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July 9th, 2009
10:04 AM ET

Health Care Reform – Can We Pass It?

The critical question when it comes to health care reform is how to pay for it. The White House has been trumpeting new deals - everyone from insurance companies and drug makers to major hospital associations have promised to cut costs and provide savings to the government. So what do they expect in return? And who ultimately gets the bill?

There’s been talk of taxing employer-provided health benefits. And in the latest twist, Democrats in Congress are talking about a new tax on the “rich” to pay for the overhaul. Will these ideas fly?

We want to know what you think – in your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle to passing health care reform legislation?


Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (331 Responses)
  1. michael armstrong sr.

    Taking money from working tax payers would be one way but theres a problem with this idea .theres not enough employed people working to be gouged instead of giving money to filthy rich utility companys and faild companys that poorly managed there buisnes and giving our money away to overseas countrys we need to get realistic and use this money to rebuild our econamy we are in a world of crap facing government bankrupsy.

    July 9, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  2. Larry

    One of the articles in the "Ticker" says lawmakers are $320 billion away from a health care plan. Is this down from the $1 Trillion of a couple weeks ago?

    The rest is easy, Tony. Get insurance companies and health care facilities to give up just a little more of their bloated profits and it's done.

    Nice job President Obama! He knew exactly what he was doing. Just keep pushing that "public option" and the insurance companies have no choice but to come around.

    President Obama, thanks for your persistance in this matter.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  3. Egberto Willies

    The biggest obstacle to healthcare is the unchallenged false information being sent by supporters of for profit health insurance companies along with timid Congress persons succumbing to healthcare lobbyists. The basic facts are simple and stated at http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-294775. But I never see them discussed in a coherent fashion for the general population to understand.

    If false and misleading ads from the private for profit health insurance companies and their cohorts were debated objectively by responsible journalists, the healthcare reform debate would be over. If Congress follows the will of the people and the facts that are readily available on the internet from reputable objective organizations, the healthcare debate would be over.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  4. Jessica

    I don't see why working people have to pay for those who don't work, or can't keep a business running. We need health care, and the only way I see to deal with cost is to instead of giving all this money to these businesses, give it to the medical field, including Medicare and Medicaid. Use the money to help those that can't afford health care.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  5. Aaron

    The GOP. They're a bunch of stonewalling hypocrits.

    Think about this...

    we sacrifice in TWO wars... men and women, american citizens, put on the front lines to defend this country. These men and women are but a fraction of our population, yet they proudly volunteer when their country calls despite the odds. And why? because the needs of the many outweight the needs of the few... and they sacrifice. So that the citizens of their country may have a better life.

    Taxing the rich...
    The top 1% of our population.... who hoard this country's wealth like they're saving for a rainy day the likes of which Noah and his ark have never seen.
    Taxing them to benefit the other 99% of the population in this country is somehow WRONG???
    Yet sacrificing LIVES on the frontlines of a bull&%$ war is somehow RIGHT????

    The GOP members, and their corporate EMPLOYERS, are the bain of this country's existance.

    Kick those bums to the curb.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  6. John Murphy

    Because Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky lied about Canadian Health care, this reply was made by Conservative Senator Hugh Segal.

    Mr. Segal said "According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average lifespan in Kentucky is 75.2 years and according to Statistics Canada, that number is 80.4 years in Ontario, 78.3 years in Kingston," he told the Canadian Senate after discounting Mr. McConnell's numbers.

    "Furthermore, according to a Fraser Institute study, in 2006, the U.S. spent $6,714 per capita versus $3,678 in Canada."

    Mr. Segal said in a telephone interview yesterday that the statistics indicate that Canadians are actually doing a better job at health care than their southern neighbours.

    "I actually don't have an official view as a senator about what the Americans should be doing about their system," he said. "But I don't think misrepresenting and distorting our numbers is a constructive contribution to the debate, simply because it is both inaccurate and it understates the strengths of some of the options they are looking at. And when they decided to use Kingston General as their example, I felt this was an important obligation on my part to set the record straight.

    The average lifespan in Nova Scotia is 77.8 compared to the McConnell Kentucky average age of 75.2. If The US health care system is supposed to be so good, why do we live to be an average of 2.6 years older?

    Here in Halifax, last month, I had a laryngeal lesion removed with only a total of 16 days between exam, surgical removal of the lesion and vocal cord reconstruction.

    A few years ago my mother went to the emergency department on a Friday night with Unstable Angina and had a bypass at noon the next Monday... 3.5 days later, so the 'staggering' waits do not exist here or in most parts of Canada.

    Furthermore there are no "bureaucrats between the patient and a physician", contrary to your "Conservatives for Patients Rights" (more like "Conservatives for Hospital and Medical Insurance Company Profits") lies in commercials we have to stomach. In fact, it is US Medical Insurance companies which are the ones that can deny treatment, no one in our system does that other than the physician and the patient.

    Lying about our system will only lead to a weakening of the system you end up with. I have advised the White House of the lies CPR and Sen. McConnell have told about our system and set the record straight with them too. You would be very lucky to have precisely the system we have.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  7. Peter P

    Listening to the debate on how to finance healthcare, tax on the "rich", tax on medical benefits from employer and so on. So what do I get back from this if I'm currently covered by an employer plan? Nothing? If so then this is just a plain 'ol redistribution of wealth and should be talked about like that. Then the Federal government should simply just raise taxes in all brackets and stop pretending this is about Healthcare...

    July 9, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  8. Jenai

    I am a small business owner and currently pay $180 per month for my own medical. That's not including ridiculous co-pays when I need to see the Dr. If everyone chipped in and paid a little bit my bill would be lower. Iagree, let's all work on this. You will never know when you need it.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  9. jane

    Please someone talk about those of us who pay taxes on our health care costs because we have individual plans. We do not get a deduction unless we go above the 7% threshold for medical costs. I have a rather low income and end up paying taxes on all fo my health care on top of paying a lot for the health plan first. So what about me – if I have to pay then let those employed pay something or better – give me a deduction for this not subject to the 7%. It is not fair this way!!!

    July 9, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  10. Richardq

    Tony, I'm not quite sure why you're so concerned about "soaking the rich". I'm sure you're aware that they've been benefiting from lower taxes and escalating incomes for more than 20 years now, while the poor and middle-class have seen their incomes drop in comparison. The inequality gap has been growing and growing – where is your outrage at the disparity in income between the top 1% and the rest of us?

    They can afford to pay more taxes, in spades. Simply returning to the tax rates of the Reagan years would allow us to pay for health reform, and more.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  11. Diane

    Have we looked at what has happened in Europe over the past 10 years. They are finally realizing that Socialized economies don't work and that taxing the top earners just cause those folks to either leave or stop earning. This is a bad idea. Yes, health care needs correcting, but government control and higher taxes are not the answer.

    Oh, and the 1% of the rich in this country pay over 50% of the current taxes, they don't "hoard" they are who employ and produce – the risk takers of our economy. They should not be made into villians...

    July 9, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  12. David Schultz

    Here's an idea. A flat 20% tax on all benefits for every elected and appointed official in County, State, and Federal Governments, and leave us poor people alone.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  13. Jon in MN

    All this debate over taxes when we're talking about $1,000 a year? Seriously? I'll gladly pay $1,000 more per year in taxes in order to provide the under priveledged with healthcare. Having health insurance for all will ultimately reduce the costs for the nation overall. It is absurd that our great country is decades behind our European and Canadian allies in providing healthcare for all of our citizens. If we can publicly fund education (which we should) whey can't we accept the fact that we healthcare should also be publicly funded?

    July 9, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  14. John

    Will they tax the military heath care? Active and retired?

    July 9, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  15. Taylor

    I am Canadian. Our taxes in my province are 13% in general, which may seem heavy to Americans. I do however, never ever have to worry about health care. My aunt had cancer, my mom had cancer and my grandmother had cancer. All healed well and were treated amazing. No one ever has to worry about insurance. When watching CNN I see the Conservatives for Patients Rights commercials saying how a bureaucrat will come in charge of your medical decisions. We are never limited by our government in what we can do, and we have even more patient rights in Canada, while having a fraction of the malpractice suits. My higher taxes are an even price to pay so that everyone may be covered.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  16. Judy

    We have a small business that makes over $200,000 per year currently, but if the tax goes up for us, we will cut our business and open hours to stay below the limit. We will not let the government continue to waste our hard work!

    July 9, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  17. Han G Thesobs in Ca

    Please! If we can cut healthcare by 75% for businesses, don't you think THAT will help their profits and create jobs?

    If we cut the average cost to citizens by 50%, don't you think THAT will create jobs and increased disposable income? My permantly injured best friend just went on Medicare and got all the additional insurance, and still cut his healthcare costs by 40%! That means an additional $300-$500 per month in disposable income!

    All we need to do is CUT OUT the middlemen that make as much as the Dr's!

    July 9, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  18. Richard

    How to pay for health care reform and the deficit????? Put a federal sales tax in. This way everyone pays a little. We are going to have to pay for the national debt and health care one way or another. Let's pay it and get it over with.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  19. joshua eckert

    how do we tax the low income people for healthcare by stereotyping them as smokers and drinkers and then saying they would benefit more from the health care reform so they sould pay more? call me at
    618-946-2755 and i want to have a short debate on this issue

    July 9, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  20. Nathan Kuipers

    The premise of this question is flawed. The most critical component of healthcare is not how to pay for it–it is that everyone is insured. Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Edwards made the case in the 2008 primary that the shortest path to reducing healthcare costs is universal coverage. The largest expenses in the healthcare industry are related to bureaucrats, profiteering, and covering the uninsured. A public option with a mandate for coverage would completely solve this problem, but instead of talking about this, we're told how expensive healthcare is and how it matters that we're a nation in debt (when it certainly didn't matter for the war in Iraq or tax cuts for the wealthy).

    The biggest obstacles to reform are special interests paid for by insurance corporations. Cost simply should not be a factor in caring for human life, morally or financially, and we need to move past that debate in this country.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  21. Autumn

    All i can say is that i hope it passes.health care is more important.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  22. Bonnie

    Health Care Reform is simply and too many people are making it way too complicated. We already have a national health care program – Medicare/Medicaid. It is age required and income required. All the government has to do is change the age and income requirements, and you have a National Healthcare program setup and ready in the short-term. It is a public program that insurance companies and doctors are already familiar with. Yes, it has its problems, most government programs do. However this is one that works to some degree and just needs some simplistic revisions to cover everyone.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  23. Tom Williams

    We need to stall this until 2010 – the date this congress gets thrown out on their ear. These people are not working for the people – they are making things worse and are an embarrasment. Dems have been in control of purse strings of congress since 2006. Everything went down hill shortly there after. As an employer, I don't want to hire because of uncertainty about current policies, tax schemes, and healthcare uncertainty. They are not creating an environment for business to thrive, they are dictating how business will operate, and we don't want to play their game – so screw them – I'll go out of business and go on govt cheese before I agree to the tax schemes being talked about or I'll wait until we get pols that create environment for business and employees to thrive. Obama's a nice guy and all, but he's inexperienced and not doing the things necessary to lead the country. I like to ask Obama supporters – how's that working out for ya?! Good luck to all.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  24. Norris From Canada

    Why can't America pass it? The rich are the ones in public office and don't seem to want to be taxed along with everyone else. I don't see how your politicians can have great health care(which I believe is paid by American taxes) yet can't seem to help get the rest of the country healthcare.

    Here in Canada, yes, I pay much more taxes but I believe I benefit from it for healthcare. Look at other countries in Europe that have this, it can be done.

    Lastly, a little bit of socialism(Healthcare wise) is not a bad thing. Put capitalism behind and think about your fellow man more than yourselves and all can benefit.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  25. Jay

    If I made 200K a year, I would have no problem paying a little(2% or less) extra to help with healthcare reform. It's almost the same as adding $1 to my bill at the pet store for pet care/awareness or adding $1 to my electric bill for power infrastructure purposes etc.

    Jay
    Atlanta

    July 9, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  26. tom roush

    I think the reason we have no coverage for many is the greed of the Insurance companies and Doctors and Hospitals and Drug companies. Why don't they lower the cost instead of the Govt finding a way to pay them. I don't mind paying more taxes but I think it should benefit everyone and not just a few.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  27. Laverne

    U pay for hlth care by shutting down both wars. Continuing the wars is like starving yr children to hlp yr neighbors.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  28. Mark Hastie

    I think the health care discussion is part of a much wider debate. You just talked about taxes and who should or may have to pay for the costs of the public option.

    President Obama needs to take the debate wider and talk to the American people about overall fairness in our system. This should include tax policy as well as health care reform. It will be difficult to have health care reform unless we have both a stable source of revenue to pay for it, and the cooperation of the insurance companies and health care providers. The President should level with American people about what it will take to pay for this.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  29. mjs013

    It has been recommended by Marin Institute that substantial increases in current federal taxes on alcoholic beverages be part of the revenue package for health care reform. While these new revenues alone won’t fund health care reform, they can contribute tens of billions of dollars over the next decade while also helping to reduce alcohol-related problems and costs.

    Marin Institute recommends a proof gallon tax on beer, wine and spirits at the standardized rate of $30 per proof gallon. (This is the equivalent of a $.25 cents per drink beer tax increase.) Marin Institute estimates such an increase would generate approximately $26.6 billion in annual revenue to help fund health care.

    In addition, they strongly recommend that federal excise taxes be indexed for future inflation so that they retain their value to the Treasury. Federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages have not been raised since 1991. Beer and wine taxes had been unchanged since 1951 and levies on distilled spirits went up only twice – in 1986 and 1991 – during that time. As a result, the taxes have withered by more than 35% due to inflation since 1991. Low taxes have kept prices at historical (inflation-adjusted) lows, making alcoholic beverages more affordable, especially to price-sensitive underage drinkers.

    Alcohol does twice the damage of cigarettes. It's time to charge for alcohol-related harm to fund medical care reform.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  30. Shirley Rich

    I am retired from the government. I have good health insurance. It costs me but it's worth it. What does health insurance cost each member of Congress?

    July 9, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  31. Keith

    Tax–Tax–Tax-This is the Democrats solution to everything. Redistribution of income–Sounds like socialism to me–Government provides everything to everybodywhether they want to work or not. As history shows us, socialism hasn't worked. It doesn, t reward those who will work.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  32. Reilly

    Let's take the employers and the govt out of the equation.
    Mandate a catastropic/major medical plan for all. (Tax credit for all &
    a subsidy for poor/working poor). Then, let's take a walk
    down the shopping aisle and let people tailor their plan to their
    needs. Ex. I need optical, I'll buy an optical rider. Don't need
    maternity anymore, won't add that coverage. Let the free market work.!
    Take it with you when you change jobs; couple it with discounts
    for non-smokers, etc. There you go!!
    The govt already has three plans, Medicare, Medicaid and VA.
    They're all in sad shape and going broke. I urge everyone to call your representatives and tell them "NO" to a govt plan.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  33. Betsy

    I appreciate news agencies like CNN attempting to interrogate the claims and spinning of politicians. However, I am continually baffled by the fact that any discussion of how to pay for expansions in public options for health care do not include how these options compare to the projected costs of the other (non-public) options. While it IS important to discuss how to pay for government programs and what they will cost, it is irresponsible to omit the fact that this option is an alternative to a system that already costs most people a LOT of money, and will only continue to increase over the next few years.

    How many businesses will have to either drop their employee coverage plans or lay people off? How many people will see their premiums, copays, and deductables through such programs go up to unsustainable levels? We can't just compare a tax to a lack of a tax, but should be comparing the overall costs of one solution to those of another–whether they be in the form of taxes, direct payments out of pocket, or employer expenses.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  34. George

    We must ask the question, "What will I get for my Tax $$$$ under the Obama health Plan?" As a capitalist society we always need to know are we really expecting to get something for nothing and will we want what we get when we get it? Long lines, sub-par health care and will it be better than what we have. There is only so much health care available – who decides which patient will get treatment.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  35. Mitch

    Let's try this to fix health care
    Totally cut out the insurance companies, take all the money collected from us and put all of this into the hospitals of this country
    How can this not work! Obviously the ins companies are making a profit but none of this money is being reinvested into our hospital system

    July 9, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  36. Autumn

    Health Care is more important.Somy vote is Health Care.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  37. Sue

    I don't think it's fair for the rich to have to pay for people who do not take care of themselves. I am not rich, but I still don't think overweight people and smokers who end up needing thousands of dollars in health care should benefit. Others take care of themselves, can work and then have to pay for sick people's insurance who make bad decisions? Not fair or right. I work with a woman who is obese. So is her husband. He is on disability and she says she wants to get pregnant and go on disability. She is in her 40's and he in his 50's!! Her insurance is covering 4 invitro tries. Not only is she obese, but she also has high blood pressure and diabetes. I think the doctor implanting her just wants the insurance money and is unethical. Why should the rich pay for their decisions and lifestyles? She does not excercise and eats poorly. Same for her husband.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  38. Elaine

    I heard on a radio talk show this morning that not everyone would qualify to purchase the new national health care package...this would be determined by your income and employment status. So, if I get this right, the working middle class with health benefits would be the group paying for this program and then not be able to benefit from it. Is there something wrong with this picture?

    July 9, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  39. Jasun

    I am 22 yrs old, and 1200 in debt due to hospital bills. I was laid off and haven't had insurance since my 21st birthday. I have had to put a lower spinal surgery on the back burner because i am tired of seeing another bill. I really believe this Health Care reform isn't going benefit everyone at the end of the day. Why can't there be clean clinics, with good doctors and nurses, for those without insurance. It shouldn't be about weather or not your a senior or a single mother, it should be for anyone without insurance.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  40. Tim

    National Health Care, really? What about Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA Hospitals makes you think the government is qualified to run health care? Incompetence? Corruption? Waste? Wouldn't it be better to get people back to work so they can deal with there own health care?

    July 9, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  41. C.Warner

    A significant cost associated with Medical care is frivolous lawsuits. Many firms look for anything possible to sue over... everyone is sue 'happy'. This is an environment created by the so-called legal profession for personal gain, at the cost of millions to the medical profession, thereby increasing all of our costs for medical services. Eliminate/minimize/control these types of lawsuits and medical costs will undoubtedly drop.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  42. Paul W

    In the USA the price of alcohol, cigarettes, and fuel are very inexpensive compared to Canada, yes we pay more tax for the luxury items of life, but it does cover a large percent of our health care.
    The government should also be taxing the casinos 20% off the top as in Canada.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  43. Joe

    With so many ways to pay for this 'health care reform', the only viable way is to have a tax increase on EVERYONE. You can't just tax the rich. That is not fair to them because they are not the ones needing or will be using the health care. That is like Robin Hood and socialism. If people want true health care reform, there needs to reform on medical costs, malpractice insurance for doctors, frivolous malpractice lawsuits on doctors, and insurance costs themselves. Having the government pay for medical costs makes no sense. The government always goes with the lowest bidder unless someone is payed out or bribed to go else where. We want quality health care at affordable prices. We don't want government mandated health care of any sort that puts the best country in the world in further debt.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  44. Budd

    If the "healthcare industry" can afford to spend 1.4 billion dollars a day to lobby against health reform, it should become crystal clear to any rational thinking person(s) where the money to pay for the necessity of providing health care for ALL Americans should come from....... Just follow the paper trail to see who funded the lobby. That should give you an answer.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  45. Rachel

    This is a response to Aaron's comment.

    While your point is interesting and thought-provoking, it is simply flawed for this reason: our men and women in the armed forces CHOOSE to be soldiers. They CHOOSE to risk their lives for the better of the other 99% of their fellow American citizens. It is extremely noble, and we all are forever indebted to the people who work in our military.
    Taxes, however, are not a choice. The top 1% are taxed extremely, and the problem is: that we have an INCOME tax, and not a WEALTH tax. Therefore the people that are getting hit are those who work daily to earn a yearly income for themselves and their families–not those who simply have mass quantities of money that they don't work for.

    While taxing the top 1% in large percentage is not a perfect solution, I realize it is necessary. It just cannot be compared to the work of our neighbors that are soldiers oversees.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  46. Ivan

    As the health care worker, I think we all should pay for the health care through the taxes. And depending of you income you get a curtain % of deduction. It’s that simple, we all need coverage and insurance companies don’t do justice.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  47. GW

    Hi Tony,

    We need to know what "It" is before we can figure out how to pass/pay for it.

    We need to manage costs first.

    In the last few months, I've heard a lot about raising taxes, making changes to medical insurance coverages and such, but I have not heard any discussion about drug costs.

    This is a very complex issue, so in some ways, I think the question is perhaps a little premature, but something has to happen – we cannot afford to do nothing...

    July 9, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  48. Roland J. Bain

    I am 81-years-old and grew up during the Depression years. Mine was a very low-income family, and one without health insurance. In fact health insurance didn't exist. Yet, we did just fine relative to our medical needs. What I've experienced during the ensuing years is the gradual encroachment of the federal government into the health-care field with the resulting ridiculous mess currently in front of us. If one thing is clear, any program in which the government is involved is destined for high-cost failure.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  49. Cindy

    I'm on a fixed income, am retired, and still would gladly pay more taxes to pay for health care reform. I worked in the health care industry for over 40 years and, more than most, understand how critical is the need of those with no coverage or inadequate coverage. We need this now. It will pay for itself by helping keep people out of Emergency Rooms and by giving them the care all Americans deserve. Within a few short years it will turn our economy around and bring us into the 21st century...finally.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  50. Marvin Tenenbaum

    There are some basics here people need to remember.

    First, our healthcare system in America is broken. Doing nothing is not an option.

    Second, we are the richest country in the world and we are the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide universal healthcare coverage for its people.

    Third, healthcare costs are skyrocketing and each year ordinary americans are getting higher deductibles, larger co pays, and losing coverage because employers can't keep the coverage they have.

    Fourth, the 1 Trillion Dollars is over TEN YEARS. That is $100 Billion per year. That can be funded in a number of ways (cut the defense budget by 5% and you get $30 Billion.

    Fifth, Obama is not talking about increasing taxes, but rather going back to the tax rates under Reagan. The reason the "rich" are more effected was they got the benefits of the Reagan/Bush tax cuts. And the Bush tax cuts came at a time of war when our spending was increasing. The fact that Bush created huge deficits should not mean that now we cannot have universal healthcare.

    Sixth, why should federal employees and veterans have insurance taxpayers pay for. Whatever coverage congressmen have, all Americans should have. If not, we should stop providing insurance to federal employees with our tax dollars.

    Finally, explain to me (1) why you should lose health insurance if you lose your job, even if you can pay for it once COBRA runs out. and (2) why should you not be covered for pre-existing conditions if you buy private insurance?

    July 9, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  51. Don Stough

    What is all this constant whining about "soaking the rich"? All we are talking about is returning America to the tax rates of the post-World War II boom years – when millions were lifted out of poverty and into the Middle Class through government programs and stimulus! That's all anybody is talking about, but you seem to promote the national Alzheimer's of forgetting where we came from while helping the forces of the 'free market' greed and stupidity that have already run health care into the ground in this country. Here's my question to you and your viewers, Tony: Countries with economies a fraction of the size of ours provide universal health care – WHAT'S OUR PROBLEM THAT WE CAN'T JOIN WITH THEM and get with civilization?

    Thank you,

    Sarasota, FL

    July 9, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  52. Sophia

    I am a recent law school graduate working for my state's legal aid program, which provides free legal counsel to lower income residents. Until I was 24 years old, I had access to medical insurance through my mother's employee insurance plan. But for three years I have been without health coverage and remain unable to afford it. I practice healthy diet and exercise habits in the hope that I won't require medical attention in the near future, but, in truth, I am extremely hopeful that something substantial will come soon of our government's recent efforts in the area of healthcare reform. I never could have predicted that, in spite of my education and career paths, I would end up one of countless Americans who lack access to basic health coverage. Thank you.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  53. Abdallha

    Dear Anthony,

    The argument regarding taxing the rich is sound and valid. In many cases the rich are looked upon as powerful people. This power is an extension of the money they have acquired. In other words, the rich in this country have the means to cover healthcare reform and more. What really makes no sense is the people in defense of the wealthy. Why can't most people get the healthcare attention as the rich get. They seem to have the privilege to be treated at Mayo Clinic and live longer and at the same time aquire more wealth. While the average Joe gets sicker poorer and sicker which leads to shorter lives. This will affect us on a local level and globally in the long run. What good would wealth do if there is no one around to share it with?

    July 9, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  54. Larry

    Tony, in my opinion there is one simple solution to health care reform and its costs. I believe that those who have decided to live a healthy lifestyle should have access to health insurance plans that are inexpensive and is based on their current health condition. Why should those whom have chosen to live a healthy lifestyle have to help foot the bill for those who choose to live a unhealthy lifestyle. If we implemented a health care plan that rewards those who choose a healthy lifestyle with extremely low premiums and benefits for every 6 months that they clients are able to avoid the hospital, and other health related institutions that care for mental and physical needs.

    This type of a plan could be an incentive to motivate people to take charge of their own lives and choose to become healthier. Not only will this help the rising costs of healthcare, it will also afford the opportunity of a healthier individual from a mental, physical and spiritual perspective.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  55. Guddy

    Toni, what a question? We have to get health care for everybody. Why we should tax the rich. They got enough tax brake in the past. When they would pay the taxes they have to, this will be the first right step. Kick the Lobbyist out of Washington. This will be the second step. My husband an I are disabled, we have not health insurance, we can not afford a doctor visit and our medication, because we filed for bankruptcy and have to pay to much to the trustee from our SS. Don't tell people like us, we can not afford a public health care, when we spend 800 Bill. so far for the wars. Itis a shame, that citizen in this country are loosing there prperties only because they got sick.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  56. Faye

    I cannot believe it! Just who does the government think the "RICH" are?! The "RICH" are people like me. Working 20 hours a day, working while you sleep, paying my taxes, supporting my community, balancing my budget, employing 4 people. Every time I hear Obama say "Oh,. don't you "RUGULAR" people worry, we are only going to TAX THE RICH". I think...and who will I be laying off so I can pay for YOUR health insurance, your debt, your global warming, your bail-out? Then I take weekends off, go to sleep at 9:00, I can go hang-out, I can go get laid-back. I can be on the receiving end of "spreading-the-wealth"!

    July 9, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  57. James Madison

    Fix healthcare? Easy for everyone to understand, except of course the government. First: stop the healthcare insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry from contributing (aka bribing) both political parties. Second: Put in a single-payer healthcare plan that all informed Americans and companies have been begging for for years, and that most of the other countries ON THE PLANET already use! Who does our government represent anyways? Not We the People – NOOOO! They represent the Healthcare industry and the Wall Street banksters! You know if all this bribe money was spent on healthcare – there wouldn't BE a crisis! Why does it cost a weeks pay to get two cavities filled? Greed comes to mind! I'm guessing this post will not show up anywhere because I think the Healthcare system is corrupt.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  58. R Cohen, MD

    How about some comments on the comprehensive proposal by Zeke Emanuel in his recent book - Is anybody in the media actually studying the issues?

    July 9, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  59. Karen

    In my opinion, I think the continuous incremential taxing of the rich is not the solution. My husband and I put ourselves through school, each for ten years. We are both fortunate to have well paying jobs, in the health care industry, improving the lives of others. What is unfortunate, however, is if taxes keep increasing, there will be no value/ incentive for one of us to keep working. It just makes no sense to work long hours, away from my children, if I won't have anything to show for it. Where is the incentive in the future for people to work rigorous jobs or pursue advance education, if approximately half of their income is taken away by taxes?

    July 9, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  60. Deborah

    One problem with healthcare is that the resources are allocated in a very disproportionate way, with hugh amounts being spent on futile care at the end of life, in Intensive Care Units. Unpalatable though this may be, I feel that there should be a cap in how much is spent on any one individual, so that the majority may benefit.
    If insurance providers do not foot the bill, the hospital continues to provide care, resulting in loss of revenue, and use of taxpayer money for the uninsured.
    We all end up paying for healthcare, whether or not the individual is insured, and we all expect to benefit from the provision of healthcare, no matter how costly to the individual, the insurance company, or the State.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  61. VIV

    Why is it we can bail out these major corporations. Some have paid the money back some have not. When we borrow money from these institutions we have to pay interest on the loan. Use the interest from these big bail out corporations to pay for health care reform!!!

    July 9, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  62. Ken

    2 points:
    1) Your emphasis is too much on the cost and who is going to get taxed not the benefits or cost reductions taxed. The fact is that we are all paying indirectly one way or another for the crisis that we are facing.
    2) I think the point of single-payer vs. public option vs. private only is the wrong issue. The real issue needs to be about changing the payment and incentive structure so that everyone has skin in the game to do the right thing. The pressures are all for costs to go up, for doctors to see more patients for less time, and patients don't know what the real costs are and what they can do to get the best care for the dollar. The free market is not solving these problems, because doctors and patients don't have real influence, and insurers are driven by the profit motive.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  63. doug in texas

    Millions of items are bought on the internet without being taxed. I think an 8% flat federal tax for internet items would be fair for everyone. Use 4% for national debt and 4% for health care reform.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  64. Olivia

    Paying taxes employer provided insurance benefits:

    I find this offensive. I NEVER hear one government official say that illegal immigrants have to pay for the free services they receive across America for their health needs., i.e., welfare, free birthing of their anchor babies, medicaid for their children. Is this TAX not just a benefit to transfer the cost for the illegal immigrants, on the bottom line?

    July 9, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  65. Richard

    Over all the Dr has to maintain control over patient care. That has to be paramount. Right now I know that Drug stores are changing prescriptions from Brand to Generic without informing the patient. The next move will be computors dictating our health care. The young and the old will suffer the most.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  66. Rick

    I can't believe all the years wasted addressing Health Care issues in the mightiest of countries on earth. Americans should not have to have their lives ruined with bankruptcy and to a point of death because they can't pay for treatment to a health issue they neither wanted or have control of. It is shameful that the Government has taken this long to provide a basic need for what all citizens want. Try looking to your neighbors to the North and either adopt their system or use some of it to reform the U.S. Health care system.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  67. richard

    i say this it is very sad we a rich nation can not afford heath care for everybody in this nation.We can send aid to other nations to help them,but not take care of our own people first.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  68. Bob Devich

    We don't need health care reform! 70% of the people are happy with the greatest care in the world. This is a huge voter getting scam perpetrated by the Democrats. Obama care will lead to rationing and denial of care, and restricting care to the elderly, who will be expected to suffer.

    Democrat Steny Hoyer said recently, if the Congressional Representatives actually read the healthcare bill, very few would vote for it.

    40% of the uninsured are eliglble for Medicare, but can't figure how to get on it, 40% make over $50,000 a year and don't want to purchase RX care, and the other 20% are young and are healthy!

    July 9, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  69. Andrew V.

    Dear Tony,
    I watched the debate this morning on Health Care. I think that your guests and yourself had some good points, but were dancing around the answer that I feel that the American people need to hear.

    This recession is one of the worst in America's history. We are over a trillion dollars in debt, and we have a health care system in shambles, as well as a host of other national and international problems. Something, of course, has to be done, yet we cannot just expect one group of people to pick up the slack. While we should be able to rely on the rich to pick up more slack than the rest of the country, we have to realize that the only thing that will get our country out of this recession is SACRIFICE and COMPROMISE from the rest of us. I know that the American people do not like being taxed, but where else do you think this money is going to come from? I am no economist, but I feel that having some kind of income-baseds tax table should be instituted for those who can afford to give money to the federal government to fix our country. I'm no economist, so I am sure that there is a more proper term for this sort of scheme, but I feel like if we aren't willing to make some sort of temporary sacrifice in reforming our health care system and resurrecting our economy, we're just going to be mired in this problem with no end in sight.

    I look forward to any comments or feedback.
    Respectfully,
    Andrew

    July 9, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  70. Nancy

    I like having healthcare benefits through our employers, but with a public option we won't be able to keep our plans. Companies like Walmart are already circling like buzzards because they intend to shift their healthcare benefits to the "public" plan to become more competitive against their rivals like Target! So if I like my healthcare plan I can keep it until my employer decides the public option is cheaper and forces me off the healthcare plan I have.........just so unfair!!!

    July 9, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  71. Kelley Austin

    I do not believe that the current health care system needs reform at all. It DEFINATLY needs to be revamped but not reformed. The current system of providing health care for those who can’t afford it would work if they regulated it and stopped people from taking advantage of the system. People with these plans instead of going through the proper channels routinely use emergency services as primary care. This increases the dollar amount that their "insurance" I.E. our tax dollars has to pay out for their treatment. People refuse to use the system properly and cost tax payers millions of dollars for unneeded services. A 600 dollar E.R. visit can usually be taken care of by a 75 dollar Primary care visit. However the people on these plans do not want to have to make appointments or wait, they have no patience and know that they can receive immediate care in the E.R... What “Change" we really need in this country is accountability and people being responsible and not expecting someone else to pay all of their bills. I do believe that when people need help they should be able to have it, however they need to be grateful and responsible with what they are given instead of taking it for granted.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  72. Bob Candon

    I don't think we can have affordable health care until we have real competition at the retail level. Doctors, labs, hospitals and other health care providers should post their fees like any other merchant. With the internet, complaints and/or license issues concerning health care providers could be easily accessible. Health care consumers who shop wisely could be rewarded with reduced monthly health care payments. Once again, by using electronic payment methods these payment histories might be readily monitored and the rewards made.. Of course, in an emergency, no shopping would be required and no penalty exacted. However, emergencies must be defined. I think we also must have malpractice reform. Without something in the plan for the doctors it will be hard to get their wholehearted support.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  73. savvy2

    The biggest obstacle is the GOP refusing to accept a public option, another excuse to say NO, and they perpetuate lies to forestall Obama's initiatives. Why don't they explain why a gov't-run health care option is so awful when they have one themselves and WE pay for it? NO one, including CNN, has ever forced the GOP to answer this question or explain themselves on this issue. Nor has anyone explained why we can't join Congress's own plan. It's good enough for them, but not for us?

    July 9, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  74. SJ - Damascus, MD

    My problem is that I am unemployed. My health care is covered thru COBRA and I am paying $1200/mo.
    The reason I like the public option is because as long as I am paying my premiums I don't need to be nickle and dimed to death. I have heard enough people going into bankcrupcy even though they have health insurance.
    American people have been providing the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals huge profit margins that they cannot get in other parts of the world. We call it capitalism but I call pure greed.
    I have no idea what the solution is, except that something needs to be done to take care of the little man in this country.
    PS: Before someone jumps in and says that I need to shop for better insurance – may I say that my wife has had 3 back surgeries and it would be tough to get one without pre-existing conditions.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  75. Linda Stevens

    Tony,
    Some of the arguments against government run healthcare are silly. One example is the one given in a CNN report. In Canada you have to wait 90 days for a knee replacement, a totally elective surgery, then there is no cost to the patient. In the US you can get a knee replacement at the drop of the hat and it cost $40,000. I have had both of my knees replaced twice. I put the cost on credit cards and am now in debt that I am trying to pay off while living on Social Security Disability. I would gladly have waited 90 days to have my knees done free of cost rather than having them done tomorrow for 40,000.00. So what's the problem?

    July 9, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  76. Pamela Howard

    I work for a company that provides us with the health coverage. The reason I work is for this. My husband owns a small buisness, we could not afford to pay the $1000. a month to have insurance. But like so many people in the past year that have lost their jobs, most had coverage also. So we have to find some way to pay for this. This is the most important program goverment has to help with. I don't like the ideal of paying higher taxes. But it may be worth the cost to have the peace of mind to know you will be covered if something happens with your job.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  77. jay

    All I hear is cost of health care, rising astronomicaaly every year. Why doesnt any body proposes free market theory :increase supply. Open more Medical college hospitals , train more Doctors, subsidize their tuition with commitment to work in under privilged areas for 5 years after graduation. admission to be based on merit only. I saw in LA times a few years ago where they had reduced admission of medical students nationwide as they were afraid of losing increase in medical fees.,etc..
    If the govvt . cant be efficient according to CNBS's Larry Kudlow, how come the US military is the most efficient org. on realatively low salaries. Health ofpeople dying due lack of medical help in the richest,most advancerd country in the world is a matter of national security as well.
    Bring in more doctors under a compassion based motivation rather than "I need new golf clubs, so I do another appendectomy/tests etc"

    July 9, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  78. Roy Fewell

    We can pay for health care reform with the money that is already in the system. Both Germany and France provide universal health care for less than half of what we now pay. We have the most inefficient health care system in the world.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  79. Juliet

    I have good healthcare through my employer. I am a few dollars above poverty line (good benefits, but low salary). I have a child with special medical needs, the copays are killing me. I can't afford to take care of myself and my child at the same time (go for the early detection tests etc). I don't drink, I don't smoke, I rarely drink pop, and I try to eat right. Why should I pay for people who do these things without a care about the effects on their health and the cost to care for them during illness?

    Use sin tax to help pay for the reform; it will work in two two ways, help pay and cut usage.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  80. Mike

    Obama, enough is enough. Cut the waste on the MediCare and MediCaid. Re-organize them, and not spend U.S. to the poor house.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  81. robert

    I disagree with the so called "sin tax". Americans consume a lot of things which could ultimately make us unhealthy. You never hear of any one trying to increase the taxes on pork chops or ribeye steaks. What about a potato chip tax? There are many contributing factors to our overall health as Americans. It is unfair to only to raise taxes on only one or two of these factors.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  82. JoAnna

    I think the idea of taxing consumer goods used by ALL is the most fair and does not target any one socioeconomic class. Everyone drinks soft drinks and do not tell me the rich do not consume alcohol as well as middle and lower classes. And tobacco? Include cigars, pipe tobacco, and cigarrettes as well as snuff, chewing tobacco, and dipping tobacco and you have crossed all socioeconomic lines! A small tax on all of these items would hardly be noticeable to the consumer but bring in millions to the govt. Or how about a National lottery? Ha!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  83. Joe Novy

    Republican and Employed with insurance wake up. Republicans and some other senators will not wake up they private drug and insurance company keeping them elected.
    Let’s look the stupidity; selfishness and limitation of the employed individuals working for larger company with subsidize healthcare benefits.
    Firstly who support the existing free enterprise healthcare was not seriously thick to find the out of pocket cost. Secondly they do not have clued that there is people go to five different doctors to get same drugs. It is Wild West. Thirdly they do not see the cost of insurance rising.
    My mother paid in to your Kaiser system for 30 plus years. She gets really sick and during her stay in hospital she misses the payment and you cut her of the coverage. She had addition to your plan Medicare and Medicaid. Her Kiser doctor did not know how many specialists performing the same tests on her in the different hospitals. She was receiving bills and was charge $ 1500.00 plus per day.
    Let me outline few major free market problems in medical-industries and why our free market does not work in these industries.
    1) Greed 2) Each Doctor multi times ordering, prescribing medication and expensive tests 3) There is not affordable insurance which cover you if you get really sick without family being put in to financial disaster.4) The law suing doctors for malpractices 5) Doctors try to please costumers and order anything they request 6) Doctors investment in to in to medical industries and equipment will be promoting the unnecessary use and sale
    Some suggestions: and why lobbies spending millions?
    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.
    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.
    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.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  84. gemniii

    Tax the rich and the rich will endeavor to hide their income.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  85. James Shores

    On the health plan, I'm disabled and we only receive Social Security on me from an on the job electricution. My wifeis disable and has no income. My wife has MS so we have to keep her Blue Cross & Blue Shield that cost us $868.00 per month. Plus we still have to pay the co-pays. We don't have enough left to live on. So people paying only $1000 a year would be a super deal. I would guess The only people who's pays less than $1000 a year just don't have private insurance. The people like us need sum type of help(relief)!
    Thanks James in Florida.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  86. Marianne from phila

    Big Wall Street insurance is attempting to create fear to stop healthcare reform in its tracks. Why? because they are making billions and rationing care through red tape. Report on the financial picture of Aetna, United healthcare and Cigna. The facts are never talked about. The story on taxing benefits is a scare tactic. Tax my benefits. I already pay 20% toward my care and $2500 so far for my underinsured diabetic son's insulin, pump supplies and blood sugar testng supplies. I'm going to start a riot if I'm taxed on my benefits. If compainies put the current cost of insurance into healthcare the cost of care is covered. Put big insurance out of business or force them to compete by giving me a choice of a government plan. The poor and recent legal immigrants already get free care. I see it everyday at the Phila Hospital I work for. Pay for it with sales tax. Let everyone pay incrementally!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  87. Aaron

    According to Wikipedia the US military budget for FY2009 is $651 Billion.
    That is more than 2x what the EU spends, more than 6x what China spends, and more than 16x what the Russian Federation spends.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

    I think we should cut military spending by $100 Billion every year for 10 years... that's $1 Trillion total – and as it stands enough to pay for health care reform. Problem solved.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  88. Abdallha

    How about Biden, he talks about this like it a boxing match...

    July 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  89. Dale Gentsch

    If we had a single payer gov't controled health insurance program, we could raise revenues by investing the insurance premiums and earn the same rate of return as private insurance companies earn.

    We could drastically reduce costs thru: streamlined administration (5-8% admin costs for Medicare vs 20-30% admin costs for existing private insurers), combining the multiple existing federal & state health insurance programs (SCHIPS, Medicaid, Medicare, et al) into a single insurance program & thereby reducing the operating costs associated with administering multiple insurance programs, reducing costs to doctors & hospitals by having a single system to file claims to & receive payments from, and capping medical liability for hospitals & doctors.

    Put these together & lets see if we can generate enough revenue to cover the 45+ m uninsured Americans.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  90. Jim Foley, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

    We are looking to make tough decisions so we can fund Health Care. we are funding just about everything else so why not. Here is one way to safe a lot of money and help fund health care for all (Americans). Anyone here illegally gets (No) health care and are sent back to their home country immediately. They get no treatment in our emergency rooms and all incentives to remain here are taken from them. We spend billions of dollars on illegal persons, whether it be education, medical, or other services. Get rid of all these subsidies and I bet health care for (ALL) Americans would be possible.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  91. Paul

    AS TO YOUR SEGMENT ON HEALTH CARE REFORM AND HOW TO PAY FOR IT, THAT A GOOD % OF THE “RICH” ARE ALREADY PAYING AN AD ON TAX WITH THE AMT TAX. THEY ARE GENERALLY LIMITED TO AMOUNT OF ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS AND EXEMPTIONS DUE TO THE PHASE OUTS. ON TOP OF THAT THE % OF THE “RICH” THAT ARE ABLE TO CLAIM ANY MEDICAL EXPENSES DUE 7.5% OF THE AGI RULE IS SMALL. IN ADDITION, IF THEY HAVE AMT THE CEILING FOR THE MEDICAL DEDUCTIONS IS EVEN HIGHER. THERE ARE MANY HIDDEN “TAXES” THAT ARE NOT BEING DISCUSSED AS THEY SHOULD BE.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  92. Sam D

    The largest problem with healthcare is its outrageous cost to the average American. Insurance has gotten to the point that it is no longer affordable for everyone, this has lead to many citizens not having any form of healthcare. Hospitals are required to treat all that are in serious need of medical attention and when those without insurance don't have the money, the cost is carried over to those with insurance. Is it fair to tax the rich? No. Is it necessary? Yes, in the current economic state the middle class is growing smaller while the rich slowly take more and more of the pie, through outsourcing and corporate takeovers. Greed has lead America into its current state and those who have benefitted could at least make sure we can stay healthy.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  93. John Murphy

    A lot of money will be saved by people going to doctors rather having to clog up the high cost emergency rooms because they can't afford a doctor otherwise.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  94. Dave

    The critical question when it comes to health care reform should be whether or not we will actually analyze the costs and do something about them.
    Blaming the insurance companies for excessive costs may be popular but it ignores all of the costs of health care. Every knowledgeable discussion notes that health care costs (not insurance prices) in the U.S. are high compared to other countries. We should be asking "WHY?" and then doing something about the cause of the prices.
    Once we our costs under control then is the time for a discussion of extending medical care to the entire population and asking how to pay for it.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  95. Jason in Arizona

    I feel that healthcare reform is a great idea, start by regulating our government health care already in place. These doctors that know medicare is paying, do all kinds of unnessary testing, just build up the bottom dollar. And about taxing the health care we already pay for thats rediculus, how about givingt the doctors a tax free ride so that they can lower there prices. It would also give a big incentive for more people to become doctors.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  96. Charlie Cameron

    I'm old and dumb. I don't know any of the numbers. For example, I don't know how much businesses are paying, in total, for employee heath insurance. I don't know how much people with personal health insurance are paying. And I don't know how many people have been adversely affected, health-wise, because they had no health insurance. I don't know the percent of premiums collected by insurance companies that is spent on administrative costs. I don't know whether the money paid for employee health insurance will be kept by businesses if we have universal health insurance. I do know this – a number of years ago, Maine hired a company from NJ to discover the percent of health insurance premiums spent on health care, and the percent kept by insurance companies to pay for administrative costs. Administrative costs ran from 12% to 30% of premiums collected. Except for Medicare. Admin costs for Medicare were 2%

    July 9, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  97. janet

    It is time. I can list so many reasons and stories in my lifetime I think I will just list them. God only knows why I was hit so hard and some are hit later in life but eventually we all get hit with a health crisis.

    While pregnant with twins my insurance company left my state and it was perfectly legal I had only emergency coverage at an astronomical cost.

    Twins with autism all medical treatment out of pocket they are 19 now and it is still going on (oh and just kept refinancing to pay now underwater on our mortgage) cost thus far 300,000.00 But if I didn't provide early intervention they would not of been able to live at home.

    Cancer my husband on and off for 5 years he became unemployable and uninsurable

    My daughter has epilepsy the worst of all Tonic Clonic Generalized Seizure Disorder which means she falls so someone has to be with her 24hrs a day especially coupled with severe autism.

    Oh and then me the mom and wife. I occasionally need to see a someone for my own mental health issues from being a continual care provider.

    Of course insurance won't pay.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  98. Mitchel

    I'm all for a "sin" tax. A Media/Hollywood "sin" tax. Most of the high paid people in these industries were and are still in love with this spending administration they helped vote into office. Just listen to the crazy talk the White House is putting forth. 800 billion due to cost savings???? All smoking and mirrors my friends. The goverment couldn't save 10 cents. This is all just paper savings. Washington will have to raise taxes somewhere and they always raise it on the backs of the middle and lower class. Both parties force programs they can't fund and it always seems like it comes to them as a big surprise when the bill comes in.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  99. PetesSake

    Have we forgotten that the main thing that got us into this deficit mess was Bush's tax breaks to those in the highest tax brackets? While going to war at the same time? Put them back to the tax rate they had prior to that – to pre-Bush level! Oh, and wasn't that when the economy was doing really well and we had budget surplus?

    I know what Republicans are going to say – that they were majority in Congress so it was due to them. Well if that was the case, explain the six years during Bush that they had the majority – the years when the deficit skyrocketed, Wall Street went wild due to roll back of regulations, most American's saw their incomes and salaries decline, numbers of Americans without health insurance and health care costs sky rocketed....need I go on? What we need is for the Democrats to get a spine.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  100. Tom Beretvas

    Health care. What has to be realized that we are in this all together. If somebody gets really sick, he may contaminate the entire community, or without insurance he ends up in the emergency room, and we all pay for it. In my opinion, health care should be available to all Americans (I do not know what to do about illegals who come here for medical care only), health care should be paid for by everybody (and not subsidized except for the poor), similarly to Social Security. Basically, Medicare should be extended to all Americans. Thus, health care contribution should be paid by EVERY adult or family in equal amount (depending on the number of people covered in the family), and perhaps an additional income-based contribution could also be assessed. The health care contribution should entitle people to medical/hospital care, drugs (and eventually) dentistry.

    In order to avoid Medicare overruns, every year cost should be assessed and contributions changed accordingly. It should be all self-financing, an independent Health Care Authority should be responsible for management.

    Health care providers reimbursements should also be controlled, and changed so as not to be "procedure-based."

    July 9, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  101. Nancy Walsh

    Our health care system has its faults but it is still the best in the world. I don't want government officials deciding who gets treatment and who doesn't. I don't want to tax higher income households to pay for people who won't work or for all the illegal aliens in this country.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  102. Jim Shipley

    No mater what they come up with, If it is not good enough for members of congress, it is not good enough for me and my family!!!!
    I am sick and tired of paying for their free ride. They have better health care and better retirements at my expense. If they want to force it on me then they should have it forced on themselves as well! If i am going to have to pay for the illegals and deadbeats in this country than they should have to pay too.
    You can be sure it will be a completely different system if it includes them.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  103. janet

    Please do tax me it would of been cheaper don't you think?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  104. Sharon

    I say tax the rich! I wouldn't be laid off if the rich weren't trying to get richer by eliminating my position & putting more work load on my-coworkers. Maybe if they don't like the idea...they will bring us back to work or open up other options/job opportunities so we can provide for ourselves once again! Obama said his self he doesn't mind contributing to help the less fortunate than he is....so..

    July 9, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  105. Donia Marie

    We should go at the root of the Health cost....the pharmaceutical Co.'s
    OUTRAGIOUS price of medication. What is their profit....? Then we can adjust the Health Plan!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  106. John Kelley

    They keep talking about how much money it will cost, but no one is talking about how much will be saved by not having to pay for high cost er indigent care through taxes, elimination of unnecessary dr. self referral to diagnostic and surgery centers, obscene hospital charges, the elimination of insurance company profits through a single payer plan. the vast majority of citizens are willing to pay more taxes for good, portable health care.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  107. Han G Thesobs in Ca

    Cutting the cost of Healthcare increases profits for ALL OTHER BUSINESSES! = More jobs and MORE taxes.

    We already PAY more than twice per person than any other country!
    Why would cutting out the middlemen, 50% of our healthcare costs, mean we COULDN'T AFFORD it? This argument is LAME!

    When Reagan cut the richest tax rates to the same as the low-middle class, we got ANOTHER recession and HUGE deficits. They sold all their low 6 – 10% return businesses and put it into the real estate and stock markets, causing the "downsizing of America" and the losses of MILLIONS of good-paying jobs. Sound familiar?

    Instead of cuttiing Capitol Gains taxes to zero and the richest rates, let's cut the taxes of people/businesses making under $200,000 to ZERO! = MORE jobs and MORE tax income!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  108. DANA GONZALES

    We currently pay for all healthcare in some way. When we need emergency treatment, we pay in delays because underinsured or uninsured individuals seek treatment for non-emergency conditions. Hospitals and other health providers have higher operating costs as a result of providing care to those who are uninsured and underinsured. Employers pay higher costs in lost worker productivity due to preventable chronic illness.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  109. Rosalyn

    Millions of dollars of merchandise are sold over the internet and no taxes are collected, resulting in lost revenue to the Fed and States... and, losses of jobs to smaller businesses who can't compete. Start taxing these businesses! Voila, revenue! And, who can justify insurance companies being "for profit" .... of course, they will charge more and give less.... These should be the issues on which to focus attention and regulation.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  110. Trish

    Tony,
    Having worked for the U.S. Defense Department in Europe for 14 years, I can say that it is shocking how far behind the U.S. is compared to the rest of the civilized countries on the planet. Germany
    has excellent free health care for all it's citizens, and free college. The rich simply pay a tiny bit more on their taxes. They have great high ways, and many wonderful benefits for all people. WAKE UP AMERICA! We are embarrassing ourselves!
    Trish

    July 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  111. sherry

    Yes we need health care reform due to the sky high medical costs that even those with health insurance can not afford to pay- which approximately 50-60% Americans end up filing bankruptcy due to medical debt. However, due to our recession- should we introduce a tax that decreases disposable income in our economic decline and will it lead to deepening our recession leading to a longer recovery time?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  112. Ramesh

    Our Northern neighbour Canada is perhaps more than 2.5 or 3 times bigger in size than US. It has 1/10 the population and 1/10 of its population lives in greater Toranto metropolis BUT I have not heard any Canadian complain about healthcare. United Kingdom ( UK) has nationalized health care and it does not appear that citizens of those two countries complain about their healthcare delivery. The seer cost of health care here in US is becoming so much burdonsome to employers/employees and in later stage of one in retirement that it would ultimately make US UNCOMPETATIVE in the coming years.

    I think we seriously need to examine UK and Canadian model of delivery of healthcare to our citizens.

    Anybodies comments would be appreciated.

    Sincerely
    Ramesh K. Sampat

    July 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  113. Jenai

    Biggst obstacle??? Corporate and political EGO!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  114. alex

    Of all the people who are apart of this uninsured group. I would say 40% of them are not insured by choice. I sell health insurance, and many clients simply choose to just not buy it. Even when the cost is not high.
    You want to lower the cost of health care, stop blaming insurance companies and look at the companies that create the cost of care, which is who supplies the drugs and equipment.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  115. Bud

    I do not think we should single out a particular group to tax, rich or poor. Health care is a problem for everyone and everyone needs to pay their fair share. My solution is simple. We live in a capitalistic society, we should begin looking at taxing consumption. I believe it is time to consider a national sales tax, with no exceptions or tax exempt status given to any indivduals or groups. Everyone pays their fair share.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  116. donald carlson

    Tony,

    We are paying for extra for our health care at the present time. Every person who goes to the emergency room with no insurance we pay for their care in taxes.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  117. Jim Shipley

    remember when auto insurance became mandatory? Prices sky rocked! you can bet health care will do the same thing!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  118. Tina

    I know most people don't want to hear this, maybe even you Tony, but the Bible states, "If my people who are called by name would humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, then will I hear from them in heaven." But of course we think, in our shallow minds, have all the answers, even when we know we don't.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  119. Mario

    I been on a Govt health care plan all of my life, my father was in the military and retired AF, I am a Retired Army SSG, how will this effect my status since I have a health care plan that is what the Fed GOVt is trying to move to ?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  120. beth

    tonny, my story is 5month ago i was pregnant and didn't have a health insurance. i was trying to be on a public assistance. but i saw myself and said i am unemployed and i am not contributing anything. i felt like i am a bad citizen. but i had to.down the road we were denied the public assistance becoz my husband makes X amount of dollar which will not make us qualified. he has a health care insurance. thru his job but when he requested to put me and our unborn child on. they took more than $1000.00/month for three month from his check. then when we went to a hospital to use our coverage we were told that i am not covered. now on one day visit we are asked to pay more than $4000.00. IT IS NOT FARE!! if my husband loses his job we will be out on the street. i dont go out anywhere becoz i dont have a car and dont have that much money to spend by going anywhere.now we decided to go to a 3rd world country where we can afford to have our baby.the system needs to be fixed. the underclass needs to be able to afford at least basic health insurance. the rich they are buying $200,000,000.00 boat to live a luxury life, but the poor is dying becoz they couldn't afford health insurance. the rich wont be rich with out the poor. they get the money from the poor. so i would say it is fare to tax them.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  121. Michael

    I feel that it is high time that we pass health care in the United States of America if but only to renew the Spirit and the pride in America, because God blesses us when we help our own. How to fund health care should be a nation-wide forum if need be, in order to recieve multiple ideas to provide money and sponsorship. I don't have the solution ; it will probably take multiple solutions to fund it. One way may be to renew a speacial savings bond that could be sold, which would oviously be more partiotic than profitable, such as we did back in the War, to fund the boys overseas. There could also hold silent autions for them geared to the wealthy. Once we get it up and going , I really believe it will find better ways to produce funding itself. Church congreations could possibly buy these bonds also.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  122. Ciprian, Boston

    I pay state tax, federal tax, my employer pays for my insurance, and i pay from my paycheck for medical insurance. And still, the first question i'm being asked when i see my family doctor is: how would you like to pay for your copay? I don't think we need more taxes, but manage the money more efficient. Instead of having private insurance companies making profit (wich is divergent with the need to provide care for people) we need a non profit sistem in wich all the money colected from the people comes back to the people in form of medical services. Everybody who lives in the USA should make contributions for medical insurance one way or the other, including unemployed people.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  123. CAROL

    The biggest hurdle is the insurance industry which is REPUBLICAN, thus the Republicans on the Hill are going to vote against it in order to protect their and the insurance industry's highly inflated profits.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  124. PetesSake

    Tony, another thing. I – and none of the other Democrats I know – didn't elect President Obama and Democrat Congresspersons for bi-partisanship. We elected them to reverse the damage the Republicans had done. President Obama – just do it, do what you compaigned on.

    The polls imply that Obama's ratings are going down because people don't like what he's are doing and then wrongly intrepret that to mean he's gone to far left. Not so! His ratings are going down because he's compromising too much with Republicans. Tony, please tell the poll people at CNN to go further into the question and ask not just if people like the job Obama is doing but also ask, if they don't like it, why is that? You'll find its because he's listening too much to Republicans – compromising too much.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  125. Ryan

    I am glad that people are finally realizing that all of the spending proposed by this administration cannot be paid for merely by taxing the rich. This does not mean that the spending proposed is unjust, it is simply a wake-up call that people across financial classes will be paying the bill in some tax form.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  126. Linda Stevens

    In an area near me we have homes the size of a Ritz Carleton with 16 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms. I would guess 4-5 people live in them. I live in a middle class area where 4-5 people live in 2-3 bedroom homes. The people living in these huge homes use a ridiculous amount of energy. Establish a common sense level use of energy. When the househould goes over that level of energy, tax the heck out of them! If you have 16 bedrooms for 5 people, you can afford to pay taxes on your energy use! Put this money up for funding healthcare.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  127. Derek (Canada)

    Greed

    July 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  128. Don

    A two tier approach to financing health care may provide some options. The vast majority of the population need only basic health care. The costs for vaccinations, check ups and common ailments and injuries are well known and can be standardized.

    High cost treatments for exotic or rare (in the population) diseases should be managed separately from basic care. By standardizing treatment options and designating specific facilities for specific types of rare treatments (Example: cancer centers) these costs can be controlled as well. Healthcare is no different that any other service.
    As healthcare consumers we should have the right to get estimates for services and use the marketplace to get the best price: The same as when your car is serviced!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  129. David Cheeseman

    I'm 23 years old, 6' 190 and am in great shape and I LOVE my sugary drinks and snack foods. The reason I'm healthy is that I exercise! You can't legislate diet without offering a tax break to those that exercise properly and that would be impossible to do. Food is not akin to cigarettes as it's a lifestyle that drives health and not one particular subset of food we consume.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  130. Maxine Scott

    If you are not lucky enough to work for a company that provides health insurance, you have to pay for it yourself out of taxable funds. How fair is that?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  131. Ronda

    When Congress EXCLUDES itself in this health care plan, then I say...."If it's not good enough for Congress then it is NOT good enough for the American citizens."

    July 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  132. Jim - San Diego

    It's a no-brainer; tax the things that make us sick. Alcohol, tobacco, bullets, fast food, and even gasoline. Tax cigarettes $3 per pack, tax beer $3 per six-pack, tax bullets ten cents each, tax fast food one dollar per order. We could raise a lot of money and maybe reduce the use of such items in the future.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  133. Ralph Patch

    Hi,
    The biggest obstacle to passing health care is the same thing that has stopped it in the past; MONEY! Insurance companies, doctors and any one else making a fortune on the status quo. You should remind your viewers that although some taxs may be raised, their medical bills will be reduced or eliminated.
    Ralph Patch

    July 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  134. Cole Morris

    The biggest obstacle that we have as a country is convincing the people that while they will likely have an increase in taxes, they will in the long run have a lowered overall cost of healthcare. Socialized healthcare has been proven to lower health care costs for the average person, which can only help to give our economy the boost it needs. The United States pays more for healthcare per person than any other country, yet we still fall well short on all fields of the medical profession. Something must change, or we will cease to be the forefront of the world.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  135. Charles Moore

    The problem with the healthcare issue is that we have constantly paying for healthcare for years, the system needs to be looked at closer and fixed if possible or just scrapped and restarted and if they choose this path they need to get as much input from every state in the US as possible because each states problems are different. We already have an undertaxed public welfare system. And NO I'm not willing to have my taxes increased like they are proposing now its just STUPID they way they want to do it.......

    July 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  136. Roger Ritthaler

    Oh, yeah! Let's cover those 45 million uninsured people. Then let's worry about the next 45 million that will choose to be uninsured so that they can get in on the program. And then let's worry about...

    The unintended consequences will complete the vicious circle.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  137. Mark Lederer

    The biggest obstacle is the GOP and their big business supporters: Big Insurance, drug companies> Now that the doctors have been squeezed by the ins. cos they seem to be more inclined to accept a national plan. The only way to pay for a national plan is to eliminate the $1T profit margin he insurance cos are making. We need a totally nationalized medical system like France. Doctors, nurses, EMS should be government employees. Hospitals should all be government institutions.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  138. Naomi Goodin

    The biggest obstacle to health care reform is that the big companies – insurance, pharmaceuticals, for-profit hospitals – do not want their income to decrease. Kudos to the hospitals for being willing to forego all the Medicare/Medicaid payments; that's a start. It's time big companies started to work for the common good rather than just profits.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  139. JoAnna

    The biggest obstacle to reforming health care is the same old problem we have seen in the financial world--greed, greed, greed! Everyone, particularly private, FOR PROFIT, health insurance and CEOs of hospitals and other health care providers, physicians are afraid they will have to settle for less!!! (Boo! hoo!) They see their "gravy train" coming to a stop! Greed is the obstacle.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  140. Linda West

    I don't understand why everything has to be so complicated? Why not add One penny sales tax to every item sold in this country for Health Care? Everyone pays and everyone benifis rich, poor, everyone.

    Linda

    July 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  141. Peter, Pittsburgh,PA

    France can do it, Britain can do it, Scandinavian countries can do it, Germany can do it, then why can't we do it? The answer is so simple yet, making it happen seems impossible. Why? Because we are paying for wars, they don't. I am wondering what is more important, healthcare in your own country or forcing democracy on countries who don't care.
    If we just stopped spending all this money on wars we would be just fine, yet CNN doesn't see it this way.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  142. Bob Bargamin

    Tony

    Thanks for staying on top of the healthcare reform issue.

    I hear about hospitals helping, drug companies helping, new taxes on this and that...

    What I have not heard one word about and is surely a huge part of this issue is...

    What about TORT REFORM?!! Reign in the lawyers and crazy awards for malpractice.

    Could this have something to do with the fact that our President and his wife are both lawyers? Something about the outrageous amounts of money the trial lawers assn give to politicians?

    Please raise this issue in your reporting.
    tks
    Bob

    July 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  143. John Hopf

    Americans are extremely unhealthy people and many of their ills are a result of lack of exercise and too much food. We have become dependent on the UNhealth care system and the pharmaceutical companies to thwart the symptoms of diseases we bring on ouselves. Too many americans do not take any responsibility for their health. First of all, health insurance companies and pharma adds should be banned from television. Secondly, in order to pay for a new health insurance system, all adults should be taxed per pound by bodyweight over the ideal for that individual. Yes a fat and unhealthy tax. Perhaps this tax would encourage americans to get back into shape.....nothing else has worked. John, a 60 year old powerlifter and runner. My goal has been "Not to become dependent on the health care system for something I can prevent."

    July 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  144. Juan

    Taxing the rich would be the absolute wrong way to go with this. The majority of doctors fall under that tax bracket. Not only would the government be lowering physician salaries, but would also be making them pay for it! Great way of deterring young people from embracing a once distinguished profession. While healthcare needs to be reformed, there is no easy solution and I don't believe that everyone will be content with the final product.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  145. Bonnie

    Tony,

    Regarding the difficulty of passing health care reform:

    I believe it's simply a matter of our nation not caring about our neighbors. Our society seems to be driven by our capitalist and looking out for me first mentality. I think Michael Moore came to this conclusion in his movie "Sicko". Our country truly lacks compassion for our fellow Americans and is blind to the morality of this issue.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  146. Jean-Rene Thibault

    As someone who has helped small businesses and induviduals obtain medical insurance cost for over 30 years here are my suggestions. Because of hugh future cost, it is essential to use a combination of public and private medical services.

    Private:

    1. Make private insurance non-profit similar to Kaiser Permanente.
    2. Cover everyone on individual policies regardless of pre-existing
    conditions. This already exist in California for group medical
    insurance.
    3. Give every American a chose of private or public coverage or a
    combination of both. A combination now exist with Medicare.

    Public:

    1. Cover all of the uninsured through public or private plans or both.
    Provide government subsidized help for those below a certain
    income level.

    How to pay for the cost::

    A Federal Sales Tax to cover the total cost. This spreads the cost to everyone and is the least painful of all options.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  147. Henry Baker

    To me it seems obvious that the key to bringing health care costs under control, and something President Obama brushed aside at his meeting with the American Medical Assoc. is Tort Reform. Tort reform has traditionally been a Republican issue. Lawyer associations have contributed millions to the Democratic Party. Instead of trying to steamroll over the Republicans, Democrats should compromise with the other side of the isle and bring about real and substinative CHANGE for the American people.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  148. Dan M.

    I'm still in college, so I do not have much to offer our country in terms of providing funds to pay for Government services; however, I would have to pay over $1,500/mo if I did not have prescription drug coverage from my mother. Unfortunately, I probably will not be able to stay on her Blue Cross plan next year because of an age limit for covering dependents on the policy. Without taking those medications, I will end up in the hospital regularly. One day in the hospital could cost more than the monthly cost of my prescriptions. Paying for my prescriptions actually saves month!!

    Therefore, I will gladly pay anything to the government to help pay for health care reform. I will take less in State and Federal Grants for College. I would have gladly gone without a tax-refund this year if I knew that that money was going to fund health care reform. If we all don't make this sacrifice, someone is going to have to foot a bill for me to go the hospital because there wasn't a way for me to purchase an affordable health plan to cover my prescription medications. For one, I don't think that makes any sense. Secondly, I don't think that it is fair that we can't come together as a country to find a way for me to help pay for my own health care costs so that I can prevent–on my own–others from having to pay for me to be in the hospital. I want to have the opportunity to take care of myself.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  149. Theresa

    The biggest hurdle will be that politicians like to talk about reform but because they also like their jobs they are too afraid to rock the boat and risk upsetting potential voters. We have a health care system that exist not to provide care but to make profit, changing that will upset alot of big campaign donors. Therefore they talk of reform but just never get around to actually passing anything, same with energy. I think we should have term limits for senators and maybe we would have a senate that actually serves the people.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  150. Tom

    Tony,
    Since Congress is proposing bills that would tax employer paid health care benefits as a way to pay for national health care, shouldnt the tax payer paid benefits for Congress's health care be taxed as well? Or does this majestic band of crooks, liars and theves hold themselves above the laws they pass?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  151. Cindy Trainor

    I believe a tax on fast foods, snack foods, sugar drinks (i.e. unhealthy foods) should be considered to help pay for health care as they contribute to health issues. Nutrient dense foods like produce (fruits & vegetables) would not be taxed but consumption of these encouraged as this would lower heart disease, diabetes etc.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  152. Dashon

    The ONLY and SINGLE obstacle, the democrats will face with passing this bill, is the idiots who got us here in the first place, hence, the republicans. If they'd stop being greedy, and wondering about the amount of money they'll potentialy use, it would pass. Not only can employers not afford to pay for insurance, doctors, aren't getting paid for their work, because more then half the individuals who go to see them, DON'T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE, and they actually end up not even paying the bill. It is a lose, lose situation, and i really wish that the Republicans, would take their foot out of their asses, and realize its their fault why we have even make reforms! Maybe if Bush would have let the world know ahead of time, and fixed the problem, Obama wouldn't have inherited this problem. It'll pass, don't worry.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  153. Derek Dye

    The biggest obstacle to passing healthcare are the number of interest groups involved in the process.

    That said, taxing employer benefits should has really been reached as sort of a consensus I think. Employer sponsored coverage leads to job lock and is the product of the World War II era. In a globalized world and vibrant world economy a system where health benefits are tied to the employer doesnt make sense. Putting this type on incentive in place along with some new rules regarding pre-existing conditions really will allow for more people to enter the health insurance system by lowering costs for everyone because our employers won't be able to price fix as easily

    July 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  154. Gabby

    I don't see how you can expect the people that have an income level of over $250,000 to pay for all this government spending. They will either stop earning at that level close businesses move elsewhere and or better yet tell me this, IS THIS NOT DISCRIMINATION against an income level? Why is this not a form of discrimination on those that earn that income level and that they should be taxed for making that income level and punished and levied to pay for all the government programs of gradification for others? its discrimination against an income bracket of Americans pure and simple? They should class action sue the government?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  155. jay

    biggest obstacle to health care reform is :
    1. Greedy doctors
    2. Greedy insurance cos. (get rid o insurance Cos., eliminate waste)
    3.Lack of educational instutions
    4. Closed end shop by Doctors, who close ranks behind errant members
    5. Greedy politicians under the control of AMA, passing restrictive laws, creating opposition to reforms which will bring down Mdical industry's income. (The biggest house in Orange county Ca. ,23000 sq.ft was built by a doctor, trained in India on govt. subsidised medical college.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  156. Jack Brandt

    The Democratic majority has too many members who want the lobby money and don't care about the voters who gave a mandate. It will not pass. Too bad.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  157. Ms. 'B' Dawson

    I own a small pet supply ($320,00 annual gross) that did not replace an employee who moved out of the area this year because of rising business costs. My husband (who put himself through college without any assistance) works in the computer field. We own our modest home and have not tapped ANY of the equity in it. We have live frugal lives and try to make smart choices.

    Between us, the household income is $251,000 which makes us the "new rich" that are being asked to pay for everything. In addition to surcharges to pay for universal healthcare, the new proposals want my husband to pay taxes on some portion of the premium paid by his employer? Other proposals want to remove tax deductions for homeownership and charitable donations.

    We are looking at proposals that could take as much as a $5000 additional dollars out of our incomes next year. Our response to the economic situation is to cut our spending because we look to our future.

    My business travel has dropped from one conference/seminar monthly to only two absolutely essential conferences annually. Do you know how much money THAT takes out of the economy – hotels, rental cars, meals? My donations to pet charities are going to have to shrink, as much as that breaks my heart.

    This is how responsible people are responding to the situation. We pull back to save for our retirement. We are not lavishly spending, greedy, rolling in money folks.

    Sorry this is so long, but I really want this side of the debate put into the conversation. Tax everyone a little and I understand and could support it. Sin taxes on alcohol and junk food is OK as well because we have the choice not to pay it. But this "tax the rich" attitude smacks of retaliation and a lot of innocent, honest responsible people stand to get hurt in the process.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  158. Barb Patterson

    Tony, I think the biggest problem in passing health care reform is that people who have insurance do not understand. People are scared because they are not getting the truth about how health care works in all other industrial countries. I moved to the U.S. in 1991 from Germany and it was a very frightening situation not to have health insurance! I NEVER had a problem getting GOOD health care when I still lived in Europe. it is not something people ever even think about! Everyone who has a job in Germany contributes to their insurance cost. There are no free rides and the health care one receives is excellent! Now I am getting divorced and will lose my health care in the process. I am 48 and I am afraid for my future if comprehensive health insurance reform is not passed!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  159. Donna

    I haven't heard a thing about the salaries & "bonus billions" paid to the legal drug pushers and other medical mfg. I think that area should be scrutinized, made public, and controled also, if we the tax-blood liners are asked to cover the cost for all of us "little people" to have acess to GOOD medical care.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  160. amadou

    Tony ,the biggest problem on reforming the healthcareis THE RICH NOMENCLATURA. We can not afforde to live 46 to47 millions peoples behind.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  161. Bill Grenwell

    It seems to me if the money the drug companies use on advertising could be better used to reduce prescription costs. Furthermore, regulation of procedural costs would keep outrageous costs for MRI, CT scans and the like. Health care professionals should be in the business to care for people, not to get rich.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  162. Dennis Willard

    I believe if we pull out big business and profits away from hospitals and doctors we can return to actual health care. I mean it would be good to come up with cures and not prolonged care. The costs would go down if there was a reform since prevention would be in place. If people were diagnosed early then treatments would prevent long-term care and expensive drugs and surgeries. People shouldn't be filing bankruptcy because the cost of health care is so high. Doctors and patients shouldn't be paying for drugs being prescribed. It should be at the expense of hospitals and clinics since it is part of their trade.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  163. LarryinOregon

    Tony we all need take a big breath and think! There is no free lunch, we need cost effective efficiency in health care delivery without sacrificing quality, but we also need to pay for it. In my view, the first and preferred method is for employers and employees to pay appropriate premiums plus a safety net for those who cannot do so, which means government picking up the tab for premiums. That means a combination of cutting current government programs (not an easy task) and raising taxes. No one likes to hear it but eventually that must happen if you are going to increase benefits.

