Among the cacophony of protesting screams and the jumble of signs decrying government-controlled health care, few noticed the woman and her three children as they locked hands and ran through the crowd that gathered Thursday to protest the proposed House overhaul of health care in the United States.
The woman and her children were three of many today who didn’t come to the Stout Street Clinic to rally or voice political views. They came to make use of the Clinic’s services– government services boosted by stimulus money that the clinic director inside told reporters is helping to meet the needs of more Coloradans than ever before.
But the startled patients of the clinic were in the minority yesterday afternoon. Protesters from both sides of the health reform issue lined the streets as Democratic Reps Diana DeGette and Jared Polis joined Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to tour the Clinic and advance reform legislation.
Chants of “No Obama care,” “Just say no” and “Read the law” were answered by “Yes, we can” and “Health care now.”
Protesters held signs reading “Obama” “Health Care Now” “Obamacare is socialism.” There was also at least one graphic anti-abortion sign.
A woman explained that while she was thrilled that the shelter received federal aid, “only the free-market works.” The government she said is flubbing Medicaid, social security and Cash for Clunkers. She didn’t want it to control the health care system.
A reform supporter said the legislation would allow everyone to participate in the same risk pool and to receive services at affordable prices by cutting out unregulated insurance companies.
West Tucker, a protester who opposed the bill, commented that from the excerpts he had read of the bill, the government would have free access to financial information and our medical records. “That is an invasion of privacy way beyond what was in the Patriot Act.”
Like others opposed to the bill, he explained that he felt that the number of uninsured is greatly overblown. “If there are 50 million people in this country who do not have insurance, a third of them could afford health care but choose not to. The other third are illegal aliens that are relying on our health-care system. The other third really need some help.” He explained that efforts should be focused on the last third.
Others in the crowd shouted that new legislation would allow the government to decide who received health care and who did not.
One woman told a black reform supporter that the legislation was just a way for Democrats to gain votes from minorities. Others attacked the Democratic proposals for encouraging euthanasia as well as abortion.
A man who said he was a small business owner felt the Obama administration was asking people to email into the government the names of individuals who do not agree with the health-care initiative.
Recently, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, questioned the administration’s request that Americans report “fishy” emails about the health-care proposal that appear to be sent from the White House Blog. White House Press Secretary Michael Gibbs responded that, beyond the national archives collection of all correspondences coming to the White House, there will be no further tracking of those correspondences.
Many of the comments heard from those opposing the Democrats’ push for reform appear on the facts page of the Patients First website and Patients United Now. Both sites are projects of Americans for Prosperity, a free-market advocacy group. Patients First is sponsoring a nation-wide bus tour that will be in a number of Colorado cities today through Saturday.
According to Nancy Pelosi’s website, America’s Affordable Health Care Choices Act (read the full text of proposed bill H.R. 3200) proposes among other details that citizens may keep their current plan and doctors if they choose, that care will continue to be decided by patients and doctors, that co-pays for preventive care would be eliminated and that competition between health providers and insurers would be continued.
In addition, the Obama administration’s health-care reform site explains that health records should remain confidential though computerized, and it says individuals will not lose the right to choose health plans or physicians.
According to the Denver Post, Pelosi said that while there is a diversity of opinion among Democrats, she has asked people not to be afraid of the facts. Pelosi said, “What is in this legislation is very, very positive.”
She finished the question-and-answer session at Stout Street by saying, “When we are ready, we will bring a bill to the floor, and when we do we will succeed.”