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June 10th, 2009
09:49 AM ET

Health Care Reform & Your Questions

The debate over legislation to overhaul the nation’s health care system is certain to affect you and your family. So we want to hear from you. What should the future of health care look like?

Congressional Democrats are proposing a national option of government-funded health care to compete with existing programs. Republican leaders oppose such a move, calling it the first step to a government-run system. President Obama says health care reform is a priority, but how it will work leaves a lot of questions.

Leave us a comment or question. CNN’s Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen will join us live at 12pm ET to answer some of them in the CNN Newsroom


Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (259 Responses)
  1. dan in Tucson

    As long as a for profit organization is the health care provider, health care will be the last concern for them. Service may be better, but it is difficult and impossible for most people to get it. So what's the point.

    We need a basic system in place that can provide health care where people come before profit. Nothing else will work.

    A basic wellness system should be in place, so people can get basic care and medicine for free. Then have a supplemental plan that is fully regulated by the government for the more serious illnesses that you need to pay for and has no limits, restrictions, or pre-existing conditions.

    This plan would satisfy everyone, if that is even possible.

    June 10, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  2. Diane Royer

    A government-backed plan that would be at a reasonable cost is essential to all those millions of people who do not enjoy a stable, middle-class security net. There will always be writers, musicians, landscapers,

    June 10, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  3. Diane Royer

    A government-backed health care option such as Medicare for those under 65 is ESSENTIAL because tens of millions of people do not live in a middle-class, stable environment that offers the traditional employer-subsidized health coverage safety net. There will always be a large segment of independent, freelance people such as writers, musicians, landscapers, farm workers, and amateur athletes who deserve to be covered and would pay the premium. Also, the so-called "working poor" inside the traditional work force are most affected because they often work for small companies who cannot afford to even offer coverage, and/or they earn too little to afford the premiums. Even more reprehensible are the big companies who hire three part-timers instead of one full-timer so they don't have to offer coverage.

    I think it is noteworthy that everyone who goes on record as opposing option also pays lip service to the "free market", but in the same breath says that a government plan is unfair competition. And, I'm guessing, they already HAVE health coverage for themselves and their loved ones. If they were personally at risk of catastrophic financial consequences from the smallest injury or illness, they too would be screaming for help.

    I would also hope that ALL health insurers would start a sliding scale for their premiums. I don't think it's equitable if a person earning $500K per year pays the same annual premium as one earning $50K. The greater relative burden on the person earning a smaller wage is what leaves them uncovered.

    Finally, I think the entire concept of "pre-existing condition" needs to be eliminated. As human beings, we all have the pre-existing condition of mortality, so I don't think some should be punished for having been diagnosed. Ultimately, we all meet the same fate, so why should people with fewer material resources be given less care?

    June 10, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  4. Geoff

    The healthcare that most of us common people have is too expensive. I spend 1/3 of my paycheck for healthcare. I make too much for state help, but stuggle weekly to make ends meet. While my pay isn't increasing, my healthcare cost is increasing. So I ask Washington, what are they going to do for people like me?

    June 10, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  5. armywife20

    With this health care reform, would it change military health care benefits as well? Are they going to make military servicemembers and families pay for health care?

    June 10, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  6. Bill

    Why can't the hospitals and medical providers provide the public with a price list of services available? The public will see that the costs are way out of line with other places. There is no standard, which is causing the problems with costs.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  7. Jeff in South Jersey

    Let's als consider how it affects manufacturing. I understand that GM has been paying more for healthcare than they have been paying for the steel that goes into their vehicles. How cant they be competitive in the global market if their competitors have government funded healthcare?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  8. charlemagne

    if the government can dump money into the war on drugs why cant we pay for health care?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  9. Renee

    If the majority of people were subjected to finding and paying for immediate health care without insurance I bet their opinions would change. We need to focus on the whole and not just ourselves. There are millions of people without preventative health care and/or primary care and they are dying everyday because they cannot afford to see a doctor for a minor cold or even a toothache. In most cases if they were treated for their initial symptoms they would not become more sick and therefore wouldn't need to seek immediate emergency medical attention or lose their life.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  10. Sam

    For young people like me who don't have insurance, we don't care how bad the wait time would be under public/government insurance. We'd just be happy to be able to see a doctor again.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  11. John Babitskas

    Hi, No one is talking about people with existing conditions, the insurance companies don't want them, If all you have to choose from is insurance companies why bother with this. Nothing changes.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  12. Carol

    I am an independent contractor and cannot get coverage because of previous back problems. I've had several episodes over the past ten years of being disabled for 6+ months at a time. If this happens while I'm uninsured, I will lose my house and face financial ruin. We are the only "advanced" nation in the world where its citizens are left on their own for situations like this. What's wrong with us?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  13. Chaim

    When I hear these misleading ads on television that try to scare people away from entertaining a better system, by claiming that we will be overrun by bureaucracy and inefficiency, what do they think we have now?!!!!!

    June 10, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  14. Janet White

    There are predictions that Medicare will go broke even though overhead costs are lower than Insurance companies. It insures the oldest and sickest in society. Wouldn't opening it up to the whole of the population with younger, healthier participants help to both decrease costs and salvage the system?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  15. Rivka

    Until Senate is forced to purchase their own healthcare and not continue to get maximum coverage paid by taxpayers, we will not see any progress on healthcare. I'm speaking of all parties- Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  16. mm

    I heard a comment yesterday about a new potential gubernatorial candidate in Texas. He said that illegal immigrants are assured of two benefits from the federal government: free education and FREE HEALTHCARE. If this is true...then why is my brother, who does not have health insurance, not assured this also? He was sick over the weekend, and did not go to get care, because he is not insured.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  17. JoshfromMichigan

    This goverment controled health care makes me very irate.I mean seriously people like me who are covered don't wan't to be paying more in taxes for something that won't benefit us.If we would have elected John MCcain we wouldn't have this problem!

    June 10, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  18. Christine

    I am a Canadian who has lived here for 25 years. I am still baffled at HOW IN THE WORLD this country who parades around as a "civilized" country still has NO decent public health care of any kind.

    Canadians who come to visit are warned by their government to be extremely careful not to get sick in the US and especially DO NOT DIE while traveling to the US. That is REALLY expensive.

    It is time to join the 21st century.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  19. Kathy

    Regarding your interview with Sanja Gupta a few minutes ago. In Canada, the wait time to get into see your primary doctor is not as long as Sanja said. It depends on the problem. I realized one evening that I believed I had shingles. I was able to see my doctor in the morning. All I had to wait was about 10 minutes. Canadian health care is not what Americans think. We pay $54.00 per month in BC. A far cry from the $400 in the US.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  20. Tom Hay

    A Recommendation for Fair Equal Competitive Health Care for every Citizen.

    1. Use the Health Care Insurance provided to Congress Persons and Government Workers. They have choices from a select group of plans that have competitively bid for the business.

    2. These plans cannot be questioned as to quality if they are good enough for the Congress.

    3. Allow any company to become listed as a choice, competing with the other companies within a given cost / benefit range. The only extra requirement is that no person can be medically disqualified and no waiting periods for coverage can apply.

    4. Each citizen could select from any of the plans on the “qualified” list.

    5. Then give each taxpayer a tax credit based on taxable income. Perhaps start at $100k income and give 10% credit for each 10k less than 100k income. For a married couple use $150k as the base amount. This would be the ONLY potential cost to the government.

    6. This system could replace Medicare and Medicaid thus REDUCING the government costs overall.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  21. John Heggen

    At 62 and out of work without medical insurance for my family and self, I encourage a government run health care option. My wife has diabetes and the costs have almost depleted our savings.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  22. scott

    my boss and his wife pay $800 a month for health care and they are both only in 50s. come on people, whats so hard to understand about the skyrocketing cost of health care. lets stop the outrageous gouging from the local hospitals once and for all. you can take a dog for cancer treatment at $200-$2000. if your a person, you can up that to $250,000. sounds a bit fishy to me, dont you think???

    June 10, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  23. Herb Pappe

    I have heard that retired military will have there health care taxed as income. Is this correct?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  24. Atticus Hart

    Conservatives have geared up their fear-mongering, warning that healthcare reform will bring government control. Even the insurance industry knows its days are numbered because the status quo isn't working: it isn't bring affordable healthcare to US citizens and it is killing businesses that are forced to pay for employee health programs (making US businesses noncompetitive with overseas companies. I vote for a single-payer system: we pay huge taxes–let's get something back for it.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  25. Jeff in South Jersey

    Let’s also consider how it affects manufacturing. I understand that GM has been paying more for healthcare than they have been paying for the steel that goes into their vehicles. How can they be competitive in the global market if their competitors have government funded healthcare?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  26. Maria Rich

    The government doesn't run its current medical programs (medicare and medicaid) well. How can we believe they will do a better job running a larger portion of healthcare for our nation. Also, there needs to be money available to fund this massive proposal, or the program will be worse than the Canadian and other socialized medicine programs around the world. Before tackling a new medical plan, the government needs to fix the 2 broken programs they currently run.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  27. Nathan Kaufman

    – I am a healthcare consultant with a national practice. I am convinced that the current plan for reforming healthcare will make things worse not better....this is the problem- every day I work in the trenches with doctors (heroes) , nurses (angels) and healthcare administrators (guardians) of our healthcare system. I see the pain that they experience dealing with the unintended consequences associated with regulations and policies that have been developed by academicians, politicians and associations who lack the understanding of the practical realities that our providers have to deal with. For example—integrate care with the doctors but if you share money you can go to jail due to Medicare laws. Increase the nurse to patient ratio but Medicare and Medicaid will not pay enough to cover the current cost of care. The proposals for healthcare reform will create unintended consequences on steroids! I am all for reforming the healthcare system as long as we plan for the consequences of the reform plan – but the lobbyists and policy-makers are too far from the trenches to anticipate and/or understand the consequences of their theatrical proposals. Look at the looming economic disaster created by universal coverage in Mass. I am afraid that the spirit of healthcare providers will be destroyed by well meaning but uniformed “thought leaders” – costs will escalate exponetially, hospitals will go bankrupt and phsicians will limit their practices to the best paying patients or leave medicine.– I hope I am wrong

    June 10, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  28. Bea

    Our existing wastes should pay a great deal of the cost of a new system - eliminating the useless drug coverage, state programs and federal programs would save trillions of dollars. In our county alone, we subsidize a physician-run hospital with 30 million dollars or more a year on top of the medicaid, etc. programs and all of the free health clinics.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  29. Jackie

    The administrative costs of the U.S. health care system are obscene. Moving to a single-payer system, such as the health care system in Canada, seems like a efficient solution. It's not socialized medicine, as many Americans are concerned about – but rather axes some of the bureaucratic mess of our current system.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  30. MaryKay

    With the new healthcare system. what's going to stop companies from dropping the coverage they offer to employees if they think they can save money and then their employees will be covered under the public system. I for one would keep my coverage and don't want it to change.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  31. daniel

    i think health care reform is a good idea as long as the government knows how to handle it and administrate it.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  32. Ed Schneider

    Where is the point of diminished and return of helping those who do not help themselves

    June 10, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  33. Kathleen Cappella

    I'm 59, been a Hair dresser for 35 years, no benefits, self paid medical, now I took a part time job as a special ed aide for the local school district, after 3 years, still a long-term sub, still self paying for benefits I can't afford to actually use, and still doing hair to make ends meet. My husband is disabled, and his coverage dropped me when he got injured on the job. Obama-hurry up and get us the help we need!

    June 10, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  34. phil padrid

    Policy makers genuinely dont understand the problem for the millions without the kind of health care insurance AND access to medical providers that THEY,, the policy makers enjoy.

    A 4 hr visit to the emergency room for chest pain will cost around 4-5 THOUSAND dollars if it turns out you really did just have indigestion.Thats not an exaggeration.

    If you are new to a city and want to see an internist,,,, unlike the policy makers who will been seen that day or the next,,, most folks wait weeks to months,,and that is if they have good insurance.

    We may have some of the best health care providers in the world,, but we do not have the best access to them or the best ability to pay for them. Visit amsterdam and ask anyone you meet if they are ok with their health care,,,, they think we are nuts!

    Dr Phil Padrid
    associate professor of molecular medicine (adj)
    University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

    June 10, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  35. Tom in WV

    We know that Congress is incapable of performing without catering to the special interests and we know that part of the electorate will kick if they are hung with a new rope so why not put the burden of creating a health care bill on both parties? Make Congress come up with at least two plans (one of which must be a single payor plan) and put it up in a general election for the public to decide. These are unusual times and unusual circumstances and this decision should not be left to the decision of one self-serving group of incompetents. Let all of the incompetents get involved.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  36. John Simmons

    Tony:
    Just watched the spot on healthcare and finacing. As we de-link healthcare from employment, where's the incentive to stay employed? If we actually have 45-50m people w/o healthcare, how many are illegals? Who pays? Who polices? I can't help but reach for my wallet! I'd like to see you discuss some of the difficult issues. I dare you.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  37. Bridgett O'Keeffe

    So tired of everyone against healthcare reform saying "government" will approve/disapprove your treatment instead of a "doctor". News Flash: Right now, insurance companies approve/disapprove-not doctors.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  38. Franco

    What is the problem with government run health care? Today the interest of providers (profit from providing less access to health care) go against the interest of patients (get health care). For providers is cheaper to 'fix' than prevent. I can only have a physical every other year (AETNA PPO).
    Government health care means less options?? In the last 12 years I have not been able to see the same general physician twice. Or my company changes of provider or the doctor I saw drops the plan I have.
    Wait for care? The last time I saw a doctor I have to wait 6 months for an appointment. My opinion is that health is a universal right and should be provided equally to everyone. Health care should not depend on my wallet size.
    Why government can not run health but can run the police or firefighters? Will the firefighters ask for my insurance card or amount of coverage to see if they put 100% of the fire or just 80%?
    In summary private run health care means that someone bonus is inversely proportional to the amount of care I get.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  39. s smitman

    Re–Healthcare report at 11:08 AM today–Your reporter used a clip from the Anti-Obama health plan comm'l currently airing around the country–and although he asked the rep. from the Urban Institute to provide her bona fides, no mention was made of the background and/or motivations of the man who appears in and is paying for the comm'l cited. Maybe if you provided this information to your viewers, there might be a greater balance to your coverage, and your service would appear to be less biased towards the conservative side of this discussion.
    Whatever happened to fair and balanced reporting?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  40. Jerry McLeod

    All this talk about the evils of government control of health care is driving me crazy. We trust the military, fire departments, police departments etc. ALL government run. Wall street and the banking industry have proved they aren't all that effective so what makes everyone think that private industry controlling health care is such a great thing?

    .

    June 10, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  41. sean j

    Im in Ontario Canada, and universal health plan is great.
    Most check ups are free, and if you have to referred to a specialist such as a dermatologist or have to be referred to respiratory specialist are free. All x-ray exams, mris etc are free given you were referred to buy your family docotr. And wait times arent that bad unless you're in the ER.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  42. terry sears

    how about a little investigative reporting ..would like to know exactly which organizations & individuals are financing the ads against health reform. thanks

    June 10, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  43. John Arnold

    One often hears commentary in the way of the question "Do you want the government in control of your health care?" Why is the corollary question not asked, namely "Do you want corporate America in control of your health care?"

    June 10, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  44. aaron

    Some of these poeple on the show talking about the u.s. leaning towards universal healthcare and the negative comments people make on the show about are wrong i live in canada and sure there are waiting lines at the hospital it all depends on how injured you are my goverment does not have a say in what doctors or specialists i see it's a decision me and my doctor make i would never want to go to the states and get sick and half to to go to a hospital there i would half to declare bankruptcy 5 times to pay the hospital fees. I feel bad for those people who have no healcare in the u.s. imagine free healthcare and not having to suffer when you get sick casue you have no money to go to the hospital. People should get there facts right about universal healthcare espically in canada woudl change free healthcare for anything

    June 10, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  45. Tim K.

    I'm a Canadian. I am satisfied with my health care. It does need to be reformed, but it is far better than the American system right now.

    What I want to know is why a lot of people think that taxes in Canada are extremely high, mostly because of national health care. That is a myth.

    Canada's health care system is a cumbersome bureaucracy? Myth.

    The Canadian system is significantly more expensive than that of the U.S.? Myth.

    Canada's government decides who gets health care and when they get it? Myth.

    There are long waits for care, which compromise access to care.? Myth.

    Rhonda Hackett of the Denver Post wrote an excellent piece on these myths and more.

    Thanks!

    June 10, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  46. Bob Bolte

    Healthcare for every citizen has finally been adopted by the vast majority of us. The devil is in the details as they say. But isn't the healthcare reform supposed to give us same quality as the members of Congrees gets?
    Bob

    June 10, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  47. Jamie Simmons

    For those who use the proposed healthcare, maybe after finding a job or becoming independent, they can then keep that healthcare but pay for it. This money could then go back into the program to help others.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  48. Jerry J Fortner II

    When the government realizes that when they quit taking bribes from all the drug companies and allow the rest of the working class people including retirees to have free health care paid for by the consumers through taxes then maybe they (government) will realize we will all have more money in our pockets to spend on the economy and then we can all survive better and buy more consumer goods (AMERICAN) made of course. Thats the only way we will survive!

    June 10, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  49. sheila in miami

    I see the commercials against federal health care, about people who did not get the care they need. Given how many people get no health care at all right now, the idea that I could be denied care, while the majority get care does not seem so bad. Yes, it could be life threatening, but I must consider that no one gets out of life alive.

    I think public health care is necessary, and I expect to have to pay more in taxes for it, whether or not I keep private insurance.

    Live in America needs to change, really change. Only 5 1/2 months of Obama, still need to wait and see.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  50. Terry Kendall

    I recall a comment by Pres. Obama that we deserve the same coverage the government employees (Senators, Representatives) have. I have that coverage. In the past 10 years it has saved me tens of thousands of dollars; it is efficient, provides very good coverage, is inexpensive compared to others I have seen, and is provided by a private entity. I say YES this is a good program and should be expanded. In a market economy those who provide good service at reasonable rates should win out over those who don't.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  51. Eric

    I would much rather have a government run health care system than the system we have today which is run by a bunch of profit mongering CEOs that only care about how much money they can make off of us. The CEOs are the ones that are limiting what treatments we can and cannot have! Why isn't CNN talking about this.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  52. Tommie

    I have the Insurance Company between me and my Dr., big cost if they even pay, I feel the Gov. may do a better being between my Dr. and me.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  53. Pati

    Several friends in the UK, AU and Canada have indicated they' support Universal Health Care. A gentleman in UK explained it best. He said those who are working pay into the system, but all are covered. His wife received 'gold standard' treatment when she went through cancer treatment. I, personally, was treated at an emergency room in Canada, much faster and much more complete, when on a trip to Alaska...and the Drs. were on strike! All things considered, I would vote for Universal Health Care. Much simpler bookkeeping and everyone would know what to expect.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  54. hilde deprez

    I've lived in Europe for 35 years, and never heard about treatments withheld, the healthcare system is universal for everyone.
    I believe trying to stop this in the US is more tainted with greed from the existing health insurance companies. When I have to get approval from my -now – private insurance company to get treatment from a specialist, and if they decide it will cost me a lot more to get it done, plus they will raise my bill next year, where does that make sense?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  55. Steve DeVoe

    I have been fortunate to have good healthcare coverage, but I know that thousands do not and that is a bad thing for all of us. It is also not new news. It has been discussed and debated for years with no progress. Let's get past the focus on everything that might not work and isn't perfect and comparisons to total socailized medicine, and come up with an innovative American solution....we are innovators!And yes, it just might cost something to fix, most things do. Lets keep an open mind and get going! Naysayers seldom come up with useful solutions.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  56. Alan Wadham

    Is it not true that the USA has a partial National Health care?
    I believe that the figure is 40 million service personnel are covered by the VA. Why not extend this service to the uninsured?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  57. Victoria Michaels

    As long as the Doctors are making buckets of money, there will be no affordable healthcare. Until the goverment steps in and makes it where the medical profession isn't holding people hostage with the price of healthcare, no changes will be made. I haven't had "insurance" for years and my health plan is I plan on not getting sick. The whole medical community could put Wall Street to shame with the greed that they show. The medical community will scream like crazy if you tell them they can no longer make a killing at keeping people healthy.
    Take two asprins and call me in the morning........

    June 10, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  58. S.Spallone

    The one thing health care needs to be is UNDERSTANDABLE and accountable. There is no where to turn for reliable information and/or answers. ie...we have been on Cobra (aptly named) since August 2008...one month from receiving the 60% discounts in premiums! Who decided the arbitrary date and what recourse is there? Our 18 months will come due and what then about pre-existing conditions? There is NO clear help to be found. Thank you S. Spallone

    June 10, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  59. don gattin

    no one in the federal govenment is actually serious about medical reform. The insurance companies are mmaking too much money from the policies they have espeically when they deny service but keep the clients money. The doctors are making a killing when they can charge a patient $500 for a 5 min visit. and the Hospitals are making a killing when they chare $1000 for a catheter or $400 for a asprin. This system is nothing but a big con job.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  60. joe

    just saw your piece on healthcare reform on cnn. as a physician, i feel you neglected to talk about another important piece of the pie, regarding healthcare reform.
    many of the public healthcare plan options being considered, are to be based on medicare's unacceptably low payments. as it stands, on average medicare pays 33% of what private insurers pay for physician services (according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office – GAO-07-463) . An extension of this broken payment system would severely damage our specialty (medicine). furthermore, physicians should be able to voluntarily participate should a public plan be established (not the mandatory participation that is being discussed).

    June 10, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  61. Winston Imhoff

    My contribution to the discussion:
    The argument that in countries where there is universal health care would-be patients wait for long periods for attention/treatment actually ignores the cause for the long wait: "everyone" has access to health care, hence an overload. If in the US everyone has access to health care under the present system, there will be longer waiting periods for attention/treatment. (Imagine adding the millions who have no access to health care to our system!).

    June 10, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  62. Cate from Philadelphia

    I am all for the government coming into the healthcare biz by providing competition and variety of plans vs. health insurance companies. My spouse works for a major health insurance company and we have worst coverage but at least we can still afford the coverage-for NOW!!! Our premiums go up every year and the coverage is steadily decreasing and our out of pocket expenses are skyrocketing. The "pre-existing condition" exemption should be done away with altogether, and doctors should be given the authority to chose what treatment works best for their PATIENTS, not the insurance company. There is nothing like having to do battle with an insurance company who has never met you in person to get a surgery or treatment improved. To think the insurance company doc knows more about you vs. the physician who has been treating you for your medical condition is an outrage. How about getting together with the providers and put caps on what they can charge too! Nothing like getting charged $25 for 2 pain pills when you can purchase an entire bottle of pills for the same amount. Or better yet the $350 charge for a 5 minute doctor visit just to confirm yes, your asthma is acting up and you need a new prescrition.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  63. Susie

    Hi Tony,
    I'm self employed and paid over $210,000 in personal income taxes last year and cannot afford health insurance for my family. How much more in taxes will this universal health care program add and whose shoulders will it fall upon?

    It would be great if our government could provide healthcare for everyone but what does our government do efficiently? Just look at our postal system or social security to see that our gov't can't do anything cost effective so it scares me to think they're taking on a beast like healthcare.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  64. Jim Keller

    A problem not addressed in the discussion of universal health care in America is the availability or supply of the "gatekeepers" in treating patients, e.g., the primary care/family medicine physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. If we increase the access for those individuals now uninsured with government sponsored health insurance, the supply of practitioners availalbe to evalute and treat this influx of patients will have to be increased. Educating and training new practitioners will take 2-7 years. Universal health care will have to be implemented incrementally to offset the short supply of health care providers avaialble now to treat the influx of newly insured patients with a host of comorbid chronic, complicated health problems. Jim Keller, PA-C, Highlands Ranch, CO

    June 10, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  65. Alexander Sasvary

    Without significantly reducing costs associated with insurance companies the pharmaceutical industry and fundamental reorganization of the health care delivery system this new attempt to change the American health care system is going to fail.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  66. CAROL

    I have two comments: 1/ I want the same health care that imprisoned felons get in this country. Their care is free (and comes with transportation. I will forego the transportation, however).

