KTUU (NBC): Murkowski holds town hall on healthcare

PETERS CREEK, Alaska -- While the president prepares to come to Alaska for his first visit to the state, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich talk health care reform.

Murkowski held a town hall meeting Wednesday night, while Begich talked about health care reform with reporters.

Murkowski got an earful about health care reform at the town hall meeting.

“Government likes to play this red herring trick with us where you stand here and tell us your ideas and the progressives stand there and give us their ideas. Unfortunately you're both selling us a deed to a pile of doo. Because neither of you has a solution to the problem. All you really want to do is totally control our health care,” one meeting attendee said.

A health care bill already passed the House and has moved on to the Senate where senators will tweak it.

A majority of people at the town hall meeting feel the bill is all wrong.

“This is a monstrosity. Kill it. ...It's spun so far out of control. This is about security for the Democratic Party for the foreseeable future, it's about putting half our people on the dole,” said Harry Young.

“This is overreach in my opinion, and you mention the number of agencies and just the bureaucracy that we are creating. We do need to do more in this country to grow jobs but we do not need to be growing jobs this way,” Murkowski said.

Begich agrees that changes need to be made.

Wednesday afternoon at a press conference he said the bill needs to be deficit neutral and offer the chance to buy insurance across state lines. He’s also sticking up for small businesses.

“Insuring the small business community, I've argued for exemptions for certain sizes of small businesses because of the potential cost that they may be burdened with,” Begich said.

Those are potential burdens everyone keeps an eye on as the debate moves from town halls in Alaska to the halls of the Capitol.

Lawmakers take up the bill next week. Both senators say it will be debated for several days, and it probably won't be voted on until after Thanksgiving.

# # #

Source: By Rebecca Palsha. Originally broadcast by KTUU on November 11, 2009