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July 9th, 2009
06:20 PM ET

Paying for Healthcare Reform

Tony Harris, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, and Jeanne Sahadi, senior writer at CNNMoney.com, talk about how to pay the pricetag for healthcare reform – that’s $1 trillion over 10 years.


Filed under: Jeanne Sahadi • Tony Harris
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Ellen Pearce

    A good public health care option would force the cost of health care down in general. Insurance companies would have to compete with the public option. But how can Congress care about any of us with health insurance lobbyists spending so much in D.C.?

    July 9, 2009 at 8:45 pm |
  2. J

    I think a federal tax should be assessed on all products. The tax would be absorbed into the unit price coming from every drug and device manufacturer. This tax could pay down our National Debt and help pay for Healthcare Insurance.

    July 9, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  3. Don Hill

    Dear Tony:

    I found the conversation on your show today regarding the idea of people having to pay taxes on their health insurance most interesting.

    As a proud, gay American, I am required to pay taxes on the value of the health insurance for my domestic partner. And even though I am one of the 18,000 who is legally married to a man in California, as a gay, married couple I have been required by the federal government to pay taxes on the value of my partner's health insurance for the past 11 years. The total cost in taxes for this has been over $7,000.00.

    For some of us, this practice is already in place.

    The statement that gays have the same rights and benefits in civil
    marriages or domestic partnerships vs. those who are in heterosexual marriages is false. If I were married to a woman, I would not have to pay the taxes on the value of my wife's health insurance.

    How do you spell discrimination?

    Thank you for listening.

    Don Hill

    July 9, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  4. Mike

    the problem with health care is the Malpractice Lawyers that encourage everybody to Sue Hospitals and Physicians, California put a Cap on the malpractice and every attorney moved to New York.
    Practice of medicine has been completely affected by The Lousy Judges and Charlatan Attorneys. every Physician is asking for 3 Extra Consult , 2 EXtra MRI and Blood tests , since they just want to cover themselves in case of maybe something goes wrong and we might get sued. Evidence based Medicine has no role in the courts and the Malpractice lawyers will pay some professionals to intereprete Medicine the way they have been told to.

    Also the Malinjuring and false Worker Compensation and No Fault Claims , The disability Claims secondary to these Claims is putting a lot of pressure on THe healthcare system. There should be real investigations ( Private Detective and such) for the fradulant claims and the attornyes who handle and encourage people to make these claims should loose their license and go to jail.

    The idea of getting the mony from those who make more than 250,000 and giving it to the Malpractice Lawyes gives me a real scare.
    We could make Free Clinics, We could cut The price of Medications, We could encourage physicians to do less Imaging and not to be worried of possible law suits. we could spent money to improve the electronical system in offices and Hospitals to save unnecessary repeated tests and imaging , we could adopt the VA Computerized system to improve the Patient care and Practice of Medicine .

    And also not all of those people who do not have medical insurance desrve to have one. Why a hard working persons who has sacrifced his or her family, youth, and ..... and now is making more than 250,000 $ pay for a lazy , possibly drug addict or rapist who has never worked and possibly is on disability secondary to a fraudulant claim. Why a successful person who has worked so hard to get to that level is responsible for everybody? They are already paying more than
    40 % Tax how much more could Obama take?
    it just make no sense.

    July 9, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  5. Jan Kolbohm

    Everyone should be eligible for a public healthcare plan and everyone should be taxed according to their income to pay for it. One huge savings under the government's nose is the enormous cost of keeping 150,000 troops in combat zones. Otherwise, I'd far prefer paying the government (taxes) instead of paying the insurance companies (premiums). Since becoming eligible for Medicare I find that the government makes better choices for my healthcare than the insurance companies did – and it's far less expensive.

    July 9, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  6. Wendel Bauman

    Taxing benefits and/or the rich will not solve this crisis. We need more cost effective solutions. I would propose to limit lawsuit liabilities and reduce malpractice insurance costs. I would also suggest less billing from unnecessary procedures or doctor charges while in the hospital.

    July 9, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  7. Richard Jones

    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.

    July 10, 2009 at 7:40 am |
  8. Christa Middler

    Hello Tony, it is a complicated issue and we will not be able to solve all the issues the first time. Consider Germany, their healthcare system is over 125 years old and it is not perfect. Germany reforms their system ever three years, why could we not do that?
    Yes, it is cheaper in Germany, mainly because doctors get paid on a budget, and employers have to pay only 8% vs. 18% in the states.
    Germans however, overall are very happy with their system.
    They have a public system, where the rich pay higher fees to cover the
    poorer, it is overseen by a non-profit group. They also have in addition, private insurance companies, which you can purchase, if you can afford it additional coverage or if you are self-empolyed
    purchase coverage there.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91971406

    Please read some article on german healthcare and perhaps we get some ideas, there are many articles on the web.
    Yes, we can't implement everythihng from scratch, it would never work in the states, but perhaps we can learn a few things, what to change here.

    Thank you for caring.

    July 10, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  9. Dave

    Tony,

    There is broad agreement that at Healthcare Reform is important- but why is the conversation focusing on who pays, rather than what is paid? Whether Healthcare costs are paid by the Insurance Companies, Government, or individuals, ultimately the costs are borne by the taxpayers through higher premiums, lower wages, taxes, or simply out of pocket expense.

    Cost saving suggestions might include:

    1. Encourage retail walk-in Healthcare Clinics, where at modest cost, trained Healthcare Professionals (ex. RNs) could treat common ailments, recommend over the counter remedies (and limited prescription drugs) and triage more serious ailments.

    2. Allow Credit Unions and/or other (Federally Insured) financial institutions to offer Healthcare Savings accounts as a service- rather than an employer-based model. These same institutions could offer Group insurance policies at a lower cost than individual policies. These might take the form of catastrophic coverage policies to coordinate with the Healthcare Savings Account reimbursements.

    3. Consider funding the education of more healthcare professionals- presumably driving down the cost of routine care- and perhaps offer a work-study program or internship to offset/repay that tuition.

    4. Tort reform. Plaintiffs are certainly due the compensatory damages they are awarded, but where is it written that punitive damages must be awarded to the plaintiffs and their lawyers? Punitive damages are a necessary deterrent, but if they were instead awarded to Charitable Organizations, the incentive to file spurious lawsuits would be diminished.

