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February 23rd, 2010
08:38 AM ET

Health Care Summit or Showdown?

President Obama now has his own comprehensive health care reform plan. He’s hoping the blueprint will bridge the gap between bills passed by the Senate and House last year.

The true test will be Thursday when Democrats and Republicans come together for a televised health care summit. President Obama called the meeting in an effort to jump-start the reform debate.

So what do you think? Will anything be accomplished?

Leave us your comments. We’ll share some of them on air in the CNN Newsroom, 11am ET — 1pm ET


Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Will there be any thing accomplished . As the history stands with this administration the answer is no you cant win with a loosing team .

    February 23, 2010 at 9:30 am |
  2. kent

    Nothing will be accomplished. It is just a dog and pony show designed to fool the gullible masses. While they talk the premiums are going up double digit just like the credit card reform fiasco. Premiums need to be frozen immediately so that the health insurance companies do not double their rates in anticipation of some sort of health care reform.

    February 23, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  3. Ralph Patch

    I don't expect anything to come of the summit except to show the public how unwilling Republicans are to work with the President. Once this is done, I think the Democrats can finally pass health care through reconcilliation.

    February 23, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  4. Dean M

    Let's hope something gets accomplished that can actually work in our favor for a change. I don't understand why the Dems don't want competition across state lines (unless they are in someones pockets). That would be a shocker!

    February 23, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  5. Scott Stodden

    One can always hope and pray that things will be accomplished at this health care summit but when it comes to Republicans its a fat chance that anything will get done. Republicans are the party of no and they stopping progress from happening and that's wrong for the American people, I hope and pray the Republicans will change there attitude but its doubtful. We need affordable health care coverage available to all Americans with a public option included this is the only way we can have real health care reform in this country.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    February 23, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  6. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Its not just the republicans its both party's .

    February 23, 2010 at 10:47 am |
  7. waldo werft

    The republicans have been giving other ideas on healthcare reform over the pas year even though the democrats don't want to hear it. the only way the republicans should show up at the President's photo opt on feb 25th. is if the have their top expert on health care do their talking. I think the senator from oklahoma, who is a Doctor is their best spokesman on the subject. This show is a farce, and nothing good will result from it. The President and the democrats only want the republicans to also have their fingerprints on this "reform" package. It's really not about healthcare reform, but about more control of the private sector by the federal government!

    February 23, 2010 at 10:50 am |
  8. Mikey

    How about some TRUE TRANSPARENCY ON THURSDAY.

    When any given senator speaks for or against this bill run a ticker on the bottom of the screen.
    On this ticker I want to know how much did this senator recieve from Big Insurance or Big Drug Co.?
    I want to Know what percentage of Americans in his/her state are uninsured?How it compares to other states?Why higher lower?
    I want to know
    How many Americans are losing health insurance a day in that senators state?
    How many Americans in his/her state go bankrupt because of heath issues?
    How many Americans in his/her state die a year because of lack of Insurance?
    How many Americans every day in that particular senators state do not take their medicine because it is either food or medicine?What effect that has on their children?The community?
    Right now 45000 Americans a year die because of lack of health insurance.
    If 45000 is acceptable then ;
    How many Americans are too many?
    Have the senator give a hard number.
    How much do we spend a month on the wars?How many months of war would pay for this health care bill?
    I believe all this information should run across the bottom of the tv screen while any givin senator speaks for or against this bill.
    True transparency of the issues means saying something more than torte reform or you can by you health insurance in Miss. or Ala. now.
    I know the other 49 states are in a hurry for a standard of living like Miss.or Ala.
    True transparency is saying your plan only insures 3 million more people. The other 32 million and growing are on their own but as your senator I will enjoy my gov't. given health insurance .
    True Transparency is realizing that your are going to pay anyway either on the front or back.
    True tranparency is telling your constituents the truth, if you like your medicare your best chances of losing it is by doing nothing now.

    February 23, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  9. Dan

    Look at us as Americans, we are doing the same thing our elected officials do, blame each other. The Democrats blaming the Republicans and vice versa. And we wonder where the politicians get their cueing from.
    Any way, no, it won't accomplish anything.
    I am retired military, and love my healthcare. Don't mess with it.

    February 23, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  10. Raye

    A 71 year old die hard Democrat I am, but it's time to clean house in Congress (period)..........I am tired of hearing the phrase of (THOSE ACROSS THE AISLE)...Could never understand why they are segragated.....Whether the House or the Senate, WHY aren't they seated by State and have to sit next to each other????Then, maybe they might have some unity.

    It's time to limit all of their terms just like the President and most other state politicians to a limit of TWO TERMS.......It;s a sin that they have made their living for 20 , 30, 40 years in Congress and most of them if not all, are useless....It;s time we tell them "GET A JOB".

    February 23, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  11. Ralph Patch

    Even the Republicans admit their proposals would only insure about 3 million people. Thats a far cry from the 31 million people the Democrats bill would insure. I'm sure Dan is happy with his coverage. However, I am one of the millions who don't have insurance and as someone in their mid-fifties with several pre-existing medical conditions, I need it badly. It seems the Republican response to my troubles is; To Bad, So Sad!

    February 23, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  12. John

    Ralph,
    If you don't mind me asking, what are your pre-existing conditions? If they are conditions you were born with, I feel for you, as you need the coverage; however, if it is something like emphazima because of years of smoking, or obesity because of constant fast food eating, etc, etc, (CHOICES people make), then maybe it's a lifestyle change issue.

    February 23, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  13. Eric

    The Democrats are cowards and have squandered their best opportunity to get any meaningful healthcare reform through. At this point, I would just like to know how to leave the country for one that is a little more socially conscious. Apparently, it is extremely difficult to become an expatriate these days.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  14. djALPS

    we hope for Accomplishments w/Health Insurance i.e. Health Care Reform, but forums such as this, are full of soo much Mis-Information that debating on your show and your blog just Fills the Public up with more incorrect Opionions Tony. Public Opinion is being Flawed because you are not full of Professional Facts. ALPS

    February 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  15. Walter

    Conservatives who preach "market competition" as the solution to all that ails the economy certainly miss the boat on Health Care Reform. No Public Option means no real reform, and that means a continued monopoly by the Health Insurance industry, and ever higher costs for working class America. Is it really a surprise that the California insurance company is trying to raise their premiums by nearly 40% after the massive amount of money that the Health Care Industry has spent in the past year to derail real health care reform?

    February 23, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  16. John Babitskas

    Tony,, Is Health care a Right OR nothing more then something nice to have? Untill that is ironed out there is no need for further discussion. Nuff Said !!! From John in Atlanta.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  17. edmond c

    Nothin will be accomplished until democrats stop giving in to endless republican demands, and act like the majority and shove it down their throats and then call them un-American if they don't like it..... Sound familiar?

    February 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  18. Deborah

    The Republicans keep saying "The American people don't want health care reform." They are wrong. Mr. Boehner, I am "the American people," and I DO want health care reform, WITH a public option.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
  19. Dee

    Tony, the only thing that's going to fix healthcare is if the Insurance Giants are broken up and regulations are imposed that limit what they can charge (more) for. For instance, my husband's new employer offered insurance to the employees for $60/mo, but for family members it was $1000/mo. So I applied with Anthem Blue Cross in CA for myself and my son. I was honest on the application when it asked for medication prescribed in the last 6 months and wrote in 800mg Ibuprofen. It was during the holidays and I was carrying heavy/bulky boxes and tweaked my back...didn't even go in to see the doctor, just asked if he could call in a prescription for "mega" motrin which he did. Blue Cross called me and asked me about it, I told them what happened and they said because it was a "back" issue, then its pre-existing and that they would (and are) charging me $20 more a month for the next 6 months. I argued with them about it, because I never SAW the doctor. They said it didn't matter.

    THIS should be illegal. I could have simply taken 4 regular motrin's, but figured a single pill would be simpler. In the end, that's a $120 mistake on my part. Next time I'm not saying a word!

    February 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  20. James Swope, Iowa

    Government Broken?

    Yes,

    1. All Congress decisions based on re-election prospects.

    2. Republicans won't support any democratic changes because they want the democrats to be unsuccessful.

    Healthcare reform?

