Mike Strautmanis, Chief of Staff for Valerie Jarrett and father of a child with a disability, addresses the myth that health insurance reform will mean children with disabilities will not get the care they need. To the contrary, reform will make insurance more affordable, provide more options, and eliminate discrimination in purchasing health insurance so families won't be turned down if a parent or child has a pre-existing disability or other health condition.
Michael Strautmanis, Chief of Staff to Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett: Hi. I'm Mike Strautmanis and I am the chief of staff to Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. I wanted to talk to you from a more personal perspective about my family and about my son. I am the father of a child with disability.
My son is on the autism spectrum, and I know there have been a lot of myths and falsehoods that have been spread by people who want to defeat Health Insurance Reform. We've recently heard from many concerned parents who are worried that because their child has a disability that Health Insurance Reform will mean that their children won't be able to get the coverage that they need. That simply is not true. In fact, we want to improve the ability of people with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities to get health care.
For example, under the President's Health Insurance Reform proposal, people won't be denied coverage just because they have a pre-existing condition. The President's reform plan is about building on what works. So if you're happy with your health care, if you're happy with your doctor, if you're happy with your health insurance, you can keep it. But we want to make it more affordable for people to purchase insurance and we want to give people more options so that they can get the health care that they need. Many people with disabilities have found that Medicaid is better suited to their needs. You can get more therapies covered under Medicaid and sometimes people with lower incomes find it to be a better option. Health Insurance Reform will actually expand the access to Medicaid for people with low incomes.
You know, there are a lot of questions out there, and people who want to defeat Health Insurance Reform are trying to do so by spreading falsehoods and trying to deceive people. They're trying to tell people with disabilities or people with children with disabilities that they won't get the health care coverage they need. They'll try to tell people that we're eliminating Medicaid or eliminating people with disabilities from accessing Medicaid. This is simply not true. We want to expand Medicaid for people with lower incomes, we want to make sure that people with disabilities aren't denied coverage because they have a pre-existing condition. We want to reform the system to make it better for my child, for my family, and for yours. So we need your help. To get the facts, go to whitehouse.gov and help spread the truth so that we can get the health insurance reform that we need. Thank you.