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July 1st, 2009
08:38 AM ET

Get Answers from the White House

President Obama holds a national discussion on health care today. The format: an online town hall meeting at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale.

He’ll take questions from the audience as well as online social networks like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. So what would you ask the president about health care?

Send your questions to us. The White House health reform director will be in the CNN Newsroom to answer your questions; 11am ET – 1pm ET

Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Why is the WH caving to republican demands and watering down their plans and legislation?
    If you cant change the system dramatically for the benefit of all for Trillions more, why cant you just fund Medicaid more and cover more people & to Pay affordable premiums for those working or not, but with no available healthcare? Just make it available and have people pay based on a sliding income scale when joining.

    July 1, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  2. glenn sinn

    In Venezuela, not only is health care a right; it is recognized as an essential for true participatory democracy. Through implementing a state-funded social program called Barrio Adentro, or inside the barrio, free comprehensive health care is available to all Venezuelans.

    Guess Chavez thinks more about his people than our the US Corporations?

    July 1, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  3. Marcia Schneider

    How would the plans that are developing in the House and the Senate be better for America than the single payer type plans in France, Italy, Canada? How can keeping private competition in the process improve our care, our outcomes and make the US stronger?

    July 1, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  4. Janice

    I am concerned about the incredibly strong influence that the healthcare insurance industry has over our legislators.I don't believe the insurance industry works in the best interests of the sick. How can the hold that the industry has over Congress be released?

    July 1, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  5. Peter

    How is a government-run public health care plan NOT going to destroy private health insurance?
    1) Private insurance companies have to make a profit; the government does not. This instantly makes government care cheaper for consumers.
    2) If a government-run plan is going to cost the government $1 trillion, that means taxpayers are already paying that much money for the public plan. Few people are going to be willing to pay for health care twice.
    3) Since a public plan would be funded by $1 trillion from the government, that means the upper-middle class are going to be forced to pay for the poor yet again. (The very rich aren't going to. You don't get very rich without knowing how to avoid giving the government all of your money.) No one is going to turn down care that is paid for by someone else. And even if taxes aren't raised, it's still being paid for by taxes.

    So, since the upper-middle class would be buying health care for everyone, themselves included, whether they want it or not, I ask again, how are private companies supposed to compete without driving themselves out of business?

    July 1, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  6. Taryn

    My concern is, if this "Universal Healthcare" passes, what happens to the money that is owed for previous medical bills? Is that still owed? Or does that just "disappear"?
    How would we suddenly switch from having insurance to a universal care system? What happens to the people who already have health insurance?

    July 1, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  7. Kim

    I have been a medical transcriptionist for 26 years. What concerns me is my job! The electronic medical record that is going to be mandatory will take away the job that I have loved and perfected all these years. I'm almost 50 and I do not want to go back to school! The worst part is medical transcription jobs have never been addressed in any of the news programs that I have watched and I feel that we are just being kicked to the curb. Someone please let the president know he is about to do away with many, many jobs in the U.S.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  8. Vicki

    Three comments/concerns:

    1. Health care reform must start with cost cutting which must be led by tort or medical liability reform. Do not ask me for tax dollars to fund healthcare reform until you make specific and immediate plans to address the drivers of high costs including, but not limited to medical liability reform. I know the legal lobby doesn't want this, but so what. If you are serious about healthcare reform, then you must address costs within the system – not just "what companies charge for health insurance" and a new bill for taxpayers.
    2. My fear of a single-payer plan (i.e., government run plan) is that Medicare is a total failure as is social security (both of which we are told will be bankrupt in the next 20 years) and you want us to endorse another government-run program. I'm not buying government run healthcare unless and until you fix what we already have that is not working and is run by the government.
    3. Healthcare reform must include healthcare reform for government employees including elected officials. I will not support medicare reform or social security reform until government workers, elected officials and retirees are on the same plans as the rest of us are. Their plans are never in danger of going bankrupt – just the plans designed for the rest of us. Why is that?

    Thank you.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  9. Marti Lofton-Richmond Hill, GA

    Please fix this healthcare mess NOW. I pay $1300 a month for me and my husband. Due to recent illness, my co-pays and prescriptions have reached over $1000. a month. I am struggling with the decision to pay our bills on time or take my medication. One co-pay for a CT of my chest was $230.00. I asked the receptionist "what if I don't have that much money for this co-pay?" She said "We will be glad to reschedule your procedure" The insurance company refused a procedure that my doctor recommended. We waited too late for the surgery and now I am paying for the insurance company's refusal to pay. We are middle class and we need help.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  10. Leo, Dallas, TX

    Everyone I know, (even republicans) want a significant change in healthcare delivery. Yet, the president seems to be letting republicans set the healthcare agenda. Why?

    Also, Healthcare providers apply outrageous mark-up rates (charging as much as $150 for items they purchase for $5). Will the government include reform on medical billing methods that are at the heart of the problem, that will require these providers to publish the rates of their services as so far, they tend to be secretive about these charges because they know them to be unreasonably high?

    July 1, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  11. Glen Darge

    I fully support the President and his cabinet to reform healthcare in this nation of greedy companies. It's about time. I am a retired federal employee and in addition to my ridiculous high monthly premium each and every month, I have ridiculously high co-pays each time I go to the Dr. However Boeing employees enjoy cheaper medical costs because they have a strong union that protects their rights to healthcare and it's looming expense. Lastly I want to mention that the health insurance industry has enough money on deposit drawing intrest that they can fight any effort by the President or any other governing body to protect their "RIGHT" to overcharge so the Co. CEO can have the biggest house and estate on the map. It is very frustrating that I have health insurance but cannot afford to go to the Dr. because of the co-pay ammounts to the Dr. and the prescriptions. Co-pays are ridiculous and nothing but a nusience to the consumer. Consumer waste and fraud is also just as ridiculous. How much more am I going to be expected to pay because some poor slob with nineteen hundred kids cannot afford to take care of them. It is past time to draw the line. Good luck Mr. President, you go for it. The insurance companies will only get more time to build their bank accounts if you fail.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  12. Marilyn

    I have a HSA and have been self-employed all my life, wouldn't a Health Savings Plan benefit the health insurance problem.
    It is the best thing that ever happened for us,we can use it for anything medical and the doctor gets paid right away. In the backgound we have a high deductable insurance for the major problems.
    Unfortunately I have to give this up when I turn 65, I do not want to do that, I would like to see a revised plan that gives the power to the individual instead of the insurance companies. I like my HSA Plan.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  13. Arthur

    I became disable april 21 of 2005 and I have been trying to get help every since I have no Medicaid and I tryed to get healthcare insurance But have not I have had sugary on my neck and back and I am in pain every day but I can't get any help so I think we need to Let President Obama fix the mess The former President 's Bush put us in.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  14. michael

    The point you are all completely missing , wither you are for or against Health Care Reform is our country is already Trillions in debt. So my question's to Obama is :

    " Where do you get the money to pay for Health Care Reform & do you really want to add Trillions more to our debt ? "

    " Are you going to put even more tax burden on the tax payer to push
    through Health Care Reform that may or may not work ? "

    " An wouldn't it make more sense to pay off the national debt first and
    create jobs first before pushing through expensive bills ? "

    July 1, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  15. Noel

    well, fix health care! i don't think every body feel good about that<< it shows how unempathetic the republicans were with their "principles," my head!.. how obama gonna deal with those extreme right people?

    July 1, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  16. Eileen Peabody MA

    My greatest concern is the word "Affordable". I don't think it will surprise anybody when and if a public health insurance plan is introduced ALLLLLLL of corporate America will drop their employee’s choices of health insurance coverage to the point of covering catastrophic illnesses only. This is not health insurance, so everybody will opt out for the public plan.

    Now, with this being much will people be expected to contribute to this public plan....and you can bet your boots....corporate American will not increase employee salaries when they opt out of the company health insurance benefit.

    Big question here....are companies obligated to offer the benefit of health insurance? If my information is correct....most companies are finding their second greatest business expense is health insurance....second only to payroll. With insurance and health care costs continuing to will not be too long before health insurance becomes a company’s GREATEST expense.
    Perhaps the public policy could include a stipulation that a company, which employs a certain number of employees who will opt out for a public plan, will be obligated to contribute a percentage of the cost of said plan.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  17. Billy Oman

    President Obama keeps referring to his proposed health care reform plan as a good plan for all of us. I would like to know if he means " all of us " will include the Executive, Judicial, and legislative branches of
    government as well as all government employees and their families or will they be covered under a different system? If all politicians, government employees, and their families have to change to the same plan as all U.S. citizens, I think health care reform would become more acceptable.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  18. LaVern

    I hope that people will wake up and really listen to the health plan being forced on us. If the government would stop borrowing from peter to pay paul there would be enough money to handle the health system. What will us older people do without Medicare and Medicaid. My mother lived to be 96 and after using up ALL her money had to go to Medicare. I wonder what Pres O's grandmother was living on before she died in HA.????? What is the lady that is his relative living in this country illegally living on???? If people use their brains everyone could have and pay for their own insurance as we do. If it ain't broken don't fix it.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  19. Judi B

    Mr. President I have Rheumotiod Arthritis and currently taking biologics. You have addressed this problem concerning the cost and patents. Will we ever see an generic?

