TOPICS > Health

During August, Public Weighs in on Reform

BY Dave Gustafson   August 7, 2009 at 5:39 PM EDT

Pill bottles; file photo

Town hall meetings on health care hosted by Democratic Representatives around the country have been disrupted by crowds of protesters. A meeting in Tampa, Fla., devolved into heckling, pushing and shoving as hundreds of protesters tried to enter the packed room.

Democrats have accused Republican groups and insurance and health industry groups of organizing the protests to “manufacture” public anger. But Republican chairman Michael Steele denied that the party was organizing the protests.

“We are not inciting anyone to go out and destruct anything,” Steele told reporters on a conference call, according to the Associated Press. “We’re encouraging people to go and visit their congressman or their senator.”

Meanwhile, bipartisan negotiators on the Senate Finance Committee continued to negotiate their version of a health care reform bill. The committee, the only relevant committee yet to pass reform legislation, is also the only one working on a bipartisan bill.

The bipartisan group of six met Thursday with President Obama at the White House, where the President urged them to keep up their talks. The Senate adjourned for its August recess Friday.

NewsHour health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser discusses the week’s developments: