President convinces some on reform policy

DEAN HUMPHREY/The Daily Sentinel
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA shakes hands with members of the audience Saturday as he leaves the town hall meeting at Central High School.

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Katie Henson of Grand Junction went to Saturday’s presidential town hall meeting uncertain about how she felt about the health care debate.

By the end of the president’s one-hour speech and question-and-answer session inside the Central High School gym, the 25-year-old knew which side she wanted to be on.

“He answered a lot of questions,” said Henson, an unaffiliated voter. “I think I will support the reform.”

The president didn’t change 42-year-old Zane Heninger of Denver’s mind.

Heninger, also an unaffiliated voter, called Obama a “masterful tactician.”

The president repeatedly said during his time in Grand Junction that “nobody’s talking about government takeover of health care” and said it would not be cost efficient for the government to take the majority of business away from all insurance companies.

Yet Heninger said he worries a nonprofit government health care plan will have an advantage over private insurers who pay taxes, and it could take away business whether intended or not.

“It’s like saying all baseball teams try to go to the World Series, but the Colorado Rockies have no salary cap; they don’t have to pay market rates for anything, and they get the top draft pick every year,” Heninger said.

The president’s appearance didn’t change Harry Griff’s mind, either.
Griff, 57, a Grand Junction Democrat, said he came to the meeting supporting health care reform, and Obama’s words confirmed his opinion.

“He reinforced my belief that in order for us to move forward as a country we have to have health care reform,” Griff said.


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