'Coffee with the Congressman' Gives Big Spring Residents a Chance to Speak Out

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING- The Health Care debate continues to rage, not in Washington, but in Town Hall meetings like the one Wednesday at Howard College's Hall for the Arts in Big Spring.

"We elect them to do a job and they need to do a job," Resident Raul Marquez said.

During the Q&A portion of the meeting many residents voiced their concerns over the Health Care bill proposed by Congress, worried it may hurt their pocketbooks in the forms of higher taxes or worsen or take away their health care coverage.

"The American people ought to have the right to say," Allen Perry said President Obama needs the support from the American people.

"Something has to be done because the health care system is broke, it costs too much and it's hurting the people who can't afford it and it's hurting our children," Marquez said.

The consensus at the meeting seemed to be Health Care does need an overhaul.

"It's a big tangled up mess," Spencer Wolfe said Congress needs to fix Medicare and Medicaid before it starts working on a new system.

Dr. Alan Abel called the system broken or at least badly "bent."

"When I started practicing [medicine] in 1985, if you came in to take your gallbladder out, Medicare would reimburse me $1800 dollars. Today, I am getting $700 dollars in actual money for the same process and that is not adjusted to inflation; that was real money then and real money now."

Congressman Neugebauer says congress needs to fix the system that's already in place rather than scrap it in favor of a new system entirely.

"This is a very complex issue, one that needs to be broken down and fixed piece by piece and quite honestly without throwing out the current system entirely, because we have some of the best health care available to the American people," Congressman Neugebaur told NewsWest 9.

The congressman also wants to see tort reform passed around the Country to make it easier on doctors facing malpractice lawsuits.

"I had a stress test and it was like $6,700 dollars and medicare only approved like $750 dollars of that. I don't know how the doctor and hospital can afford it," Wolfe said.