Democrats at Evans hit GOP health stance

A panel headed by a group of area Democrats attacked Republican resistance to health care reform on Thursday during a forum in Evans.

Republican criticism that the health care bill currently being debated in the U.S. Senate would weaken health coverage for veterans is untrue, said Columbia County Democratic Party Chairman Robert Gray.

In fact, Mr. Gray said, the bill would expand mental health treatment for veterans, instigate building new transition centers for wounded veterans, and improve outpatient medical care.

"(President Obama's) administration is not taking care of the soldiers; it's a myth," he said to the nearly 30 people who attended the forum at the Columbia County Library.

Mr. Gray said Democrats need to continue to work "to remove the Republican smokescreen" concerning health care.

Lowell Greenbaum, the chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party and the former director of pharmacology at the Medical College of Georgia, called the health care bill "an excellent piece of legislation."

The bill would insure 94 percent of Americans, he said.

Currently, only 50 percent of working American women receive health coverage from their employers, Dr. Greenbaum said. The health care bill would force all employers to provide coverage to women employees.

It also would better regulate nursing homes, prevent insurers from using many pre-existing medical conditions as an excuse not to insure, and eventually save taxpayers' dollars, he said..

Dr. Greenbaum attacked 10th District Republican Congressman Paul Broun for opposing the legislation. "We've got a guy here who says, 'No, no, no.' " Dr. Greenbaum said. "We've got to confront him and say, 'Yes, yes, yes.' "

The forum was organized by Pull the Plug PAC, an Athens-based political action group formed to oust Dr. Broun, who has been an outspoken critic of the president's health care plan.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com

More