    But, I do not see how we can gain the support of the taxpayers for an increase when there are so many inequities in the current tax system. We need tax reform (read simplification). Get rid of off budget, tax expenditure financing of programs (e.g. eliminate corporate and individual tax deductions and hidden grants) and go to a direct tax on all income from whatever source along with making all government expenditures subject to the appropriations process and on budget.

    Thank you for opening up the debate. Larry

    July 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  164. B Worth

    First though we are going to need more doctors and more nurses.
    We have a large population, we have more and more elderly to care for, and still illegals not contributing to the system. I think we need to educate and train more health care staff first to meet the demand social medicine will create. At least this will also create jobs for the next generation! Provide special health care professional education funds first so we have Americans to do all the work. MissTiara.etsy.com

    July 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  165. Katie

    The biggest obstacle in overcoming this is that people don't want to work. They just want to have health care handed to them, but, what they don't realize is that they will only get about 10% of the benifits they could get with the health care available now. Also, people may have to wait 9 months to get a vital organ taken out because instead of just paying for it, they will be on the same grounds as anyone.
    Even with this new health care people that aren't working are sitll going to want more and won't be satisfied. To overcome this obstacle Obama needs to get the unemployed employed so that they can pay for healthcare and he won't take away from the people that work hard for their money.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  166. Jonathan

    Back on June 17, CNN reported the US spends at least 40% more per capita on health insurance than Canada, France and the UK, but has a higher child mortality rate and lower longevity. Until this recession, Canada has enjoyed years of no deficits, so that country is not going into debt even with universal health coverage. All of these countries except the US put more priority on preventative care for all of their citizens. Much of that extra money in the US is going to middlemen. The US spends more on health care per capita than any other western country.

    The only thing that will truly help Americans is socialized medicine on the "European Plan" coupled with enough taxation to pay for it all, but that will never happen; Americans on the whole do not like paying for their neighbor's care. Instead, we wring our hands in fear of hurting insurance companies. Huh? So what if a government health plan is better? Sounds like a good deal to me. The insurance companies have been pillaging Americans for years.

    The Canadian / European Plan is not perfect, but I think it's better. We here in America pay taxes now, but God forbid we pay a bit more to save our future and everyone's health!

    If you prick a Canadian, you'll find socialized health care will be running in their veins; it's dear to their hearts. Frankly, although I am a naturalized US citizen, it's one of my main reasons for keeping my Canadian passport in my back pocket.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  167. Ron Walker

    What is so hard about passing health care reform? we pay out of our checks for social security and Medicare, so why dont the gov. charge a progressive fee from our pay checks for health care based on our income. Also pass a law that prevents the gov. from dipping into the pot like they did in social security.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  168. Ken

    Tony who pays for Senators and Congressmen health insurance. If the people are paying for there health insurance then the congress will pass taxing health benefits. If they are paying for there own health care then they will not pass a tax on health benefits.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  169. Steve

    I would be amazed if taxing the rich passed. Let's face it, the rich "own" Washington.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  170. jason burton

    I'm sitting in the doctors office right now and I've seen about half a dozen pharm.co.reps.come in this small office I say we tax the co. That push this drugs down anyone they can .
    We also need to make it cheaper for docs to upgrade their offices. If they were
    Efficent the would not cost as much as they do . Thank you

    July 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  171. V. Jackson

    Why not tax guns and bullets to pay for health care?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  172. Gary Cherpakov

    Biggest problem with healthcare reform? Big insurance, their lobby, and their GOP backers. They will not give up anything that will cut into those big profits. Greed, greed, greed! Healthcare FOR PROFIT is is the problem.
    Does this make sense: We pay and trust our healthcare to BIG INSURANCE. Their interest? The more they deny you, the more they make. They are your ENEMY!!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  173. Jack Barker

    Anybody that thinks they have good health Ins. has not ever had to use it. If they get it from their place of work free they won't get it free for very much longer.It cost the employer to much. Most people are already paying part of their Ins. cost. 90% of people have no choise for their Ins. they get what the boss gets for them. If they get something serious, long term , they will owe more money then they could ever pay. You are out of work with no monies coming in for months. If you are laid off you lose your Ins. and good luck if you think you can afford Cobra when you are not working. We can pay for Health Ins. for everybody by putting a Fed. tax on everything we buy . Make every employer pay $200.00 a month into this Health Plan on every employee they have. That way Gov. could get rid of all the other Health plans they have now. (Ins. for kids, Medicare, Medicaid, Va paying the bills on the poor that can't pay now.) They can also solve Social Security by making everbody pay into it everyweek no matter what they make. No cut off in paying after X amount.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  174. Tom

    My late wife battled breast cancer for five years. I was fortunate to have a Cadillac health plan through my employer that allowed for the best care possible to help her fight the disease. I never could have afforded to pay for her care over 5 years without insurance.

    If taxing my health care benefits ensures that ALL Americans would get the same level of care that my wife received, this would be a small price to pay for funding health care reform.

    Here's another suggestion: In the business world, we are often given the edict that we must cut costs by a certain percentage. No exceptions. If we can get politics and special interests out of the equation, there is no doubt that we can easily cut the federal budget by 10%, which would fund health care reform.

    However, in government, getting politics and special interests out of the equation is next to impossible making it the biggest obstacle for passing health care reform.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  175. NOLA Girl

    Why are we (Americans) debating health care reform? You cannot predict that something won't work until you try it. Trial and error. I don't hear Canada complaining. In fact I have first hand experience with major surgery in Canada and my care was at the top. The doctor didn't drive a Roll Royce but my surgery was perfect. I agree with Nancy Pelosi 100%. There is a recorded history of millions of dollars of fraud in the American health care system. Those dollars point directly at the private sector physicians who hike the fees up to keep the riff raff out. Well, the riff raff need doctors too. We all need health care, education and a clean environment to live well and we all deserve the same in each. We can make this work even if your doctor has to drive a Toyota. Let him buy the new Toyota Land Cruiser instead of the Rolls.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  176. W. Jerry Streeter

    Tony, lets start health care reform by eliminating the health care that Congress enjoys. Perhaps they (Congressmen) would think differently and act differently if they had the same health plans as the rest of us.

    Also, as to the question posed "who is going to pay". How are those who are retired and are on fixed income going to belly up to the bar? They can barely keep their head above water, if at all now.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  177. Nancy

    If there is a public healthcare plan, then all members of Congress should be put on it immediately to help us to reduce costs and to pay for healthcare. Retroactively all former government employees should be stripped of any other plan that taxpayers have been paying for, and given the "cheaper version". They don't deserve a "cadillac" plan on our dime.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  178. Lance Denney

    Hello? We already pay for the uninsured! Hospitals charge the government two to three times their actual costs for the uninsured!

    The healthcare industry was just reported to be spending 1.4 million dollars PER DAY to stop ALL REFORMS.

    IF we cut healthcare costs to businesses and the working classes, that will mean more jobs, more taxes, and less healthcare bills to the country! Is this really a "debate"? How crazy is it not to understand that?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  179. michael armstrong sr.

    we can get the money to pay for health care by making marajuana legal which will save billions of dollars trying to inforce this law that cant be controled .

    July 9, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  180. monal

    Hmm I love the fact that those who are making decisions about healthcare don't necessarily work in healthcare. I am a resident and find it rather irritating that a bunch of politicians are going to change my working enviorment. There is no doubt that health care needs to change. At current rate people will not receive proper care. The cost of healthcare is out of control. The way to solve this is to cut costs, not just pay for it. One of the biggest thing that drives up healthcare price is the fear of litigation. An otherwise intelligent physician may not chase a random finding but because they are so afraid that clinical judgement overclouds the fear of being sued and further testing is done.

    Also, how about we have centralized medical records, so when patients transfer care for whatever reason, we don't have to order the thousands of tests that were already done at another institution. But privacy laws dictate that this cannot be.

    So even if this does pass the inherent problem will not have changed and it will continue to be a mess. Some of this blame does lay on the physicians, because we too have not taken an initiative to dictate our field. But it is time that this be placed in the hands of the doctors and not politicians. Washington's primary concern at the end of the day is their perception and not the actual problem.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  181. brian briggs

    I think the government needs to manage the country better by making sure everybody pay fair share of taxes 1.) get rid of the I.R.S. and raise the sales taxes in 3% on everything you buy 2.) Issue a goevrnment card to help the gov. know how you spending your money, like for instance when you buy food, gas, car, ect...the card must be used when paying a bill. Illigal allien, example working for people for cash money people has businesses that don't report their full earnings. The money these programs would save or earn would pay for health care and the crisis we are in.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  182. Doug

    Let's take a look at the Congressional Health Care System and mirror that for the millions currently without health care. I'm a military retiree and was promised adequate health care for life. Lost that during the Clinton administration, but I'm sure Congress hasn't faced any reductions in benefits.

    Another place to look is the foreign aid pot of funds. We give billions to countries who could care less whether the US of A exists or not. It's not only the Health Care system that is broken, our bureaucratic system is rife with roadblocks to ANY reform.

    We should throw out all the senators and representatives, clear out the seniority and start all over again. Get some fresh minds. Our founding fathers set up the government as a REPRESENTIVE form of governing. It wasn't designed as a full time job. Serve your nation for a set period of time, then return to your REAL job.

    Enough venting...

    Doug

    July 9, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  183. Marc Molina

    If the people who don't have health care have unnecessary luxuries will the government step in and take these luxuries away to pay for there health care. Such as rims, plasma t.v.s, large homes, big cars, too many kids. Why should anyone pay for someone who does this? I grew up with a single mother who worked HARD, and I still have health care at 24 through her. What the government needs to do is start educating people on how to take care of themselves. They are MORAL OBLIGATED to provide there own healthcare and we as loving people are MORAL OBLIGATED to teach them how and help them on their road to sucess. However, paying for them is not the answer that only makes people weak. And America used to be full of strong people and now we are weak.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  184. Glynn Thomas

    Tony , I am from England and the health care over there is very good [ whatever people say ] my sister in law just went through breast cancer , and had wonderful care , and it cost her nothing .
    It is simple to pay for .You pay out of your wages ....if you earn $200 per week you pay $ 20 , if you earn $ 2000 , you pay $200 , its that easy [ these numbers are not correct , but gives you the idea ].
    We pay out of wages for health care through our employer , so whats the big deal .There are always people who do not work , who can't pay , but thats the same the world over .
    The best thing is that if you loose your job in England , you still get health care and education , so that is not a worry to you .

    July 9, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  185. Fred Dawson

    Rhe biggest problem with passing health care reform will be the insurance companies. Healthcare is a money making business and no one wants to loose money. The fact that everyone over looks is "a 17% flat tax rate across the board would erase the defecit and fund health." Make everyone, rich or poor, pay 17%of everythig they earn. This would save social security, fix the defecit, save medicare and fund the healthcare proposed bill for everyone. We are not a stupid nation but we act like we are....

    July 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  186. jorge b

    From a MD: Taxpayers are generally upset about being taxed on basis of their income or their benefits but inderstand the following: We are already paying for it with inflated insurance prices. These are the result of hospitals having to generate income for all the indigent care they provide. This is then passed on to the insured. Doctors provide indigent care as part of their daily practice. In fact, we cannot practice in hospitals unless we agree to provide indigent care pro bono. That way the loss is "shared". Twenty dollar aspirin, do the math. This is fine, healthcare should not be denied based on ability to pay. I believe at the end of the day docs are proud to provide care.
    At any rate understand that we all pay for the uninsured already. Docotrs and hospitals have been doing so forever. Doing this would only change how we pay for this. Either by a healthcare tax or higher insurances.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  187. Dean

    Tony

    Did you ever think you (MSM) are part of the problem ?

    In general your report is balanced, but when you say things like "47 million un-insured is unsustainable" why don't you follow-up with why is it unsustainable ? Give us the break down of where you get 47 million from and why each group does not have insurance. Maybe the problem is sustainable and it's not worth changing the system for the 250 million of us that do have insurance. Less opinions and more facts would be useful.

    Government spending and Social Security ARE unsustainable and are the real problem.

    Dean

    July 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  188. jaxon

    We have 12 million illegals, 25% of the total unisured are those who have the money and choose not to be insured (HRC campaign), more are eligible for public plans now, SChip, etc, and don't partake, COBRA is added in to the uninsured - in the end we have 10% of our people uninsured. We are going to totally make a mess of health care for 10%! Just provide those 10% with a public option priced EXACTLY how we price Medicare for seniors who do not have 40 quarters -530 pp per month. 25,000 a year for a family of 4! Private insurance can do better!

    We are in a crisis because the public plans, Medicaid and Medicare, pay 27-41 cents on the dollar. The remainder has to be cost shifted to the private sector. My husband is paid less than half of what he was paid by Medicare 15 yrs ago for a surgery - he does 1/2 million a year in charity care and that grows daily. His charity practice grows because very few doctors in my area will even accept new Medicare and Medicaid.

    Take everyone, EVERYONE, back 15 years and then cut those salaries in half, and maybe we will have a starting point for talking.

    Simple answer, let the docs/clinics/hospitals deduct charity care from their taxes, the way we allow the very rich to deduct charitable donations, and you will have the care for OUR citizens.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  189. W. Jerry Streeter

    Lets start health care reform by eliminating the health care that Congress enjoys. Perhaps they (Congressmen) would think differently and act differently if they had the same health plans as the rest of us.

    Also, as to the question posed “who is going to pay”. How are those who are retired and are on fixed income going to come up with additional money? They can barely keep their head above water, if at all now.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  190. David

    I live in Canada and I dont need to worry if I need surgery done or have to be admitted into the hospital for a sudden ailment because our health care system ( although not perfect ) pays my bills. My taxes are high but it is okay.Americans want to eat their cake and have it.You want low taxes and healthcare at the same time, that will never happen.Every G 8 Country has some form of universal health care for all their citizens except th U.S . My advice, ignore all those corporate ( drug companies, Insurance companies, Doctors Association etc ) talking heads who shout bloody murder at the idea of universal health care because all they are trying to do is ensure that the status co remains and they can continue to line their pockets with money.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  191. Chris Blask

    A hundred years ago medicine was cheap because there wasn't any. Now it is expensive (mostly) because huge effort is expended to develop treatments which are rapidly obsoleted. A hundred years (or so) from now healthcare costs will begin to trend downwards as basic research into human biology is completed.

    There is no complete solution to medical costs, we just need to make as much progress as we can. Efficiencies in providing healthcare – particularly in non-medical administrative processes – is going to be key. Single-payer makes me uneasy, but the health insurance industry needs to contract as well. We just can't support such a massive industry out of the money we have to provide medicine.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  192. seeksense

    Tony,
    The biggest obstacle for health care reform is reforming our politicians.
    They All talk and talk about helping the "people" . Truth is there are very few who actually want to help anyone but themselves.
    Even if the bill does go through it will never be what we "the people" want or need.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  193. Robert

    The best way to solve the health care problems at no cost to the government or the people is to require AIG and all the other big financial companies who have made the problems so much worst, pay ALL (Every legal citizen) medical bills in the US.
    At least that would be a start to right the wrong their ignorance created.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  194. Linda MacLachlan

    I have an idea for significantly reducing the rising costs of Medicare while improving the quality of care. I want to transmit it to Linda Douglass, the Communications Director of the White House Office of Health Reform, but I can't figure out how to communicate with her. (The White House website does not permit email to be addressed to this office, & just sending my idea to the White House does not generate the kind of response that indicates that anyone has actually read my email.

    Can you tell me (and perhaps others?) how to communicate with this Communications Director?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  195. cindyg

    My problem is this: Why are we trusting lawmakers to 'reform' health care? The Medicare 'trust fund' will be broke in the near future, Medicaid is also in trouble. And have you been to a VA Hospital? And, once again, we are told we have to do this now. And, of course, if a bill does get written – the congressmen and the public will not have a chance to read it (think cap and trade and stimulus).

    This is a complex issue. Because of advances in Health Technology and medication, so much can be done to 'fix' illness and disease. Of course, it comes at a cost. I believe that if the Government gets involved, the only way to control costs is rationing of health care. I believe we are headed this way with Medicare, right now. We are told that Medicare savings will fund the Health Care Reform. Where will this 'savings' come from? No specifics given, but probably reduced provider payments and rationing of services. There are countless examples of this in other countries with socialized medicine. And, like it or not, there will be less people willing to go into the Medical field if the Government is too involved. Which means more rationing and waiting for care.

    So, I think this issue needs a lot more study. But, for myself, I pick the lesser of 2 evils – I prefer to have control over my health care choices vs. government getting involved. And, I believe that a quarter of the uninsured are eligible for Medicaid, but have yet to apply. Another portion of uninsured are illegals. We have expanded SCHIP to cover children.

    And also, big business is in bed with politicians period! Both Democrat and Republican. Yes, we do need to kick all the bums out who are only serving their own interests and not ours! It is time all Americans stand together against the corruption in Washington – it is not limited to just one party! All the more reason to question Washington getting involved in health care.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  196. Cameryn

    If the Government changed health care from being an itemized deduction to a standard deduction shouldn't the american people be able to pay for their own health care cost? I mean really most American's who are uninsured are those of us who do not own homes and are unable to itemize our health cost. Another way to help pay for a National Health Care plan would be to do away with the child tax credit or just setting a limit that tax refunds can not be over the amount that the tax payers pay in each year. By setting that limit Millions of Dollars whould be saved and start decreasing our National Debt.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  197. ken

    THE BIGGEST OBSTACALE AGAINST HEALTHCARE REFORM IS
    THE GREED OF MOST OF "THE HAVES" AND LACK OF UNDERSTANDING FOR THE"HAVE NOTS" LIKE MJ SANG IN HIS LAST PERFORMANCE "ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS THEY DON'T REALLY CARE ABOUT US!"

    July 9, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  198. reedstein

    The biggest obstacle is to stop the hideous cost of health care at the source, there is no need for a 10 cent pill to cost $5.00 due to "supply and demand", if the drug companies can provide free meds to poor people, why charge insurance companies an outrageous amount? Lab tests and office visits are beyond reasonable. A dr can charge $100 to $400 (if a specialist) for a 10 minute appt or less, times several appts an hour is atrocious. If costs weren't so out of line with people's income, there would be no need for insurance. Stop the cycle of "supply and demand" and get back to "reality".

    July 9, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  199. John Simmons

    Tony:

    I hear you throw around figures like 45 m uninsured, but I never hear you challenge those numbers. How many are illegals and people who chose not to pay for insurance, but rather take their chances & show up at emergency rooms. I'm amazed at how many "indigents" sit around the emergency rooms using cell phones, ipods, gameboys, etc. Life often presents choices.
    When I hear you acting like a cheer leader for a national system, I question your impartiality.
    Please respond.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  200. Richard Coggins

    When are you people going to realize that rich people live and poor people die.It's just a simple fact of life. In the real world only the strongest survive. I am a 50 year old white male who can no longer work because of panceritus, do you think the goverment does any thing to help me? Hell no. The goverment only wants you alive if you are rich enough to pay taxes to keep them going and pay their saleries. Personally I would love to move to another country and not have to put up with the U. S. goverments BS.

    Richard

    July 9, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  201. Ken

    This will go on forever because too many parties involved are just too stubborn and greedy. The most expensive components, are all the administrative costs. The insurance companies are greedy, the HMO's are greedy, and they want to make sure they are making a huge share off of peoples health. We are talking life and death for individuals, not about the bottom line of some corporation.

    Republicans are yelling up and down that we can't be like Europe because they have "socialized" medicine. Hmmm, seems to me that the people I know in Europe and Asia with the lower costs are just doing fine, and have everything covered and are healthy to boot. So if the GOP is worried about socialist programs, then we better eliminate Fire, Police, Public School, and Library systems here. After all, it's "Socialist" isn't it?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  202. Jamila

    I believe healthcare reform can be acheived by taxing the rich, as well as having the doctors take a pay cut to provide every man, woman, and child with healhcare that should be a right not a privelege. Most doctors chose that profession to help people, right? Though I do understand some may have chose the profession for money, they need to get back to what is really important.

    HEAL THE WORLD

    July 9, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  203. Stephen Crockford

    Having lived in a country with socialized medicine and also the USA, and having worked in the health field in both countries, fundamental change in attitude by politicians and the public will be required.
    Governments can only pay for programs through taxation. That is a given. Everyone must agree to share the pain. In Australia, we heavily tax alcohol and tobacco. Ultimately the burden must be shared and weighted towards those who can afford to pay.
    Why does an MRI in America cost $1500 US and the same service in Australian (performed in private practice) with American equipment cost $800, yet a $20,000 vehicle in the USA costs upwards of $30,000 in Australia.
    A 30 minute private practice physical therapy visit in the USA costs upward of $100 yet in Australia is about $70.00 and still profitable.
    A balance needs to be found between private medicine and public good. Not all people are delivered into this world equally.
    America believes strongly in public schooling for all. Why is America so opposed to public health for all. As a non-resident alien who loves America as his home, it makes no sense. Or in other words, it is NONSENSE!!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  204. me

    Okay I will try to do this as quick as possible,: this is my idea for health care.

    Health Care:

    Insurance companies only care about the bottom line, money. In order to do this they try very hard to cut individuals out when something happens, and they invest money in the stock market. They are the largest investors in the stock market.The government/people want security, which means that if anything happens they are covered, and receiving the biggest bang for their buck. A single-payer health-care system does that, however insurance companies and republicans don't want it. So what about this, incorporate the single-payer health-care system, however the government becomes the administrator of the fund. It would allocate the money to insurance companies by regions. The government would have to cut all are Health Care programs. We then would contract are Health care to insurance companies as one nation/person, eliminating individual "persecution" and getting the biggest bang for are buck. In this plan the people and companies would pool the money.

    The government would be giving up allot. To off set this, it becomes the administrator of the fund, and regulator of the insurance companies. The government would monitor thee over all health,life expectancy/quality of the regions, states, or cities every 4 to 10 years. Contracts would be renewed or pay cuts or increase if over all health... increase or decease. Also the government would have a 13-19% silent stake in the Insurance companies. This stake would be reduced by 1% over 8 to 20 years. This is the basic gist, however this would be the best plan for us, and I think Republicans and Insurance Companies would agree to this. Money given back because are stake would go back into the system in some form. Also money would be allocated by population, meaning person= $, here lets say $670.00.

    Wouldn't this work

    July 9, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  205. Kay Ashley

    I personally would pay my premiums to the government for a public healthcare option along with my employer's portion of the premium. This takes away from the insurance companies pockets. If enough people join this gives the insurance companies a reason to lose those high paid CEO who I'm sure never get denied for a procedure. Our representatives need to also stop taking money from big insurance and drug companies and do what they were elected for. TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  206. David

    Hospitals at one time were non-profit institutions, run by the county. If we go back to that model we would remove the profit motive. Teaching institutions for medical personal deliberately limit the number of doctors that enter the workforce, making each doctor more valuable. And insurance companies lastly have around a 30 % markup to cover their profit needs. So far we have only discussed how we are going to cover the costs. We need to address the profit motive of the entire industry.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  207. Joel McMichael

    The biggest obstacle to health care reform is the American people themselves. I am an American Soldier and I'm proud to serve my country, but the American people as a whole are a big obstacle to most of our problems. They expect everything to be done within 2 seconds of it being announced. They don't wanna live in reality and deal with the fact that it's not always gonna be a walk in the park. Americans complain too much about what needs to be done to accomplish a goal. It doesn't matter if it doesn't even effect them.

