THE HUDSON VALLEY DEBATE UNION PRESENTS
THE HEALTH CARE REFORM ACT DEBATE
AT THE HISTORIC ESTATE OF FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Patrick McGrath 845-915-3159 (land) 845-558-4281 (cell)
HYDE PARK, NY (20 May 2011) – The Hudson Valley Debate Union, which brings interactive, face-to-face “Oxford-style” debating to the Hudson Valley and beyond, announces its first-ever debate event to be held at the historic estate of President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the banks of the Hudson. The subject will be one of today’s public policy flashpoints—the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PL 111-152) of 2010.
The debate will take place on Wednesday 1 June 2011, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home. The Center is located on Route 9 in Hyde Park, New York, north of Poughkeepsie.
The motion for the debate will be:
This House opposes the order of the U.S. District Court for Northern Florida granting summary judgment in Florida et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Scheduled to speak in favor of the motion will be:
- Mr. Richard Kirsch, Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and former National Campaign Manager for Health Care for America Now.
- Mr. Mark Scherzer, Legislative Counsel, New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage
- A potential third speaker to be named later.
Scheduled to speak against the motion will be:
- Mr. Steve Lonegan, Americans for Prosperity of New Jersey.
- Mr. Robert Fois, blogger from NewsCopy.org
- A potential third speaker to be named later.
Hudson Valley Debate Union founder and executive director Patrick McGrath comments:
“First, I would like to thank the officials of the National Archives and Records Administration at the Henry A. Wallace Center
of the FDR Library
for opening their Center to the HVDU. Our debates are always about the cutting edge of public policy, and, in his day, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was at the edge of public policy, both foreign and domestic.
“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
—called ‘Obamacare’ by its opponents—was one of the most controversial bills ever debated and enacted by the Congress. The debate is not over: twenty-six states, joined by several other parties, sued in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, seeking a judgment that the legislation was unconstitutional. On January 31st, the judge hearing the case, Richard Vinson, granted summary judgment
to the states and their allies and ruled that the Obamacare law was unconstitutional. The Government appealed that decision. Exactly two months later, on March 31st, the U.S. Court of Appeals sitting in Atlanta announced that oral arguments in the case will be heard in their court on June 8th. So our HVDU debate takes place mere days before that crucial oral argument.
“Supporters of the law believe that it will bring affordable health care to millions of previously uninsured Americans. Opponents of the law believe that the Federal Government has no constitutional authority to enact such a law in the first place, and object to the law’s ‘individual mandate’ that will compel every American to buy a federally-approved health insurance policy, whether they want such a policy or not.
“This debate will ultimately be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court, but before it arrives there, our HVDU Principal Speakers will thrash out the issues involved.
WHAT HAPPENS AT AN ‘OXFORD STYLE’ HUDSON VALLEY DEBATE UNION EVENT?
“Voting Guests in the HVDU audience participate along with the Principal Speakers,” McGrath explained. “The Principal Speakers at the debates each get a set number of minutes for their speeches. The first two minutes and the last two minutes are ‘protected’ — but the time in between is subject to Points of Information. That’s where anyone in the the audience can stand up, raise his or her hand, and shout out, ‘Point of Information!’ Nothing between you and the Principal Speaker—you just stand up, right from your chair — and rip it. The Principal Speaker on the floor at the time has the right to refuse any and all Points of Information, but they are strongly urged to take at least one or two.
“When all of the Principal Speakers are finished, the question will be called, and the audience will vote on the motion. We’re doing this low-tech: we’ll pass around the ballot box, the Voting Guests will drop in the green and red poker chips we use as ballots, then we’ll count the chips, announce the vote total and find out if the motion has passed. Now that’s what I call participatory democracy,” McGrath said.
Further information about the Hudson Valley Debate Union can be found at the HVDU’s Web sites: www.hvdebateunion.org and www.hudsonvalleydebate.com. The HVDU’s YouTube channel is located at http://www.youtube.com/user/hvdebateunion