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September 18th, 2009
09:07 AM ET

Read the Health Care Reform Plan

The debate has already begun for Sen. Baucus’ health reform plan. Do you plan to read it? Or will you rely on the media debate to shape your view of the plan?

I want to hear from you. Send me your thoughts at cnn.com/tony.
Here's the link to the Baucus plan so you can find it quickly and read it during your free time this weekend.

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2009/health.care/


Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. ken

    The backus plan is too complicated and will not even go into effect until 2013. If 14,000 people per day are losing health care you need a plan that will not re-invent the wheel. I think it is doa, and will be kicked aside by a public option using medicare as the administrator. If the 45 million people who need health care were put on medicare and charged a premium of 200. per month the plan would collect 108 billion per year. With a 5% administartion cost the government would still collect 103 billion which would pay for the entire program. The backus plan wants to put more people on medicaid which is free. The health insurance stocks have gone up 50%. They love the backus plan.

    September 18, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  2. Matt, Washington DC

    Ok I've read it. All 220 pages of it. Then I listened to it on my flight home and drive into the office via my iPod. The one positive thing I can say is that it's not as ambiguous as the 1000 page monstrosity that took me a week to read. But, I've have come to the conclusion the circus must be in town because Clowns are in Rare form. So, i'll wait for the other 223 pages that include the Public Option.

    September 18, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  3. Shaida

    Sad too say, but not having any health care, as of this moment I would go for any bill that provided even the slightest hope for it.

    September 18, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  4. Laura

    I did not read the entirety but I did read TITLE II—PROMOTING DISEASE PREVENTION AND WELLNESS. This is where the focus should lie, and I had time to read it, mostly because it was so short.

    Additionally, the word 'breastfeeding' is no where to be found in that section. Preventive healthcare begins at birth. Mothers need support, education needs spread for society, and doctors along with other medical personnel must be truthful to mothers and fathers. Formula must become the secondary food and not the norm.

    Health insurance, saving money, and preventive health care: breastfeeding aids all of these issues. So many are reluctant to talk about it, but for true health care reform, we must.

    September 18, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  5. thebohemiangirl

    A key point as Ken states above; "the backus plan wants to put more people on medicaid which is free"...well, medicaid isn't free...we the taxpayer and the insured pay for medicaid with our tax dollars and our increasing insurance costs. As I've commented before, your hospital looks at each patient's bill and provides reduced rates for those in financial need, if the patient can document such need. Hospitals are businesses which can't be run without paying their bills; whether it's an electric bill, salaries, malpractices insurance, etc etc; give them the ability to run their own cooperative, a hospital cooperative, designating what you can afford to pay. If conservative Americans want to keep paying these escalating insurance costs, well so be it. Let them. I do agree that medicaid eligibility should be increased by a small amount during this period of discussion. Nevertheless, Fraud in the medicaid system has been going on since day one. How to stop it should be a top priority for our state officials. Many applicants are told they don't qualify for medicaid because they make X too much amount of dollars. All the applicant does is reduce his/her income so they will meet the criteria! Again, medicaid eligibility should increase only a small amount and allow hospitals to review the needy's bill. All hospitals should re-invent their fast-track or day clinics, which cater to the needs of uninsured. Hire PA's or Nurse Practitioners to care for these patients, sending them to the ER if complicated health problems exist. Allow the hospitals business administrator to ask for bailout if needed; or make a plea to the community to donate. It's either this or raise your taxes. If you put this responsibility into the lap of your local hospital, you will see huge changes in the healthcare delivery system. People who have an extra $50/month will finally decide they'd rather pay for insurance than wait in long lines all day to be seen at the free clinic. Hospitals will realize it doesn't take so many high paid RN's to do what an LPN or nurse aide can do. An uninsured patient will decide he doesn't want his income scrutinized by the hospital billing department. It use to be, medical bills on your credit report didn't mean much but nowadays it does. Eventually, those that can afford insurance, will start to pay. Those that never will be able to afford it, will go on medicare or medicaid, our current public option.

