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U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn finds mixed views at forum on health care

SUSAN SIMPSON Published: August 25, 2009
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn has urged Oklahomans to voice their opinion in the national debate over health care reform.

Many did just that at a town hall meeting held by Coburn on Monday in downtown Oklahoma City.

More than 500 people attended the noontime event in the Chase Building plaza, and not all agreed with the fiscally conservative Republican.

One woman, a military veteran, asked Coburn, "Morally, how can you deny Americans affordable insurance?”

Coburn was quick to respond.

"One of the reasons it’s not affordable is because government is in the market in the first place,” he said. "Why as a veteran do you have to go to the Veteran Administration (hospital) instead of anywhere else you want?”

After another woman cried as she spoke about a sick relative, Coburn said bigger government won’t lead to health care reform.

"What’s missing from the debate is us as neighbors helping people who need help,” he said.

"The idea that government is a solution to problems is a very inaccurate statement.”

Coburn, who opposes the Democrats’ measure, has introduced a bill that would expand health care by subsidizing private insurance through refundable tax credits and forcing insurers into shared risk pools for those with pre-existing conditions.

Cindy Lasher, 55, said before the event that she’s concerned about losing her employer-provided benefits.

"Our employers could eliminate or reduce our coverage if a national plan comes into being,” Lasher said.


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