    The democratic stragegy needs to be that:

    1. Obama and the dems go into the summit with their plan (since we elected them to make these changes.)

    2. The dems give the reps a chance to debate and contribute ideas at the summit.

    3. The dems move forward with 51% votes to pass their plan after incorporating any good ideas from the summit.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  21. Barbara Ward

    Congress had better start paying attention to the suffering of so many Americans and get a health care bill passed. The Republicans with their rebuff of any change in healthcare, and their threats to filabuster every bill the Democrats try to pass, are especially to blame. Americans need to find out if their representatives in Congress are blocking health care reform. If so, they need to "throw the bums out". This includes the lily-livered Democrats who are only concerned about getting re-elected, and not putting their country first.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  22. Alexandrea

    Tony,

    I am a 25 year old Nurse currently in Graduate school in Chicago to be come a Nurse Practitioner. I need so badly for this government to find a solution to our current healthcare issues. It has nothing to due with my future career (mid levels are the key to the future of healthcare) – it is about my health. Each month I pay $3000 or more for my injections. At 25 I could no longer be on my parents insurance, I was leaving my job as a nurse to attend graduate school full time and the cost of Cobra for insurance was beyond any person's means. I was told by my insurance provider, " we can no longer cover you, don't worry your school is required to offer you coverage." Did you know that my school's insurance covers $3000 for perscriptions A YEAR. I spend that in one month. I can not help the disease that I have. I attempt to take great care of myself despite my health issues – but even with all my efforts this country does not care. I am now one of the statistics that has to go to a urgent care/ER for my care because i have exhausted the limits of my coverage and as a student can not afford to pay out of pocket.

    I and so many others need help. So when those so called leaders in Washington are taking their time and fighting over what they think is right – they need to consider those they are hurting and leaving behind. Things will only get worse

    February 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  23. Jerry Cutler

    As I understand the health care bill is that ALL medical doctors will be regulated by an enormous federal bureaucracy. And if a doctor practices complementary medicine and not conventional medicine, that doctor will be punished. Many MD's, who have successfully treated diseases such as cancer are usually charged criminally even though they are successful and caused no harm. Research Dr. Jonathan Wright. It will result in the exodus of many competent complementary medical doctors.
    As well, I am given to understand, that the "cost-benefit" approach will be used in medication determining who shall receive medication. If you're very old and contributed to society, you'll be S.O.L.
    Obama's plan dovetails with big pharma's agenda named Codex Alimentarius, which seeks–on the surface to regulate food–to make supplements , beyond a meaningless dose, a pharmaceutical.
    When Obama's health care is fully implemented, a medical doctor who prescribes supplements beyond what's regulated, will do so at his/her peril.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  24. Faith Gagne

    President Obama is doing everything he can to break the gridlock and bring the parties together. We NEED healthcare reform, and we need it badly. I personally think that the Public Option is one of the best things since sliced bread. It levels the playing field for Americans. The only answer the Republicans seem to want to provide is to scrap the whole program and start over, which is totally ridiculous. I do not believe that the Republicans really want health care reform, and for a number of reasons that are bad for the American public, I am sorry to say. I've heard that the Republicans are committed to gridlock, and from their rhetoric it certainly seems that way.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  25. Brandy

    From what I have read in the proposal, I dont see why it would not pass. The Republicans do not want this to pass, yet I read what they have suggested. For instance, Family of 4, income 77,000-88,000 the House tax credits are 11-12%, Senate 9.8%, and the President 9.5%.
    President Obama has taken both sides into consideration and his proposal is lower. The donut hole for seniors, medicatre stops at 2,830 and starts again after out of pocket epenses of 4,550. The senate 50% disount, house phases out in 10 years and raises dont hole 500 in 2010. The President replaces $500 increase with a $250 rebate.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  26. A Loftis

    I am a middle class registered republican who understands fisical responsibility and concerns about the national debt. I am to some extent lucky in that I have Medicare Advantage Health Insurance that includes Prescription Cov D. I have a condition that requires medication in order to survive in which there is no generic in the US. Under prescription plan Cov D, my out of pocket will be $6,830 for a year vs. $2,830 oop via a Canadian Pharmacy through India that does offer a generic. Additionally, the out of country option will not go toward my copay or gap coverage. This is unaffordable, except for the very rich and there are millions of us, who likewise cannot afford prescription coverage. My retiree employer funded prescription drug coverage was terminated by the company Dec. 2009 and left me with no other option. There are no prescription assistance programs available due to income. The ones that are available via the drug manufacturer have no assurance of qualifying and you cannot apply until one reaches the gap. This is just one of the things affecting Americans on health care in the US. President Obama's health care reform announced yesterday to try and compromise with Republicans in Congress is at least a good start. I am very upset about this problem and the Republican response to his proposal. This proposal has a lot of good things in it, that could help a lot of people. Congress might have a different feeling if they too had this condition and were faced with the unaffordability of the drug coverage Plan D. They need to go in with a open mind and make constructive enhancements to the plan and get this legislation approved. Please help we the people of America who do not have the luxury of discontinuing our medication. Eliminating the waste in medicare alone would go a long way toward the cost of the improvements.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  27. Ralph Beach

    Just to say, Politics are getting way out of hand! Not letting independant and other

    groups/parties vote is very wrong! I want to get into Office in order to put this to an

    end! You can vote for who you like just make sure it is for the right reasons! I am looking

    for all parties other than democrats to come together as one and vote for me! We are a

    people and NOT a party! I don't care if Obama is Black, I just don't feel he is a good

    President for America! I want to bring back the government we started this Country with!

    And I also feel other Countries should owe us and not the other way around! If you are

    Democrat then I do appologize for my Outburst, and if Democrats feel we should do this then

    join us in Bringing back the old Government! This Post needs to be added to all sites you

    have on the Internet! I have alot of anger because I hate the way Government is in today's

    world! I have the guts to stand up to Government and Obama and tell them to bite me! I

    don't blame Democrats for the way Government is, I blame all of us for losing sight of

    ourselves! It is my fault too! I am asking for America's backing and support! This includes

    all the States and not just SC, which is my Home State! I implore the American people to

    stand with me against the Government and take our Country Back!! Thank You my fellow

    Americans! My name is Ralph Beach and I approve this message in the name of all Americans

    who believe in The Original Government!

    February 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  28. Joe

    Tony,

    I hope and pray something will be accomplished, but I am seriously afraid the Republican party only wants to destroy our hope in getting health care for average American. America needs to realize Republicans have only big business as their interest. The American people need to realize the party of "no" does not have our best interest in mind. We desperately need a public option for health care, but then again we live in a world of spin, untruths, and manipulation.
    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    February 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  29. Mike

    It all depends on how the president runs this. If he tries to lay down a plan that doesn't give give both parties some thing to vote for then it will fail. The second issue is will it be some thing we can afford. In this econony the american people want reform but not at to high a cost. The only really good thing about this is that it will be televised. So the people can see who is willing to compromise and who is not. I would suggest everyone leave there attitudes at the door.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  30. joseph casey

    why not try out obamacare on the federal government employees and the congress for one year and see the results,instead of sticking this plan on the american people for the next 50 years.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  31. Patricia Clifford

    The Republicans keep saying the American people don't want Health care. This is hard to believe. Not all of us have high paying jobs were we can afford high premiums. Also they say we don't want a public option, yet everyone I have talked to or comments I have read, people do want it. . The insurance pool seems to complicated. I just wonder what the figures would be if a poll was taken to see just how many Americans want health reform and a public auction. Just having insurance that would cover existing conditions and not being able to be canceled makes me think it's a worth while bill. To many people already have medical conditions and can't afford health care.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  32. carol berg

    on march 1st. the congress is expected to pass an SGR bill that will cut medicare payments to doctors by 21 %.THEY WILLNOT BE ABLE TO KEEPTHEIR OFFICES OPEN. there will be a mass exodus of physicians from t heir fields of medicine.WHY ARE OUR DRS.ALWAYS THE FALL GUYS??? patients will no longer have their doctors. WE NEED OUR DOCTORS!!!!!!

    February 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  33. Jay

    Tony, as you can see, there is almost nothing the president can do that won't be criticized by most pundits. The absolute fact is that almost everyone knows that we need what Obama is cooking, but "they don't want him to get credit for cooking it".

    February 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  34. Ed Zyniewicz

    If the Republicans are so frustrated with getting their health plan considered, let's see the bullet points.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  35. Jack Bozeman

    Medical Insurance is merely a financial bridge between the medical industry and the consumer. It provides the mechanism for transferring money from the consumer to the industry (doctors, hospitals, drug companies, etc…). Current “Reform” bills only propose making bridge wider allowing MORE money to flow from the consumer to the industry. The industry will do what is required to soak up that money. This WILL include raising the cost of medical procedures, salaries, drugs, and every other aspect of the medical industry. This will make Medical care harder to get, NOT easier.

