Video archive of the US Congress

House Proceeding 05-21-09 on May 21st, 2009 :: 2:03:30 to 2:10:15
Total video length: 3 hours 45 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Jim McDermott

2:03:26 to 2:03:47( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: weaver so happy he's a member of the progressive caucus, too. that is jim mcdermott, physician, member of congress, long-term practitioner of medicine who is going to give us a thought on his reflections on where we are in health care and as a member of the progressive caucus. i yield to the gentleman from washington.

Jim McDermott

2:03:30 to 2:10:15( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jim McDermott

Jim McDermott

2:03:48 to 2:04:09( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: . mr. mcdermott: thank you very much. i think one of the interest things about the debate going on in congress right now is that the debate seems to be that we can't have a single per system in this country. the people aren't ready for it. or it won't work.

Jim McDermott

2:04:10 to 2:04:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: or whatever -- there's all kinds of myths around that. and one of the fascinating things about it is that now as we come to the president's proposal, he's proposing we have a public option among those choices that people will have when the national health plan is put in place.

Jim McDermott

2:04:31 to 2:04:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: now, everybody immediately says we don't want a publicption. we don't need that. the private industry has -- they'll come up with enough options 679 and people have choices. the problem is people don't have money to pate premiums. well, the fact is that the american health insurance -- the

Jim McDermott

2:04:52 to 2:05:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: insurance industry has had pull chance to do it since 1933 when franklin delano roosevelt took this off the agenda. they have had more than 70 years, almost 75 years to come up with a plan to cover all americans. and they have not done it.

Jim McDermott

2:05:14 to 2:05:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: now, there has to be a public option and it has to be a good option. there's been interesting book if people are interested in reading about this whole thing, it's called do not resuscitate. meaning do not resuscitate the health insurance industry dying. but that means we've got to have a good public option out there for people to choose.

Jim McDermott

2:05:36 to 2:05:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: now, people say, why do we need a public option? you need the competion of the public option to drive the health insurance industry prices down. what's happening today, in fact when mrs. clinton tried this

Jim McDermott

2:05:58 to 2:06:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: effort 15 years ago, in 1993, we had almost 1,800 insurance companies in this country. that industry is rapidly contracting to the point where today we have around 800. and in many states, particularly rural states in this country, they have one choice of an insurance company, not two.

Jim McDermott

2:06:20 to 2:06:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: so you've got an insurance company -- maybe they'll have two, but there's no competition in that kind of situation. and you need the government plan. now, the reason why is that? very simply medicare has an adnistrative cost of about 3%.

Jim McDermott

2:06:43 to 2:07:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: that means you give $1 to medicare, 97 cents goes out in health care benefits to older people in this country. if you give money to a private insurance company, 82 cents on average goes out to people. in many companies it's 70 cents

Jim McDermott

2:07:04 to 2:07:25( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: is all that gets out to people who are sick. so, we need a medicare-like, a government option to compete with private industry to drive down those costs. because costs are what are killing our health care system today. costs are going up much faster than inflation.

Jim McDermott

2:07:26 to 2:07:48( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: people are finding their deductibles higher. they are finding theiro-pays higher. they are spending more more out of their pocket even though they have health insurance, they think i'm covered. i got this illness but i don't have to worry. and suddenly they find out they've got huge bills left after and that's because the

Jim McDermott

2:07:49 to 2:08:09( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: plans are simply not taking care of people's needs and we need a government option. now, there's several things about a government option. first of all, it has to be one in which it takes anybody. you can't give the insurance companies or anybody else the ability to say, i'd like to take that person, but i don't want to

Jim McDermott

2:08:10 to 2:08:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: take that person. that person's old and that person looks sick. i don't want to take care of them. i just want to take premiums from people who are healthy. and the government option has to be one that takes everybody, and so do all the private insurance industry. if we have a health care bill

Jim McDermott

2:08:31 to 2:08:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: that goes out of this house that does not have insurce changes in it, that requires everybody to be taken, then we haven't done what we need. you heard the disparates in minority communities in this country, and it's just poor people. it's really not minorities as much as it's poor people don't

Jim McDermott

2:08:52 to 2:09:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: have the same kind of health care that people do who have a lot of money. that's the way it is. and we ought to be honest about that and say, if we are going to do a national plan, it takes everybody. now, it also has to give the same set of benefits. whetr it's a private plan or a public plan, it ought to have the same benefits. now if the private industry could compete with the

Jim McDermott

2:09:14 to 2:09:34( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: government plan, that's fine. but if they can't, they are going to have to find ways to bring the prices down. they are going to either have to squeeze their profits or do something to change theay that goes. pre-existing conditions. hi a patient -- a woman in my district who was an opera singer. she went to germany h. a

Jim McDermott

2:09:35 to 2:09:56( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: contract in munich, the minute you go into germany, you are in the german system. you are taken care of. her daughter got leukemia. they spent thousands and thousands of dollars in treating the child. she came back. the child had remission. and so they came back to the united states. the woman couldn't find an insurance company in the united

Jim McDermott

2:09:57 to 2:10:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jim McDermott: states that would give her insurance except at exorbitant rates, $2,000 a month. now, why is it that the gearms can figure a way to do -- germanies -- germans can figure a way to do that and we can't in this country. my point is you have no

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