Health care debate heats up in Cape Girardeau - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Health care debate heats up in Cape Girardeau

By Crystal Britt - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Two big political names squared off Wednesday night in Cape Girardeau.  The main topic: healthcare.

It drew quite the crowd. It was standing room only with about 2,000 people coming to hear former Vermont Governor and Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean, and former U.S Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich go head to head about a topic that has so many of you asking questions.

The crowd surpassed what organizers expected. 

"We're not really familiar with it (the health care plan) too much, and we wanted to hear both sides," said Camilla Dirnberger of New Hamburg.

"Especially with my age and everything, I'm 62 years old and it will affect me drastically within the next few years," said Lenard Dirnberger of New Hamburg.  

Governor Dean talked about why he says the current health care system isn't working.  He says he admires the President's plan for a public option.

"We oughta have a choice to decide what's best for ourselves and our families and that includes other systems of medicine," said Dean.

Speaker Gingrich told the crowd he believes the current health care system is a mess and needs change.  He says Democrats plans will further bankrupt the country.

"If we continue to raise the deficit you (younger people) will spend the rest of your life paying higher taxes, higher interest rates with higher inflation so your parents can avoid choices by putting the credit card  on your back," said Gingrich. 

Heartland News asked both men: What's most important in this health care debate?  

"The only real reform in this bill is the public option because it gives people under 65 the ability to sign up for a wide range of programs as opposed to just being forced to sign up for private insurance," Dean said.  

"The system has to change in the right direction to increase personal responsibility to increase accuracy to create genuinely personal medicine and any changes which create a national bureaucracy is by definition wrong," Gingrich said.  

Governor Dean predicts lawmakers will pass a health care bill by early December.

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