    True medical reform has to START with the costs charged by the medical industry. It should include certain aspects of the current bill such as removing the “pre existing condition” clauses in any medical insurance. But the true focus for medical reform has to be to REDUCE medical costs, NOT to INCREASE money going to the Medical industry.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  36. Margaret Owens

    President Obama needs to make sure, at the beginning of this summit, that everyone who currently has insurance (private, Medicare, Tricare, etc.) is paying for everyone who does not when the uninsured go to the hospital for any treatment – from the sniffles to catastrophic injury. Then let's see what the Democrats and the Republicans have to say. In the meantime, we can all have our say in November if we vote against ANY incumbent who has served 2 terms. Without fresh ideas and a fresh outlook ala Scott Brown of MA, Congress will stay gridlocked.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  37. Albert E. Bush

    Nothing will be accomplished. the republican senators are not allowed to coorperate. Their plan is to delay any progress,then blame the Democrats for lack of any progress .The media is aiding them by not pointing out these tactics.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  38. Jeannie

    Dear Tony: We appreciate you trying to be optomistic about Obama's summit on health care. Still it is very infuriating to hear that Republicans will not only resist but also try to destroy any open debate about the health care needs of our country. Instead of taking Obama's new outline seriously and responding to his invitation to "Bring in their own ideas" - Republicans seem only able to double down their entrenched hostility and will stand firmly on their recriminations and accusations against anything and everything in Obama's programs. In our view we have almost no Americans running our government...just a body of dedicated enemies whose only objective is to stay elected and living the DC high life funded by bribes from insurance lobbyists. Meanwhile 43 million of us can't afford to take care of our health.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  39. Charles Goldsmith

    There is a story on my internet provider's site that is titled "John Boehner Playing Hard To Get on Healthcare Summit". The article goes on to quote this Senator as saying he hasn't accepted the invitation to the summit and to indicate that he requires agreement on certain issues before he will agree to attend. This arrogant no nothing do nothing is a perfect example of Republican obstructionism on any attempt to move the country forward. I want him to know that his real motves are transparent and I believe the majority of the voters in Ohio can see this as well. I hope for the sake of the country that politicians like Boehner are ejected from office at the first election opportunity.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  40. Allen

    It's about the economy stupid!
    Doesn't Pres. Obama listen to the public?. They don't want a trillion dollar socialist health program. He wants the Republicans to tell him how to pass a program they don't want and the public doesn't want and then make them look bad because they won't pass his old re-hashed health program. Start from scratch!
    The underlying problem is that this is a socialist program and those of us who work are sick and tired of "spreading the wealth" with those who don't/won't work and all of the other socialist programs with cars, bail outs, housing, takeovers, and on and on and on.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  41. alain

    I cant believe the USA cant fix health care you know i just would like to say that there is to much greed in your country and i hope to see all those people in needs of health care obviously the poor do get it one day.You know when it comes to bombing another country no amount of money is enough but when it comes to take care of your own you guys are a disgrace.Get rid of those republicans and let the best person do his job you Americans are so lucky to have a president like obama finally someone that does care about whats going on in your country and no one is giving him a chance to do his job but like i said earlier i feel a shame for you people that is blocking him,All i have to say is take care of yourself and each other that's the strength of a country.THE PEOPLE SHOULD COME FIRST! But of course i am from Canada that's just how we feel around here and i dont even leave there and i care for your people.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  42. William

    Tell me how many Lobbyists will be involved behind the scenes.

    Americans need to find out if their representatives in Congress are AWOL, and instead can be found entertaining the companies from which they hope to fund their next campaign . . . . . . or at minimum, don't want to anger companies, who'd spend money on media ADS or Company friendly opponents that would oppose them.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  43. Toni Knudson

    Tony, I understand that members of Congress (both present and past) have the best health care in the world at no expense to them. If they were in the boat with the American public, I guarantee they'd be more inclined to focus on the problems at hand. Why doesn't anyone address this issue? Next, nothing I've heard addresses the escalating cost of health insurance or the obscene cost of health care – only that health insurance will be mandatory. That makes me think the pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies are running the show which is exactly what they want to do, all at the expense of the American public.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  44. Ramana

    Hi Tony: In the past six months we heard the criticism on CNN by your guests that President Obama has not put his ideas in writing or come out with his own plan. Now I hear the problem is that he has come out with his plan. This seems ridiculous.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  45. sandraszychowski

    It's too bad they stripped the cobra extension from the jobs bill. In the next couple of months my cobta will expire and I have preexisting conditions which prevent me fron private insurance. Thius carries long term consequences because when I get a new job and get group benefits again if I go without coverage for 63 days the new group coverage will not cover a lot of health issues under the guise of pre existing condtions. I've dealt with this problem in the past and last time I won guess I won't be so lucky this time and will have to use the services of an emergency room and let the government and insurance companies pick up the tab. Ir"ll taklee years or more to get ordinary things covered under group inurance again.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  46. Dale Cooper

    I expect to sit and watch our government in action. Its will be great to see and hear what is being said first hand. The media wont be able to tell me what to think anymore....

    February 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  47. Allen

    Some people say Republicans are trying to stop progress. Health care reform for 30 million people is not progress. It is socialism!
    Where does the constitution say that everyone is "entitled" to health care?
    Just ask the USSR what went wrong when 15 republics broke away in 1991 and the Soviet Union collapsed. Ask them about Stalin, Lennin and socialism.....)

    February 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  48. Teeluck Sooknarine

    Please tell the public...If you have a stuck accelerator in your car, simply put the car's gear into Neutral, it will shift to neutral even if the accelerator is stuck or being used. This will take the car out of gear and you can then apply the brake. What is important is the engine will stay on so power steering and brakes will still work. Just flick it into Neutral, and save your life...

    February 23, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  49. Dennis R. Gumm, D.P.M.

    Tony: After practicing medicine and surgery for almost thirty (30) years and dealing with every insurance company in my area, I can't (for the life of me-literally) understand why Congress wants to "re-invent the wheel". What we already have in place is Medicare. This could be extended to everyone in the country! This would preserve the fee-for-service health care delivery system; retain the fraud and abuse protections and help guide the progress of health care delivery such as the expansion of Health Information Technology.
    The "private health insurance companies" have had their opportunity to pick our pockets and help place the people of this country in the health care dilemma we currently find ourselves in. Feel sorry for them? Then let them compete for the "secondary insurance market"
    Thanks for the Soap Box,
    Dennis R. Gumm, D.P.M.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  50. David Hathcock

    I’m appalled that you guys say you’re exposing the broken government while totally ignoring or should I say protecting the real culprits in this debacle that is Congress. Why haven’t you done an expose on the members of Congress who have blocked every bill coming up just because we have a black president? Do the constituents of these members know what they are doing? Why don’t you guys do something useful like surveying the people in the districts where these obstructionists come from and see whether the American people want their elected officials blocking all that is proposed? Or maybe just reporting who these Congress members are? Why also, are you not confronting the Republicans who have NOT offered up anything to resolve these very important issues facing us today? So, although you won’t report on the people and issues that are holding the country hostage, you give an exceptional amount of time to the radical 10% of this country who are racists and obstructionist; the tea party!
    It seems to me that not only are members of congress bought off by big interests, i.e. banks and insurance companies, but the news reporting agencies are also bought off. Your revenue comes from advertising and those dollars drive what you report on. There seems to be no integrity in any institution these days.

    February 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  51. Jeannie

    I fear that the Republicans will find many ways to continue to block and kill any and every health care bill brought forward by Democrats.

    During the last year I heard so many blatant, uninformed stupid lies coming from Republican Senators and Congressmen (people we should respect?) One example was John McCain who was giving us an impassioned speech about the "great" benifits in several Medicare Advantage Programs (the insurance company's add-on to Medicare for seniors.) He touted the "Wellness provisions" , the provision for "Vision Care" and the "Dental Care"...all of which are advertised at extra costs by companies lke Humana, Blue Cross, etc. etc.
    The FACTS about these programs (missed by McCain) is that they really are just CASH COWS for Insurance companies offering discount programs for glasses, or 10% off of a dental program from
    (dentists who adopt the program only...like try to find one!) - In other words...BOGUS BENEFITS...allowing them to charge seniors between $20.00 per month to as much as $150.00 per month( in addition to their Medicare premiums.) - for "benifits" that almost certainly will be seldom used. This is what Obama means by reducing waste in Medicare. He means eliminating the deception and greed that not only robs Seniors but also gets government to pay through the nose for " bogus "benefits" Jeannie, Caldwell ID

    February 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  52. Michael Sanderson

    I would like President Obama to bring up how many congressmen have medicare, does Rush Limbaugh have medicare, how many people are on FHIOP and SCHIP, How many Vets have VA coverage. all Government run programs. Ask them what kind of service they get? What kind of problems they are having

    February 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  53. Dale Cooper

    Tony, all I can do is pray that we get something done. I believe its not about the American People, its about one party rule over the other. How did we become so divided and angry. The American People need Health Care with a public option. To require that I have insurance and give me no options other than to deal with the health care providers that have used and abused me all my life is crazy. The Government is Brocken!

