Health Care reform rally draws large crowd

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - More than one hundred people gathered in Downtown Richmond Tuesday night to rally for health care reform. It's set to be the hot topic when Congress returns this month.

Almost everyone has seen the video of angry Americans at town hall meetings on health care. They've loudly expressed their frustration, sometimes even turning to violence. While Tuesday's crowd was passionate, we didn't see the conflict of recent meetings.

There wasn't any fighting or name calling. The D.N.C.'s grassroots network Organizing for America says it simply wants to rally Americans who want health care reform. Mary Anne Haske is one of more than a hundred Richmonders answering that call. She has Post-Polio Syndrome. She's covered by Medicare, but worries about long term care it won't provide.

"As a child I couldn't breathe on my own. I couldn't swallow. I couldn't talk and couldn't move and with the Post-Polio if you live long enough, you often go back the way you began," she said. "I worry about what will happen with me when I get worse, and I will get worse."

O.F.A. supports the President's reform package, saying it will decrease out of pocket expenses. But some say it will cost taxpayers too much and open the door to government intrusion.

"The bottom line is the government needs to stay out of our personal lives. And keep their hands out of our health care decisions. We make our own decisions. They don't make it for me," said Richmond Tea Party member Joe Cacciotti.

Reform supporter Faith Harris says when it comes to healthcare, political beliefs shouldn't matter.

"This is about people's lives. This is about life and death. This is not a game. It's not politics," said Harris.

If you missed Tuesday's rally and want to participate in the reform discussion, another group will hold an event at Monroe Park Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. is holding a vigil to encourage Congress to pass a healthcare plan soon.

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