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D.C. Official to Join Obama Today at Forum

When President Obama holds the first in a series of health care forums today, the District will be represented by Angela Diggs, administrator of the Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center.

Diggs, who has run the center on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue since it opened in 2002, was recruited by the health policy team of Obama's transition to host a discussion in her community on health care reform in December.

Today, she will be among more than 120 participants who will break out into discussion groups after the president addresses them. C-SPAN will stream the event live.

"Hopefully, we will get to speak," said Diggs, 42. "It's just exciting to know that we have a government that's, one, asking for our opinion and, two, actually listening."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at a briefing yesterday that the forum is "an opportunity to bring divergent views and divergent viewpoints in terms of constituencies that are represented, all of whom have a stake in health care reform -- bringing that group together to discuss how to move forward."

"...the President doesn't go in with anything more than the notion that he hopes people will bring their ideas, whatever those ideas may be, and that they be put on the table and discussed, and that this process begin," Gibbs said.

The Congress Heights facility is a partnership between the city's Office on Aging and Providence Hospital's Wellness Institute. Diggs said there are 1,000 people registered to receive services there.

Diggs said she will express her concerns about how the "haves" appear to get better health care than those who are in greater need. "I hope that they can begin to work on a plan to level out the access of health care that people are receiving," she said.

By Nikita R Stewart  |  March 5, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Obama  
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