Hundreds protest "ObamaCare" near City Hall

A few hundred people gathered at Rosa Parks Square on Wednesday to rally against the health-care reform plan being debated in Washington.

They heard speakers protest what is being called “ObamaCare.” Similar to anti-government spending rallies earlier this year, organizers dubbed Wednesday’s event a “tea party,” reminiscent of the protests against England’s taxation on colonial Americans.

Many of them held signs with slogans such as “I Want Him To Fail,” “Say No To ObamaCare” and “You think health care is expensive now, wait until it’s free.”

Speakers included state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon; Macon City Councilman Erick Erickson; Bibb County Republican Party Chairman Paul Rish; and Dr. Winston Jeshuran, a spinal surgeon.

Jeshuran told the crowd that while the health-care system needs reforms, lawmakers should be looking at the groups that are profiting under the current system — health insurance companies, makers of medical implants, pharmaceutical companies and those who pursue tort claims against physicians.

“I believe this bill is being rushed,” he said. “It needs to be assessed, carefully studied. It’s being rushed through all too fast.”

Local radio host Chris Krok served as the emcee. He spent much of the time leading the crowd in chants of “No-Bama!” and passing out T-shirts while songs such as “Who Let The Dogs Out” played in the background.

Most of the 90-minute rally was aimed at whipping up support against proposed health-care legislation, which would expand the government’s role in health-care treatment for the average American.

Rallies such as Wednesday’s let lawmakers know that people are opposed to such a plan, Peake said.

“I think it’s enabling regular citizens to have an impact,” he said. “That’s the way it ought to be. People ought to speak out for or against the policies that politicians are considering. I think it is making a difference.”

Paul Kanode of Macon, a retiree and Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Navy, attended the rally and said that while reform to health care is necessary, the government shouldn’t be taking over the system.

“Republicans and Democrats need to come together over this,” he said. “But the government taking over health care is just wrong.”

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.