    February 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  54. PoP

    Mrs Small, is never going to understand the heath care bill. She is out to confuse all the otherRepublican people..There has been 152 suggestion put into the health care bill. The Democratics will have to
    pass it thru the reconciliation process.

    February 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  55. Trevor

    Tony, I think it's time for this wake up call. I'm not convinced even the president understands what he is asking for here but I think what he will get is more "change" than he bargained for. We won't just be watching the democrats and republicans make their cases for Healthcare reform. We will be watching the way they make those cases. This transparency will allow the citizens to make a decision about who they will vote for in coming elections. If the statements seem contrived or false everyone will see it. That's why everyone is nervous about it. It's REAL change in Washington and the only people prepared for it are the newbies and we all know they won't be asked to participate. I suspect both parties of congress persons will be hurt by this debate. The president is really doing nothing more than pushing them for a real decision.
    As for Healthcare in the US; Healthcare isn't broken, the way we pay for it is. Simply break the legislation up into it's component parts and then see which ones pass. Putting it all in one massive bill is too complicated and unnecessary. Keep it simple enough that boondoggles can't be hidden and real informed discourse can be judged by everyone. The only time someone wants to make something more complicated than it needs to be is when they want to hide something. Hopefully this "Summit" will help the leadership understand why we actually put them there and that we will not accept their failure to bring real proposals to the table. Target the pieces that MUST be fixed. Propose ideas. Vote and fix them.

    February 23, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  56. C R Patel, Schaumburg, Illinois

    Tony,
    There is a deadlock between congress democrates and republicans on Public Option vs an exchange run by private insurance companies.
    Would it be possible to have a non-government non-profit organization (or a group of NP organizations) to offer Health insurance to needy Americans on a non profit basis.
    How about big charitable organization such as Bill & Malinda Gates foundation that helps people all over the world, helping the Americans will ing to pay fair cost of the health insurance?

    February 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  57. draper b. gregory

    Tony: This pending legislation reminds me of a passage from Shakespear's Macbeth. "Oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray us in deepest consequence." In other words, our goverment gains our confidence with trifle truths or benefits, and then sets the American population up for the big lie. Sounds dramatic? It is. The initial Health Care Reform Bill was in excess of 2,000 pages! Anything that big on such an important subject is suspect at the very least. President Obama's support of it completely destroys his credibility. Let's face it boys and girls, he is a flaming socialist as is the majority of our Congress. Economically, the whole subject, as presently presented, is fiscally irresponsible and dangerous to our national safety. Respectfully, Draper B. Gregory, Chico, California.

    February 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  58. Tom Craig

    Tony...stonewalling...you are showing your political bias...

    1) The Republicans have proposed several good ideas but it is hard to be heard when the Democrats are having closed meetings and are set against any Republican proposals.

    2) Governor Tim Pawlenty (of Minnesota) published 5 proposals this weekend. On Thursday, instead of using President Obama's plan (rehash of previous bills that failed), why don't we use his fresh ideas instead?

    3) Over 70% of the people were against the health reform bill being pushed by the Democrats. What is it that they don't understand?

    We need health reform not a total redesign. Just remember that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were wonderful ideas that got abused in order to keep men and women in office, resulting in the mess that we now face. The last thing I want is the government taking over health care.

    February 23, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  59. Linda Freeny

    Tony,
    Until the real problem about our health care system is addressed, nothing will be accomplished and that is in our country our health care is employer based not individually based. I'll let you take it from there.

    Linda, Fernley,NV

    February 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  60. David Hathcock

    All the talk about how much health care reform will cost seems to disregard the fact that the government handles health care for a sizable faction of this country for only 3% over cost while the insurance companies require 30% for their profits. It looks like a 27% savings on our part if we install a government program and offer health care to all our citizens. It's embarassing that we are the only developed country in the world that doesn't have health care for everyone.

    February 23, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  61. Mary Denning

    Hi Tony, We all want good health care, and in this Country we should have good affordable health care. Insurance premiuns are going up making it more difficult to afford insurance. If we fail to pass a health care reform bill now nothing will get done for years. Congress makes it sound like a big contest between the Democrats and the Republicans, Who's going to win? They should examine their conscience and do what is right for the good of all. Start by eliminating the waiste in government spending. AND if it is necessary raise taxes!

    February 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  62. dobiehub

    Mr. President- i want universal Auto Insurance- i have a wrecked car, and i want other Americans to pay to have it fixed with pre-existing damage!

    February 23, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  63. Jordan Quinn

    For me it comes down to this... those that are against the reform do not want to share the financial burden of covering the cost of healthcare for other people. They think everyone needs to pay their own way. If you can't then ... sorry. They also believe that free-market competition will control pricing. What they fail to acknowledge is that similar to the bank failures, greed takes on a life of its own. Good judgment does not prevail when companies and individuals are overwhelmed by the need for MORE.
    Likewise, good judgment is not prevailing in our Congress either thanks to corruption that is accepted as standard practice.

    February 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  64. Christina

    It is so disgusting to see supposed legislators who were elected by the people act so ignorant to the process they worked so hard to be apart of. The republicans keep talking about details and all this why hasn't Obama shared details...well you don't put operational issues like details in the law, that is for the REGULATION PROCESS. When people also ask why does it have to take until 2014 that is also because of the REGULATION PROCESS to take place which is slow as snails because of our red tape government processes. By the time regulations are written, public hearings are conducted etc.. a lot of time passes. PASS the LAW so people can get onto the details!

    I can't believe that every single conservative republican, regular republican, or liberal republican all have health care and absolutely don't need any health care assistance. Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Poor People, Poor Middle class, Rich everyone needs healthcare and if our government pays for anything it should be for something that benefits the citizens of this country.

    February 23, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  65. Tom Craig

    David:

    You can't be serious...do some investigation on the exponential growth of Medicare...it you look at the costs of "federal government programs" in the next few years (including Medicare and Social Security), you will see that it will be over 70% of the federal budget.

    If you are serious about Health Reform, lets look at what Mass. has done and see how we can tweak it for other states.

    February 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  66. MR.AL

    I wish Mr. Obama mutch success in the battle for affordable Health Care. But I only see GREED in lawmakers by their proformance in 2010 giving themselves a raise and freezing SSI raises. It seems if it doesn't bennifit themselves they don't want it. Everything Lawmakers have done in the last nine years has been fueled by GREED!!!!

    February 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  67. Mikey

    The funny thing is that some of the people that think health care reform is socialism are collecting: social security , medicare or the Veterans hospital is their health insurance.

    When we are talking all this constitutionality stuff where do these programs fall in or should they be eliminated too?
    How about farm subsidies are they constitutional?

    I think something that needs to be considered is when someone without insurance goes to a hospital now who pays for it .

    Do we just not let people without insurance come to the hospital?

    The wealthy can afford insurance and the poor have state insurance and very little material things to lose.

    It is the middle class Americans the guy/gal who worked all their life and maybe were able to afford a modest house or attained any kind of a nest egg so he/she does not have to eat rocks in his latter years in life that has every thing to lose by getting sick.

    So I want to know Tea baggers is social security,mediare,VA hopitals contitutional and if you are collecting any of it right now why is that different?
    Sara Palins grandchild Trigg is on the government insurance in Alaska today, why is that different?

    Who does this constitutional stuff apply to anybody but you?

    February 23, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  68. Tom Craig

    I have a suggestion – let's get the billionaires (like George Soros, Bill Gates, Sen. Kerry's family, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, etc.) and multi-millionaires (including the entertainment moguls and many members of Congress) to pool their money and start some non-profit insurance companies. Let them put THEIR money where THEIR mouths are.

    February 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  69. SHELAH, North Dakota

    Hi Tony,

    I like that little thing you did today, sitting to the side in that chair with the charismatic look, inviting all of us to give our opinion. Well it worked.

    I hoped that people by now take this issue more personally serious , Together, we need to realize the cruciality of our " nation's health care decision, and it's connection to our own society's human deficit. I know this issue personally. Now just think about it. If a person cannot obtain healthcare eventually it will effect their outcome in life, limit one's opportunity, pose challenges, and eventually prevent success. This is one of the biggest links to the deficit connection in our entitlement programs. Why don't we poll some of the needy persons we see on the streets, and or those that frequently visit homeless and community clinics. I have been, met, and dealt with many current and past homeless medically indigent persons who would tell you If they could feel better they could do better. It's just that simple. The important thing is "complete access " to healthcare. Complete access, for without healthcare it's entirety the prevention, primary care, general care, will mean nothing, especially when a person needs the entire package, otherwise the preventative, intial, and general care will be a waste of time and resources, or over used by those who really need further care.