    July 1, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  20. Shirley Matzek

    Cancer survivors and others with serious medical conditions cannot get healthcare because of pre-existing conditions. Often they lose a job due to year-long cancer or other medical treatments–resulting in bankruptcy and/or home foreclosure! Single payer such as Medicare would take care of their needs. We as a country owe them care. Middle-aged, middle income workers are limited from seeing their doctor if they change jobs and are so fortunate to have a "new" health care plan–which them limits them to the "doctors" in that plan. Medicare recipients can see any doctor of their choosing–making care much more affordable because of continuity of care. Medicare is exceptionally cost effective with low administrative costs. Please make healthcare AVAILABLE to all and AFFORDABLE for all.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  21. Bright Ehienulo

    Mr President, we all know that change is hard to achieve especially where the rich do not want their wealth to be touched. my contribution on this health reform is if other countries can have affordable and even free health care for their people why not America with their riches. I believe America can do it, let all parties concerned remove devide and rencour on this important issue.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  22. NormMatzek

    $300 – $400 billion is wasted annually by the insurance industry by competing sales forces, marketing and advertising costs, high executive pay, lobbying legislators (this MUST stop), and researching applicants to see what their medical risk is before accepting them into the program! Medicare type coverage for all would eliminate this waste.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  23. D MacDougall

    When will President Obama's health care plan factor in the cost of millions of illegal aliens: heart transplant are costly.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  24. Kenny

    I support our President Obama's plan %101 for his health care reform, and I strongly believe that our health care system should be a none profit organization.

    Its time to end the support for all health care insurance companies to live a luxurious life style & make billion of dollars profit as a result of denying health care to our innocent American people who can not fight back for their own rights.

    This is the land of competition for offering a better quality for the lower price, and if that's not possible then offer higher price and then let the people make the choice.

    Now if the insurance companies are truly sincere & really care about the well being and health of all Americans, then instead of trying to defeat our President plans through their false and deceiving advertising with the expenses of their own insured, its time for them to roll up their sleeves and offer a better plan for the lowest price. And if they can't do it, then it’s too bad.

    I care more about fifty million uninsured rather than filling up the pocket of few, & that's the American way.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  25. D MacDougall

    When will President Obama's healthcare plan factor in the cost of millions of illegal aliens: heart transplants are costly.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  26. Steve Witte

    How will the President's plan ensure that patients benefit with less red tape, greater care, lower costs, etc. My experience has been that the system benefits insurance companies, not patients. I spend more time filling out forms, appealing decisions, fihting managed care, etc.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  27. Shiela Henry

    Please discuss the money that will be saved by this government due to the fact that taxpayers would no longer have to foot the bill for those whom have no health insurance or are low income who unfortunately have to use our hospitals emergency rooms for their healthcare. Taxpayers would no longer have to foot the bill for the hospitals losses.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  28. Robby

    Currently self employed in a rapidly outsourced field and with no medical insurance, I have an idea: To fund a national healthcare program, a tax on food purchases is an obvioius source. There would be a debit-type card or an ID card, and of course safeguards against overuse, but at least we would all have healthcare available, since we all eat. This would cover dental and optical as well. If one wanted more comprehensive care, one could purchase additional coverage through private companies.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  29. Karen

    I have an existing condition (COPD) – if I lose my job I would not be able to afford any insurance. Insurances companies are only interested in you as long as you are healthy!

    I rather have the government between me and my doctor instead of the insurance company which IS BETWEEN ME AND MY DOCTOR.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  30. Cephas

    I am concerned about the people who needs immediate medical attention but they don't have any medical coverage.What is going to happen to them during the process that the politicians will be taking apart of to reform healthcare?Will these people just get in more debt no matter how long the reform will take?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  31. Debbie Harris

    I believe the president's focus on heath care reform has a lot to do with providing health care coverage to those who DO NOT have coverage, or who can not afford it. The majority of the people who oppose his ideas are the people who are fortunate enough to have health care coverage. Why not put ourselves in the shoes of those without coverage, or those who have the misfortune of a pre-existing condition and are denied coverage, or who have been quoted an excessively high premium that they cannot afford to pay. This is America... Everyone deserves the chance to have health care coverage. Those who have coverage, and like it, can keep it. Let us provide for those less fortunate. Let us not take away the opportunity for the less fortunate to be treated equally.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  32. Carol R

    My concerns are the already extremely expensive red tape that makes doctors, government, and insurance companies spend billions if not trillions each year second guessing what our doctors are prescribing, as is going on with Medicare Part D; glitches in computers systems if totally automated; chriropractic care, physical therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, herbology, naturopathy, homeopathy, and other modalities (some which have had a hard time because of the AMA and it's influence on the FDA getting covered, others that are not yet, and need to be covered and are FAR less dangerous than many drugs on the market) may not be covered.

    The AMA having too much control over modalities of medicine in which they have little to no training!

    Still continuing to have non medically trained persons making medical decisions – I STRONGLY believe ALL managed care programs, programs with required "pre-authorizations" that require doctors to again and again fill out paperwork and justify their care of a patient to those with no medical knowledge needs to be abolished.

    This is the majority of where money goes in our current Medicare system, and despite the jobs lost, they will be jobs that are bankrupting our Medicare System.

    We MUST hear from ALL modalities of health care providers – NOT paper pushers who claim to be a part of the health care system!

    July 1, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  33. Pat Moore

    We definitely need health-care reform, but I hope the new plan will not be based on Medicare, which is an insurance that does not stand on its own. Medicare pays 80% of approved charges. Patients are left with the remaining charges, and they can be huge. One needs a supplemental plan plus a drug plan. The cost for these three necessities can be much greater than insurance costs for working people, who may have larger incomes.

    Congress really does not understand all complexities of the insurance problem because they have voted themselves so many benefits. It is difficult to comprehend what others are trying to cope with.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  34. Cephas

    I am aspired to be a medical doctor ;will this healthcare plan decrease the salaries of doctor's in the future?And when you are asked a question will you please state that you don't know the answer instead of saying you will alarm us when you know because many politicians use that as a loop around questions?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  35. David from Phoenix

    If part of the plan to pay for this is for government to tax our benifit amount then would we not be better off to drop our private insurance and get on the government plan that is not to be taxed?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  36. AJC

    Why is President Obama destroying "Tricare for Life" (TFL) for military retirees ? This is especially egregious for disabled military veterans!! Is this the way that President Obama keeps his promise to military veterans and retired military veterans who served a full career and sacrificed their bodies for their country?

    Why is President Obama over-taxing "Tricare" health insurance to literally make it unaffordable!?! Military retired Veterans have pre-exisiting service-related conditions and will NOT be able to get quality full coverage health insurance elsewhere. This is also especially egregious for disabled military veterans!! Is this the way that President Obama keeps his promise to military veterans and retired military veterans who served a full career and sacrificed their bodies for their country?

    Why is President Obama literally destroying nilitary veterans health care and the faith of military veterans and retired military veterans in their country? We were there for our country LONG before Mr. Obama was – and now Mr. Obama is taxing us out of our benefits. SHAME ! SHAME ! SHAME !

    This is ALL a NEW TAX on people making less that $200K per year. WHY is Mr. Obama breaking his promise?!? SHAME ! SHAME ! SHAME !

    July 1, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  37. Cephas

    Will the people of Metropolitan areas be more acquitted from debt pertaining to healthcare?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  38. Laura Boyher

    My husband and I are in our early 30's, we have been married 5 years, bought a house 4 years ago and recently had our first baby. We have had major medical through his employer for several years now, we pay $400 a month for that, we also pay another $200 for supplemental insurance. After having our baby we are facing thousands of dollars in bills still coming in as we speak. We also now have added another $110 a month to insure our baby. My girlfriend who had a baby recently had no insurance and it cost her around $2000. Why do I feel like we are being punished for being responsible and covering ourselves? What I don't understand is why the government doesn't make having insurance mandatory? If everybody had to pay a little then some of us wouldn't have to pay a lot. It could even be based on an individuals income, a sliding scale, but I think everyone should have to pay something. At least a third of our income goes to insurance companies every year. It's not right,insurance should be affordable for everyone.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  39. larry crisp

    Have US citizens looked at your state's budget for next fiscal year? The State of Louisiana spends millions on Medicaid every year, where 25 percent of the populations has some form of subsidized health care. Louisiana's $29.9 billion fiscal year 2009 budget allocates $6.76 billion for Medicaid. People get a cup of coffee and wake up. Medical costs are eating us alive. 20% of your dollars go for the under or uninsured. What could we do with $6 billion? I know, college educate every child in the state for free and then some. Thanks.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  40. Kathie McClure

    For the last three months, I've traveled the country specifically to talk to working Americans about healthcare. Over 13,000 miles through 20 states, people everywhere are telling me that health care and health insurance are unaffordable. They are putting off going to the doctor and are shaving their pills in half to make them last.

