[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/12/abrams.katy.cnn.art.jpg caption="Katy Abram, the mother whose comments drew attention at a town hall meeting, explains what got her so fired up."]
There has been a lot of rage and anger at the health care town hall meetings taking place across the country.
Katy Abram is a 35-year-old stay-at-home mom who showed up at Senator Arlen Specter’s town hall in Lebanon, Pennsylvania Tuesday. Her comments and questions struck a nerve with the audience, garnering a standing ovation.
Abram spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday.
Kiran Chetry: Did you know at the time when you showed up to ask the question that that would be the response from people in the crowd?
Katy Abram: No. I didn't even know that was the question I was going ask, to be honest with you.
Chetry: You said that you are a conservative and a Republican but not somebody who is really into politics, the day-to-day politicking out there. What made you change your mind when you told the senator “you’ve awakened a sleeping giant”? How did that happen?
Abram: Over the past couple months, I have seen on the news how they were doing the T.A.R.P. package and trying to bail out banks and auto companies, and I saw a lot of really reckless things and the next thing I see is the health care reform that they’re bringing through – nationalized health care. That really was the nail in the coffin for me, I guess you could say. That woke me up.
Chetry: What is your health care situation? We said you are a stay-at-home mom. How many kids do you have? Are you covered?
Abram: Yes, my children and I. I have a 7-year-old daughter, named Madeleine. … A little 4-year-old, named Sam. … And we have a health savings account. We are self-employed and so we pay for our own health care insurance. We have a high deductible. We pay out towards our insurance every month and typically every year we are paying for our own health care, doctors visits and everything ourselves.
Chetry: Do you think that health care in our country, in general, could be improved?
Abram: Absolutely. … I don't know everything about health care. I know that it's not a perfect system. But I don't necessarily believe that having the government in control of it is the solution. I have never seen them do anything that has worked, to be honest with you. So the last thing I want them to have control of is my health care.
Chetry: You said to Arlen Specter, “What are you going to do to restore this country back to what our founders created, according to the Constitution?” What did you mean by that?
Abram: What I meant by that is when – from the little bit that I have read, you know, I am not – was never a history major. This is, like I said, new to me. I have been reading about the founders. I have been reading the Constitution. And the founders did not look to the government as being the solution for the problems in this country. It doesn't say in the Constitution: give out free health care to people, bail out the auto companies, do all these things. The people in this country can be self-sufficient and take care of ourselves. I am just looking for the government to get the heck out of my way.
Chetry: Were you happy with the response you got from Arlen Specter?
Abram: You know, honestly, I think that the true response will be what happens when this bill is brought over to the Senate. My understanding is it’s in Congress right now so it hasn’t necessarily crossed the line over into the Senate. So the proof is in the pudding. We will see what he does.
Chetry: The thing is that when we hear from you, and we heard from you at the town hall forum, you were expressing an opinion and wanted to get questions from your leaders. As you can see in some of these cases things have certainly gotten out of control. We have seen people superimposing pictures of Hitler with President Obama, saying things like “you’re going to kill Grandma.” How do you think that the debate spiraled out of control that now people are claiming there are death panels where you will be judged and if you are deemed not worthy to be saved, you will not be worthy for health care. How did we get so far away from some of the valid issues and concerns that are out there?
Abram: I think – my opinion is that I think this has gotten so out of control because we are looking at two separate parties. You’re looking at the Democrat Party and the Republican Party. I have been a member of both. Now I look at them and they seem exactly the same to me. I don't see a difference. I don't see anybody standing up for the people of this country…
Chetry: We are just trying to figure out, I guess, where all of this turned so…
Abram: Where it went sour?
Chetry: Yeah, where things went off the reservation in some cases. This town hall, there was a police presence at that one, right? Security had to pull some people out. People were yelling back and forth at each other. Why?
Abram: The town hall that I attended – I was so proud of the people of Lebanon and people from surrounding communities that had come there. Because any time somebody would try to speak up and be loud, who wasn't on the microphone, you would hear a hush, “shhh,” across the crowd. Because, the last thing – those of us who feel the same way I do – we don't want to be disrespectful. We don't want to be part of the angry mob mentality. We just want to be heard by our senator. That's all that we are asking. You know, I am not somebody that is going to go in there and, you know, I don't know, cause trouble. All I wanted to do was go in there and ask my question.