    Yet, we as a nation want to waste time, categorizing, ideologizing and policizing the crisis. Personally, I have over twenty years experience in habitual medical indigency (as it directly relates to poverty outcome). Since I have now achieve that experience in life ,– do you think I can use this same experience on a resume as lifetime achievement experience credit, especially since it directly effects me today? Do you think there are others who "daily" face the same prognosis? Not just the homeless, or needy, but some of these people are our own relatives and neighbors.

    Let's get a grip and look at the whole picture, the whole person as it relates to having so many uninsured people struggling everyday to be and maintain their daily ability to function in life (that is good health). Afterall, not everyone can be healthy and stay health forever.

    Now, just because a person has "access or complete access" to healthcare today, doesn't mean you will have that same access always. If you have it and lose it, ....who will help you? Cobra? What if ol'Cobra is broke too? Can we together just solve this issue and lower the nation's entitlement debt as a result of not taking care of the problem upfront . America, let's take care of our own here at home, and our own strong and healthy will take care of our future.

    February 23, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
  70. Jason Downie Detroit, MI

    I think this is a great idea, Now we can see where the good ideas are coming from. Lets see how many Republicans show up, and if they do, Will they participate, or just grandstand?

    February 24, 2010 at 3:08 am |
  71. Bruce

    Tony is it possible that you could take some of the people without insurance to congress that they could here their feelings of why our government is broken after all we are Americans.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  72. CJ

    I wish the Health Care Summit was taking place during prime time so that the average, working, middle class American can watch it. I'll be at work.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  73. Dave Gee

    Tony, I believe that the doctor you had on today has the right idea. President Obama has from the beginning recognized that the Health Care System is not working. If we don't completely remake health care then we are merely putting a band-aid on the dam.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  74. kgbrown

    Entertainment value only, both sides have platforms that have been discussed and argued for over a year and meeting on air will not make a difference. Medical delivery and health insurance changes that impact every American should not be treated so lightly.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  75. Rafael Nunes

    People need to understand the idea of path dependency. Unfortunately, it will very very seldom be possible to actually start anything 'from scratch' in terms of bureaucracy or legislation. The sheer cost and work involved in completely scrapping the health care system in place makes it completely impossible. Path dependency, and accepting its implications, is a simple fact. The sooner we accept it, and work within that framework, the sooner we can begin moving forward.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  76. Deezy

    I think Prez. Obama needs to come out today and say that he does not want to go the reconciliation route. He needs to fight harder against those that say it's just a show. He needs to put pressure on both parties to not give into the "just a show" idea, especially since THEY ARE CONTROLLING THE MEETING. I don't get how both parties go in and act like it's out of their control. They all need to be real about this

    February 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  77. Tim

    Let's all go back to our Government 101 class for a minute. The rhetoric out here is focussing on a particular version of the healh reform that is merely proposed, NOT passed. The naysayers are criticizing what are ideas, NOT law that is passed yet. They are inspiring fear and doubt in the President and trying to discard the notion that what we have is not working and needs some fixing. As these versions move through the legislative process, eventually there will be a compromised bill passed by both Houses of Congress and then sent to the White House. Having worked on The Hill for 23 years, believe me - the White House, Senate and House are all involved in the final version of the bill, so everyone will get some of what they want, not all. So I wish all these harsh critics would stop trying to get everyone angry at the President and instill fear, when we have to appreciate the President's recognizing that some repair MUST be done.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  78. Bob Leonard

    After watching the Republican Party oppose anything that might result in President Obama receiving credit for accomplishing health care reform for the past year, I am not optimistic that anything will be accomplished tomorrow. However, the forum does force the Republicans to discuss issues, which they have been reticient to do since this debate started.

    While bipartisan agreement is unlikely, the most likely outcome is the President and the Democrats can say we tried, and then move forward with a straight-up majority vote in the Senate. My home state Senator, Mitch McConnell would have you believe "reconciliation" is the work of the devil, but as I recall he was wearing those same horns when Bush's tax cuts were approved by the same process.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  79. Tony

    We are going to reconciliation. Republicans have no plan which makes sense. Ex: Health Savings Account- come on now. people can't pay their rent. how can they put money in a health saving account?

    Let's get this bill passed. The summit will be the beginning of reconciliation process.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  80. Robert

    I am a left leaning independent who voted for and believed in Barack Obama's change montra, particularly with regard to fostering bipartisanship. But I am sorry to say, he has not delivered, and continues to not deliver, on that promise. He and his administration talk through both sides of their mouths. The summary of his plan on the whitehouse.com website talked about including Republican ideas to strengthen the bill, but I couldn't find any. Same old stuff – government micromanagement with convoluted, market distorting rules and financial criteria (i.e., payments, subsidies, thresholds, mandates, etc) . Much like the current overly complicated tax code. I am very frustrated/ disillusioned.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  81. Wilma Lansdell

    I was interested in the man's story who could not afford health insurance even though he worked for an insurance company. I lived in Alabama from 1993-98. I was trying to secure insurance during that time, and talked to a lady at a company who, like this man, could not afforrt the insurance from her own company. I am now back in Canada where I go to the Dr. of my choice, go next Monday for my yearly checkup, have a yearly mammogram at no direct cost and with no worries. Because I am over 65 I also receive any medication that I need free of charge after a yearly payment of $100. I am very happy with the health care that I receive and am glad that I live in a country where the good of everyone is considered important.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  82. Michelle

    My comment is they don't care, they don't care they don't care. I can barley afford to put food on the table much less get medicade. Thank you Lord that my husband's job can pay for his health insurance, but if the kids or I am put on it it's an exta 300 for eveyone. Now who's benefiting from that one? My job only gives me one or two days a week to work, I mean they can't take away from the CEO's kids or grandkids right? That would be just unheard of, but they can afford health insurance, I think McCain was smart when he said he wanted to tax health insurance at least we would be getting something. Obama just needs to get his act together, I hope he doesn't get back in, in the next election!!!!

    February 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  83. JAMEELA

    Tony,

    I believe that Pres. Obama's Health Care Debate tomorrow will truly separate the "Men from the Boys" so to speak. The Men will see the need to pass a bill so that millions of Americans can have good health care coverage that they can afford. The boys, will continue bickering over who's in charge.

    My prayer is that the men will prevail.

    Jameela from Ft. Lauderdale

    February 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  84. Pat G

    I think this summitt is theater. The president is trying to show he is bi-partisan. The Republicans will all say no. It's an exercise in futility. I think most of our representatives have been bought by the healthcare industry and will not budge unless there is a big public outcry for real reform. The majority of Americans say they want a public option, yet these so called representatives keep pursueing their own interests.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  85. Kaye Perrier

    Until the special interest groups( lobbyists), Insurance cartel, and Pharmaceuticals are out of the picture, nothing will be accomplished.
    These are the dirty reasons that we have never gotten insurance/health reform. Any new person voted into Congress will regress to that same low level of taking bribes and we, the voters, will continue to suffer

    February 24, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  86. Tom

    Another Hollywood-esque PR stunt from the White House. All posturing and no substance.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  87. M. Hughes

    It is incredible that our Representatives and Senators want the health of the citizens they are supposed to represent to remain hostage to the insurance companies. They want the policies of these companies to endure: no health benefits for pre-existing conditions, no coverage because one has exceeded the "lifetime benefits", and ever increasing premiums that provide less and less coverage.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  88. Carol Taylor

    I am very concerned beause the Ameican people don't really know what is hidden in this bill, ot what may be added behind closed doors and shoved down our throats. Most Drs. don't want this nor do the American people. What is wrong with our constitution. This is a Broken Government . I also find it ironic that in this bill for the first time Medicare taxes would be assessed on investment income, not just wages and the amount taken away from medicare is beyond comprehension.
    A concerned American.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  89. Jane

    I cannot understand why all insurance companies cannot operate in all 50 states! Wouldn't this competition lead to lower premiums? Obama's plan cuts medicare significantly! This will surely hurt many, many seniors, wouldn't it?

    February 24, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  90. Al

    Without jobs there is no tax revenue. Without tax revenue there is no money for social programs.

    Why are we talking about anything other than jobs?

