Public option debate heats up

November 5, 2009 10:54:16 AM PST
Opponents of President Barack Obama's health care reform boarded buses in Raleigh Thursday headed for Washington.But across town, another group gathered in support of the trillion dollar plan.

Conservative group Americans for Prosperity filled three buses Thursday after only two days of planning.

"I want to go to DC to tell our elected officials to say no to this healthcare bill," Donna Williams with American for Prosperity said.

"We hope to affect public policy by joining the many, many Americans that will be going up there and trying to stop socialized medicine," Chris Farr told Eyewitness News.

The group is fighting against a public option.

At the same time, members of the NAACP, including national President Ben Jealous, were in Raleigh fighting for the public option.

"We cannot wait another 19 years to make sure that everybody is included in this critical reform in America," Rev. William Barber of the North Carolina NAACP said.

"This is real and we need to understand that we will make a decision as citizens in this country and our congressman and senators will make a decision as to whether or not people live or die in the next decade," Jealous said.

The NAACP says many African-Americans don't have health insurance and almost one million have died because of it in the last decade.

"The fact that we're in a state were 27 percent of African-Americans either are without insurance or underinsured, this is no time to be fighting reform," Rev. barber said. "This is the time we need to be pushing for reform."

Both sides are appealing to lawmakers before they decide on a plan and they are urging others to do the same.

"If you care about healthcare, if you are concerned about what's going on in Washington, then you've got to let them know that," Farr said.

Members of Americans for Prosperity believe lawmakers forget about their constituents when back in Washington so showing up in person and speaking to elected officials is more important that a phone call or a fax.

The group also planned to gather at Senator Kay Hagan's Raleigh office to voice their opinion.

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