By Craig Day, The News On 6
MUSKOGEE, OK -- With lawmakers on summer break and most back in their home districts, the debate is raging nationwide over President Obama's health care reform plan. Senator Tom Coburn held the first of several town hall meetings set for across the state. A huge crowd turned out in Muskogee with concerns on Thursday.
Hundreds of people showed up with most worried President Obama's health care reform measure is being crammed down their throats.
"If you want to fix health care, the last thing you want to do is give the government more control over it," said Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
To an overflowing crowd, Senator and Dr. Tom Coburn held a town hall meeting at NSU-Muskogee.
Emily Beckton is one of the hundreds worried about President Obama's health care overhaul.
"What can I do to change that if it gets crammed down my throat or before it gets crammed through my throat," said Emily Beckton of Salina.
Beckton feels powerless, and she isn't alone.
"Here we have a forum. We don't find it on the evening news, we don't see it in the media everywhere, and people are looking for an outlook to express their concern," said Muskogee's Steve Knapp.
The meeting didn't take on the angry tone seen at some town hall meetings nationwide, but many are frustrated.
"What you're seeing in our country today is the loss of liberty," said Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
Senator Coburn says health care reform is needed, but not President Obama's plan. Among many things he's worried about, the cost.
"I guarantee you, nothing gets cheaper when the government runs it," said Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
Coburn says his office is getting four to five times its usual volume of mail, mostly from critics of the president's plan.
"The average breast cancer patient in Canada waits six months before they are in treatment. That's six months. We don't want to get in a line," said Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
Coburn says reforming the insurance industry is a better alternative. He urged people to remain active and vocal in the health care debate, which is what Emily Beckton plans to do.
"They need to be worried about their health care. They need to be worried about their liberty and what's happening in this country," said Emily Beckton of Salina.
Senator Coburn has several additional town hall meetings scheduled, including Broken Arrow and Jenks on Friday. Next week, he'll host forums in Bartlesville and Bristow.