    I am concerned that Congress doesn't get the scope the the problem and that our representatives lack the courage to enact legislation that will reduce costs and provide coverage for everyone.

    I am also concerned that President Obama has given up on a strong public insurance plan option.

    My question for the president is: Do the Public Insurance Plan option have your full support?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  41. Alidad Vakili

    Overall, I think President Obama is doing a good job and tackling the health care issue is a must. However, what concerns me is what we don't know about the inner workings of any plan that might be proposed. In particular, how will the insurance companies fare with the kind of health care plan that President Obama proposes? Right now, the insurance companies have tremendous influence in D.C. over policy. How does President Obama plan to roll out a health care system that will not fall prey to the insurance companies in a way that we end up with a plan that costs the government too much and provides too little by way of health care?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  42. David Carriger

    My question is a simple one.Why do we pay the insurance companies?They appear to be nothing more than a middle man.Why don't we just pay the hospitals our health care premiums direct and eliminate the insurance companies?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  43. Adam W.

    Why can't we find a way to incentivize healthy habits like better eating habits (both size and quality of meals) exercise, or programs to get kids outside? I know these programs cost money. But in the words of the President, "We already know the cost of doing nothing" and it's NOT a number we can afford. Insurance companies have such enormous premiums for both the family who eats small, healthy, cooked at home meals with water and the family who stuffs McDonalds & soda down their mouths 3-4 times a day. Why can't the lifestyle choices you make when it comes to food and exercise have SOME factor in what insurance costs you?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  44. Erica - Atlanta

    I would like to know why I'm paying for health insurance through the school at $800 – 1000 per semester, paying the deductible and co-pay at Grady, but getting bills ranging from $45 – $300 from Grady, Emory and Morehouse, while having to pay for my prescription medications. As a full-time, unemployed student, what good does it do me to have health insurance?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  45. Pryor

    We must provide some kind of health care for the milllion of citizens that cannot afford and/or are unemployed. If the only options for these peoples are hospital emergency rooms. If Congress cannot agree on a workablle solution to a health care plan. The solution will be to give the hospitals across the nation a stimulus to enlarge the emergency room capacity. What other options are there?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  46. Sean Holcomb

    A simple yes or no question likely to be dodged like in incoming meteor. Will the president and his family, as well as those in congress who support this legislation along with their families use the president's proposed plan or will they remain with their current, “we're more special and deserving than you” plan?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  47. Bob

    There is only one way congress will ever pass a fair for all Health Care Reform Bill and that is to require that they be part of this Bill

    I don't care what the program is as long as we have the same benefits as our congress members or our congress members are required to accept only the same health care benefits available to us.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  48. Jimmy

    I think government should cut welfare benefits by at least 25%. And that 25% should go toward the health care reform. And those health care recipients who are able to hold down jobs, should have to work to balance out the 25% cut of their welfare.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  49. Virginia Rorabaugh

    My husband was forced to stop working last August due to his health. He was placed on Social Security disability in February 2009. We have COBRA insurance coverage for 18 months which started January 1. When I called the COBRA people to inquire about getting additional coverage in late April, I was told we could apply anytime in the 18 months, as long as we had proof of disability from SS and he was still disabled until the end of the 18 month period. I called them several weeks later to ask if there was a special dept. I needed to send it to and they gave me their Fax No. and the address I had to use. I sent them a faxed letter from my husband requesting the 11 month extension & the SS letter on 6/12/09. We received a letter back from them this past Saturday 6/27/09 stating it was declined due to the fact we had not submitted the request within 60 days after he received the SS decision. The SS determination notice was dated 3/13/09 and they received it 6/12/09 which exceeds the 60 days. Who can I appeal this to? My husband is 62 years old, gets weekly infusions for his disability, has a multitude of prescriptions per month – plus I am 60 & had breast cancer in 2006 and 2007 and I see my oncologists twice a year and have medication I take to hopefully prevent the cancer from coming back anywhere else in my body. Do you have any suggestions?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  50. matthew kaplan

    In short, get people working so they can afford there own health care......
    In short, get people working so they can afford there own health care......
    In short, get people working so they can afford there own health care......

    July 1, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  51. Jean

    Mr President, why are Republican members of Congress & possibly some Dems against govt-backed health care when they have it & apparently are quite happy w/it? You said you thought everyone should have the same option you have. I have a friend w/govt health ins. who loves it. My husband & I have Medicate & Tricare for Life & it's great. The last time I had private health ins. my monthly premium was over $400 – 1/2 of my Soc. Security check & that was just for me – not a family policy.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  52. joe

    hi, i think if we fix medicare it will work good for all. the one way we can get some immediate action is to drop our elected officials "cushy" plan, and put them on medicare, after all if its good enough for the people they represent, it should be good enough for them

    July 1, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  53. Charlene

    I think prescription drug coverage is an important issue that has to be explored. Even if you have insurance the co-pays are prohibitive to some,they keep on going up. I would like to know how the government is going to address this issue under Mr. Obamas plan? Charlene

    July 1, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  54. Bright Ehienulo

    Americans let us hold members of the congress responsible with our vote who might stand against this reform that will make healthcare affordable to everybody.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  55. Fred Miller

    Why can't we have a simple Health Care bill that says.."Everyone who is a US citizen will receive the same health care Congress receives and have the same retirement benefits. Pay will come from a single payer system and from private Insurance, but private insurance can not charge more than what the Congress pays for their coverage." Health care is a right in the US.

    If we tie teachers pay, firefighters, police..the service community to Congress pay and benefits, Congress will understand what they are providing fellow US citizens based on knowing what they receive.

    Make it simple, not lobby driven.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  56. Albert Cooper, MD

    Nobody understands the difficulties posed the providing care to pateints especially in poor communitieslike Physicians . The healthcare issue I believe is a simple straightforward issue. To insure the present and future economic viability of our citizens, industries and government healthcare reform is a must, plain and simple. You pay now (1 trillion over 10 years) or you pay many more trillions later. One has to be a fiscal moron to not understand this concept or plain dishonest like Washington and Wall street are and have being. The private insurance cares nothing about patients, doctors . They care about themselves.They deny payment preventive care, they slash payments to physicians like myself who provide good care and they play lots of games with the health of citizens. They talk about an enlarged Govt. beaurocracy, I shouldn't to tell you of the insurance company collosus. The pivate healthcare insurance industry is basically a sham. They are worried that a more efficient government runned system may pose a serious competitive threat .Another issue about the cost of practicing medicine is the unwillingness of the lawyers in Washington to legislate malpractice reform. Meanwhile physicians have to keep working harder to pay ever escalating malpractice premiums. My solution ? Invest in primary and secondary prevention, have a government options for ordinary citizens to buy it will make the pvt. ins. industry honest; past medical malpractice reform now; incentivize primary and secondary preventive care. Get rid to dishonest insurance companies who don't play fair by patients and doctors; creat a government options for doctors to buy their malpractice. Remember that we can honestly debate and fix the problem for a little now or punt it into the future and pay a lot more.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  57. mary griffin

    I think we are pass due a federal health plan. But I want the best value for my tax dollars. So whats the plan covering?
    Who does the plan cover?
    What is the cost to each American?
    How are you going to control waste and thieth?
    When will it go onto use?
    Will it cover or control drug cost?

    July 1, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  58. Stephen Thompson L.Ac.

    Mr. President, I am a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner who practices holistic and complimentary medicine, specializing in preventative and general practice medicine using Acupuncture, dietary counseling, lifestyle counseling, herbal medicinals, and Chi Gong (exercise) for health and wellness.

    My question to you sir is what is the fate of this ancient, but proven successful, medicine in these health care plans. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce stress levels (leading cause of DIS-ease), low back pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, anxiety, and about 40 other syndromes according to the World Health Organization.

    Acupuncture and TCM can greatly decrease the cost of health care and greatly improve the quality of life for millions of American citizens by keeping them out of the MD's office and emergency rooms. Will you support a bill that guarantees coverage for my services to my patients?