    5. The Pharmaceutical companies need to generate profits to stay in business and continue to provide and develop medicines- but why are they allowed to charge more for those medicines in the United States than elsewhere in the world? A more universal pricing policy would reduce costs for U.S. Citizens as well as the U.S. Government.

    6. Rather than legislating Healthcare, the Government could draft, publish and support “model” healthcare insurance plans, which then could become a standard against which all privately offered policies could be measured. It might be reasonable to offer several levels of policies:

    -A basic plane that might cover emergency care, along with diagnostic and preventative care
    -An enhanced program with generic prescription drug coverage, and co pays/subsidies for name brand drugs
    -A high level policy with broad coverage, which of course would be called the “Congressional Plan”

    Once the model or standards are in place, it would become much easier to comparison shop the policies as all plans that are in compliance with the model offer (at least) the same basic coverage. It might even be easier to administer the plans, as specific coverage would be common to all compliant plans. No Insurance Company, or any other entity, would be obliged to offer plans designed to be in compliance- but perhaps Healthcare Insurance Plans that are in compliance with the model AND offered by credible, responsible institutions could offer the plans nationally- by private companies.

    The logical question is if the purpose and goal of Healthcare Reform is to reduce the cost of Healthcare, why should it cost anyone anything? The plan put forth by the current administration is expected to cost around one trillion dollars over the next ten years. The answer is simple- the current plan entails the Government essentially providing a great deal more Healthcare. The concept of universal Healthcare is not without merit, and it certainly is deserving of spirited debate, but let’s not confuse the admirable goal of reducing Healthcare costs with an agenda of socialized medicine.

    July 10, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  10. R. L. Pearson

    Your reporting on this is terrible. You need to be honest about the options available. i have never ever heard you once discuss why national healthcare works everywhere else in the industrial and some of the non-industrialized world, but not here? How much do we pay as a nation for healthcare now? Take all of that money and put it into single-payer and we are done. And we will save money. Be genuine.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  11. Ed Dolci MD

    Your story about the insurance company only paying for allergy testing and NOT the consultation is a no-brainer. It is against the law for a physician to "do anything witthout an exam. Yoou can't expect the doctor to take the liability for the potential side affects of allergy testing, ie. anaphylactic shock, withou examining the patient first.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  12. Greg, Ontario

    Tony I smile every time the CNN gang tries to talk about this subject and I get seriously angry at the lies told on the FOX network. Being Canadian I want to tell you and all Americans we had all the same questions and fears about it that you are having right now. But we gave the idea a try and it worked and does work. The only problem with our system is the doctors running to work in the US because they are human and basically greedy. The honorable practice of medicine was lost a long time ago. It's all about the money now.

    Is our system perfect? Of coarse not but it is a heck of a lot better than yours. No politician would ever even suggest we drop the health care plan it would mean the instant end of his career. Nobody in Canada ever has to declare bankruptcy because some hospital or doctor charged them more than they will make in their life time. Bro you guys need to step back, put your logical hats on and think about this. So far all I have seen is emotion and misinformation.

    July 10, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  13. Bob Greenberg

    FLAGRANT HYPE!!!! Why do you not mention that your figures on the uninsured include ILLEGAL ALIENS (and people unemployed for 4 months or less)

    July 10, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  14. Bob Greenberg

    TORT REFORM WOULD BE A GOOD FIRST STEP IN REDUCING HEALTH CARE COSTS

    July 10, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  15. melinda

    Have the people who can afford to pay for it pay for it. I'm only 53 and 100 percent disabled and all I receive is $13,000 a year for the rest of my life. I require monthly medical insurance. All I've heard is how this administration want every child and unemployed worker to be insured. What disabled people who cannot work don't mean anything to this administration?

    July 10, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  16. Dave

    Taxing health care benefits... It is called imputed income and same sex couples have been taxed on their partners health care benefits since domestic partner coverage has been an option. I pay $550 per quarter/$2200 per year in taxes on my partners health coverage. Much more than the projected $1000/year in 10 years. This is another example of the inequalities resulting from the discrimination on same sex marriage. That said, I will continue paying this tax because it is important to have this insurance & still a deal for us.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  17. Jim Marshall

    How about a Health Tax on every item that one consumes that is unhealthy. Such as Alcohol, Tabacco, Candy, Ice Cream, Fast Food items. A heafty tax on those items would help pay for Universal Health and also reduce consumtion of those items that contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle. I think they use this type of tax in Canada to help pay for their health care system.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  18. william barnett

    why dosent the gov put teh money that past presidants back in the social security system. they took it out and never paid it back . sincerly william barnett

    July 10, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  19. Jamie Greene

    I simply do not understand why this administration wants to go after the very people that pay their taxes, work, and provide jobs for others. If Obama gets his deal, my son will be paying $10,000 (a year) for someone else's health insurance. I am all for health reform but why punish the people that have worked ALL of their lives? Why not go after the insurance companies that make billions of dollars over much inflated insurance policies?

    July 10, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  20. Linda Delp

    Tony, I have an illness where I get ill when near fragrances, cleaning products, soaps, etc. If they don't want to regulate our products and make sure they are safe why don't they tax or charge these companies that put products on the market that have not been tested for safety. There are millions of us suffering this illness. Thanks, Linda

    July 10, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  21. Lee in MN

    The health care system is BROKEN and primary reason is the insurance and drug companies along with the providers trying to make up $$ for the free service they provide to the uninsured,

    I have ALS and could write a book on poor service until I got to the Veterans Affairs which is GREAT. Prior to the VA, I was charged $71 to shake hands with an occupational therapist. That is just one small example. The health care system needs major overhaul and start by throwing the lobbyist out of Washington.
    Suggestion Tony..try being more positive about everything and not so FOXish..ick

    July 10, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  22. Tom Gallos

    I have no idea why you Americans are so scared of socialized medicine. Here in Canada, I pay less than 50$ a month into our universal healthcare system. My medication is cheap. I have unlimited free visits to the doctor for any reason. I don't have pharmaceutical corporations cramming medication that I do not need down my throat through my doctor and television. If I get really sick (god forbid) and need an operation, I DO NOT PAY A DIME MORE THAN MY MONTHLY PAYMENT. If I make less than 20,000.00$ per year, I get the same coverage FOR FREE. And guess what? There isn't a statue of Stalin or Lenin anywhere to be seen. There is a reason that Canadians voted the architect of this healthcare system to be the one of greatest Canadians in our history.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  23. Ethan