    2/ Re: the straw horse set aflame by the conservative nuts who say that we will lose our "precious" relationship with "our" doctor under any new health care plan. Let me pose this. When one is in a horrific accident (car crash, avalanche, fire), one is rushed to the closest hospital where s/he is treated by the doctors in the E.R. I, myself, have had 2 such ambulance rides and never did I sit up in the E.R. and scream that I wanted to be treated by "MY" doctor instead of the E.R. docs. I was so grateful that any doctor was on hand.

    Bottom line: in one's most dire health situation (like life or death), no one cries for or is treated by their "personal physician with whom they have a special relationship."

    Those Republican nuts need to grow up.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  67. Sean in Canada

    I get so tired of hearing CNN and other American news agencies and politicians criticize Canada's healthcare system and give one way polls etc.. . Canada's healthcare system isn't perfect but nobody's is but lets get to the bottomline here and that is CNN /news agencies and american politicians are not to be fully believed when they give statements about how Canadians feel about there healthcare and also one sided polls they show. Most Canadians are very satisfied with there healthcare including myself. America keeps bringing up the waiting time issue and yes there is waiting times but they are not as bad as your news people and politicians are leading you to believe. Also here in Canada we are not going bankrupt because of healthcare bills, people are losing there homes in the USA because of hospital bills. The number one reason people lose there homes in the USA is healthcare bills. I am a proud Canadian and I have always been treated very fast whenever I have to seek healthcare no matter what the illness is. People, do some research first before you listen to all your politicians and news people including Dr Gupta on CNN. Our healthcare here in Canada I wouldn't trade it for anything. Last thing, people here in Canada that have life threatening illnesses do not have wait times just for reference so again do not believe everything you hear.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  68. Paul Havlat

    Here is my concern....

    I'm self-employed, I have health insurance for my wife and my self. Last year my wife had some issues, we went to a lot of doctor visits and had a lot of tests done. We never had a diagnoses. Because of the cost with all the visits and tests the insurer decided to drop us. It was too expensive... I would like something in place where they can't drop you because you run up a large bill. I pay for insurance and then something happens, it costs too much so they drop me... If they government can give me insurance and not drop me because of the large bill or what ever... I would be for it.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  69. Paul

    What's the real reason that single payer health care isn't even on the table for thorough dissection, discussion, and debate with the genuine, "non-crackpot" professionals who support this measure? Especially when it is used with a large degree of success in other countries that are either on par or considered sub-par to this country.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  70. Barbara Lavery

    Researchers in recent Duke university survey looking at costs in the last week of life indicate that if 50 percent of people had a discussion with their physician about end-of-life care preferences, the cost difference in a year could be more than $76 million dollars. Fewer invasive or aggressive treatments that attempt to prolong life but in fact do not would save not only significant costs but also save people and their families from traumatic end of life experiences...

    June 10, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  71. Joe Ann Auslander

    I am a retired Federal Employee and I have health insurance provided through the government, and I love it!!! Each year you are given a choice of Insurance Plans with different Providers; you choose who you want to sign up with based on the coverage (and monthy payment) you want. It is all listed in the booklet you are sent each year. Congress is also under a government provided plan. The process and government framework is working for Congress and us; why not for everyone!

    June 10, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  72. Bryan

    Back in the 1990's I was adamantly opposed to the Health Care plan of the Clintons as I thought they imposed too much government control and jeopardized innovation that leads to new medicines and procedures which save and improve lives.

    At the time, I was for incremental 'free-market' approaches – such as 'Tax-free, non-expiring' health care savings accounts, private/individual catastrophic coverage mandates, etc...

