Stillwater News Press

March 22, 2010

Payne County residents sound off on health care bill

Health care vote opinions line up with party affiliations

By Anita Pere

STILLWATER, Okla. — Congress passed a landmark health care bill late Sunday, and Payne County residents’ opinions of the historic vote seem to line up with their party affiliations.

“Last night I sat at the table with my family and tried to explain to my kids that they were not only losing some of their freedom but were getting a mountain of debt they could never pay off,” Payne County Republican Chairman Cade Crawford said Monday.

He said he fears the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act, which passed by a 219-212 vote, will ration health care and determine who gets medical attention when.

Crawford said he used examples of restricting health care that his sons, ages 7 and 4, could understand. His 3-month-old daughter will need kidney surgery in about 18 months, making the issue hit close to home, he said.

Angela Spotts, chairwoman of the Payne County Democrats, said Tuesday nay-sayers will realize in time how they’ll be helped. The bill won’t prevent some people from getting treatment, but instead will help ensure all Americans can get medical coverage, she said.

“Everyone is equal in this country and we should have equal access to health care,” Spotts said.

She also said she doesn’t understand the division on the issue.

“It’s a shame half the country is so fearful, so in arms,” she said.

Spotts said she’s pleased with the progress of the bill and called the bill’s approval a “historical moment” in national history.

“We in Payne County are gratified. One of the world’s richest nations has put people before money,” Spotts said.

Other local residents said Monday they don’t support the bill.

“Anytime you get another party involved in business, you’re going to increase the cost,” said Matthew Wyckoff, a computer technician. “They should have put it to a popular vote, not just in a bill.”

Callie Hill, who works downtown, said she’s “scared to death.” She said her brother is studying to become a doctor, and she fears he may be told how to practice should the bill become law.

“I look at it as a baby step for (the socialization of medicine),” she said.