    Some people cannot afford health care as is. If there is a public health care option like that in Canada, more people will be able to get health care without the outrageous fees that have to be paid afterward. In the US you have more of a private-for-profit system which some remove you if you are injured or need urgent medical care. If we can promote healthier living and have a public health care system option the costs of health care will go down,but make sure that patients get quality care.
    No matter what you are still going to have private health insurance,so conservatives are lying about a public health care option taking away choice.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  24. Jim Marshall

    Many people stay in their jobs just for the health insurance. Universal Health Insurance would free up those individuals leave their job to seek new opportunities i.e. starting a new business. Many people are afraid to take that leap and start a small business because of the cost of health care. Instead they feel locked in place to stay with their job just for the health care benefits. It's like being locked up in jail. I want to pay for health insurance but individual policies are too high and thats not fair.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  25. Peter, Pittsburgh,PA

    I am so mad. I have been reading posts on this page and somehow no one states the simplest solution to financing our healthcare. Bring back our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq stupid! Do you know how much money could we save? This is so simple yet everybody forgets that Obama was elected mainly because he promised to finish the wars. It just kills me when I see the US government being more interested in bringing democracy to countries who don't care. Why can they see that it is in their interest to have healthy population who can work and be productive. This means that they would be able to pay taxes.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  26. Nancy

    Paying for health care- Tax all commercials, email, mail, newspaper and magazine advertising by drug companies.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  27. Ahson Torabi From Venice, CA

    How do we pay for it... Tax the rich.. Pay for more... Close the shady loopholes that enron and other companes still use. Pay for it further... Stop subSidizing farmers who by the way are the worlds richest demographic owning more of america together than anyone else. Pay for more? Tax the rich some more.....

    Why are we playing dumb... we tried trickle down and we got this mess.... And tall the fat cats ran off with the money... Lets not be dumb again... None of us meet the definition of rich as Obama put it and if we did ... here is a clue... ITS A PERCENTAGE... it varies based on what you make and how well you do... The better the Rich do and they have by exploting America lately, the more they should pay..And after we bailed them out
    they horde the money
    and hire lobbyists to go on cnn backing the newest republicans again against health care, reforrm, (I would say basically like satan themselves but I dot believe in Satan... If I did.... I would tax him too)

    They have the option of leaving.... If they made that money on their own and shouldnt owe us anything ... let them do it in guam..

    July 10, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  28. chris

    The critics of this plan are crazy. Next door in Canada, we get sick, we go to the hospital and its all covered by a $60.00 per month payment. How can you not see that you need to change your current system. All these people keep saying that a government run health care system is pure evil but there are 30 million people up here who would disagree.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  29. corinne judd

    The trend seems to be that women are not getting married so that their babies are paid for by the state, at least that is what is happening here in Ohio. Maybe they should take out so much money a month from their welfare checks for each family member. We are tired of paying for those that choose not to take care of themselves. They can find money for cell phones, they can pay for health care.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  30. Bill G

    I think I posted in the wrong place. I wonder if part of the problem with costs are due to the way Rx`s are packaged ?. I just refilled mine for Atenolol and what used to be one small bottle for a two month Rx is now two huge blue things that are poorly designed, a waste of plastic, and what look to be not very enviromentally friendly not to mention expensive !

    July 10, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  31. Jerry Bass

    We spend over 50% more per capita than the next closest country. This per capita number includes the uninsured. Surely we can figure out a way to fix the delivery system to insure basic coverage for all without spending any addition dollars, especially not in excess of $1 trillion.

    July 10, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  32. James from Chicago

    Tony, the problem with healthcare is a lack of political will. After all these years, several presidents, and numerous congressmen, the constant has been the unholy alliance between corporate America and the insurance industry. They spend millions if not billions buying and selling votes against what should be something as fundamental as citizenship. We get the scare tactics and the lie about the market is what is best, but greed swallows civic responsibility and common sense. People talk about how good it is to be an American, but no one wants to admit that we have social, ethnic, and economic cast systems in America. One way to solve the problem is have shorter term limits on politicians, and prevent them from serving more than one consecutive term in any given decade. This would remove them from caring about midterm elections and doing what is right with out fear of losing their jobs. People who engage in risky acts, the obese, drinkers, smokers, should pay a higher premium for insurance. Over weight people should be given time to show an improvement in the reduction of their weight before a higher tax kicks in. Tax alcohol and tobacco out of this world, you choose to partake then choose to pay. Cut back on unnecessary military spending; streamline defense spending, invest in research and development to achieve better weapons and better defense capabilities at a lower cost. Force wealthy Americans to pay more in taxes since their children tend to be the last to go fight in wars, especially when they voted for unjust wars like Iraq. Punish corporations with higher taxes for sending jobs over seas yet continue to sale products in America at outrageous prices. Put Americans back to work so we can afford to pay for services for ourselves and those less fortunate, remember we are Americans, not some third world nation without running water. End all lobbying to politicians and maybe that money can go towards something more fruitful and fundamentally democratic. End well fare and bring back work fare, overhaul entitlements, improve education standards and watch America renew its promise.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  33. Bob O'Donnell

    Tony: I am a 55 year old sole proprietor of a 20 year old company. When my wife passed away 2 years ago, my quarterly premiums for healthcare were reduced to $1,100.00. In 6 months they were raised to $1,600.00 per quarter. Now I have been notified by my insurance company that my quarterly premums will be $2,281.00. The last time i was in the hospital was 12 years ago for a kidney stone. I am a non smoker and I take 2 pills for cholestrol control and one pill for blood pressure. I walk when I play golf and work out "periodically. Tony, I would love to have the choice of a government program. The way see it the government is not going to raise my taxes per year by $9,000.00 per year which I am already paying for in healthcare premiums.
    Also, All Americans, individuals and businesses, are paying twice as much for healthcare compared to all the countries in the G9, and we have the least longevity, highest prenatal and postnatal mortality due in part that our healthcare is so expensive that many can not afford to take care of themselves. Also, we are already paying for national healthcare. Hospital charges are so sky high (making health insurance expensive for covered individuals) to cover the non insured they must give treatment to. I am an Americans first person...I know we must give money to other countries for "America's interests" purposes. But, lets take of Americans first and then take care of other developing countries. Thanks- Bob O'Donnell

    July 10, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  34. John, Ontario

    Tony: The only way that I can see to pay for the proposed health care system is a flat rate tax increase on GROSS INCOME above a certain level (ie $50,000) payable by all persons and companies.(No exceptions). A small tax rate applied this way would provide ample funds. Companies could provide a supplementary health care plan to pay for things that the Gov't. plan did not cover as they would certainly drop their health coverage for employees. (ie: private room, nurse, home care, vision care, hearing aids, etc.)

