Health care debate goes to streets of Raleigh

March 11, 2010 10:50:50 AM PST
Both sides of the contentious health care debate gathered in front of Democrat Congressman Bob Ethridge's office in downtown Raleigh Friday. Etheridge represents North Carolina's 2nd District.

Ironically, Etheridge was not in his office, which is located at the corner of Fayetteville and Davie streets.

He's in Washington and is likely to return this weekend. But those who were present for the rally are hoping Etheridge will hear what they have to say.

"I think it's just a matter of fairness that those who are less fortunate and are not a hundred percent healthy get the coverage they're paying for," reform proponent Scott Taylor said.

Opponent Kristine Godeaux says she just wants Congress to slow down and hears what everyone has to say. "We're just trying to tell them to slow down and listen to some good ideas," she said. "Don't sprinkle a few of them on top and call it bipartisan."

Etheride serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, which is one of three committees that helped shape the health care bill that passed in the House.

The question now remains with the Senate and the House moving toward what's called reconciliation -- one bill both the House and the Senate can agree on.

What will the bill look like?

ABC11 Eyewitness News talked with Etheridge's office Thursday morning. His office said the Congressman won't take a position on the bill until he knows exactly what's in it.

The three components most important to Etheridge are cost control, which has been a sticking from the beginning; increased access to care; and preserving choice.

Along with what the bill looks like, a critical factor will be how much it costs.

The Congressional Budget Office may have that number within the next couple days, which may provide a much better idea of how likely heath care reform is.

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