Political Squawk: Bisecting Health Care
The state line runs down the center of Bristol, bisecting the city into two distinct sides: Virginia and Tennessee.
In fact, my brothers and I enjoyed our long ago visits to the area, just so we could wait for traffic to clear, run out to the center of the road and stand in two states at one time by stepping a foot on either side of the state line.
Wednesday, it was once again, all about sides and lines in Bristol, Virginia. As the President discussed health care reform with citizens at a local grocery, two hundred protesters entrenched themselves flamingo-style on their side of the line, displaying signs that read "Your plan makes me sick!" and "Obamacare is political malpractice."
Yet, figuratively standing on the actual health-care line were 2700 people who received medical attention at a recent annual free clinic held at nearby Wise, Virginia. Many seeking help were turned away.
Standing in the line of fire, his approval ratings down?
At home in the District, Blue Dog Democrats are back in line, having reached a deal with their House Democratic brethren, clearing the way for a September vote on "sweeping health care legislation". The Senate is currently at work on a bill "...to extend coverage to 95 percent of all Americans without raising federal deficits. "We're on the edge, we're almost there," said Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican involved in the secretive Senate talks."
"I saw some signs," he told about 100 Kroger cashiers, baggers, deli workers and managers. He said he knew "folks were all riled up."
"First of all, no one is talking about a government takeover health care plan," Obama said after he took the podium for the town hall meeting near the produce section.
He insisted he has "tried to say this over and over again — if you are happy with your health care, if you are happy with your doctor, we are not going to force you to change."
What he does hope to change are inefficiencies in the Medicare system that are contributing to skyrocketing costs, lower drug prices, forcing companies that don't provide health insurance to "pay or play" and create a system that will provide affordable quality health care for the nation's millions of uninsured, he has said.
Sounds like the finish line is within sight.
Labels: health care reform