    September 18, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  6. Jane

    I think it is very sad to see some government leaders act as though they are righteous above the racism issue but then turn around and inflame people by race and any other means to destroy their “enemy”. The saddest part is that the imagined “enemy” they think they are fighting is supposed to be on the same team as them to govern our country. If one cannot control themself to the point of outburst why are they trying to govern any person? Govern is what you are elected to do and yes part of that is disagreeing but to disrespect not only President Obama but the “Office of the President” which has long been a position of esteem is no way to disagree. You say that government is too big but when you are in power NOTHING changes. You say government run healthcare is a “Communist” approach because people loose the power to choose but this Health Care bill gives people the choice. You do not want to assist people who do not have any “Choice Options” and are in need of healthcare with a government option. Yes I agree government is too big both “Republician and Democrat” and individuals should keep and control more of their hard earned money but I look at the things that our government is supporting now and the waste there is. The American people are not represented unless special interest benefits them. Our freedom has long been lost to back room deals with special interest. If anyone can be accused of “Communist” it is the people who are and have already served our nation in it’s latter years and have put our nation into debt far more than was necessary by uncontrolled spending. Can you tell me why we would support government funding for banks, automobile industry, farmers, etc… the list goes on and on and on and on (ok you get my point) and not support Healthcare which is now a “luxury” that many cannot afford? Is it not “special interest” enough. Oh no it is public interest. The people who are governed no matter their race, religion, creed or BANK ACCOUNT.

    September 18, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  7. Jamie

    Until the media tells me there is a non profit public option in the bill there is no need to read it. If it's not there: VOTE NO

    September 18, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  8. Tamara

    I read the Plan and it seems like it will be to complicated for the American Person to understand ! Also seems to has loop holes were Insurance companies can still make big profits........What the American people want is Health Care that does not put restrictions on your Health .....Just give the American People what their entitled too ! One Insurance Card that can be used anywhere in the United States no matter what the condtion or need ,not different from State to State,Thats not United !! If it can be done with medicare and medicad , whats the problem.......

    September 18, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  9. L.D. Johnson

    Healthcare co-ops won't solve the problem. Co-op pools would be too small to sustain catastrophic claims such as kidney transplants, resulting in the co-op becoming bankrupt or insolvent. This would leave the remaining participants out in the cold with medical bills that the co-op can't pay. We need the public option.

    September 18, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  10. Barrett Short

    The Baucus plan is out and the major issue appears to be affordability.

    If a significant portion of the cost is supposedly going to be covered by getting the waste out of the current system, why not just get the waste out FIRST. Demonstrate to "we the people" that you really can control costs.

    Once the costs come down, then the insurance may be affordable to many who don't have it now. THEN the additional benefits can be added.

    It's hard to believe a politician who says he/she can save money and get the waste out. How many times have we heard that in the past.

    So, get the costs down FIRST, THEN add the additional benefits.

    September 18, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  11. Jim Kosinski

    The worst outcome for "health reform" would be a plan that does not guaranty that health costs will be reduced. The only proposal I have heard to accomplish this goal is to have a "government option". The real danger of any other plan is that it will cost substanial sums of money greater than anticipated, and Congress will not have the political will to amend or repeal it.
    The President's proposal to cut other programs if the cost of health care reform exceeds expectations would be a Republican dream -come- true : a way to get rid of other social programs.

    September 18, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  12. Greg

    This plan is only the beginning of a long struggle for health care reform. The only effective long-term solution for health-care reform is to take charge of your own health. Take control of your health with Holosfitness.com. The site is an online fitness tool that can help you get in shape, stay in shape, and lead a healthy lifestyle. Holosfitness.com sponsors the Get Up! Get Out! Get Active! Campaign that highlights the importance of physical exercise and its positive effects on health. Follow the Get Up! Get Out! Get Active! Campaign as it tours the country pointing out cheap and easy ways to stay in shape and improve your health.

