|See DC journalist and attorney Andrew Kreig's article on healthcare.|
Special Informal Hearing: "Costs of Broken Health Care System, Benefits of Public Option"
Testimony of Natalie Noel, Documentary film producer
On October 27th, prominent members of the House of Representatives held a unique Town Hall-style hearing entitled: "Cost of Broken Health Care System, Benefits of Public Option." Members and witnesses were there to consider H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. The bill would provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending.
This is part of a series of citizen Congressional hearings until reform is passed, according to a committee of congressional hosts led by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). "The hearings," they said, "are to allow the voice of the American people who want a strong public option to be heard in the halls of Congress - voices that have been drowned out by insurance company propaganda, and disruptive tea-baggers at town hall meetings."
Noel, a Native American from Alabama and documentary film producer
shares her speech she gave as a witness during this hearing.
a native of Mobile, Alabama, I am humbled and proud that the Rev.
Walter Fauntroy was among the planning leaders for today's meeting.
Thank you, Reverend Fauntroy for your lifetime of civil rights service, including organizing the historic 1963 civil rights March on Washington and the 1965 marches in Selma that prompted such change in our nation's civil rights laws. Those marches provided the spiritual models of today's focus on health care as a basic civil right.
New Orleans post-Katrina, the capacity to deliver health care for the
poor and displaced, independent of who's paying the bill has simply
vanished... Nearly 40% of the overall population and 70% of the African American population in New Orleans are uninsured. So people are literally walking the
streets in prolonged states of 'shell shock' with few places to go for
"The fact that much of the nation continues as if
everything is just fine in New Orleans can only be described as
dangerously delusional. The broader national debate on health care has
completely overlooked the unfolding catastrophe directly in front of
the nation's eyes. Why has the media consistently failed to report on
these issues?.. Today, although the bleeding has stopped and recovery
is underway, there is a clear, underlying malaise that grips the region
from New Orleans, to Gulfport/Biloxi, to Mobile, Alabama."
the Rev. Fauntroy said recently, "From every poll, it's clear that the
people want an end to the tyranny of insurance companies. Insurers
tyrannize doctors. They tyrannize patients."
I don't want to
demonize the insurers or those who work for them. They saved my life,
as I'll describe shortly. But the U.S. uses the only system among
industrialized nations that relies on for-profit companies operating
with minimum regulation. So, insurers have heavy incentives to discard
the sick who most need care, and to maintain their profit levels by
passing on new burdens to already overburdened consumers. For the good
of our country, the government must address such problems head-on.
opinion polls cited by Rev. Fauntroy illustrate that voters are fully
capable of understanding what's in our best interests in terms of "Big
Picture" health policy. And ultimately, we as consumers will remember
which elected officials stood with us during this time of "reform."
all these reasons, I urge your support of a strong public option as a
compromise to the best obvious solution of single-payer. Public option
and single-payer solutions are used by other industrialized nations at half or less than half the total costs of our current system, with
results at least as good. So, I hope you'll vote "No!" to any "reform"
that doesn't include a strong public option that would be available
promptly throughout the country.
I began crawling back to "life" with the help of my former business partner, John Prince, and the support of friends and family.
I recently moved to Pennsylvania,
where I am able to receive the physical therapy necessary to complete
my healing because of the public medical assistance programs they have
in place. There are many others facing the challenges that I endured.
the answer is "Yes" to such questions. We as a nation provided aid to
the Gulf. But drought, fires and unemployment exist in so many other
places. Their residents might become one of the muttering, homeless
sick who increasingly stumble through the streets right now in our
cities and towns. With one catastrophe, so many of us could be in such
Thanks for your attention today and the privilege of appearing here before you.