Bay Ridge to Grimm: Hands off our Medicare!

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Outraged seniors turned Rep. Michael Grimm’s first Bay Ridge town hall meeting on Wednesday night into an angry revolt against his and the Republicans’ effort to kill Medicare by shouting down the freshman legislator — stopping him from getting through his prepared remarks.

Grimm (R-Bay Ridge) began a slide show about the GOP plan to trim the nation’s $14-trillion deficit, but couldn’t get past his second slide when several seniors began demanding higher taxes on the well-to-do rather than the Republican-led dismantling of a popular entitlement program.

“Who wants to get rid of Medicare?” 68-year-old Peggy Devane screamed as she argued — Brooklyn style — the merits of the GOP budget proposal. “That’s the craziest thing I ever heard.”

Grimm toed the GOP line, claiming that raising taxes on the rich wouldn’t be enough to reduce the deficit.

“It’s not that we tax too little, it’s that we spend too much,” Grimm told the angered crowd of 100 at JHS 259’s auditorium on Fort Hamilton Parkway near 73rd Street. “If we don’t deal with entitlement programs, we are going to go broke.”

Medicare currently provides health insurance coverage to more than 100 million elderly, disabled and low-income Americans, but Republicans want to turn the 45-year-old program into a simple government subsidy that would assist retirees with their private health insurance costs. The GOP plan will not affect current seniors — only those ready to retire in 2022.

The Republican budget, which Grimm and his the GOP colleagues passed earlier this month in a 235-193 vote that cut across party lines, also calls for ending President Obama’s landmark healthcare reforms.

It’s unlikely that the GOP budget will become law, as the Democrat-controlled Senate, and President Obama oppose it.

Democrats do not want to touch Medicare. In fact, President Obama’s calling for increasing funding to the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the entitlement, so his healthcare reforms can be instituted. He claims he can offset Medicare costs by curbing fraud and reducing spending on prescription drugs.

Obama and the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office believe that if the reforms passed last year are allowed to take effect, the deficit would be reduced by $1 trillion in the next 20 years.

Angry town hall participants said that Medicare should be tweaked, not done away with entirely.

“We need to adjust, not kill,” screamed Dorothy Siegel, one of the more outspoken silver haired ladies in the auditorium, who told Grimm that taxing the nation’s biggest earners would reduce the deficit by 70 percent. “You’re killing Social Security and Medicare!”

The forum was heated, yet wasn’t as chaotic as other GOP town halls across the nation. A school security guard keeping the peace did tell Siegel and Devane that they would be ejected from the auditorium if they kept interrupting Grimm.

But the freshman lawmaker never lost his cool. He even encouraged angered constituents to boo him.

“Get it all out, get it all out,” he said with a wide grin. “It’s good to get it out. It’s healthy for your lungs.”

At the end of the night, he made it a point to hug both Siegel and Devane.

Yet Grimm made it clear that no one was going to change his mind about ending Medicare.

“I respect your opinions, but I’m not going to apologize for my beliefs,” Grimm told the audience. “We can go ring around the rosy all night long, but you’re not going to make me believe what you believe.”

Grimm said that “the clear message” he received from audience members was to raise taxes on the rich, but he said that was tantamount to “class warfare.”

“[Raising taxes on the rich] is the Democrats answer to everything right now,” he said. “But any mathematician and economist would tell you that it’s not going to be enough.”

Many Americans disagree with Grimm on this point.

A recent 60 Minutes poll shows that 61 percent of Americans favor higher taxes on the wealthy to balance the budget. Only four percent of those polled said they would cut Medicare.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee – which started a “robo-call” campaign earlier this week lambasting the GOP’s cuts to entitlement programs — agreed.

“Representa­tive Grimm is attempting to balance the budget on the backs of New York seniors and the middle class,” said DCCC spokesman Josh Schwerin. “[Grimm] voted to end Medicare and force seniors to pay more for their health care while giving massive budget-busting tax breaks to millionair­es.”

