Obama confronts critics on healthcare

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Obama confronts critics on healthcare In an effort to dispel what he sees as misconceptions about the proposed healthcare reform, President Obama addressed a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

His appearance was partially motivated by the increasingly vocal protests of opponents of the reform who challenged speakers at a number of recent town hall meetings including those held in Pennsylvania and Missouri led by Democratic senators Arlen Specter and Claire McCaskill.

In New Hampshire, Obama sought to counter claims made by some Republicans, including Sarah Palin, that the new reform will usher in so-called "death panels" to decide whether seniors or people with disabilities would get healthcare.

The president said those who spread similar rumors profit from the "status quo," and added that what really scares him is the prospect of failing to reform the current system which "too often works better for the insurance industry than it does for the American people."

Obama also claimed nobody will be forced to give up their current insurance, and the law contains no provisions to cut Medicare benefits

While Democrats hailed the New Hampshire meeting as setting a new standard for democratic discourse, critics alleged it hand-picked "Obama fans" who failed to ask him tough questions.

They have also countered the Democrats’ claim the recent other town hall meetings protests have been orchestrated by opponents of the legislation, including Republicans as well as the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry, saying people are genuinely worried about the reform and they exercise their First Amendment rights.

The healthcare reform bill is due to be debated in Congress in September.

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