    July 10, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  35. Heidi Emanuel

    Dear Tony-
    I believe the current economic crisis will reveal the dark underbelly of the insurance industry. If you have a preexisting condition, the Individual market (not group market) is allowed to discriminate and not accept you into their plan. Anyone who has enjoyed corporate health benefits and then loses their job may experience first hand how difficult it is to procure health insurance. If a person cannot afford Cobra, they will be forced to apply in the individual market-good luck there.
    Currently, we fund several different pools of insurance money to reimburse health insurance claims–the group market, the individual market, medicare, medicare supplements, workman's compensation and medicaid. All pools (except medicaid) have several companies vying for the premium dollars. I believe non-profit is not a dirty word when delivering health care. By combining all 'pools' of insurance and allowing all americans to pay into the same pool we could eliminate much of the excess and waste that currently exisits. I would also argue to eliminate medicare as we know it. While I understand this is a sacred cow, I would argue that if a person is funding a medicare supplement, they are still paying into a pool of money to reimburse that part of the claim that medicare does not pay for. Part of the problem with medicare is that at 65 you can access that pool of money while no longer funding it. If we have a health care plan that you can fund from birth to death affordably, we eliminate the need for the american worker to be the only funding source for medicare.
    Paying a premium into a pool of money in order to access a health care benefit is something that I believe most americans are willing to do. We must keep it affordable and accessible-no discrimination. If you understand insurance, it is the law of large numbers. The risk is spread among many to create the pool of money to reimburse a claim. Right now, a business that provides a health care benefit to their employees must fund at least 50% of that premium. The business must also pay 50% of the employees medcare contribution and also pay a premium to fund a workman's compensation pool in case the employee is hurt on the job. Imagine if a business simply had to pay a decent wage and help fund a 401K, because the cost of providing health care is now spread among everyone. I believe we would see much less outsourcing because the cost of doing business in america would be greatly reduced.
    We could track everybody's contribution to a universal health care fund by their social security number, just as we currently track their SS contribution. This is not an insurmontable problem.
    Thank you!
    Heidi Emanuel

    July 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  36. George

    Pay for and don't complain. If you don't like it then don't get sick. Thats what people addicted to nicotine have been told for years. If you don't like the price then quit. Well now it has turned in to unorganized crime where as places are being robbed for cigarettes all across the nation. When will the increase stop? It is already over $50 a carton that we spend for our addictive habbit that the Government refuses to do away with the addictive substance. So pay extra for health care. And don' complain about it.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  37. James E Whedbee

    Dear Friends:

    [1] CONSERVATIVE COMPLAINT #1 – "The government-managed plan takes away your free choice in healthcare decisions." RESPONSE: The last time I checked, BOTH of my insurers were making all the medical decisions under the guise of 'managed care.' They don't mean I manage my care; it means the insurers do!

    [2] CONSERVATIVE COMPLAINT #2 – "We can't afford it." RESPONSE: We can't afford not to do it. Let's face it: we're ALREADY PAYING for the cost of healthcare, and getting the shaft in terms of decision-making and quality. We need to put a government-run program in place to either put insurance companies under or make them responsible to their customers.

    [3] CONSERVATIVE COMPLAINT #3 – "Those out-of-country drugs are unsafe." RESPONSE: If those drugs are unsafe, so are the ones in this country, but the cost of the former will be much less!

    Folks, let's get real...this is simply switching where on the balance sheet medical costs show up. The problem is this: our Congress is beholden to the insurers, drug manufacturers, and their lobbying firms. We need to send a crystal clear message that ANY (regardless of party) politician who votes against the common citizen isn't worth reelecting regardless of how much campaign money they accrue! They seem to forget that even with the lobbying firms, we still outnumber them! Natural-citizens first, corporate-citizens second: a motto Congress must learn.

    🙂 James...

    July 10, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  38. Daniel ............. Toronto, Canada

    I'm in Toronto, Canada and we often hear on CNN that it takes up to six months for any major medical treatment. But it seems it is the US it's the insurance companies that keep saying this. It is true it takes a while for elective surgery but when it is an emergency we are looked after immediately. If you go into emergency for a cold, you are going to have to wait and I agree. But the insurance companies have a conflict, they don't want health care by the government because it cuts into their business, so they use Canada as an example and say we have to wait forever which is NOT true.

    Daniel ..................... Toronto

    July 10, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  39. David French

    What this country needs is a law passed to require everyone to have health insurance. If they can't afford it then the government should provide it for them by taxing everthing that is not healthy such as tabacco. There should also be a law passed to remove the pre exsisiting condition clause from health insurance policies.

    A number of people in this country work just for health insurance. If they could get it on thier own they would be able to start working for them selfs.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  40. Walt Blaney

    We need a single payer system funded by a national tax on absolutely everything...food, booz, travel, internet sales, etc ad infinitum. According to the gov't there are 1.3 BILLION visits to this country by foreigners every year....let them foot some of the bill. Foreign workers and students could "buy" into the systems benefits by by paying a mandatory premium.
    And the illegals...one of the biggest consumers of healthcare in the country...would be paying their share too. A national sales tax can be tailored not to be regressive on the elderly or poor. Walt

    July 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  41. John A.

    Everbody, except the very poor, should have to pay something and everbody should be required to join the program, whatever the final shaape. That said, why not pay the short fall with a Value Added Tax (VAT)? Included in that could be a portion to be used to start paying down the national debt. The idea of a VAT has been talked about for years as a replacement for our present tax system. Wouldn't this be a good place to see how well it would work?

    July 10, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  42. kenn

    Those that have health care like politicians, have the gull to deny others something that is offered in every other industrial nation. It'd be great if those elected to represent us, would stop working against us. Arguing over the cost of health care, but not the cost of wars. We spend Billions of $$ a month with nothing tangible achieved. It could be done if there was the will. The Pols authorize laws that are big wasted of $$$. Throw those bumbs out!! They should be working for us, not the corporations. This is America, a super power. We can do this!

