Health care forum canceled in Fresno, California

The Fresno BeeAugust 8, 2009 

FRESNO, Calif. _ Skeptics are asking why organizers abruptly canceled a Friday morning Fresno health care forum with Rep. Jim Costa among its panelists.

Officials at the University of California at San Francisco's Fresno center _ the host _ insisted that last-minute scheduling conflicts compelled them to pull the plug. But doubters wonder if the planners or participants simply hoped to avoid protesters who had vowed to show up.

Costa's office said he had nothing to do with canceling it.

Lawmakers have been skittish lately about events like this. In recent days, congressional town hall meetings called to discuss President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul have become boisterous and occasionally chaotic.

Footage of people shouting questions without waiting for answers and attacking lawmakers for backing a "socialist agenda" have proliferated on YouTube and cable television.

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