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July 21st, 2009
02:04 PM ET

Dr. Sanjay Gupta Takes Your Questions

Do the health reform headlines leave you with more questions than answers? Dr. Gupta is your insider and he wants to hear from you!


Start the conversation here. Then tune in next week to hear Dr. Gupta answer your health care bill questions LIVE on CNN Newsroom with Heidi Collins.


Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Robert

    I guess it probably does not sound nice, but you are part ofthe problem!!! Most doctors charge way too much!!!!!
    Just a consult of 10 minutes does not have to cost $300.-!!!
    Doctors use all kind of tricks to raise their cost; for instance let a nurse do the work and charge also for themselves while not attending the patient. Use a term "new patient" and then charge an astronomical fee, by doing nothing extra than any "old" patient.
    With each doctor filling in paperwork as thick as your arm is wasted because if you visit a specialist the whole circus starts over again.
    The only efficiency these doctors have is on how to get rich fast!!!
    In Europe they forced the doctors to accept normal wages in line with simular occupations throughout the whole country, not like here that every state has its own rates!!

    July 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  2. Corey Cantrell

    Dr. Gupta-
    I am a 22 year old male, just graduated from college and am self-employed web designer. I just got kicked of my parent's health insurance plan and am starting to thinking about purchasing my own. With all of the talk of Obama's healthcare reform and universal health care I don't know if I should go ahead and buy my own plan or try to wait out for the bill to get passed. Obviously money is a huge issue to me and I don't want to go spending money on a private plan when I could be getting a public plan or be able to get back on to my parent's.

    Thanks for your advice!
    Corey

    July 21, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  3. Joan

    Please see links below:
    http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/aboutnhs/Pages/About.aspx
    http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Pages/NHSEngland.aspx
    These links show information about the National Health Service in the UK, which is funded via a national tax. There every working person pays a tax for healthcare, which is the main source of funding for the NHS. This seems very fair to me. We go to great lengths to eat and live healthily but we do not begrudge paying a tax for a national service that would serve not only our family but every other citizen in the US. We think those who are against a public option are advertising their lack of ethics and regard for mankind. Some politicians who usually try to appear as ‘holier than thou’, in our opinion, are making fools of themselves and drawing attention to their hypocrisy by speaking out against healthcare reform and a public healthcare for all option. Congress, please consider taxing everyone according to earnings to pay for a public healthcare option. I hope that you will discuss this with your viewers and pass the above information on to members of Congress and the White House. Hopefully, someone there has been bright enough to study the above links, but perhaps the information has been overlooked. Thank you very much. We enjoy your informative presentations for CNN regarding health issues.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  4. Ben Davidson

    One question that has not been answered is: how many people would be able to afford healthcare if they excersized a little more financial responsiblity?

    July 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  5. David

    Hi Dr. Gupta,

    Here are a few questions that have come to mind as I have watched the ongoing discussion about healtcare in this country.

    Is there a shortage of Physicians and Nurses and if so where?

    Will a public option as envisioned in the President's plan result in a crowd out of private insurance?

    Does private health insurance respond quickly enough or at all to the needs of people paying for health insurance?

    Why with so many hospitals, clinics, physicians, nurses, techs, is competition not driving down health care costs? Or is it, but the effect is mitigated by something else?

    Thank you for taking our questions. Hope these are useful to you.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  6. John Appleton

    What do you think about Wendell Potter former Cigna PR man turned whistle blower? Do you feel that shady insurance practices are discussed enough?

    July 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  7. Monique Cami

    I am from Canada (Montreal) and nobody that I know had to wait so long Dr Barroso is far so far away from the thruth and we do not pay for the best doctor, we can have the best one without paying more. Thanks

    July 21, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  8. Patricia Lally

    My best friend's daughter lives in Canada, and she had to wait for 9 months for a gyn appointment.Before we can accomplish any changes in health care, we need to get rid of HMO's.Doctors who practice in HMO's get a kickback for every procedure they will not recommend. The more they save the HMO, the more money they get.

    An easier way to avoid fraud and save money, all claim forms should be standardized. This will help to eliminate fraud which costs tens of millions of dollars each year. President OBamas proposed health care program scares me to death. So does his pressuring Congress to pass this ill in a big hurry. He obviously knows what impact this bill would have on every US citizen and wants to ram it thriugh before the public gets a chance to find out what it really entails.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  9. mike

    Why is the Conservatives/Republicans trying to stop health reform?I don't see how trying to change the system to help people problem.We have money for wars but not reform?I would love to see health care in america go from rank 37 to # 1.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  10. Anne from Tallahassee

    Rick Sanchez had a segment on the claims that the Canadian public health plan requires long waits for necessary care. So does the American private health insurance business.

    I recently had shoulder surgery. My original visit to my general practitioner was in Mid-January, the first appointment I could get to see the orthopedic surgeon was March 6. We tried a steroid injection to avoid surgery, the next appointment to see if that worked was not until late April. At that appointment, we set the date for the surgery, which was not until June 4.

    The wait for surgery was nearly FIVE MONTHS and it would have been longer if the surgeon or the insurance company had required an MRI prior to the surgery.

    The delay for each appointment with the specialist was six weeks every time. And that is with good private insurance. Which by the way, cost me out of pocket $2500. I did not know the actual out of pocket costs until days before the surgery and had to come up with the money in less than a week or the surgery would have been canceled. I did not get the final bill until almost a month after the surgery.

    I would happily have a ten week wait for the privilege of having all expenses covered. Ten weeks would be shorter that what I had to wait!

    I would also love to see a system that was not dependent on a particular job. If my husband loses his job, we lose health insurance. We've done COBRA in the past, but can no longer afford that expense.

    This country needs health CARE reform, not health INSURANCE reform.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  11. Donna Scott

    I am a dual Cdn./US citizen and have lived and worked in U.S. There is a great deal of misinformation regarding the Cdn. system. Doctors are government employees. Their fees are negotiated thru the CMA. Life threatening treatment is given immediate attention. You do not wait for an HMO to decide whether or not u will receive treatment. Your doctor is in full control of what treatment is necessary. The case regarding the Canadian lady who is broadcasting on your station that she had a brain tumour and would have died if she stayed in Canada for treatment I am sure is under full investigation by our governement. I would suspect there is more than meets the eye to this case. Naturally if you wave $100,000. at any private clinic the administrative body is going to tell you you need this immediately. Give us your money and we will do it here and now! Primary care is available to everyone at any time either thru your family physician or at walk in clinics. Every citizen at age 65+ receives free medication as well. There is no plan A B or C. Yes we need reform after 40 yrs. The former Health Minister of Ontario proposes a co-pay system based on earnings. $100,000+ = $2500 per year in premium. $25000 and under in earnings=0. Many times Cdns. are sent to US if immediate treatment is backloged here and the cost is paid for by our government at your fee rate. The Federal Government dictates to the Provinces the compliances. At present, Provinces are not allowed private clinics nor is supplemental insurance used to provide for privledged care. That is what universal care is all about. There are many Cdns. who would love to be able to use their benefit supplied by their employers for privledged care at private clinics. This would free up wait times for all of those who only have government coverage. Reform needs to come. Our system is not perfect. However, compared to my own experience in the U.S. the Canadian system far exceeds what u have at the present time. I had an infection and spent 8 hours in a US emergency department. When I saw the ridiculous bill for even a box of kleenex, I had to laugh all the way to the bank. I did not laugh at the huge bill.

    The big catch is that your doctors will have to accept the fee scale set by your government. That is the only way the government can control the costs of medicare. There lies the debate that this is not free enterprise. I therefore pose the question to all Americans – if Maslow's hierarchy states "health" on the first step, is it not every American's right to expect reasonable health care in their pursuit of happiness? How much of their tax money is being sent to third world countries for other societies health care when 40million+ American citizens have no health care?

