Heath Shuler, the anti-gay conservative Blue Dog "Democrat" from western North Carolina who is opposed to gay rights, marriage equality, ENDA and hate crimes legislation, now adds another "anti" to his portfolio: Anti-health care reform. Oh and it may have something to do with his largest campaign contributors.
During a telephone town hall meeting, the congressmen who gets free and subsidized health care from the government explained ... he is against free and subsidized health care for his constituents because it "would increase the deficit [and] doesn't reduce the overall cost of health care," reports the Asheville Citizen Times
Shuler answered 24 questions during the session, which lasted about an hour. "I do not support HR3200 at the present time," Shuler said during brief opening remarks, referring to the House bill that has passed three committees and will be eligible for consideration by the full House when Congress returns after Labor Day. But the Waynesville Democrat, a member of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats, said the process should not be rushed even if that means delaying reform until after the end of this year, the deadline set by President Barack Obama. "We've got to make sure we do this right the first time. We're only going to have one shot," he said.
Shuler spent much of the call emphasizing that the current legislation does not do enough to promote wellness, prevention and disease management. Nor is enough being done to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid, he said.
Shuler's opposition came on the same day residents in his largely rural district held another meeting where they spoke out against the lack of access to health care and prohibitive costs. One college student said she couldn't afford the $100 per month in premiums and "didn't know anyone in Asheville who had health insurance."
Shuler, who has a Human Rights Campaign campaign score of 10, also "took in more money from the health care industry than any other House Democrat from North Carolina during his re-election campaign", according to Democracy North Carolina. Shuler raised $130,852 from health professionals, pharmaceuticals, hospitals and other medical providers in 2008, according to filings.
You want to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare? Those are the people to start with. You keep telling yourself that as you cash those checks, Heath.