South Bay voters pack health care forum

September 13, 2009 5:41:15 PM PDT
Town hall meetings on health care reform are still taking place and on Sunday Congressman Mike Honda took up the issue with voters in the South Bay.

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Outside and inside, the sentiment at the health care forum at Santa Clara University was universally the same.

"I'm really glad to hear that you support the public option," said one woman.

"Without the public option health care costs may go up tremendously and bankrupt the nation," said another.

But, democrats in Washington seem to be playing down the idea of a government insurance option. The President's advisers are now saying a public plan is not a deal-breaker when it comes to health care reform. There is however, strong support for the plan among House democrats like Congressman Mike Honda, the host of Sunday's forum.

"This is one of many plans that people can have choice. No one's going to force anybody to choose the public option," he said Sunday.

Thousands marched on Capitol Hill Saturday to protest. In San Jose, those with worries about how much health care reform will cost held a rally of their own. Opponents say a public plan would essentially put private insurers out of business because they would not be able to compete with a government plan.

"The public option, we see that as a government takeover of the private health care system," said Morgan Hill resident Mark Hinkle.

A public plan may not be a deal-breaker in Washington, but it is for many Bay Area supporters.

"It is a deal breaker," said Jim Griffin of Los Gatos. "I think without the public option health care reform is like a car without wheels."

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