    Thank you for your service.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  59. Phil Weinstein

    I am a 72 year old American living in Puerto Mexico along with 30,000 other Americans.There are approx. 200,000 Americans in Mexico.
    Why can´t I use my Medicare in Mexico? I paid for it during while I worked starting at the age of 13.I think the AMA wants to keep the money in the US! The medical and dental professions,the hospitals are great! The costs are much,much cheaper than the US! I can get an appointment the same day or the worst next day.Examples of costs: consultation with a Cardiologist $ 35.00,Colonoscopy $ 300.00,
    Complete physical exam including EKG,chest Xray,Blood workup on amyriad of things,urine and stool tests,ultra sound on your lower half,approx $ 350.00, Now for the Dental: Caps( porclin and gold) $ 250,Root canal approx same price.Many Americans are taking advantage of the excellent and cheap Dentistry.They fly here,vacation and take care of their teeth. The vacation and the dental work put together is still way cheaper than the same work done in the US.
    The hospitals in the US are much more expensive ! The hospitals in the US are run inefficiently! Shame on the AMA,the hospitals,the lawyers(tiberon) and the US congress who favors special interest groups. Love to hear from you. A forgotten American

    July 1, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  60. ed


    July 1, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  61. Steve Williams

    In theory I believe that universal healthcare sounds great. However, I feel that putting that theory into action would be too great of a cost. How do you plan to implement universal healthcare without creating a bigger monster than the one we currently have in place?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  62. Dao Zi

    I am really bothered by how the Obama administration's way to hide the REAL COST and TAX implication to the middle-class working people resulting from his "health reform" and "cap and trade". I want a HONEST and REALISTIC calculation of COST and DEFICIT.

    I know a lot of abuse on medicade and medicare. People transfer their weath to their children and receive ware fair benifit. People covered under medicade received abundant medications, medical devices, like diebetes test strips, dipers, eye drops free, hospital bed, electric wheel chairs. Since they don't have co-payment, they wasted.

    I strongly suggest to have a two year health reform to concentrate on cost reduction and business process improvement on the current government run medicare, medicade, and healthcare reimbursement process first before spending more money and create more unsustainable deficit.

    If Obama continues spending money with taking into account of income, the Federal government will be bankrupted by those programs just like the California government now.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  63. don gattin

    what will you do for those thousands if not millions that can't get insurance period becasue they don't qualify for medicaid or care and private insurance wont touch us with a ten foot pole.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  64. Mark Marlowe

    What is being proposed within the current legislation to address the matter of limits to tort/malpractice awards?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  65. James Davidson

    Will a government-sponsored healthcare plan take into account personal accountability for poor lifestyle choices, as least when they come into play regarding recurring health problems? Private insurance can outright deny risky customers from benefits, but is a public option all-accepting of behavior that would ordinarily raise a red flag for any other insurer?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  66. Robert Killoren

    I am very concerned about what will happen if I would lose my job. I have pre-existing health conditions so getting private coverage will be hard. COBRA might be available, but it would be too expensive if I don't have any income.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  67. Matthew

    If the UNited States adopts universal healthcare how extensive with it be? In Britain people with forms of cancer are denied treatment from government healthcare since it it is so expensive. I do not want government health care to be the death of me or my family, how does the President's plan handle these situations.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  68. Jack

    Why are we not discussing the single-payer government health care option? Europe has PROVEN that is works for their people and their economies! Why are we worried about taking care of insurance companies in this health care debate? They sure aren't worried about taking care of us!

    July 1, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  69. Christy Allex

    My question on Health Care for the president follows: Why is it that as a nation we continue to be reactive concerning health care instead of proactive. It is very costly this way. We need insurance to allow more proactive health care expenses such as health, fitness, diets etc.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  70. Mike

    How about preventative healthcare? Vitamin and nutritional supplementation would be a good start – Doctors prescribe prenatal vitamins so they get a healthy child – how about doing this before and after?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  71. Cynthia

    When is dental going to be added to medicare? Any twit knows that lack of dental care can cause heart attacks and strokes. Why should those of us on medicare have to pay an extra premium for dental insurance? Money is extremely tight right now. And don't let those republicans watrer down a healhy reform of medical insurance. Our own govenor gave small businesses a tax break but cut tens of thousands of children from medicaid and chips in Texas.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  72. Anna Olson

    I have been looking for answers on my situation. But have not gotten any answers. Please answer my situation.

    I have been unemployed for 9 months now. I get unemployment of $744 a month.
    I have health problems.
    I have received Country medical coverage thru the CSMP program.
    The CSMP coverage has what is called a share of cost. I have to pay $400 first before they pay anything. Now I have a choice..Do I pay rent and get food. Or do I go to the Dr. How is this plan that the President going to help people like me?
    CSMP is a goverment ran program. This one is not helping.
    Please answer my situation.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  73. Ralph Wallace

    Healthcare Insurance does not equal Healthcare Services –

    If significantly more Citizens, etc. are provided with insurance, how does that affect the availability of healthcare?

    The Law of Supply and Demand would dictate that there will be less healthcare for the individual and the price will be bid up accordingly.

    Will we need another so called 'bailout' by taxpayers to cover the increased cost as well as pumping huge amounts into the industry to provide mandated care?

    Still, in the near term, money cannot buy something that does not exist.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  74. Phil Weinstein

    The United States Supreme Court ruled Sanctuary cities are unconstitutional!! Who is supposed to enforce their ruling?
    Homeland Security or the Attorney General? They are both asleep at the wheel! The mayors of the cities are laughing at the US Supreme Court´s ruling! Let the illegals keep getting free education and health care while Americans suffer without. The US Congress is a joke. I would like Jeff Toobin to answer the legal part.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  75. Confidential due to post

    At this time in my life, my MOST urgent concern is getting health insurance, which I have not been able to due to a pre-exsisting condition. Due to this, I have avoided most medical care and meds for the past 10 years .. it's unaffordable. DO NOT play politician or practice dirty politics with my well-being and those in similar circumstances. I want health care, I need it and need it now. I've been very sick and have no where to turn. If nothing else, the Govt. should offer healthcare to those of us who have been turned down by the greedy insurance companies .. they don't want us .. we need a bailout worse than wall street or GM .. without health, there's nothing!
    Comment please.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  76. Susan

    I'm scared about the Health Care Reform. I have a pre-existing disease (diabetes) and I require a lot of medications and supplies each month which are prescribed by my doctor.

    How will this plan effect my current disease that I was born with? Will there be limits on diabetic supplies, blood work and any medical tests that the doctor orders?

    Thank you

    July 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  77. Eleanor Flores

    My husband and I have a good insurance and prescription plan and are very pleased with it. In your plan, will we be able to continue with our present health plan and to be able to choose our own doctors as we have been. We both have serious health issues and if our plan were taken away from us, I don't know what we would do.
    Thank you for your consideration.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  78. Lance Gayhart

    There was talk months ago about the U.S. exploring The Netherlands social model. Having been to the Netherlands, and having Dutch friends explain to me how their health care system works, I am wondering why the president is not considering a health care system modeled after their example.

    The president is often suggesting "bold action". Why is the president aiming so low with this single-payer option?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  79. Gregg Morgan

    One simple question in regards to universal health care....

    What guarantees will be in place to prevent the debacles that we currently see prevalent with the Veterans Administration health care system...

    We fail to adequately care for those that defended our Freedom's, How will universal health care differ?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  80. Helen Chaparro

    Why do they not discuss a gas tax for health insurance? Doesn't England do that? There has to be a way to charge everyone a set percentage to cover cost of insurance for everyone. I am tried of the Republicans always trying to scare people about war, about taking there doctors away, about gving their problems to the states to handle. California [my state] has not done a good job helping anyone. When they kick back in their secure health insurance paid by us! We only want the same health care that they have in office, what is wrong with that? That is what President Obama promised and is trying to do but he keeps getting knocked down by the republicans and their crying about tax dollars, people don't care about that anymore don't they understand that people are hurting or paying half their income for health insurance that continually goes up. That is what sends everyone to the emergency room they have not gotten the care they need before a catastrophic illness hits them. The insurance companies have robbed people enough over all these years and the pharmacies as well.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  81. Scott M. Danville VA

    It is said that dental health affects your heart as well as your health in general. I live in southern VA in a rural area and I'm disabled on SS. There are no "sliding scale" programs or any programs at all for adults here and I DESPERATELY need dental care. Medicare doesn't cover dental at all either. What if anything will the new health bill do to address this problem.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  82. Kristen

    What about the rising costs of prescription medications? Seniors on Medicare will get a break on their prescription costs but what about those on disability like me who will have to pay $929.33 a month for medication when I hit the Medicare gap? Are there plans to help cut costs on prescription medication?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  83. Jean

    My concern with healthcare is just being able to get it. My husband is self-employed and has had cancer. He is unable to get an individual policy. He gets denied. It is not that we can't pay the premium, he just cannot get the coverage. There still seems to be an underlying tone to the President's plan of " if you are qualified". What makes it so everyone is qualified?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  84. Dana Corpuz

    The first step in cleaning up all the health care issues should be to adress the illegals in our country. I live in California where this is a huge issue. I have gone to the emergency room for treatment for my daughter. Most of the patients in the emergency room are not papered... I get a copy of the bill for my insurance company to pay which amounts to over $14,000.00. This to diagnos and treat a simple bladder infection. I was told the cost was so high because most of the people who go to the emergency room never pay. So my insurance company pays the bill for all those illegals who are getting free treatment... no social security # ... no pay...

