BrownIndian Posted August 12, 2009 Report Share Posted August 12, 2009 (CNN) -- Beyond the noise of raucous crowds and angry protesters who have turned town hall meetings into shouting matches is genuine concern from ordinary citizens who are afraid that President Obama's health care proposals would only make things harder for them, experts say. "The reason that we see these protests and people asking tough questions at town hall meetings is because they feel like the president is going to take something away from them. That motivates people. That gets them out," said Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. Those fears were heard Tuesday at Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter's town hall meeting in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. "This is going to take away my freedom," charged one man who wanted assurance from Specter that the private option for health insurance would stay viable. Specter repeated Obama's pledge, telling the crowd, "If you like your policy, you can keep it." Since his days on the campaign trail, Obama has promised the public that those who like their health insurance plans won't have to give them up, but he's stopped short of saying at what cost. "I think that's the fear," said Diana Owen, an associate professor of political science and the director of American studies at Georgetown University. "Even though they are going to keep the plan, the plan is going to be at a much greater cost. And he's not been able to really allay that fear." The themes coming up at town hall meetings across the country are broadly the same as doubts expressed during the campaign. Critics are voicing fears about socialism and the dismantling of the government they are used to. And those who have sufficient health care coverage worry they'll have to foot the bill for reform, echoing concerns heard during the presidential campaign that Obama would "spread the wealth around." "That was one of the campaign critiques of Obama that seemed to work well, that seemed to resonate well," Owen said. "I really do think that it was an issue, and I think the opponents of the health care plan, by bringing that back up again ... I think that it could be an effective obstacle to what he's trying to accomplish." Obama originally asked Congress to send him a health care bill before the August recess, but neither chamber met the deadline. As lawmakers spend the break in their home districts, they've been met with sometimes fierce opposition to Obama's proposals. "It's not anti-reform -- it's anti-bad reform," Cannon said. "I think the public is reacting to what's in the legislation. And I think that's why the president wanted the House and the Senate to pass their versions before the August recess, because the president knew that the public would object to a lot of what is in these bills." The White House, however, said that Obama "asked Congress to move quickly because we can't wait any longer to begin fixing what's wrong with our system." More @: http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/08/12/hea...ears/index.html Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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