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McKeon talks health care

Posted: August 25, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 25, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, speaks about health care and federal budget cuts at the SCV Senior Center in Newhall on Friday.

Health care issues took center stage Friday as Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, held a public forum that attracted seniors and others at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center.

McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, opened with concerns about proposed military cuts, saying military spending has not received a high enough priority in the United States, particularly since the country is still at war.

“You’re from the generation that fought to save this country,” McKeon told several dozen residents drawn to the forum.

“After World War II, we ran our military down, and then we got overrun in Korea. ... And then we had Vietnam, and we ran our military down.”

“We can’t balance our budget on the backs of our troops,” the longtime Republican congressman said, mentioning the numerous threats of billion-dollar cuts he’s seen as chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

“(Medicare) is in trouble, as is Social Security, as are a lot of programs,” McKeon said.

An over-arching concern is the uncertainty that surrounds the 2,700-page Affordable Health Care Act, McKeon said.

At one point, while fielding a question about how certain provisions were allowed into the legislation dubbed “Obamacare,” McKeon pointed out that lawmakers approved a 2,100-page version, and 600 pages of revisions were added in a matter of days before the vote. Consequently, lawmakers are still discovering the complex law’s provisions, he said.

The issue of health coverage uncertainty is one that plagues a lot of patients of Dr. Gene Dorio, who runs a practice that makes house calls primarily to senior citizens.

“If you’re going to change Medicare, that gets to be difficult,” Dorio said during the forum. A voucher system may not work for someone with pre-existing conditions, and that’s the case for most of his senior patients, he said.

“They could be denied access, or the access that they have to certain tests could be limited,” Dorio said.

“But I would certainly like to see the other side of the story,” he said, “as far as what people are trying to promote right now and what system they’re going to have with the vouchers.”


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