tv Today in Washington CSPAN January 19, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EST
seep out. but it is organized in a way that seems to stop innovation could you do not have that up -- the feedback that determines what works and what does not. you're trying to manage from on high and thinking that you are calling it innovation. you get no incremental gains. we will also have markets with incentives with people spending their own money, the fastest route to innovation. >> the fundamental problem with our government health programs is that we send a message to consumers that they can have all the highest quality -- qu and when that turns out to -- would tell the providers to cut it out, stop charging so much. we demise doctors, we do not pay them. that isre discouraged. you can put everything you want in the mill that. until you address the mismatch between the promise and the capability, it will not work. and we have been doing pilot
programs and experimental programs trying to find out what works of that everyone can copy it. for 25 years, it has not worked in education. it probably will not work in health care. thank you all for coming. [applause] >> also on capitol hill yesterday, house democrats assembled a panel of citizens opposed to repealing the health care law. this portion of the event is an hour.
>> i underwent a mastectomy and tamoxifen. shortly after treatment, i began my work as an advocate for the national breast cancer coalition and for health care reform. since 1995, i have been without a reoccurrence of the disease. that sounds like a great story, doesn't it? a story with the best outcome you could hear, when learning a family member or a friend is faced with breast cancer. well, as with most aspects of life, it was not that simple. in 2000, my husband, calvin, lost his job and in turn health insurance coverage for our family. he decided to open his own consulting business and elected to continue health coverage through cobra. we remain covered for 18 months, the maximum time that was allowed for this type of
insurance. callan and i began shopping around for new insurance plans. once we found one that seemed to be a good fit, we applied. calvin and my only son of three, still at home at the time, were approved. and covered immediately. coverage for me, on the other hand, was delayed. i was asked to submit my health records. i supplied the information but did not hear back. i try to find out what the holdup was but did not get a straight answer. a total of four months went by until i found out definitively i was denied insurance. when i asked the insurance representative point blank if i was denied coverage due to my breast cancer diagnosis years ago, i was met with heavy silence. the best they could offer me was a recommendation to find an employer who would offer me health coverage. i lived without insurance for
three years. during that time, i broke -- i had to visit the emergency room each time. in a time i had a cold or needed a treatment for a common element i had to visit a walk-in clinic. all of these expenses had to be paid out of pocket. at one point, while uninsured, i had a screening mammogram. the technician found a suspicious mass and recommended a biopsy. thankfully, the mass turned out to be just scar tissue, but i still had to pay full price out of pocket for this costly screening and surgery, which turned out to be a false alarm. i wish i could explain to you what its like every day with the knowledge that breast cancer could come back. and to couple that fear with reality and being uninsured is devastating. after three years without
coverage, my family and i moved from california to virginia. we wanted to start over and look for new opportunities near where my husband and i both grew up and had family support. calvin and i were then able to find work and health coverage through his a player. but for three years i never knew if there would be -- through his employer. but for three years i never knew if i would ever get the coverage needed. i lived in fear that if the cancer returned i would not have insurance to pay for the treatment that would enable me to beat the disease again. and continue living as a healthy breast cancer survivor that i had been for the last 15 years. for years i've been a field coordinator, team leader advocate for the national breast cancer coalition. i fought for health care reform last year. i proudly celebrated the passage of the patient protection and affordable care act. for me, this law represents protection from the uncertainty
and fear that came with being denied health insurance coverage because of my past disease. it represents freedom for my husband and me to make important choices about our lives and careers without the factor of pre-existing conditions hanging over our heads. and it means that no other breast cancer survivor will be forced to walk in my shoes. removing these protections would bring a halt to the progress and mean a huge step backwards for all of us. >> thank you very much. thank you for taking the time to share your story with us this morning. i would like now to recognize laurie present. welcome to the committee -- bresnan. thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. >> i want to think chairman