    September 18, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  13. "BusGreg" Williams

    Unfortunately, Sen Baucus' bill is NOT what the country needs or wants. All the current "garbage" coming out of Sen. Baucus' committee is, is a gurantee to the for profit insurers and does NOTHING to fix the HC crisis. We need SINGLE PAYER and we need it now.

    September 18, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  14. Rob Canny

    As a democrat watching Max Baucus negotiate away the public option. Then enduring tea-baggers, birthers, angry old white people, armed nut jobs and phony protests organized by United Health Care & FOX news. I have to say that what Max Baucus and his committee have produced, is a bill that is a disaster for the middle class and the working poor. And as if that was not enough it will cost a lot of money too. Great job Max! Now go away!

    September 18, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  15. Marcus

    I heard the highlights, and I do not like the plan. After watching the hearing, which should have been on tv CNN and CSPAN, where they sent Health Insurance "Executives" who could not answer any questions with lawyers behind them. If we want to talk about who is gangster they are. They lied about everything and did not bring any information to a congressional hearing. We need the public option because these people are only worrying about their pockets and the companies' profits. Bacchus' plan is still expensive without the reform that people at the congressional hearings said is necessary to reform the system. We are going to do the same thing we did with the bailout. Pay the companies to keep raping us of our rights.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  16. Jim, Ok.

    Why is it when the GOP lies about the healthcare reform that it is called politics? A lie is a lie. Why can't we as an american have ALL the choices of the options? Which would inclued the public option. Does the GOP want to take away our Rights? Talk about Gov. TAKE OVER!

    September 18, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  17. Josiah

    The republicans are saying the college age kids don’t need insurance! Are you kidding me? What happens if they get cancer, get in a car accident? College age kids have one the highest deaths in car accidents! Oh and they are dropped from their parents insurance because they can only go half time, and want to be on their own? Do you want your kids living at home until they are 30? I DONT THINK SO!
    Republicans are putting their needs above everyone else and need to face the facts, capitalistic health care at the expense of peoples’ lives is OVER!

    September 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  18. JustMe

    I am surprised the Republicans don't love this plan!! Instead of raising taxes on the middle class they can just make them pay the high amounts in this plan for health coverage! Idiots! and I hate using that word but with so many Americans dying due to not having AFFORDABLE health insurance, what part of the word affordable does Sen. Baucus not understand?????? This is outrageous the cost for middle class Americans!! And to fine people that can't afford it. Well, this is awful.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  19. Dolores

    Denying coverage for pre-exisiting coverage needs to be eliminated, however this will raise insurance premiums for all. The only way to offset the cost of including people with pre-exisiting conditions is to have a public option. The public option will be the competition necessary to keep the premiums down.

    September 18, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  20. Leland

    A Co-op is more transparent than adding more people to medicaid (government option). The number one complaint about (government run) welfare is that not enough money makes its to the people who need it the money stays in Washington. Because there is little accountability. I believe a non-profit co-op is the better than a government option which just puts everyone on medicaid. If this health coverage is ran like an insurance company it will work of course you must add 1 pre-existing conditions 2 help for people who can't afford it. If this health coverage is ran like other existing government programs medicaid, welfare, etc. it will fail to sustain itself without raising taxes.

    September 18, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  21. Jay

    Any New Health Care plan should include the following.

    NO MATTER WHAT.
    Pre-existing conditions covered 100%
    Chiropractic coverage 100%
    Dental care covered 100%

    Prescriptions 100% coverage co pay $5-$10
    Prescriptions max payment of $50.00 a year.

    Very basic payment structure's
    Pick your own Dr. and hospital or Medical practice location.
    One time per year max out pocket plan fee $500 per household.
    $250 for individuals with full time work.
    Unemployed individuals coverage is waved for 90 days.
    * If employment status changes within 90 days then individuals are responsible for $50.00 copay or sliding scale up-to $250.

    Kids under 3 years of age should be covered 100% under fair rules and ethics health reform 2009.

