Feinstein in the News

DUARTE - Compromise.

That was the word U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., used Thursday when she appeared at City of Hope to talk about economic issues and health care.

Feinstein, who spoke at the hospital's Cooper Auditorium, said lawmakers from both sides of the aisle need to work together to address the nation's problems.

"I think we need to take the first half of next year to come across party lines and sit down as people with real problems and solve those problems," she said. "Our recovery from the recession hasn't been what we'd hoped for. Production is up but employment is down. That suggests that people are doing more with less."

Feinstein noted, however, that California gained 365,100 jobs over the past year. Still, job growth has been slow in coming, she said.

Feinstein said she plans to introduce legislation to help both struggling homeowners and U.S. manufacturers.

One measure would enable homeowners whose loans are not backed by the federal government - such as loans issued through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - to still be able to access lower interest rates.

"Right now 1.1 million

people in California would be eligible for this, and 800,000 of those people live in Southern California," she said.

The manufacturing bill would reward companies for producing products here in the U.S.

"If you produce a product with an American patent and make it here in the U.S. your taxes would go from 35 percent to 15 percent," she said. "Hopefully, that will be an incentive."

During a question and answer segment, one member of the audience asked Feinstein if the nation could afford the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare. The federal statute, signed into law by President Obama in March 2010, is designed to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care.

"I believe in the long-term it will actually save funds," Feintein said. "Right now we have a for-profit health care system and these companies make a lot of money."

Obama's Affordable Care Act creates new entities in every state through which consumers buying insurance on their own must purchase government-approved insurance.

Many small business employees will get their health insurance through exchanges because their employers won't be offering coverage under ObamaCare's rules for participation.

"The exchanges will go into effect in 2014," Feinstein said. "That will allow for competition for health care plans."

Jenni McDowell, director of marketing for Kindred Hospitals, said she has concerns about Obama's Affordable Care Act.

"My concern is about the short-term," said McDowell, who attended Thursday's event. "I want to know what it will mean for patients and doctors. I don't think anyone understands what it will do."

Thursday's luncheon was co-hosted by City of Hope and the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership. Feinstein later toured the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, which recently coordinated a successful Mars landing.