    The American people just need to learn to shut the hell up, quit complaining about everything that doesn't go there way and just do what needs to be done even if they don't like it. A lot of times the most unpopular idea can lead the best outcome for a situation. GET OVER IT AMERICA!

    As for taxing the rich, I'm all for it. They hoard their money as if it's going to sprout wings and fly away. They need to start giving at least 25% of their wealth to help pay for this. EVERY SINGLE RICH PERSON. And they just need to get over it too.

    Here's a nice little tip for all you folks out there. Nothing is instantanious. The world doesn't work like that. So stop complaining when all of these changes and the wars and whatever else doesn't happen or end in a matter of seconds. Just get over it.

    Joel McMichael
    1LT QM
    U.S. Army

    July 9, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  208. edith rose

    The biggest obstacle to health care reform is the big fat rich selfish Republicans and the not rich but delusional and selfish Republicans. The President and congress need to ignore them and finally do what's right for the people and stop the shame of us being the only country in the developed world where people have no access to a basic human right, i.e. health care!
    Edith Rose

    July 9, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  209. Keith

    The number one way, in my opinion, to lower healthcare costs would be to pursue torte reform. Doctors currently pay exorbitant fees for malpractice insurance and therefore pass the costs on to the consumers. In England, if you sue someone for malpractice and lose, you pay the defendant's court costs. This type of system would prevent the frivolous lawsuits so common to our overly litigious society. If the number of malpractice cases were reduced, exponentially, you'd see less of a need for outrageous premiums charged to the doctors by their insurers. These expense cuts would manifest in immediate cuts to our healthcare costs.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  210. Budd

    It would appear that the greatest obstacle in passing a health reform bill is over coming the years of brainwashing done during the Reagan-GHW Bush years that have produced an entire generation of American's who echo the phony catch phrase of "individual responsibility" pounded into them by the right-wingers. It gives many unemployed a guilt trip, while giving voice to American workers who are in these economic times still fortunate enough to have a job with insurance benefits, and may be pushed to the limit, a finger to point.
    The hard fact is; We are all in this together. The same people who have created this individualist mindset, are the same ones who tout military service to protect the American way of life, while sending their own children to private schools abroad, or buying them a nice desk job in the military to keep them out of harm's way. Those who's voice is the loudest when it comes to being against health reform, are the one's who profit the most on the blood of other American's.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  211. Liz Thieman

    July 9th, 2009 11:55 am ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    From Liz in Louisville, KY: Oh, cry me a river! The rich are worried that their taxes are going to go back up to the pre-Bush tax cut levels. While the rich where enjoyed years of unprecedented tax breaks and low rates, and lack of regulation and oversight to their financial and business misdeeds, the middle and low wage earners of the country footed the bill for a lot of goofy, unnecessary things, like a war against Iraq. We will all have to pay for fair healthcare for all, as we should. If you’ll notice, though, the only ones singing the blues are the ones with a lot of zeroes behind their paychecks

    July 9, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  212. Chelle

    In theory, this would work and be an ideal solution, but in reality, it is horrible. We (taxpayers) are ALREADY paying out, each paycheck, for medicaid and medicare. It's not fair that people who shelled out money to go to college to get a degree and work hard to earn their money have to pay for people who can't or won't step up and take responsibility for their own lives.

    Perhaps employers should be forced to provide health care for their employees. Especially bigger companies like Mcdonalds. from what I know, they don't provide health benefits to their crew members.

    The problem in this country is that people are too greedy (and people don't want to take responsibility for their own actions). Those people who sit at the top of these companies have the power to just tweak the way their business is run, and they should have to do that (rather than tax every "rich" person. They just barely pay these people enough to live, and sometimes that's not enough. They need to be providing health care to these people.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  213. Mamie

    What is the biggest obsticle to health care? The politicians and the rich who already have the best and don't care about what the people have as long as we pay our taxes that pay for them getting the best.

    If they think taxing "employer provided health benefits" will be the answer to universal coverage, is Obama going to ask that all government employees be taxed for the "employer provided health benefits" they receive that I pay for?

    If government wasn't using all the money to take care of their special needs first there would be money to run the country in a manner to benefit everyone. They are looking at a second $800B stimulus in the near future when they haven't even given out the first $800B to create jobs and more jobs are being lost every day while they sit in DC sucking their "thumb(?)."

    July 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  214. Shirley

    So far, the elected officials have refused to listen to the people who voted for them as far as health-care, illegal immigration and the free give away programs which are designed to push this country into Socialism.
    Socialism whether in Health or governing historically does not work. Those who think they are smarter and have a better system in mind have not studied history and are egotistically narcissistic.
    Even the British are telling us not to go with Socialized (the same rose by whatever name) Medicine, unless we wish to destroy the best health-care in the world. Why do people from other countries in this World come to the United States for their Health-care?
    The old expression, "I'm from the Government and I'm here to help you," should scare every American today, as it did in the past. The government has never been able to things better than the American people could do for themselves. The only exception has been military defense, of the past when wars were fought and won by the military.
    Individual responsibility is the only answer to our problems, and we have forgotten what that means. When all the people want the government to solve and take care of everything, chaos turns into anarchy run by a dictator. Examples: Germany in the 30's and 40's. Russia in the 50's, 60's and 70's, and North Korea, China, etc. today.
    Let's tell Congress we want to get back to a Constitutional government, in which the Federal Government has specific duties and the States are responsible for all that is not designated to the Federal Government.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  215. michael francis

    the biggest obstacle to passing healthcare is that most of those who are uninsured don't want it...

    what i mean is this... find someone who does not have healthcare... then, ask them, "what kind of cell phone do you own and how much is your monthly bill?" ask them "how much each month do you spend on cable TV?" and then "how much on cigarettes?" "alcohol?" find out how much they spend on unnecessary things and i will bet for many of these folks you will find enough $$$ to pay for (or at least self-subsizdize) a decent healthcare plan...

    let me ask you, if everyone had healthcare, would the feds look to pass a universal cell phone plan? no, cuz we don't need cellphones; we WANT cellphones... people think they should get to buy what they want, and then turn to the gov't to provide them what they then claim they need... if you NEED health care, then get rid of some things you don't need to try to pay for it... if you still can't, i am all for finding a way to help...

    July 9, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  216. Paul

    PLACING A “TAX” ON THE ITEMS THAT ARE CAUSING THE GREATER % OF HEALTH CARE COSTS IE: IS A GOOD WAY TO BEGIN. TO SAY THAT TAXING THESE ITEMS SUCH AS SOFT DRINKS & ALL TOBACCO PRODUCTS (NOT JUST CIGARETTES) WOULD PLACE A TAX ON THOSE WHO COULD NOT AFFORD IT, WOULD LEAVE NO INCENTIVE FOR THEM TO REFRAIN FROM USING THEM. WHY NOT LOOK @ FOOD STAMPS AT THE SAME TIME. NO TOBACCO PRODUCTS CAN BE PURCHASED WITH FOOD STAMPS, WHY NOT ADD NOT ALL HIGH SUGAR AND FAT ITEMS TO BOTH THE TAX AND TO THE LIST OF ITEMS NOT ALLOWED TO BE PURCHASED WITH FOOD STAMPS.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  217. Talmage Shipman

    Healthcare Reform needs to start with a workable plan before we discuss who and how to pay for it. Right now we have an unholy alliance between the AMA, FDA and Big Pharma that is literally killing 10s of thousands every year. Example: a dianosis of Cancer gets you 3 options from you doctor; chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Several studies prove that chemotherapy is no better than no treatment at all. Yet it is a huge money maker for Big Pharma and the AMA will label as a quack any doctor that suggests alternative treatments.

    I have a long time friend who is a doctor. 90% of the patients he sees everyday are hypochondriacs or do not need to see a doctor for their problems.

    I propose a 3 tier health care system which I believe would reduce costs and increase medical coverage for those who want it. First tier is local first response providers that are physicians assistants or corpman training level people that provide 80 to 90% of healthcare. They would perform all the routine vaccinations, take care of minor sutures and surgeries and evaluate patients that need to be bumpled up to the next level of healthcare: general practition doctors. These people would treat chronic illnesses and perform minor surgeries beyond the abilities of the first level. The third level is the specialist doctor who would get referrals from the general practition doctors.

    The first tier psychician assistants/corpman level would be paid for at the local level by patients, charitable donations and city/county salaries. The second level would be paid for by patients, insurance companies and government programs. The third lever would be paid for by insurance companies and patients.

    Along with this a set of laws governing malpractice awards and a system to track and eliminate incompetent medical professionals to protect the puclic would be necessary.

    I believe that the above is a workable plan that only requires restructuring currently available resources to a more efficient system. Any invovlement by the Federal government beyond making the laws I have proposed would only delay and increase the cost of the transition.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  218. Richard C. King

    The main problem will be special interest groups representing the medical care industry fighting to keep medical care a growing part of the economy. We spend more for medical care than any other country; there should be enough money in the system to reform without raising costs.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  219. David

    If Universal Healthcare had been inacted when Teddy Rossevelt was President, the country would be light years ahead of solving this dilemma with health care today. However, I believe President Obama is on the correct course, but getting all related involved in this decision. I would certainly work the hardest with getting cooperation with the insurance companies, because they are the key obstacle, and have the financial/influencial power of all the groups. Finally, I believe the less talk about the rich paying for this, the greater the defeat. This was one big sticky point in 1993. I liked the one stated on the internet yesterday, that everyone should pay some kind of share for health coverage, if they are employed. If not and they are not making more than $16,500 per year, or during a period when parties may be unemployed, coverage would be through the government programs.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  220. Phillip Berrier

    We have a healthcare system that is the envy of the world. Why tinker with it?
    Our government has never run anything well, ie. the post office. Why
    do I want a bureaucrat overseeing my healthcare? I can't think of a good reason!
    Our laisse faire economic system based on the principles of capitalism has served us well for more than two centuries. In my opinion Congress and the president should get out of ruining businesses. Our free market economy will survive quite well.Please,
    no more czars or government intervention.

    Thanks!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  221. Jytte Lokvig, Ph.D.

    There’s no question that we must make affordable healthcare available to everyone, but we’re not going to make any headway until we change the focus to the skyrocketing costs of NOT making changes to our current system.

    As an Alzheimer’s specialist I’m appalled at the fact that we spend considerably more as a nation on people with advanced Alzheimer’s than any country with universal healthcare and yet we offer the worst services and support for these individuals and their families.

    I grew up in Denmark, which has one of the most efficient systems in the world. Everyone is covered, period. Yes – the Danes pay more in taxes, but if we factor in what we have to pay in this country to get comparable coverage and services, it comes out just about even, except the Danes are ahead of us in that their expenses are proportional to their income. The real difference comes down to the incredible stress on our population. Most Americans are one serious illness away from bankruptcy and are forced to consider potential expenses before we seek medical care. That’s insane!

    The Republicans and some Democrats are so focused on protecting the obscene profits of private insurance companies that they stoop to misleading and often untrue advertising. There’s one ad running currently showing a “government official” deciding on your treatment. Those of us lucky enough to have insurance still need approval for treatments, albeit from the insurer, and we often have to wait weeks for appointments, even after we have approval.

    We depend on CNN and other news outlets to set things straight and so far, I’m sorry to say, all of you are doing a disservice to your public by focusing on the monetary and ignoring the human costs.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  222. TIm

    The conspiracy theorist screaming socialism while they get ripped off and screwed over by their private insurer, so caught up in the abortion debate that they let it overwhelm their thought process and think about what's best for them. These people are also known as the GOP base.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  223. George

    I also don’t understand why “paying for it” is such an issue.

    (1) Depending on who you talk to, between one-third to one-half of consumer’s healthcare dollar (whether paid by you or your employer) goes directly to healthcare insurance corporate profits and salaries! If we figure that 180 million Americans are fairly adequately insured right now, we could easily cover another 50 million Americans with JUST THAT MONEY ALONE! The for-profit healthcare insurance companies are the main problem. There should be no profit-taking in health insurance. There’s no profit-taking in police, fire or military services; why not health insurance? A non-profit, single-payer system would solve this in one stroke; but the non-profit government-run "public option" is a reasonable compromise, and will eventually run the private insurance companies out of business anyway.

    (2) Nobody asked how we were going to pay for it when we got into a 10-billion-dollar-per-month war in Iraq, or when we were shoveling out 700-plus billion in the TARP program. How is health-care for everyone any less important?

    (3) I would rather see NASA shelved or military-spending cutbacks than see this health-care initiative get torpedoed over financing.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  224. Martin in Shoreline, WA

    The biggest obstacle to passing health care reform is stupid, self absorbed Americans. The rich want to hoard, and the poor want a free ride. The middle class are a bunch of NIMBY whiners who want everything, but not in their back yard; and not with their money.

    The rich must pay more. They make their millions from the blood, sweat, and tears of ordinary Americans. All while complaining about how they cannot afford to pay their workers more. If Americans were the kind and giving people we like to think we are, this would not even be an issue. There would be no need for a minimum wage. But it is a huge issue, because Americans in reality are selfish, uncaring bunch who could care less about their neighbor.

    On the other hand, everyone is going to have to pay for healthcare; just like social security. If anyone thinks they are going to get free healthcare, they are sadly mistaken. Your healthcare will cost you about the same as your social security costs you.

    However, we must be honest about this. No trying to tax the poor via cigarettes, alcohol, and soda pop. They smoke and drink, because it is the only enjoyment they get out of life. They work hard for no net gain. No more lies about how much smokers cost the healthcare system. The people who cost our healthcare system the most, are the people who live the longest. Not smokers.

    The average smoker gives the rest of us 13 years of care we do not have to provide for them, because they are dead. No hip replacements, no Alzheimers treatment, no diabetes treatment, etc., etc. We need to end the days of persecuting behavior we do not like. Government is not there to protect you from yourself. It is there to protect you from other people who wish to persecute you. Like those who wish to tax smokers. Government needs to protect individuals from these lowlifes. They steal money from smokers, to pay for their own children's healthcare. It is about as unconstitutional as it gets, yet Americans still think they live in a free country.

    Since Americans are the self-centered jerks that they are, it will take politicians who will risk their political careers to do what is right. A public option is the way to go. But a public option must compete honestly. No hiding costs, or borrowing from the healthcare pool to pay for illegal wars like they do with social security. If they do not compete honestly, we will end up with an inefficient system again.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  225. Cris Blakely

    Yes, tax the rich.. I was once among those making a really good income for our household. My late husband and I had no children, but every time a tax bill came up for us to vote – we always voted YES to raise taxes for schools, lunches, any program to help kids and any program to help those less fortunate than we were. Why? because it is the right thing to do.

    We would not have hit the 250 thousand a year, but we paid a ton of taxes.. but we never minded doing so – whether the taxes benefited us or others, we always felt if we made more, we should pay more.

    I am sick of hearing that we shouldn't raise the taxes on the rich because they provide jobs. Nonsense. The really rich got that way by being greedy, by outsourcing and sending jobs overseas. In essence, they became super rich on the backs of the poor and middle class.

    I would like to see a tax imposed on them for every single job they either outsource or directly send out of the U.S. If they want a tax credit, or a lower tax rate – then give them a break for every job they save or create HERE.

    Sadly, people don't always do the right thing, and there has to be a penalty for being greedy and shipping jobs out of the country, and a reward for either keeping them here or creating a new one.

    I am also sick of hearing that manufacturing jobs will not come back.
    News flash – We have to bring them back.. you know, not every person is capable of going to college, grad school and so on in order to obtain a 'white collar job'.

    Frankly, I know a lot of folks who just have a great aptitude for manufacturing jobs, or simply prefer working with their hands to working at a desk. And if everyone was competing for office and executive jobs only, there would simply never be enough of those jobs for everyone.

    If anyone was really paying attention, they would realize that by sending all manufacturing jobs overseas – the 'savings' of paying a person in another country pennies an hour as opposed to hiring someone here – are not being passed on to the consumer – the profits go up, and the greedy execs keep the addional profits for their huge salaries and golden parachutes.

    When did it become acceptible and standard to pay execs ridiculously huge salaries, while sending all the middle class jobs overseas, and laying off thousands of workers?

    I can remember a time when the typical executive was making around 4 times that of the typical worker in the same company. Now, they are making something like 100 times that of the typical worker – and often quite a bit more. Who needs to make 400 million a year? Why would anyone be worth that much to a company? I am sure they could find someone that would be just as smart, or smarter for a million or two – and they would still be making a lot more than most folks. It just seems absurd.

    What happened to the little jingle 'look for the union label'? Buying American. Yes, we have to trade with other countries.. but it has to be FAIR trade, not FREE trade – which has come to mean – FREE trade of overseas goods to us, and very little of our goods going overseas.

    Another thing that has a lot of us concerned is the constant reference to 'entitlement programs'.. such as Medicare and Social Security.

    I paid my FICA for 40 years, and now that I will be collecting soon – I don't want to hear that the system is going bankrupt. My late husband paid into it over 30 years, but he died at 50 and will never collelct. That money should be in the system for those folks who may have been born with sevre disabilities, for handicapped children and will never be able to work long enough to accumulate money in the Social Security systerm.

    When the SS system was created, I was under the impression that the money was set aside for all of us to retire. Many of us don't live long enough to retire, in some cases that can be directly related to the lack of affordable health care. That money somehow has been used by all administrations – for other purposes. Social Security should never go bankrupt. That money should have been and now MUST be set aside for people to retire and to provide Medicare and Medicaid for those that need it.

    I would like to see those that have been fortunate enough to get to be in the top 1% of the population to quite whining – 'don't raise our taxes'.. the talk of a flat tax, so that the poor would pay say 20 percent of their minimum wage of 15000 a year, and the big executive would pay 20 percent of their 200 million a year(often more, if you look at the salaries of the Tyco and Enron execs, many of whom are now in jail) – which would be a mere pittance to them.

    We all live in America, they should be proud and happy to pay for a well run government, with sensible regulations on businesses to protect the consumers – You make a more, pay a little more. Most of the folks buying the merchandise these people are having made out of the country are poor to middle class.

    Greed has taken over the country. The additional profits these people made by lowering manufacturing costs(by outsourcing) is what caused the stocks to become so inflated, and for Wall Street to become so cocky and the banks to become so greedy they made unwise investments with too high of a risk, they created and sold these subprime mortgages, again, mostly sold to people who didn't have the opportunities or perhaps just didn't want to get a higher education – and everything crashed. The housing market, the stock market.

    Now, the rich are out buying the foreclosed properties, when the market eventually turns around, they will make huge profits on the backs of the people that were taken in by slick mortgage brokers, most of whom got the mortgages through, then sold them to a bank, and are long gone by the time the bank and the buyer realize they were taken.

    Fortunately for me, I have bought and sold a few houses in my lifetime, so I did not and would not fall for that scheme. Many of these 'brokers' preyed upon the elderly.. widows and widowers were sought out by these crooks as targets for the subprime mortgage. In many cases, the remaining spouse had never handled the finances, and were perhaps naiive and took the word of the broker – There are many stories like this.

    These nasty individuals made their comission, and disappeared. Suddenly the owner(not everyone had the benefit of a mom like I had, who taught me all about finances, at least enough so I would not likely be taken) gets a new mortgage bill for three or four times of what they had. MANY were told verbally that they were getting a fixed rate, and signed – If you are not familiar with mortgages or credit agreements – everyone knows they are written in legal-eze and such small print, most people don't read it, and if you did, you likely would not understand it.

    Thats how the credit card companies have gotten away with raising interest rates and adding late fees and so on.

    Now, who would ever have a late fee? Who would ever have to pay interest because they didn't have the money to pay their bill in full?

    Poorer people, and people who lost their jobs – they might have had to charge food, medication, gas – necessities – so the ridiculous interest rates would never impact the rich.

    It seems like everything in this country has been changed to reward the greedy, and punish the little guy.

    The Republicans also want to get rid of unions, they have already weakened them so much, most of them are hardly worth anything anymore. Why were unions created? Again, because greedy people were getting away with having unsafe conditions, firing people when they were coming up for retirement for no good reasons. So, of cours it is cheaper for them to have, for example a building to work in that is unsafe. Its cheaper to hire younger workers and just let someone go that has worked there for 20 or more years and will be retiring soon.

    Greed will be the wreck and ruin of this country.

    Oh – here's something to thing about – does anyone really think that a pair of athletic shoes with a decent label costs very much to make? Of course not.. But those shoes might still be sold for 100 to 200 dollars a pair, and be made for less than a buck. More money in the company's pocket. I would rather see a 'made int the USA' label on it, and maybe the shoe cost 10 bucks to make – so they make a profit of 90 bucks on a pair, instead of making it for a buck overseas and getting an extra 9 bucks profit on the shoe. What is wrong with that?

    Why is it so acceptable to become so greedy and selfish?

    There needs to be an attitude adjustment in this country. People need to think of everyone as part of their American family. Although a lot of the rich I have met don't treat their own families any better than they treat strangers.. so I suppose they have lost their moral compass, and they are raising a generation of kids who won't ever know what a moral compass is.

    Very sad

    July 9, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  226. John

    The biggest obstacle to passing health care reform legislation?

    There are too many powerful people making too much money off the current for profit system. They will not allow this cash cow to change in any positive way. Dollars that actually go into health care will not go into their pockets.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  227. Chuck, NW Arkansas

    Tax the rich to help the poor? Oh, my God! That’s Socialism! It would also require compassion — something which is missing among most of the rich and the Republicans.
    You could expect a fight against that idea.
    I have a better idea: Why don’t we lower the cost of healthcare to make it affordable to everyone? Let’s get the doctors to charge less than $100 for a ten minute consultation, or maybe the hospitals could charge less than $25 for a Q-Tip or a Band-Aid.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  228. Larry

    I have had a medical career iopen heart surgery) for over thirty years . I operate the heart-lung machine. I contract to the hospitals and surgeons. At least once a week, I perform my services for free (patient without insurance). In some of my institutions, I have not had a fee increase since 1985. It is well known that a few elite (physicians) have positioned themselves to take the lionshare of the health care dollar (with their own speciality hospitals). Usually, these institutions have a "gatekeeper Manager" that cuts expenditures of their institutions and are rewarded monetarily from these savings. This leads to corruption. I personally think that the well-off in our society should help pay for health care. Look into the physician's financial status, we would be amazed. Yes, they are taking care of the patient, but I think what drives most of them is GREED!!! We are all in this together . Let's put medicine back where it belongs, taking care of the patient., not the few elite's pocketbook. I'm trying to do my part, and YES, You can tax me to help those in need, but, Can we make sure that those tax dollars are used properly!!!!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  229. JFS

    Obstacles? 1. Insurance companies, hospitals and drug companies that are for profit.
    2. Commercials by Conservative Patient Rights and other groups that is totally based on fear. Who is the money behind these groups? They have the lying signs of the “swift boat” ads. For the truth, refer to the current issue of Consumer Reports Magazine a non-profit consumer protection and education group. They address each fear tactic and give you the facts on page 18, plane and simple.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  230. John in Iowa

    Some where in the Declaration of Independence the words that all Men have the Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness! If all this is true then I believe that everybody has the right to equal quality of medical care! By equal quality of medical care I mean that the poorest person in this country deserves the same quality of medical care as the richest person in this country can get and for as long as the riches person! For if the richest person can get medical care to extend his or her life then the poorest person has the same right to extend life through the use of medical care. The poor have the right to this medical care even if they can not pay for it! I believe that the cost is not the problem in getting coverage for everyone! The problem is that we may not have the will to cover everyone!

    This applies too both houses of Congress. If this is not possible because Congress believes that it will cost to much then I say that the Congress has decided that the special interest in the Medical Industry, the Insurance Industry, the Pharmaceutical Industry, and Any other Industry that has a moneyed interest in the Medical Industry is more important to Congress than the Health of the People in this Country! If money or any other reason is used to justify why we can not pass a Medical Bill that makes Equal Medical Care available for all, they are just lying as to why it should not pass. They just belong to some moneyed interests who are making a killing in the heath care industry!