    February 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  91. Loretta Silverfoote

    Thank you for showing how some families are suffering under the present health care setup. It's heartbreaking to watch but if we had seen more of this maybe we would have a health plan by now. The plan offered by the doctor from Georgia is great for the upper middle class and rich but he fails to acknowlege that the working class in our country is deeply in debt, many unable to make their home payments, how can you realistically think they can squeeze out enough to create a health account.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  92. jim

    Hi Tony:

    Most people are not major users of their health insurance. I read that something like 30% of the users are responsible for 75% of the expenses, especially for such things as cancer and heart disease.

    Why not have a standard health insurance policy available for everyone–covering all the basics, with moderate deductibles for such things as doctor visits, prescriptions, etc. Even include basic dental. SET A LIMIT OF-SAY-$50 or $100,000 limit–and then have the insurance companies and the government set up a pool to share those costs over this limit. We could all continue with the providers we have. It would still involve the private sector. Companies could even offer a variety of options people could add to the "basic policy"–also everyone would have to buy the basic policy–which now would be much more affordable. The government and insurance companies making up this pool could negotiate with the drug companies, hospitals etc. to reduce costs.

    Just an idea!

    February 24, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  93. Jack Davis

    After watching the interview regarding the health care summit, the flexible accounts that was suggested would be almost impossible to work due to the past history of people maintaining savings accounts. This is in addition to those people who have no income, no job, bad health, disabled, and retired. How would you maintain an acount for them? I am sick and tired of hearing the problems, falsehoods, rumors and death panels! The American People are being persuaded to disagree with beneficial health care reform by false information!

    February 24, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  94. Bill

    Tony:
    Shouldn't we fix our current economic climate here in the US? We need to get it back in balance and it needs to be fluid, so it can be use by future generations as well. Fixing the US economy will, if done correctly, correct the imbalances and create the correct environment to fix Health Care, Social Security, Unemployment, as well as the other various sectors of this broke economy.

    I am 61 years old and the in those 61 years politicians, special interest, and other have added layer upon layer of the of their bureaucratic interest to an outdated, overburdened, and antiquated system. Now! Politicians are going to fix the Health Care system in just a couple of months and more importantly 'Just Because'? We can do this, but it means that politicians have to actually get down in the the Honey Dew pit and clean it out and do what is right for 'All Americans' as well as their constituents.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  95. Loretta Silverfoote

    It will be surprising if it does. It's very obvious that the Republicans feel they have a winning political strategy by just saying no to everything and that this is more important to them than the suffering of the uninsured.

    February 24, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  96. Tom Barnhill

    Hi Tony,
    I agree 100% with the gentleman who worked for Ford and has no medical. I feel for him very much, but he said that he is mad at the House. I believe the House passed a health bill. The senate is the problem. I think that you should have corrected that. There are enough Democrats to pass a bill in the Senate. If the Republicans want to fillabuster, let them. This will clearly show the people who are for and against health care reform.
    Thanks,
    Tom

    February 24, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  97. Steve

    bite the bullet and do the single payer. Give the money to the doctors who earned it. The insurance industry makes enough on my homeowners,flood,wind,and sinkhole. I forgot Auto, boat, and life.

    February 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  98. Paula Martinez

    Tony, My husband and I have been with the same health insurance company for 18 years. We are self employed so our premiums are high. Recently we got behind two payments and I called the company to inform them I would need another week or two to send in an additional payment. They dropped us like a hot potato. Their reasoning was that we had become behind two times within a 12 month period. We could reappy in 12 months for individual coverage but not a policy for the both of us. I called the Oregon Insurance Commission and our Agent called the company and they would not change their minds. So, here we are looking for health insurance after being with this company for 18 years. They have no shame. thank you, Paula Martinez

    February 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  99. Gene Riddle

    Maybe the House and Senate should adopt a secret ballot system.Then they could vote for what's right rather than the party line.

    February 24, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
  100. Tom from Vermillion, Ohio

    Do what "Mikey" says above–it's good idea. "Bust" up the House and Senate versions of the bill into a catagorized list of "one liner statements in PLAIN ENGLISH" (never mind the repeats, will take care of this later) Ask congress if this list is complete, if anyone says that it is not, have them submit there own plain english list of statements they would like to see on the bill. Allow no one to attach his/her credit to the list addition. Make public this list of statements. Ask the Governors and State Legislators to add to this list if they so desire. Ask the American People if they want to add to this list. Have the CNN, Fox News, etc. to edit this list to condense without lost of meaning or content. Make public this list for all to see. Beside each statement add a "yes" or "no" check box. Treat this list as a survey (it will be long) and let the public answer on line. Submit list to congress and demand they legislate accordingly. End of story. Wanna fix the economy next?

    February 24, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  101. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    CNN has taken 75 comments and from those comments only one care to mention the word “patient” which gave a dark glimpse for them. Only 6 comments relate to doctors and only 48 decided to use the word “care” on their statement. One comment related to freezing premiums. A comment proposes that Health Care Reform will be done thru Reconciliation. The fact is that the Health Care System has affected the economy to the point to have more than 45 millions Americans without Health Care Insurance. I wonder how many more will fall victim to the political agendas. I do not recall that that item or description is not part of an autopsy.

    February 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  102. Angie

    For more than 3 Decades, the Medical Insurance companies have been the special Interest Group from the moment they gain control over the Health Care System.

    With that control, Medical insurance companies controlled what the Doctors can and cannot Diagnose. – I experienced this first hand.

    With that control, Medical insurance companies controlled what Life Saving Procedures were allowed. And which ones were Denied. –
    Fact: There are many patients who died while fighting the Medical insurance companies trying to get the Life Saving Procedures approved.

    With that control, Medical Insurance Companies caused the SkyRocketing costs of Medical Insurance plans along with the costs of Medical care and Hospitals. – Fact: in the 1970's and early 1980's there were warnings about the Medical Insurance companies becoming too strong and having conflicting interests with their entering into ownership of hospitals and clinics.

    With that control, Medical Insurance companies drop patients from their coverage for Financial Greed, and got away with it.

    With that Control, Medical Insurance Companies paid millions of dollars to each Republican Senator to just say no to the Health Reform bill that will put Regulations on the Medical Insurance Companies.

    Yep the Most Powerful Special Interest Group, the Medical Insurance Companies, created the Tea party.

    *Yet even with all the evidence, the American People still believe that the Tea Party was started by private citizens, Talk about the Wool being pulled over the American People's eyes.

    Medical Insurance Companies are experts at deception. And you all fall for it.

    February 24, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  103. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    It is clear that the market that has boom in the United States are mortuaries, cemetery services and the insurance industry. It is not health and no one has cared to pay attention to this fact. What has happen to our analyst that cannot make sense of this mess? After a long wait we are still waiting for something significant to happen to the Health Care System in the United States. The FDA has lost control of the medical market and there is not control by the State or the Federal Government thanks to the Free Enterprise where Health Insurances make a bundle of money negating services to consumers using any sort of excuse to write them off.

    February 24, 2010 at 1:21 pm |
  104. A. Singleton

    Health Care Reform Now! Conservatives are acting like the proverbial ostrich.. They look at a world that has not existed for some time underground while reality circles its' rear outside. Save money for your own health care? Please! What do 18-32 year olds do now while paying for their college tuition, books, and housing? Can they save for their own health care? When? Should they begin while they are in elementary school? What do their middle income parents do when they have lost their jobs and insurance and maybe their home during this economy ? What do single parents with children and living from pay check to pay check do for health care? What do small business owners do that need to pay for their own insurance plus their employees' insurance, too? We need a public option simply because insurance companies will not consider making insurance affordable- they won't get the big bucks they are enjoying now.l Conservatives are basing their opinions on the world they think exists. Count the numbers. The folks that don't have outweigh the folks that do have.

    February 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  105. Tom from Vermillion, Ohio

    Tony, Eric Schmidt CEO of Google was interviewed by Ali Velshi. What he said makes my idea valid. Additionally, the list I spoke of earlier, needs to have no mention or hint of Republican, Democrat, Independant, Tea Party or mention author identity. Each line must withstand debate on its own without any hint of party idealogy or dogma. This would keep it nonpartisan.

    February 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  106. Walt Zinn

    Tony,
    Our governments failure was when they forgot the lesson learned
    by the Ma Bell monopoly and allowed businesses to get too
    large to fail or care. The HMO's and Health insurance industries are
    two glaring examples of out of control monopolies!

    Walt

    February 24, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  107. Jason

    I feel that Thursdays Summit will produce the evidence needed to give cover to the Dems who are "afraid" to vote for this legislation because they may not get re-elected. Same old reasoning. Always worried about their future instead of actually doing the job they were elected and are being paid to do. Make life better for their constituents.

