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August 14th, 2009
11:42 AM ET

The Congressman & the Doctor

The question came from a medical doctor at the end of a town hall meeting with Rep. David Scott, D-Georgia. What happened next made national news. CNN's Don Lemon spoke to both men about their verbal exchange, and what each was trying to accomplish.

Filed under: Don Lemon
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Michael Legel

    It is simply wrong to give TV time to this guy who admits he used his position in the Medical Mafia to hijack a meeting that wasn't even about health care. Of course doctors and others who benefit from the current health ransom and extortion policies don't want any policy changes that will reduce or regulate their greed or authority. It is wrong for CNN to further their disruptive behavior by giving them air time.

    August 14, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  2. America's Faux Healthcare Debate

    “America’s Faux Healthcare Debate”

    President Barack Hussein Obama was justly elected to be the 44th president of the United States of America by the preponderance of Americans to make decisions and lead this country back to prosperity. Since before his inauguration rightwing racial extremists, media moguls, politicians and greedy corporate executives have been determined to make his presidency be a failure.

    The current healthcare debate, can’t truly be called a healthcare debate, since no one at any of these town hall meetings ever gets to discuss (let alone debate) any healthcare issues. Instead, their conversations, arguments and concerns turn to ridiculous accusations about an imaginary president, which is not a naturalized citizen of the United States of America, changing the foundation of a democratic system of government to a socialist system of government.

    Their conversations, arguments and concerns are based on falsehoods and intentionally created propaganda by extreme rightwing politicians, media moguls, corporate executives, and bigoted narrow-minded extremists. These current town hall meetings are very reminiscent of town hall meetings pertaining to The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The National Voting Rights Act of 1965, right down to the very same socialist, communist and destruction of country arguments being spouted by the opponents of President Obama and the healthcare bill.

    Special interests groups organizing and arming citizens with false information, and instructions on the appropriate ways to disrupt town hall meetings, coupled with the continuation of proven GOP designed programs of terrorism, implemented against American citizens are proving to be formidable distractions. The combination or racial zealots, political terrorists (GOP Terrorists), and conscienceless corporate profiteers are an extremely venomous combination.

    This is no healthcare debate, and this fabricated debate is instead being utilized as just another tool to attack and defeat the first Afrikan-American president. Deeper still, this fictitious debate is obviously a concoction of its opponents in the drug companies and healthcare industry which stand to lose trillions in profits if it passes. And now, those corporate and political entities that oppose the President’s “Healthcare Bill,” are manipulating the racial tensions and insecurities of the racialists and xenophobes in this country, for the purposes of distracting our attention from this accommodating healthcare bill, and triumphing over this bill and the first Afrikan-American President.

    Mustafa Rasul Al-Amin

    (Friday, August 14, 2009)

    August 14, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  3. Doug

    The big problem is that it explicitly violates the U.S. Constitution.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  4. j

    I think people need to be respectful of others. The meeting was not designated for Healthcare. The doctor needed to go to a Healthcare meeting where Healthcare was going to be discussed. However, the representative did not need to shout at the doctor, merely state that the healthcare topic will be discussed at other meetings if he wishes to share his questions then.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:59 pm |

    Yeah right! That mean ol politician "shouting" Like all these wingnuts disrupting these meetings are sooo polite. What pisses me off is the media legitimizing all the lies and hypocricy by giving these republicans who have sold their souls to the health ins. co's by giving them so much air time and acting like they are voicing honest concerns! I would have thought that after keeping silent for five years following 9/11 and enabeling all the corruption and lies, you might have learned something.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  6. Alan D Simpson

    Not all town hall meetings are about health care!! This meeting was about a road project and peoples homes and businesses.The doctor should have waited till the meeting on health care.It's already a circus so far.


    August 15, 2009 at 12:11 am |
  7. Bryan E Hall

    I have been to and seen many town hall meetings and as much as I appreciate political concern, I have no patience for ignorance, heated passion or anything that cannot be logically applied to an issue, and backed up with relevant facts. It embarrasses me that our media play unedited, live town halls which demonstrate our worst instead of our best intellectual thought.

