the issue, it seems appropriate to run the comments the newspapers have received -- through online submission -- since the U.S. House of Representatives voted, by a narrow margin, to pass its version of health-care reform Saturday night. Here is what your neighbors have to say.

* We are so thankful that on Saturday, Nov. 7, a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives made history by passing H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

We, some of the less fortunate of America, have seen this day. For the first time, a chamber of Congress has passed comprehensive health-insurance reform. This is a historic accomplishment. There are many of us Americans who have been laid off and many more to come who do not have health insurance. This passage shines some hope for many of us. Representatives, who voted for this bill, deserve thanks for resisting tremendous pressure from the insurance industry lobbyists, and standing up for their constituents. We have been paying insurance for many years and the companies are the only ones who have benefited, when it really counts for many of us who have had life-threatening ailments. For this passage, we thank the House of Representatives.

Those who did not vote for the bill have one last opportunity to reconsider and support reform in the upcoming final House vote - and they should do so.

A vote for this bill was a vote to provide secure and stable coverage for Americans with insurance, expand coverage for those who do not have insurance, lower costs for families and businesses, and begin to reduce the deficit. Thank you again House of Representatives and Rep. Scott for doing the only right and honorable thing.

Shonda Scott

Jonesboro

* Health Reform is critical to many Americans who are not fortunate enough to take care of their families due to economic reasons. The many Americans who can afford insurance can continue with their existing coverage, and those who are economically challenged should have the right to provide for their families. I incourage you to support this bill.

James Butler

Barnesville, Ga.

* On Saturday, the United States House of Representatives made history by passing the first comprehensive health-care legislation in more than 100 years. Representative Westmoreland yielded on the side of preserving the status quo by voting against this legislation. While no legislation is perfect, this legislation is a start to reforming our broken health-care system. We are the only industrialized nation without a national health-care system that covers all of its citizens. However, we spend more on health care than any other industrialized nation. Not only does this not add up, but it is a national disgrace.

Rep. Westmoreland, you have health insurance that is paid for by taxpayers. Is it possible that you could become passionate and consider extending these same benefits to all Americans?

Sharolyn Rosier Hyson

McDonough

* I am thankful that America is one step closer to giving our citizens health care. As a young adult, I remember hearing debates about health care, and thinking health care for everyone should be a right. Now, as a widowed mother of two, I see it as a necessity. When my husband died, his insurance coverage died with him. Suddenly faced with a one-income household, I could not afford to put my children on my insurance plan, so I applied for Peachcare. After about three years, and a new job, I was able to take them off of Peachcare and put them on my plan (for about $250/mo). Needless to say, this plays havoc with my monthly budget, and very often, I still have to pay additional, out of pocket expenses. An affordable, effective health-care option would be music to my ears and my wallet. I am thankful that Representative Scott has not bowed to the media or the insurance companies, but instead has chosen to stand up for the people he represents!

Nikki Roberts

Jonesboro

* Mr. Westmoreland, we need you as our representative to make decisions that will help all people. I cannot image a parent looking at their child that is ill, and cannot afford to take him/her to a doctor for help. We are all here on this earth together and we need to take care of each other. It truly does take a village to raise a child. Each of us could say but by the grace of God goes I. If everyone would follow one rule in life, it should be: Treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Michael Carter

McDonough

* The Affordable Health Care for America Act Bill 3962 was passed on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009. This Bill made history after nearly a century of false starts.

All representatives who voted for this bill receive my thanks and gratitude. These representatives stood up to insurance industry lobbyists and truly stood their ground.

Those representatives failing to vote for this historical bill have, once again, let us down. But there is always restoration, and this can come about by them voting on the second go around for this bill. The passing of this bill will provide us with security and stability in our health-care coverages, reduce the deficit and provide lower costs for families and businesses.

Cleopatra Ballantyne

Jonesboro

* To Representative Lynn Westmoreland:

Apparently, you do not need health reform, and maybe that's your reason for not voting on the bill. Have you listened to the horror stories that are being told regarding premiums and co-pays that have tripled over the past couple of years, and citizens being turned down because of pre-exsisting conditions? My husband and I have had insurance for 24 years, but over the past 6 years, we have had major changes, from expensive premiums to high co-pays, deductibles and our medical insurance is not worth having. Our vision insurance was discontinued. My husband works for a company that is located out of Massachusetts. His insurance would not cover my infertility services, due to Georgia not mandating it. It is sad that this is a state that has grown tremendously over the past 10 years, and refuses to change any of the generational habits that have plagued this state.

Tanya Williams

Stockbridge

* This letter is in response to the courageous YES vote the House passed on H.R. 3962. It was so refreshing to see how the truly concerned representatives actually wanted real help for their constituents. Me and my entire family support this health-care bill, because we have been personally affected by NOT having adequate health insurance. It's hard to accept a family member's death when you know that, if they only had adequate health insurance, they could be with you still today. Please don't be a sellout to lobbyists, who want to trade dollars and favors in exchange for a NO vote against reform. Me and my entire family and our son, who is now of voting age, would be proud to see that you really care enough about your constituents to vote a courageous YES!