    July 10, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  43. Diane Anderson

    Our nation has become a modern day industrialized slavery society where a large percentage of the wealthy have no consciousness for the working class. Due to excessive layoffs and cutbacks to keep their own salaries in tack, the working class is taking on the jobs of two, forfeiting benefits, bonuses,raises, and having to make do in a world where milk and gas are going up everyday. Should the wealthy have to pay for the sick and disadvantaged? It should not take a rocket scientist to figure it is time to give back and share the wealth. One house and one car should be good enough for anyone. Thank you, Diane A

    July 10, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  44. Parthenia

    Health care for all American citizens should be paid for with the money that's scattered around pharmaceutical companies & AARP insurances, etc., that gives money for walking a dog. There's a multiplicity of prescription plans and other of hidden sources of money that should be used for all Americans to have coverage. Also, insurance companies that are too large to be effectively managed and are far removed from their customers can be reduced to form an effective coverage system that can be made available in communities. I like the idea of having a national call system for ideas on health care insurance. At this time, it is very hard to try and insure everybody when all is well with just having a very few with insurance that have found a way to accumulate more than enough for themselves. Yet ,we realize that everyone in our whole country could have insurance if we could just figure out how to deliver it.. It's time to be fair and have equal coverage for all for basic health care insurance.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  45. C. Hoppers

    Better health insurance coverage is only part of the health crisis in the US. It seems as though we are trying to find a solution to a problem yet initiate as little change as possible. I truly believe that the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies are raping the people in this country, but the problem goes far beyond that. What about the companies that are producing and selling foods and other products that are greatly contributing to poor health. Many ordinary people wrongly believe that products that are really bad for us would not be able to be sold in stores. Well,...some of us know different, but when do food manufacturers and distributors and other pollution producers begin to take on their share of the responsibility? Oh well, this isn't likely to happen in the very near future.
    What if we stopped trying to pay for all of it with taxes. What if we went outside the box and paid for it with a national lottery, at least then those who finance the program would be doing so voluntarily.
    And about Canada, and all of the other countries that have universal health care, if they can do it, why can't we? If we weren't trying to keep the insurance and pharmaceutical fat cats "in the money", then I am thinking that we could have quality, universal coverage. I don't think we can continue to indorse individual greed, and promote quality, fair health care for everyone at the same time. Why can't we, as a country, choose?

    July 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  46. ellen bay

    I believe that how the French hold down their health care costs is to require the insurance companies to be non profit. For those who think that that sounds un-american, I would say that it's un-american to allow our fellow citizens, from young to the elderly, to die prematurely from lack of basic medical care. The insurance companies have long been one of the most profitable industries in America and it's come at the cost of too many lives mangled or lost. It's enough! Ellen in L.A.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  47. Mary in Alabama

    Maybe it's time to tax internet sales!!!???!!

    July 10, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  48. Will Rogers

    In addition to the $1000.oo a month Insurance premiums, DON'T FORGET we have Deductibles for every family member, Co-Pays both on Office visits and Pharma needs, the 20/80 Billing obligations the Doctor bills for Uncovered amounts they charge, Yearly limits, Lifetime limits.

    PLEASE!!! – RAISE MY TAXES!!! . . . . . PLEASE!!
    And my "Savings" will come, in the form of NOT having to pay all these out-of-pocket expenses!!!

    No other country has our problems, ASK THEM "How do you do it?"

    July 10, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  49. Harry

    How to pay for healthcare... EASY. If we can throw away trillions of dollars on bombs in the middle east over the last 10 years, we can certainly afford to spend equivalent dollars on fixing sick people in our own country! Where are the priorities folks!

    July 10, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  50. Jeff

    Tax all clothing greater than XL.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  51. Cindy

    Tax the things that contribute to many of health problems: cigarettes and alcohol are a couple. Give discounts to those who are tobacco free for the past (1) year. Provide health conscious/healthy living teaching – beginning in earliest grades. There are so many ways that can be used to provide the health dollars needed for universal health care. The naysayers don't usually want universal health care because they have a vested interest in the current system.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  52. Mark Lederer

    Increase the medicare tax rate to 4% and add a National Sales Tax of %4 to our existing state sales tax.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  53. Reed

    Since the Federal Govt has such a big stake inthe AIG, they should be made government employee's. In other words NO BONUSES. I could probably do a better job than some of them, even with my education.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  54. Linda Delgado

    In 1917 the US Jones Act made all Puerto Ricans US citizens. Sotomayor and her family are not now nor were they ever immigrants. You are misinformaing the public. Her story is an ethnic story not an immigrant story. Puerto Ricans born in Puerto Rico are US citizens and have been since 1917.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  55. Jeanne Martinson

    I think the US should look at the programs that other G8 countries are successfully running in the area of health care. As a Canadian, I realize that my wealth, or lack of, does not impact my health care. The more serious my injury of illness, the quicker I am seen. The less serious my illness or injury, the longer I wait for a surgeon's time or a specialist. On the other hand, my mother who has cancer and lupis has been a major user of our health care system. But during all of her emergency room visits, surgeries, chemo treatments, and days in Intensive care – none of her family ever worried whether she would soon "cap" her benefits and be cut off. None of us worry about losing our livelihood taking care of her, or dipping into our own savings to cover her medical bills. Shouldn't health care be a right?

    July 10, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  56. Jennifer

    This is the governments excuse for another way that innocent americans could shell out money and another excuse to raise taxes. Government run health care should be paid 100% by the government since this is their idea.

    July 10, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  57. Vincent Suppicich

    Single Payer system is not being considered because of the health insurance lobby who does not want to see its gravey train stopped.
    They point to the Canadian system which has unacceptable waits for service. Canada pays only half per capita of our expenditures for care; if they were to pay a little more their system would be ideal. We could have the same type system at less cost than what we're paying now. We would not have to raise taxes and we would then have universal coverage. Some capable people in the health insurance industry would need temporary financial help while they are finding new employment but that could be covered by the savings.

    July 10, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  58. Lou B.

    You don't see lawmakers refusing their goverment insurance or complain about the cost to taxpayers!!!

    July 10, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  59. Robert T. Bell

    How to fund The Universal Health Care Program Program

    Anyone working in the United States would pay into the program. A nation wide group insurance program if you will. The cost for each individual would be a percentage of their income, possibly based on their tax bracket. This would mean that all who contribute would be paying the same amount percentage wise regardless of their income level.