miller, leader pelosi, democrat leadership and committee members for this opportunity to testify. i'm here today from san louis, missouri. by 22-year-old son is a full- time college student, works part time, and is a hemophiliac patients with food allergies. he is vulnerable to serious complications and conditions. prior to protection, he could not stay on my family's insurance passed this coming june when he turns 23. we were concerned about the options that we had at that time. which were for him to go uninsured, hoping for the best, or pay huge premiums if we could find coverage for him at all. we have the right to keep him on our insurance until age 26, giving him time to finish
college and get a full-time job. this law also assures that when that time comes he will have the insurance options available to him even with his pre-existing condition. repealing important new consumer rights means not only that my son will not be allowed to stay on our insurance policy until age 26, but they will not see the day when pre-existing conditions did not -- and insurers can not charge you astronomical prices for conditions you have no control over. many students find themselves in this exact position. well-educated youths also have not completed their education by age 23. this legislation is very helpful to support building our country 's intellectual capital necessary to move us forward in the global economy. allowing us to keep him on our insurance until age 26 came with the perfect time -- came at the perfect time. by 26 we hope he will have graduated and has a job. we are thrilled we have the
option to keep him on our insurance in this interim where families often struggle. thank you. >> thank you. i'd like now to recognize ed burke. thank you for joining us. and at the my ok? ok?> m.i.a. oam i >> they are not picking up your sound. bring it a little closer to you. thanks, ed. the thet to thiank
wasserman schulz, the -- my name is ed burke, and i'm a 52-year- old hemophiliac hemophilia is a bleeding disorder that can be inherited or can come from a spontaneous gene mutation. i opposed the patients' rights repeal legislation being considered in the house of presented as this week. simply put, i will lose the freedom to keep my job if efforts to repeal this is successful. i grew up in the suburbs of pennsylvania with an older sister, under brother. all three boys had hemophilia. the only treatment for an internal bleeding disorder was an infusion accompanied by a few nights in the hospital. when the medical bills arrived, bluecross and blueshield would routinely inform my parents that my brothers have a pre-existing condition, and therefore the
insurer would not cover any medical costs. this denial seems audacious given that both my parents were full -- worked full-time jobs specifically to receive ample income and adequate health benefits for their children. stephen as my parents paid their monthly premiums for a family of six, the insurance company kept the money without providing any assistance with the mounting medical bills. to me and the millions of americans with a chronic disease, this was blatant discrimination. but our new protection ended this practice, protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions and providing families with the security they deserve. there are approximately 120 -- i had 125 million and we are up to four more already, individuals in the united states to have a chronic disease, a disability, or a functional limitations.
these americans account for 3/4 of the nation possible spending. nearly all medicare and more than 80% of medicaid spending is attributable to hemophiliacs like myself could receive an infusion in the 1970's of the very protein are bodies did not make and we could control of bleeding episodes. unfortunately, this new medicine was and still is very expensive. for me at 6 feet 4 inches, 250 pounds -- to do 52 -- [laughter] >> looking good. >> it cost $18,000 a week. just the factor i need a costly
$1 million annually. this has been highly problematic due to the health insurance industry creation of a lifetime caps. most americans through their employer had a two million- dollar cap on insurance claims, and a healthy american with no chronic disease would have been able to get by for a long time without reaching this cap. but for someone like me, this can be devastating. did i say something wrong? i'm sorry. once you reach for a lifetime cap, you will pay for your health care out of pocket or have to change jobs and sometimes even careers in order to have health benefits and a new cap. in the end, lifetime caps force you to make tough, life-altering decisions for you and your family. often force in the individual like myself onto a federal or state insurance program that other taxpayers like yourselves
will pick up the bill for. however, our new patients rights prohibit insurance companies from having such caps. it even removed annual limits so any american can receive all the care they need without fear, leading them to focus instead on living as healthy and full a life as possible. when elected officials are voting to repeal patients' rights legislation, they are in reality forcing americans like myself, a working, taxpaying citizen, back to the world where health insurance is a constant issue and lifesaving health care is often out of reach, just so the health-care industry can continue its multimillion-dollar for-profit industry. that is what is about to occur in the halls of congress.
