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June 15th, 2009
07:46 AM ET

Health Care: Your Complaints & Solutions

President Obama heads to Chicago this morning to talk to the American Medical Association about his health care plan. He's got ideas, they have ideas, and we know you have ideas too. What's your biggest gripe about health care in the U.S.? And what can be done to fix it?
Post your comments below.


Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. roy

    I believe that just because you can make a huge profit off of something you shouldn't at the expense of some one's well being. Healthcare is a serious issue and still today many go without it because it costs too much.

    June 15, 2009 at 8:00 am |
  2. jccc

    YEAh, agree! Just fix it by doing it just for r children. Let adults fix it them-selves...

    June 15, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  3. JOHN APPLETON

    My biggest gripe, is that we don't have a strong public option in the US. It takes massive protests to even get congress to speak of a public option. Mr. Baucus stated that he wanted all players at the table, but excluded single payer advocates from the table, despite the fact that the majority of people support a single payer system in the US. I also just saw a piece on Democracy Now! of how each member of Congress on the health care committees has financial interests in the current health care industry. I would like a strong public option, and to see more discussion of a public option on TV. A discussion of what a public option entails, not about what democrats or republicans have to do to convince people their plan is right. More discussion on substantive issues, less on partisan strategy.

    June 15, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  4. Arlene Geiger

    Why does the news media keep posing questions from the point of view of the GOP? There is enormous support for the Public Plan and Single Payer.

    Health insurance companies drive up costs as they spend huge amounts of money to avoid providing us with the health services which is the reason we are paying them to begin with. They waste money, a public plan would avoid that and create all American competition. The private plans would have to shape up or ship out.

    If the government is to subsidize health care so that the uninsured or uninsurable get health care – we can't just let the greedy private insurers keep ripping us off more. We need a public plan as an option. If the public option is so bad, why is the GOP so worried that everyone will choose it?

    June 15, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  5. Khalid Shiekh

    We need to decide as a nation whether the healthcare is for PROFIT or is it for everyone? I doubt that there will be an easy answer or resolution!

    June 15, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  6. Bernadette Loesch

    Dear Heidi, My gut feeling is that if the AMA is opposed to Pres. Obama's Health Plan for Americans that this proposal will not be of benefit to them but to us. There is so much distortion being put out there concerning Pres. Obama's plan by so called experts trying to muddy the waters. Case in point, Rick Scott and some conservative groups have spent millions on commericals to say that Obama's plan will not be good for us, when in fact Rick Scott made his fortune from over billing and double and triple billing insurers for payment of services at his clinics. I for one want to give Pres. Obama's a chance to either succeed or fail.

    June 15, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  7. J from Redondo Beach,CA.

    It is utterly ridiculous that the AMA would not advocate a plan to ensure America as a whole. I am a 32 yr old with a pre-existing condition and cannot get health insurance due to this fact. Should I just not seek help, wither and die? Or should this great country of ours (who's doctors make kickbacks from prescribing medications, and deny treatment for patients due to another kickback from health insurance companies.

    What I see is an industry of doctors who have lost the human element of their work and are only fascinated by the money and science of their field. This is not all doctors of course, many are in it to truly help, however there is a huge percent of doctors who operate their practices solely for a profit.

    The AMA is scared they will start losing doctors if this plan goes into effect because the greedy and science driven wont be gravitating to this industry.

    Thanks.

    June 15, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  8. Janice Albokai

    North Texas Small Business Alliance New Health Coalition for Smaller Employers 2 – 10 employees.

    June 15, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  9. michael armstrong sr.

    my biggest problem about health care has always been the resale price of medical suplies the mark up is incredible along with medication and the use of hospital equipment for instance 8.00 for a 50 cent band aid now heres where we need a czar .

    June 15, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  10. Patrick

    This move towards health care "co-ops" is a sham. Previous not-for-profit insurers went to a for-profit model because they couldn't compete with the cherry-picking for-profit firms. Co-ops are nothing more than more corporate welfare allowing for a continuation of profit driven health care. Isn't that what got us into this mess?

    June 15, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  11. Co

    Taxation of employer paid heath insurance. Everybody screams No, No, No, but when you are self employed, unemployed or in anyway self insured, you are not allowed to deduct your insurance premium from your income!! So, to keep the system honest and equal to everybody, employer paid insurance premium must be regarded as an income component and should be taxed accordingly. This is not socialism but correct fiscal conduct.

    June 15, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  12. JOHN APPLETON

    The AMA leaderships is against a public option. Lets not bash doctors though. Many doctors support a single payer system. An interesting study done of AMA members found that most members support a single payer system, but these same members felt that their fellow members would not support a single payer system. So lets be careful with blanket statements "that doctors do not support a single payer system." ( A women stated this earlier on CNN)

    June 15, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  13. JAZZY-JAZZ

    I think Americans are being soooo misinformed when it comes to managed care. First of all;

    The benefits of managed care has to be discovered by the patient and the physician. Nobody could or should ever say managed care is good or bad for you. I believe that having the government step into the arena UPS the Ante when it comes to transparency and accountability period.

    This accountability starts with our elected officials, our private insurance companies, our hospitals, our medical schools, our physicians (AMA) and how we choose the career of being in the helping profession as healthcare professionals; doctors and nurses to save and improve lives………………and whose lives.

    I believe we need to stop introducing medicine as a career where you could get rich overnight if you become a doctor And we need to let future physicians understand that although you could get rich from being a physician; richness is not always having a fat bank account and material things collected all over the world. Sure there is money and promises of gathering vast materials in our world is possible when working in the health and scientific community but becoming a PCP, or a pharmacist is not one of them.

    Thanks

    June 15, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  14. Jovan Lopez

    I believe that UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE for every person in this country is the number one answer to solve this issue. A health care system that is run by the government like England, Canada, Europe, the list goes on. Doctors acroos the country can still be compensated very well through the government and also be given bonuses or raises by how many patients they are keeping healthy rather than how many paitients stay sick. Englands Doctors are paid this way and live very well.
    Why is it that in many other countries with universal health care people can expect to live longer than in the U.S. Our country does lie to us about health care in other parts of the world being worse than ours. In cuba which has far less resources than we do, the people live longer and healthier lives.

    Its obvious the powers the be in this country care more about profits than lives.

    June 15, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  15. carolyn wilkinson

    I have been an R.N. for 50 years & watched our medical care system deteriorate in many ways. I could give many examples but they are well known. I remember the bitter,divisive, rancorous, & and many times very ugly debate over Medicare from the AMA & many doctors. The medical community is not know for their progressive stance. We desperately need the public option -AT LEAST!!
    Carolyn Wilkinson

    June 15, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  16. carol

    I'm a single mother of two and the sole income provider in my household. my health insurance and co-pays have doubled in the past 3 years. my cost, over 10,000.00 a year.because of the economy i'm making less than 30,000.00 a year in automotive sales, 16 year in profession. i cannot afford this. my son and i have medical conditions and i can't afford to live without it. i recently filed personnal bankruptcy now i have know buying power at all, just 900.00 a month plus in medical cost and copays. this is crazy! i recently took a course on financial education and according to their percentage to spend on monthly health expenses is about 3-5% they are obviously clueless.
    thankyou,
    desparate in florida
    carol l

    June 15, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  17. Rodney Morrison

    I believe he is putting heath care in place that George W. Bush didn't. We need someone to care because if left to the republicans we would be stuck with these high medical bills.

    June 15, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  18. Rebecca

    Currently Medicare and the VA are government run health programs that are having problems funding necessary medical care. Reimbursement to physicians is cut frequently and is in no way on par with private insurance. Currently anesthesiologists are paid less than 30% of private insurance and there are actually cuts being considered that would pay anesthesiology docs $28 per hour which is less per hour than nurses make. This is not the way to fix the system. If less than 50% of healthcare dollars goes to physicians and hospitals, why are most of the proposed cuts directed at those that actually provide healthcare and not at the other 50% of spending that actually treats no one?

    June 15, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  19. Jared Salinger

    Let's be real; we, in the U.S. do not live in a true democracy, whereby the desires of the majority of citizens to have universal health care would become a mandate, accordingly for politicians.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  20. Aaron M. Roland

    Simple:

    A health plan for all, paid for through taxes, delivered through our existing network of private providers of care. Complete choice, with no middleman.

    Yep, it's single payer.

    http://www.pnhp.org

    June 15, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  21. Mark

    As an Emergency Physician I agree that our health care system is broken. However, in order for us to fix the system we need to fix all aspects. My malpractice insurance is $27,000 per year. The average OBGYN physician in my community is $100,000 per year. Every patient we touch has the right to sue us whether we have done something wrong or not. I spent 13 years of my life training to get to this point and finished school $210,000 in debt. My wife is also a physician and is $240,000 in debt. Combined we are $450,000 in debt. Our combined incomes will place us in the "wealthy" category of Americans according to President Obama, yet with our taxes which are going to be increased, medical school debt, and malpractice there is not much left at the end. While I believe we have the obligation to give back to our community, we also need to make a living. And, I have given back. My Emergency Medicine group has provided our community with over 3 million dollars of free care in the last 3.5 years. That is over $250,000 out of my pocket. My concern with a public insurance system is that the government will place restrictions on what we can get paid, as they currently do with Medicare. My concern with a national insurance system is that it will put many physician out of business because they will not be able to meet their expenses. If we are going to create a system like this we need to look at ways to fix malpractice insurance, frivolous lawsuits, and the expense of becoming a physician.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  22. John

    My only complaint about health care are the people that complain about it. My life would be much simpler if people with medical conditions and those who cannot afford health care would keep their fingers out of my pockets.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  23. David

    I'm an Anglo-Canadian having lived in England for 29 years and Canada for 24. I have now lived in the United States for 3 years (legally) and am scarred stiff of ever getting sick in this country. Don’t misunderstand me I think the U.S. is a great country with great peoples but there are certain issues which need to be changed or addresses and health care is one of them. For a nation to spend more money on its military might than the health of its citizens is simply wrong. Get sick and declare bankruptcy appears to be the mantra!
    It is the fundamental responsibility of the government to care for its people and provide the required level of health care for all. Of course the Republicans will declare it’s the end of the world and freedom as we know it, the Washington lobbyists will be out in full force and a percentage of the public will believe the country is being taken over by Socialists.
    Hopefully though in 20 years time our children and children’s children will look back and say this was the time when the US government started caring for its people, all its people.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  24. KickingBear

