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Background on Obama's health town hall in Portsmouth, NH


Office of the Press Secretary
August 11, 2009


Portsmouth High School
1:00 pm EDT

Today, the President will conduct a town hall meeting on health insurance reform at Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. At the town hall, the President will discuss what health insurance reform will mean for Americans who already have insurance, highlighting the consumer protections he laid out in recent weeks and focusing on ending denial of coverage based on preexisting conditions. The President will be introduced by a Portsmouth resident, Lori Hitchcock, who has been denied health insurance due to her health condition. He will then deliver prepared remarks before answering questions from the audience.

Click here for facts about health care in New Hampshire.

There will be approximately 1,800 people in the audience. Like nearly every other town hall the White House has hosted, the vast majority of the tickets were available to the public via a website where people could register for the opportunity to receive tickets to attend the town hall. The remaining tickets were distributed by the White House to elected officials, community leaders, etc.

Governor John Lynch, NH
Governor John Baldacci, ME
US Senator Jeanne Shaheen, NH
US Rep. Paul Hodes
US Rep Carol Shea-Porter
Portsmouth Mayor Tom Ferrini
Speaker Terie Norelli
Senate President Sylvia Larsen
Treasurer Catherine Provencher
House Majority Leader Mary Jane Wallner
State Rep. Paul McEachern

Vivan Martindale will deliver the Invocation. Martindale is the Pastor of the Middle Street Baptist Church in Portsmouth, NH.

Philip "Phil" Boynton will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Phil will be a Portsmouth High School senior and has served as his class Vice President for the last two years. Upon graduation, Phil hopes to attend college in the Washington, DC area to pursue a degree in Political Science.

Natalie Hazzard will sing the National Anthem. Natalie will be a Portsmouth High School senior and is a fixture in the high school choral program as well as the Portsmouth High School Madrigal singers. Upon graduation, Natalie hopes to study Music Education and dreams of starting a high school choral program.

Lori Hitchcock will introduce the President. Lori Hitchcock is a 52-year-old, single, self-employed Portsmouth resident who was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 2003. No insurance company will sell health coverage to her because of her pre-existing condition and as a result she has been uninsured for 2 years. (There is a state program that would provide health insurance, however at $750/mo and a $500 deductible Lori is unable to afford this coverage.) While she continues her self-employment, she continues to look for a job that has health coverage (due to the state of the economy she is currently working temp jobs to make ends meet) but hasn't had any luck yet. Lori lost her husband in 2006 to Hepatitis C and is the mother of 2 grown children - her daughter is currently raising her family in Portsmouth and her son is raising his family in Atlanta.

In June 2009, New Hampshire's Unemployment Rate Was 6.8 Percent. According to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Hampshire's unemployment rate stood at 6.8 percent in June 2009. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary, accessed 8/10/09]

Since June 2008, New Hampshire Has Lost 13,300 Jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Hampshire lost 13,300 jobs between June 2008 and June 2009. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary, accessed 8/10/09]



Throw The Healthcare Obstructionist Out!

More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 76% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (85% of democrats, 71% of independents, and 60% republicans). Basically everyone.

We have the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed world. And the most costly. Costing over twice as much as every other county. Conservative estimates are that over 120,000 of you dies each year in America from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don't die from. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Insured and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies. This is what being 37th in quality of healthcare means.

I know that many of you are angry and frustrated that REPUBLICANS! In congress are dragging their feet and trying to block TRUE healthcare reform. What republicans want is just a taxpayer bailout of the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry, and the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry. A trillion dollar taxpayer funded private health insurance bailout is all you really get without a robust government-run public option available on day one. Co-OP's ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION. They are a fraud being pushed by the GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry that is KILLING YOU!


These industries have been slaughtering you and your loved ones like cattle for decades for profit. Including members of congress and their families. These REPUBLICANS are FOOLS!

Republicans and their traitorous allies have been trying to make it look like it's President Obama's fault for the delays, and foot dragging. But I think you all know better than that. President Obama inherited one of the worst government catastrophes in American history from these REPUBLICANS! And President Obama has done a brilliant job of turning things around, and working his heart out for all of us.

