Local Politics

Health care debate continues to rage in Triangle

Posted August 14, 2009

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— President Barack Obama's push to reform the nation's health care system continued to generate opposition Friday, as hundreds of people lined New Bern Avenue outside U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan's office in Raleigh.

The protest was the latest show of force by opponents to health reform. A similar protest was staged last Friday outside the Raleigh office of Thirteenth District Congressman Brad Miller, and opponents have outnumbered supporters at public forums held this week by congressmen G.K. Butterfield, Bob Etheridge and David Price.

Health care reform opponent Health care debate getting loud in Triangle

"I was there (Thursday) night with Congressman Price, and it was a joke," said Marcy Bria, of Durham, one of the protesters outside Hagan's office Friday.

Price spoke at North Carolina Central University in an event organized by the State Employees Association of North Carolina. He told about 850 people that he supports the plans making their way through the Democratic-controlled Congress, arguing that the system already limits care too much.

"Rationing based on existing conditions, rationing based on ability to pay, rationing based on who knows what," he said. "We're trying to get away from rationing, trying to get toward universal participation."

Most of the protesters outside Hagan's office Friday expressed frustration, saying they feel no one is listening to their concern that the government will take over the health care system and create more bureaucracy, higher costs, less access and lower quality.

Obama spent Friday afternoon in Montana, pitching his plan to a town hall meeting there. He spoke earlier in the week at a forum in New Hampshire and planned another meeting Saturday in Colorado.

Much of the opposition to his plan is centered on the so-called "public option" that would provide government-sponsored health insurance to people who have no other coverage.

Yet, most of the protesters acknowledged that they haven't read the proposed reform bills.

"I just depend on the Holy Spirit to speak to me, and the Holy Spirit has told me this is not the way to go," protester Beverly Jones said.

Hagan wasn't even in her Raleigh office Friday because she was attending a family function out of state.

Her office issued a statement saying Hagan "appreciates hearing from her constituents" and thanking protesters for taking time to express their views.

During the taping of the WRAL News public-affairs show "Headline Saturday," Price said health reform could create a problem for Democrats on Capitol Hill.

"It can do damage to the extent that the anger that's out there quite justifiably about health care and about a lot of other things gets placed on the Congress if we fail to act or if we somehow do what people think is the wrong thing," he said.

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  • oldschooltarheel Aug 14, 2009

    of course no tort reform! Lawyers writing laws for goodness sakes - the highest form of self-referral!

  • oldschooltarheel Aug 14, 2009

    kevten - the ambulance chasers haven't figured out how to make use of the World Court that Hillary brays about yet. Then those costs in India will be arising too.

    End-of-life counselling will be a tool to pressure physicians to explain why they have "outliers" & if they want to be paid, to get those "outliers" off the page. It already happens with Medicare & physicians who have "outliers" in costs (sicker more complicated patients).

  • jet2rdu Aug 14, 2009

    How can the administration announce to anyone how much National Health Care will cost the taxpayers? They truthfully can not. They are trying to hit a moving target of uninsured.

    Immigrants and their U.S.-born children account for 71 percent of the increase in the uninsured in the last 20 years. The problem is 68 percent of the illegal immigrants have no health insurance, compared with 17 percent of native-born immigrants. Also, 34 percent of immigrants lack health insurance, compared to 13 percent of the rest of the US population.

    We have an uninsured crisis that will not be fixed, and have true costs that cannot be determined until the government fixes the immigration crisis.

  • etshoney Aug 14, 2009

    I was there.........."Most of the protesters admitted they did not read the bill" NO ONE ASKED ME!!!! I read the thing.It took me 5 days but I did it. The point to all this is IT IS THE CONGRESSMAN'S JOB TO READ THE BILLS. THAT'S WHY HE'S THERE. WRAL has to get a dig in. This is so typical. JUST TO BE CLEAR......I SHOULD HAVE TO TAKE THE TIME TO READ THE BILL. I assumed the elected officials would!!!!

  • mjeffrey Aug 14, 2009

    looks like a weak crowd from the video

  • Worland Aug 14, 2009

    I still like the Obama stooge posing as a doctor at a town hall meeting. Are the Dems actually that desperate to have one of their people pose as a doctor in favor of BO-Care? Couldn't get any support from a real doctor, huh? Funny!

    I was amazed to see how many people at the town halls were reading their questions off of the 3X5 cue cards the Dems passed out. They might want to double check if their planted stooge can actually pronounce what's on the 3X5. Can you be any more obvious? Funny!

  • wildervb Aug 14, 2009

    "Wasn't it the media that looked the other way when issues such as Rev. Wright, and several other questionable Obama associates were coming to light?"
    Actually the media saturated us with Rev. Wright for weeks, playing the offensive 30 second sound bites over and over.

    "Now, when REAL NEWS regarding thousands of Americans that have REAL and RELEVANT questions about Obama's plan to spend TRILLIONS of our tax dollars, when this plan that will still leave millions without coverage and add untold bureaucracy to an already swamped system. Americans are using their RIGHT to free speech and forming groups to oppose this legislation being FORCED down our throats by elected officials that will NOT LISTEN or answer our questions. "

    When questions are actually used they're being answered, screaming and yelling at a town hall isn't free speach its disruptive speach. If they realy want answers to their question they should ask the question and listen to the answer.

  • mep Aug 14, 2009

    I had to laugh at the story where Obama is telling folks the MEDIA is now the problem with the health care reform debate. Wasn't it the media that looked the other way when issues such as Rev. Wright, and several other questionable Obama associates were coming to light? Now, when REAL NEWS regarding thousands of Americans that have REAL and RELEVANT questions about Obama's plan to spend TRILLIONS of our tax dollars, when this plan that will still leave millions without coverage and add untold bureaucracy to an already swamped system. Americans are using their RIGHT to free speech and forming groups to oppose this legislation being FORCED down our throats by elected officials that will NOT LISTEN or answer our questions. If we intend to reform the health care, Congress had better listen, and take the time to do it right. OBAMACARE is NOT the answer! Let them keep working on it... if they are really serious, let Americans VOTE on it. In this case, Obama would lose, so no chance of that.

  • 5Rs Aug 14, 2009

    "First of all, the bill says nothing about limiting what doctors can charge, other than that public insurance option will pay only 5% more than medicare. Second, you do realize, don't you, that insurance companies already set how much money doctor's are paid for their work. Doctors aren't setting how much they get paid for a treatment, unless you go to them without insurance." - smcallah. Misinformation.

    Medicare limits what it will pay doctors and also limits how much insurance companies can pay doctors for procedures. No negotiation, and doctors must take the patients.

    Insurance companies set rates through negotiations and analysis with doctors, usually based on what the going rate is in that community / state. And doctors can choose which insurance companies they will do business with. Huge difference.

  • kevten Aug 14, 2009

    Another local paper showed a story on a man in Chatham County who traveled to India to have heart surgery. A six figure procedure in the Triangle area cost $5,000 in India. There is no reason health care costs should be rising.

    When Rush Limbaugh reminds protesters to drop their Medicare coverage BEFORE they show up to protest, then I'll know this is not a crock. Who is going to challenge Limbaugh to reveal his own gold plated medical coverage? It's amazing the Republicans who have coverage want to protest. Again, there is no reason for medical costs to be rising. And if you need surgery, who do you want in the operating room, the Blue Cross CEO or a surgeon?

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