    Medicine in America is principally a money-making enterprise. The AMA
    replaced the Hippocratic oath with the Profit-at-all-costs oath. The AMA
    has no concern for the poor or the never-insured. The goal is to bill for as many procedures ( cat scans, MRI's, cardiac catheterizations, useless spine surgery, etc) as possible. The need for a public option is clear.
    We just simply need to integrate our existing medical resources (NIH, CDC
    United States Public Health Service-{ http://www.usphs.gov/}) with proven clinical institutions such as Mayo Clinic ( http://www.mayoclinic.org/,
    Geisinger ( http://www.geisinger.org/ ), Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic,
    Stanford, etc

    June 15, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  25. Heide Daftari

    Mr. Leiberman's comment regarding Iranian election and making mockery of Decomcracy is quite uncalled and errelevant. The youth in Iran are practicing their rights with their life. And as for what he suggested that presiden Obama should do!! I highly agree with the position of White House toward Iran election. Thanks God that we have a brilliant man in the White House.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  26. JOHN APPLETON

    It is clear that we need education reform in this country, I to am far in debt from my education, but that is not an excuse not to have a public option. I agree that we need to fix malpractice law suits. Also many doctors (if not all) have to struggle to get money from insurance companies. Doctors hav to spend large amounts of time on the phone with these companies just to get basic procedures approved. We need to stop repeating the myth that we actually have choices under a private system. Doctors don't get to choose what care to give their patients, insurance companies do.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  27. ISD

    Heidi,
    Your set-up piece and interview with Suzanne Malveaux this morning was significantly misleading and misrepresented the position of the majority of doctors in the US. I am a specialist phsyician – who by your description has nefarious vested interests in the status quo. For the record, the AMA does NOT represent American doctors either as a whole or as a majority. Their positions are consistenty regressive and not in line with the aggregate positions held by the vast majority of American MDs.

    You perpetuated the AMA's propaganda and misrepresentaiton implying that they represent all US physicians – again they do NOT. The majority of US MD's are supportive of some form of public option for health coverage and a large minority support single payer universal health care – as do I. We (the majority) recoginize and support the Obama reccomendations to riegn in profligate health spending and wasteful expenditures on Medicare.

    It is imperative in the interest of open debate that you rectify this misrepresentation on air today please.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  28. lonnie

    as long as the 20 Million illegals have health care that is ALL im worried about !

    June 15, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  29. Susan from Boise Idaho

    We need to use an outcome for service model vs. our current fee for service. There is a great deal of waste and redundancy in our healthcare system. Medical errors are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. according to the Institute of Medicine. The healthcare industry should follow other high risks industries as far as reporting errors and near misses. Many medical mistakes occur because we are poor communicators, have inadequate training for our healthcare teams, and continue to work in an environment of intimidation and hierarchy.
    The airline industry uses simulation and crew resource management to maintain and improve safety. For the healthcare industry an increase in safety translates to decreased patient errors, improved patient outcomes and billions of dollars saved.
    We absolutely need to solve the healthcare insurance coverage for our citizens. No matter what solution we implement, our first priority should be to improve patient safety.
    Thank you

    June 15, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  30. Marc Wutschke

    We need a single payer health care plan; it's the cheapest and most comprehensive in the long run. Medicare for all!

    June 15, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  31. stephanie

    I would not mind paying higher taxes if everyone had healthcare. Our country could stand to learn a thing or two from Canada.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  32. Franklin Stone

    I am "off the wall" when it comes to many of my political views, I believe that consumerism is one of the many things that makes our country great. Taking a stance similar to the anti-trust acts, breaking up monopolies is the way to win. The idea was to have the government protect the people from companies that aren't "breaking" the rules but bending them to provide unfair advantages. The unfair advantages here are clear and I think putting some new regulations to protect people and doctors from rampant insurance policies will provide one half of this problem. As well as an option being made available (and not forced on anyone) by the government is a good idea because it will cause competitiveness from these insurance companies and people who like the coverage they have can keep it and people who need something can actually get it.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  33. J Gray

    I believe in the single payer system, like other countries have. If we take the insurance out of healthcare, we will eliminate a lot of useless spending. Insurance is nothing more than another Ponzi scheme, taking money they can't return in a downturn. And the doctors are griping because they will not make as much? I think their objections are moot. They make too much already. When their wages get down to earth, I'll listen.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  34. Harold

    Biggest Gripe? That people don't understand that we already pay for coverage for everyone! But it is more costly because it has to be an emergency! It is not fair! I have yet to see a person not want coverage that doesn't have coverage. It is always someone that has excellant coverage that doesn't want our system to change. We need to explain to the insured what it will mean to them, there cost may actually go down as we treat everyone as equal human beings. Not as less than the insured!

    June 15, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  35. Raymond Foss

    MY wife is in ICU and almost died yesterday, because we were unable to get her to proper health care. It started out as a simple urinary infection, went to a kidney infection and now her blood is septic. My wife is an RN but dues to 4 slipped disks in her back and stress from her job, she has not worked in 3 years. Still waiting for disability, assuming she doesnt die before she even gets a hearing! SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE!

    June 15, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  36. don

    I for one do not want the goverment in my health care. If Medicare and Medicade are a sample of how the govermnet takes care of health care. No thanks. Now they are talking about cutting the money to these programs to finance the new system its a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  37. Jane

    Fixing the 'health care system' as it exists is not enough. If we get a government run system or government option without also giving due respect to alternative medicine, the system will continue to be broken and cost too much, and inexpensive and effective options for maintaining and improving health that don't require a doctor may even be outlawed. Since Obama is going to the AMA for approval and sign on, I am not optimistic that any real reform will happen. I fear for the future of health care in this country no matter what happens.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  38. Dan H

    My biggest gripe is the the politicians in congress are more interested in protecting the insurance industry from real competition, god forbid, than they are about providing healthcare to ALL of the citizens that they are supposed to be representing.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  39. jerry moon

    to fix a lot of healthcare problem. – can you say " TORT REFORM" ?

    June 15, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  40. Virginia Trice

    Lets see, what do I think of current medical care in the U.S. I work everyday, due to economy had no raise in 3 years, rates on insurance have gone up every years, along with co-pays. I had to try to get my blood pressure medicine changed when co-pay went to $100, had a reaction called angioedema and could have died. Have to rely on my doctor to provide samples when he can't and don't get it take the med when I can't get samples. My husband has to take about 9 meds that he cannot do without, so I go without. Maybe when America wakes up and realizes the rip off by insurance companies, all those politicians can leave Washington and get jobs with them instead of trying to keep Americans suffering with paying for services we can't even get. Forget about all this socialized medicine, just give us medical help we can afford.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  41. Jay E.

    I'm disabled recently and our health insurance premiums equal 20% of our pre-tax income. Our family does not have any employer paid coverage, so we are paying it all ourselves, just basic medical coverage. We would really like to see a single-payer option for our family. Insurance companies have been saying costs will be cut and competition will bring down costs, but it has never happened. Without a government sponsored single-payer option, we believe our monthly costs will never go down and will continue to rise very six months as it does now. We are very tired of the same old words and the power of the insurance lobby to kill any real competition by a single-payer option. The insurance companies control what doctors we see and what care we receive, which is usually the bare minimum.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  42. hladinuk

    2 points:
    1. Healthcare should not be treated as commodity; therefore, Healthcare should not be profit driven, as it is currently. Profits should not be made on the ilnesses of people.

    2. Isn't odd how these Senators and Congressman like to boast about how well our Veterans are being treated by the V.A. If the private sector does such a great job delivering health care, why not privatize the V.A.? The answer is simple. There would be a hue and cry the like of which you never heard before. The Veterans would go beserk should such an idea be presented.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  43. GRACE AGNELLO

    I am all for reform of the healthcare system. I have wonderful health insurance. We have the same insurance plan as the people in congress do. The Federal Employees Program.
    All of us SHOULD have this! People need to do what the Iranians are doing now. Go and protest the system that divides our people. Shame on anyone who takes from the people, then, divides and gives to a chosen few.
    FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE

    June 15, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  44. Karl Kleeman

    Have you ever heard of Medicare not covering pre-existing conditions? If our representatives feel that Americans do not want government health insurance, then why don't they seek the repeal of Medicare and see how people feel about that? Americans who cannot afford "for profit" private heath insurance need an affordable public option.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  45. brian

    i worked for 30 years at my company and while being a member of a union i sat on picket lines and lost pay. My company made billions and should share there wealth with there employees to some degree. So to have the Govt. come along and try and steal my benifits that I worked hard for is appalling. Try not giving $12.8 TRILLION to the Banksters for payment to winners casino shadow banking OTC derivatives.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  46. craig

    PEOPLE SHOULD BE CAREFUL WHAT THEY WISH FOR! There is no question that there needs to be more reasonably priced insurance, but we do not need government involvement. I work as a physician in a government system, and patients get very slow and often negligent care. In addition, we already have government healthcare.....Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA health system,.....none of which does a good job. Did FEMA do a good job with responding to natural disasters? One could argue "other countries do it" Yes, and working with some physicians that come from these systems....those systems fail many people. One example... If you have a severe headache and had a leaking aneurysm (bleeding in your brain)... Do you realize that in many european nations, the doctor would NOT be able to order a CT scan of your brain? Only if you had neurologic signs such as one side paralyzed would you qualify for this test.....at that point it may be too late. I diagnose brain tumors, brain hemorrhages several times per month and ALL OF THESE CASES WOULD BE MISSED! So again, be careful what you wish for

    June 15, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  47. Reza

    I agree with the preseident Obama's Health care reform. Health care is a part of human right it is not just a business like an auto industry.
    As a physician I see how private insurance compaines see it like a business and play with life of the people! I also work in a charity clinic and I feel that how much uninsured people are in trouble fo rvery basic care . We need a big change and it is time to do it. AMA does not talk in behalf of all of the physicians
    RT.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  48. Chris Staggs

    The AMA doesn't like the Obama plan. Well, what is there option? I have yet to see anyone involved in this debate, the AMA or the opposition party, put forth any altrernatives other than the status quo. The AMA complains that they are being paid at 2001 Medicare rates. Hey, welcome to my world! The majority of American's, that syill have jobs, are suffering from the lack of wages keeping up with expenses. Why do Doctor's think they are exempt? Thanks.

