Jul 03, 2012 Stephanie Bouvia Uncategorized
Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle fielded questions at a town hall meeting on Monday, July 2. Although Buerkle addressed several topics, one thing was clear: Democrat or Republican, Central New Yorkers are concerned about healthcare.
People from all over Central New York filed into the DeWitt Town Hall courtroom to submit their questions to Buerkle. DeWitt Town Board councilor Irene Scruton introduced Buerkle, and randomly selected submitted questions for Buerkle to answer.
The first question, submitted by a resident of Mattydale, read: “Healthcare is declared constitutional by the judges; how can we eliminate the present governmental healthcare [President Barack] Obama wants mandated?”
Buerkle said the Affordable Healthcare Act, which was upheld by the Supreme Court on Thursday, June 28, is going to be the biggest topic of debate during this year’s presidential election season. She said ultimately, it will be up to voters to determine what happens.
“People can go and vote, if they like the healthcare law and they like taxes, then they can vote for the healthcare law and the people who will support that,” Buerkle said.
Trudy Butler, of Syracuse, asked: “How can they [the Supreme Court] claim that this is a tax, for not buying insurance? My understanding of taxes is that you pay it on goods or services bought. I have never paid taxes on something I didn’t buy.”
Buerkle said, essentially, what the court held when it comes to the healthcare act, was that the government can now tax inactivity. It is different than paying car insurance, or paying taxes on goods that are bought, she said.
“That’s a pretty big door that was just opened, and that should be of concern to every American,” she said.
Other topics residents asked about included women’s rights, the “Fast and Furious” investigation, the Weldon Amendment – formally known as the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act – and education.
Dee Johnston, of Camillus, asked about HR5932, or the Expand Opportunity for Education Savings Act of 2012. It would grant tax credits to parents who want to send their kids to private or charter school. Johnston was concerned that it would require other people to essentially pay for wealthier families to enroll in these schools.
“I think the best thing that we can do in this country … is to create competition in our public education system,” Buerkle said.
Buerkle said the public school system needs to be improved so that more families are interested in sending their children to public schools, rather than private or charter schools.
Buerkle said there are many families who send their children to private schools because the public system doesn’t give their children what they feel they need.
“That’s their choice, we shouldn’t have to subsidize it,” Johnston argued.
Buerkle spoke for a little more than an hour, and answered a total of 11 questions. Although some people at the town hall meeting did not necessarily agree with Buerkle’s viewpoints, she made one thing very clear:
“As a congresswoman, I take an oath to uphold the constitution,” she said, “and I take that very seriously.”