    July 21, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  12. Eugene

    Iam a Canadian (Toronto)..I love health care in Canada!! They never charge anything!!! I never have to pay a cent..Purchasing a bottle of water is more expensive then health care.. okay i'll stop bragging now

    July 22, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  13. gretchen

    Dr.Gupta, what do you think about this Idea. What if the Goverment opened up hospitals all around the country just for the uninsured.The doctors would be payed through the goverment.The hospitals would act as teaching hospitals. Training dctors and Rn's.that way,all the people who are afraid that they will lose their plans would have nothing to fear. How or where the money would come from to fund these hospitals slash clinics would come from taxing the drug company's and private funding.It needs some work but what do you think?

    July 22, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  14. Edee

    Why is it that some people that don't have insurance seek others to pay for them when most have an opportunity to get insurance on their jobs,but; they rather keep their their money to spend on vacations every year or buy things that they think is more important then their health. The first thing they need to do is to insure that those people who have the advantage of getting insurance through their jobs, get it make it mandatory because the rest of us should not be paying for their health care.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  15. Aaron from Chicago

    I am a college student and I just graduated from high school. The Obama plan has me wondering about the money that is being spent on reform. What will happen when the states money run out, what will happen to the people that need money in order to stay in theyre homes? I some times wish that Obama would come up with a better plan to help middle class Americans stay afloat

    July 22, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  16. carolyn in cincinnati

    why do people think all this work on health insurance is about the uninsured or the unemployed. Don't they realize that they are only one step away from a medical catastrophe if they are in a severe car accident, live in a state like california or new york that has large cancer rates, or may have a disabled child, or have genes conducive to early heart attach passed on by their parents. Why do the young think they are immune to medical expenses. Unless they die young from accident quickly, they will be using health care some time in life.

    I lived long enough to have my piece of mind disturbed by health insurance bills, which probably over the years have contributed to high blood pressure. And between one state and another their is a large discrepency between costs. Living in Ohio, costs are 1/2 of what I would be paying in my former state of Massachusetts.

    July 22, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  17. Mary

    Dr, Gupta, with all you are doing, i.e. talking to everybody, when do you have time to see patients? Is your practice a HMO, that is you get paid every month whether you see your patients or not, or do you meet your quota for seeing patients for the month in a week, get paid, and then jaunt off to talk to everyone for the next three weeks? When was the last time you actually sat in your doctor's office and examined a patient? What are your office days and hours. Do you do surgery and if so, when? This government healthcare is beginning to sound more and more like HMOs, and just about everyone opts out of HMOs at the first possible second, that is if they don't die first. What is your take on this question?

    July 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  18. kenneth ward stephens sr

    Dr Gupta it work in canada it will work in USA why can Obam work with canada merging with USA with canada &USA in heathcare bigger & more DRs. &nursing too and have better hearthcare

    July 23, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  19. Julia

    Dr. Gupta, my husband recently required the replacement of his aortic valve. Thankfully I live in Canada. The specialists that treated my husband were among the top in North America and were not only brilliant doctors but amazing people. Prior to surgery he received a day of testing as well as orientation as an outpatient as to what he would be experiencing which I thankfully participated in. After surgery he was in ICU for two days under 24 hour care with a specially trained nurse actually in the room with him at all times. His total time in hospital was one week. The time frame from the point he was told it was now time for him to have this surgery although his need was NOT critical was one week. My husband had been under specialists care for years monitoring his aortic valve with expensive scans and tests. The cost to us for this wonderful care...... ZILCH, NADA, NOTHING!!! Prompt treatment, best doctors and nurses and specialists in the world. Canada has an amazing health care system where every single person is equal. It does not matter if you are the Prime Minister or a ditch digger. Of course there are the extremely rare times that there is a glitch but that is rare. Each citizen chooses their family physician. The government has nothing to do with who we see or are referred to. In my husband's situation we heard of two specialists that we were told were outstanding. We requested them and had appts. within two weeks

    Myself, there is a family problem with cancer. After recently having a small skin cancer removed I receive follow up every 3 months and will do so for at least the next 5 years. Cost 0!

