The House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act Saturday by a vote of 220-215, and the bill may be headed to the Senate.
The bill’s fate remains uncertain, but the debate on a local and national level has heated up. The Bryan County News asked a few local people about their opinion on the bill. Here’s what they had to say:
Donald Singleton, Richmond Hill resident: I commend President Obama for bringing this issue to the forefront because one thing is for sure – the current system is broken. If this plan doesn’t get passed, at least it has brought the problem up and people are discussing it. All you have to do is look around at all of the military veterans that are suffering from lack of proper health care to see that there really is a problem here.
Diane Moore, Pembroke City Council member: It’s real scary the way the government is doing this. I don’t want to go to socialized medicine, and this sure looks like it.
I don’t know what the answer is, but I do agree that something needs to be done.
Lori Gaylor, Richmond Hill physician’s assistant: Regardless of where you are in politics and regardless if you’re for or against this bill, everyone agree that things have to change. Everyone should have access to healthcare.
I think the government should really focus on prevention. That’s one of the major gaps we have now, and it could really cut healthcare costs.
I believe that everyone should be able to choose which healthcare plan they want to participate in. That should not be a government choice.
Larry Barker, Richmond Hill insurance agent: Making medical choices up to the federal government is like putting the inmates in charge of the asylum. We actually have a pretty good medical system right now. Are there problems? Sure. Are insurance and doctors to blame? Yes, but not all of them. There are some good ones out there. Why Obama thinks this bill is going to fix the system is beyond me. When Obama points the finger at those ‘evil people’ in business, he needs to realize that for the most part, insurance companies only make about two percent net profit. I can give you three examples of more practical measures that could be taken to fix this thing:
1. The federal government could create a pool to help those that are uninsurable because they fall into a risk category. Each insurance company should pay X amount of dollars, which goes into the pool.
2. The government should put a cap on malpractice lawsuits. I’m thinking like $500,000. If they’re able to do that, the average coverage may drop 50 percent. This would also allow insurance companies to be able to project profits and losses, which becomes impossible when you throw a $16 million lawsuit in the mix.
3. Allow interstate commerce among all insurance companies to increase competition. The federal government allows companies like Blue Cross and Aetna to market their product throughout the US, but other carriers are not allowed to sell across state lines. The federal government should take the gloves off as far as this is concerned.
Jimmy Burnsed, Bryan County Commission Chairman: I’m on the side of not taxing small businesses, and it looks like that’s a big part of it. It appears to tax everyone else as well while not necessarily offering better coverage.