Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senators Durbin, Schumer and Murray held a press conference Thursday with Kathy De Vincentis and Regina Holliday, two individuals who have struggled due to the high cost of health care.
Kathy is a retired hospice nurse and breast cancer survivor who resides in Washington, D.C. She and her husband, Armando, who suffers from the debilitating effects of a stroke, have had to spend much of their retirement savings on life-saving medications because of inadequate health insurance coverage. “Congress needs to pass health reform so no woman has to die from breast cancer because she can’t afford care,” said De Vincentis. “I call on you today to do the right thing for hardworking Americans like Armando and me.”
Regina’s employer offered health insurance, but they couldn’t afford the premiums for the whole family which was particularly challenging when her husband, Frederick, was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer. Regina knows now that her husband, who recently passed away, had every symptom of kidney cancer and could have caught the disease in earlier stages with quality, consistent primary care. “My husband did not die in vain,” said Holiday. “If we all step forward – united – we will change things. We need an America that will not look the other way."
“In the weeks and months we have talked about health care this year, I haven’t heard our opponents say a single word about real families with real problems – families with real diseases, real medical bills and real fears,” said Senate Majority Leader Reid. “When we say we are fighting for health care reform that lowers costs, we aren’t talking about a balance sheet – we are talking about people like Regina and Kathy.”
“Today we heard from two everyday Americans – Kathy De Vincentis and Regina Holliday – about how broken our health care system was when they needed it most,” said Senator Durbin. “And they are not alone; every day, 14,000 people lose their health insurance. We must provide stable affordable health insurance coverage that can’t be taken away because of life’s ups and downs. That is exactly the plan the President talked about last night. And that is the plan that we intend on passing in Congress this year.”
"At the same time that health insurers are making large profits, Americans are paying higher premiums to keep their health coverage,” said Senator Schumer. “Since 2000, the cost of the average annual job-based family health care coverage plan nearly doubled. Our broken health system is working all too well for private health insurers, but not for American consumers."
“Congress knows that most Americans like their doctors, their providers and their coverage. On the days they need to see a doctor, they are glad they can provide their families with coverage for booster shots, check-ups, preventative and even emergency care. But, on payday, it’s a different story,” Senator Murray said. “So, for those of our colleagues who ask how we can afford to pay for this, I’d like to tell them to come talk to Kathy and Regina – or any of their constituents. Because the real question is how can we afford not to.”
The average American family today pays twice as much for its health care as it did a decade ago. Democrats are committed to lowering skyrocketing costs and bringing stability and security back to health care.