Health care debates on streets of Chicago

September 12, 2009 9:29:41 PM PDT
People on both sides of the health reform debate made their points Saturday in the Chicago area. That included lawmakers and the people they represent.Demonstrators participated in another display of resistance to President Obama's health care reform plan.

"I think the country is hungry for some substantive changes in the health care system," said Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, who represents the northwest suburbs.

Criticism by Republicans who represent Illinois in Congress centers on the costs of reform and concerns about the ability to choose your own doctor, the coverage of undocumented immigrants, and the possible funding of abortions.

Rather than a blanket overhaul, opponents want specific reforms of medical rights, insurance, and the rules governing medical malpractice lawsuits.

"Fifteen percent of the American people don't have coverage, and we can solve that without taking away the health care plans that 85 percent of the people have and want to keep," west and southwest suburbs Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert.

Armed with chants of discontent, thousands of people showed up at the Lockport tea party rally. Their message: no more taxes, no more bailouts, and no to government health care.

Meanwhile on Chicago's South Side, some members of the faith-based community came together to support health care reform. The Campaign for Better Health says the White House's reform proposal would give more people health care coverage, while eventually reining in health care costs.

"Fourteen thousand of our brothers and sisters lose their health coverage every day, and there's over 50 million of us who are uninsured," said Jim Duffett of Campaign for Better Health.

The push for passage of a some type of health care reform remains split largely along party lines. Despite the defections, Democratic party congressional leaders vow to change the status quo and to make health care reform a reality.

"We are going to do this. We are going to do this year," said Democratic Rep. Danny Davis who represents residents of Chicago and its suburbs.

Neither the Senate nor the House has voted on a health care reform plan. The only deadline is President Obama's desire to get it done as soon as possible.


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