There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned brouhaha to get politicians and the media riled up. As health care town halls across the country continue to devolve from informative Q&A sessions to shouting matches that are instantly publicized on YouTube, EBA asked our health reform panelists, is all fair in politics? Or have some of these activities—like holding up a sign with a representative’s name on a tombstone—gone too far?

While imagery such as tombstones and swastikas are neither effective nor appropriate, some of the frustration may be arising from how the town hall meetings are run, says Tom Schuetz, co-president of Iowa’s Group Services. “Many of them are based on a predetermined bias and aren’t designed to encourage a complete debate of the issues,” he says. “They are designed to support a particular position and then advertised as an open forum. I think this causes many of the problems.”

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