Health Care Debate Goes Local

Activists in High Gear as Senate Vote Nears

The temperature was bitterly low and the spirits were just plain bitter outside Sen. Joe Lieberman's office in Hartford.  Protesters produced by AFSCME faced the cameras and blasted the former Democrat for forcing a compromise on the health care reform bill.

"Joe knows his responsibilities," said Sal Luciano, executive director of AFSCME Council 4, one of the largest union locals in Connecticut. "Ultimately we're happy he didn't kill it but he could have made it just so much better."

Clutching a compote was Lois O'Connor, a Hamden woman who told reporters won the compote as a community service award from Lieberman in 2000.

"He can give it back to me when he gets his service to the community in shape again." as she prepared to send it to Lieberman's office along with "voters' demands" the activists had boxed up. "Every time I go into the living room I get angry and I'm afraid I'm going to throw it through my picture window," she said.

Meanwhile, inside the warm and clean West Hartford Senior Center in Bishop's Corner, a libertarian activist faced a forum of senior citizens, all already enjoying Medicare from the government without regard to their income. 

Fergus Cullen of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy asked the seniors to consider the fate of Medicare Advantage, private insurance people pay for with their Medicare benefits.   The Obama administration wants to cut "wasteful taxpayer spending" on Medicare Advantage, and Cullen told the seniors many of them will lose their Medicare Advantage if health care reform proceeds.

Cullen provoked the forum into discussing their views of health care reform.  The first woman to oblige him said, "Personally I feel as though somebody else wants to take control of what I'm doing with my life and my health insurance and I'm not ready to give up my control."

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