    Chris

    June 15, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  49. electra

    i certainly hope that one of the underlying causes of medical over-expediture is addressed – litigation. as a young physician, we are compelled to learn "cya" (cover your a–) medicine, else be sued. i do not believe that any health care reform can work without addressing litigation. doctors are just human after all.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  50. Marc Pado

    Even government advocates of the plan say that MDs will need to "contribute", meaning to accept a lower pay scale. Two issues: It takes 4 years of pre-med, 4 years of medical school, and a miniumum of 3 years in residency. Loans start accruing interest from the moment the money is borrowed. That results in debt of $150k – $200k, and some paying high interest rates. How much should the government mandate pay for someone who has given up 11 years of their life, pays $3k/month in loans, and, to my second point, must assume the risk of life and death decisions every day. One mistake and you WILL get sued. Did you ever hear the phrase, "you get what you pay for"? Remember that the next time you visit a doctor that must catch what may be killing you or your child.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  51. Sara

    cost containment is the key to solving the health care crisis.
    Anyone involved charges whatever the market will bear and unfortunately in this area, people don't have a choice; we need to recognize that health is not a comodity as others; it is in the
    category of water, and electricity; essential so it needs to be regulated.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  52. Vicki Crosby

    I have a real problem with the politicians on the right, who have great health care, telling me I can't have any. They say they don't want the government to get between you and your doctor. Well, I say "What doctor"? I am one of the close to 50 million people without Insurance. Health care is not a luxury, it is a necessity . This needs to be fixed, yesterday!

    June 15, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  53. Charlie Harper

    One of the saddest things I have witnessed in modern life is the way the American public is preyed upon by the medical industry.

    We could lower costs by 30-50% overnight. Anyone who doubts that can check out the costs in every other civilized country in the world. We need to stop the deception and deal with the problem in a direct manner.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  54. Valerie Nellor

    Yahoo! I think I found the money to pay for a Single Payer Health Care System. Instead of taking it from the poor and elderly lets take it from the Health Insurance Company CEO's. I read that the CEO of United Health Care made $124 million in one year. And that is just one person. Imagine the fortune we could come up with. How about some from Rick Scott? He is the one paying for the ads against a single payer health system and the owner of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). This guy is a total crook.
    “In 2001, HCA reached a plea agreement with the U.S. government that avoided criminal charges against the company and included $95 million in fines. In late 2002, HCA agreed to pay the U.S. government $631 million, plus interest, and pay $17.5 million to state Medicaid agencies, in addition to $250 million paid up to that point to resolve outstanding Medicare expense claims. In all, civil law suits cost HCA more than $1.7 billion to settle, including more than $500 million paid in 2003 to two whistleblowers.” His profits must be fairly large if these were just fines. Personally, I would rather give my money to the doctors and nurses who take care of me when I need it.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  55. Allan

    affordable health insurance should be every Americans right as in Europe, were the populations health and well being is put above profits, the UK doctors are paid a salary and collect bonuses for preventive care, the profession was a draw for caring and compassionate individual, in the US it seems the profession draws doctors that want huge financial rewards, all that appose seem to be the people with the most to loss IE Insurance companies, Doctors and Hospital. As a christian country shouldn't the well being of everyone be the priority not huge profits that may be lost.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  56. Judy Braach

    I think when insurance was able to lobby state and federal governments the cost of insurance/ base cost went up. Insurance companies should not have influence on any state or federal law that relates to medical or auto insurance. Leave it up to the people. Our democratic society will create a check and balance if the government/ state and federal stay out of it.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  57. Tim Zerwick

    Heidi,
    The Republicans talk about losing the ability to choose your Doctors. In the world of HMO's, managed care, network providers, etc. most of us can't just choose any Doctor we want. Congressmen probably can.

    Our current system is so badly broken we can't just try for little incremental fixes. Take Medicare, improve it, then expand it into national health care for all ages. My employer, and others, would contribute what they now pay for my insurance into the national system.

    Thanks for listening.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  58. Al Preston

    I am persuaded the media just doesn't get it. They seem so obscessed with promoting Republican and allied groups' opposition to any meaningful health care reform that they fail to cover the legitimate concerns of those who are harmed by the current system and (especially) the 47 million folks who don't have any health insurance whatsoever. It's time you stop reporting the claims of crybaby Republican opponents and their allies as facts and report instead the real problems of the industry and how to REALLY fix them.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  59. warren

    The republicans came up with the term "socialized medicine" with focus group studies aimed at finding the best term to stigmatize a government health program. They are so deeply in the pockets of big insurers that they will never work for reform. A government option is absolutely necessary to force the big insurers and hospital systems to reduce their costs and lower prices. Don' let the argument that there is plenty of competition now fool you. In most markets health care is dominated by one or two large entities. Costs are kept arbitrarily high across regions. I don't want to see all health care run by the government – but I believe that a government option must exist.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  60. Al

    Everybody has taken wage cuts or worse. so why can't the over priced doctors take a cut, seems kind of unamerican to me. The GREED of americans is what got us here in the first place.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  61. Tim of Arizona

    Why can't the government buy up a certain amount of minimum health care coverage insurance policies from numerarous private insurers and when people go to the hospital to to get help and don't have health insurance they can opt from the prepaid premiums. The premiums will be for that particular health care issue. The government can then save money just like all families do by getting insurance from the private sector. They can then stop medi care as we know it and provide this coverage fro all elderly and non-insured personnel. The Government gets medical coverage for all and the private sector gets a much needed business.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  62. Don

    Most people have health insurance through private insurance. Those over 65 have health insurance through public insurance (Medicare). The coverage is about the same. The REAL difference is that the administrative cost of private insurance more than 17% while the administrative cost of Medicare is less than 2%!

    It's a no brainer. Why shouldn't we go to a publically funded system which provides the same coverage for about 15% less.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  63. tk

    What happened to the campaign promise that we all would have the same health insurance as congress

    June 15, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  64. Grace

    OK, this is going to sound really naive because it probably is. Let's put the nation on the same health care program that folks in Congress receive. They and their families receive excellent health care and, thus, have little vested interest in making sure the rest of us are taken care of. (I know: that's pretty cynical.) OR... insist that all Congress members who are 65 and older be put on Medicare only. That would be one way to assure that that system would be fixed. When one's own health care is on the line, suddenly that becomes a very important matter indeed.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  65. Tom Dodds Chicago, IL

    I hear all of the conversations about the cost of this new Health Care plan of President Obama. Do these people think that the uninsured and under-insured are FREE. We are already paying for their health care only we are paying for it at the wrong end. We are paying for it in the Emergency Rooms not in the preventive care facilities. We are paying top dollar for this health care, just like the conservatives want us to do, putting money in the pockets of the Insurance companies and influential doctors.
    What I would like to know is, what portion of the cost of health care actually goes to the Doctors. My guess is that it is a very low percentage and the Doctors may well be better off under a more public health care policy.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  66. DHK

    I think the healthcare system is a cruel buisness. The two premiums I pay for health out of my check bi-weekly, The co-pay to doctors and the specailist and long with the increase in co-pay at the pharmacy is reduculious. Most of the doctors now is in it for greed. You don't have the geniune caring doctors at heart like you use to, it's all about the money. I recently was at the doctors for a schedule appointment but also develope anther condition while I was there and told I could not be treated for that because when I previously made the appointment it did not include that so I had to reschedule for that. The reason given was the insurance company would not pay for that. I was in shock.

    On another noted, I beleive if the US thought more of their own US born population as they do illegale immergrants that come to this country and colled heath benefits from social service when they should not be here in the first place, maybe that help can be use for US citizens with out health insurance.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  67. david suton

    I favor single-payer...

    June 15, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  68. dave vandenbosch

    i know several people that work in local clinics. up until the economy started to decline last year, drug representatives used to have catered lunches for 15-20 people delivered to some of said clinics. this occured 2-4 days per week, with catering supplied by red lobster, applebees,'
    etc. in addition, drug companies(at the time)were also conducting seminars bi-weekly at the local doubletree hotel, where $30- $40 per plate is not uncommon.
    when i hear drug companies whine, trying to justify the cost of their drugs, i know the real reason behind drug costs...flat-out bribery. also,
    how much does it cost for tv ads that push drugs for acid reflux, allergies, and male sexual enhancement?
    the medical industry, along with the pharmaceutical companies,
    digusts me.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  69. Nijole Franklin

    I think the President's plan is one of the best things. I know very well what free healthcare means. It's one of the greatest things American people have never had.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  70. Candy

    My first point is that primary care is becoming an endangered species.
    Why would someone want to go into that specialty when their debt is so high before they even start to practice. One report this morning said part of the reason The AMA or physicians do not want a medicare like system is because they would take a cut in pay. It's not that, Their overhead is getting to the point they maynot be able to keep their doors open. Primary care Physicians are your gate keepers. They are the patient's advocate. Who do you call when you are sick? Who do you call when the insurance company turns you down?

    Second point, look to the vendors, not the providers to keep costs down.Doctors are the most regulated group in the country. There is no free market in that profession. Revisit torte reform, suppliers, EMR companies (they in particular see an opening and are putting the full court press on), insurance companies, pharmaceutical..etc.

    Do some research and stop speculating.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  71. patti

    I am an RN and my husband is a primary care doctor. I think there is a big misconception regarding the salaries of most physicians. My husband's rates have not been raised in virtually 15 years. We have to write off 40% of billing because he is willing to take Medicare patients and sees uninsured patients. Our office expenses continue to rise just like every other business. If took 10 years to pay off his school loans. If a nationalized system happens, the Medical field will never attract the brightest students.
    Also,there is no love lost between doctors and the insurance companies, in fact most docs are the biggest patient advocates fighting for the patients. It is a good thing that insurance companies are being forced to cover those with pre-existing conditions and provide catastrophic coverage. Secondly, Medicare and Medicaid are going bankrupt, This is a government public plan at work. We have no confidence whatsoever in a public plan that will lead to rationing of care for all and will do nothing but raise taxes.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  72. Reynaldo Pichardo

    Universal HC? Since when have government been in the least possible on a comparable level to privately run enterprise here?!?
    We don't need the gov running our HC; instead we need gov to crack down on greedy practices within the industry.

    What needs to be done is to have a policy in place which mandates HC coverage to ALL employees. Regardless of full time or part time levels, we need all those working to be covered by health insurance that's taxable as income as well.

