Representatives, protesters debate health care reform in Dallas

After a week of heated town hall meetings across the country, today was Dallas' turn to hear from representatives about proposed health care reform.

Mark Harless was one of the protesters outside the Cityplace Center in Dallas.

"I'm afraid that when parts of the private sector get taken over by the national interests, that it's an erosion of basically the free market of our country," Harless said. "I'm just afraid of where it can go from there."

Eric Lolek said he already has health insurance. But not enough people do.

"I'm really for health care reform," the Plano resident said. "I think something must be done. I happen to know many friends who cannot afford to have health insurance."

Inside the joint town hall meeting, U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson and U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions discussed their opposing views on the health care issue -- but the debate never got out of control like some meetings across the country have.

Supporters of President Obama's public health care plan say it would increase healthy competition and help everyone get access to affordable health care.

"People that have a large co-pay or have no coverage at all will wait until they're sick -- then end up in emergency room," said Johnson, D-Texas. "The highest cost of any health care is emergency room care. And there has been a lot of that in this area, where there's no other outlet for people that get sick."

Opponents say the current health care system already works well for many Americans, and a government health plan could spell more economic trouble.

"It is socialized medicine," said Sessions, R-Texas. "And every place that it exists across the world, there have been diminished results. There has been less freedom and opportunity for people to make decisions in their own health care."

Some attendees say they weren't strongly persuaded one way or the other.

"I saw a lot of rhetoric," Dallas resident Juli Roland said. "But I would have been more excited to hear, what are the numbers behind this? Where are they going to find enough cost savings in the efficiency measures and the different things in the plan to cover the uninsured?"

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