Rep. Heath Shuler’s comments on WWNC regarding Health Insurance

Heath Shuler appeared on Matt Mittan’s talk-radio show today. Below is the combined series of live-Twitter transmissions by Xpress reporter David Forbes, who was in the studio.

Rep. Heath Shuler: Tele-town halls “much more civil” than in-person public forums.  —  3:38 pm
Shuler: Health care a right for “certain populations” such as children, seniors, veterans.  — 3:40 pm
Shuler on “radio town hall” w/ Matt Mittan @ radio stations 570 AM, 880 AM and 1400 AM.  —  3:41 pm
Shuler spoke earlier today at CIBO luncheon, has spoken to other civic, business groups, but declined in-person public town halls —  3:42 pm
Shuler: “Have to have reform before we add anyone to the current [health] system.” Calls system “broken.”  — 3:51 pm
Shuler advocates more focus in health bill on “incentives for people to live healthier lifestyles.”  —  3:57 pm
Shuler opposes current health care reform bill in the House, asserts it will add too much to deficit.  —  4:00 pm
Shuler, on his second term, is the whip for the caucus of conservative Blue Dog Democrats.  —  4:02 pm
Rep. Shuler is the top recipient of donations from the health care industry among NC’s House Democrats: $130,852 in last campaign —  4:05 pm
Shuler’s response: “That’s all the more reason for reform,” especially prevention, disease management.  —  4:11 pm
Caller asks Shuler if he’s ever known someone who’s died from lack of health care coverage.  —  4:11 pm
Blue Dogs pushing for “deficit neutral” health care program, Shuler says.  — 4:15 pm
Shuler: “Whatever passes the House, that should be the health care for every member of Congress.”  —  4:16 pm
Shuler: “Health care reform can’t be done by one party.”  — 4:22 pm
HR 3200 would require Americans to get health insurance, includes a gov-run insurance plan to compete with private companies.  —  4:25 pm
HR 3200 would also include a surtax on households making over $350,000 to help pay for health care reform.  — 4:27 pm
Bill would also require more employers to provide health coverage, ban denial of coverage on pre-existing conditions.  —  4:27 pm
Shuler currently opposes HR 3200, asserts it won’t reduce overall cost, doesn’t include enough incentives for healthier living.  — 4:30 pm
Shuler on contributions from health care companies “no one purchases my vote.”  —  4:32 pm
Shuler reasserts support for Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds to support abortions.  —  4:32 pm
Shuler says he would support mandate “under right conditions, right program. The more people we get, more we spread risk out.”  —  4:34 pm
Shuler says still negotiating to get health care bill down below $1 trillion, credits Blue Dogs for reductions.  — 4:39 pm
Shuler advocating incentives for new doctors to solve “lack of primary care physicians.”  —  4:41 pm
Full text of HR3200 health care reform bill. —  4:51 pm
Shuler describing uninsured: “there’s the wealthy, not wealthy, veterans, teenagers, it runs the whole gamut.”  —  4:53 pm
Shuler: “I am listening to the experts, the people that have the most experience in the field.”  —  4:54 pm
Rep. Shuler touting Asheville Project as a model for health care reform. More about Asheville Project: —  5:11 pm
HR 3200 also has 8 restrictions on insurance company practices such as denying care for pre-existing conditions. —  5:59 pm
Shuler told Xpress that he supports these restrictions, but still opposes the House health care reform bill overall. —  6:00 pm


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30 thoughts on “Rep. Heath Shuler’s comments on WWNC regarding Health Insurance

  1. Lamont Cranston

    I guess our Rep. Shuler doesn’t know that 23% of his constituents do not have any health care coverage.

    I guess Representative Shuler doesn’t realize that over 72% of the American population wants the Public Option so as to have the ability to chose their healthcare means.

    In addition, for the record, Representative Shuler accepted a little over $192,000.00 in campaign contributions from the healthcare industry that does not want the competition, but did not care to offer that number in his answer concerning the numbers: But then again, nobody, and he means nobody owns Representative Shuler.

    By the way Rep. Shuler, where was your voice when Bush was in office creating the big bad deficit with two wars that weren’t reported as part of the Federal Budget that you are so concerned about today??

    Hmmm…Just what does Heath Shuler know, and who does he really represent anyways?

    Wake up Representative Shuler, your constituents who are without today will not forget your irresponsible, and shameful vote on this life altering and significant moral legislation next time in the voting booth.

  2. John

    72% want the public option?! Site that source.

    I’d like to hear from you how you think the Post Office is going to out perform UPS or Fedex. Even Obama said they can’t.

  3. John

    The Public Option debate within the democratic party is how it is funded. Is it going to be funded with Premium dollars the same way the insurance industry is or will it be funded from the general fund? One way is financially transparent and the other way is a smoke screen where a comparison will be impossible.

