Congressmember Anthony Weiner held a health care town hall at North Shore Towers on Thursday, October 8, detailing his own plan and addressing concerns about reform brought up by residents.
During the town hall, Weiner began by talking about three problems in health care that he said need to be solved, some of which he said were easy while others were more difficult. They are providing health insurance for those who don’t have it, making sure those who do have it have quality coverage, and addressing problems with rising costs.
Weiner described fixing rising costs as being “the tough area” and noted that the average policy costs $1,000 more today than it did just two years ago. He also said that it takes $2.5 billion in extra taxes to take care of the uninsured in New York City.
Weiner, who is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, explained that the proposed health care reform would include a public plan for the uninsured that would be less expensive private health insurance.
However, he said that he has his own plan, which would call for a program such as Medicare for all people. Weiner said that 96 percent of seniors said they like Medicare and are satisfied with it, although he said it is not perfect and there are problems that need to be fixed.
But, Weiner said that, as a model, Medicare works, is efficient and does not have a lot of waste.
“I think we should expand it,” he said.
Following his speech, the floor was opened up to residents to ask questions about health care reform. One issue that was brought up was tort reform and putting caps on malpractice suits.
Weiner said that 46 out of the 50 states have some sort of cap. Even so, he said, the cost of medical care and malpractice insurance has not decreased. He said that tort reform doesn’t seem to get the money needed.
Another resident asked what the chances were of the public option going through. Weiner said that there will be an option, although at this time it is not known how strong it will be. He also said he thought that chances were 60/40 with the majority being in favor of it.
Weiner was also asked about the “best practices” committee, what it means, and why it is needed. Weiner explained that it is not a new committee but rather the aggregation of three panels that already exist. The panels, which include doctors, hospitals and technology, would now be placed under one umbrella so that all information about what does and does not work would be together.
Other topics discussed included out-of-state insurance, the cost of the health care reform, and what will happen if it costs more than projected.