    The only slack the gov should be worry about is the people who are no longer able to perform any type of job; jobs that can provide private coverage for them.

    How better to create job loyalties within the private employers, than having them still provide health coverage to their "downsized" worker pools?

    You'll create private job security without worrying about massive layoffs, most of the time created out of sheer publicity to appease investor's worries.

    Universal HC is a joke in Canada, the UK and all those other places, many here tout so much as examples to follow.
    Since when do we need to be followers?

    June 15, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  73. JOHN APPLETON

    I agree with almost all the posts here. The problem is not public support. The people clearly want a strong PUBLIC option. This needs to be reflected in the media more. You would think that sinlge payer supporters would be the extreme minority, given the small amount of time devoted to discussing a public option in the media. We need to keep the pressure up, keep posting, keep protesting, call your congress people. Massive protest is the only way to get the Media and Congress to listen. Also can Ms. Cohen stop saying doctors don't support a public option. Can she at least say some doctors don't support a public option. There is a long list of doctors who wold love to come on CNN and tell you about their support of a single payer system. In fact 5 were arrested for protesting inside congress two weeks ago.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  74. Ron Donis, M.D.

    A new legislative framework for medical care will be of little value if physicians opt out and disregard the plan’s fee structure and are instead allowed to bill whatever they wish. Some currently refuse to accept Medicare reimbursement and almost all physicians refuse Medicaid patients. The legislation will be a worthless piece of paper if physicians are permitted to decline the plan’s coverage as payment. So, whatever the legislation, there must be incentives or inducements to assure physician participation.

    Sincerely,
    R. Donis, M.D.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  75. Valerie Nellor

    Ok Heidi, I would like you to talk about the main complaint by most of your posters. Unbelieveable profit taking by the Health Insurance Companies. If you don't, we will know that CNN is also owned by Health Insurance Companies. What shape does that take? Advertising dollars, partial owners of some of those companies, dividends? We might need a riot in our own country!

    June 15, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  76. Dr. Carlos delgado

    The current system can't be fixed, we need to proceed to a single payer option. American's health should not be cared for by a for profit system, in the current system the insurance companies are required to show profit: this is done by denying medications or procedures to the patients or decreasing re-embursements to the providers.

    A non-for profit government program should be implemented into the current system to help ease out of our current mess and to help work out any problems. The AMA will be reluctant to change the current system, because it benefits specialists, they will oppose change as they did when Mrs. Clinton tried for health reform.

    We have to tell our representatives to crawl out of the pockets of these insurance companies and do what is right for the majority of our nation. Now is the time for change, a coalition is not needed, change is needed.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  77. Barbara A Jackson

    Isn't anyone looking at one of the main causes of rising health care – the malpractice monster. Unfortuantely filing a medical malpractise suit is seen as easy money. There should be a cap on lawyer's fees and punishment for frivoluous law suits.. In order to protect themselves from years of litigation, physicians cover themselves by ordering every possible test and analysis in order to defend themselves in court. Also Administrators should not receive millions in bonuses. They contribute nothing but shuffle papers for money.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  78. T. Williams

    Washington should take care of Social Security and Medicare which are both going bankrupt before they startup another entitlement,,,I don't think anybody in elected office knows how to balance a checkbook.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  79. robstep

    I believe it is about time that we have an affordable national health plan that is available to people that otherwise would not have insurance. Obama hit on a key point in his last rally was that one of the reasons medicare costs are out of control is the lack of preventative medicine that is not available to many. I do believe that people who cannot afford healthcare put off going to the doctor until it is often too late, or until a simple problem becomes an untreatable one. This costs everyone. We need to offer healthcare that is affordable in order to keep healthcare costs overall.

    I also do not buy the argument that a government plan will lead to socialized medicine. Our mail is run by the government but that does not stop businesses like FedEx and UPS from having successful parcel services. I believe that a government plan will bring down heathcare costs for everyone.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  80. Charlie

    If this does pass in some way there will be such an overwhelming influx of patients who previously had no care what so ever that the system will almost come to a halt. This will give the "na-sayers" a platform to destroy this program. If other countries socialized medicine programs are viewed you will see that the initial emplimentation did cause a severe problem but in all cases the "wrinkles" needed to be ironed out. After 3-10 years the programs stabalized (as all people of the country now had health care and most had been treated) and became an easy non evasive medical program. There is a reason infant and elderly death tolls in this country are extremely higher than that of some third world countries, our health care system does not work unless you have serious coin to pay the (once thought) inflated but lets be real,, extremely over-inflated prices as mentioned in previous bloggers writings.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  81. Dan H

    Heidi, the AMA hasn't represented the general opinion of physicians for quite some time. The Annals of Internal Medicine did a poll last April that found that 59% of physicians supported National Health Insurance either "strongly" or "generally" while only 32% opposed it. Please, do some research before you say on national television that physicians generally oppose a public option. Please, interview some representatives of Physicians for a National Health Program or American Nurses Association. Give both sides a voice, and call people out using the term "Socialized Medicine" to scare people by pointing out that a)No one is advocating actual socialized medicine, and b)We already have socialized medicine for our Veterans and it performs better than the rest of our healthcare system. It really isn't so scary. The politics in Washington has gotten so very far away from the reality in the rest of the country.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  82. Tom Page

    National Health care can be a real boost to quality of life to many Americans. Unfortunately there are many who's main interest in this subject isn't the well being of those Americans. The Federal government should offer a low interest loans to students to enhance enrollment into Medical Schools. With greater enrollment into a Medical system and encouragement for preventative medicine cost and be controlled. Establishment of a National Health care system faces two major obstacle. One being cost, the other is fraud. The existing Medicare/Medicaid systems should be rolled into the new National systems. The cost should be shared fairly by adjusting the Medicare payroll tax deduction currently in place and/or a percentage of reported gross income. To deal with fraud there should be severe legal federal penalties for Companies & individuals found guilty of fraud. No exceptions & mandatory sentences so all will be treated equally.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  83. Valerie Nellor

    How is it that the members of the Finance Committee that are making this decision on health care have received millions in campaign contributions from the Health Insurance Companies? Where is the Ethics Committee on the blatent "conflict of interest"? Maybe the ACLU can help the public.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  84. Joe Caramagna

    Heidi, I am self-employed and make a very good salary. But because I work for myself and don't have any employees for group insurance, I can't afford health care for my family. Whoever says the health care system isn't broken, or that the free market will work it out doesn't understand the situation. The Republicans have no alternative to President Obama's plan, they are just acting as opposition. We need a public insurance option right now.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  85. earresponsible

    Extending Medicare/Medicaid type public health coverage to 47million more patients is economically insane. It will result in 75million patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid and hundreds of thousands of physicians and specialists refusing to accept it.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  86. Sara Robinson

    Why can't we take the co-operative approach, not unlike the Farm Bureau, and begin as a membership basis. All the pharmaceutical companies and doctors could join the membership and they could gain dividend payments based on Tier level of participation. This would be their investment return. The healthier the population, perhaps the better the dividend. Private citizens would join and the poor might get started by some type of credit. Then a cafeteria style assortment of benefits would be offered, but with a mandatory selection of certain minimum coverages. All uninsured citizens could participate by membership subscription and beyond the minimum coverage requirement could select extra coverages that suit that particular individual or family needs.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  87. parvin

    U.S. better help Iranian people at this time so they continue on the change of system. This doesn't mean to start a war in Iran like Iraq and Afghanistan, but merely supporting people on their journey.

    Also, U.S. has to stop catering to Israelis demands against Iran, North Korea is a greater danger and they should concentrait on them and leave the Iran's Nuk alone for now. Most important fact about Iran is to topple the regim.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  88. JOHN APPLETON

    Reynaldo Pichardo: States that health care is a joke in Canada and the UK. How so? The World Health Care organization ranks their systems MUCH higher than the US. They have longer life spans, and report much higher satisfaction rates with their system. Also doctors are very well paid in the UK (check for yourself if you don't believe me) Give the people what they want. Single Payer!

    June 15, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  89. PHIL

    We are probably the richest Country in the world and have spent trillions on bail-outs. I don't know what the ultimate cost would be of insuring every person in the US but it seems to me that money could be re-routed from programs that certaimly are not as imprtant as the health of our citizens. do we really need to spend all that money with nasa and space research? it may take an increase in the tax burden for everyone of us but well worth it.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  90. Jane

    The suppression of alternative and complementary medicine by the medical establishment and the pushing of expensive and often toxic drugs by the corporate drug companies contributed greatly to the rise in the cost of health care. A government health care system that does not address this imbalance will be no better than what we have now and may in fact be much WORSE as many choices people now have could become OUTLAWED or AVAILABLE BY PRESCRIPTION ONLY. Not including this as an aspect of the debate on health care reform is extremely foolish and short sighted.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  91. Stace Bondar, RHU

    Why don't you have someone on your show that can explain the health care financing problems to your listeners. I have been working in the trenches of health care financing since 1983. I am a Registered Health Underwriter and I create privately owned health insurance programs for large groups that work well. The problems are in the fact that we have 50 sets of state laws and regulators which add costs. The CMS programs currently work because they shift 90% of their costs to providers who in turn shift that cost to the private health insurance buyers. if everyone was covered by a federal plan, who would the fed shift the costs too? The largest health insurers in the U.S. are publicly traded companies which means their primary customer is their shareholders. Any federal program that pays these carriers to provide health insurance to everyone will just be feeding a dividend sieve with taxpayer dollars. We need to discuss how the current mechanisms to not serve us before we try reinvenitng the wheel.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  92. Beverly Shortridge

    Whatever happens with the health care system I want Congress to have the same coverage. I do not think it is fair for them to have very good coverage that is different from anything we have and be able to say what is good for us!!
    Something needs to be done about the overuse of ER's and
    they talk about lowering Medicare payments...it is harder all the time to get Drs now to take Medicare patients. I am on Medicare and I am ashamed at how much Medicare pays.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  93. Daniel Nelson

    I think that the hospitals, doctors and health care people make too much money. This is why health care cost too much and if you need to see a doctor or go to the hospital the costs are way too high! They could still live a life of prosperity if they would lower the cost of their procedures!

    June 15, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  94. Sierra

    America needs to get out from under the insurance companies. My father is a doctor and got out of private practice 20 years ago due to the crushing requirements of insurance. My last doctor stopped taking any insurance and went to a different system.

