Local Politics

Rally against health care overhaul held in Raleigh

Posted August 9, 2009 1:01 p.m. EDT
Updated August 9, 2009 4:51 p.m. EDT

— Hundreds of people rallied along Atlantic Avenue in Raleigh Saturday to protest Democratic health-care overhaul proposals that are backed by President Barack Obama.

The group Americans for Prosperity wrapped up a weeklong campaign called "Patients First."

Organizers said they are fired up about the issue and want the government's hands off their health care.

"It is a frightening intrusion of government into a health care system that's working for most Americans," said protester Don Wilson, of Raleigh. "I believe there are reasonable steps that can be taken to improve it without a government take-over of the whole system."

Much of the health care debate centers on the public option, which would create a government-sponsored health insurance plan for people who cannot obtain other coverage. Obama backs the plan as a way to guarantee that every American has health insurance, but opponents say a government-run plan would increase bureaucracy and raise the costs of private insurers.

The president defended the plan in his weekend Web and radio address. He said overhauling the system is a key step for the country's economic future.

"The defenders of the status quo and political point-scorers in Washington are growing fiercer in their opposition," Obama said. "In recent days and weeks, some have been using misleading information to defeat what they know is the best chance of reform we have ever had."

Protesters at the Raleigh rally objected to that characterization.

Some held signs saying "I reported Obama for misinforming Americans" and "I am not a lobbyist: I am an American."