    +This plan would eliminate the need for Medicare and Medicade, thus allowing the funds for these programs to be re-allocated towards the U.H.C. Program.
    +It would eliminate the need for employers to provide health insurance for their employees.
    (The above would put millions if not billions of dollars back into the pockets of working people.)
    (Employers operating cost would be drastically reduced making them more competitive across the board.)
    +It also would eliminate the need for Health Insurance Companies, at least as they exist today.
    (We would still be able to utilize the Private Health Insurance Companies, after all we would still need experienced professionals to run the New Universal Health Care System. They of course would be overseen by the Federal Government.)
    +This plan also would eliminate the outrageous health insurance premiums.

    How to lower the cost of health care.
    One of the biggest problems hospitals face today is the uninsured. Another is that people tend to use hospital ER'S instead of their own personal doctors. It is much easier to go to the E.R.,than it is to wait for an appointment at the doctors office. Also hospital E.R.'S are open twenty four seven. Both of these together create a delima not just for hospitals, but for insurance companies as well. If you are uninsured and you visit the E.R and you can't afford to pay, the hospital has to eat the cost. It is not cheap to visit the E.R. Even if you do have insurance, it is much cheaper to go to your own personal physician or family doctor. Not doing so adds cost to your health care provider, thus an increase in insurance premiums.
    The Answer.
    +The U.H.C. Program would put an end to the first problem of the uninsured, thus lowering the hospitals costs across the board.
    +Build a network of 24 hour Health Care Clinics across the country. This can be achieved through the President Obama's new budget plan, specifically the parts dealing with infrastructure and job creation. The building of these new clinics will create a wealth of new high paying jobs. There will be a significant increase in demand for Doctors, Nurses, Management Professionals, and Construction workers.(This would also ease the work load on hospitals, thus once again lowering their operating cost.)

    We also need to regulate the Prescription Drug industry.

    All the above mention will substantially reduce the cost of health care, thus making it easier to fund the New Universal Health Care Program!

    July 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  60. James E Whedbee

    The idea proposed by Mr. Robert T. Bell above is an excellent one; however, I might only add that with respect to regulating the prescription drug industry, it might be preferable to treat that industry much the same as a public utility. These industries will require a certain degree of profitability to consider innovation and research, as long as it is constrained to avoid the current conflict of interest with patients.

    July 10, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  61. Carl Jones Houston, Tx.

    Isn't odd how we depend upon a legislative body, whom has never seen a monthly health care payroll deduction on their pay check, to find a timely remedy for our health care system?

    July 10, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  62. larry metz

    HEALTH CARE REFORM

    Health insurance plans need to be removed form the workplace. Medical care needs to be removed from the control of Medicaid, Workers Compensation, etc. Everyone needs an insurance card see any doctor or specialist, without referrals. No deductibles for children. Regardless of how or where you become ill or injured, you see your own doctor. Include nursing home care and prescriptions. No more supplemental plans.

    Have a national board of doctors to establish rates for medical, mental health, chiropractic, dental and eye care.

    FINANCING NATIONAL HEALTH

    1. Anything that causes the need for health care should contribute to a national health fund.

    2. Individuals get sick from natural causes. We all need to pay thru a national sales tax. Maybe exempt certain items and maybe tax more on junk foods. Manufacture or sales tax on power tools, mopeds, four wheelers, etc. Maybe a ticket tax on sporting events for sports injuries.

    3. Tobacco items cause health problems and should carry a high sales tax.

    4. Alcoholic beverages cause health problems and contribute to accidents and should carry a high sales tax.

    5. Vehicular accidents are responsible for health care and auto insurance companies should forward a percent of insurance premiums to the national health fund.

    6. Accidents on private and business properties are covered under the property owner’s liability insurance and a percent of insurance premiums should be forwarded to the national fund. Every homeowner’s insurance policy could include an amount that would protect assets from seizure for nursing home care or medical expenses.

    7. Employer provided health coverage should be forwarded to the national fund.

    8. Workers compensation insurance should be eliminated (it favors the employer not the employee and provides only minimal care necessary) and that money directed to the national fund. You choose your doctor, not some insurance company.

    9. Percentage of illegal drug seizure of assets to national health fund.

    10. Maybe income tax exemptions for care providers on medical income.

    July 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  63. larry metz

    Let's do what Rush Limbaugh has always preached and "get the government out of peoples way". The government didn't protect the buggy wheel manufacturers when people stopped buying buggies and started buying automobiles. Let the government stop protecting the insurance companies and provide a national plan and then the people can choose what they want. That's freedom of choice.

    July 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  64. Leo, Dallas, TX

    Fixing the health care issue in America is a lot easier than anyone thinks. The answer is easy and right under everyone's nose. Open the Federal Employee Health Benefits program to the general public. Once that program is open, a lot of individuals without healthcare can purchase affordable, reliable health insurance without a dime from government. Whoever is still left out should be in Medicaid if they are temporarily unemployed or disabled. SIMPLE.

    July 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  65. James E Whedbee

    Nationalized healthcare would lower costs by preventing diseases and disabilities that – if left untreated – will be horrendously expensive. I look at the federal government's own healthcare programs as models of cost reduction when – in particular with VA healthcare – the government is negotiating with healthcare vendors (whom I believe ought to be treated as public utilities anyway). If we had a national health care program, the following healthcare programs would become instantly obsolete (thereby saving the taxpayers, literally, billions of dollars instantaneously)...

    [1] Department of Defense/Tricare Health
    [2] Department of Veterans Affairs Health
    [3] Medicare
    [4] Medicaid
    [5] Various state-run healthcare programs
    [6] Coast Guard/DHS healthcare
    [7] Federal Employee healthcare
    [8] Workman's compensation
    [9] NIH/NIMH human research healthcare

    The scope of the cost-savings for just the first four would put a HUGE dent in the estimate costs of nationalized healthcare! I'm sure there are a number of others I've missed, but if you are in one of the foregoing, the taxpayers already are footing your healthcare. If EVERYONE is part of the same single-payer healthcare system, these won't be necessary and the cost-savings will offset current estimated program costs.

    🙂 James...

    July 11, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  66. Tye

    Watch the movie "sicko" if you haven't already. If you have health problems, get a boat to Cuba... they will help you. Too bad they're closing Guantanamo... all of the prisoners there got free health care.
    I wonder if inmates in our other prisons get free health care? If so, maybe our really sick people that can't afford the enormous costs of health care should go out and commit severe crimes..... Ah, probably wouldn't work considering they are releasing all of the prisoners early, and laying off half of the prison guards. At least AIG members deserve to keep their jobs.

