The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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August 15, 2009

Dahlkemper hosts outdoor forum on health care reform

Supporters, opponents participate

SHARON —

Protesters and supporters traded hot words on both sides of the debate Saturday morning in Bicenntenial Park as U.S. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie, D-3rd District, came to Sharon to talk about health-care reform.

The sides seemed to be more or less evenly split.

Mrs. Dalhkemper gave a quick introductory speech to separate fact from fiction.

“I have not voted on anything yet,” she said, saying the legislation was being passed through a series of congressional committees trying to come up with a compromise.

“I’ve read the bill and it does not in any way promote euthanasia,” she said, addressing one common rumor. “It gives you the ability to sit down with your doctor and talk about end of life issues (such as will-writing and hospice care), and the doctor will be reimbursed, before, they weren’t reimbursed for that.”

She also said the legislation may would bar insurance companies from refusing coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions, and ban gender discrimination among providers.

The public option, if it makes it into the final legislation, would include a sliding pay scale up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, Mrs. Dahlkemper said. She added that reform would not do away with private insurance, only make it more accountable.

After her speech, she answered questions, the responses to which, drew mixed reactions from the audience.

When Mrs. Dahlkemper said the country’s health-care problems were caused by insurance companies, some applauded while others shouted it was actually the fault of lawyers.

Some cheered when a man asked Mrs. Dahlkemper how she could support socialized medicine when she took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and cheered again when he said, “No government programs,” about Medicare, Medicaid. Both are government programs.

Others cheered when a representative of a local union praised her for supporting President Barack Obama’s push for change in the nation’s health-care system.

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