Obama addresses rumors about healthcare reform, accuses opponents of using scare tactics
Nursing homes, consumers lock horns over arbitration bill at congressional hearing
Obama explained at the crowded meeting in Portsmouth, NH, that the idea of death panels grew out of a House provision that would allow Medicare to pay for voluntary end-of-life counseling for seniors and their families. He called the attempts by reform opponents to paint the plan as the killing of the elderly by their government nothing more than a scare tactic. Tuesday's was the first of three town-hall meetings he has planned for this week. Democrats' town hall meetings have been characterized by rowdy attendees, oftentimes shouting over lawmakers and chanting slogans like "just say no." Obama didn't face such antagonism at his event. Instead, he answered polite questions from a receptive audience. A group of protesters converged on the site of the meeting before Obama spoke.
One woman in attendance asked Obama about the nursing shortage and the lack of nurse educators available to train the medical staff that would be required to provide expanded healthcare. Obama said that, while nurses are perhaps not adequately paid for the work they do, nurse teachers are paid even less. By helping to pay for education for those who go into nursing and primary care, Obama hopes to lessen the nursing and primary care doctor shortage, he told the crowd.