Different health care town hall scheduled

Published 10:19 pm Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Suffolk residents who want their opinion heard on health care will have their chance on Sept. 8.

Congressman Randy Forbes will hold a “telephone town hall” meeting from 7:30 to 9 p.m. that night. The last telephone town hall meeting Forbes held went well, Jessica Mancari, communications director for the congressman, said.

“We had a really great response to the one in July,” Mancari said. More than 30,000 people participated throughout the call, and more than 1,000 voice mails were left for the congressman at the end.

Interested parties can register their phone numbers on the Web site created for the event — http://healthcareteltownhall.eventbrite.com. Participants must give their address to verify they live in Virginia’s fourth congressional district, which includes all of Suffolk.

Mancari said Forbes chose to do a telephone town hall because it is less restrictive and produces more participation.

“We used to do (regular) town hall meetings, and we’d have 10 people show up,” Mancari said. “The telephone town hall is way more effective in terms of numbers.”

A tele-meeting also is not restricted by the size of a room, Mancari noted.

The health care bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this year is more than 1,000 pages long, and would cost about $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years, according to Forbes. The Republican congressman has been an outspoken opponent of government-run health care.

In-person town hall meetings across the country this summer have been plagued by protestors drowning out the debate, according to reports by national media sources.

Participants in Forbes’ telephone town hall will have the chance to pose questions of the congressman, Mancari said. Those who sign up on the Web site will receive a phone call at the beginning of the meeting, Mancari said. Questions will be asked in the order they are asked online, with no screening.

For more information on how to participate in the call, visit www.forbes.house.gov.