    I don't care what someone's position is; it never holds value to repeat something or to say it more loudly; and doesn't not change its truth. Loud idiots should never have an advantage over thoughtful, intelligent people.

    When others across the globe see rednecks talking about "death panels", and for that matter, when one of those rednecks was a VP candidate, it makes America look like a nation of Jerry Springer University graduates.

    I respect my conservative and liberal friends alike, as long as they don't confuse emotionality and quickened anger for "Americanism".

    Personally, if I were a congressman and I held a town hall, I would lay down the law that there is as much a right to hear as a right to speak. When one speaks in a disrespectful way, just as in my classroom, I would immediately dismiss them.

    These politicians, who fail to manage a respectful, intelligent discourse, should not have town halls, plain and simple.

    If people scream, chant or disrupt in any way someone else's right to civil communication, and they refuse to leave, tazer them and drag them out. They may protest as loudly as they like outside the meeting as long as they don't disturb communication among those who came to advance real political thought.

    American media who play unedited, live reports, are irresponsible and the people who see live reporting know they can misbehave and get on the air. Both are wrong, but ultimately, it is the media's responsibility to avoid being an unfiltered megaphone for idiots.

    August 15, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  8. Lawrence Schindler

    I saw your comments on Saturday morning that “One” of the bills will not allow health care for illegals so you reported that this fear is FALSE. But what about the other bills both in the House and Senate that allow payments to illegals? From one bill, how od you know what will pass in Congress? Don’t you need to list the major issues and then REPORT these issues against what does pass?

    August 15, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  9. Lawrence Schindler

    It is my understanding that Congress and the White House are considering cutting Medicare and MEdicaid by somewhere between $150 Billion and $500 billion dollars. How can we afford a new heatlh care plan plan when we cannot afford our current ones?

    Are we suppose to allow our elders to get reduced health (reduced benefits whith Medicare cuts) while giving to others?

    August 15, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  10. Lawrence Schindler

    Instead of changing the entire health care insurance system with "BACK ROOM DEALS" with pharmaceutical companies, why not have the government attack what is wrong with our system today, such as:

    Who is to Blame?
    – Congress – that passes laws that in effect increase the cost of devices and Medications, (such as the Mirena),
    – Attorneys, – where we need tort refrom – Attorneys are suing is to higher costs.
    – The Insurance companies, (well this is being documented)
    – The Physicians
    – The pharmaceutical companies,
    – Medical Equipment manufacturers,

    In each of the above problem areas, when researched, we will see members of congress not doing what is right but what their party says to think and what the political lobbyists pay for.

    If we tax everyone to death and limit physician income, we will loose the best physicians and our health care will suffer.

    We need to attack the real issues, not just blame and scare people.

    I say this with over 35 years of health care experience – and I am not a physician.

    August 15, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  11. Lawrence Schindler

    There was a democratic congresswomen from Texas who held a town hall meeting and needed to stay on the phone to the democratic party to be able to answer questions. I assume then she did not know the bill well enough to enough what was in it?

    1. If the members of congress will not take the time to read the bill and to know what they are voting for then why did we elect them and why do we need them?

    2. I saw this congresswomen on TV saying she was trying to "Tell" her constituents what they needed for health care. Isn't it her job and that of all members of Congress, NOT TO TELL US, but rather to hear what we want and to REPRESENT US? Are we children?

    August 15, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  12. Paul Kanter

    I would say that making death threats is not the American way.
    Whatever is brought up is not a distraction but should be addressed and needs an appropriate response. Also, look up ideology. it isn't bad. Call it party platform if you like. Not all ideologies are bad. Like anything else, it's about how its used and why.
    Also. . .
    If my research is correct, people wouldn't have health-care from their jobs if it wasn't for The H.M.O. Act of 1973. Is that correct? But Pres. Obama and Congress have no plan to change or repeal that Act, do they? Just to be clear.
    And there is no plan to deny healthcare at work, is there? And there is no plan to mandate companies or businesses to change their insurance plans to a public plan, right? Companies and businesses can keep their private insurance plans for their workers if they want to, right? Just to be clear for people who have health-care and want to keep it.

