Mary Lee Cerillo: Photos and Report from Reston

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The following is a guest post from Mary Lee Cerillo, reporting on her experience at the town hall meeting in Reston tonight. The excellent photos are hers as well. Please click here for the whole set. Thanks to Mary Lee!

I have just returned from the Town Hall Meeting at South Lakes High School in Reston with Governor Dean and Congressman Jim Moran. There were approximately 2,500 people in attendance with more standing and two lines outside the gymnasium, of people waiting to get in. I felt that the majority of people who attended were FOR Health Care Reform and held their own against the vocal opposition.

Congressman Moran was fair in answering questions from both sides of the Health Reform Issue and was respectful of everyone's views. He spoke for approximately a half hour and talked about several myths that are circulating that are based on no factual information. These included death panels which in reality is a patient meeting with his/her health care provider on a voluntary basis to discuss end of life issues. This is totally a patient's choice and is not mandatory in any way shape or form. It has been circulated that people with existing insurance will be forced into losing their insurance and have to go with a government plan. This is also an untruth. People can keep their insurance if they choose to and are not going to be forced out of their health care plans. Another myth is that taxpayers will be forced to fund illegal immigrant's health care. In reality, no affordability credits and no subsidy whatsoever will given to individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.

Governor Howard Dean spoke briefly and was very helpful and honest in his answers about health care. He related how twenty years ago, as a physician in Vermont, he met with a young woman who was age 35. She was subsequently diagnosed with Diabetes. Within a matter of months, her insurance company dropped her and she was not covered. This is not right. Health Care Reform would do away with private insurers dropping patients when they become ill. It would also address the issue of pre-existing conditions where patients are discriminated against.

In spite of a few disruptions by unruly people whose agenda was not Health Care Reform and only wanted attention to their cause, the Town Hall meeting was informative and I am glad that I attended. As a health care provider, I deeply care about my patients and their welfare. I am also happy to hear that as a Clinical Social Worker if the health care bill is passed both Mental Health and Substance Abuse will have equal parity. I am watching and hearing my patients tell me how they are losing their health care, due to loss of jobs, having to foreclose on their homes and file for bankruptcy. None of us are immune to this possibility. I am hopeful that Health Care Reform will be passed and all Americans will be provided with health care.

Thank you to Congressman Jim Moran and Governor Howard Dean!!!!