Clinton talks health care while in the Bay Area

October 6, 2009 7:19:23 PM PDT
The last president who tried to get some sort of health care reform passed is in the Bay Area. President Clinton appeared at a local campaign rally Tuesday afternoon.

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The event was for Lieutenant Gov. John Garamendi's congressional campaign, but Mr. Clinton took the opportunity to speak about health care reform.

Mr. Clinton told the Democratic audience to forget about helping your neighbor, forget about trying to do the right thing for the poor, just look at health care insurance reform from a cold blooded perspective of what it is costing us to do nothing.

"We are spotting every American competitor $900 billion a year, that is, we are spending $900 billion a year on health care we would not be spending if we had any other system; Switzerland, all private, no public plan; Canada, all public plan, but not much cost control, so you have some delays on occasion, but a good outcome," Mr. Clinton said.

Donna Widrid was hoping Mr. Clinton would talk about health insurance reform. She is a cancer survivor on private insurance, but her policy does not come close to covering her costs.

"I have to get PET scans every so often and every time I get a PET scan, the hospital cost is like $18,450-something and I have to pay five or $6,000 out of pocket, and it's like, I'm going broke just for paying health care, just to stay alive," Widrid said.

Widrid says she wishes she was old enough to qualify for Medicare. But opponents of President Obama's health care proposals say Medicare is a poor model of success.

"To think that more government entitlement programs are the solution when the government entitlement program is going bankrupt flies against the face of logic to me," Dr. Scott Atlas said. Atlas is the head of neuroradiology at Stanford Medical Center and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Atlas says there are other options to more government intervention, he advocates allowing insurance companies to sell plans across state lines to increase competition.

But Widrid says she did not have much choice when it came to finding health insurance; most turned her down after her cancer diagnosis three years ago.

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