Iowans who are traveling to Washington, D.C. to lobby for healthcare reform made a stop at the state capitol today. The event was billed as a rally, but less than one dozen people showed up. Des Moines emergency room nurse, Teresa Cooley, was one of the people who spoke out.
Cooley says she grew up in poverty and saw the choices her mom made in just getting food on the table, and medication was not an option. Cooley says since she has an education she feels a moral and ethical motivation to lobby congress for greater access to healthcare. As a nurse she sees the problem first hand.
"There’s a lot of people who don’t have insurance and they have no option but to come to the emergency room — and that’s a pretty expensive way to treat a sore throat or a cold. And a lot of people come in very ill because they didn’t get treated earlier," Cooley says.
Mike Draper owns a clothing store in the East Village of downtown Des Moines. Draper provides his employees insurance, but not the same type of plan that large corporations provide.
Draper says, "The health insurance we provide, even through Wellmark, is so terrible, that if we actually had to hire somebody beyond the age 35, we’d be finished. And what happens if we get somebody who actually has a health problem that wants to work in the store? Is it discrimination to not hire them because we know we can’t afford to pay their health insurance?"
Draper says the system has to change and his message to congress is from a business prospective "what we have now isn’t logical." Draper says to have a public option may force insurance companies to be more competitive and to bring costs down, or have a system where people can realistically compare prices. Draper has 11 employees at his store.