By Alexa Garcia-Ditta
Posted: Wednesday, Aug. 05, 2009
With signs that doubled as fans to keep cool, Charlotte opponents of the proposed public health care plan gathered Tuesday night as Mayor Pat McCrory denounced existing proposals.
“Being out here doesn’t mean we’re against reform,” he said to the 200 or so protesters in uptown Charlotte at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Plaza. “We’re for the right kind of reform – there are viable solutions other than (the federal government) taking over our health care,” including tort reform and insurance reform, he said.
The rally was one of four Tuesday stops on the Patients First Bus Tour sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. The organization, also behind this year’s Taxpayer Tea Parties, opposes a health-care plan involving a government-run system and supports a free market system. Protesters also opposed taxing the more wealthy to cover the system.
Organizers said the statewide tour aims to build opposition against the bill, and they encourage people to share concerns with their congressional representatives.
“We believe that free market health care is the way to go as opposed to a big government takeover of health care that we feel is being proposed,” said the group’s N.C. director, Dallas Woodhouse.
The pending legislation relies on the private insurance sector to provide coverage, with the mandate that individuals and most employers participate.
Liberal Democrats, including President Obama, contend that a government entity should be created to sell health insurance and compete against private insurance companies.
People gathered early to sign a petition and collect their “Hands Off My Healthcare” signs and posters. Protesters also carried signs reading “No to Totalitarian Care” and “Don’t spread my wealth, spread my work ethic.”
Some Charlotte-area residents received prerecorded calls with McCrory’s voice inviting them to Tuesday’s rally. The mayor said the recording was made from his home and were sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. No taxpayer money was used.
The bus tour also stopped in Gastonia, Lincolnton and Shelby Tuesday, and three more Charlotte-area stops are scheduled for today. Observer wire services contributed
Subscribe to The Charlotte Observer & Earn Miles.