Health Care Mis-information – Setting the Record Straight
I’m used to the communications battles on any issue of major importance, so I welcome the opportunity to jump right into to debate the substance of an issue. But, I get really mad when people are provided information that is simply wrong and intended to scare them. On Tuesday, a nice gentlemen joined a telephone town hall that I hosted on health care and he conveyed to me an email that he received. This email claimed that senior citizens would have to meet with doctors every year to discuss end of life issues, and at 70 they would no longer receive insurance. Absolutely false. No senior citizen is going to lose their health insurance. Indeed, the reform strengthens Medicare by eliminating co-pays and deductibles for preventative services, phasing on the prescription drug “donut hole” to lower drug costs and extending the solvency of the program for the future.
Macomb County Worker Training Accolades Continue
Macomb County is a national leader in innovative and effective training programs. President Obama visited recently and was introduced by a re-trained worker and today the U.S. Department of Labor announced a nearly $1 million grant to the Macomb / St. Clair Workforce Development Board so that they can lead in starting a new program to help unemployed workers 55 years and older throughout southeast Michigan.
Telephone Town Hall on Health Care
Technology is amazing. In the last months we have experimented with holding telephone town halls. I was skeptical at first because I am a fan of the regular in person town halls. Since I have been in Congress they have been a staple of my work. But since it is hard for people to gather on the weekend, I saw the telephone town hall as a way to talk to folks about issues when I had to be in D.C. during the week. What happens is that computer calls people and asks them to stay on the line if they would like to be joined to a live telephone town hall with me. When the call starts, they can press *3 to ask a question. My staff, sitting at a computer, can press a button that makes each person’s phone live so they can ask me a question directly. So for about an hour we ask and answer questions, and hear comments. Thousands of people listen in during the calls. Even more tech savvy, we can ask questions and people can respond by pressing a number on their phone. The results are tallied immediately.
Explosion and Bridge Collapse
Everyone that watched the explosion, the black smoke rising for miles, and bridge collapse on the Detroit news last night experienced shock at the magnitude of the impact and relief that no one was harmed. I spent today making phone calls to state and federal officials in between consideration of the Health Care Reform legislation in Ways and Means committee and 25 votes on the floor. I spoke to Secretary Ray LaHood and Transportation Chairman Jim Oberstar about the Federal Emergency Relief program which is available to reimburse States in these types of situations. I was pleased to learn that local communities can also submit expenses they are incurring as the handle the emergency on the ground.