so i sit here today in front of my representatives and ask them not to play politics with our lives. i recall last wednesday when president obama, regarding the tucson tragedy, was happy to share with us that representative gabrielle giffords opened her eyes. i welcome and hope that the rest of congress will do the same. thank you very much. >> thank you very much, mr. bu rke. i would like to ask dr. odette cohen to speak next. i am a very in cancer survivor. my colleague that ago wasserman schulz is a breast cancer survivor. -- i am a breast cancer -- i am and ovarian cancer survivor. those returning ... are always
there if you have gone through it, and the notion that you can get care, care that you need and you need paid for is pretty intimidating. dr. cohen, i would like to hear from you. >> good afternoon. i have a small medical practice in new jersey and i'm also a member of the new jersey main street alliance. i think chairman miller, -- peter polizzi, and the committee for inviting me here to testify. small businesses are the backbone of our economy. in new jersey, which account for 90.5% of the state's employers. and another 590,000 new jersey residents are self-employed. on behalf of the new jersey small businesses, i thank you
for the work you have done to enact legislation to make health care work better for us. as a small-business owner, i oppose the repeal of the health care law. both my business and my patients stand to lose important benefits if the law is repealed or if it is watered down. as a small-business owner, when i started my medical practice 21 years ago, i was not able to afford medical coverage for my employees. i was therefore not able to complete successfully -- compete successfully for the most qualified applicants. i therefore lost many of them to larger companies that were able to offer better benefits. now that i do offer health insurance coverage, i dread my renewal dates every year. in 2009, my premiums went up 33%. last year my premium when up
50%, 50%. i was forced to change my plan to a less quality plan with higher co-payments. waiting for my renewal every year felt like being in a sinking ship. but all that has changed now because of the new health care law. it has come in handy as if throwing a lifeline to small businesses like mine by protecting us from unreasonable rate hikes. my business is one of an estimated 144,000 businesses in new jersey that can benefit from the new health care tax credit. the monies that i will get from these tax credits gives me the option of being able to absorb the increased rates and my would be responsible
for or pay benefits to an additional employee. as these credits and other incentives to expand over the next four years, i'm hoping i will be able to hire one more provider and some support staff. repealing these credits would prevent me from expanding my practice and creating jobs. i am also looking forward to 2014. this is when the state insurance exchange is expected to be up and running. through the exchange, my business will be able to pull together with thousands of other small businesses across the state to be able to access quality -- higher quality insurance plans for a lower cost. a vote -- it is a vote of discrimination and a lack of bargaining power small businesses face today in the
insurance market. as a physician, i am keenly aware that health care consumers are not getting fair value for their premium dollars. insurance companies use premium money to pay for things that have nothing to do with health care. things like executive bonuses, lobbying activities, and expensive political advertising. but now, thanks to the health care law, small businesses and other consumers can count on having a basic level of value for premium dollars. and if insurance companies do not meet the minimum standard, we will get rebates starting next year. i say it is about time. small business owners and our employees should have the same right of protections as everybody else. but that is not how things work before the new law was passed. i know this from personal experience. in 2008, two of my cousins,
first cousins, were diagnosed with cancer about the same time. my girl cousin, her name is ron beck, was 25 years old. honda, was 25 years old. she had health insurance coverage through her job. as soon as she found out something was wrong, she sought help. despite the fact is she was diagnosed with the most aggressive breast cancer for a young lady, she is alive and well today because she was able to seek care early. this is not so for my other cousin, roger, who was 35 years old. roger worked for a small family business that simply could not afford health insurance. uninsured, he did not seek the care he needed. when his pain became unbearable, he went to the emergency room.
he had on a couple times but this time the pain was unbearable. within a couple of days he was diagnosed with end-stage metastatic cancer. roger died a couple months later. the choice to work for a small business versus a large company could not be a choice between -- should not be a choice between life and death and its united states. but it was the choice for my cousin. the new health care law changes that. giving small businesses and employees the basic security and protections we deserve. these lifelines, tax credits, a stronger rate review, consumer protections, and insurance exchanges -- these all help give small businesses a fighting chance to gain access to quality, affordable health care.
