Health care debate hits Spokane, 'public-option' supporters speak - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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Health care debate hits Spokane, 'public-option' supporters speak out

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SPOKANE, Wash. - The debate over health care has been gaining steam across the country and for the most part, those opposed to government involvement in health care have been at the center of attention, but Wednesday in Spokane, the scene was a little different.

Instead of the usual protestors to government control, those in favor of a 'public-option' could be seen voicing their opinions outside a private meeting between Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and local groups.

The private meeting was held Wednesday in All Saints Lutheran Church across from Coeur d'Alene Park.

The rally, sponsored by the liberal group Moveon.org, organized in the park under the watchful eye of the Spokane Police Department after being denied access to the private meeting.

Carrying signs and chanting, many in the pro 'public-option' group said that without a 'public-option,' nothing will be fixed.

"Without the public option, what we're gonna end up with is a bill that kinda tinkers around the edges of some reform with the insurance industry," says 'public-option' supporter Barbara Hagendon. "It's not really gonna get to the heart of the matter and be a true competitor."

Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers is opposed to a government option, but says reform is necessary.

"I think that there are options outside of a government option, the public option, that would be affordable," said Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers. "Allowing small businesses to band together and get plans outside of state boundaries, allowing the individuals to have portable insurance... where you can take it from job to job. Those are kind of solutions that I would support."

The protestors did not get a chance to speak with the congresswoman, but her staff says they are working on organizing a town hall forum. Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers recently held an event in Colville where 700 people attended to discuss health care.

Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers will be holding a special Walla Walla town hall meeting for Eastern Washington seniors concerned about health care on August 27.

Protestor Signs
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(click to enlarge)

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