    August 15, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  13. michael armstrong sr.

    Stupidity is the message here from plausible deniability from the government to protect there unfounded programe it dos'nt make a differance if the majoraty of the people wins the no vote or not the democratic congress has the edge all these town hall meetings are just a ploy to justify an unjust desicion.

    August 15, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  14. Reb Clark

    Don, right before CNN cut to Obama in Colorado, you were interviewing a woman who was suggesting that the new Health Care Plan would lead to an increase in the death of senior citizens. She thought euthanasia was too harsh of a word, but she still agreed that there would be many early deaths. Could you tell her for me that the number of premature deaths (if any at all) caused by doctor's decisions because of the Health Care Plan will no where near match the deaths caused by this war that Bush started. If Republicans know so much now, why didn't they fix the heath care and economic situations while Bush was in office?

    August 15, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  15. Joseph McKinney

    I cannot understand why we can only get into the cost of things in this society when it has to do with benefits to the general public. Where was the wild questions being asked when we ran off to go to war to help Iraq get rid of Suddom. Ms. Rice talked about us provided them with democracy to show it to the Middle Eastern world. No wild eyed talk about COST. Talk about any program concerning the general public and the question comes up all of a sudden about cost. Thanks. Joe

    August 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  16. Andrew Stetkevich

    This doctor was a constituent of the Congressman. He was respectful and waited until the very end of the meeting. I am upset that our politicians don't feel the need to answer questions related to their job. It was the Congressman who acted boorish in this situation. I am also concerned about Don Lemon's bias in reporting. I viewed his program today and he actually felt it was over the line for a citizen to state that they did not trust their politicians.

    How can we trust them? Our President even stated a few days ago that the AARP endorsed the legislation. He is bright enough and has enough handlers to know that this was not true when he made the statement earlier this week. That is one reason why we don't trust politicians.

    My wife and I are cancer survivors with 3 kids. You bet that we are distrustful and passionate when it comes to the health care debate. I also find it simplistic for Don Lemon to tell citizens that since we voted for the politicians, our recourse is to vote them out to show we disagree. Some of us did not vote for the politicians crafting the bill. I would also think it is possible to disagree with some positions taken by our representatives especially when we were not surveyed or consulted prior to trying to rush a health care bill before the August recess. Don would do better by asking questions of our politicians rather than inserting statements that reveal his bias.

    August 15, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  17. Paul Kanter

    "pulling the plug on grandma" was an attack on Hospice care. Could you maybe talk to someone from Hospice to explain what Hospice is to people who have never heard of Hospice. Shed some light on Hospice. The only reason I know what it is is because friends of my mom's volunteered there. Otherwise I'd be in the dark too. 
So talk to people from Hospice, pretty please.

    Also, talk to some economists.

On the one hand, gov can't run anything right, but one the other hand, gov. is going to outcompete all private insurance companies? We have anti-trust laws in this country. Also, no company has market dominance: Pcs and Macs, KMart and WalMart, Verizon, AT&T, Gap, Target, Sears, McDonalds and Burger King and Tace Bell, etc. Cable TV providers.
Networks, ABC, CBS, NBC. Facebook, Myspace, Google, Yahoo. etc.

What is it about a public insurance company that it will gain market dominance in 10-20 years?

    August 16, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  18. Joy Rowsey

    Don: Why in the world would you have someone from American's for Prosperity on your show Saturday? They are vile people who have the President's picture painted like Hitler. If you have someone with an opposing view make sure they aren't radical jerks.

    Joy Rowsey

    August 16, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  19. a

    I just returned from an event to collect signatures in support of health care reform with a PUBLIC OPTION. People are working with low wages and cannot afford healthcare. This is sameful!

    Ohio supporter for PUBLIC OPTION!

