By GREG RUSSELL
Register Staff Writer
Criticism of Obamacare highlighted Friday’s discussion between local business owners and a congressman whose jurisidiction has included Cooke County in full only since January.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon), servant of the state’s 13th congressional district, told visitors his territory enveloped the county after a redistricting process, triggered by the 2010 Census, gave him some 40,000 square miles to represent.
“I’m glad to have the chance to represent the whole county rather than having to worry about what side of the block you all live on,” Thornberry said Friday.
The congressman said the point of the meeting was to gather input among business owners whose finances and operations may soon be severely affected in January 2014, when President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” takes effect.
As written, Thornberry added, the extensive bill essentially represents a “rough draft” that may never have been intended as an unmalleable list of directives — but appears certain to fail and cause damage as insurance premiums skyrocket as high as 70 percent.
“Obamacare is going to collapse one way or another,” he said. “Those of us who don’t want to see that happen should have a replacement or alternative. There’s a bunch of folks who are working to have not a 2,000-page bill that replaces another 2,000 page bill -- but a different approach to healthcare so that we’re not just against Obamacare but for something.”
Thornberry said in time, he and fellow congress members might create bills that the president would sign into law. His own website includes 10 suggested actions that would help serve a national alternative. They include, he said, ensuring access for patients with pre-existing conditions, strengthening and simplifying Medicare and removing barriers that prevent people from buying health insurance outside state lines.
“Being able to buy insurance across state lines makes more insurance products available and puts more competition into the insurance industry,” he said.
Visiting attorney Byron Berry said another way to help reform healthcare is to alter the market and reduce student loan debt among practicing doctors, whose prices are often affected by how much they privately owe.
If college curriculum was streamlined to eliminate unrelated courses, Berry said, potential physicians could focus their time, studies and tuition budgets on medicine rather than subjects that have nothing to do with becoming a doctor.
“I don’t need to be read poetry by my proctologist,” Berry said.
Cheryl Davis of Workforce Solutions Texoma said her job puts her in a position to hear complaints both from the unemployed and from employers in a shaky economy. The jobless are compelled to try and string together several part-time jobs instead of a full-time job that includes benefits while employers are compelled to conduct layoffs and cutbacks of full-time positions because they can’t afford to pay medical expenses.
“I don’t know the answer to this, but none of it’s good right now,” she said.
Thornberry added that federal spending has decreased for the second year in a row, in the first such instance since 1954. The trillion-dollar deficit, he said, is currently more in the range of $600 billion.
But the reduction has mainly been attributed to a cut in defense spending.
“We can’t cut defense because, well, look around the world,” he said.
Thornberry also said the current crisis in Syria, with its civil war and publicized chemical attacks against citizens, has recently superceded Obamacare in terms of congressional attention.
But in the coming year, Obamacare may be the most impactful issue faced by residents and business owners throughout his 44-county district.
“The question I get most often is, ‘Can you stop it?’” he said. “And sure: you can always change a law by passing a new law. But I think in some of the discussion that’s gone around, the impression is that if we just don’t pass a funding bill, then that can stop Obamacare from being implemented. And that is not true, because 90 percent of the funding to implement this is in mandatory spending such as Medicare and Social Security. So those things go on forever until there’s a new law passed that changes them.
“So we will absolutely make an effort to put in changes in law that either repeal or delay the implementation,” Thornberry added. “But President Obama’s going to have to sign it into law to make it take effect. So it will be challenging to find something he has to sign into law that would change or delay something he’s very proud of.”
By GREG RUSSELL
- Local News
Gainesville Middle School principal Ted Beal led GISD teachers in thanking the GISD board at the Monday meeting for the extra duty pay given out this month.
GISD teachers thank school board at meeting
Gainesville Independent School District (GISD) teachers rallied at the Monday school board meeting to thank the board for the recent GISD district extra duty pay given out at the first of December.
- NCTC honors graduates at commencement ceremonies
- Additional candidates file before deadline
- Icy weather forces changes during NCTC finals week
- Chamber guests donate food for VISTO
- GISD teachers thank school board at meeting
- Local Sports
Fleitman's love for game shown in record breaking season
It all started like any other morning for Lindsay junior volleyball player Nicole Fleitman.
- Leopards notch first home win of season against Iowa Park
- Area teams gear up for annual Holiday Classic at NCTC
- Leopards drop opening games of Aubrey Tournament
- Muenster's playoff run concludes with tight loss to Albany
- Fleitman's love for game shown in record breaking season
Cooke County United Way staff member Nadine Creswell, United Way Vice President Rhonda Beam, United Way Executive Director Angie Hare, United Way President Brent Reed and United Way Treasurer Lois Essenberg stand outside the organization’s new home at 114 East Main St. in Gainesville.
Cooke County United Way purchases Colton building
The board of directors of Cooke County United Way announced Tuesday the purchase of the former Gerald Colton building located at 114 East Main Street in downtown Gainesville.
- Gainesville Fire-Rescue goes Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- Era plans National 4-H Week activities
- Depot Days event a highlight of National 4-H Week festivities
- Acclaimed granite sculptor to teach workshop
- Cooke County United Way purchases Colton building
- Gainesville Pride
In the photo above, Dr. Matthew Bayne and his staff stand outside Family Dental Care of Gainesville.
Family Dental Care of Gainesville patients maintain healthy smiles
When he was a boy in Vancouver, Wash., Gainesville’s Dr. Matthew Bayne, DDS actually enjoyed going to his own childhood dentist who eventually influenced him to pursue his own career in Dentistry.
“Even though I originally had a dream of becoming an astronaut, Dr. Stryker was always happy and seemed to have the best job ever,” Dr. Bayne said.
- Bezner Insurance focuses on community
- Dr. White, of Gainesville Clinic, strives to meet community medical needs
- DEF Recycling serves city as part of growing industry
- TSO a dominant force in local optometry
- Family Dental Care of Gainesville patients maintain healthy smiles