Congressman Mike McIntyre says he has read all of the more than 1,000 pages of the Health Care Reform Bill, but while many members of Congress have held town hall meetings, McIntyre says he is doing conference calls, answering calls and e-mails and talking with small groups of constituents about their concerns. On Thursday, the Congressman answered questions from some of our viewers when he talked with WWAY political reporter Kevin Wuzzardo. Kevin: I think these are a fair sampling of the questions we received. Jim Legg writes, "A simple yes or no question - no spin - just yes or no. Will you vote for any health care plan that contains a ‘public insurance option’ or establishes ‘cooperatives’ using federal funds as seed money?" Mcintyre: I am not convinced that we should have the public option. I know there's been a lot of debate about that, but I’m not convinced that we should do that, so as it stands now, I would be a no on the public option. With regard to the coops, I think there's room for debate there on how that's done, and I’m not in favor of just dumping federal money into it, I think that's the essence of his question. There was something he may not be familiar with, for instance, that I supported and co-sponsored in the last session, called the small business health fairness act, where businesses themselves could elect to be part of a larger co-op and increase their purchasing power if they wanted to buy insurance for their employees. Kevin: Another question from Bob Gelinas, he writes, "can you give us three or four specific measurements that we, as average voters, can use next year and in 2012 to determine if the health care reform bill was successful?" McIntyre: Well, first of all, I don't think that the bill in its current form is going to pass as is. But in his broader sense of the question, I would hope that we would see, just as we've done with, for instance, the State Child Health Insurance Program, are you indeed reaching the targeted group that need additional help? If you are, what is that additional cost? Is that cost-effective, or is it simply driving up the federal debt? Kevin: Elizabeth Wright has a question: "What chance do you see of reasonable tort reform being part of policy efforts to contain health care costs?" McIntyre: To be very frank with you, when the President speaks to the AMA, the American Medical Association, as he did back in June, and he never brings it up when he's discussing health care reform, that sends a signal that it's not going to come up this session. If the President has veto power, the Senate leadership, the House leadership have said we're not even going to get into a debate that we know the president is not going to support, because he's got the power of the pen. In the coming days we'll hear more from Kevin’s interview with Congressman McIntyre. We'll hear what he has to say about other issues including beach renourishment and the economy.
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