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Health care, Obama focus of Valley group

Published: Thu, September 10, 2009 @ 12:01 a.m.


FAN OF REFORM: Jerome Parm of Organizing for America hosted a house party at the home of Penny Wells in Boardman. Group members and their guests watched President Barack Obama’s speech on health-care reform Wednesday evening.

The president called for quick action on health-care reform legislation.

By Jeanne Starmack

BOARDMAN — Penny Wells was entertaining Wednesday evening, but the gathering at the retired Youngstown teacher’s Oak Knoll Drive home was not the usual house party.

There were pizza, drinks and a veggie tray. There was small talk — mostly about political issues.

But for the dozen people at the home, there was also a mission — to hear President Barack Obama’s proposal on health-care reform and to learn ways to help support it.

The president said the time for partisan politics on health care must end because “that only hardens the disdain many Americans have toward their own government.”

“Well the time for bickering is over,” the president said. “The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do. Now is the time to deliver on health care.”

Organizing for America, the group that sponsored the party, along with its subsidiary, Mahoning Valley for Change, works to enact legislation for Obama, said regional director Amy Diamond of Mentor.

Organizing for America sprang up from Obama’s presidential campaign, she added.

Not everyone there was a member. Karen Dill of Youngstown came with her friend Rachel Fitzpatrick, also of Youngstown, who is a member of the group. Dill was not following the issue that closely, she said, and she wanted to find out more about it.

Donna Huntley of Youngstown, who said she is not a member of the group, is concerned about keeping momentum for reform going and stopping misinformation.

“The option right now from Republicans is: ‘Let insurance companies continue, and let them do the right thing and if they don’t, we’ll jump in,’” she said. “Well, they haven’t done the right thing in 25 years.”

The president said his plan would meet three basic goals.

“It will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance to those who don’t. And it will slow the growth of health-care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government.”

Others at the part said they approve of the aggressive push for reform.

“I’m so looking forward to this speech,” said Lucy Moreland-Smith, who also lives at the Oak Knoll Drive home. “We haven’t done a freaking thing. This is what needs to be done.”

Costs are another concern, Huntley said. “We understand it’s a business,” she said. “But to go up 120 percent in the last four years should be unacceptable.”

Those issues and more, of course, were addressed in Obama’s speech to Congress and the nation as he outlined how he wants to make current health insurance work better, make it affordable for people who don’t have it, and keep the costs from rising.

The group, who undeniably were Obama fans going into the speech, took issue with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., yellingm “You lie!” when the president asserted reform wouldn’t include health care for illegal immigrants.

Moreland-Smith was for hauling the heckler out.

The group laughed at the partisanship that kept the Republicans from standing and clapping after Obama made a dramatic point. One Republican who started to clap, looked around him and quickly stopped prompted gleeful guffaws.

They were tickled too when the president smiled after his mention of reforming medical malpractice laws brought Republicans to their feet.

“I’m gonna make you guys get up! I’m gonna say something to make you guys get up!” Moreland-Smith said with a laugh.

Afterward, Huntley declared the speech “totally on point.”

Dill and Nancy Wilhelm of Hartford said it made the issue clearer for them.

Jerome Parm of Youngstown hosted the party on behalf of Organizing for America. He said that for him, the president’s ending remarks “said it all.”

The president said that “concern for the plight of others is not a partisian feeling.”

“It’s a moral issue and about the character of this country,” Parm said.



1Ytownnative(1118 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Just shut up and support it you dont want to be un american do you ? All hail the supreme leader Obama

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2Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Why did the Democratic-Socialist members of Congress refuse a GOP proposal to specifically state that Illegal aliens are exempt from this new entitlement?

How likely is it that this new entitlement is "budget neutral"?

How will the current number of health care providers accomodate 47 million more individuals who have received a pass for essentially limitless prescriptions, evaluations and tests?

How many of the so-called 47 milllion uninsured are neither: an illegal alien, an earner of over $50,000.00/year or already ellligible for an existing health care entitlement? Hint...5 million....

Wouldn't true "Health Insurance Reform" abandon the current model of coverage-based decisions rather than expand it? When something is free, isn't more of it consumed? Wouldn't true reform mandate need-based decisions instead, like free market reforms?

Why is it that Democratic-Socialist "misinformation" makes me so nauseous?

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3Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

"Instead of honest debate, we've seen scare tactics." stated Obama in front of the joint session of Congress.

As he has before, Obama stressed the dire consequences of inaction, saying "more will die" if Congress does not act.

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4Ytownnative(1118 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Non your posts may have more effect if you didnt post right after you posted

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5UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

The Republicans have it right on this one. Obama is looking for the middle and upper classes who have healthcare to fund those without healthcare just like we do welfare and medicaid now. We can't afford the tax increases necessary to make it workable or the deficit increase. Go find a job with healthcare benefits instead. This is Socialism at it's worst.

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6Ken(153 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Brilliant delivery; but too much lilke a campaign speech. He threw out numbers...30 million; 900 trillion, blah, blah...but did not give any specifics.
He is going to save a bunch of money by trimming waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid...is that like the wolf guarding the hen house? Those two government run programs have been a problem over the years and he thinks they will correct the waste now?!?!?
Sure hope Traficant delivers the same type of speech BUT have something specific to say instead of glowing generalities!

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7hellsbells(116 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

Nonsocialist, instead of worrying about (as you yourselves state) a small percentage of Americans who will be able to get health care,
you ought to consider the other goal of this bill, to control health care costs for all of us.

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8Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

So, let me get this straight Vindicator. We hold a health care town hall at YSU and you choose to ignore it even though we sent you press releases (five days in advance mind you) and asked you to at least publish a general announcement. You neither acknowledged we were having one nor covered it in any respect. Thanks for blacklisting us by the way. But you so willingly offer coverage to Organizing for America, the outreach arm for this president that sprung out of his own PAC.

Well, I think we know where the chips fall with this.

I do not personally care if you want to cover an opposing event in the paper with a lengthy story, but next time please do the opposition the courtesy of at least informing the public the event is going on so people know it is happening.

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9Pierside12(9 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

The President brought up fraud and waste in Medicare and Medicaid.
Why aren't these issues being corrected now? We don't need a new bill passed to do that. Also, any money saved shouldn't be immediately spent.
I am also very interested what will be put in place to PREVENT fraud and waste in any new program!

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10JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

I gotta say, I'm disappointed in the weak showing from the usual suspects here. I was ready to have a good laugh this morning and all I get is drivel.

Perhaps the well has finally run dry...

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11Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 6 years, 2 months ago

HellsBells (AC/DC fan perhaps?),

You hit the nail on the head.

Read my prior posts where I outline my suggestions for true reform. What really kills me is that these inept freaks (aka our government) are proposing a plan that will increase costs and reduce coverage. What is even more frustrating is that there are solutions available that will work, but are barely mentioned. These solutions, however, do not include a transfer of power from the subjects to the government, and therefore are not considered.

More questions for those who oppose true reform and somehow still support Obama"care".

Am I supposed to believe that the nonpartisan CBO is a bunch of liars because they repeatedly warn us of the deficits to be caused by Obama"care"?

Why am I supposed to believe that >$600 billion/10 years cut in Medicare spending will not result in rationing?

I'm supposed to believe that the Federal government will reduce "fraud and inefficiencies"?

Will we ever get leaders than can complicated stuff like addition?

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