    July 12, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  67. Jody

    I"m still wondering why I don't hear anything about the medicare gap for those on Social Security Disability who must wait 2 years for coverage.
    Is this part of the plan? With the cost of private health care and cobra, it is almost impossible to live. Yet the ceiling for income for SS recipients is a little more than $1000 a month.
    I"m lucky my i$500 a month cobra for 2yrs is equal to one year of SSDI.
    and I even get a gap between the end of cobra and the start of medicare.
    So I will go uninsured for three months, and I have a rare disease that's not a good combination. Why do the sick have to wait 2 years. . I just have no other choice. I know I am not alone. I am educated, over 50 and too young to dip into my pension but just happened to get too sick to continue to work full time.

    Something is very very wrong with this picture,
    Please help us bring this issue into the pubic domain.
    WIll this bill every get signed????

    Thanks
    Jody

    July 13, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  68. steve neb

    I have seen the adds to scare people. I have govement health care It's called VA Heath Care. I know that I get better care now then when I had Privet insurence. As for the goverment vs privet my wife has had the insurence company not Pay for some things so we did about $12000 a year.

    I'm not asking for perfection lets start a Program and it won't be perfect But it would be a start and we can improve on it.

    THE PEOPLE OF NO WOULD REATHER DO NOTHING THEN TO START AND IMPROVE.

    THE ANSWER THAT IF WE CAN'T DO EVERY THE WE CAN'T DO ANYTHING IS NOT HOW THIS COUNTRY BECAME GREAT.

    July 13, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  69. Michael C

    (Elizabeth Cohen comment)
    On prostate cancer: "...Yank that prostate out"? Are you kidding me? How professional Elizabeth! Would it sit well with the female viewing audience or even with baseline journalistic standards if a male journalist had remarked regarding a female breast CA victim "Lob off those breasts"? I think not.

    July 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  70. L

    Health Care Reform can be and will be rewardable. We have many examples of governments that provide a universal healthcare program for its citizens, inparticularly countries in Europe. Everyone would have to play apart. The Rich, the Middle Class and the Poor. Especially, the Doctors that are charging high fees for their services. I am already being taxed from my paycheck to pay for health benefits. And, I work for one of the largest Air Lines in the country; and, I still have to pay out of my pocket extensively. Change will not be easy but with preserverance we can accomplishment a good health care program for all.

    July 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  71. Robert T. Bell

    A question to CNN. Posted on this page is my idea on how to pay for Universal Health Care. Could you show my plan on the air or see that President Obama gets it. I really think it is a good plan. Judging by the news today the President could use some good ideas. If you take my plan and the est. population of the U.S. which is aprox. 306,894,546. as of 7-12-09 (U.S Census Bureau Web Site 2009) and subtract the current unemployment figure then take that number and multiply by lets say $10.00 per person = ? then take that number and multiply it by 12 for twelve months in a year. Plug in lets say $20.00 per person and well do you see the posibilities? Now in my plan not everyone will pay the same amount dollar wise but they will pay the same percentage wise. I'll let President Obama and his people figure out what the percentage should be.

    July 17, 2009 at 7:29 pm |
  72. Lisa Gibbs

    We should tax the people that smoke for starters.

    July 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  73. Aurelius Marcus

    It just dawn on me. What would I really benefit if I had a choice. Health Care of a job. Lets see:
    Health Care: any sickness or health issue taken care. Not bad,mmmmmm
    Jobs: Funds to send my kids to the best private school
    Funds to travel to other countries and learn their culture
    Funds to renovate or add an extra room for new baby

    July 21, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  74. Mariah

    I think that everyone who is employed should pay something toward healthcare reform. Those earning 300,000 or less should pay 2% of their income pre-tax. Those who earn more than 300,000 should pay 4% of their income after-tax but be allowed to deduct this from their taxes. I think that those who receive food stamps should pay 2% of their benefits toward health care reform. I also think that every business should contribute toward health care reform and be allowed to receive a tax deduction determined by Congress for their cooperation. If we all work together, then there is nothing that we can not achieve. I believe for too long that others have become wealthy in the medical field while others have died due to poor health care.

    July 21, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  75. Ren

    Hi Tony... 1.Why is nothing said about the Phar. Companies cutting their profit and cost. 2. Have the Phar. Companies stop running all of these costly ads and use this money to pay for our health care. Education the doctors so they know what to use. 3. Limit the law suits and tax the income from the lawers on these suits. 4. The most important things to say money is to use alternative medicine that works better than all of these drugs and there are NO Negative side effect that the Phar. Companies medicians has. 4. Tax the Senators and the Representatives more to help pay the health costs.

    Ren – Northern California

    July 22, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  76. Ren

    Has anyone asked the President, the Senators and the Represenativies...

    What are they willing to give up to make this Health Plan work?

    Ren – Northern California

    July 22, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  77. Michelle Phillips

    I'm curious, The president had a private closed door discussion with the "Blue Dog Democrats" to listen to and get their views on what their problems are with the current Health Care Reform Proposal. Did he do the same with the Republicans? If not why? Didn't he say he say when running for President that he wants both sides to be bipartisan? Shouldn't the president lead by example?

    July 22, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  78. Bridget from Louisiana

    I find the various comments really interesting. The program has been very informative. I fall into the president's category of rich b/c I chose to spend 6 or more years accessing higher education (while working and raising a family), and therefore I am already paying over 40% of my income on taxes to foot the bill for all of congress and pres. spending on pork projects and overseas aid. I have been responsible with my finances and still have to foot the bill for irresponsible actions of others. I am paying for college education and healthcare for my 2 children. My daughter has diabetes and will NOT be able to access insurance after she graduates even though she is healthy and proactive in her healthcare. I don't apologize for making good money. I also don't mind helping less fortunate. I resent those who expect me to pay for the irresponsible actions of those who choose to smoke and drink and live unhealthy lifesyles. I work with the extremely poor population in a rural area. They will never change their lifestyle b/c it is part of their ingrained culture. Early intervention and education are the only solutions. Why do we have money for everything but education when the reaearch shows that early and proactive education gives the most and longest benefits?

