Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle may have been visiting South Hall Middle School Monday to explain the inner workings of the Georgia legislature, but by the end of a question and answer session, he’d covered a lot more than just the nuts and bolts of the state Capitol.
“What are your feelings about the health care bill that just passed?” eighth-grader Mason Gonzalez asked.
Although Cagle said he agrees the cost of health care needs to come down and that health insurance should be more affordable, he explained to the students why he isn’t a fan of the reform bill.
“There are some good things in the bill and some bad things in the bill. I personally think (the steps used to pass the bill) are a violation of states’ rights. I also think it’s a violation of the commerce clause, and so the state will be taking legal action,” Cagle said.
“The idea of health insurance and health care are very, very important, but making it a right is something that is very different. It’s like driving a car is not a right, it’s a privilege.”
According to Cagle, the bill creates more of an entitlement program, which could be costly for states to implement.
After another request from a student, Cagle gave his views on the economic stimulus package.
“I don’t feel like the stimulus plan has been a success; I wish we hadn’t done it — it just created more debt,” Cagle said. “We should’ve let the markets work themselves out.”
Cagle also responded to a question about the war in Iraq. At the time of the 9/11 attack, Cagle said, America “had to send a message to those that wanted to do harm to America,” but now more focus needs to be put on domestic issues.
Cagle also answered a question about the Atlanta Hawks — he likes them and says they’ve had a great year.
Despite a few off-topic questions, Georgia studies instructor Ron Bagwell said he was impressed by the students’ inquiries.
“I’m really proud of them,” Bagwell said . “They had a strong government and economy unit last year in seventh grade, so they know a good bit about the issues.”