Obama to hold town hall as health care debate heats up

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WASHINGTON — President Obama goes into today’s health care town hall not backing down on the biggest rift over reforms…letting people and businesses choose a government-backed option for insurance.

President Obama said, “Now, the public plan I think is a important tool to discipline insurance companies.”

Critics came out swinging.

The Republican National Committee is airing an ad on cable blasting the Obama plan as more red tape saying, ”’Public option’, that means putting government bureaucrats in charge instead of patients and their doctors. It’s a bad idea.”

It was that line of attack that helped defeat health care reform in the nineties.

Democrats tried to dispel fear of change.

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid said, “If you like coverage you have, you can keep it.”

But backers can’t deny the cost, and GOP critics are focused.

Republican Senator Mike Reid from Wyoming said,”This bill costs over a trillion dollars yet more than 36 million Americans are left uninsured.”

Republican Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma said, “This is mandatory spending folks. This is eight billion you’re gonna borrow from you grandkids cuz we sure don’t have it.”

Insurers warn that a public plan risks more underpayment of doctors and hospitals, their complaint about Medicare.

Mike Tuffin of America’s Health Insurance Plans said, “Either hospitals are gonna close their doors or you’re gonna blow a huge hole in the federal budget.”

The President insists reforms would be paid for, saying, “It will not add to our deficits over the next decade.”

He says a better- run system and more competition would mean savings for the Government and Americans on health care.