    Now I am unemployed and cannot even get insurance in my state. If I lived in other states like New York or California, there are better options. Everyone needs to be covered, with a monthly premium of $150 or so. Now.

    Anyone who thinks health care in our country is working is either delusional or lying or being paid off. The government is being forced to step in entirely because, just like other industries, the private sector has utterly failed.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  95. rl

    I was covered by an employeer health plan for many years. When I lost my jobin 2007 I had to use COBRA for my wife, child and myself. Including dental it was over $1100 a month. I also suffer from chronic pain in the back and neck and decided I could no longer work.
    Now I have an HSA account with Blue Cross/Blue Shield just for myself. They refused to cover a long list of items because i had a high PSA score (about 5). So here are three items to show that present health care is a sham.
    1) When I moved to a different state and had COBRA, my X-company change my health plan. Not know this, I established a new patient account with a doc. Aetna paid the bill (except co-pay) and then a year later took the money back because I had been swithched to BCBS.
    BCBS refused to pay since it had been a year since the charge was incurred.

    2) I went to my Doc to get a change in the dosage of a Rx I was already using for BP and BPH. Because this code showed up on the long list of things not covered with BCBS, they refused to pay the doctor visit.

    3) I have chronic pain and have used opiod medication for 20 years. I can't find any doctor who will prescribe it for me where I now live. They expect me to drive a 6 hr round trip just to get an Rx. One med is not refillable so they expect this every month. I refuse to do it.

    4) Don't believe those commercials about drug companies willing to help. You have to have nothing to get this help. The US pays very high drug prices while the rest of the world gets a discount. I just use generics. Hospitals and doctors charge full price to a person with no insurance while illegal aliens get free care and insurance companies get discounts.
    Our system must change into a single payer solution and pre-existing conditions must not be excluded. As you can see only a high score on an unreliable test was use to exclude even doctor visits.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  96. robstep

    The comment from the doctor above about some doctors refusing to take patients on Medicaid strikes fear in my heart. It is amazing to me that this is allowed. I see doctors being public servants, not unlike myself being a teacher. I cannot imagine turning away a student based on their socioeconomic status, nor do I believe the public would find this acceptable. Why do we find it acceptable that doctors turn away patients in need of healthcare. This is only further proof as to why we need healthcare reform in this country.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  97. Michael P.

    In regards to health care, I am not sure what Obama has in mind, but if you want to know the truth, the key to having healthcare is to have a healthy economy. If you have a healthy economy, you can discuss healthcare more intelligently. What we need here as in most issues is a "think tank" of university students who are in school, or who have studied economics. The U.S. constitution is a great document and the governmental principles are strong, but we need strong economics. How does that relate to healthcare? Study how to improve your economy, and the health care issue will resolve itself. Make your economy strong. If you have a job and money, then you can afford healthcare. If you don't have a job, then perhaps you want the government to help you. The best way the government can help you is when it's strong. The government should go into the business of selling healthcare insurance, so that the money doesn't come from the already overburdened tax payers. If government has its own businesses, then it can raise revenues without over taxing. Maybe we need to look at social-democracy where the government takes responsibility for raising its own revenues which can pour back into savings and benefits for individuals.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  98. Gail Benedict

    We need a totally public health care system. We are paying more money for health care per person than other nations with public health care and we still have 46 million people without any health care. As a family of 3 we pay more money per month on health care insurance than heat and electricity combined per month. ( We live in central New York State.) Health care coverage needs to be affordable and comperhensive, including preventative visits. Our daughter in doing environmental work through SCA (like Americore) and is basically volunteering and is in between places and can not afford health care. If there was public health care then she could continue doing important volunteer work instead of settling for a job just so she can have health insurance. So therefore, I'm in favor of a single payer , private issue health care program.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  99. Peggy

    I had 6 surgeries in 8 months last year. I spent untold hours arguing with my health insurance about mistakes in billing. The doctors billing people were the major culprits it turns out and the health insurance companies went along. Profits rule the game at the expense of the sick.. Obama went through this with his mother. He knows. Most of us have no clue until we get sick. He promised the same government insurance Congress gets. What's the argument? Full government insurance is the only answer. Greed has no place in deciding or denying care for Americans who are sick. Congress pays $200 to $300 a month. Our leaders are taken care of with no hassles. My parents were government workers with government health insurance and the same was true for our family then. Since we the people are supposedly the government, we deserve no less. Get rid of the greedy insurance companies all together along with out of sight medical costs and doctor costs. The AMA and health insurance companies are only working with Obama to secure their interests while he is in office. Then we'll see the same old when he leaves.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  100. mary gray

    The public should understand that the AMA is a large lobbying organization and that they never have anything except the dollar bottom line as their first priority. I have been a physician for almost 30 years and they have never received a penny of my money. They are "K street" at its worst. They pretend to speak for all physician sand to act as a fatherly organization. They do not.

    Only a public option will address the insurance industry's hold over our medical system. Insurance giants also are driven by the economic bottom line and give no value added to our helath care. In fact they make health care more difficult to access and also give us nothing in return for the approximately 30% of our health care dollar that they take.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  101. Don Robertson

    There is no doubt that the U.S. has the "capability" to provide the highest level of health care in the world. However, the "service" actually provided the average American is lower than any other first or second-world nation. There appears to be two roots to this problem: (1) the high instituational cost of medical education, which creates a situation where doctors "need" high fees to rise above debt in their carreer, and (2) the shockingly out-of-line fees charged by hospitals for service ($6000 to $15,000 per day) and for drug therapy. This happens no where else in the world. If Japan, Canada and every nation in Europe can provide every citezen with medical care, and even Mexico and Costa Rica can offer effective systems, then there is no excuse for the excessive greed and unreal;istic fees within the U.S. medical system. The surest way to go bankrupt in the United States is to simply get sick ... at that point, your life, as you new it and hoped it would become, is over. This situation is a tremendous embarrassment to America and all it stands for. In many of our societal areas, especially medical services, Americans are subject to manipulation by numerous special interest groups (hospital chains, HMOs, drug cartels) and the politicians allow, aid and abet this manipulation because they too are victims of the largess of these special interest groups. This whole area is one in which the government should take active control, similar to the governmental action in Canada. The overall quality of health services would improve dramatically for the average American.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  102. Eric Normand

    The debate about health care reform seems to be centered around insurance related issues and who will pay for that insurance. It seems to me that we are all missing a bigger point. What is health care really? It should be thought of as care for ones health. Instead, we have come to think of health care as what we do after we are sick, often treating avoidable illnesses with a wide range of synthetic, overpriced medicines that often have adverse side effects. We are an unhealthy nation. Obesity is now overtaking smoking as the number one cause of preventable illness. Currently, two thirds of the adult population is obese or overweight as are one third of our children. The CDCP estimates that all American children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes as a result of poor diet and lack of exercise. We have evolved into a sedentary lifestyle, we are poisoning ourselves with too much of the wrong kinds of foods, and then we treat those problems with drugs that are often even more toxic.

    While there will always be some people that get sick or injured because of circumstances beyond their control, there is a much larger percentage of our population that becomes unhealthy because of their own actions. We need a health care system that cares more about preventing illness rather than medicating it. We need better education about nutrition and we need a greater emphasis on physical activity as a society including a reform of P.E. in schools. We need to better understand the foods we eat and make better choices. Without tackling the real issue, which is how do we each as individuals better care for our own health, our health as a nation will continue to deteriorate regardless of who pays for health care insurance or whether or not it's free for the masses.

    Eric Normand
    Pegarm, TN

    June 15, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  103. Dennis Delrow

    Regarding health care cost/policy. Why does the government allow physicians & insurance companies to charge for "office visits" even when no service is performed, or to charge for referrals to other physicians. When I take my vehicle to a repair shop to remedy a problem, the mechanic examines my vehicle without charge before giving me an estimate for the needed repairs. And, if the mechanic refers me to a a different repair shop, he does not charge me for that referral. Why can't the president speak out on such matters and shame physicians and insurance companies, if laws can not be instituted to end such needless and costly charges?

    June 15, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  104. Charlie Harper

    The numbers pretty well speak for themselves: We pay twice as much as civilized country in the world. Our health measurements come in around 37th in the world.

    The health industry uses fear of death to justify price increases. It is morally wrong to make exorbitant profits based on the suffering of others.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  105. Ahed

    In Iran It does not matter who win, the final word goes to Kamenaee, how is acting like God. We should not give it more attention. And we need to stop sticking our nose in everyone business. We have more problems in here.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  106. Peggy Pick

    Rob's comment on Cobey Bryants behavior was right on. I am wondering why young people see Bryant's arrogance and past behavior is nothing that young people should emulate. Thanks Rob for telling the truth!!!

    June 15, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  107. Barbara A Jackson

    Why does ithealth care cost more in Miami than in Oregon? Check out the difference in medical malpractice for Florida and Oregon. Then check out the cost of defensive medicine in those states.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  108. Steve Dunston

    We need a government only, single payer, universal healthcare plan that will cover every American from the day they are born until the day they die. The last thing we need and the worst thing that could happen would be to allow greedy, profit driven insurance companies to continue to participate in our healthcare system in any way whatsoever.
    A massive expansion of our Medicare/Medicaid system, fully paid for by tax dollars is the only practical and acceptable answer to this problem. Collect all the same monies now being paid to insurance companies, as taxes and use those tax dollars to pay the entire bill. The profits insurance companies make now, would become extra money to expand the services offered and help to increase payments to medical professionals, so they'll all support the new program fully. Our government, focused on making the system more efficient, investing in research to find cures or ways to prevent illness and disease is the best way to meet the universal healthcare needs that we all have. I also believe that all businesses would be better off if they didn't have to worry about how to provide healthcare services for their employees. We need to establish a new government department, a dedicated Healthcare Agency to run our new healthcare system. Such a system would be a better system than what we have now, because it could add controls that could never be implemented in any profit-motive driven system. That new Healthcare Agency could create a single, universal medical records system that would increase efficiency in providing services and at the same time exert its power to control pharmaceutical company pricing, both of which actions should lower costs. As some of our Congressmen and Congresswomen have stated the healthcare program for every American, should be a program that is every bit as good as the government program all our elected officials currently enjoy. At this time our country is ranked 47th in the world, in healthcare, while the socialistic system in France is ranked as the best healthcare system in the world. I ask: ”With all our country’s capabilities, shouldn't Americans have healthcare that is the equal of the system that the French have?” My answer is: Absolutely YES! And I don’t care whether anyone calls it socialized medicine or not.
    Steve Dunston
    4624 Byron Circle
    Irving, TX 75038
    972-870-7420

    June 15, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  109. CAROL

    I want the same health care that imprisoned felons get in this country.....FREE. Note that these goons also get FREE transportation. I can forego that.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  110. CAROL

    Dear Mark:

    I own a nationwide transportation company. On just 6 big rigs I pay $32,000 a year in insurance and my company's net income is only about $35,000 a year. i know that you make a hell of a lot more that than. Quit your complaining. I wish I had your ins. bill.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  111. Larry

    Get rid of frivilous law suits against doctors and put a cap on others. That will lower the biggest burden doctors have-malpractice insurance.

