Scott, Cantor headline health care debate in Richmond

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - This morning, two US Congressmen, Eric Cantor and Bobby Scott, got together in one room looking at both sides of the issue of the healthcare reform facing the US House and Senate.

Meanwhile, many people came to speak their mind about a conversation dominated nationally by controversial town hall meetings. But, this was not the such. In fact it was a very civil Public Square, held by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Yet, some emotions were running high, mostly in reference to the question on just how this healthcare reform is going to be paid off.

Both Congressmen agree the current system is unsustainable and something needs to be done. They say that's 80% of the battle they agree on, but then there's that 20% they don't agree on. Them, along with several other Republicans and Democrats.

For the people in attendance, which was sold out with 225 people 30 minutes before the presentation, were given 2 minutes to talk, but many went over. The general consensus is that many questions remain, focusing on the public option and that big issue: cost.

"I don't know what it's going to cost. It's hard to be for something when you don't know the cost," says Dale Jones. He is currently undecided about the bill as it stands.

"It is overreaching.... unacceptable," says Randy Randol, who is against the bill as it stands now.

On Sunday, President Obama went on a media blitz to 5 different Sunday morning news programs. In those programs, he told reporters that the healthcare reform would not increase taxes to those he said he would not increase it, when he was running for President.

"You want to control the costs. It's not free. The plan we have will increase taxes for those over $350,000. We feel that's viable," says Congressman Bobby Scott of the 3rd VA Congressional District.

Meanwhile, Congressman Cantor has a different opinion. He tells us the Senate version of the bill actually has what he calls a tax increase. He says that tax increase is what President Obama says is not a tax increase. "It is a tax that we have to be mindful of. We don't want to have people having to pay higher taxes in this tough economy."

"I think we will have healthcare reform... by the end of the year," says supporter of the bill as it is now, James Payne.

That's yet another debate among those representing us in Congress. Congressman Cantor feels something might be done by the end of the year on healthcare reform. Meanwhile, Congressman Scott is not sure about a timetable, considered the issues at hand.

This week, the Senate is scheduled to take up healthcare reform.

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