Congressman Tom Latham is distancing himself from fellow Republicans who insist a health care reform plan that’s cleared a House committee would create government “death panels.”
“There’s no such thing in the bill,” Latham told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “…It’s been misrepresented.”
Latham, a Republican from Ames, appeared at a town hall meeting in Indianola yesterday afternoon. In response to a man’s question, Latham told the crowd of over 100 that there were no “death panels” in the bill and no requirement that elderly Americans consult with their doctor about “end of life” issues.
Latham told reporters afterward that it’s a sensitive topic and there’s a need for caution, but Latham isn’t against having Medicare cover a visit to the doctor so an elderly patient can have their questions answered.
“There’s an incentive for doctors, now, to talk to their patients more about the different options that they would have medically,” Latham said. “And I think that’s where people get concerned is that maybe they’re going to give some advice that is beyond the scope of where the medicine would be.”
Latham told the crowd in Indianola they were attending his 486th town hall meeting. According to Latham, the crowds for these events have been growing for more than just the health care debate.
“My town hall meetings back in the July break were three or four times larger than ever and that was before the health care debate even heated up,” Latham said. “People are concerned about the direction of government.”
Most of the questions from the crowd at Latham’s town hall meeting in Indianola yesterday were about health care, but several people also expressed concern about the budget deficit, the national debt and the federal bailouts for the banking and auto industries. Some people in the crowd urged Latham to support health care reform.