Residents across the Western Slope pick up tickets for town hall meeting

Valerie Davis of Clifton, left, and Daniel Craig of Grand Junction hold up the tickets to the town hall meeting with the President that they have just picked up at Central High School



By GARY HARMON
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With luck today, Donna Fletcher will get to show President Barack Obama a picture painted by her mother.

Fletcher’s mother, Dorothy Groom, died a year ago at 92. Dorothy had three hip replacements and a new knee in the years just before she died, but that didn’t slow her creative drive.

“My mother painted that picture for me when she was 91,” Fletcher said Friday afternoon after collecting her ticket to the president’s town hall this afternoon at Central High School. Fifteen volunteers helped distribute the tickets, and they declined to say how many were awarded or how many people applied for them in a lottery system.

To Fletcher, the painting by her mother is a symbol of the continuing importance of people, even as they age, and she hopes to ask Obama how people who need artificial joints would fare under health-care reform.

“The way I feel about it,” she said, “I don’t want to let them just go.”

Fletcher will attend the town hall meeting with her 6-year-old granddaughter, Hailey Harris.

Flether said when she learned of the presidential event in her hometown, “I just thought: What an opportunity” for Hailey.

Stephanie Frenette of Meeker, a nurse, said she sought tickets because she wanted to hear directly from the president what he hoped to do with health care.

People who receive Medicaid often get better health care than the working people whose taxes pay the bills, Frenette said.

“Some people with cancer have to have get-togethers to raise money. We’re working our tails off, and insurance isn’t paying for the things we need.”

Hearing directly from the president is important enough that she drove from Meeker to Grand Junction to collect her ticket, returned home and plans to drive in today for the town hall meeting, Frenette said.

Dan Craig, owner of CNC Services, a plumbing company, said if the president calls upon him for a question, he wants to know how small employers such as his business will fare.

He has lost employees because he couldn’t afford to provide health insurance, Craig said.

Valerie Davis, a caregiver and housekeeper with Hilltop, said she wants to know how single parents with full-time jobs are covered by the Colorado Indigent Care Program.

She needs five prescriptions, two of which are coming due, and she wants to know what will happen with reform, she said.

Older people are finding it harder to get physicians to take them as Medicare patients, Louise Burns said, especially when Congress reduces the payments physicians receive for treating those patients.

“It’s difficult for a senior to find a doctor,” Burns said.


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