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Supporters of health care overhaul try to gain traction, attention

By Rachel Lippmann

St. Louis – Local supporters of the push to overhaul the nation's health care system used a panel discussion Thursday to try and break into the noisy debate.

As it has throughout the nation, the debate over health care in Missouri has been dominated by confrontations at congressional town hall meetings. The panel sponsored by the Missouri Budget Project, a liberal advocacy group, was designed to show the wide range of support for an overhaul, said the Project's executive director, Amy Blouin.

"I think as you see more and more people understanding how they can be helped by federal health care reform, you'll see more people speaking out favorably," she said.

The CEO of Family Care Health Center, Robert Massie, said supporters won't be able to drown out opponents, and shouldn't try.

"I think that it's in contacting your elected representatives and tell them how you as an individual feel. I think at this point it's going to depend on what our elected officials do," said Massie, whose clinics offer services to any patient, with or without insurance.

Recent polls have shown support for President Obama's overhaul efforts slipping.