- The Washington Times - Monday, August 10, 2009

Scott steps in it

Tensions are running so high at town-hall meetings that Rep. David Scott, Georgia Democrat, yelled at a local doctor concerned about health care after mistaking him for a so-called “astroturf” political operative looking for a fight.

Mr. Scott became visibly agitated when one of his constituents, a practicing doctor, asked a few questions about health care reform during a town-hall meeting in Douglasville, Ga. The meeting was held to discuss a road project, but was opened up for questions near the end. That’s when Dr. Brian Hill stood up to speak.

Dr. Hill asked Mr. Scott why he was going to vote for a health care plan similar to that implemented in Massachusetts “that is shown not to work” and whether he supported a government-provided health care insurance option.

The congressman replied by accusing the doctor of “hijacking” his event.

“I’m listening to my constituents, OK?” Mr. Scott said. “These are people who live in the 13th Congressional District, who vote in this district. That’s who I’ve got to respond to … So what you’ve got to understand, those of you who are here, who have taken and came and hijacked this event that we dealing with here, this is not a health care event.”

“You chose to come and to do it on your own,” he yelled. “Not a single one of you had the decency to call my office and set up for a meeting.” He went on, in a threatening voice, “You want a meeting with me on health care, I’ll give it to you!”

Mr. Scott’s public tirade was filmed by WXIA-TV, a local NBC affiliate that confirmed the doctor lived in the congressman’s district in a follow-up interview.

The doctor told WXIA he wasn’t working for any outside causes and had called Mr. Scott’s office repeatedly, asking to speak with the congressman.

“I did not go to a meeting to create any problems, I went to the meeting to literally ask a question that I thought was very, very important for my patients,” he said.

Palin on health care

She’s back. And, she likes the fire a fellow female conservative firebrand is showing in Washington.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Democratic health care reforms would hurt care for the elderly, sick and disabled in a statement posted on Facebook on Friday evening and that as Americans find out more details of about the proposals, “our collective jaw is dropping, and we’re saying not just no, but hell no!”

The statement issued Friday afternoon is the first contribution the 2008 vice-presidential candidate has made to national political dialogue since her resignation speech and post-resignation interviews with the press. She’s made other statements to bat away false rumors about a purported divorce from husband Todd and gave a speech to the National Rifle Association, but the Facebook statement was a direct shot into Washington’s most contentious political issue.

True to form, she didn’t mince words.

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care,” she wrote in her statement. “Such a system is downright evil.”

The former governor praised Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, for highlighting “the Orwellian thinking of the president’s health care adviser, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the White House chief of staff” in remarks on the House floor. In that address, Mrs. Bachmann said, “Emanuel wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider social justice, such as whether the money would be better spent on somebody else.”

“If you are a grandmother with Parkinson’s or a child with cerebral palsy, watch out,” Mrs. Bachmann warned.

That speech struck a chord with Mrs. Palin.

“I commend her for being a voice for the most precious members of our society, our children and our seniors,” she wrote of Mrs. Bachmann.

Age split

Seniors have done enough for their country, so don’t mess with their doctors, and end-of-life care is the crux of a new ad from the 60 Plus Association.

60 Plus, the conservative alternative to AARP, is airing an ad on cable networks that applauds seniors for surviving the Great Depression and World War II and warns Congress against shortchanging them.

“Congress plans to pay for health care reform by cutting $500 billion from Medicare,” the narrator in the ad cautions. “For seniors that will mean long waits for care, cuts to MRI’s, CAT scans and other vital tests. Seniors may lose their own doctors. The government, not doctors, will decide if older patients are worth the costs.”

The ad strikes upon a split that has emerged between older and younger Americans over health care reform, as shown in a new poll conducted by CNN.

“Obama’s plan is most popular among younger Americans and least popular among senior citizens,” CNN polling director Keating Holland said in a report for CNN.com. “A majority of Americans over the age of 50 oppose Obama’s plan; a majority of those under 50 support it.”

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter @washingtontimes.com.

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