    This will never happen but just think how this would change how everyone would think about this Health Bill. I would like to let you know that I do have fairly good health insurance because I did work for a fairly good company with a good union. Even so I believe that everyone deserves equal health care and if Congress well not pass such a bill for everyone then Congress should out law The Practices of Medicine Totally that means no Doctors, no Pharmaceuticals, no Hospitals, and No one can take money out of this Country to get Medical Care in some other country if some one is found to be guilty of doing so then all assets will be taken away from them!! In other words if the moneyed interest will not let Congress pass a Medical Bill that will Cover everyone then No one should be allowed to have Medical Care. That would only be fair. If everybody can’t have Medical Care then Nobody can have Medical Care!!!!!! That means Both Houses of Congress and the President also!!!! Everybody or Nobody fair is fair!!

    I just can’t believe how the Republicans and some Democrats are so concerned about abortion. They want to protect the life of the unborn but as soon as it is born they do not give a dam if it gets medical care for the rest of its life!! If you ask me I think that is one of the most two faced things I have ever heard!! It makes me believe that they don’t give a dam about abortion they are just using the issue to get votes!! What a trust worthy group we have in Both Houses of Congress. It all boils down to one thing and that thing is greed. I have a piece of the pie and I am not going to give that up to help someone else. Isn’t greed great! Here I thought government was created to protect the weak, it was but some where your government gave in to special interests and to hell with the weak!!!

    To answer your question yes everybody in this country should have to put money into a Health care system for everyone in this country! I believe that the more a person or family benefits from living in this country the more they should support the health care program being discussed in congress! Just one idea why not taxes imports from countries that have National Health Programs. The reason is that things made there are at a advantage cost wise than things made here when our companies pay for health insurance for their employees.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  231. Shirley Deck

    Reform must include consummer protection from the Giant Insurance Co. such as BC/BS (break the giants into smaller entities to force competition). Their lawyers are setting up backdoor policies which allow them to get around coveing things that they have covered for years while raising our rates. No company should be allowed to consider preexisting conditions as far as acceptance of clients or to set their rates.
    Changing jobs should not require changing companies.
    Businesses need to pool resources to form bigger groups to shop in a more competitive market to cover more people.
    If we are going to cover millions more people, we will need more health care profressionals and facilities(more jobs would also be created).
    No government insurance should be enacted as NON health care professionals would make decisions about our health care (medicare rules UNDERMINE doctors decisions).
    Tort reform to limit profits lawfirms can make off of malpractice suits.
    Equal out the medicare payments to states. Base it on quality of care.
    Go after the fathers of children who are presently not paying for childrens' prenatal, birth, and other health care expenses by not marrying the women they impregnate( some even live with the women).
    Have r-verify nationally to protect our identities and keep illeagals from undermining our wages and PUTTING UNDO BURDEN ON OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  232. Joan

    It doesn't help to use the phrase "we can't soak the rich" when talking about paying for health care. It doesn't help rational dialogue to pit one group against another. With regard to taxation we do have a progressive tax structure, i.e. people in higher tax bracket pay more than people in lower tax brackets. The tax rate over the past years has equalized the RATE of taxation among different groups.

    Paying for health care reform will require consideration and pursuit of several strategies. For example, establishing a public option holds promise of providing a model of a cost structure competitive to that of private insurance companies.

    Let's pursue rational dialogue and examine all options and strategies whilst soliciting input from all stakeholders in that dialogue. Let's dump such emotionally charged phrases like let's not "soak the rich."

    July 9, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  233. James

    In my opinion the largest obstacle to a national health care program is the nature of our economic system in America. For generations, we, as Americans, have lived in a system that promotes profit. Even the poorest of families, if they had the means, would find a way to make money if they could. The question becomes then, if those families who are now poor suddenly became rich, would they want to give their money away, or have it taxed to support those without? The answer, simply put is no. While there are exceptions, as there is any case or issue, the majority would not want to give up their money to support those without.

    What is required to change then are the social thought processes of all Americans. It is easy to say tax the rich when you’re not the one being taxed. It’s easy to say insurance companies make too much profit when you’re not the one benefiting from the profit. Those who are proponents of the national health care system need to look at it from the perspective of where we’re trying to get the money from. From the economic perspective of which this country was founded, aren’t those people who are making the profit right in their dissent and hesitation to give up their profit. In fact until FDR in his New Deal, social giving was the responsibility of the church and of family, not the government.

    We, who are supporters of a National Health Care Program, need to form our argument on the altruistic basis of such a program – not simply argue about why the rich should give up their money. Maybe another suggestion might be to find a way to solve the funding issues on the margins – for example, maybe a certain percentage of costs already paid to workers compensation is reallocated to help fund a national health care program. This coupled with mandated lower insurance rates may be part of the solution. Unfortunately, this blog is limited to really dwell deep into the issue, but there are significant considerations Americans must realize before passing a National Health Care Program – such as, “What will this program look like?” As we see in America, the current health insurance available to the average citizen is far from adequate. The Medicare program in and of itself is confusing and anything but comprehensive.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  234. Nancy

    The New England medical center in Boston serves 130,000 people a year. It is located in an area where alot of people can't medical care, they are making 64cents on the dollar and will eventually have to close their doors, does it make sense that they can promise to reduce costs with an I.O.U.?

    How do politicians fund a healthcare program with 10yr. I.O. U's from an industry that can't manage itself or control healthcare costs???
    Maybe we should bail them out????

    A lot of hospitals are going bankrupt...they have cut, cut, and cut their staff. Finding a job in healthcare is very difficult. So, tell me...how can they actually promise all these "savings" when they can't even afford to staff their facilities fully?

    Common sense just has to kick in, and you have to ask yourself, "Are these I.O.U. savings real or fabricated?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  235. Joe

    How to pay for healthcare for all americans and build a Gov.
    surplus, how about a 1% or less VAT.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  236. Beth_Albany_OR

    Simple Math

    Do the math: 46M w/o healthcare benefits
    -6M of them unemployed
    the other 40M are working and Paying TAXES to pay for every government employee’s wages and more specifically their healthcare benefits.

    40M, I’ll repeat, 40M TAX paying Americans are paying for healthcare benefits for governmental employees from the executive, judicial, and most significantly the legislative branches of government and every other governmental employee in the U.S. whose job depends upon TAXPAYERS. 40M! Paying taxes – No healthcare!

    Simple solution

    Every elected official, republican, democrat or independent, in a position to vote on healthcare reform bill, have an absolute duty to TAXAYERS who elected them and who are PAYING taxes to pay for their wages and the healthcare benefits they enjoy, should just shut up and unanimously vote YES, or give up their own healthcare benefit to reduce taxes so that TAXYERS have more discretionary money to seek out and get their own healthcare insurance.

    Thought

    Are Legislators saying that the quality of their healthcare benefits will also decrease if the healthcare reform bill is passed?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  237. Tawanda

    I believe the reason health care reform, to make health care more affordable is difficult because there are too many insurance companys doing things with money like paying $1000 for orthopedic shoes that would normally cost $30.00. The companies would dwendle financially if this were to occur, because they could not catch-up and restore the rediculose spending.

    I don't see why though we should consern our selves with those companies because,when there is a small discrepency conserning an individuals coverage for services they customer-no matter how much they have contributed- can be left with an life changing bill.
    THIS SHOULD CHANGE

    July 9, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  238. Phil Cerny

    The problem with health care reform since the 1940s is the American political system itself. While people continue praise the separation of powers and "checks and balances," unfortunately the constitutional structure just provides numerous points of access and pressure for special interests to thwart comprehensive, coherent reforms and to undermine attempts to pursue the public interest and the common good. Other democratic systems like France, Germany and Britain have had excellent health care systems for decades that cost half as much per person as the American chaotic health *non*-system, but they also have more efficient democratic institutions to design and run those systems.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  239. Randolph Sandeen

    I strongly support a single payer government run at cost plan (No profit only cost paying).
    Leave the treating facilities and service providers private but regulate costs so they cannot dramatically inflate costs due to monopoly control.

    Why not tax every dollar of income (Business and Personal Income) (Wage and Investment Income) the amount needed to run the program. Everyone would have a stake in the cost (the more you receive from the economy the greater the stake) and it should be pennies on the dollar, probably 1 to 6 cents, there also should be a safety net (Reserved balance) of maybe one years costs for national disasters and epidemics. The costs should be limited to this reserve and the annual expense of all treatment, not a penny more.

    This tax could only be used for health Care Treatment hospitalization, drugs, and the supplies, equipment, and services needed to provide treatment, all these costs would need to be strictly cost regulated to prevent monopoly generated inflation and then should work well. (It must be set up so Congress cannot use it as their special Interest piggy bank fund, as they have done by robbing Social Security and Medicare / Medicaid and placing that money in the general fund, this is the very reason those programs are going bankrupt).

    All vanity treatments such a elective plastic surgery, lipo-suction, and the like, should be denyed from using these funds and be a personal expense as they are wants not needs.

    These taxed funds should only be used for preventive physical check-ups, life threatening emergencies or illnesses, quality of life improving situations regarding infirmity, mental health, and general illness should be treated with them.

    Lets get it done.

    We should all call or Email our U.S. Congress persons and Senators and demand it or we will end up with something we don't want, namely a wasteful minimum service reform, that allows profit for minimum or no service provided, like the Insurance Companies and HMOs currently provide.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  240. jlglidden

    health care reform is suffering from the same sickness as the economy , GREED. Insurance co. Doctors, Hospital all over charge for services. answer to problem regulate prices . control greed

    July 9, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  241. Mitch

    I have a suggestion. Average the amounts people (and their employers) are already paying for their health coverage and redirect all that money into a Single Payer system instead of the For Profit insurance industry. No new taxes, but plenty of money to foot the bill for everyone.
    Everyone keeps asking how to pay for it but the media refuses to let the conversation include Single Payer in the discussion. Are the lobbyists getting to you (the media) as well?

    July 9, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  242. Mark Irwin

    The biggest obstacle to health care reform is twofold: the corporate mind with it's profit-driven bottom line; and the misguided belief of young, healthy Americans that they have "excellent" heath care because they have never needed to use it. Health care has become a source of wealth for too many investors the world over. At the height of the AIDS pandemic the Bush administration extended patent laws for drug makers to prevent low cost pharmaceuticals from entering the market. Numerous laws have been passed in recent years to protect these profits and prevent citizens from finding lower cost medications and treatments. Television News programs are favored by pharmaceutical corporations: and even you, Tony, are paid your salary thanks in part to the advertising dollars paid to CNN by these corporations. (How many Viagra and other drug advertisements are we flooded with in any hour of CNN viewing time. The catastrophic costs of care that have destroyed so many Americans in their most desperate hours have made others more powerful fat and rich and happy.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  243. Kelley Austin

    Wow, aparently if you disagree with CNN they won't post you opinion. To whomever is reading this to suppress anyone who is in opposition to you, you are a biased, selfish, single-minded individual, who doesn't support free thinking or the right to debate. My comment had no foul language and was an honest OPINION. Aparently my right to free speach doesn't mean anything to you or the company you represent.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  244. Gerri

    would like to see the employers taken out of the equation for offering healthcare. Why not let the free market work, just as when you buy your auto or homeowners insurance! Make a major medical insurance policy mandatory to carry just as collision for your car is mandatory in most states. Then let people build on that plan, ex. offer riders for extra coverage like maternity benefits, vision, dental etc. Then offer discounts for non-smokers, etc. Let people choose their premiums, deductibles, copays, coverages, etc. Get the lawyers out of it (limit lawsuits) and erase state lines for purchasing plans! You can take it with your from job to job too!

    July 9, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  245. William

    Though our military forces are among the most impressive in the world, if we were to shift that military funding to Health Care, we could have one of the best if not THE BEST health care systems in the world.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  246. Jackie

    Tony, the scenario in the healthcare industry for an uninsured person is simple: when I am sick, I will go to the emergency room. As a result the ERs are crowded/overun with cases that are not even considered emergency. Now, who pays this bill? The taxpayers right?

    The alternative being proposed is get everyone insured. With people having insurance, we will not have the same # of emergency visits we do now. People will go to their doctor's office instead; which is much less expensive than going to the ER. As a result, insured individuals will be more involved in preventative care and not wait until they are sick/dying before seeing the doctor.

    As a taxpayer, I would rather pay for an office visit than an ER visit any day. Wouldn't you?

    Those of us who are complaining about taxes to pay for the healthcare reform need to take a hard look at what they are paying for now without even realizing it. They need to chose between continuing to pay for an ER visit at the whim of any and every uninsured person or an office visit once or twice per year.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  247. USN (Ret.)

    Business as usual in the banking/insurance businesses have caused our health care's costs to soar. Change the way big businesses operate, make them conform to what is fair, not what is profitable...you'll automatically have a healthier nation.

    Jim

    July 9, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  248. Bayside

    I applied for Medicare and though everyone thinks its free to those over 65...it isn't. Seniors are charged a base of $93 per month as well as an increase if your income is over a certain amount....

    This extra pay for those over a set income amount sounds very much like what is being proposed on those under 65 making $200,000. If the Seniors are required to pay with higher incomes then it is only fair that other plans follow the same path.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  249. babs

    the sad fact is that Tony is completely biased for Obama's plan, whatever it may be. It's too bad the objective journalism is not even a goal for this newsroom anymore. Thank goodness the internet provides alternative news media. By the way, reforming American health care is the worst idea ever. It works. Even if we pay to insure every uninsured American, it would not cost a fraction of what's being proposed. Plus, the plan is to ruin a good system for most, while putting many people out of work.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  250. abby

    CNN ought to investigate Tricare (the health care for the military and their dependents). It's for both active duty and retirees.

    The military has a program of health care that works like national health care. There are 3 tiers of insurance. You pay for the tier you want. I have prime and it works great. Low premiums, copays, excellent health care in civilian or military facilities.

    Why can't all of America have a similar plan?

    July 9, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  251. Dave

    The biggest obstacle to health care reform is the $1.4 million the the insurance companies are spending DAILY in lobbying to our congress. These are the same companies that are cutting benefits, raising premiums, cutting reimbursement to doctors and hospitals and yet are reporting record profits. Eliminate insurance companies and we can rebuild healthcare.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  252. Luis N.

    The only way to fix healthcare is to revert the insurance companies back to private companies. This will remove the incentive to be profitable which leads to raising rates and fee which lead to overall increases by all providers to consumers

    July 9, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  253. Larisa in Seattle

    Funny how you didn't hear a PEEP about deficits from the people squawking the loudest now about the costs of Health Care reform when the Bush tax cuts were shoved through Congress on reconciliation. Those tax cuts (which cost well over a trillion dollars) benefited the richest Americans and it's fitting that those who have gained the most should pony up a bit now so all of society can benefit. Every industrialized country in the world but ours has a sane health care system that's based on everyone's RIGHT to affordable, quality care.

    And the people squawking the loudest now about the Public Option are the same people who have been cashing in from the whole corrupt system. Dis-gusting!

    July 9, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  254. Wayne Schaffel

    One solution to reduce health care costs is tort reform. Doctors can no longer pay exorbitant costs for malpractice insurance and by conducting test after test in an effort to cover their tracks. Pharmaceutical companies can no longer be sued every time a patient dies. The solution...if you sue someone and lose...you pay for their legal defense. This would eliminate capricious lawsuits and class action suits without merit.

    One other interesting and debatable solution...it has been suggested that up to 80% off all individual health care costs are incurred in the final month of life. If we decide that "quality" of life becomes more important than "quantity" of life...then we could easily reduce costs by more than half...are we as a people...or are there any individuals... willing to make what might be considered the ultimate sacrifice?

    July 9, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  255. Monique

    The US definitely needs a universal Health Care system. Your country is a country of affluence and one of the basic needs is health care. We have this universal system in Canada and it is working for all. No system is perfect but at least it provides security and a basic need. I do hope President Obama is successful with his health plan for the sake of all Americans.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  256. Merlin

    The argument over how to pay for Health Care is lame. It is all for show. When have we ever paid for anything we have done? Just put everyone on Medicare and get past all the hype about socialism. Everything public is socialism isn't it! Just fix the problem and let us get back to our snacks and entertainments.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  257. Dave

    The hardest thing about passing new health care plan is to get the costs of medical treatment and drugs down due to the resistance from corporations. All plans should after a patients medical bills reach over $5000 in a year the national health care plan kicks in and pays 100% in stead of cutting off after a certain point. The whole idea is if you have a serious medical condition maybe even loosing your job that it will not force you to loose everything you have and be denied full medical treatment.

    Also for those who have good insurance through their employer that plan can not be dropped by the company to go with a national plan. I have went on strike 6 times in the last 25 years to keep my good insurance option (although not as good as it used to be) costing me over 100,000 in lost wages over those strikes. I have fought and paid for that good insurance I don't want the national plan to take those hard fought gains away.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  258. Dale Oliver

    Insurance companies are in business to make a profit, period. People may care about other people, but corporations only care about profits.
    As long as insurance companies have a place between the patient and doctor, we will not have a caring, economical health system.
    Our health dollars pay more than 30% for administrative expenses, Canada’s is around 7%. How will this idea of adding some government insurance plan to the existing private insurance plans help reduce these administrative costs? I believe that only a single payer plan will be able to do that. A savings of 23% would go a long way toward paying for the right health plan.
    Would a single payer system require more taxes? Duh ! Of course, but would the total out of pocket paid be more than it is now? I doubt it. If every tax payer and every employer paid an equal percentage of wages earned toward a National Health Insurance, I believe the total outlay with the inherent savings in such a system, could be less than it is now.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  259. Maj

    I worry about the health reform b ill because I don't want to pick up the slack just because I have health insurance. I pay almost $500 a month (which is very hard to do). I had invasive brain surgery due to a large brain tumor. I was in NICU for 5 days then moved to the Neuro floor. I was sent home 2 days early because I live within ten miles from the hospital. This was due to the fact that it was the Christmas season and the hospital needed my room due to the high rate of domestic violence during that time. My room was given to a lady with head trauma. My husband was scared to death having to take care of me. I understand that she needed my room but I was told that it was because she had the free state insurance (Tenn Care) and I was paying for my insurance and the state pays for the full amount to the hospital. I'm am scared that just because I pay for my insurance, I will not receive quality care.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  260. Keith

    If you claim to be sharing both sides, why am i only hearing pro-Gov't healthcare opinions?

    Why don't we just limit the amount of frivolous lawsuits that are burdening the system and making costs skyrocket?

    That way you don't even have to have rationed healthcare.

    There is nothing wrong with our current system – the U.S. has the best healthcare in the history of the world. Why do people think the Gov't, which can't run anything sucessfully, will actually improve healthcare.

    Pretend you're in the DMV or Post Office – now pretend that is your doctor's office – say hello to big Gov't healthcare.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  261. Louis Ramsey

    Taxing health care benefits, to pay for health care, isn’t that incest?
    In taxing the rich is only spreading the wealth around. Although some of them will make more money in one day, than most Americans will make in one year. That is not the answer, to tax the rich. There are other means of taxation. A national sales tax, tax the Internet, taxing vices like (alcohol, cigarettes, legal gambling,) then there is Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and every conservative in Congress.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  262. Jessica Reynolds

    "Give me your tired, your poor....", but apparently only your healthy. The fact that every American isn't insured goes against our country's beliefs. A national healthcare program is long overdue. I'm so proud of Obama for having the courage to push this, no matter how many happily insured tax-payers it may anger.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  263. Karen Glenday

    First, anyone who can afford to buy a reasonable policy now should be required to do so. There are many people out there who have access to relatively good health insurance plans and can afford to pay the premiums. However, some would rather spend their money on new car payments.
    Secondly, Repeal the provision for allowing employees to pay their health care premiums out of BEFORE tax dollars.
    Third, many CEO's, white and blue collar workers have had to agree and live with recent pay cuts. Perhaps it is time for physicans to do the same.
    Fouth, automate all these ridiculous insurance claim statements that tell the patient how much the insurance company or how much medicare paid on a particular procedure and/or visit. I get tons of these. By snail mail. Not E-Mail. Getting rid of these paper statements would not only help save the insurance companies money spent on postage, paper and printing, it would also help the environment by eliminating all that unncesseary paper.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  264. Andre Castro

    How to pay for health care? How about instead of $.99 burgers and tacos, charging a more realistic price, that way those "restaurants" can afford to pay for the health care of their employees. In my travels in Europe, I never paid less than $5.00 for a burger, but knew that the person serving me had the health coverage they needed if they ever got sick. Must be a good feeling to work, no matter where, and know that you are covered.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  265. Glory Winger

    I think a public or government-run option should be available to all (this is what our elected officials have). I don't mind paying for health care. Before I was laid off, I paid $250 a month. I would be willing to pay that amount or more for universal-type health care, and I don't care if it's called a premium or a tax! At lease we wouldn't be denied coverage or necessary treatments like insurance companies do in order to protect their profits.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  266. Phil DiJoseph

    The biggest obstacle to health care reform is the lack of courage on the part of politicians to do what it takes to cut costs. They will NOT eliminate malpractice and get lawyers out of health care. They will NOT eliminate administrative overhead (billing, clerical staff, attorneys, accountants, consultants - jobs that add no value to health care). They will NOT make everyone pay their fair share of the costs including the entitled.They will NOT treat medical care like public education – a right for everyone. They WILL cave in to special interests in order to become special interests when they get done bilking the public. Never before have so few inflicted so much pain on so many because of greed and incompetence. Politicians have their lucrative pensions and excellent medical care and guaranteed jobs for life in exchange for their influence. Nothing will change until we strip them of that and make them see things like the rest of us.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  267. Doug

    Americans must be willing to allow a cost-benefit approach applied to their health care. We cannot afford gold plated care that does not offer across the board improvement in our collective well-being.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  268. Danielle P

    I think that Universal healthcare is a completely reasonable objective to aim for. Considering the technological and medical advancements of the last 20 years, even. I think that we have a few major issues that are holding us back and however strong our perceptions as Americans may be, I still think most of us are wrong and undereducated. I think the main essential problem is our perceptions. We hold onto outdated ideals about anti-socialism and wars and think that if we spend our money on taxes that the government will surely take over. really?

    What's stopping us? I truly don't know the answer to that. But I bet if we really went for education and healthcare REFORM [not overhaul] then we could appease both the right and left. We really just need to stop fighting and bickering and start using common sense about what we think our citizens deserve.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  269. Michael A. Smith, M.D.

    The answer to healthcare reform is really quite easy. It's just that the people who will ultimately make the decisions will never be able to do what is necessary because of the large lobby of trial lawyers. The answer is to make malpractice insurance universal across the country and it needs to be a model similar to what is done in the state of Indiana. This model was implemented and put through due to the great forethought of Indiana's past govenor Otis Bowen, M.D. It allows fairness throughout the system BUT does not favor the lawyers. As such, malpractive insurance for physicians is dramatically lower across the board in Indiana. This allows physicians to practice as they were trained ... not defensively. It allows much lower costs across the board for all payers. This will never happen and is barely spoken of due to the fact that many lawmakers are ... or were ... also trial lawyers. As such, many healthcare workers ... myself included ... are extremely pessimistic regarding the future. This will and is resulting in the great decline in new grads going into fields such as medicine and nursing.
    The answer is simple ... get the lawyers to release their grip on the system.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  270. S.Brown

    Hi,Tony;
    I am one of those people who has pretty good health benefits at my job but I think this is one of the most necessary undertakings in our country. People don't understand what an illness can do to a family financially if not covered by sufficent insurance; I have had cancer twice in the last 5 years and can speak from first hand experience as to what a costly adventure this can be. I am lucky because I have employer insurance that is paid for and pretty good coverage;I also make a good living. I just think SOME well to do people and people who are only interested in themselves resent giving health care coverage or anything else to others- especially people of color. What they don't realize is if left as is it will be a diaster for our country.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  271. Chris Hagel

    This health care reform in D.C. is a farce and a ruse.
    Also, there is no debate in the corporate media. This is just a one sided discussion on how to maintain the health insurance industry in play while the corrupt politicians keep taking campaign contributions and keep the health insurance industry lobbyist happy.

