Health care debates in Chicago's Loop

August 22, 2009 3:42:00 PM PDT
President Obama used his weekly radio and Web address to discuss health care reform and the controversy surrounding it. He took on what he calls "distortions" of his plans.In Chicago Saturday, a large crowd gathered, mostly in opposition to Obama's efforts.

A conservative radio station summoned its listeners to Federal Plaza Saturday afternoon where person after person spoke against the Obama plan.

"We want everyone to get quality care, and everybody who ever dealt with the federal government knows you don't get quality care," one man said to the crowd.

"We the people, not government bureaucrats, should decide what health care we want and need," another person said.

"Do you need clout the Chicago way to get health care, or it going to be the same for everybody? I doubt it," said another.

"If we could stop government benefits to illegals, do you know how much money we'd have? If I go to another country, they will not give me health care," a fourth speaker said.

However, that point is among the many claims Democrats were seeking to counter over the weekend. President Obama used his weekly address to say that illegal immigrants would not get insurance, no federal money would pay for abortions and no death panels pulling the plug on grandma or grandpa.

"It also should be an honest debate, not one dominated by willful misrepresentations and outright distortions spread by the very folks who would benefit the most by keeping things exactly as they are," said President Obama.

In their weekly response to the president's message, Republicans accused Obama Saturday of playing "fast and loose" with the facts. A Georgia congressman, who is also a physician, said the president's plan would give Washington bureaucrats the power to make medical decisions for Americans.

Illinois' two Democratic senators did not hold town hall meetings to discuss health care, a decision criticized by the crowd that gathered Saturday. However, a spokesman for Sen. Dick Durbin said the senator was talking about the issue with constituents in smaller settings, as he did August 10 in Chicago.

Sen. Roland Burris, who visited a Roseland health clinic Saturday, told ABC7 Chicago that he, too, prefers smaller get-togethers.

"I will go to any place that has a nice crowd that wants to get information to me about health care. So, I will also get information to them about what is and is not being proposed in Congress," Burris said.


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