Nancy Pelosi, back on her home turf, held a roundtable discussion Tuesday at San Francisco General Hospital, pushing a health care reform package she said will improve the health of all Americans.
"It's about making individuals healthier, giving them more stability in their lives," Pelosi told a selected group of doctors, patients, small business owners, seniors and other stake-holders. "It's about making our businesses more competitive by not having to worry about the health of their employees, and it's about reducing the debt."
Pelosi's discussion kick-started a month in which legislators, back to their districts, are planning to speak to constituents and shape public perception of health care overhaul even as interest groups and political parties run their own advertising campaigns. She reassured small business owners who cannot afford health insurance that under the proposed plan, they would be able to shop for an affordable private plan through a new insurance marketplace.
She heard from a young woman who was left with heavy debt after fighting off breast cancer with inadequate insurance. "I'm paying it off, but I have no idea where this will end," said Catherine Howard, of San Francisco. Pelosi told her the proposal on the table would place a cap on patient expenditures, without limiting access, preventing situations like hers.
"There would be no limits on what you receive, so that a diagnosis isn't a prescription for poverty," Pelosi said. Pelosi sought to reassure a public worried that the Democratic plan would make their insurance more expensive while cutting back on their benefits, highlighting what's in this proposal for them: affordable insurance for the unemployed; no denial of insurance because of pre-existing conditions; no dropping health coverage once the patient gets sick.
"We can't afford not to do this," she told her audience.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times