    Blah, blah, blah...how are we going to pay for this health care reform? blah, blah, blah...the government will get in between you and your doctor.
    A free and open media in America??? Oh really??? Has CNN had Physicians for A National Health Program (PNHP) people on your show on a regular basis to refute the lies of special interests and put the distortions into perspective? All you have on are the special interest people of the health insurance industry and big pharma or people who have stock portfolios in the health insurance industry.

    Conservative projections show HR 676, improved and enhanced Medicare for All, when fully phased in would save $300 billion annually which translates to over one trillion dollars in four years.
    This farce of health care reform in D.C. leaves the reprehensible health insurance industry middleman in between our doctors and our health care. It will continue channeling money away from health care and into the pockets of the health insurance industry.
    The $300 billion annual waste of paper work of 1200 insurance companies, CEO salaries and golden parachutes, etc. is the REAL waste that the corporate media doesn't talk about.

    The health insurance industry and big pharma are the problem and you can not solve the problem with the thing that is causing the problem.

    By the way CNN, this health care reform is not only for poor people as you just stated. It's about the underinsured too which the corporate media never mentions.
    About 50% of the bankruptcies are due in part or fully to health care bills, and 75% of those people had what they thought was adequate health insurance until the co-pays and deductibles bankrupted them when they became very ill or injured.

    Most Americans understand expanded and improved Medicare for All (HR 676) is the only deficit neutral plan.
    HR 676 has tremendous support nationally. Also, it had 93 cosponsors last Congress and 83 this Congress.
    These Cosponsors are the honest politicians who are not caving in to special interest and want to do what's best for the people and the country.

    Health care is a public necessity/service and human right, not a commodity and privilege.

    Just because a percentage of people have a good position with a good company doesn't mean they deserve adequate health care more than anyone else. Health care should not be linked to employment.
    In fact, if we phased out the disgusting health insurance industry and phased in HR 676, every body would have very adequate health care.
    The Congressional Budget Office and General Accountability Office has verified this in the recent past too.

    Anyway CNN, go ahead and delete this comment or water it down, this way you'll sleep better tonight, and you don't want to loose sleep, now do you???

    July 9, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  272. magda

    I am an RN with a sick husband .I am fortunate to be able to add him to my health care plan.I pay at least $5000 a year out -of -pocket.
    If one of us gets sick,will run in thounsand more.
    Our house is paid for.We have saved for rainy days.However,if I get sick , unable to work,will be two people that can not work,without insurance.
    We can lose everything.It takes one month in a hospital to lose your house.
    The Republicans that are against the plan,are getting health insurance for them and their family for free,paid by rest of us.
    Thank you for doing a great job !
    MM

    July 9, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  273. Joyce Holtzapfel

    I went on Medicare in 2008 and haven't had any complaints about my care or billing. Gee, that's government run health care and I've never had a problem! The reason insurance companies and big pharma are fighting health care reform is that company corporate executives know their million dollar contracts will be impacted. That's why they are spending billions to fight reform with scare tactics and lobbyists.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  274. Gabby

    Give the uninsured and all Americans the same coverage that Congress and all government officials and employees have? OR make them if they pass a health care plan dump the one they have and be mandatory to be in this Nationalized health care program? To many discrimination areas in this debate to make it wise to do any of what they are talking about. Don't forget Americans have rights. We need to learn to exercise them. They want to take tax dollars and make a nationalized entitlement program and then tax you again for the program? Does that seem like double taxation or what?

    July 9, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  275. Chris L.

    The biggest obstacle is "who" pays the bill. If we can continue to fund two wars that cost Billions each month I think it should be obvious that it will again be "US" the taxpayers who will have to pay this bill as well.

    Breaking News!
    US Big & Small Businesses- Provide jobs for from which taxes can be taken from Americans. Forced to become and prove viability. They have some options.

    Option one...take advantage of cheaper foreign labor....give Lou
    Dobbs a new business to chastise.
    Option two...file bankruptcy...make it easier for banks to deny credit
    even faster.
    Option three...apply for stimulus money....wait....wait.....Denied!!
    Option four....lower your price for goods/services....aka run your
    business in the ground.
    Option five...close the doors...help make history by inflating the
    jobless rate beyond anything we could imagine.

    Meanwhile...
    Wall Street- Brings credit to a halt. US Gov't responds. Gives Billions with no strings attached and no accountability. Result...financial giants carry on as unusual...credit flow remains unchanged.

    Taxpaying Americans- Receive $300/$600 stimulus check to go wild and crazy. Hell start a new business, hire more employees, replace aging equipment. Better still, pay half your mortgage, buy an over-priced hybrid, or pay one months health care premium. Afterall it is $300/$600 given back to us to stimulate the economy.

    Home Mortgages- Continue to turn upside down. US Gov't responds by hand picking those mortgages they feel is worthy and attempt to expose Americans that have irresponsibly found themselves enjoying the American dream. Bad bad hard working Americans, shame on you!

    Bottom Line.
    Taxpaying Americans always pay the bill...Always!

    United States will keep requesting stimulus money for projects that will not create new jobs.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  276. Al bowling

    Where does the money go. One ten minute ambulance ride $700-900?

    July 9, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  277. Francine

    Biggest obstical is the insurance companies...they are multi billionairs who have the resource to block any relief to us regular people. We need to put a stop to gouging by our medical insurers. I am for national healthcare.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  278. keith

    Tony,

    So the republicans say we can't afford a public option in health care, then someone please tell me why it is that we can always afford to throw money away and the true wealth of our nation being our brave fighting men and women at any war no matter how stupid it is. Is everybody in this country not intelligent enough to understand our elected officials are being paid by the medical industry and insurance companies of this country to keep the American will from happening. The insurance companies and medical professionals of this country are now saying that they can cut their cost by hundreds of billions of dollars as long as we don't have a public option. They can't be trusted for us to give up the public option.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  279. Betsy

    I think the biggest obstacle to health care reform is the misunderstanding of the structure of the health care system and the misguided ideas about what the American "ethos" has been historically. Here is an example from this discussion:

    "The government has never been able to things better than the American people could do for themselves." -Shirley

    1.Virtually no part of our economy has been left to anything like laissez-faire capitalism for a long time. For at least 80 years, business leaders, economists, politicians, etc. have understood that regulation is an essential component to a capital market economy. Before this, the American economy was characterized by fairly rapid cycles of booms and busts. Only regulations keep a market system even remotely stable. Any argument that deregulated market systems solve their own problems is misguided. They hurt everyone and inherently create inequality.

    2.Our health care system as it currently stands is nothing near a competitive market system anyway. Because most medical costs are assessed with insurance companies as mediators, people don't compare and assess their options in the way that a competitive market system would require (not that that would work anyway, as noted earlier).

    3.Government has intervened in other sectors of the market economy extensively without imposing "socialism." The most prominent example is through land use, zoning, and housing. This hasn't gotten rid of all market components to this sector, but it has contributed to better housing conditions for those with little market power. I would argue that because these markets were not guided by government sufficiently, we still have huge urban problems. That said, even the inadequate efforts to regulate living spaces have resulted in urban conditions much better than those 100 years ago.

    4.Other examples of places that most people like government regulation for protection: the financial sector, food and drugs, childcare and other child safety, building codes, plus many more.

    5.Haven't we long ago realized the simple fact that conditions of unemployment, lack of health care, under-education, or poverty is NOT reflective of laziness, a lack of desire to take care of one's self, or some other personal deficiency. Of course I would not argue that systems like welfare, medicare, and others are not abused by some people. But we as a society (and especially one that many of its member would like to base in religious principles) should feel a responsibility to take care of each other and to realize that many people find themselves in disadvantaged and difficult positions due to factors beyond their control.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  280. Steven E Ellis

    Tony,
    RE: Healthcare reform…
    Let us bury an old dog that’s been barking the same lie for centuries. “Keep the rich, rich to provide jobs for the poor!” We don’t need the extremely wealthy anymore, who live off the interest of their money while other do the real work. The success of not-for-profit organizations have proven that the corporate system is no longer necessary for society to thrive. People are smarter than we’re led to believe. They can, and will survive. I say without hesitation: tax the rich for healthcare reform.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  281. J

    Hey Tony, Thanks for this Forum! I think Lobbyist are definitely doing their best to scare people from wanting new reform. It doesn't matter if what they are saying is true or not, it is definitely impacting voters.

    I've decided to provide three ways to pay for Heathcare and still pay off our Nationa Debt.

    Suggestions:

    1) Implement a Federal Tax on all healthcare related products, testing, offices visits, and services, which goes toward paying down our National Debt.

    2) Hospitals need to have a limited on what they can charge for product markups...charging 3 times over GPO and Manufacturer prices shouldn't be allowed.

    3) There should be a federal tax on all new Drug and Device Applications done by the FDA which goes towards paying off our National Debt.

    Thanks,

    July 9, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  282. Janet

    Democracy:
    government by the people ; especially : rule of the majority b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

    Free Enterprise:
    freedom of private business to organize and operate for profit in a competitive system without interference by government beyond regulation necessary to protect public interest and keep the national economy in balance

    This is not hard at its core. Our government is set up to to be vested in the people it governs. Stop letting special interest groups, lobbiest, businesses tell the People's representation in government what they feel is best for the people. Profits, greed and shareholder value mean little to the average person that is struggling to make ends meet everyday and stress over deciding if their sick child should go to the doctor or not because there is no money.

    If you operate or do business in this country you have a self obligation to operate under what will benefit both your business and the employees you employ. Large businesses that are self insured should be required to provide insurance for all their employees as operating costs. No bonuses or profit taking should be allowed until this is secured. If you are small or mid size business you should be able to pool your businesses together to obtain same rates as those of self insured. Government through taxes accross the board has the responsibility to assist with those who do not fit the above. This is exactly what government should regulate to protect public interest and and keep the economy in balance. Democracy is a society ruled by the Majority of its people. If the United States claims this, it should act accordingly. What the government does to protect public interest and keep the national economy in balance is not what some would call "take from the rich and give to the poor" or others say "socialism". To me it is proctecting the "People, majority" interests first so that freedom and the opportunity for all is upheld and not enjoyed by only a few. With money, power, wealth comes obligation. Everyone has the right to try and make as much money as they want. They just have to do it by what a government representing the majority of that society decides what that cost is. I am hoping our government can remember they represent individual people and not businesses. You may say it's a bit "Polyanna" mentality but what we currently have, while it is still the best their is, is not sustainable on its current course. I choose to fix it by going back to the basics of what we are founded on and makes us great only this time stay on course to keep what is best for the majority of the people and what they said is best for them.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  283. Ruth

    If there was a cap on the amount of money any one individual could earn, the money beyond that cap amount, which is presently earned by that 1%, could pay for health care for everyone in this country We could all have the excellent health care that our congress people now have! Does the person with the multimillion dollar salary really work that much harder than someone making $50,000/year?

    July 9, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  284. Melinda Jones

    Health care reform could not be easy or it would have been done long ago, but President Obama has entered the arena fearlessly to find ways to reform. Not everyone will approve of any solution but taxing products like tobacco and alcohol seems reasonable because these items do contribute to illnesses and this is about health care reform. I think that those making over 200,000 a year will not be hurt by a 2% tax increase when they pay thier taxes. Maybe those who are more fortunate in this country should look at it as a way to help others in this country to have a basic need met. After all, health care isn't a luxury but a basic need of every person.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  285. Pamela

    I'm a public school teacher in Texas and I work in a very small rural district with very little money. Providing a health care plan was a big problem for small districts because it was so expensive, especially when you have employees with pre-existing conditions-who really couldn't afford to leave their job because they wouldn't be covered by another health insurance. The state came up with a solution – allow districts to join together to create a very large group (state wide) thus bring down our health care costs and allowing some mobility.

    One of the solutions already mentioned by the Obama administration sounds very similar to what was done for public educators in Texas.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  286. katie plummer

    Why can't we run healthcare like the auto insurance industry? Let the health insurance companies be competitive with their rates and services in order to succeed. Like auto insurance, mandate that everyone carry their own insurance or take their chances with their own lives. It is the natural cycle of life to have survival of the fittest. Why don't we promote that lifestyle? Broadcast to the public, messages that promote personal responsibility and teach them not to rely on government.
    The responsibility for healthcare should be that of the individual and their family, not the government/taxpayer.
    If you're a safe driver, you get better rates on auto insurance; if you take care of your body you get better rates on healthcare. The actual healthcare expertise and services should be the same for everyone.
    There's an awful lot of people on government welfare who are buying DVD's at $20 a pop, having kids that they can't afford, taking vacations even though they don't work or have a job, and many who are buying cigarettes and drugs. If their priorities were right, they could purchase their own healthcare with the money given to them– but they choose not to- they're irresponsible.
    What if those on welfare were given the option to put 1/4 of their monthly stipend toward healthcare insurance– auto paid to the insurance company–would they choose to do that?

    July 9, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  287. Diane Fraser

    Hello
    I'm just writing to let you know what us poor people are doing.Well we are not exactly poor there are thousands of people that are a lot worse off then we are.My husband works everyday and takes as much extra work that he can. I have a Drs appt today with the heart Dr.I hate to go because we can't afford it my bank account will be over drawn when I do go.I need to go. I can't work because I'm alway's sick. But don't know why because I can't afford to go to the Dr. to find out.But on the other hand Ive tried to get help from SSI and other places that are supposed to help you.But guess what they said my husband makes to much money.I tried to get my SSI disability. Now mind you I'm a 62 year old white woman 5ft. 2in. tall and they told me my Social Security number was not mine and I was a 6ft. tall black woman and the man was sitting right across the desk from me.And to fix it I need to get a lawyer.guess what I don't have the money to get an attorney.LOL And as far as taxing cigarettes we both smoke from stress and when they do that we will have even less money to go to the Drs. We have tried to quit. what they need to do is find a way for people to quit smoking and demand the cigarette companys to quit putting so many drugs in the cigarettes so you can't quit.Yes tax the rich because they hide there money in other countries so they don't have to pay taxes on that money. and that would give us millions of dollars if they had to pay taxes on that money. I'm so stressed just like millions are trying to pay rent eat pay health insurance etc. The people on welfare eat better than we do and drive nicer car's and have better houses and nicer clothes than we do.I've driven by the welfare office and seen all the beamers vets suv's and other expensive car's.But me and my husband and you pay for that .So kick these people off welfare that don't really need it that are juist taking advantage of the tax payer's and we would have billion's of dollar's.
    Thank you for listening I know I kind of got off track but it is very depressing to hear they are going to tax cigarettes again.and they rich get richer and the poor get poorer just like it has always been.

    Diane

    July 9, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  288. jon black

    It's our right to take out books from the library for free to further our education. What about a free vaccine to further our health?

    July 9, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  289. Joanne

    Tony
    Everyone needs to check out HR676 Healthcare for everyone at 5% of your income. We already pay 1.9% so it would increase our taxes by 3.1%. People making $250,000.00 would pay $12,500.00 per year for family coverage, and people making 25,000.00 per year would pay $1,250.00 per year for family coverage. Over 10 years this would generate over 2 Trillion Dollars. Right now, the average family policy is $12,500.00 or more no matter what your income is. Huge savings for most families. This would come with no co-pays, no deductibles, and no supplimental insurance. It would also cover long term care. How?????? CEO's would not make billions of dollars off the sick, big savings there! And there would be no lobbyists, and the senate, congress, and presidential candidates would not get big donations from this. Just doing that, makes healthcare affordable for everyone, and good coverage, the President, Senators, and Crongressmen would be included, and they get the best care for the smallest dollar and we would get that also.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  290. Carolyn Sorsen

    Re Health Care Cost:
    Everyone will pay for Health Care. In a democracy everyone contributes. Instead of asking, "How can we pay for it?", we need to recognize that we are already paying for it through sky high premiums, reduced benefits, and poor care. Everytime an uninsured person has to go to the hospital emergency room for care those who have employer provided health insurance pay a tax on our benefits as the hospitals pass costs for the uninsured onto the insured. The current system only benefits the health and drug companies. They make big profits and spend alot to lobby to protect their profits.
    The arguments against a strong public plan are mostly about misplaced priorities. Congress needs to stop kowtowing to the vested interests and give Americans a strong public plan. It would be fantastic to have Congress do something for people instead of worrying about how to help wealthy companies become more wealthy.
    Give the President what he's asking for.

    July 9, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  291. Mike

    What does 'rich' mean anyway? There's a big difference between making $200K in NYC and $200K in Des Moines. Income and wealth are not the same thing. When the politicians and the press refer to the 'rich', how many of us picture people with multi-million dollar houses? It's natural because then it doesn't seem like the 'rich' will feel any pain..."what's another percent or two for them"? But the people in that picture are the wealthy, not what we're calling the 'rich' right now. We are creating a class warfare and will end up penalizing the people in the middle.

    I've been reading these posts and am amazed at how many people take extreme situations (right and left of the bell curve) to make generalizations. For example, of course there are greedy people that are 'rich', but not all 'rich' people are greedy...some work hard, have been lucky enough to make good money, and give back. Why do we keep blaming the faceless (the 'rich', big business) and chose to act like victims?

    July 9, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  292. La-Nae Glen

    I am retired from the Fed Govt. I would switch today to a public option if given an opportunity. Every year after we receive a cost of living increase – the insurance companies increase their rates and take a percentage the very next pay period. For years while working for the govt – private companies competed with the us saying they could do the work cheaper. Many times our jobs went to them. How now, is it that private industry is now afraid to compete with the Govt . Since they believe they can do it better and cheaper – this is the perfect opportunity.
    The question is – how can congress sleep at night taking free health care (paid for by us) and then say we cannot afford it for the people and by the way – we are not asking for free health care – we are willing to pay for it. One thing for sure, I will remember this during the next election.
    Let the Govt take the lead – move all govt employees, retirees, military and veterans to either VA or medicare. Those who want to stay with the private companies – let them. Private citizens who want to join the govt program – let them!

    July 9, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  293. Patrick

    I am trying to keep and open mind about this and listen to the discussion which I am a little concerned with all of the 'we need to work together' types using another opportunity to slam republicans.Somehow this is constructive?!?

    Anyway if I am paying for others at the present time through my higher premiums do you really think those premiums will go down after we implement the plan? I somehow feel that they will not and I will not only be paying what I am right now and paying more taxes.

    For those tauting socialized medicine in other countries as an example, don't they have a far less litigious society than we do? Don't you think that may have something to do with it.

    My income is the same as it has been for the past three years yet taxes both national and local continue to rise not to mention the cost of everything else in our lives.

    July 9, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  294. Josh

    I have an idea to reform health care that covers everyone yet keeps health care in the private sectors hands. If states enforce minimum car insurance coverage why can’t the government draft up a basic health care insurance policy. This policy would be provided by insurance companies and reimbursed by the government. The policy would focus on low cost primary and preventive care access but would allow the cost of larger medical events to be higher. To prevent escalation of debt, the max out-of-pocket expenses would be set around $20,000. Understand that $20,000 is a more manageable debt than $100,000’s that is possible after an accident or serious injury. To lower the cost to the government some services will have to be cut: fertility treatments, cosmetic surgery, or name brand drugs. The result of this program could be lower total health care cost. By giving everyone low cost access to preventive care, it will keep some medical conditions from progressing into a costly life-threaten condition. If majority of citizens are covered by insurance then hospitals could reduce the billed amount because of lower levels of delinquent accounts. If a person desires more coverage, then the government’s reimbursed amount could be applied to a higher tier of health coverage. I know the idea may not be perfect but it may lead someone else to a better solution.

    July 9, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  295. Rick

    Just my opinion but to get anything fixed by our politicians they need to care about the fallout of thier programs. The only way that they will feel the impact of what they do is to have them in the same programs as the rest of America. How about putting them on the same retirement system as Federal employees, not serve a few years and collect for life. Is it true that AIG insures thier retirement program? If so, who are they helping with that bailout. Are they on the same healthcare programs most of us are on. I don't think so.
    While we are at it, how about making them abide by the same laws the rest of the United States follows, that includes paying taxes and facing the same penalties for criminal activities. I have a feeling that I would never be forgiven for not paying taxes if I just said 'I"m sorry, it was a mistake.'

    July 9, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  296. Dave

    SEPARATE & once again, NOT EQUAL...
    As a gay man, with my partner for the last 21 years, I have been paying taxes on my partners health coverage for years. It isn't cheap. I pay about $550 per quarter or $2200 per year, considerably more than the projected $1000 in 10 years being discussed. So when I listen Biden, Pelosi and the others talking about taking the taxation of health benefits off the table because it is not popular in the poles, it concerns me that this is a double standard which highlights one of the many flaws with the separate but equal mentality on gay marriage... IT IS NOT EQUAL.

    July 9, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  297. Shirley

    To Edith Rose:
    Welcome to the New Communism. Your choice to solve all the problems.

    I don't know your age, but I'm old enough to remember when the government was of, by and for the people of the United States.

    I have children who served in the military and were stationed all over the world. When they got home the comment was the same,"No matter what we think the United States is the Best and by far, way ahead of what is in
    second place."

    Just why does everyone think people come to the United States of America, in any manner necessary? How many American citizens do you see leaving and giving up their citizenship? Does this give anyone a clue as to whether the US is a good place to work, live, etc.?

    July 9, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  298. Juan

    It's unfortunate that this topic has become a reflection of the derision between classes. The health of the unemployed becomes dependent on the wealthy seems to be the common theme in the majority of the comments. Healthcare is not charity nor is it a right. The problem requires a multiprong approach including tort reform, changes in taxable items that increase healthcare costs such as cigarettes and fast food, and personal responsibility incentives such as employment and having personal health insurance.

    July 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  299. Allen

    Well, the Republicans have once again proved they are the party dedicated to making the rich and powerful more rich and powerful. This time, the big health insurance and pharmaceutical companies. While I live in a state with two Republican senators, I just can’t understand why anyone of ordinary means would support Republicans or conservative Democrats, for that matter (and less and less are). Folks, please don’t be fooled by all this garbage the right is putting out about socialized medicine and big government taking over health care. IT’S A LIE!! The same sort of distortion that led every Republican in the Senate to vote against Medicare in 1964. We desperately need health care reform NOW before more people die or end up bankrupt!

    July 9, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  300. Marsha Johnson

    Many businesses purposely keep part time employees at under 40 hours a week so they don't have to offer health benefits. They should be required to total up all the hours, divide by the number of workers (find an average) and offer benefits to at least those who have worked the longest.

    July 9, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  301. Bruce from California

    –this submission is a correction

    The Federal Health Insurance Option would hold down costs the same way that tuition at public universities is 50% less than private universities.

    The costs of the plan would be offset by the fact that businesses can raise wages when they are relieved of health insurance costs. If the HMOs lose their cash cow, who cares?

    July 9, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  302. J

    Our Healthcare System charges too much for being a broken system. Government should place limits on profits for all drug / device manufacturers, reseller of healthcare products, hospitals related charges, lab fees, and pharmacies.

    July 9, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  303. Sandy

    Cannot stress enough, we must pass healthcare. It has been neglected way too many years and it will pay for itself if people will just try to look at the big picture and come to grips that they will not see an immediate fix. Just like going Green, we will not see the immediate benefit. Once everything is in place and tweeked and criticized over and over again, new policies will create viable solutions.

    Look at the computer generation of baby boomers, from speaking to stations within a company, to pc, to graphics to the Iand corporations of millions. A revolution in "social" communication. I know that on the face of it, this does not look the same but it is....seems like all the naysayers are the rich and employed! I would be so hopeful to see people more compassionate and would like to see them pass a basic math test to see if they know how to calculate the benefit in $$$'s.
    My question that doesn't seem to be answered in healthcare is...are these big insurance carriers that deny so many thousands of claims, such as Prudential and Metcalf, are they contributing anything tangible, because they are the ones with the powerful influences in lobbying. Please address this issue.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  304. Sandy

    looks like everyone is on the same page about all this politicing at the expense of healthcare for all, let me rephrase...looks like everyone with intelligence and a social conscience and an ability to figure out the big picture is on the same page on passing healthcare reform.

    July 9, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  305. Carol Matthews

    I am wondering why CNN is not asking why all Americans are not on the same health care program as the government, congress and the Senate. If that happened everyone would win.because no one wants a old broke down Medicare Program. If the people voting on health care used these programs we would see a change because even the government wants better than what we have.

