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Congresswoman Lois Capps explains health legislation

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U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D-San Luis Obispo) discussed comprehensive health-insurance reform in a community meeting on Sept. 3. at the San Luis Obispo United Methodist Church. After an invocation for peace from Pastor Jane Voigts, Capps gave a presentation in which she set out to debunk some “common misconceptions” about H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act.

A key provision of the bill would provide publicly financed health insurance only to those who choose it instead of private insurers—no one would be forced enroll in the government-administered coverage, she said. The public option would adhere to the same rules as private companies and would be self-financed through patients’ premiums, Capps explained.

At a press conference prior to the town-hall meeting, Capps reiterated her desire for publicly financed health insurance as an option, but refused to rule out voting for a bill that wouldn’t include that choice.

“I spoke with Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, who said, ‘I can’t see there will be a bill in the House [that reaches the floor for a vote] that does not include a public option.’ And that's the one I want to vote for,” Capps said.

Some of Capps’ peers, however, aren’t as reticent to take a stand.

On the same day as her community meeting, the Congressional Progressive Caucus—which includes two senators and 81 congressional representatives—sent a letter to President Barack Obama stating they can’t vote for legislation that doesn’t include an option for public health insurance.

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