SEATTLE - The noise around the health reform debate is becoming so loud that some are afraid it will drown out the truth. Laura Dean Freidrich, director of education and advocacy at the organization Protestants for the Common Good, says many people can't figure out whether proposed legislation would be good for their families or not. That's because, she says, it seems like most of the media coverage around the country has been focused on protests and ugly accusations.
"I think the danger is that we won't make a good decision because we get focused on the conflict rather than focused on what the actual facts are."
Supporters of the public option plan a rally on Thursday evening at the Westlake shopping center in downtown Seattle, where they will call on lawmakers to include the public option in health care reform legislation. Opponents of the public option say it is a first step towards socialized medicine.
Friedrich says it's up to people in Washington to educate themselves by looking for trustworthy non-partisan sources of information.
"The Kaiser Foundation, for example, has some excellent material. It's very complex; it's not a quick read, but it's excellent materials."
Nearly three-quarters of a million people in Washington had no health coverage in 2007, according to Kaiser. Friedrich says she understands that people with coverage are afraid of losing what they already have.
"If we work together, we don't have to be afraid. We can figure it out; we're smart people in this country. We can figure out how to do this."
While some in Congress have stopped town hall meetings, others are scheduling more, and some are resorting to teleconference town halls in order to conduct a more thoughtful discussion.
There's more information at: www.thecommongood.org and at: www.kff.org