Bachmann to host health care forum todayby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio,
Cathy Wurzer, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann will host a public forum on health care this afternoon in Lake Elmo.
The second-term Republican will share the stage at Oak-Land Junior High School with Texas Republican Congressman Michael Burgess, who's a doctor.
Bachmann has equated the proposal for a public health insurance option with rationing, and she said Minnesotans don't want the government to control health care.
"The public option as we know - government takeover - will eventually crowd out private heath insurers and the government would be the sole provider," Bachmann said in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio News. "I don't think that's the direction most Minnesotans want to go."
President Barack Obama still may push through an overhaul of the American health care system, although his overall approval rating has dropped in recent months.
A Washington Post-ABC News survey shows that fewer than half of Americans - 49 percent - say they believe the president will make the right decisions for the country. That's down from 60 percent at the 100-day mark in his presidency.
The poll shows Obama's overall approval is 57 percent, 12 points lower than it was at its peak in April. Fifty-three percent disapprove of the way he's handling the budget deficit and his approval on health care continues to deteriorate.
Bachmann said Minnesotans have been waiting for the chance to speak out on Democrats' proposal to overhaul health care.
Like her fellow Republicans, she refuses to countenance further government involvement in health care, while liberal Democrats insist Obama keep his campaign pledge to make sure the estimated 50 million Americans who are without coverage can afford health insurance.
Bachmann said her constituents have expressed frustration over the anticipated costs of the health care plan, which she said puts too much power in the government's hands.
"To add a program like this with government coming in and being essentially the provider of health care, we are looking at trillions of dollars down the road that we simply don't have," Bachmann said.
Congressional town hall meetings have been the site of lively demonstrations around the country this month as Congress tries to craft an overhaul of the country's health care insurance system.
Still, Bachmann said she anticipates the bill will be signed into law after Congress' post-Labor Day return to Washington.
"It would not surprise me to see us return to Washington D.C. Sept. 8 and see Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi get this bill through the rule committee and onto the floor and have it pass before the end of September," Bachmann said.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
- Morning Edition, 08/27/2009, 7:40 a.m.
Elizabeth Baier, based in Rochester, covers news in southeastern Minnesota for MPR News.