    July 22, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  79. Don Ritter

    I think that many Americans with insurance including the CNN hosts do not understand the problems of being uninsured. Right now most of the insured are happy and the insurance companies sure are pushing that. Those of you that are against any government ran healtcare system should take a second look at it. Right now you are seeing several union strikes across the country (Bell Helicopter for one) over the rising costs to the employees for their healtcare plans. Look at GM, Dodge, and the list of businesses withdrawing or putting more of the burden of the healthcare costs to their employees. Right now you may have a good plan with little cost but without the proposed government healthplan, you could soon joining the ranks of either greatly reduced or more expensive health plans and/or no health plan at all. If the system is not fixed, we will all lose. I don't see the private insurance companies going away because many of the employers that can afford the private health care plans will continue using healtplans they use now. Costs could even lower with the changes that the government plan could cause.

    Did anyone see the comment of a US Senator who was asked how could a private person get the level of care a US Senator has? His comment was simply that you could get it if you worked for the federal government. I find it interesting that some politians have the guts to think about us uninsured and try to help!

    But what about us Americans that cannot get normal health insurance. Being a 56 yearold self-employed and uninsured male, I worry everytime I go to the doctor in fears what they may find to even make it harder to get insurance. I have been turned down by Humana and told to never reapply. I cannot afford castrophic insurance plan and it may not even cover what is implies it does anyway. Remember the story a while back that said some insurance companies give bonuses to their employees who can find a reason not to pay or even cancel the insurance? We have to do something that makes affordable healthcare to everyone and relieve any worries about losing all they have if the get sick. People, if other major countries can offer health care at little or no cost, why can't we? Yes, I have seen the ADs above Canadian care. Yes, you may have to wait. Yes, you have the option to cross the border to the US to get faster care at your expense. Did you pay attention to "at their expense?" Did the insurance companies talk about the other people going the other way? Nope!

    How to pay for it? Well there is some waste in military spending I know. I am a firm believer in a strong military but there are some ways to cut the spending. Do we really need military bases in England and Europe anymore? Those countries have a good military and can survive in case of an attack until we can deploy. We can pay for this plan through cuts in stupid projects that are everywhere in the budget.

    Thanks for reading this if you got this far!

    July 22, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  80. Jay in Camden

    Pres. Obama only answered 5 questions in an hour during his highly anticipated health-care program. This is just another testiment to Gov't efficency. Five questions an hour can easily be outdone in the private sector by 100%, EASILY, and that only equals 10 questions. I wish he just answered the questions and stopped giving the same 3 life lessons from the oval office. I want to know if the public option is gonna work, how, why and how much its gonna cost us.? I missed Family Guy for an hour long hat dance with no specific answers. Help me Tony, PLEASE!!!!!!!

    July 22, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  81. Betty(VA)

    I don't know about everyone else... but our insurance (Aetna) almost double last year alone! Could you please let us know how much the insurance companies are profiting? How do they compare to other fortune 500 companies? If I owned an insurance company I'd be buying every politician I could...

    July 23, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  82. Betty(VA)

    Reading some of the above comments about people in Canada waiting forever to get appointments for care, when was the last time you tried to get a dermatolgist appointment here in the United States? It took three months for my husband to get his first appointment. Good thing it wasn't cancer eh?

    Frankly I am lucky to have a wonderful nurse practitioner who takes wonderful timely care of me, however, my friends and other members of my family seem to have to wait longer and longer to get into their doctor's offices for care.

    Bottom line is we are paying a lot more for a lot less care these days.

    July 23, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  83. Dave

    As a landlord of multiple rental properties, I have the opportunity to review many credit reports. Invariably the reports from lower income families include unpaid medical bills. Obviously someone is going to cover this unpaid expense to the hospitals and doctors. I would consider this a major factor in the rising cost of medical expenses. If all medical costs were garanteed and paid, the cost of medical aid could be reduced and those of us who do pay the bill would see our costs go down as will as the need of those without insurance reduced through preventative programs. Why has no discussion been presented concerning the unpaid expenses to hospitals and doctors. I think this is a very important aspect of government sponsored health insurance.

    July 24, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  84. Harry

    Paying for health care, a trillion dollars over the next 10 years, is a no brainer to me. Over the last 8 years we've wasted way over a trillion on killing people in the middle east and there is no end in sight. Duh... How about getting the heck out of these stupid wars and start using the bucks to make people healthy rather than killing them? It's just screwed up priorities in my opinion.

    July 27, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  85. MOSES EMANUEL

    Propaganda, the apex of the GOP?

    How does an eco system thrive and stay healthy? The answer is both precise and simple! Every variable within it is its dependent. Take any one variable out and the collapse of the system is inevitable. Apply this concept to our already unstable economy and you’ll find that one of our now variable is the reform of health care. This is recognizably known to such group of individuals; so call law makers who intensely claims to represent the people but is well intent on remaining neutral by doing nothing, however this in itself is a contradiction on their part for by doing nothing they are doing something and that is turning a blind eye and letting parasites such as these major insurance companies who funnel infinite funds to these prehistoric mammoths. Is this not an insult? Are they that naïve to think the public gullible? Now that health care is being amplified their true purpose is being brought to light. Political ground and power are their true and only intent. Progress now finds itself on a lightening bolt and the prevention comes from none other than those who are well positioned with their six figure salaries. Reflection on this, one phrase comes to mind, “the love of money is indeed the root of all evil.” What we need at this time of turmoil is not a selfless act; we need selfless acts in multiple proportions. At this very instance we have working class Americans with a 9 to 5 paying more for health insurance than that of those with six figure salaries. What they fail to realize is that America has grown from just being another country to being an idea of many other countries. America and Americans are about doing the right thing. Internationally, when others are in turmoil we tend to be the first to lend our assistance; this is not a coincident it’s what the concept of America stands for. The turmoil is now domestic and so is the assistance. It’s gone beyond being a possibility, it is possible, however it’s being prevented by politicians whose moral priorities are mostly twisted and distorted by individual gain. Not putting aside the fact that this president is indeed also a politician, however look beyond the propaganda and your sure to find what this man is trying to do is a just cause. The real question is how gullible are you?

    JAH LOVE AND GUIDANCE

    July 28, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  86. Lisa Gibbs

    I say we run a few independent Healthcare pilot programs in select states and see which one works best. It's hard to know what ripple effects will be without hard data to show what happens when certain changes occur. I don't think the issue is the quality of our healthcare but how much insurance costs. It seems to me the target of this reform should be insurance reform and not healthcare reform.

    July 28, 2009 at 3:56 pm |

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