LIBBY, Mont. – Though the visit by Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to this Lincoln County community was brief, it is possible she gained some insights Monday afternoon into what residents here want and need – and how those forces are opposed in some ways.
Libby residents at the public meeting, held by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., expressed a need for more help to deal with the asbestos-related diseases many community members are suffering from, yet they also wish to transcend the town’s reputation as site of the worst public health disaster in the U.S. to encourage jobs and growth.
Judy Matott asked Baucus if he would work to improve Libby’s image, and then asked him and Sebelius, “if either of you read the health care bill before it was passed and if not, that is the most despicable, irresponsible thing.”
Baucus replied that if Libby residents assembled an economic development plan, he would do what he could to help, and he took credit for “essentially” writing the health care bill that passed the Senate.
“I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the health care bill. You know why? It’s statutory language,” Baucus said. “We hire experts.”