Bachmann critical of health reform, offers ideas for change
Sixth Congressional District Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Republican Congressman Michael Burgess, a medical doctor who was born in Rochester told 200 people at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center in Rochester on Monday that Republicans were shut out of the health care bill negotiation process.
Bachmann outlined three ideas for fixing health care — allowing people to buy health insurance across state party lines, making tax-exempt health savings accounts available and enabling people to deduct health care costs from their income taxes.
Grant Bentley, of Austin, said he is afraid that Democrats will find a way to get the bill passed. He asked the panel " Being that the Democrats have pulled so many shenanigans, is there any possibility that they might take a secret vote on the health care vote in the House?"
Burgess said that the final vote will be a public. But he said there is no way to know what kind of cajoling will be going on behind the scenes to win votes.
Some health care reform supporters did show up for the event and tried to ask questions but were not called upon. Resident Bill Rood did get the chance to question Bachmann's support for a measure that would allow residents to buy health care insurance across state lines. Rood, who said he does have concerns with the Democrats' health bills, said he opposes the idea of allowing residents to buy insurance across state lines. Standing in front of the crowd, he said Minnesota has tougher regulations for insurers that help keep health insurance costs lower while health care quality is high.
"Will you work to educate your constituents on why such a proposal is a bad ideal for Minnesotans? " Root asked backed by some applause.
Bachmann's response to Root got loud applause -- "I think what is a bad deal is to take away my choice, my freedom, my right to spend my money the way I want to get the type of health care that I want for me and my family."
Minnesota DFL Chair Brian Melendez issued a statement saying the Republicans opposition to the Democrats' health care reform will ultimately hurt the state.
"(Bachmann) and her Texan colleague are dancing the Texas-two-step of delay and inaction on health-care reform, and their strategy will hurt Minnesota's medical institutions. And Allen Quist is eager to join them," he said.
Republican Allen Quist, who is running for the 1st Congressional District seat held by Democrat Tim Walz, sponsored the forum.
At the end of the event, Bachmann urged opponents of health care reform to make sure their voices are heard warning that the Democrats' plan is far from dead.
She added, "America is not about government ownership and control of every aspect of our lives, our businesses. But that is what is happening before us."