In preparation for Rep. Randy Hultgren's town hall in his home village on Monday, Oswego's David Edelman reduced the country’s health care problems to newspaper clippings adhered to cardboard.
They were articles from local publications about upcoming fundraisers for people with serious medical problems. Some patients were children with a parent with a job and health insurance. Others’ circumstances were less clear.
But, by Edelman’s estimation, there’s something wrong when everyday residents are burdened with such concerns, and their elected leaders have excellent coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Senator Mark Kirk, who suffered a stroke in January, according to the Chicago Tribune, probably didn’t have to worry about having a garage sale to cover the medical bills, Edelman said.
“Can you imagine if you have a kid and you owe $200,000 or $300,000?” Edelman asked, lamenting that the American society could land a man on the moon and defeat Nazi Germany but couldn’t build a better health care system.
Edelman was among the dozen or so area residents who came to Republican congressman Hultgren's town hall. And he questioned – and challenged – Hultgren on his stance on health care. ( to share your opinion on the Supreme Court decision upholding the health care law's individual mandate.)
Hultgren, who represents the 14th District, responded that he believed the country’s health care was among the world’s best, but it’s too expensive for many people to afford it. He promised to fight for “real health care reform.” He expected Democrats were going to continue to fight for a single-payer program, which Hultgren feared would only reduce efficiency and quality.
“But let’s discuss it,” Hultgren said. “Let’s have the debate. Let’s make sure everyone can read the bill before they vote on it.”
Another resident asked Hultgren about Citizens United, which (according to the Wall Street Journal) recently was involved in a Supreme Court decision against restricting campaign spending for corporations and unions.
Hultgren said he supports more disclosure about the individuals behind those organizations’ actions.
“What I see is really competing constitutional rights,” Hultgren said. “One is getting to the idea of one person, one vote; that is so important in our society. The other is free speech, for me to be able to say what I want to say, give money where I want to give.”
Others asked about , which could be partially funded by a local sales tax increase, and the Prairie Parkway. Hultgren said federal transportation priorities are centering on improving existing roadways – such as routes 31, 34 and 47 – rather than building a new roadway.
He also supports the process of determining whether Kendall County would join the Regional Transportation Authority as part of receiving a Metra station. Joining the authority would involve a three-quarters-of-a-cent sales tax increase and a successful referendum.
“The people of Kendall County are going to have to decide if this is something they want," Hultgren said. "And I support this; referendums are a great opportunity for people to speak up.”