Utah couple invited to White House over health care reform

Utah couple invited to White House over health care reform

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CACHE COUNTY -- When her husband's job changed, Loralee Choate's insurance was dropped. When she signed up for HIPUtah (Utah Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool), she was told it would cover her pregnancy. But she was told something different later.

"Because I had not exhausted my husband's COBRA [Insurance] before being accepted into HIP, they were classifying it as a pre-existing condition," she said.

She blogged about her problem. Her blog led to an invitation to a luncheon on health care reform. At the luncheon, she felt like she was the only one there who would even entertain a politically conservative thought. Another woman there said she felt the GOP was difficult to work with on the issue of reform.

"[She said], 'How do we communicate with them to work to get some kind of reform or to get reform happening?' So, I timidly raised my hand and I said, 'As a registered Republican from Utah, I'd like to address the question,'" Choate said.

After that, she says she had everyone's attention, including Senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett. She says Jarrett told her President Obama likes to hear viewpoints on all sides of the health care debate. Choate recommended the president should talk to her husband, who doesn't support his proposals at all.

"The biggest thing with him is tort reform and I can see where he's coming from with that," she said.

Even though Choate is a registered Republican, she calls herself a moderate. She's in favor of health care reform, but she admits she's not 100 percent "gung ho" about the president's ideas.

"There are things I do have issue with," she explained. "It's just that I have been pushed, personally, to the point that if it was a choice [between] no change and that plan, I would take that plan."

Although HIPUtah is a government program, she says it's a government program run under current laws and regulations, which she wants to change.

The Choates and the White House have not finalized a specific date or time for a visit, and Choate isn't sure if she'll actually speak with the president or one of his aides.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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