as a small-business owner and physician, i believe we must continue to advance policies aimed at providing quality care for everyone. we must also advance policies that puts health care positions back into the hands of patients and physicians. and also for rewarding quality care. we must not step back into the broken health care system of the past. i urge you to stand with us, mainstream small businesses, and oppose parents -- patients' rights repeal legislation. thank you so much. >> thank you for your powerful remarks. we are now going to hear from our students. >> thank you. chairman miller, leader pelosi, democratic leadership, committee
members, thank you for having me here today. my name is alexander lataille. this past may i graduated from college with two degrees. before graduating i was looking for a job, but as you can imagine, the economy has made it harder for companies to hire new people. however, i graduation day i had believed i secured a great prospect, working with a private company contracted with the federal aviation administration. nevertheless, stood in budget issues, timing, and other factors out of my control, the day from and when it has been aggressively pushed back. although i could find a temporary job, i chose for a professor at the university of rhode island and i had interned with. he is no longer able to pay me as he had in the past. i'm currently volunteering their as a research assistant working
with weather balloons, ozone monitoring, and data processing, coding skills and getting experience, though expanding my career opportunities within and mr. sides. the research assistant job does not offer health care benefits, but under the new ball i was able to stay covered by going back on my mother's plan after graduation. in my current situation, i would be faced with a choice, either to pay my student loans or to. the truth is far different. i would have little choice in the matter. i would need to pay down my college loans first and go uninsured. if perhaps i get cancer or i get hurt in a car accident, what happens to me? my parents cannot afford to bankroll such catastrophic i would have to use that income
to buy private health care insurance, but to do this i would have to leave my position at the university where i'm currently gaining a wealth of experience, education, and career mobility. no doubt in the future job opportunities will arise because of my experience in turning right now. if i were not able to stay on my parents' plan, but with his new law and stay on the parent's plan until 26 and feel safe as i navigate my career choices in the new economy. again, thank you for your time and this opportunity to speak on behalf of young americans. while my political views fall across a wide range on the political spectrum, i believe of allowing people to stay on their parents' insurance gives us a new and real freedom to work toward a career goal without going uncovered. i also want to say thank you for giving me the chance to stand up for something i believe in and
to make my voice, the voice of the other young americans heard of this critical issue. >> thank you very much, hanks to thend th young in the doubles as well. claudette, thank you for being here. >> thank you, chairman miller, chairwoman delauro, committee members for allowing me to testify. my husband, richard, and i are both on medicare. a major new protection for seniors just started this month. medicare now pays for preventive services with no out-of-pocket cost to us. last year we made decision to put off preventive care, waiting until this year to make appointments for my mammogram
and for colonoscopies. the last time richard, my husband, and i had a mammogram, -- richard, my husband, had a colonoscopy, and i had a mammogram, which could not afford it. i was diagnosed with precancerous cells in my breast and i was told that i should have a mammogram every year. i'm going on two years right now. i have also had colon polyps and was told i should go every three years. i'm going on five years right now. richard takes a number of brand- name medications for diabetes, chronic pain, and gastric problems. he enrolled in medicare in may of 2010. june 1 of 2010, he reached a doughnut hole. i'm holding here a pen for insulin. this alone costs $993 for a 25-
day supply. he has been a diabetic for 15 years and they have tried different diabetes medications. this is the one that works for him. so after three months of paying 100% of his bills out of pocket, we reached the maximum and started paying 95%. however, we had to spend $4,550 out of pocket. we did not foresee this, and it was devastating. this is four house payments for us. we had to choose between defaulting on our loan and my husband's health. we chose my husband's health. fortunately, a local charity loaned us money, and i am now volunteering their to pay back the loan. the changes made are starting to it and the doughnut hole so families like ours are forced to choose between staying healthy and paying their mortgage. this year, seniors can get a 50%
reduction on the cost of name brand drugs in the doughnut hole. this assistance could have saved us thousands last year. in the past weeks i have spoken with a few members of our community and i wanted to hear their stories. there is bond, who just retired last year, and the doughnut hole in september. there was no idea this was coming. he is retired, working two jobs to pay for education. larry has rheumatoid arthritis. they wanted to retire at the end of this year. they are counting on the doughnut hole closing so they can survive once they retire. pauline -- she is 61 and was hoping to retire in four years. she never heard of a doughnut hole. as i explained it to her, i could see her face fall and she was saying, my gosh, if this is
