U.S. Rep. David Wu
(D-Ore.) took the floor at Good Samaritan Hospital Tuesday afternoon to face critics for a second day in a row
. And despite an onslaught of criticism about healthcare reform
, he called both meetings "civil discussions."
Only about 60 people were allowed into the meeting out of a crowd of hundreds who began lining up along Northwest 22nd Avenue at 8 am
. The randomly selected questioners focused on cost and availability of healthcare, the debate over public vs. private and kept spinning back to coverage of illegal aliens, abortions and euthanasi
Wu complimented U.S. coverage. And he pulled back from demonizing the insurance companies, saying that those who have insurance get good healthcare, but there are just too many uninsured Americans
The question Multnomah County resident Caroline Olsen had for Wu in response, "Who's going to pay for all of this?"
According to Wu, the plans that have been proposed would not add to the national debt
. But the audience still expressed expressed concern about tax dollars as well as who - and what - procedures those tax dollars would cover. Although Wu repeatedly claimed that illegal immigrants and abortions would not be covered under the plan, the audience fired back that they are not explicitly excluded either.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer's proposal on end-of-life consultations
took some additional heat. One man- who identified himself only as Steve and carried a poster of Obama with a Hitler-esque mustache- claimed that Wu was a "fascist" and a "babbling liar." He likened Blumenauer's proposal to genocide.
Wu defended his fellow Oregon Democrat's bill as "thoughtfully proposed." Wu said the measure's end-of-life consultation is only one option, not a requirement and that anything to the contrary was an "outrageous falsehood."
One thing several people agreed on was thanking Wu for taking the time to conduct the town hall meetings- unlike some of his congressional cohorts.
"Thanks for taking the heat," said Jim Ellison, a 70-year-old man on Medicare. "I got some more heat for you."
Wu conceded to the audience that some areas of the healthcare bill were harder for him to come around on, but he encouraged Oregonians to find the middle ground and to not let the best become the enemy of the good.
"We need to make decisions collectively," Wu told the audience. "If we can't, we're sunk."