Vice President Joe Biden held a town hall-style meeting at the Durant Center last Thursday where he explained and goaded the Obama administrations health care reform plan to about 200 people, mostly senior citizens.
Biden answered questions from the audience at the Alexandria locale alongside U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, White House Director of Health Reform Nancy Ann DeParle and AARP CEO Barry Rand.
Biden appealed to senior-aged residents frustrated with health care coverage, speaking not only about closing the gap in coverage for Americans, but bridging the gap between health care providers, physicians, businesses and the seniors who often depend on a fixed income with unpredictable health problems and costs.
Not only is it immoral not to provide you with decent health care in my view, and in the view of the president and of the administration, it is also fiscally irresponsible, Biden said.
Under the reform, Biden said, health care providers would be on a level playing field, unable to compete and price-gouge. Yet because every American would be required to have some kind of health care coverage, insurance companies would benefit from millions of new customers, diluting high prices for consumers while securing a profitable bottom line for insurance companies.
AARP knows, and the people with me here today know, and the president knows and I know, that the status quo is simply not acceptable, Biden said. Its totally unacceptable and its completely unsustainable. Even if we wanted to keep [the health care system] the way we have it, we cant do it financially. Were going to go bankrupt as a nation.
Mayor Bill Euille, Vice Mayor Kerry Donley, other Council members, Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) and Del. David Englin (D-45) were also on hand for the forum.
Euille said that he and his fellow city representatives were just as much spectators as the rest of the crowd, and that the seniors in attendance had the biggest stake in the possible health care reform.
I have not polled anybody, but my suspicion would be that within our senior population we have a significant number of folks who lack health insurance, period, Euille said. They cant afford it and/or if they have it, they certainly probably lack adequate coverage.
At the Council level were not tracking and following the health care initiative because whatever the policy ends up being will be mandated by the president and Congress. On a staff level, certainly theyre watching it, because it impacts [the city] as a large employer. It impacts the cost of the [insurance] program.
Euille, Donley and Englin had a closed door meeting with the vice president after the forum, where he thanked them for their support.
Congress is currently deliberating health care reform bills, of which Moran has been an outspoken proponent.