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Health care workers rally in support of overhaul

Posted September 25, 2009
Updated September 26, 2009

— The national health care debate took the spotlight in the Triangle Friday when about 70 medical professionals and patients rallied at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill to support of a comprehensive overhaul.

The independent group of mostly health care workers, Health Care for All N.C., wants reform that gives health care to everyone and transfers coverage without exclusions for pre-existing conditions. It favors a public option.

Health care reform focus of rally Health care reform focus of rally

Some medical professionals, however, said they would prefer a single-payer system, without private insurance companies, that would be an entirely run government health care program.

Dr. Charlie Van der Horst argued that government-run health care programs don't limit a person's choice.

"That's what happens with Medicare. Medicare doesn't tell you, 'Oh, you can only go to this doctor or that doctor.' The insurance companies do," he said. "That's the irony. It's the insurance companies that make you switch your doctor. It's the insurance company that tells your doctor, 'No, you can't order this test.'"

Opponents of a public option worry government involvement would force private insurance companies out of business and lead to a government-run system, meaning Americans will lose the right to choose their insurance company.

"The vast majority of physicians I have talked to are opposed to anything that would end up with a single-payer, or government-run, or public option," said Tom Fetzer, chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party.

"Can you name a single thing in America that is run cheaply and more efficiently in the government than the private sector?" he added.

Friday's event outside UNC Hospitals was organized by an independent group of health care professionals and was not sponsored or endorsed by the UNC Hospital system. The system has not offered a public stance on the matter.

Meanwhile in Washington, lawmakers continue to debate health care reform, which the Obama administration has said will expand health insurance coverage to every American.

The government option continues to enjoy support from about two-thirds of Americans, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll released Thursday.

The survey also found that the president's recent health care publicity blitz has failed to dispel questions about the plan. However, Americans, by 52 percent to 27 percent, say he has better ideas for revamping health care than Republicans do.


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  • Worland Sep 25, 2009

    Isn't this the same group who has been running pro-ObamaCare ads? You know... the ones where they lie about this health care bill being made up of the best parts of all bills... the ads where they claim the health care bill is bipartisan...

    My question is what bill? Bipartisan? Having a token Republican on a panel, who hasn't been allowed to speak since this debate started, is hardly bipartisan. What bill are they talking about? The GOP has 35 bills in hand but Pelosi, Reid and Obama won't even look at them.

  • Worland Sep 25, 2009

    I wouldn't be so hasty as to blame insurance companies for low pay-out amounts. The vast majority of insurance companies pay providers much more than the Medicare/Medicaid rates for services. If the provider is unhappy with what the insurance companies pay, they don't have to take that patient. That's exactly what happens to our troops. Their Tri-Care medical insurance only pays Medicare rates... and many doctors won't work for peanuts anymore and don't accept their insurance.

    With a government run system, providers will see a significant drop in pay-outs just like the UK experienced. I got to live in that disaster of a medical system for many years.

  • Deacons Sep 25, 2009

    blackdog, because the government would be the referee and the player, they could make any law they want that would force the private sector close. This has nothing to do with the government doing anything cheaper, they simply can't. They will make rules, like the one that is in the bill right now, that if you have a private policy and it changes in ANY WAY then you have to go to the government plan and that has nothing to do with price. You will regret voting for and supporting your liberal representatives one day.

  • Just the facts mam Sep 25, 2009

    The reason health care costs are so high is because of the federal government. Medicare, Medicaid, and VA total about 1/2 of all of health care costs, and there is so much waste, fraud, misuse, and abuse in these goverment programs that they are destroying the private sector health care costs too! The federal government is the cause of most of problems with health care costs - do not believe them when they say they can run things better...

  • Deacons Sep 25, 2009

    What are they, a subsidiary of ACORN?

  • Redneck Fun Sep 25, 2009

    "Only 70 people rallied for ObamaCare !"
    My thoughts EXACTLY!! I thought Obama said the medical community is for Obamacare. 70 and that included some patients according to the report.
    blackdog: "Honestly... Who knows more about health care ? A politician or a doctor ?"
    Not many doctors where there!! I hope you don't think that is a majority!!

  • workingforthosethatwont Sep 25, 2009

    I don't trust anything he says or does and I WILL NOT vote for anything he proposes. Vote for the change....in 2012.

  • Zelda Sep 25, 2009

    Rand321, I respectfully disagree. The problem is that providers and consumers are taking a heavy hit so the insurance companies can profit. Have you noticed that doctors are reduced to seeing patients for mere minutes these days? How much more efficient can they get? The insurance companies set rates they will pay for care and they are by no means fair. As a psychologist, my rates haven't gone up for at least ten years -- not even for cost of living increases. You can bet that everything else I have to pay for has gone up. The insurance companies have a stranglehold on medical and psychological care in this area, especially Blue Cross Blue Shield. That kind of monopoly doesn't benefit anyone except the folks who run the insurance company. They are doing very well. This is the area which requires cutbacks.

  • james27613 Sep 25, 2009

    Only 70 people rallied for ObamaCare !

    The congress says the AMA and ARRP are on board but
    that is a small fraction of them medical and retired population.

  • blackdog Sep 25, 2009

    Honestly... Who knows more about health care ? A politician or a doctor ?