    To me our government is out of touch when it comes to knowning our pain. The government voted themselves raises when the nation is not working and most have no health insurance. We need just plain easy to read health care for all including the government without the pork fat.

    Americans need to band together which will make us strong. We can resolve this problem which is killing people while others enjoy pork fat.

    Enough is enough lets prove Americans are able to be just to all Americans.

    July 9, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  306. BruceG

    Hi, Tony. Thanks for your insight into the Healthcare Reform process.

    Frankly, too much focus is on WHO pays… rather than dealing with the underlying problems that make healthcare unaffordable for the vast majority of Americans. Here are the vital steps that we can take to bring down the costs:

    1. 12 % percent of every health dollar spent in the US is totally wasted on middlemen “paper-shufflers” who handle the billing between insurers and providers. Up to 6 middlemen handle each bill from a single hospital stay – and doctors and hospitals may wait a year for payment. By comparison, large companies spend 3% on these billing/payment activities.

    We need a medical payment clearinghouse, like the Federal Reserve’s system for clearing billions of checks overnight. 10% of the total US medical bill disappears instantly–without changing any aspect of medical treatment except its wasted costs. The Obama stimulus payments for Electronic Medical Records and medical “Information Exchanges” is a first step – we need to also move forward on the payment clearinghouse. It’s a win-win.

    2. The pharmaceutical industry pretends that “research and development” of new drugs is responsible for the outlandish cost of medications in this country. You should be aware that US consumers are charged ALL R&D costs for their medications – the foreign markets get cut-rate drugs without R&D overhead. That’s just wrong and should be changed immediately by law.

    But it’s more fundamental. Let’s move pharmaceutical R&D where it belongs – in the universities, generously funded by Federal grants INCLUDING the development “orphan” drugs for the less common diseases now ignored by Big Pharma. The drug companies can then do their jobs as manufacturers and distributors at reasonable costs.

    3. The AMA must be removed from its absolute control of medical education, licensing, and quality of care. The AMA has failed America by unreasonable limitations on the number, type and cost of practitioners. It is simply a matter of supply and demand… the AMA has limited the supply of doctors, limited the responsibilities and pay of qualified nurses, and flooded America with high-priced Specialists. At the same time, the AMA has utterly failed to effectively monitor the quality of care provided by their licensed doctors, or discipline grossly incompetent and negligent physicians.

    Bottom line: whether generated through a Federally funded system or private enterprise, we need a more efficient, accessible, and affordable structure for medical care. It’s goal must be better health care for all Americans – not the defense of physicians’ incomes and the status quo.

    The fact is, RNs now provide 90% of the direct, hands-on care to patients… fully trained physicians contribute a cheery hello, scan of test results, and a scribbled prescription for MOST patient visits. Let’s certify our experienced RNs as “Family Physicians” for the routine flus, colds, “first aid” treatments, and preventative care that constitute the bulk of family care. Use these Super-RNs to staff local “Immediate Care Clinics” throughout the Nation - an efficient and accessible system for the bulk of routine and preventative care services. What about the current doctors and hospitals? Promote current “General Physicians” to “Diagnostic Physicians” for the 10% of treatments that require deeper knowledge and more extensive care, referred up to them from the local clinics - and reserve hospitals for more complex and critical cases.

    Impossible? Nope… happening already. Physician groups are becoming community mini-clinics, with in-house X-ray and some lab capabilities (but still charge like a traditional physician’s office). Eyeglass retailers now have optometrists on site. Why not add an RN or Super-RN to pharmacies? There are a lot of smart, effective innovations possible, both public and private, to deliver better healthcare to America

    4. NOONE addresses the critical problem of illegal immigrants flooding the Nation’s hospitals and ERs – the most expensive and wasteful treatment possible. The political cowardice is unspeakable on the part of BOTH political parties – and the direct cost to legal US citizens, taxpayers and the healthcare system is monumental.

    Ok, let’s provide compassionate, immediate, life-saving care in the ER to everyone, including illegals, criminals and indigents - and Federally fund ERs to cover the costs. But we can, and MUST, draw the line on using our ERs and hospitals to provide routine medical care to those who cannot prove US citizenship or legal residency. Our hospitals, physicians and other healthcare professionals have a responsibility to this Nation, its citizens and the survival of our healthcare system – they must now value these above any assumed “rights” of illegals to full, free, unlimited medical care through the back door of our medical system.

    Those are some of the things we need to do to control the cost of healthcare – no matter who or how we pay the bills. These measures have the potential of improving the healthcare of all Americans, while reducing the cost by up to 50%.

    July 9, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  307. reiny

    Too many of our lawmakers have taken contributions from the medical industry and therefore feel obligate to vote pro interest groups as opposed to what is in the best interest of the many. Get the health care passed.

    July 9, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  308. Mrs B in SC

    My husband and I are UNINSURABLE-what we need is AFFORDABLE GUARANTEED health insurance-not a reformed health care plan. We had planned health insurance premiums into our early retirement budget only to find ourselves uninsurable because of non life threatening pre-existing conditions.

    SC does have an assigned risk health insurance plan but the premiums for both of us would be in excess of $26,000.

    During our 18 months of Cobra we paid approx $15,500 in premiums. The insurance company paid $2,074. in claims in those 18 mos.

    What is it they're afraid of??

    July 9, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  309. Esther

    The greatest problem is that health care cannot be standardized in the United States as the main emphasize lies not on everybodies well being but on profitable business.

    For the system to work right everybody (poor and rich) should have to contribute to it. Businesses should pay partially for health care and the other part should be provided by the employed person. The government should also contribute to the payments of affordable healthcare.

    People in the United States have to pay already high taxes. I am wondering where that money goes. Life is almost not affordable for the working middle class.

    July 9, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  310. henry parnes

    The biggest obstructionists to health care reform are the many of the Republican legislators, the right-wing radio blowhards and the intransigent ultra-wealthy that believe that if they have the wherewithal to afford healthcare expenses, the rest of us can limp along without.

    July 9, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  311. Leo, Dallas, TX

    What the "rich and greedy" fail to understand in their little minds is that if people are too sick because of healthcare, they will buy less of your goods and services. If someone has to come up with $1000 to pay for a health deductible, that is money he or she could have spend on any other item out there.

    You can have a very vibrant health insurance industry where one health insurance giant like United Healthcare group generates over $81 billion in a year and a sputtering economy characterized by individuals too sick to work, and too broke to buy much else; or you can lower health costs and have healthier people who pay less for healthcare and have more expendable income for cars, homes, goods and services in general.

    Republicans really have very poor judgment. If it comes to paying $1 trillion for a war with no cause or no benefit, that is fine with them. When it comes to providing healthcare for Americans (not Iraqis, Mexicans, Africans, Europeans or anybody else), ah, that's a big problem. Tells you why they are a party in decline that have resorted to the screaming the same "stay the course" rhetoric, louder and louder just to remain relevant.

    Personally, I am open to change and to the betterment of my family and myself and as such, I have started an intensive job search north of the border because peace and good healthcare are a priority for me.

    July 9, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  312. Ana

    I work for a collections company that collects for many hospitals in southern california, virginia & oklahoma. I have seen things from inside the bussiness & I believe that in order to sucessfully provide quality health care for all people the following should happen:

    1. There are tons of people with no health insurance but there are also many who are insured & pay expensive policies. Insurance companies turn their backs on people in their time of need. I believe that just how the government approved new regulations & laws for credit card companies, the same should be done to insurance companies. I have to call people everyday who did not ask to get sick but who suffer life threating emergencies. Renal failure, allergic reactions, children who get I'll, work related accidents. The insurance companies don't care and their bills land in collections. Their credit reports are tarnished & insurance companies refuse to pay because the claims are large & out of nowhere they want a coordination of benefits questionare sent in, a student verification, a pre-existing questionare. ALL STALL TACTICS SO THEY DO NOT HAVE TO PAY! So that the claim is denied & then can't be re-processed because the timely filing expired or the appeal time expired & the patient is left with the bill. It is so hard to call elderly patients, parents with sick children, people who already have it hard with the economy as it is and have them hate you for calling to collect. I'm a mother of 2 & a wife, I understand it is hard but I have to provide too. I wish I could hit delete & free these people of their debts but it doesn't work that way. The insurance companies are ruining peoples lives. IMPLEMENT REGULATIONS & LAWS ON INSURANCE COMPANIES! So that people who are currently insured don't have to seek government health plans.

    2. I read an article on News Week sometime ago about better healthcare & education in other countries. One of the featured articles talked about european countries who have FREE healthcare & education because they raise the funds for this by giving traffic tickets & violations based on an individuals income. Police there have access to peoples credit report & issue tickets based on their income. They gave an example of a man pulled over for a D.U.I who was an heir to a large fortune & got a ticket in the thousands of dollars. They believe a ticket should hurt everyone equally. We should look into that. Instead of giving prissy celebrities like Paris Hilton a ticket that is penies to her & not sending a message. The government should penalize people like her with a traffic violation fee high enough to make a dent in her wallett like those of regular middle class & low class people. Not only will this send a message to all celebrities, professional athletes, actors, actresses, singer, artists, etc., to think twice before driving under the influece or commiting other traffic vilations & make our streets safer. It will also raise money for health care reforms & services.

    Don't be fooled by the commercials full of lies paid for by the insurance companies. They know the government & people are onto them & they will lie through the teeth to make sure we remain blind to the truth, thay they are leeches sucking all the money they can out of the people & giving nothing but hardship, pain & even death in return without any consequences for the lives they ruin.

    July 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  313. Andy

    As long as people believe "more is better" and "new is better," then they will resist any system that will only pay for medical interventions that actually show they do more good than harm and, where possible, that any particular test or treatment is really better than the alternative.

    There is simply too much "gee whiz" attention giving to new drugs and devices that haven't really proven themselves better.

    Of course, there are also legions of people who feed their families with paychecks from the current system... and it's natural they are leery of change.

    July 9, 2009 at 9:26 pm |
  314. Richard Jones

    A free market does not exist in healthcare!

    Please support healthcare with a public option. Stop the illegal medical oligopoly. The real problem behind all the other problems is that there are not enough healthcare providers. The AMA and its state subsidiaries have purposefully limited the availability of providers for decades. They intentionally altered the supply side with restrictive barriers to entry (a coercive oligopoly) massively increasing their individual incomes using –simple supply side economics. Everyday patients with insurance and resources go to the ER in desperate need for care because they are unable to get care anywhere else. The wolves over at the AMA have intentionally limited the availability of providers with collusion, and monopolistic anti-competition laws used to boost their income to the point where innocent children, the elderly and even the average person has to wait for care until its to late. We must have more providers. Please support healthcare reform that includes Nurse Practitioners as leaders of medical homes and a public option. Twelve states and the District of Columbia already have quality healthcare provided by Independent NPs. Make this the way of the Country.

    NPs must have the ability to work freely without the costly and unnecessary ‘oversight’ of expensive physicians. There is over 30 years of published research data that proves unequivocally the outcomes in primary care achieved by NPs are equivalent to those of MDs in every way. Even published research done by the AMA and GAO agree. Economists agree, patients agree and even last month the American College of Physicians agreed NPs should be leaders of medical homes. Costly unnecessary redundant physician ‘after sight’ stifles the NPs ability to care for patients in a holistic wellness model. The MD model is based on treating people when they are sick. The NP model is based on preventing illness and treating their problems holistically. Simply put Disease care vs. Health care…

    The goal has to be to reduce the profiteering from healthcare. The good ‘ol boy system has crushed the current system’s will to live. ‘Disease care’ is on life support. Cost is oppressive and suffocating average Americans. A free market does not exist in healthcare. Please support healthcare that includes Nurse Practitioners as leaders of medical homes because we need more providers. Support a public option because the doctors on insurance and hospital boards will never ever cut profits. Democrats & Republicans stand for family values and a healthy family is paramount to a productive family. Please support healthcare reform. It’s the right thing for businesses, patients, families and America. Healthcare reform should reinstate the free market. I’m begging you.

    July 9, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  315. Paul

    AS TO YOUR SEGMENT ON HEALTH CARE REFORM AND HOW TO PAY FOR IT, THAT A GOOD % OF THE “RICH” ARE ALREADY PAYING AN AD ON TAX WITH THE AMT TAX. THEY ARE GENERALLY LIMITED TO AMOUNT OF ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS AND EXEMPTIONS DUE TO THE PHASE OUTS. ON TOP OF THAT THE % OF THE “RICH” THAT ARE ABLE TO CLAIM ANY MEDICAL EXPENSES DUE 7.5% OF THE AGI RULE IS SMALL. IN ADDITION, IF THEY HAVE AMT THE CEILING FOR THE MEDICAL DEDUCTIONS IS EVEN HIGHER. THERE ARE MANY HIDDEN “TAXES” THAT ARE NOT BEING DISCUSSED, AS THEY SHOULD BE.

    July 9, 2009 at 9:32 pm |
  316. Chevin

    The richest nation on earth should be able to provide health care for her citizen. Health of the citizen is a public necessity not an option for the growth of a nation.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  317. Rod

    If the health care industry used the 150 million dollars a day they spend lobbying congress on health care reform it would be alot easier to pay for it. In my mind we don't need socialized medicine, we need socialized health care insurance. Health insurance should be not for profit. The extra money could be used to lower costs and improve benefits. If you don't belive that the health insurance industry is mostly responsible for the problems we face just look at AIG. They are typical of insurance companies, all about profit with no reguard for the people/companies that pay the premiums. They spend more time and money trying to get out of paying claims, than they do on the claims. It a disgrace that in this country profit is still the driving force in social programs...

    July 10, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  318. Joe

    Three thinks has to happen to keep the cost under control:
    Government has to make complete overhaul, new regulation to standardized and streamline all medical system to be able detect the greed.
    1) Government has to include reform on medical billing methods and have standard rates for all doctors in each state.
    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.
    3) Family doctor has to make decisions for his patients, coordinate all drug prescriptions, visits to hospitals and specialist, have all the records on computer and all billing to insurance should go trough his office. He would pay the others.

    Republican and Employed with insurance wake up. Republicans and some other senators will not wake up they private drug and insurance company keeping them elected.
    Let’s look the stupidity; selfishness and limitation of the employed individuals working for larger company with subsidize healthcare benefits.
    Firstly who support the existing free enterprise healthcare was not seriously thick to find the out of pocket cost. Secondly they do not have clued that there is people go to five different doctors to get same drugs. It is Wild West. Thirdly they do not see the cost of insurance rising.
    My mother paid in to your Kaiser system for 30 plus years. She gets really sick and during her stay in hospital she misses the payment and you cut her of the coverage. With in two month different doctors “specialists” sent her four times on MRI,CAT scans. She had addition to your plan Medicare and Medicaid. Her Kiser doctor did not know how many specialists performing the same tests on her in the different hospitals. She was receiving bills and was charge $ 1500.00 plus per day.
    Let me outline few major free market problems in medical-industries and why our free market does not work in these industries.
    1) Greed 2) Each Doctor multi times ordering, prescribing medication and expensive tests 3) There is not affordable insurance which cover you if you get really sick without family being put in to financial disaster.4) The law suing doctors for malpractices 5) Doctors try to please costumers and order anything they request 6) Doctors investment in to in to medical industries and equipment will be promoting the unnecessary use and sale
    Some suggestions: and why lobbies spending millions?
    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.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  319. Joan LaFond

    My sentiments exactly!

    A Soldier's Take on Michael Jackson's Death

    This is written by a young soldier serving his third tour of duty in Iraq.
    Thought you might find his take on the Michael Jackson news interesting and
    he's right.

    Folks,

    Okay, I need to rant.

    I was just watching the news, and I caught part of a report on
    Michael Jackson. As we all know, Jackson
    died the other day. He was an entertainer who performed for
    decades. He made millions, he spent millions, and he did a lot of things
    that make him a villian to many people. I understand that his death would
    affect a lot of people, and I respect those people who mourn his death, but
    that isn't the point of my rant.

    Why is it that when ONE man dies, the whole of America loses
    their minds with grief. When a man dies whose only contribution to the
    country was to ENTERTAIN people, the Amercian people find the need to flock to
    a memorial in Hollywood,
    and even Congress sees the need to hold a "moment of silence" for his
    passing?

    Am I missing something here? ONE man dies, and all of a
    sudden he's a freaking martyr because he entertained us for a few
    decades? What about all those SOLDIERS who have died to give us
    freedom? All those Soldiers who, knowing that they would be asked to
    fight in a war, still raised their hands and swore to defend the Constitution
    and the United States of
    America. Where is their moment
    of silence? Where are the people flocking to their graves or memorials
    and mourning over them because they made the ultimate sacrifice? Why is
    it when a Soldier dies, there are more people saying "good riddence,"
    and "thank God for IEDs?" When did this country become so
    calloused to the sacrifice of GOOD MEN and WOMEN, that they can arbitrarily
    blow off their deaths, and instead, throw themselves into mourning for a
    "Pop Icon?"

    I think that if they are going to hold a moment of silence IN
    CONGRESS for Michael Jackson, they need to hold a moment of silence for every
    service member killed in Iraq
    and Afghanistan.
    They need to PUBLICLY recognize every life that has been lost so that the
    American people can live their callous little lives in the luxury and freedom
    that WE, those that are living and those that have gone on, have provided for
    them. But, wait, that would take too much time, because there have been
    so many willing to make that sacrifice. After all, we will never make
    millions of dollars. We will never star in movies, or write hit songs
    that the world will listen too. We only shed our blood, sweat and tears
    so that people can enjoy what they have.

    Sorry if I have offended, but I needed to say it. Remember
    these five words the next time you think of someone who is serving in the
    military;

    "So that others may live..."

    Isaac

    July 12, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  320. Tye

    How about all of our elected officials take a pay cut. How about we stop giving bail-outs that will never be repaid. How about we stop spending so much to rebuild other countries that we just spent a lot of money on to destroy. How about we allow mail-order prescriptions from Canada again.. since ours are so high... why is it legal to purchase all of these other goods from overseas (or our neighboring countries) but not prescription drugs for our seniors? The infant formula from China that is making our children sick is okay. The dog food from China that is killing our pets is okay. The lead-painted toys from China that our children play with are okay. Imported cars (while all of our auto manufacturers go out of business, or beg for bail-outs) are okay. The reason there isn't money circulating around our economy is- we keep sending all of our money overseas.
    Let's impose a new tariff system on imported goods to pay for health care.... and fix the economy at the same time. Then let's give tax incentives for companies and people that buy American.
    Oh, never mind... that's common sense. If there's one thing that the leaders of this country have... it is not common sense. Bet you wonder why grandpa used to say buy American, or why he used to keep his money in his own community (as opposed to buying off the internet from someone that he's never met). I'm getting really angry- I have to go.

    July 12, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  321. mr melvin jones

    i think if the govt could get the hostipals and the doctors also insurance companies, also the lowering of the higer precentange of the echons of peoples in helping, this could be done. i am only saying these people can have more compassion for their nation an people.if the cost for surgeries,visits medicines, all of these things lowered back to a different rate for all americans.that would help us build back up to to where every-one could have acess.

    July 12, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  322. jared

    My experiences with Canadian health insurance were aweful. Here in US we pay a good portion of my income for health insurance but it is worth every penny. Trust me every penny. Americans have no idea what they are in for.

    July 16, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  323. Sherry Groener

    HEALTH REFORM URGENTLY NEEDED!
    Yes we need healthcare reform for every American citizen of the USA.
    Many americans are being excluded or denied the right to purchase healh insurance due to pre-existing conditions. Other families are having to go into debt to maintain heathcare insurance due to climbing sky-rocketing costs.
    Working Americans pay taxes.
    Our taxes help support assurance that the members of congress we vote into office have good jobs& benefits,so their families have access to afffordable healthcare.
    Many people are going without preventative care.
    I support President Obama to ensure quality afforable care for every American citizen.
    Sincerely,
    Sherry Groener

    July 16, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  324. Jan

    Biggest Obstacle?: Congress & Republicans benifiting from the Health Care Lobbyists.

    July 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  325. Bridget

    I was going to write a comment but, Tye said it perfectly. DITTO tye.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  326. E Garcia

    Yes, this would work taxing anyone making 500K per annum. We want the same insurance coverage that the congressmen and senators have. Congress and Senate should also consider taxing products that contribute to heart disease, diabitees, lung cancer and other autoimmune diseases. Any products that have high corn fructose syrup, trans-fats, unsaturated fats, sugars, nitrates, cafine, and nicotine.

    July 22, 2009 at 8:42 pm |
  327. Dyanne Earley

    I think stating the cooperatives would not work categorically is mis-
    leading. Perhaps they won't work as they exist, but changes can be
    made to them. The whole idea is to create a non for profit entity to
    keep insurance companies from getting together and working hand in
    hand to raise costs every year.

    The government plan was never to have the public option cover the
    poor and all the uninsured. with no premiums being charged! Those that cannot afford any costs are a separate issue. Most of those are
    covered under Medicaid. Those that are dismissed because they have a preexisting condition are a separate group entirely. There was no plan for the government to "subsidize" any of those groups under the government plan. ALL OF THESE PEOPLE WOULD PAY PREMIUMS. Perhaps they would be higher for those with a preexisting condition, but if you can continue to carry the same insurance when you leave your job, then the whole "preexisting" factor disappears.

    I cannot see how opening coverage to those with serious problems won't raise our premiums, but with a large addtional pool of people helping to pay, they should not go up by muvh and it would do so much good.

    Dyanne Earley

    August 17, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  328. Joe

    Democrats I’m disappointed you can’t sale the plan below is why?

    Set up VERY BASIC MANDATORY (Government) Health Care Security for everyone. But if you get really sick you should be 100% covered.
    Most people do not need hip replacement or scooter and mother helper’s expensive unnecessary pills.
    Let the private Insurance Company to supply the additional insurance coverage to businesses and individuals for the Items not covered under the BASIC Health Care security. Let the private Insurance Company price the VERY BASIC MANDATORY to compete with government

    Why base this reform on fixing system that is ruined by greed and stupidity of American culture, idiotic government old rules and regulations, patient, doctors, employers, unions, drug and Insurance Company, and some hospitals.

    Get $ amounts to pay for it!

    46 million people and additional cost why they can’t pay for the coverage except if you on welfare?
    Charge everyone citizen percentage of the gross income on slide scale. Start from $100 per month for persons with income below poverty and get rid of the tax write offs and get balance of the cost from individual making over 250K.
    Mandate that all Employers have to buy this Basic package for the employees.

    Why average person have to access some specialist?

    The billings for the basic care have to be done only trough family physician only, internists and pediatricians that coordinate and reimburse all specialists and transfer all digital medical report if patient relocate or change physician.

    Are not too many lawyers in US? da

    Change the law suing doctors for malpractices and expand it if they provide unnecessarily duplication of test and drugs prescriptions.

    Open up competition what up with territorial protectionism?

    Change the law for states so that any private Insurance company can operate any state in US.

    The basic coverage will be portable and recognize by all doctors in all states.

    We must have all doctors on computerized system with all the patients’ record, including drug prescriptions

    Have balls and push it through senate. No one from NO party will help if you will have BASIC mandatory (government) Health Care. Blue dogs get with it.

    Is it because dumb or to smart Americans who has coverage form the employer do not wont any change or private government basic option as they pay only 35% of the Insurance cost and therefore do not care about the screw up expensive system?. The other greedy are republican senators who are kept in power by the $ from Insurance and Drug Wall Street company.
    We are coming to be the 3rd world country with to many uneducated selfish idiots.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  329. sherry

    It is sad so many people are suffering from lack of preventive affordable healthcare. This is America. We help people from other countries in need. We should also help our fellow Americans. There should be equal opportunity for all US citizens to access healthcare without fear of bankrupcy.
    Why should people be excluded or rated up just because they have a medical problem?
    We need to correct the unfair policy that only the healthy people can get insurance.
    We all end up paying for the uninsured anyway. Why should people end up in the ER room to get care.By then undetected illnesses could cause a serious problem from lack of preventive care.
    Early detection of disease, prevention and equal access can bring cost down in the long run, plus save lives.

    August 17, 2009 at 8:59 pm |
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