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As Court Gets To Heart Of Health Arguments, Protests Grow

An activist dressed as the Statue of Liberty participates in a protest on the second day of oral arguments over President Obama's health care law on Tuesday.
Mark Wilson
Getty Images
An activist dressed as the Statue of Liberty participates in a protest on the second day of oral arguments over President Obama's health care law on Tuesday.

The talent show outside the U.S. Supreme Court continued Tuesday as activists for and against President Obama's health care law sought to outdo each other with ever more artistic forms of protest.

At one point a middle-aged group of women started singing in harmony with a young drummer at their side. "Health care for everyone, I'm gonna let it shine," they sang soulfully to the tune of the hymn "This Little Light of Mine."

Around the same time, Keli Carender, an opponent of the law, started belting out a freestyle song through a megaphone about "strong, independent women" using their own money to buy birth control. "We don't need a big daddy taking care of us so why don't you go and try it yourself," she sang.

Wearing pink-rimmed sunglasses, Carender said she is against the health care law. "I don't want it mandated to me by the government that my policy has to have X, Y, and Z in it," she said, making reference to the so-called "individual mandate" portion of the law that would require everyone to purchase health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine. "It should be up to me."

That very issue was the main topic of arguments Supreme Court justices heard Tuesday, and it brought out at least twice as many supporters and protesters as Monday's arguments. However, the number of supporters present seemed to outweigh opponents for much of the day.

Dr. Cedric Bright was one of the supporters. As president of the National Medical Association, Bright said he has seen many patients benefit from President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was passed into law two years ago.

Patients up to age 26, for instance, have been able to stay on their parents' health insurance plan and seek health care that they otherwise could not have afforded, he said. Like other medical professionals who've stood outside the court over the past few days, Bright said he understands why some people may have a problem with being mandated to buy health insurance.

But, he said, these are the types of tough decisions America has to make. Alll people will need health care at some point in their lives, he said, and "in order for the health care system to work we can't wait until that day arrives and try to buy it."

However, opponents of the law, such as Maureen Harris from Delaware, argue the federal law at stake is not the way to overhaul the health care system.

"I know health care needs fixing," she said; there has to be a safety net of some sort for those who cannot afford insurance. "But," she said, "this is a one-size-fits-all that Obamacare is giving."

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