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July 23rd, 2009
07:38 AM ET

Mail To The Chief: Health Care Reform

We asked for your questions on health care reform for a segment we call Mail to the Chief.

You delivered with some great questions.

We put them directly to Republican Congressman Phil Gingrey and White House Communications Director for Health Care Reform Linda Douglass.

Watch to see if you got your answers.

If you have more questions please e-mail us at: mailtothechief@cnn.com
or tweet us at: twitter.com/KyraCNN

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. stormerF

    How will the health care bill not add to the Deficit? The Congressional budget office said it will add to the deficit and harm the economy. So why is Obama ignoring this report? why are the Democrats in a hurry to pass this without letting the American Tax payer read and comment on it first? What are they hiding?Why is congress exempt from being forced to use it also?

    July 23, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  2. Jose ANtonio

    If the sitmulous money did not work, why do the Health Reform is going to work? Increasing taxes? printing money? selling Gold?Going all generic?

    July 23, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  3. Mr. Wilson

    Regarding Health Care,

    Whatever happened to common sense? Why are these Senators and Congressmen wanting to reinvent the wheel? We have a health care system in place! MEDACARE, which is a national system! So why not remove the age limits, revamp the system, fund it correctly, and stop diverting funds from it! There is no need to start a whole new agency and spend more money we don’t have! Just fix the system that is place! Seems like common sense to me!

    Mr. Wilson, Iowa

    July 23, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  4. Gil Zilberstein

    Dear Interested Readers,

    I voted for John McCain in the 2000 California Republican Primary.
    I voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 California Democratic Primary,
    and in the 2008 Presidential Election.

    As a supporter of President Obama, and more importantly as an American,
    I am sick and tired of seeing the beginning of the "swift-boating" attacks on
    OUR National Health Plan.

    Lest you think I'm some kind of liberal lefty nut, I believe that NATIONAL HEALTH CARE IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS. In fact, I think the best argument in FAVOR of a national health care plan is the General Motors disaster. Because the unions forced GM to meet a dire need for health care for its workers as part of its business, GM lost its competitive edge in the car business as its "social business" took on more and more of its manager's time and resources. Please note that GM's successful foreign competition comes from countries where business is free to concentrate on business, because the health care issue is settled, and no-one, not management, not the workers has to worry about it.

    Gil Zilberstein,
    San Francisco, CA

    July 23, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  5. John Q Pundit

    It's interesting that congressional opponents of health care reform and conservative PAC's like CPR.org are using their own self admitted incompetence as the battle cry.

    Using big scary words like "Bureaucrats", and questions like "Do you really want the Government running your health care ?", they seem to be admitting that they can't do this effectively and efficiently. A far cry from what many of them said on the campaign trail...that they were qualified and dedicated to do just that.

    I think Americans should be asking why we have cooks in the kitchen that are telling us that they can't cook.

    July 23, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  6. Carole Babb

    1.Are there anymore specifics on what we 73 year olds will have to give up if we are happy with our current coverage?
    2.Will my private coverage go up and become unaffordable for me?
    3.What will happen with my Medicare coverage?

    July 23, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  7. Joyce Mortison

    How can Obama claim that "everyone who likes their current insurance can keep it", when the proposed Bill states that no new employees can join their co. plan and routine worker movement will mean the loss of thousands of any given plan's customers every year so that they can not maintain rates? Over 80 million Americans will be forced to trade their private coverage for ObamaCare by the details hidden in the plan. No one is talking about these details. WHY?

    Also, news anchors claim ObamaCare costs will be borne by the "rich". They never mention that all small businesses will be devastated by the penalties put on each of them. Why isn't this covered in the news? What about "keeping them honest"?

    July 23, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  8. michael armstrong sr.

    Congress needs to go to reform school ha ha before try to reform legislation.

    July 23, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  9. Marcia BowenGordon

    Yes, I want the government involve in my health care because what we have right now is not working for the working class. I also feel that everyone should have to pay for health care the say way we all have to pay car insurance.

    July 23, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  10. j

    I thought Americans were promised the same Healthcare policies our Politicians get. There should be no delays with Congress or the Senate with either party's. Why are Republicans complicating matters by changing what was promised? Keep your promises! And stop stalling!!

