Congressman speaks to crowd of 100 in Barnwell

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Barnewell, S.C. - Continuing the national debate on health care, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson held three town hall meetings in the Lowcountry.

Nearly 100 people gathered in Barnwell at 9 a.m. this morning, at the Barnwell High School gym to hear Mr. Wilson speak.

The congressman strongly criticized H.R. 3200 – America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 – the House health care bill.

Mr. Wilson said he has read the bill twice and that it would lead to an inefficient government-run bureaucracy where free market ideas have no room.

If passed, it would add another quarter trillion dollars to the national deficit, he said.

Health care costs would rise by $1.6 trillion; 100 million people could lose their private health insurance; and Medicare could be compromised for seniors, he said.

“I’m very concerned seniors could lose their Medicare,” he said.

Mandates and tax hikes on businesses, notably small businesses, would stop job creation and lead to employment losses.

“If you have 10 employees now, you will go to five and then eventually none,” he told Barnwell County restaurateur Vince Padgett.

Asked if it was constitutional for government mandates to require everyone to carry health insurance, Mr. Wilson replied he didn’t think so.

“It (mandates) has been equated to the automobile industry but that concerns people on public highways,” said Wilson. “But the ability to live and breathe shouldn’t be taxed.”

After Barnwell, Wilson held town hall meetings in North, S.C. and Varnville, S.C. this afternoon.

Jamie Shuster, with the S.C. Policy Council, spoke briefly before Wilson. The S.C. Policy Council is a nonprofit, non-partisan political watch group.


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