State News

N.C. protests heat up ahead of health overhaul vote

Posted March 11, 2010

— People supporting and opposing President Barack Obama's efforts to overhaul the nation's health care system took to the streets Thursday in competing rallies in downtown Raleigh.

Reform opponents scheduled a demonstration outside 2nd District Congressman Bob Etheridge's office on Fayetteville Street, prompting those in favor of reform proposals to stage a counter-demonstration across the street.

Rally in opposition to health care reform Competing rallies crowd Raleigh's downtown

"We wanted to show Congressman Etheridge there is support for supporting that position of health care reform," reform proponent Mac Hulslander said.

The crowds waved flags and signs to encourage passing drivers to honk in support of the competing causes, and participants in each rally cheered as their leaders shouted out statements to passersby in favor of or against reform.

"They want something that's in my wallet. They want me to pay for their entitlements. (That) ain't going to happen," reform opponent Hans Metha said. "We stopped the votes last summer. We stopped the votes last fall. We'll stop the votes this spring."

"I want everyone in this country to have access to affordable insurance," reform supporter Phyllis Gordon said.

Etheridge was in Washington, D.C., Thursday because the House was in session.

He voted for health reform last fall and has said he would support a compromise bill with the Senate if the plan reins in health care costs, ensures quality care, provides access and preserves choice of providers.

“I continue to hear from thousands of folks in North Carolina about the future of America’s health care system," Etheridge said in a statement. "We know that middle-class families continue to get squeezed by skyrocketing health insurance premiums, and without action, the situation will only get worse."

Democrats and Republicans have found much common ground on health insurance reform, and many of those proposals will be included in the final plan, he said.

Conservative activists urged opponents of the health care revamp to rally as well at the offices of Democratic Reps. Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell in Concord, Rockingham, Fayetteville, Lumberton, Wilmington and Bolivia.

"We believe in health care change, but not the change the government is doing right now," said a reform critic who identified herself only as Kathy.

Obama has visited Philadelphia and St. Louis in the past two weeks to drum up support for the reform plan among the public and called for Congress to end the debate and vote one way or the other on the legislation.

Congressional leaders are awaiting a final cost analysis in the next day or so that will allow them to start counting votes in earnest.

The next step is for the House to approve a Senate-passed bill from last year, despite opposition from House Democrats to several of its provisions.

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  • Finz Up Mar 12, 2010

    "The House passed a government-run plan (the "public option") in its health bill, but the Senate bill doesn't have one and the final product won't, either. Private insurance companies would not only survive under this bill, they would get millions of new customers. That doesn't sound like socialism."

    First off the public option is NOT dead. Secondly I will drop health insurance for all my employees as will thousands of other small to medium sized businesses which means millions more join the pool of uninsured. Then guess what happens? Government gets more customers that you get to pay for Mr. Middle Class......

  • ratherbnnc Mar 12, 2010

    Here is another NEWS flash about your so called Government takeover! And its in the Bill which some of you obviously have not read!

    The Democratic plan would add about 15 million people over 10 years to Medicaid, the existing federal-state program now serving about 60 million poor and low-income Americans. It also would provide subsidies to middle-income families to help them buy private coverage. The bottom line, however, is there is no new government health program in the bill. The House passed a government-run plan (the "public option") in its health bill, but the Senate bill doesn't have one and the final product won't, either. Private insurance companies would not only survive under this bill, they would get millions of new customers. That doesn't sound like socialism.

  • ratherbnnc Mar 12, 2010

    Here is a little logic on your so called government takeover!!

    The federal government would certainly be more involved in regulating insurance companies. The government would also set up and regulate a competitive new exchange, or marketplace, where small businesses and the uninsured could buy coverage. But the coverage would all be plans offered by private companies. The bill is, in fact, designed to preserve employer-based health benefits and the private insurance industry. So, increased government role, yes. Government takeover, no.

  • ratherbnnc Mar 12, 2010

    Nice rant. No one is saying do away with police and all. What we are saying is this is a bad bill, with way too much government takeover, too much expense, too many intrusions on personal care and too little value.
    retroconsultant

    No rant! Just fact! It seems some of you Social repressives would like to do away with everything and live in the stone ages!!

  • ratherbnnc Mar 12, 2010

    Cost gets passed down to you. Something folks like you haven't figured out yet which is why you are at the bottom looking up your entire life.
    sehsa

    Go ahead and jack up those costs oh wise one! Then you will be out of business begging for food stamps and govt assistance! Say what you will, but if you have high prices, I do have sense enough to buy from someone else! By the way, whats your business so i can give you a good reference?

  • 5Rs Mar 12, 2010

    "So if we leave it up to you and your way, then lets not have any control over . . ." - ratherbnnc

    Nice rant. No one is saying do away with police and all. What we are saying is this is a bad bill, with way too much government takeover, too much expense, too many intrusions on personal care and too little value.

  • Finz Up Mar 12, 2010

    hardwork

    Republicans have thrown fantastic ideas out there that don't require trillions of dollars of entitlement. Should it have been 8 years ago, 12 years ago or 20 years ago? Doesn't matter....What matters is that this President isn't interested in anything but a new social program no matter what it cost or whether America wants it or not. He doesn't care if it cost jobs, increases cost or bankrupts this country. He cares about himself, his power, the power of unions and the continued beatdown of the middle class.

  • Finz Up Mar 12, 2010

    Cry me a river! Ever heard of " cost of doing business"?

    Cost gets passed down to you. Something folks like you haven't figured out yet which is why you are at the bottom looking up your entire life.

  • hardwork919 Mar 12, 2010

    I guess my thoughts are we can try this bill and if it doesn't work, just repeal it. Everybody's assuming it won't work and will cause all this havoc but that's no reason to continue to do nothing because what we have now isn't working. If it did, there wouldn't be 31 million without insurance (even though it can be assumed that some of those are choosing not to have it even if they could afford it) Again, I don't know what should be done but something SHOULD be done.

  • ratherbnnc Mar 12, 2010

    The same people will vote the same way they voted before, FOR CHANGE! Get used to it!!!"

    Scott Brown says Hello......

    Actually Genius, I was referring to the voters in the Presidential election, nothing will change...

    And Remember "reconciliation"? Yes, that little filibuster preventer that the Republicans have used several times. Forgot about that one didnt ya?

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