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Arizonans to attend health care rally in D.C.

A group of Arizonans will attend a national grassroots effort June 25 to encourage Congress and President Obama to enact health care reform legislation this year.

The group is a part of Health Care for America Now, a non-partisan organization that lobbies for “affordable and comprehensive” health care. The organization represents 30 million health care professionals from 46 states. 

Among the seven Arizonans slated to participate in the rally, to be held in Washington D.C., are a former rural health care administrator, a nurse and a small-business owner.

At least three of the state’s delegation said they intend to urge Congress to support a bill proposed by Obama that would create an optional public insurance plan.

The public program is intended to compete with private companies, but many Republicans are worried that a government-run insurance plan is the first step towards a complete “government takeover of health care.”

The president’s plan is expected to cost $1 trillion over 10 years.

Carolyn Trowbridge, a Tucson nurse and member of Health Care for America Now, agrees that “socialized” health care is not the answer and said the president’s plan would push the country in the opposite direction. 

“A public plan will encourage competition,” Trowbridge said. “Anyone that says otherwise is using a scare tactic to prevent reform.”

Laurie Jurs, a retired health care administrator who has spent most of her career in rural clinics, said Obama’s public health plan would be most beneficial for the state’s rural population.

“People in rural areas are statistically older, sicker and poorer,” Jurs said. “A publicly-funded plan could go a long way in helping people in rural areas get insurance.” 

Trowbridge said she is confident the Obama administration will be able to push substantial health care reform through Congress before December.

“We have two things this year that we have never had before at the same time,” Trowbridge said, “an administration that is dedicated to reform and a lot of pressure coming from people that are informed about the crisis in health care.”

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