repealed, we will not be able to retire. just this weekend, i posted on facebook that i was willing to speak against the repeal of these new consumer protections. the response was tremendous from my facebook friends and from their friends and family. jeanine, a former classmate of mine, emailed me -- and this is a woman that has been single all her life. she's 66 years old and she has raised foster children, adopted most of them. a really, really good woman. she still has a child at home. early last year she lost her family home to foreclosure. and is now struggling to continue working to support her child, to pay for her don't hold expenses. but she is looking forward -- these are the stories from my
community, and the stories of countless others who need to choose between the medical care they need or keeping a roof over their heads. if these new life-saving protections are repealed, people will not be able to get preventive care they need. >> thank you very much. ritter, let's hear from you and your it two beautiful daughters. >> i would also like to thank chairman miller, chairwoman delauro, leader pelosi, and the rest of the democratic leadership for the opportunity to testify here on how important it is that this bill not only stays in place but progresses and moves forward.
our twin daughters who i brought with me today our childhood cancer survivors. they were diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at age 4. they then had stem cell transplants at the children's hospital in philadelphia. they are 12 now. .nd very shy stem cell transplants, cancer treatment in general, is all very expensive. we are very fortunate at the time that my husband had full coverage through his employer. but because we have a younger son at home and i was pregnant, we needed to take turns going back and forth to the hospital and my husband took family medical leave. while he was on family medical leave, we paid cobra to -- which took cobra to maintain insurance for us. and also -- excuse me -- with
the cobra payments and our mortgage and the usual bills that you have, nothing extravagant -- electricity, food -- all that combined, when you are lacking in come can run pretty high. we paid just as much for cobra a month as we did for our mortgage on our town house. so in the end we end up bankrupt. even with full insurance coverage. so, for the people who think that i have full coverage, i am good, do not count on it because you never know. madeleine and hannah survived and are with us today, but unfortunately the treatment for childhood cancer is fairly antiquated. there is not a lot of money invested in it. it is the least funded of all
cancers. they endured chemotherapy, body radiation, and that has left them with a few medical issues that they will have for the rest of their lives, one being hormone failure, so there is damage to their pituitary and hypothalamus glance. the treatment for that are shots of growth hormone. they are very expensive, not as expensive as yours but very expensive. there were covered by our first insurance company but my husband's company was up to renew like every company, and they did not want to give that same rate plan again because we had paid so much money the year before. so we switched insurers, and that ensure decided they knew more than my doctor, who was a well run out pediatric endocrinologist at the children's hospital in
philadelphia. he prescribed growth hormone for them. that first edna covered and cigna said it is not as this -- that first aetna covered and cigna said it was not necessary. so i had to continue to fight with cigna, and through the appeals process and all the things that were there for me to do, and they denied it and denied and denied again. my doctors had conferences with them. de approved it, and then when they're office would follow through to have it build, they would say, no, no, they should never have to prove that. denied. so, through shame and speaking out in public constantly about this evil practice that the insurance industry seems to have, i shamed them into
covering it. but, fortunately, in that time that we went, the year and a half i was fighting with cigna over this, the manufacturer of the human growth hormone that aey received --they have bridge program set up. necessary or not, what do you do? they actually have things in place. so not only are we subsidizing the insurance industries, so are the pharmaceutical companies. granted, they are not all free of guilt, but at the same time, i am very grateful to eli lilly for helping us with that during that process. so even sometimes someone can be somebody else's friend, for lack of a better way to put
that. i'm sorry, i had to go off track. >> you are in good company. [laughter] >> thank you. in fall of 2008, i read part of then senator barack obama's health care proposal to my than 10-year-old daughters, especially about cancer patients and research. my daughter madeline began to cry. she said, "mom, barack obama really understands. he is really going to help us." here is a 10-year-old girl who knew that what he had in that statement was the right thing to do for people. she was 10 and she knew. so our new healthcare rights and freedoms really address what people like us need. our lives would have been much easier when our kids were going through this had that been in place at the time.
