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Old 08-22-2009, 04:20 PM
borderwatch borderwatch is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 64
Default Hundreds pack O.C. health care reform town hall (pics)


GARDEN GROVE More than 300 people packed an impassioned but civil town hall meeting on health care reform Saturday, with many showing their views through clothing, homemade signs and even a President Obama Halloween mask.

The discussion, hosted by Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, had to be relocated from a tiny coffee shop to a cordoned strip mall parking lot because of the turnout.

Unlike other recent forums across the country, the crowd remained largely respectful during the 75-minute forum. There were some boos and "shut ups," but mostly rounds of applause, particularly when Royce outlined his objections to the Democratic health care reform legislation that contains a public option to compete with private insurers.

"Most of your constituents are against national health care," 19-year-old Eric Smith, a member of the Chapman University College Republicans, told Royce. "How will we change votes in Congress? It seems like telling our friends in Orange County isn't really going to change the national scheme of things."

Royce responded that Americans need to hear all sides and become energized.

While one sign read, "Keep Your Hands Off My Grandma's Health Care," Lisa Jewett, 58, carried poster board that said: "This Grandma Wants Health Reform."

When Jewett addressed Royce, she began by saying she supports a public option.

"Our current plan is the insurance companies compete," said Jewett, who lives in Anaheim. "My husband has cancer. Under the current plan, how many companies do you think will be competing to cover him? Zero. All of us are in many ways one pink slip away from catastrophe."

Royce told her he supports state risk pools to allow those with pre-existing conditions to buy coverage. He's also in favor of medical malpractice reform, which he said would eliminate unnecessary tests that doctors perform to avoid getting sued. He said he believes the Democratic proposal is too expensive, inhibits free market competition and would attract more illegal immigrants.

Royce shut down a follower of political activist Lyndon LaRouche, who carried a large poster of Obama with a Hitler-style moustache.

"It's not a Nazi health care policy, it's a socialist health care policy," Royce said. "The one thing Democrats and Republicans and Libertarians and Peace and Freedom all agree with is that Lyndon LaRouche is a nut case."

After the forum, many in the crowd stuck around to debate or network with like-minded folks.

"I don't know that any minds were changed but the discourse continues," said John Stahler, 58, of Anaheim Hills, who carried a cardboard sign reading, "No Socialism."

Leland Sisk, 62, of Garden Grove, who wore a gray Obama T-shirt, said covering all Americans does not amount to socialized medicine.

"There are people in society that don't have health care," Sisk said. "In my opinion, we need to do this for each other."

Robyn Nordell, 54, of Fullerton said the U.S. Postal Service and Medicare are examples of how the government bureaucracy does a poor job running programs. She said she wants her choice of doctor and treatment options.

"The people of the United States need to rise up and make our voices all heard," she said. "Not only was it civil, the vast majority of the people clearly oppose government-run health care."

Contact the writer: 714-796-3686 or cperkes@ocregister.com

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Old 08-22-2009, 04:21 PM
borderwatch borderwatch is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 64
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:22 PM
borderwatch borderwatch is offline
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Default Part 3


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