    I remember the time before Canada had universal health care. If you could not afford a doctor then you were out of luck. Needed surgery without funds to cover it ? You were left to die. Our system has now been working for over 40 years and is successful and fabulous. Could it be improved of course. What system doesn't have room for improvement?

    July 23, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  20. Dustin Logan

    Something about this whole "health care reform" has me very concerned, and frankly, quite scared. How does Congress and the White House plan to bring health care to everyone? By ORDERING people to buy insurance, UNDER PENALTY OF LAW!

    Am I the only one who finds this frightening? Am I the only one in this country who does not want to start down that slippery slope? Why aren't people up in arms? The politicians and the TV media certainly aren't saying much about this. Or, if they do, they just mumble through it, as quickly and quietly as they can.

    If the government is given the power to order people to buy insurance, what product or service will they be ordering us to buy next? Will there come a day when our paychecks will go to nothing but government mandates? What of our freedoms then? Or, will our "leaders" simply use the leverage insurance (and the threat of painfully higher premiums) to dictate what we can eat, what we can drink, what we can wear, and every other aspect of our daily lives? Am I the only one who feels that this "reform" is nothing but the first step toward totalitarianism?

    Yet, there are those in the political circles who will argue that such a precedent already exists. After all, aren't folks already ordered to buy automobile insurance? But, that argument overlooks one important fact. Driving is classified as a "privilege", rather than a "right". That simple loophole puts vehicle operation beyond the realm of the constitution. On the other hand, people can simply choose not to drive, and thus avoid the cost of insurance.

    As to getting any government help with paying for this health extortion, don't count on it. Oh, the officials say that they will be helping poor people with the cost. But, how poor does one have to be, to qualify for that help? After all, we're talking about the same government that, officially, still considers automobiles, telephones, and running water to be luxuries.

    Dustin Logan
    Pampa, Texas

    July 23, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  21. Julia

    I have rarely had to wait more than two or three weeks in Canada to see a specialist. I imagine however, that Canada is much like the U.S. in that there are rural areas that are not heavily populated and just do not have the population to support huge hospitals and doctors that are specialists.

    I do have a relative in the States and her doctor (gyn) misplaced the results of her pap test which indicated a step 4 (advanced cancer). It was six months later before she received a phone call advising her of the problem and to come in immediately. Mistakes happen on both sides of the border.

    In Canada we all receive quality health care. We have wonderful health care professionals. When we are ill in Canada we just worry about getting better. We don't worry about how am I going to pay the doctor, the hospital, or tests such as CAT Scans or an MRI etc. We don't worry that if only we were rich we could afford to see a wonderful, incredible specialist that is the top in their field. Each and every Canadian is equal under our health care system.

    There must be many millions of Americans that are suffering from a lack of health care benefits. You are a rich country with brilliant doctors and world class health care professionals. You have kind hearts and are intelligent and well educated. Why would the richest of Americans deny the poorest, equal, quality health care over paying just a few extra dollars in taxes? The United States gives generously to the needy all around the world. Have you all forgotten that charity begins at home? For one American to have to hold a sick child in their arms and wonder if that child is going to die because they lack adequate funds to provide the best medical care available is not right! Every American should be equal when it comes to top notch medical care. Not one American should be financially ruined because they, or someone they love is ill. Not one American should be left out of the health care system symply because they are poor.

    July 23, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  22. Carpio

    Concerning the Police Officer vs Professor. I heard what he said and I must disagree with him. I was a Hispanic Police Officer in Nebraska and I was sent to classes called "Verbal Judo", which was utilized to deescalate a confrontation.

    My supervisors also stated that as a Hispanic police officer in a small town in Nebraska, that I had to have "THICK SKIN", in other words, I was to not allow myself to get involved with racial slurs, etc.

    So why did this Police Officer not keep walking when he got to the front porch! He was obviously leaving, why did he not continue walking to deescalate a volitile situation and we would not be discussing this. What's good for the goose is good for the gander!