    Those that want a single payor don’t care how much it costs … or that they are sure the Gov’t Option will be better than the evil insurance industry.

    Put your money where your mouth is and advocate that it be funded with Premium dollars so you can prove the insurance industry is the most wasteful model.

    Thus far, Pelosi and Reid are not willing to take on the challenge. They know that the Gov’t Option can’t compete and they will have to hide the real cost thru creative bookwork. If they felt that it could compete … they’d accept the Premium model.

    Insisting on the smoke screen model tells me they know that the Medicare/Mediciad system can’t compete and they are just making a power grab.

  4. John

    If those legislators who advocate the Government Option are so proud of it, why won’t they use it? Every time they have been asked to use it in an amendment to the proposed bill, they vote it down?! Why? Probably, because they like their BCBS FEP better.

    They should be the first in line … not the last … that tells me something.

  5. Bert

    It’s not Shuler’s mind progressives have to change, it’s the voters out in Madison County and everywhere else that buy into the right wing belief system. Right now Asheville just doesn’t have the votes to put in the kind of congressman we’d like. Shuler knows this, and that’s why he tacks to the right on so many issues. Until progressives start seriously engaging the rest of WNC, Shuler is the best we’re going to get.

  6. Piffy!

    [b]I’d like to hear from you how you think the Post Office is going to out perform UPS or Fedex. Even Obama said they can’t. [/b]

    But why should health care be about profit ‘performance’?

    Isn’t that part of the problem with our current ‘option’? That they make all their decisions based on what is ‘profitable’, and not what encourages people receive the medical attention they need?

    I don’t really “need” to send a package, but one could argue we may all very well “need” health care, at some point.

  7. John

    PFKaP – that is a very reasonable question. It has a very simple answer.

    UPS and Fedex try to earn profits and compete against each other for rates and service. The USPS tries to operate their system within certain expense constraints … postage .. but have no competitors by law and just raise rates when they fail to operate in the black.

    In theory, both public and private entities have the same goal … to provide their service within the constraints of their business model. To provide as much service as is reasonable for the least expenses.

    With that said, do you want your health care from:

    1. Fedex and UPS who work hard to earn their money and provide high quality service at competitive rates or …

    2. The USPS who is filled with angry unproductive employees who don’t care how long the line is? Civil servants more focused on their mack daddy pension than their job? Surely, I don’t have to explain the joke of productivity that the USPS represents? Are you that young to not know?

    If you want quality health care at a reasonable cost, you have to watch the bottom line as well as the treatment quality. The USPS isn’t nearly as motivated to do that as competing private companies. The civil service mentality has crippled them.

  8. Bjorn

    Looks like Heath Shuler is addicted to feeding at the trough of Insurance Companies! He’s completely fumbled & dropped the ball again. It’s hard to care about others isn’t Heath, especially when they’re not filling your feeding trough– full of special interest dough! We clearly see where your loyalty lays!

  9. Question Authority

    Thank you Rep Shuler for being wise enough to mirror the majority of your constituents’ views on the attempted socialist government takeover of healthcare. We flat out are opposed to obamacare. Don’t pay attention to gadflies who say we need healthcare, paid for by the US taxpayer. We also need food, clothing, shelter. Is the taxpayer to pay for that too? In a word, NO! The grown-up adult American way is earn it yourself! Those who want a nanny government, try living in Cuba for awhile. And see how far your “protests” get you down there.

  10. who

    Shuler lacks imagination and is a panderer. Show some guts you,…Americans. We have hoards with a third world mentality in a first world nation.

  11. Question Authority

    “Shuler lacks imagination and is a panderer.” Huh? Nancy Pelosi, Barak Obama,and Harry Houdini are the panderers. And they want to hoodwink the American people in the process. I am so glad Rep Shuler is wise enough to oppose this obamacare plan. A 1000 page plus pile of rubbish that Obama himself hasn’t read, and doesn’t understand. A plan so bad the politicians themselves don’t want it to be their own. The politicians want us to continue to pay for an elite plan just for them. It sure is obvious they want to remain an elite class on the backs of the working taxpayer. Oppose this attempted socialist takeover of healthcare, and vote these panderers OUT of office next year.

  12. Frank Ricci

    “Shuler lacks imagination and is a panderer. Show some guts you,…Americans.”

    I’d say Americans are showing a lot of guts, ‘who’. Have you seen any of the Town Hall meetings lately on television? The people get it. When the politicans themselves do not know whats in that high stack of papers that make up the Obama/Pelosi/Reed proposal for health care reform, then we are not going to rubber stamp it. The non-thinking Americans are the ones in favor of rubber stamping this legislation as long as it contains government run health care, and it “changes” things.

