Hill speaks about health care reform in Indianapolis

Rep. Baron Hill
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Kevin Rader/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - No one knew what to expect. Would Congressman Baron Hill's appearance before the Indianapolis Rotary turn into a free-for-all like other town hall meetings around the country?

Speaking at the Scottish Rite Cathedral Tuesday afternoon, 9th District Congressman Baron Hill's message was "give the president a chance."

"If he fails, then America fails. If he succeeds America will be a better place to live," Hill said.

Hill, a member of the Blue Dog coalition of conservative Democrats who have voiced their qualms about the president's plans, told the Indianapolis Rotary he is committed to health care reform, specifically the Mayo Clinic Model which offers quality health care for less money, according to Hill, by getting away from the fee-for-service system.

"If we reform the system and get everyone covered I think we can stabilize the price increases. Now it's all theory. It may or may not work but I look at this not just as health care reform we pass this year I think what we will have to do if we do it right is tinker around with this thing for ten years to get it right," he said.

AARP is joining in that debate, debuting three new thirty-second TV commercials that will air nationally and spending $260,000 on local radio and print ads to weight in on health care reform.

"Lost time means lost opportunity for better health care for our members," said June Lyle, AARP.

Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) said this debate is fueled by some misinformation and a lot of unknowns, since Congress is debating various concepts. But he did offer three points that will have to be met to get his vote.

"Make sure health care is more stable and secure, gets costs down and controls the deficit then this will be a success," said Bayh.

After answering several questions, the Indianapolis Rotary Club called its Tuesday meeting with Congress Hill a success, especially when compared to the town hall meetings on television.

"They have been shouted down and not allowed to give their views. That is not the democracy I want for my kids," said one participant.

Congressman Hill says he is working on scheduling one-on-one meetings with Hoosiers in his district who oppose health care. He says that will be on a first come, first serve basis.

Hill said Monday he did not want to hold a town meeting just to give what he called "political terrorists" the opportunity to yell and scream.

President Obama held a town hall meeting Tuesday afternoon in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He is taking his pitch for health insurance reform on the road the same week that the White House launched a website debunking the rumors that have sprung up around his proposals.