County 'sick' over health care reform

By Marthe Stinton,
Published: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 11:56 PM CDT

Monday night, the Collin County commissioners joined Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's fight against the federal health care reform bill.

In a standing-room-only meeting, the Collin County Commissioner's Court unanimously passed a resolution in support of the attorney general and Texas Legislature in opposition to federal health care reform. The resolution was passed despite numerous comments from Collin County residents asking whether the issue should be discussed at the commissioner's court level.

"I do want to respond to some comments that we have heard multiple times, that this is not local county business. This is indeed," said Keith Self, county judge. "It will have a profound impact on your county government regardless of what happens with it. That's why it's local government. It is going to change the way we do business. This has a profound impact on us, and it's an important issue."

Dozens of Collin County residents filled the municipal building in Prosper and passionately voiced their opinions on the heath care reform bill. In fact, there were so many Collin County residents in attendance that the crowd overflowed into the parking lot. There were more than 80 comment cards presented and as indicated by those cards, 25 were against the resolution and 58 were for it.

The resolution, which was fashioned by commissioner Matt Shaheen, said "the Commissioners Court believes Texas residents have the right to choose their own health insurance plan freely without imposition or threat of penalties from federal or state government."

The resolution continues to say that the commissioner's court "asserts the health care reform legislation is wrong for Texas because it would result in health care rationing, higher taxes, massive increases in federal and state spending and increased health care bureaucracy."

Collin County Democratic Chairman Shawn Stevens read Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, reminding listeners what powers Congress has.

"I am a lawyer, but you don't have to be one to read the plain English of the United States Constitution," Stevens said. "Congress does have the power to impose a tax on those folks who choose not to carry health insurance; what is going on at this point is political grandstanding because the way this was passed. The folks on the other side lost the votes; they lost the election and now they are trying to make up for it in other ways by creating the political storm. The Constitution seems pretty clear to me that Congress had the power to do this; it doesn't make sense to see this resolution."

When asked about Stevens' accusation of political grandstanding, Commissioner Shaheen said, "It's just not true."

"It's a very serious subject that needs to be addressed," Shaheen said. "I would expect more from the (Collin County) Democratic Party chairman than a comment like that."

Shaheen also said that the resolution, signed by the four commissioners who were present at the meeting, "is in the mail today on its way down to the governor, attorney general and legislators so that they know this county is behind his (Abbott's) efforts." ... ws/830.txt