    Republicans will bring their same talking points to the meeting with no fresh ideas. It will be obvious to just about everyone watching when this occurs. Obama will explain and dispell the misconceptions about the plan and he will also plainly point out the Republican ideas that are incorporated into the bill allowing the public to not only get the truth without the spin but to also realize the bi-partisanship involved. Many Dems are upset about some of the Republican proposals that were "negotiated" in but that's democracy at work. Nobody wins 100% of their ideas.

    I personally feel that the only reason this bill is not popular (aside from the rhetoric and scare tactics involved) is because it doesn't go far enough. It has been watered down and comprimised into a bill that does far less than what is truly needed for reform, and people know that....but atleast it's a start. Reconcilliation is not a tactic, it's legitimate. If it can be envoked to give tax cuts to the wealthy than it can certainly be used to help bring more affordable health care to the taxpayer.

    Bottom line in my opinion is everyday that passes forces un-needed pain and suffering on thousands of individuals who are sick or are caring for a sick loved one who cannot get insurance either because they cannot afford it, it has been recinded or they have a pre-existing condition. Everyday is a race against the clock for them. Enough of the talking and wrangling politics! Maybe we should suspend health care for not just Senators but also any Gov employee and their families until something get's done on HC? Let them feel the urgency first hand and I'll bet the wheels start to turn quickly and the partisanship becomes a hand holding "how can we fix this" meeting.

    February 24, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  108. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    I do not want speak on behalf of the doctors because they have the money and the entities to protect them. I guess doctors are the fall guys when they decide to give a terminal label to a condition to excuse their lack of commitment. The fact is that Multiple Sclerosis Patients do no longer have their doctors thanks to a label given to the condition. Most neurologists give too easy when a patient challenges them with their symptoms and these symptoms are just symptoms which do not need destructive and counterproductive labels as hypochondriac or psychosomatic. We need doctors who are committed.

    February 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  109. Lisa

    It drives me crazy when people say "it's too complicated" when talkiing about a health care proposal. It's a terribly complicated subject and I, for one, would like to think that our lawmakers are capable of understanding and addressing complicated issues. It can't be fixed with a sound-bite-length solution.

    On another note, does it not bother anyone else that so many people have to hold benefit concerts, bake sales, or make pleas on local tv in order to raise money to meet their medical needs? Almost every night on our local news (in Nashville TN) there is a story about someone who is raising money for their child or their spouse or their coworker who is unable to pay for their medical care. Americans should be embarrassed that we don't offer a better solution to our families in medical crises.

    February 24, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  110. Harriet

    Hi Tony, I voted for Obama and had been a democratic for over 47 years, until recently, now an Independent. Why would I change? Well, Obama has lied to the American people and that means me! I do not llike liars, and I SAY NOTHING, BUT NOTHING WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED BY HIS MEETING TOMORROW! He's already made up his mind, he is not open to what I and the rest of the American want. He is only interested in his wants, this is not CHANGE, like he promised, again another lie. What I want is that each and every main process in that bill not be loped together, but broken down into separate bills, yes, I know this would be a lot of work, then to discuss each ones of those separate with each party and really share ideas, and come up with things that are really needed. No more specials for any state, 1 st. items, a bill that does not make it impossible for people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage. Ability for people to cross state lines to get insurance, another, would be to put a cap on how much is paid out in damages brought against doctors or hospitals. And I could go on and on, but I think you'll understand, is to break down this hugh bill, to a lot of smaller, and easier bills, that we the people can understand. And maybe the best idea, would be to let the American people vote on these bills instead of Congress. Thank you.

    February 24, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  111. Frank Latham

    I have experienced Health Care systems in Italy Britain and Germany. Treatment included several stays in hospitals for serious and for routine surgical operations.
    I am utterly astonished that americans tolerate the medical system that is pushed onto them here in USA.
    The system seems to be a benefit match for:
    1. Insurers,
    2. Drug companies,
    3 .Lobby ists, politicians, advertisers etc.

    And the proposed "fixes" merely perpetuate a fundamentally flawed system which benefits vested interests. They will accept less for a little while but the increases will come again and again.

    Send your "committees" over to Europe and learn how inexpensive and very good a health care can be.

    And do not believe the misleading stories about how bad european health care is for they are just not true in my experience.

    You americans are being outrageously overcharged and ripped off BIG TIME.

    Arise! Take back your country!. It is election year.

    Government Of the people, By the people, and For the people...?

    I don't think so people!!

    With all best wishes

    Frank L.

    February 24, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  112. Vince Haller

    Everyone seems to be missing some very important important aspects of Health Care costs that should be taken care of before spending alot of tax dollars. Costs such as the large share of dollars paid to lobby goverment, top heavy administration ,drugs,and overpriced supplies and equipment to name a few.
    Attacking insurance companies is not the solution.They are caught in the middle.
    France may not be our favorite world neighbor, however they keep administration to a minimum and seem to have better control of the health of their people than everyone in the world. Their system rewards health care proffesionals for improvments in their clients health.
    The Canadian system is a little better, However they spend way to much on administration and other unnessary costs.
    It is time for all people to have effective and affordable health care at what cost.
    How can we spend millions and billions helping the rest of the planet
    while our friends and countrymen suffer and die due to lack of adequate care.
    Goverments on thier own will never solve this problem and will only throw more of our hard earned tax dollars at this problem with little or no result. We need leadership from the People for the People on this issue. Not from our so called Representives. Lets try to apply a little (Uncommon) common sense to the problem.
    V Haller

    February 24, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
  113. Azalea Annie

    Vince Haller says "The Canadian system is a little better".........but Canadians come across the border into the US every day. In January 2010, a high-ranking Canadian minister/governor came to the US for heart surgery. A few months before that, another hi-ranking Canadian minister/governor came to the US for treatment for breast cancer.

    The Canadian system is like a pot on the stove.....when the heat gets high, and the pot is in danger of boiling over......the Canadians come to the US.

    February 24, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  114. Tom Craig

    Frank (who had good health experience in Europe) and Wilma (who went back to Canada):

    1) The premier of New Foundland and Labradour (Canada) recently went to Miami for heart surgery. Why? Because the best doctors were there.

    2) The Health Minister for Canada announced recently that their health care system must be totally revamped or it will go bankrupt. He mentioned this meant rationing and increased taxes.

    3) Ask France about socialized medicine. They, like Canada, have found that it cannot be sustained.

    Does our health care system need to be reformed? Definitely. Just remember that it is still the best in the world. As they used to say "Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water".

    One last point – the Republicans have offered plenty of ideas for health reform (limiting medical suit settlements, allowing insurance companies to sell insurance across state lines and so on) but it is the Democrats who say no to everything that they offer. It is unfortunate the media refuses to publicize this.

    February 24, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  115. Ray Wright

    Tony,

    I am in favor of the healthcare reform bill with a public option only. Our current healthcare is the best in the world if you are rich and can afford it. However, for the rest of us blue collar workers the system is broken and it’s taking a huge toll on the economy. The U.S. Health care spending has more than doubled between 1996 and 2000, and as a result premiums are through the roof.

    We can’t afford to be at the mercy of the insurance industry anymore. We need quality affordable healthcare for all which protects good health benefits, brings down skyrocketing cost and provides comprehensive coverage options to insured and uninsured families, including the choice of a quality Public Option Plan.

    Unfortunately there are too few good congressmen/women and far too many bad ones. For the past 15 or 20 years, our senators and representatives have failed us, the American people miserably and have shown total disregard for constitutional fundamentals. It is time for us, the people, to take back America from the career politicians, rampant corruption, insatiable greed and Wall Street.

    Thanks,

    Ray

    February 24, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  116. gale godfrey

    if all americans pay attention and watch this summit, i feel this summit will be successful! we need health care reform now. there are over 50 million people with no health insurance and over 100 million who have so little health insurance that they maY as well have none at all! we will finally get to watch the republicanseither put up or shut up and do their real job! or we are going to see them act like small children and do everything they can to get their own way, and brag about how they are winning elections! so to the republicans work with president obama, or face the american raft, and all of you will lose your jobs!

    February 25, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  117. CB

    Things will move more quickly if the Senators and Congressmen are forced to have the Healthcare an average worker has,instead the one the executive plan.
    I'm also tired of my taxes paying for their Healthcare!
    I want them to have United Healthcare HMO, like I have_lets see what they would say then. Why is it that people in Government have it better then us.I'd like to see Cheney go to a healthcare clinic every time he has a heart attack.
    Republicans and some Democrats are not touch with the real world, because they don't live it.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  118. CB

    Republicans and Democrats in both houses are the puppets of the Pharmaceutical Industries, big business, and selfish greed. They are a few who care but they are swallowed by the many.
    I feel sad, because President Obama wants to do the right thing, As a parent, it's important to him not to fail. He wants to look in the face of his daughters and say, failure is not an option, their is good in the world, we just have to find it and succeed.
    My heart goes out to him because so many want him to fail_they are jealous that an African American can accomplish what they have failed for so long.

