Thursday, September 17, 2009

Allyson Schwartz Teletown Hall Meeting on Health Care

Allyson Schwartz
Teletown Hall
Sept. 16, 2009

There were more than 1200 people on the call. I was taking notes by hand and could not catch everything. If you have questions on the congresswoman’s views you should contact her office. Apologies in advance for any errors or misconceptions.

Congresswoman Schwartz gave welcoming remarks while waiting for all calls to be made. She said we need meaningful health care reform with transparent language. People should not be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. 59 million people don’t have health insurance. We need affordable care and more primary care physicians, and for doctors to use up to date medical technology. While health care is a topic of interest, questions on other areas are also welcomed.

Q1: Is controlling cost referring to the cost of insurance premiums or the cost of providing health care:

AS: This is a great question. Premiums are decided by each state. We want to limit overhead costs to 15% of the cost of an insurance company’s spending.

Q2: nurse practitioner. If the uninsured get insurance we will need more primary care workers.

AS: That is part of the current bill, and nurse practitioners are included.

Q3: Do you think a bill would pass that allows companies to discriminate for pre-existing conditions?

AS: No.

Q4: Government option (not a public option but a government option), should this compete with insurance companies?

AS: I would like a public option with premiums, at a fair price, paid by those insured. This would not replace employer plans. Small businesses, etc., would have access to the public option exchange. Right now in many areas there is only one insurance company, which does not provide any competition.

Q5: Will there be cuts to Medicare?

AS: Basic benefits will not be cut and the donut hole will be closed. We want to keep it strong.

Q6: NYT editorial on obesity and heart disease.

AS: Preventive care is important. We need to provide incentives to people to, for example, stop smoking.

Q7: donut hole

AS: We will do away with the donut hole.

Q8: This was a question about accrediting independent pharmacists and the caller was urged to contact the congresswoman’s office.

Q9: Senate Finance Committee’s bill

AS: It is quite a different bill from the House bill; it has no public option but has co-ops. AS does not view that as a substitute. Hope to bass a bill in the House and then go to a conference committee.

Q10: Vietnam veteran, veterans care, goes to Horsham clinic

A: The Horsham clinic is a good clinic. This bill doesn’t address veterans care but we do need to meet the needs of vets.

Q11: The caller complimented the congresswoman for being so well-versed.

AS: Thanks the caller. Has been in over 100 hours of meetings on this.

End of call: AS thanks those who listened in on the call and asked questions.

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