    July 1, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  85. Mel

    The concern about a goverment run/funded health care option – we already have it. Insurance companies for the most part are politician and lobbyists FIRST and health care officials somewhere further down the list. Decisions that the insurance companies are making are not based on best interests of the patients, they are not outcome based. They are based on the almighty profit for the insurance companies and hospitals/clinics.
    The benefit to have a NEW governemnt run option would be hopefully-be that it would not be based on how much money they can make. If the President is being truthful about how the program would be set up – it should lower the other costs. It would not put the private companies at risk – other than they may have to make some pay cuts as they may not be able to profit off the sick as easily.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  86. Alex Lotorto

    President Obama, during and since your campaign, you've asserted that "health care is a human right" yet you believe their should be competition among health insurance companies and a costly public option. For working class Americans and small business owners, health care becomes inaccessible even at the most competitive price. If some folks still can't afford your plan because it isn't free, do you believe that your administration is denying a human right to people like my family that desperately need coverage? Why can't you cut spending on weapons and wars and tax the super rich to make health care free and guaranteed to everyone? You have the political capital to do it. If you don't, who will? How many more people have to die uninsured? Why can you spend trillions escalating the War on Terror and not make health care free?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  87. Dan McCoy

    I am a 38 yr old white male. I have in the past been a staunch republican. Recently I have fallen into poor health. I prudently bought all of the disability insurance I was offered through my employer thinking that I was protecting me and my family from illness or worse... boy was I wrong. My short term disability carrier is trying to "starve me out" by doing investigations and simply finding anyway possible not to pay on the claim. My family is suffering and on top of my illness I am in a situation to where I cannot pay for my insurance because my insurance won't pay me. This is an outright scam and if the White House and Obama administration can fix this not just for me but for millions of Americans who are suffering in this manner he will secure my support and my vote in the next election. Before now I have never supported Nationalizing anything due to my beliefs. To show you how far I am outside of the normal demographic here are my stats.

    24k per year
    5 children
    Rent a home
    1 income family
    starving to death and very near losing this "lovely" rental property in this "fine" trailer park in central Georgia.

    I somehow don't fit the criteria for any type of aid because I am employed, though out of work, and have insurance... what a joke. I have not recived any income in almost a month. Please Mr. President, Your country needs you.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  88. lika

    mr. President
    we the pepole can not keep giveing the gov" our money .
    the gov" thinks that they can print more money and it all be ok
    we need our money for our famley .
    we are loseing our jobs our homes

    we pay of our health care plan so we can see our dr.
    not tht gov" dr

    stop riseing taxs

    July 1, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  89. Ron Baird

    I think the president needs to confront OPEC... And get them to quit robbing us blind with fuel prices...I had to quit paying my heath insurance so that I could afford fuel to go to work... If you ask alot of Americans what really caused are down fall you will here gasoline prices... After all if you take the multiplier of just one dollar a gallon and you use 100 gal a month that was more then half my insurance pmt... So if you want my opinion until he or someone has the balls to cofront the oil and fuel prices we will be in this downword spiral for a long time... after all I always feel that OPEC knows when we will all be traveling and up the prices that is the truth and that is Bull Snot!!!

    July 1, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  90. Helen Chaparro

    Try putting the blame where it belongs, on the pharmaceuticals and the health insurance companies who have raised the costs on all of us. Those people who do not have to pay for insurance and who have not had to pay for their medicines don't care about anyone else it is time that we got a president who thinks that everyone deserves the same health care that those people have and that the senators and everyone in office have, on the tax payers backs I might say, the republicans keep saying no more taxes as they sit there collecting their free medical for the rest of their lives with tax payer dollars...why don't they go out and buy insurance and see just how much it would cost them especially if they have a pre-existing condition. Try paying half your income on health care insurance?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  91. Deb

    I have health care insurance, but the monthly premium is half of my monthly pension check. Plus, I have to deal with deductibles, exclusions for many services and procedures, and the insurance company dictating what medication I can take and how often I can take it. This translates into health care costs eating up well into three fifths of my monthly income - and I'm a healthy person. What would happen if I actually got sick?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  92. ruth massey

    I am concerned that eventually the healthcare reform being proposed by the President will effect my current coverage. I have Medicare and BCBS retired Federal worker program for health insurance. If Medicare payments are cut back I'm concerned that the BCBS will no longer cover what is left or will be forced to increase rates. Rates are already tough to meet including both Medicare and BCBS. I am not convinced that any programs the gov. offers will provide the same service I currently have.
    I do wish everyone in our country could afford health care but do not wish to have my own healthcare be forced out by costs that become prohibitively high. I'm concerned the gov. proposed choices will not be adequate in choices and what can be covered.
    Thank you for allowing a place to voice our concerns. I look forward to a reply.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  93. Juanita Gorman

    What woudl the cost be, if we do nothing ,to fix health care now?
    President Reagan said in a speech it would cost this much in the l980's, We had 8 years of Reagan, 4 years of Bush (Father) ,
    8 years of Clinton's (who tried to do something) and 8 years of
    Bush (Son) who did nothing. It is time for Congress to start earning
    their salaries and come up with solutions for the people. It is time
    for Congress to put "their parties" aside, comuunicate and
    work together.
    Juanita Gorman & Family

    July 1, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  94. Liz

    If congress doesnt know how to help with health care reform,i have idea.they should pay for their own insurance.why are we paying for their insurance and we cant'tafford are own but the tax payers have to pay their insurance and they could afford if they had to pay their own insurance.they would know how the working americans feel.dont worry about the hospital,they get their money either by collection or cost is way to much more then anyone can afford.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  95. Terry

    I would like to know why no one is really addressing the health care issue. The medical industry is only focused on "manage the disease" and not finding a CURE. The drug companies are not going to find a "cure", because they will lose so much money. I believe there must be a focus in the health care reform in finding the "cure" to these diseases and not just giving us pills.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  96. Lucy



    July 1, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  97. AB

    Will the "public government option" be available to illegal foreign nationals and then by implication the entire countries of Mexico,Honduras,Guatemala, El Salvador, Africa, China. The reason I ask is when you hear about the so callerd details spokes people will say "healthcare should be a "right" of all people" So my question will this be offered to "people" or legal US residents or citizens.



    July 1, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  98. Annette

    I would like to know if this health plan package will force bussiness that will not offer you insurance, to do so????? They tell me at work I can only get it if I get pregnet or addopt a child or get married. I am 50, I dont think I will be doing any of that, and to me that is not fair.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:26 pm |

    Been working with the public for 40 years. I watched, I listened, most only have health insurance as long as they can pay the premiums. When they get sick, health insurance goes bye bye. And, if you do not have any insurance. Bingo. You die. Hospitals tend to "stablize" you and send you home to die. Typical story of health care in America.
    Cindy had two mammagrams done in two years. They never told her that she even had cancer, As she got raging headaches, she was stablized 6 times in emergency room, and sent home. 7th time she fell off the gurney into a coma and was shipped to another hospital, where they found over 100 cancerous tumors in her head, and died a year later. Ask her mom still living Bunny Burm of Coloma Mi. She will tell the same. This is life of health care in America. I have bunches of other stories. But, this is typical.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  100. Madalyn

    Millions of retired public employeees & teachers throughout the country are ineligible for Medicare because they did not pay into the system. Now on meager fixed incomes the only way to get coverage for medical insurance is through their retirement systems. Premiums are prohibitively expensive for these retirees. For example for a CA PERS retiree the individual Kaiser premium is over $500 monthly & contiues to increase. This is on average more than 25% of a retirees mon. pension & is about 5 times the cost of Medicare premiums. Please consider someway to grandfather all these retirees into Medicare in the development of affordable coverage for all, especially these retirees who devoted their career to public service while unaware of the consequences for their future medical coverage after age 65. Thank you for all those elderly public retirees in this dilema.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  101. Jack

    For those who are worried about their taxes going up, please notice that you are already being taxed for your health care – by insurance companies!

    July 1, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  102. Denise Lodwick

    During President Obama's Town Hall meeting in Virginia, I would like to ask the following questions:

    (1) What is the difference between his Optional Health Care Plan and the Co-op Plan being proposed?

    (2) Is there a telephone number or e-mail address available for my Senator and Congressman so that I can let them know my position?

