EFFINGHAM, SC (WMBF) – Sixth District Congressman and U.S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn was in Florence County Thursday night to speak about the recent enactment of health care reform.
Clyburn spoke at the request of the Epsilon Chi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. The program called "An Evening with The Honorable James Clyburn" began at 6 p.m. at Savannah Grove Baptist Church at 2620 Alligator Rd. in Effingham.
Marlene Williams said she helped organize the event to give people a better understanding of the newly passed healthcare reform.
"I'm getting ready to retire, and I think about these things," Williams said. "I'm now thinking about those things, with those issues with health that I never thought about before."
She said Congressman Clyburn was the obvious choice to help explain it all. The Congressman had a sympathetic crowd, but he said he is willing to defend the health care reform to anyone. He said the bill will bring health care costs down over time, and he spoke out against the idea that it is a government take over.
"It's one of the most ridiculous things that anyone could say," Clyburn commented. "They made the same arguments about Medicare, and that's been around now for 50 years."
Wilhelmina James said she thought Clyburn did a good job of explaining the reform act. Based on the reaction she felt from the audience, she thought others appreciated Clyburn's explanation, too.
"Now that they have grasped what is in the bill, I think it was very well received," James said.
When asked about possible changes to the health care reform act, Clyburn said there will likely be tweaking of the legislation over the next several years. He said the same types of follow-ups came with civil right legislation – new laws were passed over time as they gained enough support.
"As we go along and we have experiences we'll revisit this many times, but tweaking in one thing, repealing is another," Clyburn said.
Williams said this discussion helped her realize at least one thing: she wished people who opposed the reform act were also in audience to get a better understanding of it.
"For people who don't like it, there's a lot they don't know," she said.
However, several Republicans who feel they do understand the health care reform are pushing to repeal certain parts of it and replace them with something else.
Nearly 20 state attorneys general, including South Carolina AG Henry McMaster, have filed lawsuits claiming the health care overhaul is unconstitutional because, among other things, it requires people to have health insurance. Virginia's Attorney General has filed a separate lawsuit.