Life, Liberty and Affordable Health Care: Nancy Pelosi Hosts a Panel Discussion on the Affordable Care ActTuesday, July 17th, 2012
by Lisa Countryman
On Friday, July 13th Representative Nancy Pelosi hosted a panel discussion at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco entitled “The Affordable Care Act and You.” Representative Pelosi took the opportunity to thank everyone who worked to make this promise a reality, noting that “thousands of people have already benefited from what we have done.” She illustrated the significance of the occasion by aligning this celebration with the celebration of Independence Day the week before.
The panel speakers included David Chase from the Small Business Majority in Sacramento, Professor Robert Schwartz, from Hastings College of the Law, Marvin O’Quinn, Chief Operating Officer of Dignity Health and Catherine Dodd, Director at San Francisco Health Service System. Each speaker brought a different perspective to the discussion of what this Act makes possible and how it will transform health care in this country. David Chase described the specifics of how this law will help meet the needs of small business owners and employees, and Catherine Dodd explained what this will mean for seniors, especially in terms of closing the prescription drug coverage ‘donut hole.’
Professor Robert Schwartz, who specializes in Health Law, called the passage of the Affordable Care Act “the most significant event (in health care) since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.” Prof. Schwartz also offered one of the most helpful descriptions of what this law is trying to achieve: he described health coverage as a pie with (as of 2010) 49% of people covered under an employer-based plan, 5% covered by a private network group, 12% covered by Medicare, 17% covered by Medicaid and 16% left uninsured. What the ACA aims to do is to increase the size of each of those pieces in order to eliminate and absorb that last piece, the percentage of uninsured.
(You can read Representative Pelosi’s full comments here.)