    Thank you.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  103. Cheryl Berger

    There are many of us early boomers, age 60-64 that are not eligible for Medicare yet, have lost our jobs and either can't afford Cobra, or are about to lose this coverage. We are not likely to find employment with health benefits in this economy today., mostly due to age discrimination. The premiums for health coverage after Cobra for my husband, who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in January, and I, are estimated at about $2,000 per month, with high deductibles and co pays. We cannot afford this, nor can we afford to be uninsured. We have some savings in IRAs but it will be used up quickly due to the cost of private health insurance unless we can get comprehensive health insurance for people with previous conditions at a cost we can afford. We would like to see a special provision for those ages 60-65; pre Medicare, to help defray these costs, without losing our life savings before we turn 65. Some of us had to take early retirement, at age 62, since we we lost our jobs and careers. We have worked hard all our lives and have paid into the system, believing we would be able to retire when we reached 65 and could get Medicare and full Social Security benefits. We want to see a provision for those who have to retire at age 62 be able to get Medicare now. Do you have provisions in your health proposals, directly related to this issue?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  104. Jack

    Health care is a human right in a civilized society – not an option! Insurance companies OUT of health care!

    July 1, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  105. Shannon Smith-Senger

    I would like to know why the democrats feel the need to make consessions on a health care reform bill? Last time I looked the democrats were in charge. The majority has spoken loud and clear. We want sweeping health care reform! I'm afraid very little has changed with this new administration. It appears that the big insurance and pharmaceutical companies are still in charge. The public is watching and those leaders that decide to stay in bed with the lobbist will pay dearly at election time. I'm a life long democrat and I'm fed up. If the democrats can't get this done now, they should not plan on being in charge down the road.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  106. Brian D

    I'd really like to know how this is going to be payed for? I'd also like to know when we're going to see reform on things like EMTALA and physician liability which burdens hospitals especially emergency rooms around the country in turn shrinking the pool of specialist physicians.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  107. Joanne, Washington, DC

    1. I don't think one's healthcare should be tied in to one's employer. Everyone should be given the same choices for their healthcare regards less of what their employer decides. It should not be left up to the employer to decide on the provider because that limits you.

    2. Also, I don't like having your employer involved in any part of your private health matters because information about your health can leak through to your employer – no matter what the laws are. For example, when one of my co-workers went into a drug rehab center, the center called his employer to verify that he had healthcare through them. Of course the call first had to go through the front desk receptionist and the HR secretary and before long, word got around the water cooler that so-and -so was in rehab and not just sick.

    3. Also there is the cost sharing unfairness of the group you hapen to be employed with. Are you working with a small group of people who happen to have a higher rate of cancer among them and their family members? Then you will probably have to pay higher rates to cover the higher risk of treatment. The employer has a client – vendor relationship with the group insurance. When they are told that prices are going up next year due to more expensive procedures needed by their group of employees and that is shared with the employees (and even if it's not), in a small company you can look around and pretty much tell who those people are - most likely the older ones, or the less healthy ones, or ones who have known health problems. Then the higher prices go up for all those who work there because we have to share in the increased cost so there is motivation not to hire older people or to lay them off first or to pay them to "retire" early.

    Why can't the employer give us the money and we decide and pay the health group we want directly and allow all Americans to choose from the same choice of plans?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  108. Joe

    I pray health care reform does happen for all the uninsured.
    I keep hearing people who have chronic conditions but I never hear
    about people with HIV-AIDS, HEPATITIS,A,B,C, these are not just chronic
    conditions they are life long conditions that NEVER seem to be cured and they are pre-existing.
    The reason why they won't cure them they make to much money off of them and religious groups jump all over them because they are sexual or needle users diseases.
    And all the people out there who DON'T want health care are the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and people who have insurance because the republicans are running ad's on TV making people think that a government plan takes away there rights or makes there plans more expensive.
    I will tell you how to solve heath care. CURE PEOPLE stem cell research.
    Billions can be spent on wars for oil, so my question to The president is why don't you start a program to CURE PEOPLE on all these chronic conditions everything from aids to cholesterol to cancer, to hepatitis to diabetes.
    but I know I just dreaming..

    July 1, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  109. Richard Warren Morris


    100% total Health Care has a surprising solution with huge savings over what is currently spent. Those savings can then be applied to Education, solving both problems. One half of the budgeted funds for Medicare will cover 100% in the USA completely. Please study carefully the "in place system" with a 12 year track record used in Taiwan. It is the best system in the world and is a hybrid of all systems in the world. On PBS "Frontline" aired on 4-15-08 "Sick Around The World" Taiwan is the 4th one featured. Listen very closely! They had exactly the same situation we have now, in a government system nearly identical to ours. Follow HOW they went about making the change. Those who designed the system were all educated at Harvard and Princeton, some are still professors now. After 18 months of the new system, ALL parties loved the new system. Doctors, Rx companies, Health Insurance companies, Hospitals, Patients, ALL came to love it. There are NO delays, or patient waiting lists. Care is instant. This same system can be copied and slowly brought in as your plans for "The Public System" as you have planed. There is absolute zero wasted dollars, resulting in the savings I have mentioned. The Medicare monies can be used as there be no need for Medicare from day one. The huge savings in the already budgeted funds then can be applied to Education. Solving two huge problems in one swift move. Please give this a serious study, apply it BEFORE you make a huge wasteful error.

    Thank you for asking,


    July 1, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  110. Jay Lawrence

    I'm a retired electrician,each year my insurance premium goes up at least $100.00 without eye, dental, and hearing. I would like to know how much this plan will additionally cost me. I pay out $4000.00 a year now which is enough burden on the amount I receive from my pension. I cannot afford to pay any more for insurance.

    July 1, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  111. M Ciccone

    What will prevent emoployers from dropping their health coverage for their employees to save money so that they can sign on to the gov't sponsored coverage?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  112. George

    Will millions of Illegal Aliens be covered by Government Health Care Plans? Who will provide and pay for this?
    The company I worked for cuts my retiree medical benefit yearly and is just looking for every way to drop coverage completely.

    July 1, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  113. Vikas

    I have the following queries for Mr. President / Health Reform Committee :

    – Why can’t doctors and prescriptions drugs are not provided at lower costs when I’m ready to pay in cash? All the services and drugs are always charged at a higher price when I want to pay in cash as compared to when I come through insurance company. Even though the service providers (doctors and pharmacies) will only get the payments after 2-3 months time and that too after correctly billing the Health Insurance companies. It defies a common business practice where there is always a discount for cash payments. But out here in US, one gets penalized if you pay in cash for health care services. It seems like a cartel (health care cartel) which prohibits / kinda follow restrictive trade practice for doctors and pharmacies… Can something be done to curtail this restrictive trade practice?

    – I feel that a GOVT sponsored insurance plan vis-a-vis private insurers will promote competition among the private players to earn a business from public and also provide better services. As of now, they try every trick in their basket to deny you the desired service claim to the best of their capabilities. However, the GOVT sponsored plan must be maintained well to sustain its implementation costs but as a non-profit organization. Atleast general public will have some backup to fall upon as against these terrible private health insurers whose main objective is to maximize their profits (as in case of any normal business). The good thing about it is that general public will not be afraid of going to the doctor or hospital coz of a fear that their portion of costs will run into hundreds and thousands of dollars or they don’t have to worry about their bankruptcy just incase they happen to land in a hospital for a service without adequate coverages.

    July 1, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  114. Don

    How come we do not hear anything about the security and privacy of our medical records when they are on line? Who in the medical community can legally access them? Just the doctors? Nurses? other personnel? And only when actually presenting to the doctor's office, Emergency Room or hospital? What is to prevent others from being able to access them? And what about hackers? Insurance companies?

    July 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  115. A Noway

    Obesity, overweight, smoking, diet, nutrition are clinically proven to directly contribute to chronic diseases such as cancers (like colon, breast, prostate cancer cases), diebetes, cardiovascular diseases. Insurance premium should tie to factors such as BMI, smoking habit, excersie membership to encourage personal responsibilities for ensuring their own health.

    There are a lot of companies charging doctors and health insurance companies for reimbursement billing and drug/medical supplies. These are non-value added cost. A universal reimbursement code and IT system for all healthcare supply chain must be established to eliminate middle organizations to charge processing of reimbursement. This type of system will allow healthcare providers such as doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, medicare, medicade to have have a free market while streamline the process and eliminate the fraud medical claim and non-value added cost.

    Doctors are doing defense healthcare service due to excessive lawsuit. Healthcare cost will not go down until this issue is addressed.

    Drug development cost is very high. It is reasonable for the drug companies to recoupe its cost in order to develop new treatment. However, today the same drug cost less outside US. This means the US paying customers are supporting the rest of world. Generic drugs from India, Canada, China are cheaper then the US name brand drugs. Why cannot US drug manufacturers reduce the prices of their patent-expired drugs to compete with non-US generic drugs?

    Government run medicare and medicade already cost us tax payers arm and legs and will bankrupt the US economy. Expanding the coverage to additional ~45 million to this pool will definitely bankrupt the US economy.