    As a retired medical professional, I am very opposed to the current legislation. And I am a life long democrat. Liberal wing, most of the time. I want health care reformed, but not this way. We keep the good things, which is 90% of what we have now, and tweak the rest a mite. I am thankful that we have a thinking representative in Rep Shuler. He will get my vote again next time.

  13. who

    You are stuck in the trees in a forest you think you know. Paradigm breaking is in order. You are awash in an ocean that is not on your map. We need big minds to move things forward. Healthcare reform is a line that needs to be crossed. A little bit of socialism will do you good, but you don’t even know it and can’t imagine it. This is our government – our money. It is we who decide which is best. Anal/cerebral thinking has never got anybody/anything anywhere. I’ve seen more than one poll on the best cities in the world to live. The criteria being quality of life issues such as education, life expectancy, physical and mental health, and outlooks on living. In one poll, not one U.S. city was in the top 30. All the cities, whether canadian or European, that were in the upper echelon, had healthcare for all. I site lack of imagination, and true leadership, because it takes imagination to envision a better way of living. I think of a little boy who has worn wooden shoes all his life and can’d imagine, and is scared, to wear a new pair of nikes that is offered to him. Some live in hells that are mistaken for being heaven,..because of lack of imagination.

  14. John

    Just having the Gov’t take over as a solution to one of our problems doesn’t sound very imaginative to me.

  15. John

    Just having the Gov’t take over as a solution to our problem doesn’t sound very imaginative to me. It almost sounds like the opposite … handing the issue off to someone else to solve. Weak.

  16. John

    PFKaP – I’m interested to hear back from you how you think sloth is an essential part of the health care bill.

  17. John

    P – you are correct. I never said anything about egregious.

    However, I’m still interested to hear your thoughts on how being extremely inefficient is irrelevant to the health care debate.

    MX – why do you let two diff email addresses use the same name on the same thread?

  18. John

    P – All the posts under “John” are mine except the one just before the ‘witty’ post you made pointing out the problem. Coincidence? I’m not so sure.

    I’m still waiting to hear your retort on why its not important for whoever is providing health care to actually work hard. I can’t wait to hear.

  19. Professor

    Since my Association and all of it’s 3,000+ members helped Schuler become elected, I feel like we have been let down!!
    Why is he a democratic???
    The bottom line is: MANY students, MANY WORKING adults do not have health benefits. What happen to compassion and helping one another? We are already paying for the people who go into the hospitals with NO insurance. Why don’t we have an option we all can choose if we want?
    I will give every effort that Mr. Schuler does NOT get votes of many teachers.

  20. John

    Professor – the public option and the issue of everyone having coverage are NOT the same. If you don’t make enough money to buy your insurance yourself, then the Gov’t could offer you Medicaid. Simple as that. The Gov’t Option is not the only solution to that problem.

    You are a scholar .. do some research … or do you want the Gov’t to do that for you too?

  21. Piffy!

    [b]I’m still waiting to hear your retort on why its not important for whoever is providing health care to actually work hard. I can’t wait to hear.

    I’m still interested to hear your thoughts on how being extremely inefficient is irrelevant to the health care debate. [/b]

    Where did I say that?

  22. John

    P – Here you go:

    “But why should health care be about profit ‘performance’?”

    I thought that health care was too expensive? Isn’t that most of this discussion? Now, you want to ignore the bottom line? Whaaaa?

    You can define profit/performance by just getting the job done if you don’t want to look at a bottom line … even though all civil service work has to pay attention to their budget/bottom line.

    You want the USPS to run our health care? Be ready to hire 3X more employees to handle what the private sector handles now.

    I’m interested to hear how that is going to save money.

  23. Piffy!

    Wow, John, you really have shown me the errors of my thought-process. Obviously i would want to choose UPS next time I ship a package, and private insurance companies for my health care needs!

    Along those same lines, shoudln’t we also privatize national defense? I mean, look at the deficit the Defense Department runs every year! I bet Halliburton and BlackWater could do it far better, cheaper, and with better “profit-performance’.


  24. Piffy!

    yeah, boy do i feel embarrassed.

    can you explain it to me one more time, willard?

  25. Vitamins Supplements

    Health-care reform has become the hot topic both in the district and around the nation. That’s why I plan on holding two tele-town hall meetings within next four weeks to listen to comments, questions and concerns from Western North Carolina constituents about the health-care reform bill that will come up for vote on the House floor after Labor Day.

    Vitamins Supplements

  26. Eric

    I don’t agree with Shuller’s point of view, I don’t know whether the new health policy will be successful or not, but one thing is sure that it will be cheaper than private health insurance.

    And this especially in today’s job cuts, low salary and recession can be really soothing.

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