    July 23, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  11. B. Dozier

    Health Care Reform should start with the government looking at the
    billing system ? The government paid a bill for me for emergency
    clinic visit for eye irrigation at a cost of $2,833.16. $2,785.00 for clinic
    experience, eye dilation, see doctor, $47.28 for a prescription for a 3.5g or 1/8 oz erythromycin & $280.00 for physician's asst. These was a $10 cost for prescription. No infection in eye. I sat an hour in a chair the whole while (not using exam table) or any other room items. Result: I was told to see my opthamologist which cost me an additional $365 for numerous eye tests including the yearly eye exams. I could have seen my opthamologist at least 3x for the price of 1 emergency visit. It's no wonder health care is expensive.
    Who sets the prices for these services?

    July 23, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  12. Dayta

    I believe the repulicans are trying to save the pockets of big business insurance companies. They could, care less about, that little old lady or old man next door to you and I. Shame on them all. I support our president who is for the people.

    Change101

    July 23, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  13. JoAnne, Buffalo Grove, IL

    We have funds for everything else (including raises for Congress) why not Health Care? Tell the Bozo's in Congress to stop thinking about big business, their special interests and get this passed! If they cannot, then take away their Health Care and let them struggle like the rest of us until they come to their senses!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  14. Fen

    I just want to know about the congressman that made the comment that they wouldn't want to put their money into a failed government program . So is that why they don't pay into social security ? This program hasn't even been voted on so he must be psychic and I would like him to pick a lottery number for me .

    July 24, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  15. wheelchairman67

    I remember a few years back everyone was saying the "Gov. needs to step in and take care of health care because it is out of hand!" and now that the Gov. is stepping up to the plate everyone is getting upset? Look as for the deadline on this reform; I think it is crazy they are saying we need to take more time when they have known there has been a problem since Clinton!! They have had more than enough time and someone has to put a dead line on this or it will never get down and history is proof of that!!! Do i agree with BO? I do not know what is going to happen if any plan is put into action. What I do know is we need change and being in a wheelchair I am willing to try anything we do at this point.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  16. Vikki

    I want my freedom of choice back, to be able to choose my doctor, my pediatrician and my dentist.

    I also am not in favor of more taxes and this bill is full of them, and not just on the rich. Your employers will be taxed right out of providing you with quality healthcare, and when that happens, you will be forced onto the plan, not a case of choice in my opinion.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  17. Kathleen Bauer

    I would like to ask the Republicans why they think we should believe anything they say about health care reform now. They had eight years to do something about health care and they did nothing. NOTHING! We wouldn't even be having discussions about the cost of health care reform if the Republicans hadn't squandered the surplus money the Democrats left, built up the deficit again themselves, and failed to address the pressing social issues facing our country such as Medicare and Social Security.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  18. Kelly, Austin, TX

    OMG KYRA, I JUST WANT TO SCREAM. Please tell the obstructive and cold hearted Senator that just offered a plea for more time and then belittled our President for the length of time he took to choose a pet for his children. Please let him know that his daughter is allergic to dogs and certain medical criteria had to be met before a decision could be made. Shame on him. It is time we care for our people who do not have anything

    July 24, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  19. Dianne

    I am on unemployment and have lost my insurance cannot afford cobra! Now im needing surgery, and cant afford it and if it was to end up an emergency surgery, i would then lose my unemployemnt! OUCH! OUCH! andOUCH! What else would you like to do to me and the rest of the country while we are down and staying down? There has got to be help out there for us while we are hurting in this economy in more ways than one.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:47 pm |
  20. Elaine R. from Leeds, AL

    My comment is very simple. Why can't we, the people, who elect all these politicians have the same health insurance they have. I would presume we pay for it since we elect them?! I don't see providing the same coverage for us as a huge stretch and a very simple solution to all this redundant, unproductive non-partisan 'discussion'!!! I would like to know why not?!

    July 27, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  21. Robert

    I saw on the news that finally people are being arrested for medicare fraud.
    Medicare is daily defrauded by millions.
    There is from the government too little oversight onwhat hospitals and doctors charge. I have called the fraudline several times.
    They answer: Oh, we did not pay the whole amount what the doctor asked but only..... In other words they do not evenknow of whatever they paid is still fraudulent. I have proof that that is the case!!!
    On top of it the doctors have the nerve to go to the patient to collect the unpaid part of the fraudulent billing.
    Wake up America; this is your tax money going to already rich doctors!!!

