Politics

Nancy Jakubiak leaned against the rail and eyed the walk ahead.

She was already out of breath and in pain, but was determined to make it down the short ramp and to the gymnasium floor to find a chair.

In all, the trip was about 70 steps through a cool, air conditioned building.

For Jakubiak, who’s struggled lately with reduced breathing capacity and chronic back pain, it’s a burdensome trek.

“Walking is an issue,” she said.

But when a passerby offered an arm, she took hold and pushed on, winding down the ramp to a seat on the back row.

She’d left her home in Old Louisville to join some 800 others at Bellarmine University Knight’s Hall to hear Congressman John Yarmuth lead a sweeping conversation about the future of health care in the United States.

Many federal lawmakers across the country are holding similar events in their respective districts during their summer recess.

Some — namely those hosted by Senate Republicans — have been fiery.

Sunday’s event was not so.

Yarmuth drew several rounds of applause and spent about 20 minutes after the event talking and taking photos with voters.

He represents the state’s Third Congressional district and the area has one of the most Democratic voter bases in the city.

Yarmuth praised single-payer health care — a concept that refers to a system in which a sole entity pays all medical bills for a specific population.

Nancy Jakubiak liked what she heard. She said such a system could ensure health care for future generations.

“What kind of world are we leaving for our children and grandchildren,” she said.

Despite the high energy for a single-payer system here — Yarmuth said the concept has yet to garner broad support among other federal lawmakers.

“There are still a lot of people who think of that as providing benefits for people who don’t deserve it,” he said. “There are a lot of reactionary perspectives.”

Still, Jakubiak is hopeful. That hope — and her desire to spark change — is what brought her out to the gymnasium on a sweltering July day, despite the shortness of breath, the pain and what she considers troublesome priorities of leading federal lawmakers.

“Maybe in my granddaughter’s lifetime,” she said.

Jacob Ryan is the Metro Affairs reporter for WFPL.