    February 25, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  119. CB

    Good Luck President Obama!

    February 25, 2010 at 8:23 am |
  120. Tom Craig

    CB:

    Can we cut the "race" issue out of this? People are against his bill as they feel it will cause the country to go bankrupt not because the color of his skin. I, for one, am tired of hearing that people who criticize President Obama do so because he is black.

    By the way, I have friends who are African-American and they are white.

    February 25, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  121. Mikey

    It is time for America to be strong.
    40 million uninsured Americans.
    What kind of country are we?
    We can spend money like it is water on wars, put these same wars on the credit card, but we cannot afford to give Americans Health insurance with out making them go through a for profit insurance industry that is there for its stockholders and not for the doctor or patient .
    Do not let some one dressed up like john hancock or Ben Franklin tell you it is socialism if they are collecting social security or medicare or are insured through the veterans hospital.
    They are just being hypocrites unless they are willing to give their benifits up. Fat chance
    The people win or big insurance and big Pharma.wins today.

    February 25, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  122. Chad

    once again instead of trying to get something done he's using this summet as a soapbox

    February 25, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  123. Jim Jordan

    For all the "Manhours"of our congressional leaders on health care, it would pay better to give the American People the same coverage that they get, and at the same price. If they think that is too costly, let them reduse their coverage to match ours. If they can't do that, Let's change their benefit so that they have to pay for their family and only their personal care is covered by the Government.

    Jim

    February 25, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  124. suz

    Extortion by lawyer? Is he kidding? Try EXTORTION by insurance companies...

    February 25, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  125. Henya, Ca

    Hello,
    All I see is the Republican still saying what they do not like in the bill still acting like little children that don’t get their way I see it on their faces and still known as the party of NO and not caring about the American people. Our President keep reminding them let’s talk about what we agree on allot what they want and agreed is in the bill Republican is staling and want to start over so I say to that senator a big NO I’m done waiting I’m with the President we are wasting time, our President has been very patient and I hope this is the last meeting with the Republi-Con and just pass Health care without them,

    February 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  126. Stuck by both sides

    Wow, live streaming pictures and sound of the great "health care debate;' frankly, after watching it for almost 2 hours, I now know that I will get more relief in having just one beer and watching some paint dry little more, that was painted on the wall 10 years ago.

    February 25, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  127. Jim, Massachusetts

    The problem with this reform is we are again going to take care of the lazy non-working, non- contributing individuals of this country. That is why this is going to cost the middle-class more. We need reform but need to stop paying the bill for non-contributors.

    February 25, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  128. Christina

    Finally seeing how much cow pucky the opposition has up their sleeves. Richard Durbin is exactly right everyone, republican, democrat, independent, politician, or normal joe is one accident or diagnosis away from a medical disaster. Why are we electing people to office who are better off and get better benefits that we ever will have and none of our needs are ever met?

    Shame on the Doctors in the room, who are now politicians, using their medical background, to fight health care in this country. Every doctor I

    February 25, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  129. susie

    both parties act like stubborn children. it's about time they compromise, both sides have good points and bad, we pay them to solve these problems, and they don't. my husband and i have to pay for our own insurance, we pay $1400. a month with $5000. deductible each, how insane is that. just do something and do it now, not in increments like the republicans want, and not in 2013 like the dems want, do something now. everyday in america someone dies, someone goes broke losign everything because of illness. everyone in america, except the very wealthy, are one serious illness away from losing it all. it is insane.

    February 25, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  130. MaryLou

    I do believe that if we took away Congress' healthcare package – they would finally get down to the business at hand.
    Better yet – maybe it is time to vote all incumbents out of office and start over...

    February 25, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  131. Don

    OK people lets add up what was said during this meeting of the mind. 20% of the population is on Medicare or Medicaid insurance. that = over 60 mil People in this country, now let’s take the other statement that was made 50% of the country is already on a government insurance program which adds up to 150 mil Americans in this country. Now Medicare is not the greatest coverage but it’s better than most of the peoples insurance coverage in the private sector. So let’s take out the people on Medicare and Medicaid.150 mil – 60 mil = 90 mil. Now let’s take that great insurance that those 90 mil public employees and their family receive and cut their benefits down to Medicare’s level. Take the money that will be save and that would be a great start on helping pay for the 30 mil people without insurance.
    CNN you report the same news over and over again, now show a little gut and repeat those numbers over and over again until every American knows how many people receive better health coverage then people in the private sector. And if you really want to grab their attention show them how much they pay for that and a rough draft of their insurance coverage.
    One more thing, if you add in the 30 mil people without insurance that leaves 120 mil in the private sector with insurance, out of that number how many of them only have catastrophic insurance coverage and how many have somewhat decent coverage. If the American people knew how many and how good the coverage in the public sector was the American people would be outraged.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  132. Randy N

    And you have them as contribitors, and you are biparitisen? You should really concider giving me a shot at Being a canidate for President? Help me so I can help this country.

    February 26, 2010 at 1:30 am |
  133. wheelchairman67

    you can force me to wear a seatbelt and you can force me to wait till 21 to drink or force me to sign up for the service or even force me not to smoke in a city or some states even but you can not force me to have health care? I have to have insurance to drive!! Who is throwing the first stone here?

    February 26, 2010 at 5:17 am |
  134. dduduwana

    One reporter just said, when she was asked how much american can save if they were allowed to by health insurance across the state lines..

    answer was "not much" 5% .....

    come on.... you are saying 5% is not much , when averag americans are struggling to save at least 5% of their income?

    please use appropriate words , when it come to sensitive issue like this.....

    February 26, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  135. Jack

    Assessing the health care plan from a business point of view, we need to rely on the facts. If the CBO's figures are correct, if you don't think that insurance companies won't change their practices, if you think that millions of people won't be able to get insurance without help, if you think that employers will keep increasing or suspending insurance coverage, if you think that our country is going broke on health care costs, if you think that many more people will be without health coverage , then the business solution would be the democratic plan. The entire health care system is so much out-of-kilter that it will take more than a snowball to change!

    February 26, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  136. Gene Lucas

    Any health care program will fail because it doesn't address the problem of trying to handle 30 million more patients with the existing medical infrastructure

    February 26, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  137. Nick

    O it's a showdown alright. Look at everyone's face. They all look like they've been slapped with a fresh salmon, when the opposing sides talk Psuedo-listening is apparent. Nothing is gonna get done, their just gonna argue terminally. It's obvious it's pretty personal, on all sides.. At this rate, the only thing left to settle this is tag-team boxing. Or the acclaimed "flip the coin".

    February 26, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  138. uma

    All the congressmen and senators accusing that this health care reform has seeds of socialism, let them cancel their pension plan, contribute to social security and have a 401 k plan which depends on Wall st. like the rest of us Let them pay for their health insurance and be penalised for pre-exisiting conditions like the rest of us. They can't have socialism for themselves ( with their pensions and insurance taken care of ) and penalize the middle class citizens whose condition is worsening with rising health care costs, unemployment etc.

    March 1, 2010 at 9:26 am |
  139. rose herrity

    I can not understand were peoples minds are? I worked in EMS for years.
    All the people that go to the E.R. with no heath insurance now. Guess who pays for this, that's right we do . So what is the difference? We should have the same rights to buy the same insurance our taxes pay, for all the GOVERMENT WORKERS .

    March 1, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  140. Steve Schulte

    Dear Tony,

    Following is a comment that I think most viewers would heartily agree with. The never-ending health care "debate" has lacked one crucial element–health.

    While the two parties trash each other over who should pay for what, the discussion misses the one essential and completely ignored reality: more and more people are getting sick, at younger ages–and neither party ever mentions that, or offers a solution.

    The long-term solution is this: health care policy must be based on scientifically proven programs to prevent disease. Here is one compelling example: recent research on Transcendental Meditation, funded by the NIH, and reported in respected medical journals all over the world, found that the practice of TM produced a 47% reduction in heart disease. This is one of dozens of such studies, conducted in the world's finest research universities and published in the most prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals.

    Just imagine how much money would be saved by introducing incentive-based, proven, preventive measures to reduce suffering and disease. It is not just sleepy, bought-and-paid-for legislators who are at fault for this obvious bias toward political confrontation rather than proven solutions.

    CNN and others are equally guilty of not looking more deeply into the inherent weakness of health-care "debate" that does not consider health, It is time that CNN remembers the common-sense reminder that we all heard from our grandmothers–an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    Regards, Steve Schulte

    March 4, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
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