Taylor's town hall meeting draws big crowd in Moss Point

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Lines stretched as far as you could see at Pelican Landing for Congressman Gene Taylor's town hall meeting on Monday, with people waiting to listen or weigh in on a wealth of issues, including the President's health care reform plan.

Once inside the meeting, many of them had a lot to say. At points throughout the meeting, the crowd would burst into loud cheers or booing.  At one point, a policeman asked the crowd to calm down.

Though he had a largely heated audience, Taylor said he was pleased with the turnout.

"If I'm going to be there, I like a big crowd, and I thought they asked some great questions and I thought it went really well," Taylor said about the meeting.

Taylor opposes the President's plan, including the "public option" idea for insurance.  Instead, Taylor wants to see more competition among the insurance companies.

"The insurance industry was given a one year exemption from the antitrust laws in 1946," Taylor told the crowd.  "They're still exempt from the anti-trust laws."  Cheers burst from the audience.

He said several times Monday night he will stick to his position and vote against health care reform in September.  Some weren't easily convinced.

"It's my concern that under the public option, private enterprise cannot compete with big government," said a man from Pascagoula.  "It seems to me that when the federal government needs money these days, they just start printing more out of thin air."

He said he was especially concerned to hear the White House was considering healthcare cooperatives as an alternative to the public option plan.

"I'm concerned that you'll now change..." he said as a crowd of cheers drowned him out.

Taylor assured him and others that no change in the plan will convince him to vote in favor of it.

The most heated debate didn't make up the entirety of the meeting and through the majority of it, people were willing to listen to what Congressman Taylor had to say.

Taylor said he understands the frustration people are feeling about the possible reform.

"When it comes to the healthcare of a loved one, there is no budget," Taylor said.  "It's that intense of an issue, say emotional issue."

Although plenty of people spoke out at the meeting, Taylor said he believes it went well.

"I thought it was fine," he said.  "There was some intensity on people who were for it, people who were against it. People had the opportunity to ask good questions. I'm glad they came out, we had good discussions."

Taylor said in the meeting he does not believe health care reform will be voted into law this September.  President Obama's deadline for reform is September 15th.

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