    Carpio – Former Police Officer

    July 24, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  23. scotte

    Hampton VA: After watching the 12pm police news conference
    police/union defends officer, why is the union hierarchy all white older rmen? These officers on the streets under their marching orders and there lies the problem.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  24. GK

    Hi Dr. Sanjay Gupta,

    My three children had Hoosier Healthwise Healthcare Program. So, I was suprised today when I got a note saying:"Effective 07/31/2009, your current Hoosier Healthwise doctor will no longer be participating as a Primary Medical Provider (PMP) in Hoosier Healthwise." What is going on in the heathcare insurance system? Someone said that until healthcare still sans solution, uncovered people have to grow. So, he was right.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:01 pm |
  25. Jessica Weiss

    I am trying to get in touch with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and not sure how? I am a RN and my husband has a non-typical medial cerebral non ruptured aneurysm. Do to the size (15mm) and location in the back left side and also the fact that it is growing down and is entangled in his brain matter neither option (coiling vs. clipping) is optimal. Our neurological interventionalist is contacting a team of 8 world renown neuro surgeons to take a concensus and then their will be a decision made on which way to treat him. He is 40 years old. I was wondering if Dr. Gupta would be interested in speaking with our neuro interventionalist and looking at his angiogram films and giving us his professional opinion? This is a case where two heads are better than one. I would love to hear from him and would greatly appreciate his opinion. Thank You, Jessica

    July 27, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  26. Yana

    With the story about illegal immigrant in Florida kicked out of the hospital. To the commenting guests: How can you say that only illegals are a burden on the hospitals and healthcare? All of us a burden on something that doesn't work. Or the other way around – health care system in US is BURDEN on all of us.

    I have two parents here, with green cards (absolutely legal people) they will never have health insurance. We can't find anybody to insure 68 years old who are not covered by medicare. The insurance I was able to find had $15000 deductible and $680 per person monthly premium – you think this is normal? Who can afford to pay this? Last time I heard the minimum wage is still 7.25

    I work for the biggest telecom company and my deductible for me and my son is $2200 (in network) – $5000 out of network – then the insurance kicks in... I take out additional 3000 out of my salary, just to be able to cover some of the "out of pocket" expenses. What kind of options are those? We are absolutely healthy, but what if we are not? What if we have "PRE-EXISTING" .. I hate this term! conditions? Pre-existing means – that eventually you got sick... and then you are denied health care.

    How can an heart ultrasound cost – 1700? How can an allergy test cost 700? How can a hospital bed cost 1700 a day?
    What kind of prices are those?
    How can all continue to say that one doctor is the same as the other one – all of us are payed for performance – how come doctors are not?

    I love the comercial about Assurant health where the young lady is saying – "I need to see my personal doctor once a year" – hey lady! How do you know that? What if something happen to you? Will the Assurant health help you then? it will be your second visit – and you might not see your personal doctor – what then? What kind of silly messsages are those?
    Health is something that should not be traded – we are not equal there – some are healthier, some are sicker, all of us though need to get better, not die waiting, or because we can't afford it.

    July 28, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  27. Jack Love

    83% of Canadians LOVE their Canadian National Health Care. Why are we ONLY hearing from a few of the 17% who don't like it? Why can't you take a film crew across the river and interview the average Canadians on the street? Why can't we see and hear from the average Canadian, their thoughts on health care? Let us hear from the Canadian people.

    July 28, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  28. GJ

    Sanjay.

    As a member of the health care community I have seen extreme waste, outrageous markups for medications, labs, radiology and mammography, etc., and if you are in the hospital, you WILL most likely be billed for things you did not use.

    The pharmaceutical corporations "own" doctors. They have manipulated that system so that doctors can be sanctioned or even lose their licenses if they do not prescribe x, y, z medications for a, b, c symptoms.

    We do not have "health" insurance, we have "cut 'N drug" insurance. We as a people do not really even have the right to direct our own health. We generally are considered "too stupid" to understand the intricacies of medicine.

