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Healthcare rhetoric

The Town Hall meetings to discuss the pending healthcare bill in Congress have featured very little discussion and a whole lot of shouting from supporters and opponents. The two sides can’t even agree on the source and validity of the protests. Democrats have accused Republicans of trucking in folks whose sole purpose is to throw the Town Halls into chaos. Republicans have countered that the protesters are ordinary folks who are legitimately concerned about the bill.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and fellow Republican Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, both of whom vigorously oppose the bill, said on a national news program recently that people are angry because their questions aren’t being answered.

State Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, entered the fray yesterday, releasing a statement calling Barbour “disingenuous” for his criticism of healthcare reform, which has become President Obama’s signature domestic policy issue, shoving almost everything else to the back burner.

Flaggs said it was ironic that Barbour had criticized Obama for rushing the bill. “That’s exactly what the governor did on Medicaid,” Flaggs said in the statement, citing the negotiations to craft a Medicaid deal to wrap up the state’s FY10 budget that was completed hours before the deadline. Flaggs caught a lot of flak from colleagues because he invoked his right to have the entire Medicaid bill read aloud before the House voted on it. It delayed the bill’s progression several hours and irritated lawmakers from both parties.

The Town Halls are scheduled to continue throughout August. Healthcare and heat figure to make it a long month.

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