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Group rallies on Hagerstown's square for health care reform

December 08, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- About a dozen people gathered Tuesday evening on Public Square in Hagerstown to push for health care reform, including a public option plan.

Participants, who were supporting public option legislation that is pending in Congress, held candles and showed signs proclaiming messages like "Public Option Now" to passing motorists.

The rally sparked occasional honks of horns from passing cars.

The rally was sponsored by MoveOn.org and was one of more than 250 being held across the country, according to Chris Baker of Hagerstown, one of the participants.

Among those participating was Colleen Foley of Hagerstown, who said she always had health insurance while employed in the past.

In May, she left a job to take a position as a contract worker assisting veterans. When she applied for health insurance, she was denied coverage because of a surgery she had 22 years ago, she said.

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The former U.S. Marine Corps member said she could not get health insurance through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs because she made too much money.

The situation has left Foley frustrated over health care in the U.S.

"It's time to do something," Foley said of health care reform. "I'm stuck."

David George, a supporter a public option plan, said lobbyists are "using every bit of leverage" they have to stall health care reform. George, of Hagerstown, held a sign that read "Today, 2,547 bankruptcies from costly healthcare."

Public option is a proposed option that allows people to pay government-run group health care premiums and receive health care from the government.

Gene Manon of Hagerstown said he supported a single-payer insurance plan but realizes that proposal is "out of the question." He is supporting a "strong public option plan," he said.

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