McCaskill talks health care in southeast Missouri - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

McCaskill talks health care in southeast Missouri

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By Christy Hendricks - email

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - It was a rowdy crowd with lots of opinions Monday afternoon at a health care forum in Poplar Bluff.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill hosted forums in Kennett and Poplar Bluff on President Obama's proposed health care overhaul and met with health care providers in Hayti.

The sessions come amid growing public protests over the reforms plans Congress will consider after its summer break. A public meeting in St. Louis hosted by Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan last week ended in a melee with six arrests, including a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter.

In fact, McCaskill's health care forum at a school in the St. Louis suburb of University City scheduled for Tuesday was canceled by the school over safety concerns.

Nearly 600 people packed the Tinnin Fine Arts Center at Three Rivers Community College.

McCaskill took questions from the audience that had been written on pieces of paper and placed in a bowl.  A member of the audience drew the questions from the bowl.

McCaskill was interrupted several times by people shouting comments or questions out of turn.

One comment that sparked applause from the crowd was a comment from a Poplar Bluff man who asked if the health care reform was more about President Obama and the Democratic party seeking to gain more control.  McCaskill disagreed.

However, earlier that morning several people supporting the plan showed up in Kennett.

"This was good Missouri manners," said at the town hall meeting in Kennett.  "People were respectful and I think I laid out the process which I think most people thought was fair.  I let somebody who was very much against health care pick the questions out of the bucket and then we took the questions as they came.  So I think if that people think they're not being spun, if somebody's really being straight forward with them I thin it helps."

The questions ranged from rationing services, end of life care, care for veterans, pre-existing conditions, benefits for illegal aliens, abortion, and government run insurance.

McCaskill stressed to the audience that the health care reform would not limit choices for Americans, but allow the choice between several private insurance companies and government insurance. She went on to say that she's not sure a government insurance plan would pass the Senate.  She also said rationing of services would not happen under the plan.

©2009 KFVS All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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