Campaigning for health care reform

    Congresswoman Schwartz gathered health care experts at Philadelphia’s City Hall to drum up support for national health care reform.

    A proposal for sweeping health care reform cleared critical hurdles in Congress last week. Monday Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz brought the campaign to Philadelphia’s City Hall, where health experts urged lawmakers to adopt the overhaul soon.
    (Photo Flickr/readerwalker)
    Listen: [audio:090720tereform.mp3]

    The legislation would tax the wealthiest Americans to help provide health insurance for millions who don’t have it now. It also adds a new public health insurance plan that would compete with private companies.

    Representative Schwartz says the reform plan keeps what works in US health care, while creating better access for more Americans.

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    Schwartz:And that includes critical consumer protections. So that if you buy insurance it will no longer be possible for insurers to say that ‘We will cover you, but we won’t cover your pre-existing conditions.’

    Critics say the plan doesn’t do enough to slow escalating medical costs. And that opinion was bolstered by an analysis last week from the Congressional Budget Office, which says the plan would not cut the overall cost of health care.

    Schwartz says one in five Pennsylvania families pay more than 10 percent of their income toward health care expenses.

    Schwartz: Pennsylvania families, as families across the country have seen a 100 percent increase in health care premiums in the last decade. That is unsustainable going forward.

    Schwartz favors a reform proposal that would provide insurance coverage to nearly all Americans. It penalizes those who don’t purchase insurance, while providing subsidies for the poor.

    She gathered reform supporters at Philadelphia’s City Hall to help her make the case. Dr. Richard Wender wants an overhaul that expands the role of primary care.

    Wender: If all we do is insure everybody, although that will be a major first step, it will not be sufficient to improve the health of the country. The only way we are going to improve the health of the country is if we also transform health care delivery.

    Wender leads the department of Family Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. He says coordinated primary care can reduce health disparities and provide better care at lower costs.

    The bill faces another critical vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week.

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