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|Landrieu: Health care costs 'unsustainable'|
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she wants to hear what "the people" have to say about health care reform before any health care reform measures are entertained following Congress' annual summer recess.
Landrieu delivered that news Wednesday as part of a larger message on legislative affairs at a Monroe Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
"I am really open to hear what you all think about the kinds of health care systems you would like to have," Landrieu told the audience.
Landrieu said most Americans have healthcare, either through private insurance or a number of government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. She stressed the need to reduce health care costs for everyone, not just the uninsured.
"The problem for us all, in all of those things I described, the cost is rising at unsustainable rates," said Landrieu, D-New Orleans. "This is the challenge, and we know we have to be very focused on deficit reduction to get our country back to some semblance of a balanced budget."
Landrieu said blame for the nation's budget woes rest with Democrats and Republicans alike.
Health care reform was just one of the many topics Landrieu covered.
She also discussed economic development efforts and costal restoration projects.
"We're losing more land in Louisiana than any other place in America," Landrieu said.
Louisiana's costal parishes lose an estimated 100 square yards of marshland per day, according to government reports. Landrieu said stopping erosion and restoring the Mississippi Delta are key to the state's future.
"There are only eight major Deltas in the world, and we happen to live on one," Landrieu said.
Landrieu's visit to Monroe Wednesday was one of three chamber of commerce events this week, which focused on health care.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter delivered a health care-focused talk at a luncheon on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, a national organization opposed to government-run health care made the first of nine stops in a state-wide bus tour.
Americans for Prosperity kicked off the Louisiana leg of the "Hands off My Healthcare" bus tour at the chamber offices in Monroe.
Americans for Prosperity director Peggy Venable said the educational tour was aimed at providing Louisiana residents with the best possible information.
"The purpose of this tour is to educate people about our concerns of what is in any kind of a government takeover of our health care system," Venable said. "We're going to focus also on what we want to happen."
Venable said she wanted to see a "patient-centered system" that could open the door to lower insurance premiums for Americans.
Venable offered several alternatives to a government-run health care system, including medical savings accounts and allowing insurance companies to compete for services across state lines.
"There are a lot of positive things we want to see," Venable said.