Verbal brawl at town hall meeting

August 13, 2009 3:09:00 AM PDT
A northeast Houston town hall meeting turned into a verbal brawl Wednesday night. It's all about health care with plenty of opinions from Houstonians. No doubt you've seen town hall meetings around the country which turned into all-out verbal attacks. Now the loud voices were heard in northeast Houston.

The auditorium of the Northeast Multi-Service Center overflowed with supporters and opponents of health care reform. Both armed with signs and both prepared for a shouting match that ensued as Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of the 18th congressional district began explaining the current state of U.S. health care.

"The infant mortality rate of the United States is the highest of all these countries," said Rep. Lee.

Seconds later, before a citizen could make a public comment, a frenzy erupted.

"I don't understand in technically a Christian nation, we treat each other so poorly," said one audience member.

Another attendee didn't mince words.

"What gives the federal government the right to get into the health care business?" he asked.

Both sides do agree on at least one thing though -- misinformation could be at the center of a contentious town hall meeting.

It was hard to hear the local congresswoman describe details of a proposed health care plan over all the shouting.

"There's a lot of information that is not being given to the people and I think that what is happening is that senators have a bill and the House of Representatives, they have a bill," said Julie Janzer who opposes health care reform.

Joe Lewis, who supports health care reform, disagreed, saying, "Someone is stirring these people up, someone is feeding them misinformation. Most of it is proposals, there is no actual bill.

Despite the raucous crowd, no one was asked to leave. The meeting lasted about two hours with police present.

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