Health care advocates push for reform listen04/28/09 Mitch E. Perry
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As Congress prepares to begin work on one of President Barack Obama’s signatures core issues, health care reform, an advocacy group today said that more than four million people in Florida now spend more than 10 percent of their pre-tax income on insurance.
And according to that group, Families USA, more than three-quarters of those people actually have health insurance.
Tampa area Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor says the report highlights the exoribitant costs for families who actually have health insurance.
Like Obama, Castor said the economy will not be able to completely be turned around without revamping the health care system now.
As an example of what escalating health care costs are doing to families, Jerri Burns from Apopka joined in on the call. She said she and her husband run a small business that currently employs two people. Burns said combined her health care costs, including paying out of pocket vision and mental heatlh care, and prescription drugs, has been tremendous.
This week, the House and Senate will debate — and probably pass — a $3.5 trillion budget that will include reconciliation provisions that will enable Democrats to pass health reform legislation with just 51 votes, not the 60 usually needed to pass major bills in the upper chamber.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats insist that reconciliation be made available as a means to advance health reform, one of President Obama’s biggest domestic priorities, to prevent GOP senators from obstructing the effort.
Republicans say it would be outrageous to enact a major rehaul of the health care care system with just 51 votes. Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi recently called it a "declaration of war.”