and for the 12,500 children left diagnosed every year with cancer, this is what it means to them. the health reforms included in the landmark health care act advance critical protections for individuals fighting cancer, provisions of the law prohibit insurance companies from bidding or denying coverage to individuals participating in clinical trials. and of many cancer patients, clinical research is key to finding better treatment. and clinical research is never really covered by insurance. so a lot of great research goes by the wayside because it is underfunded. the cornerstone of cancer research is what these clinical trials are, and they deserve to be covered. after recovering from cancer, children can no longer be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. that
. in the future, what are we going to do? do they need to worry whether they will be in shorter not? not in my country. that is not acceptable. also providing preventive services without charging co- payments and deductibles, or co- insurance, they can detect childhood cancers earlier because early protection is the key to survival -- early detection is the key to survival. we pay over $500 just in copays because we see a series of specialists every year. to a family of six, $500 in one copiague is rather expensive. the affordable care act eliminates annual and lifetime caps on coverage.
that helps eliminate one road to bankruptcy for many people. cancer is very expensive. oftentimes people hit their caps before they even hit the hospital -- before they even leave the hospital. it will also prohibit companies from dropping coverage of someone gets sick. giving patients and families the peace of mind that insurance will cover their procedures doctors recommend. because just because you have insurance and just because your insurance says it covers something, that does not mean they cannot deny it and say, no, we are not going to pay for it. in my plan, they covered the growth hormone but they could also refused to pay for it, even though they covered it. and many other aspects of life, wouldn't that be a breach of contract? the company you're paying for that service sudley says i do not think so. they can do that.
we let them do that. but not under this law. we finally are protecting ourselves from that. i am almost done. i remain convinced that at the americans, if we could just hear my story and understand that these rights protections are so important to our millions of citizens, they would oppose the patient's rights of appeal legislation. my children now have protection from insurance discrimination based on their pre-existing cancer condition. they will never have to see the precision of their insurance policy if they get sick. no one who understands how important these and other provisions are to so many of us can endorse legislation that i
am so proud to be telling our story and for the hundreds of thousands of other americans to have stores much worse than that. i would like to thank all of you who had the courage to stand up and do the right thing and vote for this bill initially -- thank you so much. you have no idea how much it meant to a lot of people. i know you only get to hear the bad because that is all the news seems to want to play. but, believe me, it was greatly, greatly appreciated. thank you. >> thank you very much for your testimony, and thank you to your daughters for accompanying you today. did your mom support for that testimony. you are right, your stories, the members sitting here today, we encounter this in our district
all the time, and that is why we are so passionate about making sure that, as you point out, you're protected for the first time as our your daughters. you're not alone. a recent story said that the united health group indicates they average 75,000 new customers who are employees of businesses that employ 58 people or less, and also coventry health care out of maryland reports 115,000 new workers have been extended the possibility of coverage from small businesses, and bluecross blueshield of kansas city, the largest insurer in the kansas city area, -- small businesses buy insurance for the first -- since legislation was signed into law with the tax credits becoming available.
