State Lawmakers Meet With Houstonians to Explain Health Care Reform

Democratic lawmakers from the Houston area are working to build support for an overhaul of the nation's healthcare system, by taking their message to two groups that often find themselves either un-insured, or under-insured — college students, and seniors. David Pitman has more.

Houston State Representative Garnet Coleman says seniors often have to buy supplemental insurance to cover some of the costs that Medicare doesn't.  He says both versions of health care legislation in the U.S. House and Senate would eliminate that gap.

"When everyone is insured equally, and that includes people over 65, there is no requirement for a second insurance to pay for what the first one doesn't pay for.  And that's been one of the problems with Medicare, because people have to get an additional policy."

Coleman says the cost of expanding Medicare patient benefits would be made up, in part, through reductions in payments to doctors, and disease prevention efforts that are built into the healthcare bill.  On the other end of the age spectrum are college students.  Representative Coleman says they would also gain benefits in the healthcare bill — with subsidized insurance for which they would pay a portion based on their income.

"And that allows that person to access health insurance when they couldn't, either if they are too old to be on their parents' policy, or they never had a policy."

Representative Coleman and state Senator Rodney Ellis will hold a round-table discussion at Texas Southern University this evening to go into further detail about how the current healthcare legislation would affect seniors and college students.  The meeting, which begins at 6 at the Barbara Jordan and Mickey Leeland School of Public Affairs, is sponsored by a group called "Organizing for America", a project of the Democratic National Committee. 

David Pitman. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

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David Pitman

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