The Rapidian Home

Health care demonstration

Underwriting support from:

August 29, 2009

This Sunday a group of around 250 gathered outside of the Ford Federal Building to support health care reform. The Kent County Democratic Party described the gathering of "Democrats, progressives and independents" as "a counterpoint to the planned rally on Saturday organized by the Tea Party to spread disinformation about what are actually in the health insurance reform bills."

The group of health care supporters carried signs that endorsed a public option. A public option for health care would be an insurance program administered by the government that is available to all citizens, much like Medicare but for everyone. The group also sang 60's era protest songs reworded with health care themes.

Reform supporter Linda Ortman said, "The system is broken and we need to start somewhere, this (health care) will undo us financially."

Former County Commissioner Paul Mayhue was in attendance and feels, "We need a strong public option" but was also there to spotlight the need for more coverage for mental health. "The priority of medical coverage is now body with out brain, it's nonsense to treat a body and not a brain, if you break your arm you need weeks to heal and those suffering from depression and anxiety are not given this time."

Event organizer Adam Baker wanted to see the health care debate become a more responsible discussion and felt compelled to do something because of "all of the misinformation out there, talk of death panels, government funded abortions and seniors being forced off Medicare." Baker felt this left the public thinking, "I can't afford medical coverage but I don't want to kill grandma."

Organizer Cherie Giles feels that "health care is a human right and that this is a moral issue." Giles addressed fears about government run programs with her experience with Medicare. "My husband and I are on Medicare and anyone who is afraid of Medicare is not on Medicare. The insurance industry is frustrating, not the government. Doctors prefer Medicare because billing is not a problem but need to have a full time employee to deal with getting coverage for those denied by insurance companies." Giles also cited misinformation as a main reason for organizing the event, "The town hall meetings were so full of misinformation, I wanted to do something, I don't want to see this opportunity pass. "

Both Giles and Baker claimed that the idea for organizing the demonstration was grass roots started with "four people around a table." The organizers took advantage of President Barack Obama's massive Organizing for America apparatus as well as support from the Kent County Democratic Party. People were also handing out President Obama's Organizing for Health Care informational packet.

At the demonstration there was another group protesting reform, organized by Tea Party of West Michigan who advocate for limited government and free markets. There were around 25 counter demonstrators gathered wearing red Tea Party shirts and carrying white "Don't Tread On Me" flags and blasting Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" and patriotic country music.

Tyler Seely said he was there, "to oppose government run health care, nearly all government run programs are a failure. To them (the reform demonstrators) health care is the only issue but this is a humongous financial issue."

Melshun Mclemore said "we need something but not government control of health care. Government run health care was introduced in the 1800s by Thomas Paine, it was a bad idea then and it's a bad idea now." Mclemore then paused and joined the group in reciting the pledge of allegiance and continued, "This program would resemble the 'Cash for Clunkers' program, where it would be quickly over budget, have massive paperwork and an inability for ordinary Americans to understand and utilize the system."

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.