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Supporters of Health Care Reform Rally in Federal Plaza

Laws and LegislationJustice SystemBarack ObamaHealth Care Reform (2009)WGN

(WGN-AM) - Chicago Democratic leaders tried to give President Barack Obama's push for health care reform a booster shot of hometown support at a rally where hundreds said the proposed changes will lead to better and more affordable treatment.

Gov. Pat Quinn, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulis, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and several state lawmakers were among those firing up the Democratic base of organized labor and liberal advocacy groups gathered at Federal Plaza to speak out against an insurance system they argued is broken.

"Let us mark this day as the beginning of our summer offensive to win the battle for quality, affordable health care for each and every American," said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat who said the fight for reform was "a battle of Biblical dimensions" against powerful insurance companies and the sick people they deny coverage.

But Eric Odom, a conservative activist who organized a counter protest, said he fears the plan would strip away his provider choices and add to the federal deficit.

"We basically feel the legislation being pushed through (is) very dangerous," said Odom, 29. "We are really pushing for everybody to take a deep breath and really look at what we're getting into and not just jump into something... that's going to cost us for years to come."

Obama had been pushing for lawmakers to vote on a health care plan before their August recess. That didn't happen, and the issue is following lawmakers back to their home districts before they head back to Washington next month.

(The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report)

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