Grimm may not have been moved by the pleas of those in attendance, but he said he enjoyed the debate.

“No one can deny the fact that discussing this in an open forum is healthy for America,” he said. “This is how we get the ball moving.”

Perhaps in Congress, but not in Brooklyn, where residents complained that one man’s steadfast principles is another man’s ignoring his constituents.

“[Grimm] had a script to follow and he was adamant that we were not going to change his mind,” a disgruntled Devane said. “But I don’t think he changed anyone’s mind either. I think he pretty much annoyed people.”

Updated 5:24 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Frank from Furter says:
When the Republicans talk about slashing benefit programs, what do the Seniors hear... They hear cutting benefits for the poor(cutting benefits for them not us). But the reality is the biggest benefit program is Medicare(which actually works pretty well) Most tea partiers etc when asked about Medicare a government run health care payment program- will respond by saying leave it alone. Cut them not us. Medicare has never been a program where people pay into it for those funds to be used later. It was mostly a pay as you go system. So you paid into it for those currently covered while you expected in the future others to pay into it for you...but then again you can't do that if you cut the taxes to pay for it. No one likes taxes but taxes should be fair. the fairest tax is a graduated income tax(right now the way social security and medicare taxes work is that the poor/middle class pay a disproportionate share of those taxes with the rich getting away with their fair share. Communist thinking? I don't believe so...its more what a society values as fairness. The rich used to pay much more. They now pay less. the deficit is a direct result of the Republican tax cuts(when they controlled the congress and the white house) with a refusal to acknowledge that the tax cuts without actual benefit cuts would insure a deficit. BTW under Republicans Medicare added an additional benefit without a real funding source. Billions of added expense with no money to pay for it. So its time to pay the piper...and increase taxes(to them not you) or cut benefits to you not them....
April 29, 2011, 9:03 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
does he carry a gun into Congress?
April 29, 2011, 9:51 am
Independent Voter from Bay Ridge says:
I can't wait to vote this guy Out!!! One Term Loser!!
April 29, 2011, 12:18 pm
Dave from Clinton Hill says:
Those pics are hilarious
April 29, 2011, 4:08 pm
Mat from Marine Park says:
It seems he has cut his own throat. Won't be long before he meets "The Grimm Reaper" of his political life.
April 29, 2011, 5:48 pm
Tony from Park Slope says:
The people are paying the price for out-of-control corporate abuse and corporate treason.

It sure becomes more understandable why CEO's, Corporate Big Shots, and Politicians want and need such big security details. We need to start slashing politician salaries by double-digit percentages and deny them private healthcare coverage. Put them all on the public plans they aim to cut. Get rid of the entire public car fleet beyond police and fire vehicles and let them all pay for their own cars and gas. Pay them only for time that the legislatures are in session and pay them for two weeks work in their district. If they want paid vacation, they can go work in the private sector.Deny all elected officials any benefits, security, office expenses, etc. beyond their elected term.

Remove all corporate tax breaks and tax loopholes. They aren't creating jobs in America, so why offer rewards and incentives. Revoke all corporate charters and start making company management personally responsible for their decisions, infractions, mistakes, and crimes.

It sure makes sense that we are seeing military, security, and defense mechanisms outsourced. They need to arm and mobilize them in private organizations to act against the people of this country.

Revolt against this government. Throw them out and, if necessary, do it physically. The American people are asleep - willfully ignorant - and they'll be paupers with no where to turn, before they ever no what hit them.
April 29, 2011, 11:23 pm
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
Next up:

A vote on the bill giving 5 year olds equal opportunity for employment at the DSNY. Can't have those tykes just jumping around and poooing.

One 5 year old supporter of the bill was head saying, " we are excellent at making a mess, we should be allowed to pick it up. And we should be paid fairly. Nothing more, nothing less".

