North Carolina residents vent health care frustrations at White House forum
The Obama Administration came to Greensboro on Tuesday for the fourth of five regional White House Forums on Health Reform. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: The meeting was a 90-minute chance for North Carolina residents to vent about the health care system, and hope some of their frustration would reach President Obama's ears. "Hello, my name is Mary Short, and this is my daughter Katie. She has a developmental disability." Mary Short told the crowd she's exasperated with the government constantly changing her daughter's eligibility for care. "I can't make long-term plans for her care," said Short. "When I drop dead, I don't know what's gonna happen to her. She's an only child, there's no family, there's no community. So long term care services for adults with IDDD, mental retardation, autism, whatever name you want to give to it, I don't really care. But long-term care services need to be addressed as part of any national health care reform." In addition to parents and patients, small business owners also stood to say they'll soon be forced to cut health benefits because premiums are getting too expensive. Doctors and nurses who work for free clinics shared their struggle to treat more and more people. The chance to speak out seemed cathartic for the 700 or so gathered at North Carolina A&T. North Carolina AFL-CIO spokeswoman MaryBe McMillan voiced a concern on many minds. "The laid off workers I talk, to everyday wanna know when are we gonna quit talking and when are we gonna take action to create reform?" said McMillan, to applause. White House Health Reform director Nancy-Ann DeParle responded, "Well the president said in his joint session speech to congress that health reform cannot wait, must not wait and will not wait another year." DeParle was dispatched by President Obama to hold these regional forums. She offered no answers - just the promise that she'd take North Carolina's concerns back to Washington. The White House says Tuesday's turnout was the largest for the four health reform forums held so far. The last will be held next week in Los Angeles.