Democrats Release More Footage From Dacula Town Hall Meeting
Rep. Woodall criticized for saying he takes federal health care because it is free.
The Georgia Democratic party today released additional raw footage from U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall’s May 21 town hall meeting in Dacula, according to Atlanta Journal Constitution political columnist Jim Galloway.
In the clip, which was also distributed to the Huffington Post, a woman Galloway identifies as Democratic activist Ilene Johnson questions Woodall regarding his use of government-funded health insurance.
Johnson: All right, I have a question about taking care of you. You take government-subsidized health care, but you are not obligated to take that if you don’t want to. Why aren’t you going out on the free market in the state where you are a resident and buy your own health care?
Woodall: Your …
Johnson: Be an example.
Woodall: Your question is, my government is going to give me lots and lots of stuff for free …
Johnson: No, you lead by example. Why aren’t you leading by example? And go and get it in a single-subscriber plan like you want everybody else to have, ‘cause you want to end employer-sponsored health plans and government-sponsored health plans. You said so in a letter to me that your goal is to get rid of the employer-sponsored health plans.
Johnson: Okay. Well so why aren’t you leading by example? And go out yourself, decline the government health plan and go to the Blue Cross/Blue Shield or whoever and get one for yourself and you’ll see how tough it is. You don’t have any pre-existing conditions I guess. You haven’t had any life-threatening illnesses like I had last year.
Woodall: This is why it is good to have these kinds of conversations because there is some bad information out there. You know, back when …
Johnson: Answer the question. Why haven’t you gone out and did this?
Woodall: Oh, I’m sorry I thought I did. It’s because it’s free. It’s because it’s free. The same reason I went out to Walgreens and bought ActivOn when I don’t have any arthritis pain. Because it’s free. Folks, if you give people things for free, don’t blame them for taking them.
Earlier in the meeting, Woodall explained why low or no-cost health care drives up medical costs.
Woodall said, as a member of Congress, he has a wide variety of plans to choose from and would like to see the same choices offered with Medicare.
“It is your money. You did pay in,” Woodall said. “Now, you didn’t pay in enough. There is a huge wealth transfer that goes on in Medicare.”
Woodall said the program did not adequately anticipate the huge rise in health care prices over time.
“I would say they’re rising because of government interference, not in spite of government interference,” Woodall said.
Woodall told the audience he recently needed a chest CT scan. Woodall said he compared prices for every chest CT provider in the Gwinnett County area due to the high co-pays for the plan he has.
“I found the one that was the absolute cheapest. It was up in Buford. I made the appointment, and I went up there and got it,” he said.
Woodall said he could have used providers closer to his home, but elected to travel to Buford because of the huge difference in price.
“By absolute cheapest, I mean it was half of the average and a quarter of what some of the others were,” including the facility closest to his house, he said.
“Had the money not been coming out of my pocket and it had been free, I’d have gone to the facility next door to my house, and they would have charged me four times as much,” he said. “Getting choice back into the system is going to bring those prices down. It always does, it always will.”
Woodall said co-pays as low as $1 change utilization rates.
“If it’s free with pre-bate, I’m going to go and get it,” he said.
Woodall mentioned he currently has the medicine ActivOn for one reason: “I don’t have any arthritis or joint pain, but I have ActivOn because it’s free with rebate at Walgreens.”
“That’s the way people make decisions,” he said.
Under the GOP Medicare reform proposal, eligible recipients would receive a federal voucher or subsidy for use towards the purchase of a private insurance plan. Those currently 55 and older would not be affected by the proposed changes.