Senator hosts town hall meeting in Velva

8/20/09 (Thu)

U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad was in Velva last Saturday, Aug. 15, to visit with local constituents and listen to their concerns.
The hot topic was, as it is across the nation, healthcare reform. While some town hall meetings have erupted into chaos due to noisy protests, the group at Velva’s Valley View Manor was orderly and attentive.
At the outset of the meeting panel of three concerned citizens presented their concerns and questions. They were Mike Hammer of Souris Valley Care Center; Dr. Brian Vibeto, an orthodontist from Minot; and Bonnie Thom, pharmacist and co-owner of Velva Drug.
Hammer asked about the proposed cuts to Medicare funding in HB3200, which he termed “devastating” to institutions like SVCC. Conrad replied that he had no intention of voting for that healthcare bill, and commented on the inconsistencies of Medicare reimbursements.
“In North Dakota, you get $5000, but in Miami, you get $17,000,” Conrad said. “But an MRI machine doesn’t cost any less here than it does there.”
Thom commented on the amount of “misinformation out there” concerning healthcare reform.
“This is getting a lot of media attention, there’s a lot of ads and news about healthcare,” she said. “We have to determine what is fact and what is fiction. Hopefully we’ll come away today with some knowledge.”