Protesters Trash Health Care Reform

Health care protesters
In this image taken from a Web video, anti-health care reform protesters surround Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Tex., as he walks to his car. Conservative Web sites have pushed supporters to attend health care town halls and other Democratic events to protest "Obama care" and the prospect of higher taxes and government intervention.

The debate over health care reform has been raging in Washington for weeks. But outside the nation's capital, this healthy discourse has grown loud with vocal protests.

Is this just some less-than-polite heckling or political maneuvering? CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports.

It's happening almost everywhere as Democrats try to defend their plan for health care reform.

Angry protestors in Philadelphia shouted down both Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Sen. Arlen Specter.

On Saturday in Texas, demonstrators against what they called government-run health care surrounded Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett and followed him out to his car, shouting "just say no."

The crowds are partly the result of conservative Web sites asking for turn out at town hall meetings - including three tonight in Virginia, Mississippi and South Carolina. Hundreds of events by both Democrats and Republicans are being targeted in every state.

But the turnouts also reflect the real fear over the increased taxes and government controls that are part of the health bills being considered in Congress.

"They know that that means somebody's taxes are eventually be used to pay for this - and they are worried that that's their taxes," said Max Pappas of the conservative Web site Freedom Works.

Political analysts say Democrats face a very tough August recess. Beyond the shout-downs, anti-reform forces have also mounted phone campaigns

"It's all the calls that are flooding in to the district offices of members of Congress," said CBS News political consultant Marc Ambinder. "And I bet that a lot of these calls will be negative."

Avoiding this kind of uproar is why Democrats wanted to pass health reform before August recess. Democrats are going out without a final bill to defend - and facing opponents trying to kill what they call "Obama-care" with this show of August heat.

  • Wyatt Andrews
    Wyatt Andrews

    Wyatt Andrews is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Washington D.C. He is responsible for tracking trends in politics, health care, energy, the environment and foreign affairs.