Kansas City, MO – Elected officials heard indirectly from the grass roots over the weekend, as opponents and supporters of health care reform took to the streets.
Several hundred people lined both sides of 87th Street in front of Kansas Congressman Dennis Moore's office.
Roughly equal numbers of supporters and opponents on either side of the street peacefully waved signs and posters.
Chris Norton, who favors the Obama plan, said he was disappointed Congressman Moore didn't come out sooner in support of it.
"It may be politically suicide for him to back Obama, and he may not get elected. But you know what, it's not his job to be a politician when he's in office. It's his job to support what's right for the country," Norton stated. "And if it means he has to lose the next election but we pushed this through, well I think he goes down with a good fight."
Moore said last week he supported a public option plan.
During the time that was going on, just five miles south of Moore's office, several hundred residents crowded into the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center for a well-mannered health forum led by Republican Representative Todd Tiahrt.
For about two hours, Tiahrt fielded questions and comments from a wide spectrum of perspectives on health reform. Tiahrt also talked about how he wants to address health care costs.
"It's tort reform, its' regulatory reform where it's done on a cost based analysis, and injecting market forces in the system so we have the ability to shop around - not by competing with a government subsidized, because that will only eventually lead to one provider," Tiahrt said.
Tiahrt told those attending, most of whom appeared to be against the current health legislation, that Republicans will soon present an alternative.
He says he held a forum in Overland Park - which is not part of his congressional district - because he's planning to run for senate.
Meanwhile, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskille scheduled to hold a health care forum at UMKC later today.
Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.
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