Chicago Town Hall Favors Public Option
CHERYL CORLEY: I'm Cheryl Corley. Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s district is diverse, but predominately African-American and middle-class. At Jackson's health care forum in Chicago this week, he and his constituents offered President Obama some support.
Representative JESSE JACKSON, JR. (Democrat, Illinois): You hang in there. You cover every American.
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Rep. JACKSON, JR.: You leave no American behind. We have your back.
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CORLEY: A few people came forward to tell of the health care problems they've endured. Sharon Hamilton is a breast cancer survivor who fought with her insurance company over mounting bills for her care.
Ms. SHARON HAMILTON: It was one of the scariest times of my life, because I was put in a very stressful situation: concerned about a breast that had become infected, concerned about the fact that my insurance provider would not pay for some of my follow-up care caused me a lot of stress.
CORLEY: A public health nurse, Dorothy Ahmad(ph), said patients often come in with simple ailments that have progressed because they don't have access to medical care. Ahmad says there's already a nationwide public option, and that's Medicare.
Ms. DOROTHY AHMAD (Public Health Nurse): We don't have to have a lot of geniuses to reinvent what we already have. We just need to expand it to everyone so everyone will be in and no one will be out.
CORLEY: Michael Wolf, another audience member, said news reports suggesting the administration may drop the public option were making him nervous.
Mr. MICHAEL WOLF: So, congressman, my question to you is if there's not a viable public option in the final legislation, will you vote for that legislation?
CORLEY: Congressman Jackson said no, and then asked the crowd to stand and applaud if they believe a public option is a necessity for meaningful health care reform. And he got the standing ovation.
(Soundbite of applause)
CORLEY: Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Chicago.
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