    As far as hospitals go regulate them–right now they're unregulated as far as costs go. $10 aspirin? Get real!

    Hospitals take advantage of people in the same way that pharmaceutical companies do–and that is that people will pay anything for their health.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  112. Celia Albert

    It is time for a single payer goverment health plan. The insurance companies need to have some real competition on health rates. We have been talking for years about health care in this country. We now have a president who is finally listening to the people and not to big corporations. They have had their chance and have done nothing to help the people of this country. All they care about are their profits. The insurance companies have changed the way treatment for patients are processed. Everything has to be approved by them, before the doctor can go ahead with the treatment that he or she has recommended for the patient. The insurance companies should not be able to over rule the doctor in regards to treatment or in regards to what medication is best for their patients.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  113. David

    I worry a bit about freedom of practice. The best care probably comes from doctors in private practice with long term relationhips with their patients. That, at least, is what I have seen. This works because of the length of the doctor patient relationship, but also because patients tend to say with a doctor who they trust. The overall thrust should be extending the things that are good or even great about medical care in the US to all people. We should build on the strengths of the medical system in this country.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  114. Brian

    I work within the Healthcare industry. Physicians are not the problem. It is the provider / insurance sector that has dirve care and expense hikes.

    For example, one of the most common forms of cancer is Prostate cancer. There are several forms of treatment. Surgical, radiation, etc. One form is a Radiation Beam treatment. This treatment has pushed by hospitals and physicians (that have opened their own centers) because insurance reimburses them approx $40,000 per patient. Yes, that is per patient in profit! Clinically, it is equal to other forms of treament.

    Why are healthcare cost out of control??? This is a great example of manipulation of care in order to obtain simply uncalled for reimbursement.

    June 15, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  115. Sisley Dougherty

    My biggest gripe is why do we come to the aid of all country's and yet when the people of the USA need something, its such a big burden ,( We The People Need Medical Help)

    June 15, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  116. RJ

    Question I have is when am I going to be able to stop paying for low income peoples health insurance because the complaint I have is while I`m paying for low income health insurance the insurance I pay for my family is way inferior to low income health insurance? Its not fair to the guy in the middle to subsidize lower income health bennies and then recieve inferior bennies for my family! Now the left wingers are going to introduce a bill allowing illegal aliens to collect Social Security! First you have to be a citizen and then you have to have paid into the system for many years to even quality as a citizen of this country, and now we will just give them to people who dont deserve it much less have worked for it and paid their dues to becoming a US citizen!

    June 15, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  117. Tomasz

    Greetings:

    I have heard much about the Healthcare debate.

    Nothing is going to be solved unless you hinder the HMOs, Drug Companies etc... from making the amount of profits that they do.

    HMOs are in the business of denying care and denying procedures to the people that expect them to be taken care of. There is a breach of trust that must be remedied.
    Drug companies claim that they need to charge the amount that they do because of the cost of research that was associated with the making of the medication that they are selling. I tell you that the cost of research is a mere 'drop in the bucket' compared to what the drug companies spend on advertising.

    Also, doctors are not to be trusted. Doctors are approached and promised presents and taken to lunch and dinner with the representatives of the drug companies. So when you go to the doctor complaining of aches and pains, expect to be given at least 3 or 4 drugs. Are any of those drugs necessary? We don't know. We don't know because we are not doctors and the doctors are "in the pockets" of drug companies pushing the medications that the drug companies want pushed.

    The whole system is built on greed. It is built on greed and violating the trust of the patient and policy holder.

    June 15, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  118. Don

    We need a health care system:
    – with NO exclusions for necessary care
    – with NO excessive administrative costs (currently >35% of payments)
    – available to ALL, on an equal basis, immediately
    – NOT based on private profit (excessive salaries, dividends, padded prices, ...)

    In other words an improved medicare, for all.
    In other words, a single-payer system like every other industrialized nation uses.

    June 15, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  119. noname

    Hazardous chemicals are killing us, giving us cancer, diabetes, etc.!! Chromium 6 killed our son. The mortuary was owned by the mayor, who later became the County Supervisor, overseeing the hospital that received donations from the factory located one block away. Yet when my son died, no tests were done for chromium. Tests were done for illegal drugs!!! Now they want to build a new hospital funded by the same corporation!!! Stop blaming people for poor health caused by environmental conditions they may know nothing about!!!

    June 15, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  120. earthspeakorg

    Don't flush your drugs down the toilet. They are leaching into the water supply, and filters don't remove.

    June 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  121. David

    One thing President Obama has right is that the healthcare system as it is is costing the economy a bundle, I think we all understand that. There have been in Healthcare endless delays, Heidi, in coming to a discussion about how to get the American people together with healthcare coverage. Discussion on this question have to be back and forth, not just the President sending out one great idea after another and getting back bupkiss. Is that how bupkiss is spelled?

    June 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  122. David Borris

    My biggest gripe? I am a small business owner who has been whipsawed and beaten up by the private health insurance industry since I began offering coverage to my employees in 1993. I currently spend over 13% of my covered employees payroll on health insurance premiums – and I can only afford to cover 13 of my 25 full time employees.
    My biggest gripe is that we have allowed what should be a fundamental human right to be traded like a commodity in a for profit marketplace. And along the way- we have acheived health outcomes that place the United Staes somewhere around 40th in the WQHO rankings of all nations in the world fpr health care outcomes.

    From a small business standpoint – the only way to fundamentally acheive meangingful reform is to offer a STRONG PUBLIC PLAN OPTION to indivduals and small business' like mine.
    Nothing else will alter the landscape significantly enough to engender true competetion and the abilty to radically control rising costs.
    Lets hear CNN beging covering the details with experts like Uwe Reinhardt, and not just report on the political strategies.

    June 15, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  123. Jesse

    I am chagrin to say I'd want our government involved in the Health care system as everything our government touches turns into red tape and more trouble than it really should and becomes prone to abuse. That being said it's obvious that the prices of Health care and the insurance to cover it is going completely insane. Both are constantly rising at a far faster rate than employee salaries. I've seen the failures in the Erupean system of socialized health care and the failures of the Canadian system but still we need to find a middle ground where people can get the help they need. If more things were treated on a walk in basis then ER's could be saved for actual Emergencies. It's sad that someone has to walk in to an emergency room because they have the flu or a sever headache because they have no insurance and can't afford a hundred dollars up front for a simple doctors visit. There has to be a solution and we as a nation of innovators and caring individuals need to find that solution instead of sitting and moaning about the rising costs or letting our elected officials that have fantastic health care make choices for us that benefit insurance companies while we continue to suffer. Maybe one solution would be to remove the courts from health care. I would like to see a report on the estimated costs yearly to hospitals and doctors just on false or unproven negligence claims. I think the courts and large settlements that are inordinate with the damages claimed bare a large part of the responsibility for our health care crisis maybe this should be looked at and some changes made there too. I mean a person that is the victim of negligence may deserve something but sometimes the settlements and the decisions can be inordinate with the damages. Just a thought.

    June 15, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  124. Jessica Payne

    To accomplish Healthcare Reform it must include reform of liability laws and the cost of Physician and Healthcare Providers Malpractice Insurance. I am a RN Case Manager who has worked for Hospitals and Insurance Company's. Much of the cost of patient care is driven by "defensive medicine." I also want to add, that people are not acknowledging the fact that most decisions are NOT made only between patients and their Doctors- the Insurance Company will always have the final word.

    I see Physicians getting more and more frustrated each day with all the requirements and interference placed upon them by Insurance Company's. At the same time, they have to worry about being sued by the same patients they have provided FREE care for as the number of uninsured and illegal patients continues to rise.

    I am worried we will soon not have the good, high quality medical care which we have taken for granted in this Country. Many "would be Physicians" are choosing other less demanding and profitable professions.

    June 16, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  125. Andreams

    Due to decrease in hours, take home pay is $1300 per month; due to increase in age, insurance is $1000 per month. Let people buy into Medicare early at a higher premium.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  126. Brendan Fitzgerald

    If the insurance companies can find the savings they claim to be able to, why have they not done it already? The public option must get serious consideration. Would you trust AIG to be honest with you?

    June 16, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  127. Joe-OH

    I pay over 4 thousand a year for health insurance, and not all services are covered. We should be looking at the insurance companies who repeatedly raise premiums automatically without any explanation as to the reason(s) for these increases in both health care and malpractice insurance. Need to look in that area of that business and find out why we have such sharp increases yearly.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  128. James W. Thompson

    Insurance companies do not belong in our health care system. They have had decades to prove their worth to the system and have miserably failed. No wonder. Their goal is to make a profit, not to keep us healthy.

    Only a single-payer universal health care system will achieve the most important goal: Everyone's in, no one's out.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  129. sarah

    Does CNN avoid honest coverage of a Single Payer option because they don't understand it or is it because they are so closely aligned with the powerful health insurance and big pharma industries? Why can't we have a discussion about the most popular idea in health care reform – a single payer insurance plan that allows everyone to have privately delivered health care while lowering the costs?

    June 16, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  130. Deb

    We need to address the health care system this is all realized.
    so we need to do a very efficient list it is called a pro/con sheet.
    this would list the pros and cons of both the government run
    health care verses the free enterprise system.
    How do you think the insurance companies would fill out a pro/con
    sheet????????
    I bet it would be alot different then the guy who is buying insurance or
    the doctor who is giving treatment......or the rich guy who realizes he has to pay higher taxes to cover a unwed mother with a child.
    I believe that all need to compromise in the end all win.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  131. Lee

    As a person who has worked in the hospitality industry or some other service business for my entire working life I have to say a Public Option with basic, affordable coverage that is not tied to any employer is the only way to go. I wish that it had been done when I was a child in the Fifties, but since it wasn't, we need to admit that now it's imperative. I have not had health care coverage ever, and now I'm just waiting for Medicare!