    I will suggest the first thing for the government to do is to reform medicare and medicade to prove the government CAN REALLY reduce the COST before taking on more. I want to see the TRUE BUDGET (tax income and cost) analysis, not with FAKE assumption to hide the fact that the current proposal of health reform will further US deficit and put ALL BURDEN to MIDDLE CLASS TAX PAYERS.


    July 1, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  116. Joanne DeSimone

    Why are so many Americans without healthcare? It is outrageous to me that folks work forty hours plus a week and find they can not take care of their basic healthcare needs and in most cases have to go into debt to take care of themselves and their families. Likewise, for those who have to pay for healthcare out of pocket, insurance companies jack up rates to the point that it is unaffordable and those folks paying independently can no longer afford to take care of their health care needs. These health care providers need to be monitored so that the American people are not being taken advantage of. Let's take care of the people here first.

    July 1, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  117. Obed

    I'm currently, over the last year or so, going thru a health crisis in my household. My Wife of 32 years contracted cancer and passed a little over a year ago. It was the most devastating emotional experience one could ever have in the family. My prayers are with Ryan Oneal, I support his ability to hold Farah's hand through her battle with cancer, It brought back so many memories. My battle with my wife was for 4 months. This time consisted of finding out in the emergency of her illnes, because we were both oblivious to her illness at the time, to the time of her death, which occured some 4 months later.

    I didn't get the support I needed from the workplace at the time of her illness because, simply speaking, I wasn't given the correct information on FEMLA, which would have given me a more objective view on taking off from work to be with my Wife at the time. So what I did was keep19 hours days, as I worked and traveled to the hospital.

    My Wife last month of life was spent in intensive care. My hospital expenses were nearly a million dollars. Although I had insurance at that time, my cost of the bill was still quite substantial. This year after my Wife's death has made my life change without her quite overwhelming. You see my employer also made cutbacks due to the economy. I would've never thought that I would have been apart of those cuts, but it happened. So now I'm having to make payments on those continuing heath costs that are still coming in from my Wife's illness and death. On top of that, the stress of the months of sacraficing my body and not getting the proper rest, just to be with my Wife, at her bed side, took it's tool on me. You see, I acquired a heart ailment with blockage of my arteries to my heart within 2 weeks of being let go by my employer.

    I had not planned on taking the COBRA insurance at nearly a $1,000 dollars a month for my family, but I had to make a decision in order to see a Heart Doctor. So what I did was get the COBRA for myself, at nearly $500 dollars a month. Thank God for the Obamma COBRA plan. My condition required surgery and another $60 thousand dollars of hospital cost. I'm not sure what my cost's to this would be, but being unemployed just really don't pay the bills.

    I said all this to say, our system of health care does not care about those that are unemployed or without health coverage. It is just as broken as our financial system, which we are now paying for and now needs to have a complete overall. There are health care commercials out there putting fear into those wih health coverage, to speak against any changes in the system. It's hard to beleive that such commercials are so calloused as to not even metion the fact that there are nearly 48million people and more not having health coverage in our nation. What is wrong with our nation??????????
    Our political leaders are willing to take (kick backs) payments from our Health companies than to recognize the 48 million that are uninsured. As our population gets older nearly most American will fall into this 48 million category as they retire into old age. Our entire health care system is set to strip the dignity from all of us in our old age as it devistates us all by taking our finances and homes to pay for the costs of health care....

    We are a sick nation because of our greed for money. Instead of addressing what is right for the Nations people as a whole we only pay out trillions for the mistakes of big business as they make attempt to take advantage of the masses. Our Auto industry didn't do the right thing so we pay out billions to support them as they are now going to contribute towards the masses that will not have jobs nor health coverage as they cut back on the insurance on their retirees through restructuring.

    Our financial system didn't do the right, so we pay out trillions to support them,as they too, will soon be contributing to the masses of unemployeed and those without health coverage. And to believe our political leaders set back and watched as they created massive fraud with the life savings of those that trusted and invested their life's savings. So many American people trusted the old financial system that has now created our current Global crisis, which has yet to play itself out.

    We are only at the beginning of a major crisis if we don't fix the current health care system. At the rate of our current health system costs, it is no way that health coverage can stay affordable, employers mak hiring decisions to avoid health cost. Health care providers make coverage decisions to avoid providing health coverage, because of high health care costs, that they themselves help to create.

    The current Health Care business model is wrong and broken as our President says. You can't put a price tag on life because the price will always go up. Our President has recognized this model for what it is. Doing the right thing by changing this system could only help by expanding health care jobs, in the health field, to bring health care to 48 million without insurance. Employers will no longer have to make hiring decisions because of health care. A new Health system will create many more jobs in other areas to support this field of medicine and our conomy as a whole.

    I have no problem in paying the taxes of health coverage to our government to support the whole health of our nation, which currently has Political Leaders that looks the other way to leave 48 million to suffer and effects on no health coverage. We must wake up and realize that in time as we all will grow older, and nearly every family in American would eventually have to contribute to the support and the health coverage of a loved one in there life time. Now is time to prepare our nation for the future of this certainty and inevitable crisis to come if it is not fixed.

    July 1, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  118. Denise Lodwick

    Under the Health Care Reform, what happens to Medicare and Medicaid?

    July 1, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  119. Samuel L. Brown,MSW

    First, I would like to applaud President Obama for his bold initiatives and efforts toward a cost effective national health care policy with a public option. As a social worker, I am aware of thousands of people confronting high cost of medical insurance. I have witnessed first hand, seniors cutting back on food purchases while struggling to buy needed medications. For this reason, among others, I whole heartedly endorse a single-payer health care program for America. It would be good for our economy, as well as for all Americans. The current health care system may appear to be functioning well if you already have quality health insurance and can afford it, but for over 47 million Americans there is a firm need for affordable quality heath care services that is fair for all Americans. What does it say about a country that allow large numbers of its citizenry to suffer or die due to their inability to pay for the high cost of health insurance. Personally, I am in favor of comprehensive health care reform, that will insure all Americans. Health care must become more accessible, affordable, and promote prevention as the best cure. Based on my professional social work experience, reading and research, it appears that a national health care program would cost the same amount of money to manage that is spent on current health care costs, without increasing taxes or taxing employee benefits. Profit motive for pharmaceutical companies, HMO's, and other big insurance companies from health care must be deleted from a quality health care policy. As long as profit take priority over quality health care, there will always be those less fortunate who can ill afford the rising cost of health care. A quality health care program should be affordable and accessible to every American. No one should have their quality of life denied because of an inability to pay, lack of access to medically necessary health care treatment, including hospitalization, inpatient and outpatient care, medications, vision care, dental care, as well as other required medical care to maintain good health and prevent chronic illnesses. I support the president’s proposal for national health care with a public option as an alternative to a single-payer program. I urge all members of congress and the senate to also endorse the president’s plan. If members of the House and Senate believes in the current health care system that provides their health coverage, why not support a national health care plan equal to their publicly financed health care? If medicaid and medicare is working, why not extend it to all Americans? Since our representatives’ salaries are received from taxpayers funds, they are in fact receiving free health care. If free health care works for them, why would they oppose the same health care for their constituents? If our representatives believe that in America, we should have the best of everything, why would any one of them reject a health proposal to provide quality health care for all Americans? Our representatives, who have the responsibility and an opportunity to pass a national health care program that is affordable and fair, must decide whether they are going to stand on the side of the big insurance companies (profit motive) or stand up for the American people.

    July 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  120. Scott

    The President won't take my question but here it goes:

    If public health coverage is such a good idea, then why is Canada now moving toward privatization of their health care?

    July 2, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  121. Malcolm

    Americans are so selfish and narrow minded! When the rich can afford to have a personal doctor on call for $150,000 a year and the "Normal People" can not get coverage in the wealthiest country in the world is disgusting. Michael Jackson death is another indicator that the system has failed again like it is failing us now. People are out of work and starving and have health issues and corporate America is still running all you fools, grow up! Remember Rome, when the family failed the empire crumbled. The United States is no longer united because of GREED!

    July 2, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  122. Brian

    I think the government should fix the current problems on their side of the healthcare system. Then it would help fix the system for everyone, instead of adding to the problem by fixing the system for a small percentage of the population. If the healthcare system is to be fixed try starting with tort reform and changing the regulations for healthcare insurers (more competition and less ability for the insurer to drop insured, especially after a treatment). The government has enough problems managing Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. I have no faith in the government being able to run a Healthcare Plan successfully. Mr. President, why won't you help fix healthcare for everyone instead of costing everyone more taxes that funds a plan that only helps a few?

    July 2, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  123. Cheryl

    There doesn't seem to be any consumer protection or regulating body concerning health insurance/care who regulates insurance companies from price gauging?

