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Alliance for Retired Americans calls for civility

For Immediate Release
August 6, 2009

Indiana Retirees Call for Civil Town Hall Meetings About Health Insurance Reform

Many Seniors Fear That Rational Discussion is Not Possible
in Current Environment

Members of the Indiana Alliance for Retired Americans are calling for civil discourse during town hall meetings with Members of Congress this month, amidst stories of town halls across the country erupting into chaos during the health care debate.

As Members of Congress return home to their districts for the August recess, there are widespread reports of aggressive, bullying opponents of health insurance reform intentionally taking over meetings and creating an intimidating, hostile environment for others. There are even reports that some Members of Congress have had to cancel their town halls because of the threat of disruptions.

“Indiana seniors are offended at this subversion of the democratic process,” said Elmer Blankenship, president of the Indiana Alliance for Retired Americans. “These disruptions are succeeding in their goal of making it impossible to have a reasonable conversation. Older citizens, some of them already in poor health, should not have to scream at the top of their lungs in order to be heard above the chaos. Republican leaders should ask these people to calm down and let constituents talk to their elected officials. Those who are causing the disruptions are doing a great disservice to older Americans.”

“Reasonable people can disagree, but not if the atmosphere is poisoned,” Blankenship, continued. “Typical seniors and ordinary, levelheaded people will not be able to have a conversation with their elected officials about the issues that most affect their lives under the current conditions.”

During the health care debate in Congress, members of the Indiana Alliance for Retired Americans are advocating a pro-retiree agenda that includes creating a “public plan” option that provides affordable coverage and puts healthy pressure on private insurance companies to keep their premiums and business practices in check. Indiana seniors also call for stopping attempts to tax health care benefits, which could lead to the loss of coverage, especially for retirees, as well as closing the Medicare Part D “doughnut hole.”

For more information on the Indiana Alliance for Retired Americans, contact Elmer Blankenship, (317) 270-4671.

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