Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCongress passes bill to begin scenic byways renaissance GOP lawmaker: 'Dangerous' abuse of Interpol by Russia, China, Venezuela Senators pressure Trump to help end humanitarian crisis in Kashmir MORE (D-Md.) spoke for only seven minutes at his hour-long town hall in Hagerstown on Wednesday, quickly turning over the floor to the audience for questions.

Cardin laid out the Democratic case for healthcare, stating that costs are rising too fast to leave unchecked. But he also emphasized that the Senate has no formal healthcare bill yet--the House has passed different versions, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Finance Committee both have different versions, but no bill is yet on the chamber floor.

Cardin's first question was conciliatory, allowing him to reiterate that senators are most interested in slowing the rate of growth of healthcare costs. The second question brought a sustained round of applause, however, when asked why Congress was "rushing" into health reform.

Cardin said he agreed with a cautious approach, "but we need to move forward--the status quo is unacceptable."

A third question, about the feasibility of tort reform, was answered by Cardin that he is open to including the idea in health bills.

Cardin answered a fourth question, about euthanasia, by stating a House healthcare bill contains a provision that calls for more personal consultation between patients and doctors, but that opponents have consistently described it inaccurately.

"I can assure you that I will not vote for any bill that will cut off care to anyone who needs care," Cardin said.

--J. Taylor Rusing