Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 29, 2009

Health plan comes to Va.

BRISTOL, Va. — When asked if he would be willing to enroll his family in the same health care plan sought by his administration, President Obama didn’t hesitate in his response Wednesday.

“Yes,” Obama said before a crowd of invited guests assembled at the Kroger store in Bristol, Va. “As I said, this is similar to what I had when I was a member of Congress.”

Obama, who chose the unlikely location of a Kroger Deli in the Southwest Virginia town to promote health care reform, joked that he had a doctor and an ambulance that followed him “everywhere” as president. However, Obama said millions of other Americans lack that luxury and have no health insurance.

As he worked to promote his health care reform plan, the president was greeted by a crowd of more than 100 protesters gathered outside the State Line Centre shopping complex. The concerned citizens were holding signs objecting to everything from health care reform and abortion to the federal cap and trade legislation now being considered by Congress.

Obama was quick to refute the argument that he was advocating a government-run health care system.

“First of all, no one is talking about a government take over of health care,” Obama said. “When I drove up, I saw folks with some signs. They were riled up. If you are happy with your health care and your doctor, we are not going to change it. We are not going to change your system if you are happy with what you got. If you like your plan, you will keep it.”

While the focus of Wednesday’s town hall meeting was health care, Obama began the program by addressing the economy. He referred to a new issue of Newsweek magazine with a cover headline that declared, “The recession is over.”

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