Congressman Berry addresses health care concerns

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - It has been called the most important issue of the times.  Health care reform has brought out anger and confusion for many Americans.  On Friday Congressman Marion Berry met with health professionals about health care reform.

"Everybody that I have talked to is basically convinced that we've got to go back to the drawing board," said Congressman Marion Berry.

Berry spoke to health care providers about the bill being debated across the country.

"For me to tell you what exactly something is going to look like in that bill would be total speculation because nobody knows right now," said Berry.

Doctor J. Cranfill was one of several who raised questions for Berry, clearly concerned about the future well being of patients.

"We've got to look out for the patient.  We need to get it right and it's not right yet from what we're seeing," said Cranfill.

"These health care providers are very interested in this issue they're very interested in solving the problems," said Berry.

Both Berry and the health care providers at the meeting agree work needs to be done to make health care better.

"This has got to be something that we can afford, that works, that lowers the cost of health care for everyone, and that makes health care more accessible," said Berry.

"We want to take care of the patients and a lot of what we're hearing come out about a bill and things are not in the patients interest, are not in the hospitals interest, are not in the doctors interest," said Cranfill.

Berry is one of 52 "blue dog" Democrats in the house.  He said we spend twice as much for health care in the United States than any other country and other members like him want to see more "gravy" taken out of the insurance and pharmaceutical part of the bill.

"Everybody recognizes we're going to have to change some things.  They just want to be able to express their opinion about how it needs to be done," said Berry.

Berry said one of the major committees is going to have another mark up to amend and re-write the bill before it is reconsidered.

Congressman Berry's office tells Region 8 news there are no plans now to hold any town hall meetings on health care in Arkansas.

Here is a list of the groups represented at Friday's meeting:

Arkansas Methodist Medical Center
Baxter Regional
Community Medical Center of Izard County
Five Rivers Medical Center
Fulton County Hospital
Harris Hospital
NEA Baptist Medical Center
St. Bernards Medical Center
Arkansas Hospital Association
National Transition of Care Coalition
Arkansas pathology Lab
Cross Ridge Community Hospital
Lawrence Health Systems
Blue Cross Blue Shield

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