    August 16, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  20. Chuck in Oregon

    Why do we even keep the Blue Dogs on the committee for health care? They're traitors to their own party.
    The GOP is using their same tactics, keep talking over whoever is making a valid point to stop any discussion. This allows them to delay health care approval only to try and regain power in their own fading party.
    President Obama is keeping the momentum going because he knows the GOP will drag their heels and spread their lies only for political gain.
    The GOP put business before people, money before life. They are anti-abortion but they let people suffer and die while they play their political games....same for he Blue Dogs.
    Get off your rears and make something that works! I've seen too many people suffer and die over the years to let this continue.
    You can't have " life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" if you don't have your health.
    President Obama is doing the RIGHT thing. The GOP only cares about being chummy with big business and their social and political status in Washington. Kick them and the Blue Dogs out and let the Dems do it themselves. I'll never vote for a Republican or Blue Dog. I'm tired to listening to their lies and games.
    Thank goodness for CNN. At least we get a fairly balanced perspective without the hype and tripe.

    August 16, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  21. sharon keninger

    I agree with the well thought out essay on America's Faux Healthcare Debate. It was very well thought out and describes for us exactly what is happening here. The media and right wing community of the country is trying to succeed to start a circus instead of a healthcare debate. How appropriate that the Republican symbol is an elephant. We need a rational debate on the key components of healthcare: Access for all; reducing costs; and eliminating discrimination against Americans who become ill and need the care. I disagree with the circus that is being created by the right wing and fueled by the media. The media's job should be to report what is happening, not fanning the flames wherever they can to capture the attention of viewers for ratings.

    August 16, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  22. sharon keninger

    It is hilarious to think we are worried about the poor insurance companies not being able to compete with a public health insurance option. Corporate America commits a lot of atrocities in the name of a capitalist country, but stupidity is not on the list. These companies will compete JUST me!!!!!!

    August 16, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  23. Robert E.K.

    Dear, Don Lemon

    Regarding your reporting on the Dick Army lead rally in Atlanta you only reported that Americans for Prosperity sponsored the rally, and nothing else was mentioned who was behind it. It seems as if CNN has an information line drawn at that point. You needed to go beyond that point by mentioning that David H. Koch is funding that group. People need to know because there is a reason David H. Koch spends money funding Americans for Prosperity. Americans for Prosperity is a major disinformation tool used to manipulate the lesser informed people in America, so they can be used as pawns against any meaningful health care reform, and there is a root motive behind this effort. The motive is that David H. Koch and his brother make most of their money in the oil & gas industry. They depend on health insurance investment money to speculate in oil and gas futures to drive up the price for them. People need to know this. We may even be able to pay for health care reform by taxing oil and gas speculation profits, and maybe even back claw such profits; especially profits the Koch brothers have made in this shady way.

    August 16, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  24. Doug

    I just returned from an event to collect signatures in support of health care
    reform with a PUBLIC OPTION. People are working with low wages and cannot
    afford healthcare. This is sameful!

    Ohio supporter for PUBLIC OPTION!
    It is obvious to those of us that can spell, why you support an UNCONSTITUTIONAL act. First Health-Care is hyphenated and capitalized. You didn't means sameful, you meant Shameful.
    Become literate please.

    August 17, 2009 at 8:28 am |
  25. Doug

    Try to debunk this, The United States Constitution makes Health-Care reform
    UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Proof in point read Article 1 section 8 and section 9, Article
    6, and the 10th amendment. By the way Article 6 states that ALL senators and
    Representatives must take an Oath or Affirmation to support the Constitution
    therefore it is germane. Ignoring the limits on their powers laid out in the
    other sections quoted is not support.

    August 17, 2009 at 8:32 am |
  26. Bryan E Hall

    Many people are confused that there are plans to cut Medicare and Medicade, and they ask "How can we afford universal health care when we can't afford what we already have?"

    Simple answer: We currently spend more than double to provide poorer service to a lower percentage of our population; if we cut inefficiencies from existing programs, and we finally end era of profit entitlement for insurance companies and pharma, we can easily find 20% in funding through cuts in those areas of inefficiency to pay for coverage of the remaining "uninsurable, uninsured and under-insured".

    August 17, 2009 at 10:53 am |