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Dodgeville Residents Talk Health Care Reform At Panel

July 1, 2009
In The News

DODGEVILLE, Wis. -- While health care has been getting plenty of discussion on a national level, an area community was chiming in on Tuesday.

In Dodgeville, health care is available for all whether or not they have insurance. For three years, a free clinic has provided help, but that doesn't mean residents don't want the health care system changed.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind hosted a health care panel in the community as a sounding board for ideas about how Washington, D.C., should change the system.

Dr. Aaron Dunn, of the Dodgeville Free Clinic, was one of those who talked about his perspective.

"I'm kind of speaking for two groups of people here. As the medical director of the free clinic in town, I'm really speaking for people who have been victimized by the system and where the system has failed them," said Dunn.

Other community members said they were concerned about the practical realities of health care reform.

"How are we going to pay for this?" asked Bob Ahrens, of Hollandale. "That's a big item. We can't just talk about everything we're going to do."

Gretchen Spicer, of Avoca, said she is in favor of a government-based health care program. She's a licensed midwife who helps the Amish.

"I'm speaking in favor of a single-payer system that is a right of all Americans, just like roads, because that's the only kind of health care that's going to cover what's a very vulnerable population," said Spicer.

"To me, the key element here is the balance between community perspective and private interest," said Nathan Timm, of Mazomanie.

Kind said the opinions that he heard in Dodgeville mirror those in Washington, and that means a tough road ahead.

"You're going to see a lot of compromise in the coming weeks, a lot of give and take, but that's how you develop consensus in this country," said Kind.

Right now, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee is trying to work on some type of health care reform bill. It is likely though to be some time before any sort of agreement is reached, WISC-TV reported.