800+ attend to take part in Lincoln's health care town hall at ASU

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - People on both sides of the health care debate voice their concerns at a town hall meeting this morning in Jonesboro.

Hundreds of people crowded into the Fowler Center at Arkansas State University to be a part of the conversation.  So many voices were there that the audience was limited to random selection from the audience.

This is the third and final town hall being held by Senator Blanche Lincoln, joined by Congressman Marion Berry.

"It is fitting and proper that you are here today that we have had this great national debate," said Berry.

"I expect passion today.  There is nothing wrong with being passionate about what you believe," said Lincoln.

Even without saying that, the audience gave her what she asked for: a passionate debate.

Lincoln said she has not voted on a health care plan.  At one point she was asked if she would consider putting all members of congress and her family under a health care program considered by congress.

"What we've been trying to do is take what it is that federal employees have and make that option available to all Americans," said Lincoln.

About twelve people had the opportunity to voice their questions and concerns.

"We need government to be able to create an environment where private industry can do a better job of providing meaningful coverage for health care at a lower cost," said Lincoln.

"We can change the insurance and pharmasutical industries so it doesn't cost so much.  That's the primary goal that we have," said Berry.

Some staff members tell Region 8 News this meeting was evenly divided with folks on both side of the issue.

"We've got to make it work better and cost less it's that simple," said Berry.

Lincoln has held two other town hall meetings one in Pine Bluff on Wednesday and another in Russellville on Thursday.  Congressman Marion Berry has not scheduled town hall meetings at this point.

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