Edie Falco decried what she called "desperation tactics" at healthcare town halls and said that those pushing for reform could counter by telling their own stories of problems with the current system.
Falco, who stars in the Showtime series "Nurse Jackie," was among those on a conference call Tuesday evening organized by Health Care for America Now!, which is pushing for a major reform bill that includes a public option.
"These are desperation tactics on the part of the opposition — being violent at rallies and basically filling airspace with misinformation," Falco said, echoing the words of the org's national campaign director, Richard Kirsch.
She added that now there is a need to "bring the focus back to what is really happening. People are really worried about health coverage."
She urged reform supporters to share their stories with elected officials, or via letters to the editor or media interviews. "The country is made up of individual stories, and that is what we have to offer at this point."
Falco was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, but she said that she was fortunate that she didn't require treatment when she was a struggling actress who had yet to qualify for health insurance benefits.
Falco is one of the few major Hollywood figures to step into what is becoming a contentious debate, although she said that she still thinks that a reform bill is"so close."
"I think it can happen. I think it can happen this year."
Also on the call was Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who quipped that people may know him best as "the guy with the red devil horns." Opponents of reform (Update: or those opposed to the current plans on the table by Obama and Congress) hounded him at a town hall in his district last weekend, and posted a YouTube video that included signs depicting him as some kind of devil figure. But Doggett says that it hasn't stopped him from holding more town halls since then, and said that it actually has worked to his advantage to listen to "outlandish claims" and then be able to refute them.
"We ought to look at this as a sign the insurances industry recognizes that we are so close to the goal of true insurance reform," he said. "Now they are willing to do anything or say anything to block reform."
He added, "The danger is that the media, particularly at the local level, just wants to report the fight. We have to get back to the substance and what we are really trying to do."