    My Health Care Plan is DON'T GET SICK, DON'T GET HURT!

    June 16, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  132. John

    I lost my Mom and Father-in-law in their early 60s. Both died in the hospital. The doctors and hospitals did not express the real odds of their survival in the last year of their lives. Options were not provided to allow them to gracefully leave us. Had we had this information and some options, different choices would have been made.

    Instead, literally, a small fortune was spent keeping two people alive who had little or no real hope of survival. It would have been a much better choice for that money to have been spent on giving many, many children a better start or preventing disease in people at the beginning or in the prime of their lives.

    We have to make intelligent choices with our resources.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  133. Keith

    I have been stationed in Germany for most of my military career and have had the opportunity to observe "Socialized medicine" firsthand. I'm not talking about German healthcare, but the US military system.

    Sometimes we wait a little longer than we would like for non life-threatening conditions, and there is the always a certain amount of aggravation that comes from dealing with the government, but my family and I have ALWAYS received top-notch care. We have ALWAYS been treated at modern, efficient facilities. And ALL military families are covered regardless of pre-existing conditions. The only servicemembers who complain are those who have never had to deal with America's civilian healthcare system.

    We might consider adopting this model across America. It works!

    June 16, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  134. Ally M.

    There are so many negative comments about what people perceive to be the generally high level of physician pay and yet no one seems to note that doctors are the only people in this country who get paid at exactly the same level (by insurance companies and patients) regardless of whether they're just out of medical school or at the top of their field nationally after 25 years in practice. This strikes me as absolutely ridiculous and unparalleled in this country! And no one seems to be even attempting to incorporate modifications to this into any reform measures! Isn't it interesting that no one ever talks about taking steps to reduce lawyers' income (who, in contrast to physicians, are free to charge whatever the market will bear for their services)?

    June 16, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  135. Sandra Biggs

    Healthcare is in such dire straits, reform must happen now. I am in total support of President Obama's healthcare reform. I would be confident in saying nearly "all" Americans have a story of disparity and lost hope for themselves or loved ones in a health crisis. The web of intricacy and denial runs deep and, quite frankly, I would much rather have govt overseeing my healthcare than the Insurance companies who look for "any" loophole on claims so as to deny rather than help.

    Pre-existing condition? Everyone has pre-existing conditions, especially since Insurance companies are the main contributors to this "pre-existance." Talk to anyone who has been denied and the "stress test" they are required complete.

    How about mentioning National Health Care Day of Service on
    June 27 where communities are gathering to address many of these issues.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  136. Anir

    As a practicing physician who was lived and worked both in the US and Canada, I can say that there are obvious merits of both systems. So people and politicians need to a) dig deeper and educate themselves about the merits of different health care systems, including ours and b) stop playing politics and realize that this is not a democratic issue or republican issue, but an american issue. Further, no change can come without some degree of sacrifice or give and take from all parties concerned; there is NO perfect health care system anywhere in the world. All parties involved will have to sacrifice a bit – the physicians, the insurance companies, and, even some patients. I don't understand why we can't put politics aside and take a truly intelligent and enlightened approach to this issue: examine and dissect out what works in our system, as well as other systems around the world, and take the "best practices" from each one and develop one that is an amalgam of the best. For every republican who denigrates "universal health care" I can provide countless examples of the failures of the american health care system, both as a physician who has seen the plight of patients as well as a consumer who watched his father sell his life insurance in order to bankroll his cancer treatment before he died, and as the son of a mother who is denied insurance because of so-called pre-existing conditions, thereby forcing her to live in Canada in order to get treatment. At the same time, for every far-left fan of the movie "Sicko", I can also provide countless examples of the inefficiencies and inadequacies of health care systems such as Canada's. My point: let's stop politicizing this, and let's put a human face on this. There IS no perfect system. Let's put our minds together and come up with a solution, instead of constantly focusing on what doesn't work, let's look at what DOES.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  137. Mark

    I was extremely encouraged when listening to the president speak to the AMA on Monday but was disappointed when he never got around to an obvious area of potential savings. Under the The Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986, section 11133(a), health care entities such as hospitals are REQUIRED to report doctors who they deem potentially incompetent. Has this been adhered too? Not so much. in fact its hardly happening at all. Correcting this situation should be high on the president's agenda for health care. Without proper reporting, a quack can leave one part of the country where he's had a few boo-boos to another and the new hospital often has no way of knowing what a clown their getting. This is causing needless deaths, not to mention the hundreds of millions in court cases.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  138. KAT

    Dear Heidi and to other responses below –
    It shows a great amount of ignorance on the part of many who criticize the AMA for its skepticism. The AMA is one of the only organizations who actually cares about decreasing the uninsured in the population, increasing preventative care measures, and increasing the availability of primary health care providers. It is easy for the layman to blame the easy target of doctors for their problems. What other profession do you know who is mandated to provide free services no matter the ability to pay? Try telling the restaurant owner they have to feed whoever walks through their door no matter what. I am an emergency physician and have skyrocketing malpractice costs, >300k of school debt, and I basically donate half of my time to the uninsured who cannot pay. Yet I am the one who is to blame?
    We need to change the system so that doctors can practice in a way that makes sense for patient care. The public needs to change their expectations about what they deserve. You will never fix the health care system when patients waltz into an emergency department and demand their MRI studies, PET scans, and expensive tests. We must enact tort reform and lower malpractice so that doctors have the ability to avoid unnecessary and expensive testing without the fear of lawsuit or job loss.
    I have no idea what a "kickback" from a pharmaceutical company is. I have never been exposed to anything such as this and those who think this is pervasive are naive and uninformed.
    The AMA and the general public should certainly be concerned about the loss of people entering the primary care field. If it is your health that you care about should you not be concerned about the fact that the smartest young physicians are now avoiding fields like family practice, internal medicine, etc. ?
    The AMA is caught in a tough position. I feel that the general public should be intrigued by the AMA's position. Should you not wander why the insiders are so concerned about this plan? The AMA represents the people on the front line of health care. The doctors that are face to face with the difficulties of the health care system everyday. I think it is funny that the general public would rather believe that the bureaucracy in Washington has their best interest at heart more than the physicians who care for them. Maybe the greed lies in the American people who would much rather continue getting everything for nothing. The physicians in this country have steadily sacrificed more and more freedom, money, and prestige over the past 20-30 years in an effort to care for you.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  139. Jay

    President Obama and the entire nation talk about socializing health care, correct me if I am wrong, but is that not what we have in this country anyway? There are people who enter the country, does not speak one word of english, however, know where to go to get medical coverage. I work in a hospital and I see it everyday. The problem is not healthcare, the problem is with medicaid and the way the system is catering to people who don't

    June 16, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  140. April

    What I find very disturbing is that physicians get kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies. I think that is unethical and should be stopped. It opens the door for physicians to over prescribe meds. I know so many people that are border line high blood pressure and instead of telling them to watch what they eat, exercise, something that would permanently treat High blood pressure in alot of cases, they are just given meds right away, just merely treating the symptoms. No govt. official should make money off healthcare or pharmaceutical companies, this is a complete conflict of interest for all involved. Our healthcare should not be for sale, we need some personal responsibility as well, knowing that junk food, lack of exercise and stress does contribute to bad health.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  141. Vern

    I keep hearing that health care cost in the US in higher here than other countries. How can the french and british afford to provide cheap universal health care and we can't??? Sounds like we have our priorities all wrong, we chose not to provide coverage because we don't really care about our people like the other developed countries.

    Why doesn't CNN investigate how health care is delivered in the UK and France or any other european countries and how satisfied the citizens of those countries are with their systems. Personally, I think the problem is pure greed here, they complain about cost, at some point why are we looking at this as a moral issue.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  142. Samuel

    I think the Obama prospective Universal Health Care plan would be the best for America. Look at it through this angle. While the old insurance policies ripe huge profits from the American consumers, the Obama plan will use the profit to invest in the same health insurance. That is to say the president invests its profit in the health care while the old insurance companies collect their profits and loan it to such instutions such as the banks who uses this profits to build houses and sell them to the poor America. How long do you take to pay your house????? Thirty years or more!!!!!! Folks, let us wise up!!! The Obama plan will pay for itself.
    Look taking your heath insurance from one employer to the other, or better still being able to use your health insurace while you are laid off istead of the buying the poisnous cobra insurance.
    Please America, stop the fear of the unknown and let us give the President's plan the go ahead. Let the old health insurance companies knows that their harvest time is over.Go,Mr President, Go. Send this to http://www.cnn.com/newsroom.
    thank for the space. Samuel B

    June 16, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  143. Jay

    Medicaid fraud is one of the biggest issues we face here in the United States. I work in a hospital and I see people with 100-200 dollar sneakers on their feet, a nice 200-300 dollar coat, jewelery, women with 500 dollar bags around their shoulders, the newest phones and have medicaid as insurance, does that make any sense? It seems to me that we have already socialized health care. There are people who come into the country don't speak one word of english, however, they know how to run to the medicaid office right away. Please make some sense of this, people don't even have social security numbers and are getting free insurance?

    June 16, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  144. Matt P

    A little OT for the thread, but I had to react to the one-sided treatment of medical marijuana that I saw on your program. Marijuana is not physically addictive at all; in fact, scientific tests have shown that lab rats will avoid getting high (as opposed to killing themselves to get more of the drug as is the case with cocaine). Yes, it can be emotionally addictive the same way a myriad of behaviors, such as gambling, shopping, and sex, are all addictive activities. However, the inability of some people to do things in moderation does not constitute a mandate for government to ban anything out right.

