The News On 6
UNDATED -- Oklahoma's Second District Congressman Dan Boren met Tuesday with his constituents face-to-face, holding a series of town hall meetings across his district where people sounded off about the future of the health care system.
"I had to be here. I'm really concerned about what's happened to our country," said Lonnie Lu Anderson, a Crowder resident.
"We are not against health reform. We need health reform, but we are against the government taking over," said Phyllis Fallen, a Wagoner resident.
Spirited but civil debate took place at the town hall meetings held in McAlester, Muskogee and Pryor.
Congressman Boren started the day in McAlester. Some there said Congressman Boren, a Democrat, sounded a lot like a Republican.
The attendees came with their game faces on.
"I think everybody should pay their own. I don't think we should go in there and buy insurance for everyone; they would abuse it," said Mary Kay, a McAlester resident.
But if the crowd was looking for a fight, they wouldn't get much of one.
Congressman Dan Boren says he's voting no on the current house bill before him, and he has no intention of defending a bill he doesn't agree with.
"I have a real problem with the public option, because I think it crowds out other plans. It becomes a single payer system where you have government run healthcare," said Rep. Dan Boren, (D) Oklahoma.
Boren says he can't back a bill that would increase taxes and possibly hurt small businesses. And while the majority of the crowd seemed pleased, there were a few who wondered if they wandered into the wrong town hall.
"Democrats say something else, I'm confused about what party you're really in," an attendee said to Rep. Dan Boren.
With 26% of his district uninsured, Boren admits the status quo isn't working. He says something should be done, but for now he's listening to those who put him in office.
"At the end of the day, that's who I represent, are the people who elected me and that's what I'm going to continue to do," said Rep. Dan Boren.
Congressman Boren's second town hall meeting was in Muskogee. Hundreds of people didn't hesitate to show their anger over the proposed health care overhaul.
An overflowing crowd packed the Muskogee Civic Center. Congressman Boren said health care reform is needed, but he opposes any law that would lead to a government-run health care system.
There were frequent disruptions from people in the audience, but most were scolded by the rest of the audience to get in line if they had a question or comment.
"We have the best health care in the world, in the United States, but the system has flaws," said Rep. Dan Boren.
Boren also says he doesn't support any plan that would provide federal funding for abortion coverage.
Congressman Boren's final town hall meeting Tuesday was in Pryor at the Mid-America Expo Center. It was well attended and while folks weren't shy about expressing their opinions, there weren't any shouting matches like those that have occurred nationwide.
Congressman Boren has also pledged that if the health care bill passes, he would take that plan, even if the plan for federal lawmakers might be better.