Champaign citizens speak out on health care

There was standing room only at the Champaign Public Library for people to discuss President Barack Obama’s proposed health care reform bill Thursday.

The meeting, held by the Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC), was organized to provide the community with information that is now shown in the media about the impending reform bill, said Lisa Dixon, chair of the CCHCC board.

The U.S. House of Representatives is planning to vote on America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, or H.R. 3200, later this year. The bill aims to provide a public option health care system, according the Library of Congress.

During the meeting, members of the board discussed the health care crisis, the current health care reform legislation in Congress, and possible alternative health care programs, including expanding Medicare to include all Americans.

According to a CCHCC press release, “every single individual deserves access to quality and affordable health care in a timely manner.”

Some members of the crowd joined the board after having bad experiences with private health care providers.

Ron Eaker, CCHCC member, said he experienced several heart attacks and was forced to file for medical bankruptcy after Blue Cross Blue Shield and Carle Clinic denied him coverage and barred him service.

“After dealing with that whole process, I got so frustrated with the health care system that I decided that I need to get actively involved in trying to bring about health care reform,” Eaker said.

Others said they attended to learn more about the issue.

“I like to be informed and learn more about this health care issue,” said Scott Faulkner, Champaign resident. “I find that it is a pretty telling debate, and it should have been solved a long time ago.”

Faulkner said he wanted to inform others about the subject after becoming informed himself.

Jerry Pica, Champaign resident, said he was sketpical about the health care reform bill.

“We aren’t hearing about how good our health care system is,” Pica said. “Everybody says that it is 37th in the world. Who rates our insurance companies? I believe that we have the best insurance coverage in the world.”

Frank Shupp, professor of health economics at the University, said the health care issue is partially revolved around the number of uninsured citizens versus insured citizens.

“I thought the interesting statistic was that the number of people uninsured was almost identically equal to the number of people insured under Medicare,” he said. “I think that gives you some idea of how severe the problem really is.”