    CNN is usually the least biased national news network on TV, and I am very disappointed to see such a one-sided and unprofessional treatment of a controversial issue.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  145. Jon

    All those complaining about doctors salary and compensation are obviously jealous! Same lazy people who can't or won't put any effort into their lives. How about you try schooling for 10+ years, owe $200, 000+ in loan and pay malpractice insurance from your salary. Doctors are no mechanics! Mechanics only have a 1yr trade education, no loans to pay back and no legal suite if your car get srewed up. so do me a favor ppoint your anger somewhere else and stop be ignorant. And for you Heidi, pleae put some intuition in what blog you read. reading blogs that compares humans to cars is shear stupidity.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  146. Raine Beamer

    We live in a rural area of South Western, VA. In 2003 my husband shattered his heel in a farming accident. He was initially seen at the local hospital and given an appointment with a Orthopedic physician here in town. He leg from the knee down was completely covered in ace wrap with a stabilizing "fracture boot" in place. The Orthopedic physician spent less then 15 mins. with him, looked over his x-rays and referred him to Baptist Hospital to see a surgeon. This local doctor never once even touched his leg or examined his heel. What he did do however, was to bill Anthem Ins. for a "surgical procedure" in the amount of $500+. In turn this doctor was paid by Anthem. When my husband received the statement, he called Anthem to tell them this Orthopedic physician never even examined his heel. Their response was to tell him that they were "ok" with the charge and the payment! Is it just us that thinks this was flat out wrong? No doubt this sort of thing goes on all the time...it's time for it to STOP.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  147. marina urrelo

    Why is Medicare responsible for our health care bills when most of us have paid for this coverage all of our lives? Why should the company which received our money when we were young and healthy become the secondary party, responsible, only, for what taxpayers do not pay? Insane!
    The state of IL, now, is asking doctors to, personally, OK prescriptions which exceed the strength and amount needed by their patients. Good idea! I know of diabetics who take sugars in all forms and then inject themselves with insuline, instead of refraining from sweets. The same thing goes for stomach, kidney, etc. patients who have vials and vials of medications instead of restricting their diets and using common sense.
    Doctors rely on medicines too much, instead of teaching patients how to lead a healthy life. They forget that the human body is able to heal itself, if proper support is given. They want the fast fixes which you get from chemicals which put a band-aid on ailments, but not cure the disease.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  148. Daryl

    " I will always remember the C.E. Coop interveiw with Larry King,after all the medical questions were asked the last question from Larry was."How do you know who to believe,this doctor says this and this doctor says that" The surgeon general said"You need a good medical doctor and you need a nutritional doctor,then you will have the whole book." Never forgot it and I now have both.I was amazed at the cures the nutritional side had to offer.Cost were lower

    June 16, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  149. Sandy

    I have a primary care doctor whom I trust explicitly to oversee my healthcare. He is more informed and atuned to my health than any specialist and, guess what, he actually, genuinely cares about his patients and the quality of their care. He is as frustrated by Insurance loopholes and patient denial of benefits as his patients and he expresses it openly and factually. The doctors are as exploited and dictated to by Insurance carriers who ONLY care about the bottomline and their deep pockets.

    If a doctor does not abide by the contractual agreement of these "insurance carriers," guess what, they will be blackballed from the list of doctors who are accepted within the corporate structure. Our doctors have families they need to care for too, and, contrary to popular belief, they put in hours and long hours of patient care and paperwork and on top of it all they even manage to stay updated on research and procedure. I feel for him and other doctors like him!

    Remember, 'insurance" dictates patient care, not doctors!

    June 16, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  150. Nick

    Managed care has largely been a failure. Health insurance companies simply have too much sway in deciding whether this or that procedure will be paid for. We need the government to step in for those who can't afford the high cost of seeing a specialist or even basic medical care. However limiting medical malpractice lawsuits seems to big a concession to make. Without it who's going to serve as a check on negligent care?

    June 16, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  151. Jim D

    My wife and I own and run a home health care company. Insurance companies are typically the slowest to pay and create many layers of billing challenges to slow down the payment process. The truth is, insurance companies collect Billions of dollars so they can make money holding our money. If insurance companies were required to accept standardized electronic billing and required to pay preauthorized claims in 6 days instead of 6 weeks or 6 months, we can save a tremenous amount of cost in the system. Savings we need for broader coverage for all. FYI our agency provides most of our patients at lower Medicaid rates since they pay quickly, we can afford lower reimbursements.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  152. Tony B

    Regarding Dennis Delrow June 15th, 2009 11:13 am ET comments: To begin, mechanics didn't pay hundreds of thousands for their education and they are not dealing with your LIFE. Doctors, unless they specialize, are typically paid fees set by insurance companies, not fees they set themselves. That "Estimate" you get from the mechanic is part of the costs calculated into the fees the mechanic charges for repairs and are included in the repair costs. Doctors don't have that ability. Doctors should NOT be charging you for referrals. My wife, a doctor, spends TIME with patients, often doing nothing more than counseling them on their options. Shouldn't she be compensated for her time? She has saved countless lives by spending time and asking questions that other doctors didn't. She finds health problems that are outside her field that other physicians have not because of this. Her patients say their other doctor didn't diagnosis their problem that they had for many years because they never spent time with them. How can you put a price on saving a life? How can you compare keeping your body and mind healthy to a mechanic maintaining your car? Your car "dies" you get another. Can you do that with your body? You think you pay too much for healthcare? Find someone whose life was saved and ask them how much THAT is worth!

    June 16, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  153. Doug Wilcock

    In today's segment (Tuesday) you noted that Sen. Kennedy's health care proposal would cost 1 trillion over 10 years and only provide coverage to 16 million. If all 16 million are insured at the start of the period the cost is $66,667 per person. That works out to $6667 per year. I guess I would say that 1 trillion is a scary number and 16 million doesn't seem like a lot of people being covered, but when you look at it on a yearly basis it seems much more in line with what we as individuals or we and our employers pay for health care.

    Alternatively, if health care costs rose 5% per year, an initial cost of $5300 per person would use up the $66,667 over 10 years. This doesn't sound quite so scary to me.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  154. Doug Wilcock

    Oops, egg on my face. Don't do division in your head. The correct numbers are $62500 or $6250 per year. The 5% inflation figure starts at something slightly under $5000. Sorry about that mistake.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  155. Joseph Valu

    Ms. Collins,
    Always a pleasure to watch your show.
    The matter of health care reform and huge expenses never seems to touch upon the huge expenses due to what the Institue of Medicine has documented as :"preventable mistakes" leading in large measure to thousands of deaths in US hospitals and their attending expenses to the victims famililies.. While medical statisticians delved deeply into the shocking causes of these inflictions on the trusting American public, we have become blase about such titbits that they don't seem to register anymore with the media.
    If we know anything of the silence of the blue-coated army in controversial matters, the white coated one (of which I had been one as a research microbiologist for some 40 years) would be deafening.
    in comparison. The pity of it is: most American providers are very competent individuals but they protect the 3 to 5% to such an extent that they hurt their professionalism by not poiting out and decrying their malpractices. Instead, active lobbies to limit court awards have succeeded in shortchanging the victim's and their families but NOT correcting the individuals and hospitals who continue to go scott free.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  156. Ricky_Oh

    I was just watching an interview with Dr. Nielsen of the AMA on CNN.
    Regarding pay for doctors, her comments was along the lines that alternative methods as compared to the long standing method of 'pay-for-volume-of-services-provided' should be modelled and tested.

    I hate to tell her, but the Mayo Clinic, considered one of, if not the best provider in the world, has been on a 'non-pay-for-volume' system since day one and that was in the 1800's. They pay their doctors on salary; and it's comparatively not that great. Funny part is, great doctors stand in line, hoping and hoping to get on staff. Considering the research facilities, the on campus medical school, the quality of care they provide which is reflected in the number and size of gifts that patients volunteer, speaks volumes as to which system works better.

    The doctors have choices, give up a little; or work harder and compete. The truly great doctors will succeed simply because they are that good. Those that are concerned might want to consider why they think they should make more than the market allows.

    You can't argue for fair markets and turn around and want federal subsidies, which the rich in this country have become very good at getting.

    June 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  157. christina

    My father was a patient at the VA hospital in Loma Linda. It was known to the doctors that my father had a Bladder/Kidney Infection. Limited assistance was provided to him because he was "elderly". He died in that hospital. And I believe he would still be with us today if better care had been provided sooner. Before we were forced to transfer him to the VA he was taken by ambulance to Kaiser. Kaiser requested we have a HIV/AIDS test administered on him. We never heard the results of that test. He was immediately transferred before we could find out.

    June 16, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  158. Gail

    Why not tax restraunt food 1% to pay for for insurance then go by what a persons salarie is to pay premum's they can afford. Everybody goes out and eats somewhere. That would be alot of money and no one is going to cry over a penney. Well I take that back, most everyone won't cry. The company I work for dropped our insuance in December. No one will insure me because I have a pre existing condition. I hope we find a solution soon.

    June 16, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  159. don gattin

    one of the biggest problem with the health care is the shrinking number of beds available. Look at the number of medical facilities that have closed recently. In certian parts of the nation its to a point that the national guard medical units needs to be deployed to serve these people. When you have a shrinking number of products the price goes UP not DOWN Folks.

    June 17, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  160. J. Marx

    My health insurance is close to $700.00 a month I hope Mr. Obama can get affordable health care for all Americans. I do not want free insurance I just want it affordable

    June 24, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  161. Rick R. PA

    If all the elected officials in OUR (We the people) government would have to pay for their own health care plan, this mess would have been cleaned up long ago. We the people of this great country have been footing the bill long enough. We pay their salaries and health care plans with our hard earned TAX money. Plus some of us pay part or all of our own health plan. It's time for all elected officials, from president to big city officials, to start paying for their own health care to help the average tax paying citizen like we have been helping them. Think of the money the government could save in one year.Then maybe they could understand that We The People elected them into office to help us, and not only themselves.

    July 26, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  162. Co

    Much has been said but taking this down to the core, it's about the cost to get the new system going. If we, in this country, are not prepared to accept the principle that healthcare cost falls in the same category as food cost in a family budget, then we will not get there!!! It is absurd that the majority of the insured part of our population pays the heath care premium out of the (after income tax) family budget and the priveleged part of our poulation i.e. government employees and lucky employees of employers that take care of their health care insurance as part of their wage package, recieve health care INCOME TAX FREE!!!! Unless we accept that all peolpe should be taxed equally and hence the TAX FREE receivers are obliged to add their free premium value to their income and be taxed accordingly, we will, whatever reform is agreed to, maintain the status quo of the poor and the priveleged and tax revenues from taxation of income (employers paid premium as part of the wage package) will not, but should, contribute to cover the cost of the reformed system.

    July 26, 2009 at 2:38 pm |

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