Thursday, October 15, 2009

President Obama's San Francisco Visit Draws Varied Protesters

The evening was balmy, the atmosphere peaceful with touches of festivity. There was even the Brass Liberation Orchestra.

President Obama's fundraising visit to San Francisco - see previous blogs - gave people a chance to be out on the street airing their views even if they didn't get to meet him.

Healthcare was the most popular issue but other issues were the war, the environment, taxes, the role of government and calls for an investigation into 9/11. Many of the protesters belonged to groups, but some were there as individuals, and they were not only from the city but had travelled from around the Bay Area.

Supporters of the Single Payer approach to healthcare were in profusion.

'There is great healthcare for the fewer and fewer whereas a larger and larger minority have no healthcare,' said Laura Wells.

A single payer scheme would involve paying tax into a public insurance pool instead of paying premiums to 'private for profit insurance companies.' The California Legislature have twice voted for a single payer scheme, but this has been vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Laura - pictured right - said.

Under a placard of 'Doctors for a Public Option,' Roger Hicks MD from Green Valley, California, said the Single Payer scheme was 'good for the economy, for American

business and is the ethical thing to do.

'Every day in my practice one third of patients have no insurance, one third are under-insured, so every day I see people who don't get the tests they need, the treatments they need, because of money,' he said.

His clinic has three people working full-time just to secure insurance approval for patients, and insurance companies take 30 cents of every healthcare dollar, he said,

Wearing a Republican Mobster cap and there on his own, Ralph believes in individual choice and responsibility.

'If we go with the government healthcare plan, the government will make the ultimate decisions on what healthcare you receive,' he said.

People had to decide for themselves whether they spent their money on health insurance or other things, he said. 'They might make a mistake but why should we take it upon ourselves to rectify their mistakes?'

John, dressed in pink and sporting a Single Payer slogan, appeared more concerned about war.

'I am very, very disappointed with the America that I grew up in because everything I was told it was, it absolutely isn't.

'Instead of being the country that believes in peace and making the world a better place to live in, it actually believes in war and devastating as many countries as it can. It's a shame!'

cont in next blog

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