Congressman attempts to pull plug on important health care debate

Opponent, Assemblyman Greg Ball, to host public meetings; joins 1,800 State Lawmakers in Nationwide Effort to Preserve States’ Rights; Stop Single-Payer

BREWSTER, NY – Hudson Valley residents expressed outrage today after their incumbent Congressman, who has refused to hold any public discussions on HR 3200, derisively known as ‘ObamaCare’, attempted to leverage his official position to shut down a series of town hall meetings on health care that have been arranged by his prospective 2010 opponent, New York State Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson).

“The congressman’s office seems more interested in spending time trying to avoid a public discussion on health care than they are in reading this 1,100 page socialized medicine bill,” Ball said. “A primary concern of mine is that we face an unlevel playing field when a public plan can shift costs to our state’s private insurers because of low doctor and hospital reimbursement rates. State lawmakers nationwide can, and should be hosting public meetings on this critical issue.”

According to reports, the current congressman’s requests for cancellation of Ball’s town hall meetings were denied.

“Hudson Valley residents deserve an open and honest discussion to debate the consequences of legislation that many believe will irreparably harm both the economy, and our health care system,” said Cornwall Town Supervisor Kevin Quigley. “Our sophomore Congressman may feel differently, but I’m glad to see our state representatives, like Assemblymembers Annie Rabbitt and Greg Ball, taking the lead on this critical issue.”

Ball signed onto an official letter from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to Congressional leaders, which was delivered on July 29, expressing the will of more than 1,800 state legislators opposing federal reform efforts-particularly, the Medicare-modeled “public plan” and a national health insurance exchange-which they say will trample states’ rights and lead Americans down the road to single-payer health care.

“It may have escaped our Congressman’s notice, but people are outraged about this bill,” said William DeProspo, Chairman of the Orange County Republican Committee. “It is bad enough that he has refused to defend his viewpoint on this issue directly to the public, but this Orwellian attempt to infringe upon free speech and halt public discussion is shameful.”

The members of ALEC-the nation’s largest nonpartisan, individual membership association of state legislators-recently approved the Resolution on Preserving States’ Rights Regarding Federal Health Insurance Exchanges and a Public Plan, which deems the federal public plan anti-competitive and calls the proposed national health insurance exchange a “federal takeover” of the states’ role in regulating health insurance.

“Our current congressman has chosen to discuss this bill only in meetings with special interest groups in a behind the scenes, closed door format, and while that may score political points with Nancy Pelosi, Hudson Valley residents know better,” said Chairman Michael McCormack of the Dutchess County Republican Committee. “States primarily regulate today’s health insurance market and provide aggressive oversight of the market and enforce consumer protection and ensure a local, responsive presence for consumers. Now that congress is considering legislation that may impose restriction on the states ability to regulate health plans, including overriding already adopted state patient protections, is important to have responsive legislators like Assemblyman Greg Ball, who will stand up and fight for us, as it is the duty of our state elected officials to stand up and stop this effort to undermine state authority to design programs that reflect local needs.”

In the ALEC letter to Congress, ALEC’s lawmakers criticized the federal push to shift health care decision-making to Washington. “We all share the goal that patients deserve to choose their own quality, affordable, private health coverage,” Ball’s letter states. “But health reform shouldn’t just be the job of the federal government.”

About Greg Ball

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) is the Senator for New York State's 40th district. A former Vice President of Exceed International Development Corporation, Ball holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the United States Air Force Academy, is currently completing his Masters Thesis of Liberal Studies in International Affairs at Georgetown University, and received an honorable discharge in 2005 at the rank of Captain after service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. View all posts by Greg Ball →

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