But Republicans think you are just a bunch of stupid, idiot, cash cows with short memories. Just like they did under the Bush administration when they helped Bush and Cheney rape America and the rest of the World.

But you don't have to put up with that. And this is what you can do. The Republicans below will be up for reelection on November 2, 2010. Just a little over 13 months from now. And many of you will be able to vote early. So pick some names and tell their voters that their representatives (by name) are obstructing TRUE healthcare reform. And are sellouts to the insurance and medical lobbyist.

Ask them to contact their representatives and tell them that they are going to work to throw them out of office on November 2, 2010, if not before by impeachment, or recall elections. Doing this will give you something more to do to make things better in America. And it will make you feel better too.

There are many resources on the internet that can help you find people to call and contact. For example, many social networking sites can be searched by state, city, or University. Be inventive and creative. I can think of many ways to do this. But be nice. These are your neighbors. And most will want to help.

I know there are a few democrats that have been trying to obstruct TRUE healthcare reform too. But the main problem is the Bush Republicans. Removing them is the best thing tactically to do. On the other hand. If you can easily replace a democrat obstructionist with a supportive democrat, DO IT!

You have been AMAZING!!! people. Don't loose heart. You knew it wasn't going to be easy saving the World. :-)

God Bless You

jacksmith — Working Class


Republican Senators up for re-election in 2010.

* Richard Shelby of Alabama
* Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
* John McCain of Arizona
* Mel Martinez of Florida
* Johnny Isakson of Georgia
* Mike Crapo of Idaho
* Chuck Grassley of Iowa
* Sam Brownback of Kansas
* Jim Bunning of Kentucky
* David Vitter of Louisiana
* Kit Bond of Missouri
* Judd Gregg of New Hampshire
* Richard Burr of North Carolina
* George Voinovich of Ohio
* Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
* Jim DeMint of South Carolina
* John Thune of South Dakota
* Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
* Bob Bennett of Utah

I am not sure what has happened to my country. People who work are supposed to pay for people who don't work. The government is redistributing the wealth and printing money. Since when did free enterprise and capitalism go out of style for socilaism and taxation....please working man - wouldn't you like to keep some of the money you worked hard for? Do you think its fair that we should tax the shit out folks who saved for their retirement? Lets deny folks health benifits because they are too old (can't wait for the suicide counseling). Are you out of your mind? Never is a government run program better - never! The US has the best DOCTORS IN THE WORLD! Ask Canada, Briton, and Germany how they like there state run health system? Check your facts on the history of social security. Don't think that the Dems aren't shitting in their pants over this...they have to be relected also and the country is pissed off on this one.

Mr. Smith, the Republicans can not obstruct anything, both Houses of Congress are totally controlled by Democrats. Nancy and Harry can pass anything that all the Democrats agree on.


It isn't the Republicans, it has been the Blue Dog Democrats requesting financial/fiscal responsibility. However the 'we are going to do things at any cost' Democrats want all of the costs included.

Check the numbers of seats - the Republicans weild no "power numbers".

This particular effort for Health Care is a poor one and your arguement is entirely invalid.

jacksmith - What do you mean "More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 76% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one"
That is such a lie. No doubt from a source that is so totally Socialist they can't see the truth. Why do you think there are so many of them that have come to say "NO!! We don't want the Government in the health care business!"
I was on Medicaid for a while. The Gov can't do that right! Why do we think they can do any other insurance right?

Great comment and spot on. I agree: the Dems and Obama have failed to put a human face on the health care problem, failed to vilify effectively the insurance industry, chi Pink dazzle flat iron failed to make a compelling narrative or anchor their arguments in emotion (logic is present in plenty). You can't sell to people without doing these things no matter the math.

The truth is that these health issues that are arising will surely be negative for Obama's image. You just have to stop this kind of stuff in the country, I also think that the workers don't have to pay for all the unemployed.

Sorry for all the guys there that doesn't have a job but maybe, for some, that is the reason they keep unemployed.

Charly - CHI Flat Iron

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 11, 2009 11:21 AM.

President Obama official schedule and guidance, Aug. 11, 2009. Health Town Hall was the previous entry in this blog.

Sen. Specter faces tough crowd in Pennsylvania health town hall is the next entry in this blog.

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