    All this can be done on 3 pages or less.
    Stop lining the rich peoples pockets anymore with 800 plus pages of useless bills and manipulations of words.

    My plan could be passed if every single person in the USA wants it bad enough to just ask.

    Thanks for this topic, and allowing my freedom of choice words comments.

    Rules of Ethics

    September 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  22. Jeffrey T. Gianvito

    The Senate should receive the same health care plan that the public will, then they should vote on it.

    September 18, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  23. Linda Green

    Insurance companies should not be able to get away with the things they do. I know that I'm not by myself and I'm sure it's lots of people that can relate to my story. I'm depress some day because I can't do the things I use to. But to be totally helpless with it come to an insurance company as large as Zurich. And they have a team of lawyer's to defend them from a 44 year old broke woman. I feel like the money that they are paying the lawyer to speak at my hearings and to make sure I don't get the care I need, they can use that to pay for me to get better. This really don't make sense to me.

    September 18, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  24. Jim D

    Government run health care insurance forced on the american people by fear of jail, tax or fee is a unconstitutional act and must not be aloud to pass. If you want to make health care a right then lets call for a constitutional convention and make it a right till then this must not pass in any form.

    September 19, 2009 at 7:15 am |
  25. Chris

    I believe that you cannot trust the media to give you the whole picture. The majority of them are so protective of Obama and anything he says is the way to go. For instance, why was there no investigation when the Congressman called him a liar during his speech? What's the big deal about that anyway? It's only because he's black and blacks are overprotected by the media. If he had been George Bush, nothing of the kind would have been said. Obama has a plan, a devastating plan for those who have insurance. A great plan for those who live on the work of others. That's what is wrong with this plan, that's why there's so much revolt, and that's why it will fail even if implemented. A good plan has to work for ALL the people, not those who voted for Obama and live off of others.

    September 19, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  26. Eva

    Someone please tell me what is the republican plan. Every time you ask any of them they hem and haw about it and give us nothing. The present system is broken and needs to be fixed but they come up with nothing to repair it. All they do is fight about what is wrong instead of plans to fix it. They nit pick every little thing while the insurance companies are raping us every day and raising rates all the time. More and more companies, small and large are not going to be able to afford to carry health insurance pretty quick and yet we still have the republicans blocking everything. We have people unemployed all over the country with no way to go to Dr. I just want to hear something positive from the republicans and a honest answer from them as to what they want.

    September 19, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  27. roger boudreau

    Go for universal health reform...oh it might raise your taxes but every man woman and child will have free access to hospitals...you have a cold..you go to outpatient...no cost....you break a leg or arm,you go to the hospital....no cost...you spend a couple weeks in the hospital after surgery...no cost...like in Canada...

    September 19, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  28. gerryl

    the public option will never get voted through. because no matter what all the talking heads say the price tag is way to high...the only way to guarantee an open market is to dissolve rthe state line restriction.... and do tort reform but sinve the dems are in bed with trial lawyers they will never do that.

    September 19, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  29. dfortruth

    Until the media tells us about Dick Army and the members of congress that receives government run health care and that 75% of it is covered by our taxes, I don't believe anything they report.

    When will CNN do a report on Dick Army suing to drop his medicare for a public option, while leading the protect against a government run health care plan?

    September 19, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  30. Betty Phillips

    There is no way that the Baucus plan is what our country needs. There is no way it is any better than Obama's health care plan. I wish everyone would read each and every page, then they will come up with the conclusion that this plan is a joke also. I can not help but wonder what so many doctors are saying about the Baucus plan, I would say they got a laugh. Wake up America we do not want the goverment to control our lives, it would be the same with both of the health plans. I have not worked for 50 some years to have the goverment to tell me what I can buy, how much I can spend, I am very much against anything that the goverment wants complete control of. Betty

    September 19, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  31. Blagojevichian politics on a national level

    I did read the 220 pages available - what happened to the other 800 pages that are supossidly contained in this bill. ?