    July 30, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  22. ken whitton

    I think the health care is a great thing and i hope that the President can do more for this country like 40 hours a week jobs and things being made here in the United States again ; you have my vote on the health care, i only work 24 hours a week and no medical at all i live in Franklin pa and i am still looking for great jobs to come back here some day soon ; so hard working people can support their family's again so keep up the great work you started and can't wait to hear and see more being done for our country.

    August 2, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  23. Doug

    The BIGGEST problem with Health-Care, like most of what Congress does, is that it is explicitly prohibited by the 10th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. You remember it as the Law of the land. The 10th says that if” the powers aren’t given to Congress by this constitution, or prohibited by the states, it is reserved for the states, or the people. ” Since some states have acted on this “issue”, the Congress can’t or it will be UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    August 3, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  24. Gina Melia

    I lost my job recently and of course with my health insurance. I am receiving unemployment benefits.
    I recently married a man from the UK......he's here in the U.S. now.
    Thank God he kept his place in England.
    I'm 49 and have no health insurance here. At least if I get sick and need any kind of medical help, the plane fare will be a hell of alot cheaper than going to a hospital here in the U.S.
    As we all know, in the EU health insurance is a "normal benefit".
    Perhaps Europe will have an influx of American Refugees.
    What's wrong with this picture ?

    August 6, 2009 at 12:25 am |
  25. JF

    I realize that most of the government are rich peolpe, so I know
    I know. Things will never change because of that fact. But anyway,
    when will the government be for the people by the people, because
    it has never been that which was wrote. Not even when it was wrote.

    Atlanta,Ga.

    August 6, 2009 at 9:19 pm |
  26. Evie

    How is health care reform going to address the issue of Health Fraud? I think that patients who call the whistle on their doctor for doing health fraud need to be financially rewarded . I feel that a single
    payor system needs to be explored. What are the pros & cons of single payor system? Go after commercials on television that are giving false information & stop scare tactics! I feel that President Obama needs to read all 1,000 plus pages of the health reform bill &
    all members of Congress & Senate need to read the bill in its finished form. Get input from doctors on health care reform! Freedom of speech is important but these town hall meetings shown on television
    show mainstreet acting like mobs! I feel that this is orchestrated by the
    health industry. Legislators are for sale.......Republicans & Blue Dog Democrats in Congress are failing to represent their constituents in the health care fight because they are receiving money the health insurance etc to defeat health reform. Countdown with Keith Oberman has a video: "Legislators are for Sale"

    August 7, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  27. Miriam Stange

    Insurance, bio tech companies, (and banks) make millions/billions and create very rich CEO's while committing financial infidelity, and provide inadequate or no health care to millions. The industry is corrupt... Americans do not live as long as Canadians who have a holistic/preventative health care system run by the Canadian government. It may be slow but economy is not burdened by illness. U.S. cititzens wake up...the Canadian health care system is not a failed "socialist" medical ripoff system. Why is it so frightening for Americans who continue to refuse to investigate the potential gains for millions under a U.S. Government, highly regulated and profitable Health Care run as a successful "business" venture? It will make millions of $$$'s for American taxpayers period??? could wipe out the massive debt of two wars and help wounded VETS period! There is so much waste of money in the insurance health care industry.,.AIG is already bailed out – health care needs to be bailed out too and run as a business. That's why we have a Government to watch over all of us.

    As a struggling 72yr old colon cancer survivor...I asked for next colon test be a virtual colonoscopy (cost $600), far less side affects, less health damage than invasive Fleet colonoscopy (cost $2500)? Can't get approval – I just paid for a 1st CT Heat Cat Scan (at rest)...this test could have saved Tim Russert's life – he had the money to pay for it. In 2001, refused chemo and radiation therapy – still take only natural mangosteen juice (has years of positive health research). No covereage for natural products (only side affect drugs allowed). On 9/11: 8 years later, my cancer still in remission – just getting old!
    We need President Obama and his vision for health care. Obama needs our support for his efforts and determination to investigate new options. Say "YES WE WILL CHANGE U.S. HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN 2009! Stop hiding good options under a BUSH!
    Proof is in the pudding our current health care system has failed...it is not working. Countries with no viable governments don't care for their people = pirates on the high seas! Miriam Stange