    If we adhere to "alternative" health practices, we are often considered "not bright" or "ignorant" or commonly, are given the physician threat, "if you do not follow my plan you need to find another doctor". Now, for those who have health care backgrounds this is not a huge problem, but for those who know in their "gut" what works for them and know what they do and don't want, but don't have the "education or terminology" to relay this, it is a major fear and problem for them. I understand that most physicians who take this road are generally insecure and may not be competent physicians, but the people of this country deserve better.

    Pharmaceutical corporations are now striving to "mandate" vaccinations for people who do not agree with their drugs, with the aid of our congress, even though there is mounting evidence that this action is could be for the good of their bottom line, and not the good of the population of this country. These vaccinations have not been duly tested, nor will they be. The drug companies, with the aid of our congress, have stifled the ability of individuals to redress if there are damages from the immunizations, as there will surely be.

    In short (or maybe long!), the health care system of this country is nothing more than an income generator, to the tune on hundreds of billions of dollars of PROFIT (per annum), for the hospital corporations, insurance corporations, and pharmaceutical corporations, and their ancillary cluster groups. The common people are merely peons that must empty their bank accounts to support this corporate "greed" habit. This is a national disgrace!

    My question is. Why are we not, as a nation, addressing the REAL problems (stated above) about health care? Why are we not addressing the blatant waste and corruption and greed from the above entities? Why are we not addressing the 150,000+ deaths PER YEAR from adverse reactions to medications, yet we are intent upon spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a vaccine because there MAY have been a 100 or so deaths due to a virus, and there is no guarantee that this vaccine will actually work? Why are we still catering to the drug companies, hospital corporations and insurance companies? Why do the people of this country not have the right to choose the modalities they want and be covered by insurance?

    In short. Why are we not openly discussing the REAL issues of the health care system in this country and why we are spending the most money of any country in the world for health care without the corresponding benefits?

    July 29, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  29. Marjorie Mead

    It is very scary to think that generic drugs can always be substituted for the real drug. We have experienced two medications where the generics did not work. To say that all generics are identical to the real drug is in out opion not true. Why are people being told that the supstitutes are acceptable when in fact they could be dangerous in some cases.

    July 30, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  30. mmm

    One of our concerns is that when statements are made that suggest that generic drugs, which are cheaper, should be used to replace the original drug, it should be noted that the generic drugs are sometime different and not effective. Not all generic drugs work properly or as expected. To think that coverage for the non-generic drug may not covered is of great concern.

    July 30, 2009 at 8:18 am |
  31. Armando Solis

    What impact will health reform have on our current Medicare and VA health benefits? Will we have more or less benefits? Will we pay more for what we have or will have?

    July 31, 2009 at 7:57 pm |
  32. Betty

    Dr.Gupta,I would like to know when the health care reform is done will this include insurance for single low income & unemployed people.I would like to know if these change will include stopping insurance companies from paying for BLACK-BOX RECALL & LAWSUIT medication to people. Will this include changes with theFDA.

    August 1, 2009 at 6:53 am |
  33. Alan D Simpson

    DOC

    Health care in America is run by Who I don't know who.I'm on medicare and have a suppliment.For me it's too expensive.Being on disability it cost to mutch.I think we need to search back to 2000 and see what Bush and Cheney would have done witch was nothing. Now I here Dick Cheney running his mouth along with John MCcain that MR.OBAMAS health care plan is to exspensive.What did Cheney and MCcain do from 2000 to 2008?Mabey it needs some work but mabey by some bit of majic it might happen.One last fact if our health was free like lawmakers it would easy to pass a health care bill.

    MR.AL

    August 3, 2009 at 1:07 am |
  34. Tom Wiley

    i'd like to know if there is any truth to the rumor that the switch from either breast feeding/glass bottles to plastic baby bottles caused a significant increase in childeren with autism.

    Thanks,

    Tom

    December 24, 2009 at 3:30 pm |