    September 19, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  32. Jeffrey M.

    I just don't get it. Why are we even debating this? Ask the American people what they want in an election. If the majority of the people, just as there is a majority of Congress persons needed to pass this legislation, want this to pass then make it happen. Hospitals will still spend billions on medical costs for the illegals, like they have to in many cases now or for those who don't have insurance. This bill won't take effect and mae a difference for years to come anyway. It is not going to pass today and then tomorrow take effect. Let the President(all of them) and Congress get government run insurance or have to pay deductibles and co-pays and then let them wait for hours for service in an emergency room. After that I'll listen to them. I predict that if the current bill passes as is there will be quite a few members of Congress looking for new jobs after the next election.

    September 20, 2009 at 6:45 am |
  33. Big John

    Why do people blame pharmaceutical companies for trying to make a dollar?

    September 20, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  34. Mike

    It seems like this health care proposal is almost as complicated as the tax code. Most people with a PhD can't understand their own taxes. How can the average Joe understand this new health care?

    September 20, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  35. Jeffrey M.

    As a permanently disabled person I get Medicare. Would I rather work and pay for my insurance like I did before? You betcha. Listening to Obama say that everyone will be required to have insurance so that the cost is spread around and also that if you don't you will be fined sounds like communism. Why not say if you don't comply you will be taken out and shot? I don't know about you but this is America land of the FREE, in other words FREEDOM. My ancestors go back to the Plymoth Colony. William Bradford the Governor of the Colony to be exact. I have a right to say this land is supposed to be about frreedom, not socialism. Yes there are many who do not have insurance. Let's help them find cheap insurance. We have plenty of companies that offer a service to find the least expensive insurance like they do for car insurance. If the government starts controlling this we will be in BIG trouble and our forefathers will roll over in their graves. My ancestors will be angry that they died in vain. I may not like Obama, I believe he is actually trying to help, but with no experience I don't trust him. Would you let a surgeon operate on you with no experience? NO WAY!! Let him get some experience and then try to make some changes. This new health care proposal is only a way to control us. Next we will all wear uniforms, our children will be taught to tattle on us if we don't comply and then we will be fined or put in jail. Sound familiar? Like in Germany? Or Russia? All Americans deserve to be taken care of. I think we need better control over the current plans, Medicare as well as private insurances. Think people think.

    September 20, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  36. Jeffrey M.

    Just a little comment, why don't they use the acronym KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid? Why should there be a novel? Why not some Cliff Notes? Gives us the main information not all the baloney.

    September 20, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  37. James of Houston

    Sen. Baucus’ health reform plan is a great idea! It covers al the bases.

    What are the House Dems so opposed to it? Sounds a lot like the "Not Invented Here" syndrome to me!

    September 20, 2009 at 8:45 pm |
  38. Eric Addinall

    Tony,
    You have just interviewed a former surgeon. He wants Health Reform, by which he seemed to mean cut the costs of defensive medicine. I think we would all agree with this has to be part of the reform but I wonder why all the Republicans who are now objecting to Democrat plans for Reform, and declare that they want reform, didn't take the opportunity to do something while they were in power these last 8 years?
    Nobody seems to ask them why they didn't pursue Reform when they had the chance.
    sincerely
    Eric Addinall

    September 22, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  39. Dan Fleury

    FINALLY the Republicans told the truth about their position on Health Care! THEY DON'T HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE to Health Care Reform BECAUSE IT GOES AGAINST WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR!!! It's about time one of them told the truth about their intentions!

    The only thing I am against in this whole package is the Mandatory Enrollment element. I think that is a HUGE mistake, but it's humorous to see the debate and the dance the Republicans have been doing to hide their core motives!

    September 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  40. Randy N

    I know why they are taking so long! Money all the lobbist havn't been in to sway their judgment. Althogh I have to agree it's been a long time, what 30 some odd years they have been debating healthcare,and it seems it's always around election time that these battles heat up then after you don't hear nothing about it, until next election. Pretty funny huh? Vote Tea Vote Randy, I know cause of that you won't air it maybe, but you know my thoughts.