this is a real opportunity for those employees working every day but had the opportunity for coverage. i would like to recognize mr. andrews, a member of the education and labor committee. >> thank you, chairman. i would like to thank the leadership for this opportunity and think the ladies and gentlemen and young ladies who came here to speak. it takes a lot of character and integrity to come to a public forum and tell your story and bury your soul in such a compelling way. we think each one of you. mr. lataille, you said you were step -- u.s. set to step into a job involving aviation issues. if we had a choice between voting for a repeal of the health care bill are voting on a bill that would help small businesses and other employers create jobs throughout the country, which of those two
should we be taking up on the house floor? >> well, i am poised to get that job. i need that health insurance right now. if i get that taken away from me and i get into a car accident, i'm not going to be looking for a job. i'm going to be looking for health insurance. the health insurance is more important to me than my job, as important as a job really is to make. i need to know that now because i'm not going to -- that takes precedence for me. >> do you think we should be pursuing repealing the bill that gives you the right to have? do you think we should pursue helping employers create jobs across this country? and that more jobs. >> i would like to think this branch for your powerful
testimony. you told us a powerful story about being without three years as being three years without health care insurance as a breast cancer survivor. and what that mass was, and thank god it was benign and not a problem. if you had a chance to tell your congressman. what would you tell them? and then i would tell them to do the right thing. he voted for health care reform, so i know he is going to do the right thing. he will not repeal the law. to make sure we are all covered and we are not discriminated against because we had breast cancer in the past. >> finally, ms. ritter, what would you say to your representative in congress?
we have to repeal obamacare, that is going to be a job killing bill for our country -- what would you say to your representative, that you wanted him or her to do on that bill? >> you might be sorry you asked me that. my representative congressman joe pitt. >> i am very glad i ask you that under those circumstances. what would you like to say to him? >> well, i would like to say that as passionate as he is about abortion, i wish he would be as passionate about my children who are already here who deserve and need the same kind of care and love and support. they are here, they need us, they are our children in our future. i would implore him to start
representing everyone. congressman put it was not willing. >> we thank you for this opportunity. >> i have a question for you. it sounded as if what you were describing with the work experience would actually enhance your ability ultimately to become a meteorologist and getting a good paying job. are there other young people that face the kind of choice you face if this act were repealed and you would no longer be able to be on your parents' insurance plan and either not have insurance or have to quit what seemed like a pretty solid career path? >> there are a lot of people in my position.
unfortunately, that is the way the job market is right now. there are a lot of people i graduate it with who are working internships because that is the only way they can get more experience, because you need something to get yourself above everyone else at this point because there are so few jobs. so they're working jobs where they are not getting money or very little, and repealing it would mean they have to make a choice, to choose to continue what will be a ladder to a future job, or just sit around and make sure their health is ok. >> mr. burke,, you described the anxiety of worrying about reaching a cap for your coverage, which this legislation eliminates so that you never have to worry about that. this is a practical -- sort of following that sequence, what would happen to you if this were repealed and that cap were reached?
as a practical matter, how would you access what you need at a cost that is attached to it, and what would be the consequences if he could not access that care? >> the consequences have occurred before. like i said earlier, it is almost a crime to have a chronic disease in this country. so that you can get health care to take care of it and benefit to take care of it, instead of helping a working, taxpaying citizen, they want you to leave your job, sell your car, sell your house, and become a ward of the state, and then and only then will we give you benefits for health care. now that i'm aent,ar and i have a 10-year-old, when i was single, we said we would deal with this and figure it out. my parents, through my entire life, the health insurance industry says we need you to go away.
regardless, i want to work. i want to own a home. i want to be successful. the thing holding me back was a disease you are born with. to call it a pre-existing condition sets you back once, and then coming up with lifetime caps at $1 million a year, i was tapping out every two years. unfortunately because of the health-care industry i am in, the acquisition emerges of the company's every two years, i had somebody doing the same work. that is the only reason i was not forced to go on medicare and medicaid. that is what i tried to present here. stop forcing people who want to work for a living -- i do not want you or everybody else here to pay your taxes for my health care. i want the insurance industry to insure us. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> the gentleman from
california, mr. waxman. >> i want to thank each of you for your presentation today because you put a human face on the problems that congress was doing to solve. these are problems that did not just start now. these are problems that are real and faced by millions of people. to be denied care by insurance companies because you have a lifetime cap, to be denied insurance coverage because you have a pre-existing condition, were you threaten to cost the insurance companies more money, to be denied insurance because -- your gender as a woman might be considered a pre-existing condition. these are the kinds of things insurance companies are doing. it shocks me when i hear those who want to repeal this bill talked about how they want to give people more freedom.