    July 2, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  124. Harley Lauren

    I'm 52, work in the restaurant business for around $10 an hour. I can do little more than pay my mortgage. Restaurants seldom offer hourly employees insurance or even unpaid time off for illness. I caught 3 colds this flu season and had no choice but to go in sick. During one bout, after a month I was still not hearing properly. I went to a walk in clinic and paid $120 for a doctor to tell me I had a respiratory infection and give me some pills that cleared it up in three days. Is this efficient? I work in a hotel. I might have waited on you.

    July 2, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  125. penny j.

    Will the federal gov't health plans be considered as "cadillac" health plans as described by our president? I am a retired gov't employee, with a disability. I paid $6,000 last year in premiums, copays and deductibles. I made $24,000 gross last year. I can't afford to have my health benefits taxed!

    July 2, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  126. Harley Lauren

    Everyone I know who has insurance goes into the hospital for one little thing, and then a whole battery of tests are ordered and multiple disease conditions are discovered. These overly insured people come home so much worse than they thought, with arm loads of pills and test to be done. In the best cases they have to take this or that costly and later recalled, medication for the rest of their life. In the worst cases they "need an operation", a -scopy , -omy or -otomy of some sort. And in too many peculiar instances this surgury makes them worse. How often do you hear "they never really recovered after the operation"?
    My father in law was talked into an invasive operation to ease the discomfort of a constantly sore, stiff shoulder (probably some -itis). Now his arm hangs limp by his side and his fingers don't work well. He can't build the model ships he used to like to assemble.
    Big Pharma, big problem.

    July 2, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  127. Murray Robinson

    Dear Tony,

    Canadian health care is not free and access can depend on who you are, who you know and how much money you have. It is a single payer system paid for by tax dollars. It is run by each province but there is only one tax payer. Access rationing is a big problem because of the central planning nature of the system. There are no real alterntives which provide competion, effecient allocation of resources; cost control or respect for the consumer. Because of block funding to hospitals patients become a nusance. For example;
    My wife died of cancer last year and while she was in an acute care hospital ward, ($200 per day extra for a private room ( I was forced to administer her pain medication because the staff didn't want to do it. They were also "to busy" to provide other basic care so our family took looked after my wife around the clock until her death.
    In my case some years ago I had a spinal tumor and was offered a six month wait for an MRI. Had I not paid for the MRI with my credit card I would be in a wheel chair today. When seeking redress from the Government run system I was scolded for going to a "for profit clinic". This ideological attitude is systemic in nature because Canadians are largely in denial about the condition of the system here. If I am not mistaken it ranks somthing like 22nd out of 30 countries world wide that offer a universal health care plan.
    I applaud the debate going on in America about your health care system but don't use Canada's system as a model to emulate.

    Murray Robinson
    Vancouver, B.C.

    July 6, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  128. William

    GM will come out of its bankruptcy, whether they are as powerful as they used to be, I don't know. As i am a person that is unable to drive vehicles, I am an enthusist. I would love to see the big trucks from GMC, the gorgious Cadallacs and so on. But I also believe that it is time to move forward and look to greener, more environmentally friendly vehicles.

    July 6, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  129. Joe Novy

    Representing peoples? Call this Democracy?
    Is it the contribution from medical insurance lobbies who keep you senators elected?
    Or you do not understand the individuals in small businesses like me who creating business and can’t afford (the human right) to have health coverage?
    Do you understand if we manage to Qualified it is typically for more expensive insurance as majority of us had some medical problem in past?
    Do you understand that the insurance cover only very basics and have unrealistic limits on procedures they will cover?
    Today affordable insurance is only good if you do not get seriously sick and do not have to go to the hospital or on expensive equipment for tests.
    If you get seriously sick all your savings will be gone and when you run out of money you are reported by Collections Company to the Credit Bureaus.
    1) Let’s keep the greed out of the system. Senators you did miss to stop the greed on Wall Street and therefore help me in to bankruptcies in CA.
    We need simple Rules and Regulations and cost Standardization to Health Insurance policy in each state in this country.
    2) Each individual should have one medical record with his family doctor and should be able to transfer it all records if he moves to other state to the family doctor of his choice. Keeping this electronic and other tests, exam and prescriptions records in his last family physician office should be mandatory. Your family doctors are in charge and this including referral and record from specialists.
    The Health insurance Company (Wall Street) has the unrealistic coverage limits for the cost in hospitals, for specialist, drugs or lab tests.
    The double or triple billing by doctors for same diagnostics is result of this Wild West free enterprise policy and big part of large medical cost. Doctors should be accountable if they order duplicate unnecessary tests on costly equipment. If doctor have investment in the expensive equipment he will use it if he have stock in the drug company he will proscribe unnecessary drugs. Government has to include reform on medical billing methods that are at the heart of the problem
    3) If you have one transferable electronic record for each person you can easy detect cost per person, ordering the unnecessary procedures prescribing excessive amount of drugs and the overcharging by greedy individuals.
    You have my record of driving points and number of accidents, so it is not that difficult. Patient never knows what additional bill they get when they get sick. When the medical establishment can’t get money out of insurance company they bill patients and ruin his credit and many times live. The cost of the health insurance can be adjusted as percentage of your income.
    4) Let change the law suing doctors for malpractices witch give the insurance company additional reason to increase the cost of healthcare.
    Get some regulations and government or public (non profit) competitions to this Wall Street rip of artists and insurance companies. 25 % working people credit is screw up from excessive medical billing. Point finger to Canada? Is in Canada shortage of doctors? The reason is most of the doctor’s move to US. They can work only 3 to 4 days per week and make more money ripping of people as this free enterprise system allow it. Cut out the waste; let everyone pay in to insurance. The young and healthy will get sick one day as well. The doctors may have to work 40 hrs per week and charge only for the necessarily procedures.
    Thanks Joe

    July 9, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  130. Patricia Permenter

    I became unable to work. I had to take Cobra ( $402.76) a month. I have worked since I was 17. I am now 63. I chose to live in my home town so we were not paid very good wages. After 15 yrs. at my last place I was making 8.45 and the wages were frozen . I draw 702.00 dollars a month and could get by, if the ins. wasn't so high. I used my 401k to pay off my bills and get ready to quit. I need to know if there something besides cobra.

    January 30, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  131. Josie

    Mr. President, why is it that our government is dragging their feet, sitting back and allowing health care reform to drown the people of the United States? It is critical that we get moving on creating universal health care for all. After all, isn't it the middle class the backbone of " working America" that has made this country great! How can we expect to work, thrive and rise up from this horrible economy If we can't even afford to keep ourselves healthy? I am a single woman who worked my whole life and raised, educated and supported two children. I could not have done this without "affordable" health care. Now, I recently lost my job after twenty years of employment, my company folded. I am forced to pay over $600.00 a month for independent health care. It is killing me financially. Not to mention, I pay more for my health care than for my mortgage per month. The costs for healthcare over the past ten to fifteen years has sky rocketed and Americans are in serious trouble. We need to take the power away from lobbyists and politicians that are glory seekers and begin a grass roots rescue mission right here in the United States. It's simple, if we aren't able to take care of our health, then we can't work, be productive, pay our bills, keep our homes, save etc.. etc.. etc.. Mr. President, please do something to help. Now before it's too late.

    January 31, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  132. Eileen

    Well, this comment is coming after the decision has been made to drop the public policy. I am still hopeful a public plan can be introduced in the future.

    President Obama, I congratulate you for the meeting you conducted with the Republican Representatives last Friday. My only hope is they heard you.

    I think what we need to do now, as you alluded to in your speech, is to draft a bill that includes all the common segments of this bill. However, we MUST enact insurance company regulations IMMEDIATELY. And we must chuck the current bill and start over. Nobody knows what this one includes, and even I am unsure about backing it at this point.

    Here is how I see it: (and if Republicans object to these segments of the bill....there will be some serious questions they will need to answer)

    1. No longer refusing people with pre existing conditions
    2. No rescission of insurance when somebody becomes ill
    3. No limits of coverage both annually and lifetime
    4. No longer will the insurance companies be exempt to the antitrust laws (then allow them to compete across state lines)
    5. Reasonable limits on Tort Reform for medical malpractice cases
    6. Limits on premium charges

    If you will...let me get into a little bit of detail regarding my last three suggestions:
    We must make this industry liable to the antitrust laws. They set prices now...I worked for a health insurance company and I was told to use that fact as a selling tool. To sell across state lines with the same price structure is NO competition at all.
    There are legitimate cases where medical malpractice is involved...but not all of them; so reasonable limits are not out of the question.
    And there must be some kind of control over premium charges. Can you imagine what kind of premium a person who has been diabetic since early childhood will pay???? I can tell you....if this is not addressed you will not have 30 million people'll have 100 million people uninsured.

    I apologize for going on so long....but I cannot see how any responsible representative can argue with any of the above segments of a newly proposed bill.

    February 1, 2010 at 10:03 am |