    September 24, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  41. Nick M

    There has been a lot of talk of taxation on the purposed public option. That is to say that there will be higher taxes if the public option came through, an option that would have to be paid for by citizens who choose to use the service. The United States has a GDP of 13.82 trillion dollars (Source: CIA Fact Book) and they are saying they can't find the money to give everyone a CHOICE of a public option? They can't strengthen CHIP or medicare either without raising fees on social security or taxing smokers? Isn't it time for people to start seeing where every penny goes in the United States budget since it is our money collectively? For that matter, cutting foreign aid to help strengthen our country? Wouldn't it be more intelligent to help ourselves before helping others? We can't save others if we can't save ourselves.

    September 25, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  42. Randy N

    It would be nice if We could tackle one problem at a time and in better order.Jobs should be fisrt on the list, then the economy,then halthcare,on and on, but trying to effect a health plan way before jobs are going is not practical,there is no way to pay for it at the moment and with more jobs continuing to go out of this country the longer it will take to get people on any type of healthcare plan.

    September 25, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  43. Sandy

    Public option, public option, public option...we need it, AMA wants it and many, many people want it. Please don't bow down to big business on this issue. If the large insurance companies have decided to "buck it up" and do right by people now so they won't have ANY competition is such a travesty. .Americans do not trust that these entities.These "fat cat" insurance companies will find a way to weave itself into the coop companies will find any way to .make big money off everyone. They have no compassion for anyone and should not, under any circumstance, be redeemed or trusted. Medicare and Medicaid are very good examples of government protecting certain segments of the healthcare market, while not perfect, they are much better than what was the alternative. I would be happy to see these major insurance companies collapse and disappear forever. We are the ONLY country in the world who does not have public options. These insurance companies are crooks and should be prosecuted and persecuted, just as we have been by them for the sake of our healthcare!

    September 29, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  44. SlowIdle

    There is no way any bill from this administration who wanted government takeover of 1/6th of our economy should be supported by anyone. President Obama has stated in speeches that his aim was to pass health care reform which would cause a migration to a one payer government run system in 10 years. Any bill he supports would be a step in this direction and will cost seniors on Medicare and the needy on Medicaid $1/2TRILLION. Any bill supported by this administration will also NOT address Tort reform which is the one most costly area in need of reform. Anyone who votes for any HC legislation from this administration loses my vote.

    September 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  45. gerryl

    im am so tired of people actually saying they are for this governments idea of health care reform... every thing the govt touches turns to crap.. and now along with the health care bill, the war adn the cap and trade they are looking to destroy this country...so i hope all of you who are for it are ready to have your taxes raised, to have your utilities bill raised, and for the president to legalize all illegal immigrants because after every thing finally settles the immigrant factor will be the only way the dems win any seats in november 2010.

    September 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  46. Rita M Dirrane

    Has anyone come up with a public option for certain incomes and the co-op option for others? Is this feasible?

    October 1, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  47. Pete Jensen

    I'll read the bill rather than rely on the media or Congressional comment. Here's an example of why....

    This weekend convinced me that the prima donas in the media and in the Congress have no clue. With their executive health plans, they have little contact with the real world of medicine.

    Sunday, while changing a flat tire I broke a finger. At the next town, I followed the signs to a Hospital and went to the Emergency Room to get it splinted. I waited almost three hours to be seen. The thirteen people ahead of me answered "NONE" when asked the name of their primary care physician. I was the only person out of 14 people who had health insurance. The rest either paid cash or were on MediCal (Calif version of Medicaid).

    I paid a $ 255 copay - the balance of $ 943 was billed to my Insurance. Total treatment time, including a Tetanus shot and two X-Ray was 17 min.

    People, get out there and take a look! This is a no-brainer!

    Pete Jensen, San Diego

    October 6, 2009 at 11:55 am |