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Health care a topic at town meeting

December 11, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The first town hall meeting hosted by Del. Daryl E. Cowles was met with interest by some local residents on Wednesday.

Cowles, R-Morgan/Hampshire, who was re-elected Nov. 4 to a second term representing the 51st District, will hold eight weekly meetings to meet constituents to discuss issues and ideas before the regular legislative session begins. About 10 people came to the Fairfax Coffee Shop to talk or listen to his major concerns that will be topics of discussion when he returns to Charleston, W.Va.

Cowles said health care is going to be a big issue in the upcoming session in the West Virginia. Legislature.

"Affordability and availability are two different issues," he said, and his concern is the people with incomes of $50,000 or less who cannot afford health care.

However, Cowles said he was not in favor of a federally mandated health-care system for all. "That would be troublesome," he said.

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Cowles said if a person is responsible for his own health care, he might be more in control and would promote his own wellness.

He believes wellness plus responsibility and choice will bring down health-care costs. "It should not be seen as an entitlement program," he said.

Resident George Hopkins said preventive care is not part of our health care system. "People wait until they are sick before they see a doctor or go to the emergency room," he said.

"It costs less to address the problem up front rather that wait until it's an emergency illness," Cowles said.

Cowles introduced 24 bills last year, including a heating fuel bill. He wants home heating fuel deliveries exempt from the state road tax, and he will continue to work toward it becoming law.

Jobs are an issue throughout the state and especially in Morgan County, Cowles said.

The extension of sewer and water lines on U.S. 522 south created more businesses in the county, he said.

Resident Ron Martin said more infrastructure is needed to bring companies into the county, including high speed Internet access. He said a city or county that offers higher education are the areas that grow.

Without industry, kids will leave like in Cumberland, Md.," he said.

The next meeting is Dec. 17 at 8 a.m.

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