Nancy Pelosi visits Austin, talks healthcare
U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi visited Austin Thursday to talk about healthcare. The visit included a tour of the Dell Seton Medical Center's teaching hospital and a round table discussion with Congressman Lloyd Doggett, medical professionals, musicians, and technology experts. The participants spoke about how the Affordable Care Act has impacted their lives -- and where there's room for improvement.
Pelosi said Dell Seton Medical Center is a model for the country, citing collaboration between tech and medicine and putting value over volume.
"People here in Travis County and in Austin should take great pride in what is going on here," Pelosi said.
In the round table discussion she heard how the Affordable Care Act has changed lives.
"The Affordable Care Act literally has saved so many people -- so many of our cancer patients and these are patients that need access to high-cost treatments like transplants… like radiation therapy," said Lorie Miller of Seton Healthcare.
Ben Kweller, a musician supporting a family of four, said he has seen healthcare improvements hit home. "We're taking a step in the right direction and let's keep it going and make this happen," Kweller said.
However, the fight to repeal the ACA continues. Travis County Republicans say it must be done.
"What Mrs. Pelosi doesn't understand is insurance coverage doesn't equal healthcare. While, yes, we have closed the coverage gap by one or two percent the fact is the quality of healthcare has reduced dramatically," said Andy Hogue, communications director for the Travis County Republican Party.
Doggett said something should be done about prescription medication price hikes, but he added keeping the ACA around comes first.
"As long as they're yelling, 'repeal' we are not in a position to move forward on these necessary improvements," Doggett said.
Republicans have revived efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Thursday Pelosi said, "Take repeal off the table and then we'll talk." Hogue doesn't see that happening. "We have to negotiate from a higher position and that position is -- repeal every single word. We start there and we negotiate from that point," he said.