Don’t miss your chance to sound off

-A A +A

Fifth District Congressman Tom Perriello is giving area residents a chance to sound off on  healthcare reform.

    This week Perriello unveiled “Your Health, Your Voice,” an online forum on the issue. As the debate on healthcare heats up, Perriello said he created the forum to provide his constituents with an opportunity for input and for dialogue with friends, neighbors and healthcare professionals from around the 5th District.

    They would be wise to use it. With all the change that’s taken place since President Obama took office, the healthcare issue is probably the most important, and far-reaching, yet. Some of the plans being discussed could alter the landscape of this nation's healthcare system for decades to come — and not necessarily for the good.

    “Through my town hall meetings in the District, I have learned a great deal from patients and medical experts about the strengths and shortfalls in our current system,” Perriello stated about his forum.  “I’m hoping this forum gives people a place to be heard and to share ideas about how to reduce costs, protect patient choice, and ensure quality, affordable care for all Americans.”

    Let’s hope some voices of reason are heard.

    Perriello’s forum is one of the first of its kind for a member of Congress and will provide an important opportunity for dialogue as the key policy debate of the summer begins to take shape. “Your Health, Your Voice” will cover several aspects of the American healthcare system, with updates on legislation moving through Congress, articles and editorials, commentary from local health professionals, and stories from residents of the District. Perriello anticipates using a number of new media forms, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, to interact with constituents.

    The real test of the forum will be whether it allows for a fair argument of the healthcare reform issue instead of serving as just a mouthpiece for the White House. Congress needs to hear all of the voices on this matter — and take time to truly listen. The President is moving full speed ahead with healthcare reform and wants legislation passed by early fall. That’s a mistake if all of the ramifications aren't properly considered. This country can’t afford to swallow another $800 billion stimulus-style pill — passed without even the members of Congress knowing what it said — that only adds to this nation’s ills.

    Perriello stated the idea for “Your Health, Your Voice” was generated from discussion with Fifth District doctors and nurses, who expressed their desire to open a dialogue with healthcare consumers and government officials. The forum will remain online as the U.S. House works on enacting healthcare reform. The Senate began its work on reform legislation this week, and the two houses of Congress are expected to vote on a healthcare plan late this summer.

    Take time to let your voice of reason be heard before this issue is shoved down this nation's collective throats in an effort to keep sound thinking and reason silent. Your health — as well as the health of this nation — is at stake.

    The “Your Health, Your Voice” forum can be accessed at: http://perriello.house.gov/healthcareforum.