Gerold Harbin

Stockbridge

* Bottom line, Mr. Westmoreland, the people (meaning "me") have waited too long for this to be swept under the carpet with you and your lobbyists holding my health in your hands. Vote for this bill! Remember my vote put you in office, my vote can determine if you will represent me in the next election!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Valerie Chapman

Stockbridge

* The House recently passed the "American Health Care Reform Act," no thanks to the Grandstanding, Obstructionist and Partisan Party that no longer represents the "Big Tent" philosophy of Eisenhower, but more like "My Tent: Good Ten ...Your Tent, Bad Tent."

As a constituent of Georgia's 3rd District, I was disappointed, although not surprised, that Representative Westmoreland caved in to pressure from the insurance lobbyists and the radical right, trying to prevent ordinary citizens from getting access to the very same health care he (as a member of Congress) enjoys. The hypocrisy of supposedly supporting Medicare, but opposing health-care reform that will cover all uninsured Americans is too blatant to ignore. If a public option is "socialism," then so is Medicare. Let's see if Representative Westmoreland would pledge to eliminate Medicare ... doubt it.

Representative Westmoreland, I challenge you to stand up for REAL Americans and REAL Georgians who want and need this long-overdue, just and fair, health-care reform. Show real leadership in the upcoming final house vote. You work for US (we, the people) ... NOT the rich, minority-special interests. We will hold you accountable to us.

Jeffrey Jones

McDonough

* I support health-care reform 100 percent. It's time for a change!

Walter Davis

Stockbridge

* It is shamefull that My Representative to congress, Mr. Lynn Westmoreland, didn't vote for the Health-care bill, to provide the same health care he receives. When we vote him out of office, he will wish he had. He will be one of the millions of Americans without health care.

Eddie Hill

McDonough

* Thank you for moving this country forward. We are late as an industrialized county in health care for its citizens. Health care for citizens is a right, not a privilege. Those who did not vote for the bill have one last opportunity to reconsider and support reform in the upcoming final House vote, and they should do so.

A vote for this bill was a vote to provide secure and stable coverage for Americans ... lower costs for families and businesses, and begin to reduce the deficit.

Marilyn Curtain-Phillips

Jonesboro

* I want to take this time to thank our representative, the Honorable U.S. Representative from Georgia, David Scott, for his courageous vote on Saturday night. Ordinary citizens, like myself, have suffered too long under the weight of ever-increasing premiums and decreasing benefits. It is time for reform. This is a historic accomplishment and I am so proud of my representative for standing up for Georgians!

Barbara Ash

Rex

* As a small business owner with very expensive and pretty much useless Insurance ($5000.00 deductable), I pay monthly and still cannot go to a doctor without footing the first $5000.00. What a joke! I commend all that are trying to pass Health Care Reform. I am 100 percent backing this move. It's time we took care of our people!! And the people who aren't worried about it, and can afford their High Priced Insurance, I say, take a back seat, and shut up! We do not need to hear from you. We need to make history here and join the ranks of the rest of the world.

Nicky Ford

Jonesboro

* I would like to thank Congressman David Scott for having the courage to vote for H.R. 3962 (Affordable Health Care for American Act) to ensure health-care coverage for all our children.

Cathy Mauer

Stockbridge

* I was so excited yesterday when I heard that the House had passed the Healthcare for America Act! This is just one step closer for us to have a system that works for all, and not just some. My hope now is that the Senate takes the lead and "does the right thing" for all us Americans who have choosen to place our trust in them.

As a single mom of four, who does not have health insurance, I cannot afford to stand by without my voice being heard. It's time we take an initiative and look out for our citizens as other countries are able to do for their citizens.

Shan Beach

McDonough

* Thank you Representative Lewis for your suport on the Health-care reform. We need more people to stand up and be counted. So that we all can have health Insurance.

Lilly Reid

Stockbridge

* As a health-care professional for many years, I have seen the cost of health care skyrocket under "Managed Care." This system was to provide better health-care service, but all it did was contribute to higher health-care costs and make access to health care unreachable for more and more Americans. If you have not had to use your health care recently, great. You have not experienced paying higher deductibles, forced to take medicines that you are allergic to before you can take the medicine that best suits you, because the insurance company that you have at this time says so. If your employer changes your plan, you may find yourself finding another doctor and going through another list of medications because this new insurance company won't except that you were seen in the ER for an allergic reaction from your previous insurance experience. The current health-care system is costly, exclusive, fragmented, rationed care by the insurance companies, and a tax cut is not there when you have to hand the hospital the money for the bill.

Alida Coles

Conyers, Ga.

* I run a day care center for children. The gross income is a little over $900,000. Payroll for the same period was $510,000.00. Net income was $40,000. According to the information put out, I would have to pay 8 percent of the salary for health care. That means approximately $40,000. So, why should I continue running this business? I work 12 hours a day. If this bill passes the way it is, I will have to close the business down and retire, or fire employees so my payroll stays below $500,000. I am assuming that many day centers and small businesses will be in the same position. The health care bill will bring many changes to the economy.

Encarnacion Martinez

Stockbridge