Today President Bush held a forum at Youngstown State University (my 2-time alma mater) on health care. Although healthcare is not at the top of my concern list, I was impressed. An invitation-only event (I pulled several strings to try and get in, to no avail) the local TV stations carried it live. And although there were several notable republicans in the audience, this area is heavily democratic, so most of the guests (most in the medical field) were probably looking for a reason to scoff at the President's message. To my surprise and delight, many were nodding and smiling and clapping for W's proposal to expand community health facilities instead of federalizing the health care system. Apparently, there are 3 of these community health clinics in the area, and they provide a broad range of complete services to the under- and uninsured. I am completely horrified at the idea of federalizing health care, (if I wanted that I'd move to Canada) but I wasn't sure, then, who exactly is funding these community health clinics. I'm assuming it would fall to either the state, county, or community. If this is the case, I'm not sure the plan is feasible. I'm assuming many of the doctors involved take large paycuts when they go from private practice to join these clinics, but I don't think that's enough to keep these places going. Nonetheless, they are preferable to a national directive. I was also pleased that W addressed frivolous medical lawsuits that are driving doctors our of their practices due to the rising costs of malpractice insurance. That has become quite a problem in this area. To wrap this up, I think W's stop here was a resounding success. He was extremely persuasive, and this is the first time I've seen him speak in a less formal setting. He was genuine, and funny, and at ease. But I'll be sure to watch the evening news and see how they spin the event. No doubt they'll call it a covert campaign tactic to entice medical professionals to the conservative camp.