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Health, Science, Environment

Health care storm to swirl today around McCaskill

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 20, 2009 - U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is the prime target today of various groups in favor of revamping the nation's health-care system -- and including a public insurance option.

Missouri Health Care for America Now, a coalition of various supportive public-option groups, plans to gather at noon today outside McCaskill's local office at 5850 A Delmar Boulevard. The event is among more than 20 planned in four cities around the state today in which public-option supporters plan to call or show up at the various offices of members of the Missouri congressional delegation.

The group also will join another like-minded coalition -- Missouri Pro Vote -- and other supporters by stationing members at various major area intersections during the morning and evening rush hours "to remind Congress, the media, and our neighbors, that it’s time to deliver on real health care reform,'' organizers say.

McCaskill has, for the most part, sided with President Barack Obama on the need for health care changes. But she has yet to take strong must-have positions on certain provisions, such as the expansive public option favored by many groups, including those organizing today's events.

However, a McCaskill spokeswoman said this morning that the senator long has favored a "constrained public option."

At her town hall meetings this summer held around the state, McCaskill said she would first closely scrutinize the various health care bills circulating through Congress (there's five major ones) and that she would wait until the final version is formulated before she takes a final position.

Meanwhile, tonight, President Barack Obama's de facto campaign arm -- Organizing for America -- has set up hundreds of gatherings around the country (dubbed "Time to Deliver") that call for action now on health care changes. The events here are in Webster Groves, south St. Louis and Manchester.

The president is slated to address the attendees in a tele-conference, Politico reports.

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