    August 7, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  28. Doug

    Evie August 7th, 2009 1:34 pm ET

    How is health care reform going to address the issue of Health Fraud? I think that patients who call the whistle on their doctor for doing health fraud need to be financially rewarded . I feel that a single
    payor system needs to be explored. What are the pros & cons of single payor system? Go after commercials on television that are giving false information & stop scare tactics! I feel that President Obama needs to read all 1,000 plus pages of the health reform bill &
    all members of Congress & Senate need to read the bill in its finished form. Get input from doctors on health care reform! Freedom of speech is important but these town hall meetings shown on television
    show mainstreet acting like mobs! I feel that this is orchestrated by the
    health industry. Legislators are for sale…….Republicans & Blue Dog Democrats in Congress are failing to represent their constituents in the health care fight because they are receiving money the health insurance etc to defeat health reform. Countdown with Keith Oberman has a video: “Legislators are for Sale”

    Don't read the bill till you've read the Constitution which explicitly bars this action and most of what Congress passes off as Necessary action. Once they read and comprehend what the Constitution says the debate will be over. It doesn't implicitly bar this kind of Action, it does so Explicitly.

    August 8, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  29. Levi

    Our government has demonstrated profound fiscal irresponsibility. This is evidenced by the national debt and budget deficits which are brining us closer to the collapse of the dollar. Is there a provision in the healthcare bills being worked on that will keep congress' hands off the tax money and other money paid into the healthcare system? I don't want money paid for healthcare to build more "bridges to nowhere." I don't want to see this program go bankrupt because of the greed and ego of our representatives and elected officials. The heart of resistance to the Health Care Reform bill is a distrust of our representatives. We don't trust our government to manage our money effectively. They have proven to be irresponsible. We have ever increasing rates of taxation leaving less money in our pockets to CARE FOR OURSELVES. And, I am disgusted that some of our representatives are not reading the bills. This is TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.

    August 10, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  30. BETTY JORDAN

    I am a RN. I have a decent health care plan,but I know that my premiums and co-payment have increased over the years.I have a pre-existing condition and know it would be difficult for me to get coverage if I lost my job.I have worked in the system for many years and know that there is much waste in it and much and be saved with an overhaul of the system.I want coverage for all Americans.I want to know specifically how will it be paid for . I think it is a good idea to tax those things that are bad for our health like sodas,candy chips,etc.The middle class need to be assured that they won't be taxed severly.Small buisnesses need to know that won't taxed severly. Tax those who can afford to pay but not severly.

    August 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  31. Roxie

    I did not realize until recently, there are so many imbeciles in our nation. How can you expect anyone to undo in six months what took the last administration so many years to do. Hatred will consume the haters. It is written. The world must see us as a nation infiltrated by hypocrites. We are praying for the President as we are well awareof the evil minds who seek to uindermind him. Although he and his Creator are the majority.

    August 10, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  32. Michael

    I agree with "Mr. Wilson". But, if fixing Medicare is impossible (but, I really LIKE that idea)....lets:

    Let everyone that's not happy with their health care or, can't afford it at all....ALL get on the Congressional health plan pool. The larger the pool and this would be the largest, the lower the premium, with unemployed people becoming subsidized. Base it proportionately on income, based on yearly taxes.

    Treatment of various chronic ills or conditions would be set reasonably for doctor's visits, medication, ongoing therapy, based on today's standards and future standards as medical breakthrough's occur...

    If its good enough for Congress, its good enough for the rest of us.
    Pretty simple, too but again...the fix Medicare idea and do it RIGHT idea is a very good one for stated reasons.

    WHY are we making this so complicated?????????

    August 10, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  33. Buford Bentley

    What is the big fuss??We are the only country in the free world that doesn't have health care coverage for all.The answer is pure and simple: Doctors do not want to be on salary as in the other countrys. They know the cash cow Medicare and GREED keeps them in their bentleys,Hummers,Million dollar homes, And the milk just keeps on pouring in.WHAT ARE THEY AFRAID OF? My friend in Portgual, an orthopedic surgeon and he is on salary and lives really good in his top floor pad near Lisbon.

    August 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  34. Mr. Palmer

    Please clarify a charge I hear from the opponents of reform concerning the ability of the government being able to access people's bank accounts. They point to section 163 of the HR3200. I read it and it talks about electronic funds transfers. Please clarify.

