Stop Obama Care rally on tap for Augusta

A coalition of Augustans opposed to the national health care reform plan will hold a rally from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 3, at the Riverwalk amphitheater.

Speakers at the SOC (Stop Obama Care) Rally will include doctors, health care providers, congressmen and other elected officials, and citizens who have experienced socialized health care, according to the Web site socrally.com.

Columbia County resident Billy Jackson is chairman of the committee organizing the SOC event.

"We felt like that because of all the turmoil they're having at the town hall meetings the legislators will stop having them, and that will affect our voices being heard," Mr. Jackson said.

"Everyone wants to do something but they don't know what to do. We felt like if we could get other communities to join with us and bring in their elected officials and doctors to come and speak on Sept. 3 we could create a national rally."

Attendees are asked to bring socks to the event that will be mailed to the Capitol in protest of House Bill 3200.

"We plan to flood the halls of Congress with them in order to convey our message!" the group's Web site states.

Mr. Jackson said Georgia Congressmen Paul Broun and Nathan Deal have agreed to speak, and the committee has invited Congressmen John Barrow and Gresham Barrett, and Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson.

"We're going to go over line items in this bill where we think there are points that are detrimental to our health care," Mr. Jackson said.

About a dozen people are involved in organizing the rally, which he describes as a nonpartisan event.

"We're calling ourselves a coalition of concerned citizens. We are looking for volunteers to help us," Mr. Jackson said.

Nita Boeglen, a real estate agent who lives in Grovetown, said one reason she is participating is her concern over the reform plan's cost.

"It's going to cost us megabucks," she said. "I think we are rushing to adopt a health care plan that has not been properly studied, its impact has not been properly weighed, and I strongly believe that health care is between the doctor and the patient and should not be directed by the federal government. And when the government holds the purse strings they will control the care you receive."

The rally is scheduled to bring attention to the issue as Congress returns from its annual recess on Sept. 4.

Several groups, including the Freedom Works Foundation, the National Taxpayers Union and the Tea Party Patriots, are organizing a March on Washington for Sept. 12. Information is available at 912dc.org.

Mr. Jackson said the Augusta rally is not associated with the Augusta Tax Day Tea Party, which drew nearly 1,700 people to the Riverwalk amphitheater on April 15.

Reach Elizabeth Adams at elizabeth.adams@augustachronicle.com or (706) 823-3348.

HEALTH CARE REFORM MEETINGS

U.S. SEN. JIM DEMINT, R-S.C., will hold a virtual town hall meeting today from 6 to 7 p.m. at stream.tv. You must have a Twitter or UStream account to ask questions. Sign up at twitter.com or www.ustream.tv.

U.S. REP. JOHN BARROW, D-GA., will hold Congress on the Corner from 3 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Southern Bank Pavilion, 855 Liberty St., in Waynesboro. Mr. Barrow, the Democratic representative for the 12th District, voted against H.R. 3200. Read his column here.

U.S. SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS, R-GA., will meet with members of the business community for a Leadership Forum on health care on Aug. 26. The Augusta Metro and Columbia County chambers of commerce are co-hosts for the event. Sue Parr, president of the Augusta Metro Chamber, said Mr. Chambliss requested the meeting to get feedback on health care reform specifically from business leaders. The meeting is not open to the public, but media coverage will be allowed. For information, call (706) 821-1300.[CAPTION]

STOP OBAMA CARE RALLY

5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater on Riverwalk Augusta. Information at www.socrally.com