Washington, D.C. - Before members of Congress take their August recess, AARP
is giving them a send-off, and a reminder to keep health care reform
top-of-mind while they're visiting their constituents. Volunteers from
across the country, including several from Washington State, are on
Capitol Hill today for one-on-one meetings with lawmakers.
Among them is an insurance benefits counselor, Victoria Dain, who says
she faces at least $70,000 in out-of-pocket expenses that her own
insurance policy didn't cover for brain surgery.
"I think what they need to understand is that this is not a political
issue. This has everything to do with the health of our citizens.
Health care costs have gotten so out of hand that it has to be
Critics of a public health care plan should compare it to Medicare, argues Dain, rather than branding it "socialized medicine."
"Socialized medicine makes the assumption that the government will now
own hospitals. No, we're not talking that at all. What we're talking
about is looking at improving a system that exists, and asking the
question, 'Why are treatments so expensive?'"
The volunteers have scheduled meetings with both Washington senators
and four representatives, Baird, Inslee, Reichert and Smith. AARP
states its priorities include affordable health coverage that doesn't
squeeze out people ages 50 to 64 who don't yet qualify for Medicare, as
well as lowering prescription drug prices and improving coverage for
chronic care and long-term care.