how could you consider yourself free if you have the nightmare of not having health insurance available to you? some people say government is too big. government would not be involved with this is the insurance companies would spread the risk. we did not do anything but protect the american people from insurance companies. when people want to repeal this bill, the ones they want to make free are the insurance companies. >> exactly. >> who carry on these kinds of practices. i want to ask a question of claude debt. you are on medicare. >> yes, i am. >> just be on medicare does make -- does not make you feel you are doing anything wrong because the u.s. government established
the medicare program and it is a government insurance program or you -- where you can go to the private doctors and hospitals. do you think government should not be involved in that area of providing medical care for seniors? >> i do not have a problem with that. >> i do not think most americans have a problem. those on medicare tell me they loved it. in fact, they would be lost without it. and those who are not on medicare are paying into the system so that when they are eligible they are going to have access to that as well. with medicare you have insurance, but even with an insurance, the cost of drugs -- tell me what the cost of drugs again are. tell me about the cost of drugs of somebody on medicare. >> $4,550. for the both of us, i just started medicare in january. it would be $9,100 out of pocket. and because of my husband's
insulin, he gets into the doughnut hole in a month. there is no saving money ahead of time. >> the doughnut hole, which was created when the republicans adopted this plan, they should have made it like a regular medicare benefits. instead, they wanted the insurance companies to run the pharmaceutical plan. they also wanted to be sure that the pharmaceutical companies came out ok. so when they created -- you have to buy an insurance policy, and then after you pay a certain amount of money, the insurance companies make you pay for the rest of it. the doughnut hole. that makes no sense to me. can you see any rationale for such a thing? >> no, i do not. but in speaking to people, not too many of them know about the doughnut hole. they are very surprised and devastated by this. >> well, we have to preserve
medicare because after this bill, if it were repealed, they want to repeal medicare next. each of you has illustrated how we will be a better country where people can get jobs and not fear for lack of health care, be able to know that their insurance companies to deny them the care that -- cannot deny them the care they need. and when medicare is available to them and they are eligible for it, they will have help with present this -- with preventive services. that is what the republicans want to repeal, and that is why we have to fight this. >> first of all, i wanted to join with our guests who spoke and thank the democratic leadership for the opportunity to have this hearing, and i appreciate you taking the time and giving your presentations. i had a couple of thoughts. i listened to your stories, and so many of us in this room have
our own personal stories about how we have been impacted by the health-care system, and i am sure you probably were as surprised as i was when i got that letter when my daughter turned 22. i did not know that once you hit 23 you were removed from insurance. i think that is something that was not even publicly known until you get the letter and you go into a panic. mr. burke, it is wonderful to see you today well and healthy. i remember in the early days of the hiv epidemic when folks with your disease did not even survive because medical research -- and it is because of medical research that you are here today and survived. i have a 19-year-old stepdaughter who is diagnosed with leukemia when she was 16 years old and lost her health insurance last year. i can cover her this year, february 1, because of health care reform. i listened to you, ms.
therriault. you mentioned the preventive tests that you bypass because you are due for your mammogram and colonoscopy and you were not able to do that before the legislation was passed. my question to you is, since health care reform has been passed, are you able now to get those tests? are they accessible, affordable? >> yes, they are, and there is no copiague with the preventive benefits now. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> "washington journal" is next. the house of representatives is back in session at 10:00 eastern for 5 more hours of debate on a bill that would repeal the recently passed health care law. a final vote is expected this afternoon. we will talk about the future of