    August 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  35. shirley sams

    my husband had total hip replacement he has blue cross advantage of tn. the insurance company wrote a letter telling us thet will take care of hip surgery. they also told us to look for another health insurance because they are going to cancel after this. I am with bluecross plus of minasota under his former employer because I am 61 afraid of being canceled too. shirley sams

    August 10, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  36. Rose

    Take this under consideration. The federal government should standardize the eligiblity and service requirements for Medicaid and CHIP in all 50 States. Coverage for the poor should be equitable and portable- like Medicare- no matter where you live. The federal government should fund 100% of these Programs – not 65% like they do for CHIP and even less for Medicaid in most States. Fund more federally qualified health centers ( FQHC's) – ideally enough centers to care for the all Medicaid and CHIP kids. These centers should have care navigators to teach people how to stay health and how to work with best with the medical system. These centers should be required to operate evenings and weekends to keep people out of emergency rooms. This would free up the primary care doctors in the community to care for more of the middle-income uninsured.

    If the burden of Medicaid and CHIP could be taken off of the States States would design their own solutions for the middle income uninsured. Many States already have creative programs and more ideas are in the works. Furthermore, the States have oversight over insurance companies, licensing of doctors and malpractice issues so place the responsbility on them to make the needed system reforms. People will be more accepting of State and local programs than a new federal government option and it will create more local jobs.

    Fix what is wrong with the current Programs and States will respond to tne needs of their residents. If a State shirks that responsiblity then- fine them by withholding the Medicaid money- that would be incentive enough.

    August 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  37. ken wood

    why dont we all join the same program that congress is on or have a health care program that we all are on or rework medicare for everyone so we at least know what we are getting for our buck.

    August 10, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  38. Angela Savage Austin

    I have sent questions and concerns that your very staff chose not to share. I did not curse or wish harm to anyone however I had difference of opinion regarding coverage and certain reports from your anchors...Lou Dobbs as one who always come to mind. Sometimes if I close my eyes I would think I am listening to Rush L. My rights are denied by your staff. Check this out and you will see. My other name is popefromdacurb. Thank you!

    August 10, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  39. DAVID CLARK II

    Pass a bill to allow all Veterans and their families the option
    of joining a public health plan now. Republican and "Blue
    Dogs" (Republicans in Democrats clothes) wouldn't vote
    against Veterans would they? This could cover many of the
    people he is trying to get coverage for and force the industry
    to be more fair. After all look at how many Veterans this country
    has. Maybe it could be passed under a military act without
    republican help. A Veterans health and well being could be
    affected if he can't take care of his family. Tell the people that
    if the money isn't spent on health care for all now, it will be
    spent on tax breaks for the wealthy or another war when the
    Republicans are in power again.

    September 4, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  40. Doug

    We have a Moral Obligation to cover Veterans, the Elderly( Mom and Dad), and the Disabled. Health- Care isn't the problem, Lawyers and Insurance companies are. Constitutionally , Congress can regulate interstate Commerce, which in most cases unless the Lawyers and Insurance company headquarters are co-located in the same state, is within the domain of the feds. Most people don't usually go to other states to see their doctor.

    September 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  41. Mayda Garcia

    I am with The Chief. I am 76, worked most of my life, retired late because I had good job. Because I saved all that money to Medicare, I was penalized. I pay more than everyone else. I expected a thank you letter. Now, I have been sick, had breast cancer operation, and after agonizing months of pain, I am finally having on the 29th of September a lumbar spinal stenosis operation. I have asked for help in my house, I do not have anyone to assist me and I only receive, after the Humana discount of $125.00 a month $1,207.00 a month, out of which I pay #1,010.09 a month for mortgage and association fees, leaving me with $196.91 for lights which are ussually over $150.00 food and everything else. I requested ss to take my monthly payments to Humana away or provide me with food stamps. I was unequivocably denied. At this moment I have no idea how, without credit, or being able to work, I am going to make it. Humana does not provide me with help at the house. How can people think or Humana think that the President is going to take more away. That is impossible. I have never heard the President say that we senior citizens were going to have anything taken away. I would like to be able to read the President's proposal or at least be able to read where it says what people are trying to make people and more than anyone else, senior citizeens believe.Thank you.
    I hope the President gets what he proposes.

    September 15, 2009 at 2:24 pm |

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