Linda Douglass, White House Office of Health Reform: Hi, I'm Linda Douglass. I'm the Director of Communications at the White House Office of Health Reform. Well, outside the President's Town Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire the other day, there were a lot of people who wanted to get in and ask the President some questions about health insurance reform. So we here at the White House are going to try to answer some of those questions. Here's one from Demi.
Quesitoner: My name is Demi Apostle (phonetic), and I live in Kingston, New Hampshire. My question is, end of life care for seniors, I'm 73 years old. I still work. I take care of my grandchildren. I raised a grandchild. But God forbid I needed a pacemaker a couple years or maybe even this year. Would it be deemed economically unfeasible because I'm 73? I'm an active 73. And the only people who should be deciding my end of life counseling are my children, my doctor, and myself, not some unknown panel in Washington. That whole theory and that whole thing with health care is so horrendous that it's worse than anything I've seen in other countries.
Linda Douglass: Well, Demi, no panel in Washington is going to make decisions about your treatment. You are absolutely right. The treatment decisions for you should be made by you and your family and your doctor. That's one of the primary goals of health insurance reform, to make sure that we remove the obstacles that currently exist between patients and doctors, complicated insurance rules and complicated regulations and paperwork and a payment system that is inefficient, makes it sometimes difficult for the doctor to spend the kind of time with you that he wants to. So we're talking about removing the obstacles and making it possible for you to make the best treatment decisions for yourself.
And you're covered under Medicare. Health insurance reform would actually strengthen Medicare. Nothing would change in your coverage except that you'd get some more benefits. For example, for seniors who are paying exorbitant drug prices under some of the provisions of the existing law, there would be a big, big reduction in what you're paying for prescription drugs. You'd also get free charge preventive care to encourage you to go to the doctor and get a checkup. You get more access to primary care doctors as a senior under Medicare. So health insurance reform is really going to strengthen Medicare to make sure that it's going to be there for you and it's going to improve the quality of care for seniors. So Demi, I hope that answered your question. And if you have any more questions, please come to whitehouse.gov. We've got a whole series of questions and answers on the website, and we hope they'll be helpful to you.