Many poud parents wee seen shredding a tear.
April 30, 2011, 8:31 am
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:

Why give the old people $14 grand for doctors & medication in their hands? They might waste it spending of dog food. They might think more about their stomach.

Let's just create some colonies, or better yet some condos. Create a serene environment. Called 'em Death Condos.

This is a place were we can put those demanding freeloading, nagging old people to die of starvation.

The old folks are with this. They don't like being a burden.

This is a win win!
April 30, 2011, 8:41 am
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
I have never figured why in a country with a growing age population, with a wealth of experience to share with the millions of kids so desperate for the attention of an adult, daycare, after school care.

Bring those two segments together, will eventually in proof education, old folks with get a stipend & so much more (good spirits, less need for health care).

WHY WHY WHY WHY can't this happened, instead of telling people that made is possible for us to have that we have nothing for them in their hour of need.

WE, US, America, who claims moral superiority to all others?

Maybe the idea of America is an ad campaign after all.
April 30, 2011, 8:52 am
judahspechal from bed-stuy says:
Two final thing:

This guy got elected because Washington wasn't listen to the people?

Yet Grimm made it clear that no one was going to change his mind about ending Medicare.

“I respect your opinions, but I’m not going to apologize for my beliefs,” Grimm told the audience. “We can go ring around the rosy all night long, but you’re not going to make me believe what you believe.”

April 30, 2011, 8:55 am
k from gp says:
This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. The Republican end game for Medicare for the last 20 years has been:

1. Government assistance should take the form of vouchers, given to people based on need. Need would depend on income and pre-existing conditions.

2. Medicare should be phased out in favor of a system that encourages people to save for the health coverage they will need in their old age.

3. Private health insurance should be deregulated.

So people will get vouchers if they meet some requirement? That means, if you are middle class, you need to be poor before the government gives you medicare money. So be prepared to spend your life saving and sell your house before you get any help.

Save? Are they for real? Middle class salaries have not gone up in 20 years.

Health insurance deregulated? I have never heard of health insurance companies f'ing people over. (sarcasm)

If you read between the lines that means: Seniors go F yourselves.

April 30, 2011, 12:36 pm
tea party from bay ridge says:
Stop stealing money from the job providers, and cut off the parasite class and let them make their own way in life. The free ride is over folks. The productive people in this country are done feeding the leaches.
April 30, 2011, 8:23 pm
k from gp says:
@tea party -> I guess that's how it works in Africa. It can work here too.
May 1, 2011, 8:41 pm
k from gp says:
@tea party -> scratch that... I forgot there are a bunch of corrupt governments in Africa.
May 1, 2011, 9:20 pm
Mike from Rosebank says:
Corporate greed is always quickly demonized, but why is the greater public greed always given a pass? Why is it such a large part of our society has grown to believe it is ENTITLED to someone else's money and the government should steal it and give it to them? I guess the government has created fiscal junkies. And if you flame back, remember, by nature junkies practice denial.
May 7, 2011, 10:11 am
Rosalie907 from Gravesend says:
And Grimm Reaper also told those of us who were AGAINST his vote that he didn't give a darn what we thought because, after all, we didn't vote for him and wouldn't vote for him in the next election. He's darn right on this and he'll be a hasbeen in 2012.
May 10, 2011, 12:32 pm
DeRosa from Bay Ridge says:
I've been a Republican for a LONG time, but I'm done. My mom depends on Medicare, it's not always perfect but she's happy with it. She's boiling mad that Grimm and his buddies want to end Medicare and leave them to die. People like Grimm and the fat cats who pay him off don't care about old people, as long as they can keep charging more for insurance. If people can't pay it, they say, tough, let them die. It's immoral. I don't agree with Democrats on a lot, but at least they seem to give a damn if old people live or die. Republicans have the morals of a snake, and I'm done with them forever.
May 11, 2011, 2:53 pm
Paul Bogdanich from Out of State says:
Does anyone ever aks themselves who it is that you even voted for this guy in the first place?
June 29, 2011, 7:23 pm

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