An Obama Grand Junction health-reform town hall primer

As everyone in the state must know by now, Pres. Obama will visit Grand Junction this Saturday on a swing through the west. White House aides have said the trip is meant in part to highlight the nation’s park system and the fact that this weekend is free for visitors to many parks and monuments. In Grand Junction, though, the theme will be health care.

In announcing the free park weekends, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called them “the nation’s crown jewels.” Grand Junction was essential designated a crown jewel of the health care system about three months ago by New Yorker writer Atul Gawande, who wrote a lengthy and much-discussed article comparing Grand Junction with McAllen, Texas, which is one of the most expensive and least-efficient health care markets in the country.

Coloradans attempting to genuinely untangle the cost side of health reform would do well to read Gawande’s piece. Others might want to listen to a podcast where Gawande discusses his visit to McAllen. Also helpful is this interactive Dartmouth Atlas map displaying how much different communities pay for health care.

The Denver Daily News reports that the President is scheduled to speak from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. at the city’s Central High School gym and that people wishing to attend should register at the White House website.

A preview: Obama on the campaign trail in Grand Junction last year.

Also a preview: During the campaign, Grand Junction GOP women boycotted Oprah.

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