Town Hall Talk: Hoyer's Message in Maryland
By Sarah Lovenheim
The No. 2 Democrat in the House faced a town hall crowd that he called "the largest of his career" last night at a high school in southern Maryland, according to the Baltimore Sun's Paul West.
About 1,700 people congregated to hear the House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer (Md.), talk about Congress's plans to push health-care reform. The "angry tone and hostile questioning" familiar from other town halls over the summer ensued. So what made Hoyer's town hall stand out?
Aside from the size of the audience, blogs are buzzing about a change in the conversation. During the Q & A, Hoyer was "repeatedly pressed about tort reform," rather than broad-sweeping health care reform goals.
As a lawmaker who's considered "a leading recipient of campaign contributions from lawyers and law firms," the inquiries may not have seemed so off-beat. Trial lawyers are among the most influential Democratic special interest groups and opponents of President Obama's health-care reform plan lament that legislative proposals on health care lack provisions on medical lawsuits.
Hoyer said Congress will likely consider caps on such lawsuits, yet cautioned that capping non-economic damages could mean some victims of medical malpractice "may not get anything of substantial value through the years."
More from Hoyer: "I intend to look at this very seriously and discuss it with my colleagues.... We do want to prevent specious suits. I think we can all agree on that."
Obama said earlier this summer in an address to the American Medical Association that he's not pushing caps on malpractice suits.
Hoyer said he expects Congress to debate health-care reform for eight to 10 weekss once Congress returns from recess, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Watch a clip from the event:
Here's a rundown of some town hall meetings happening today:
Tampa, Fla. -- Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) meets with constituents at Jan K. Platt Library at 10:30 a.m.
King City, Calif. -- Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) meets with constituents at King City Council Chambers at 6:00 p.m.
Across Utah -- Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) meets with constituents at Greenwood Student Center at 1:00 p.m. in Greenwood, at Old Territorial Statehouse at 5 p.m. in Fillmore and at 7:00 p .m. at Delta City Office in Delta.
If you know of other town hall meetings happening nationwide, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Washington Post editors
September 2, 2009; 10:20 AM ET
Categories: Health Reform | Tags: health care, southern maryland, steny hoyer, town hall
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