    Sadly – Nothing at all has been done. Even Pre-existing conditions jeopardize

    We need to find a good step in the right direction this time, with a broad cross-section of input, and we shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    We can't continue to allow citizens of the United States to go bankrupt, be disabled or die, because easily preventable and treatable conditions go untreated.

    Let's do it – but without creating a new government Czar. We are after all running Trillion dollar annual deficits and living off the generous alms of the Chinese!

    June 10, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  73. Joe Smyth

    As a Canadian, the most valuable thing we have is our universal helath care program. However, the wait time statistics you quote are misleading. Where any person attempting to see a doctor for a common cold will end up waiting many hours, any individual requiring emergency or important medical attention will be attended to immediately. Since our health care is free, many individuals will seek medical attention for very minor things which if they had to pay for, wouldn't bother seeing a doctor for in the first place. My main point is that any emergency or important procedures are taken care of free of charge in a timely manner-something that many Americans should push for.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  74. Co

    Public/private insurance works in The Netherlands where everybody is insured under a state controlled obligatory basic health insurance package. The private sector sells all types of insurances you wish to take out over and above the basic package. The premium for the private sector insurance is only age related not history related. The total premium we pay for a family of two is less than half we would pay in the US. Private insurers are making money!! The waiting time for treatment varies and depends on the specialities of a particuar hospital. The family doctor (GP) is an important link between the patient and the hospitals and also contributes very much to reducing the workload of hospitals.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  75. Curtis

    I find it interesting to see how the US will approach this healthcare overhaul. I live in Toronto, Canada and what I heard was mention on your show about long waiting times. Which is common in any country. Here in Canada, I can count on seeing a doctor which is the most important thing to me and my two children. I appreciate the work the canadian goverment does in looking out for the middle and lower class. However we do have hole in our systems and there will be holes the the US healthcare system as well... how the US deals with it, will be interesting to see. The US can learn a little something from Canada.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  76. Brandon

    I graduated from medical school 4 weeks ago with over 200K in debt. The administration will not be able to reduce costs on the backs of doctors as they are planning. Spending an extra 10 years in training after college and accumulating so much debt is already an unwise financial decision at primary care pay levels.

    I think that Obama's plan will reduce the quality of care for the population. To many of my fellow classmates already wonder if medicine was a wise career choice. I think this will only get worse as Obama tries to reduce compensation for health care providers by decreasing pay and raising their taxes. Something has to give.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  77. TJ Gill

    I live in Canada, I am 32 and have had medicare for my whole life. Medical covrage in canada is not a privlage its a right. All people are covered. Like any system in the world there are problems. The start of walkin clinics has really helped with the problem of wait times. I would rather deal with the problems the US deals with. I watched a movie on the state of the medical system in the US (SICKO) Michael Moore. I have no been to America since.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  78. Heriberto A. Marin (Puerto Rico)

    The free market system has proven ineffective in providing health insurance to all citizens. We have two options if we want to cover everyone: a single payer universal health system or a public health insurance that covers those that are not able to buy private insurance. But, even with universal health coverage the healthcare system must become more efficient in delivering healthcare. In other words, they must transform and improve healthcare delivery so that we have better quality of services, better health outcomes, and ultimately reduction in health related costs. What is clear is that the current system is unacceptable and unsustainable.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  79. elizabeth

    My female friend just had a stroke (56) she has been in hospital and rehab for one month. She has to sell her car and now selling her home to pay for her health care costs, in Canada this would never happen. How is this better,

    In my life of 56 years, I have never had to wait for any emergency treatment. We have spoiled people here in the country who like to complain, constantly, but they would never live in the U.S. or give up there health care.

    I agree with Dr. Gupta that everyone is paying for the uninsured, people go to emergency rooms, charging the system many times more than just going to a walk-in clinic.

    You should nationalize the rates, get on computers so that the fraud stops the overcharging, double billing etc.

    The insurance companies decide whether you get treatment, (they are the money people, they do not care about you), It should be your doctors and your decision not insurance companies.

    In Canada, the doctor recommends treatment, that person knows you and your body, they know what is right for you. When you go to an emergency clinic it is russian rollet as the doctor does not know you intimiately and can make a mistake.

    It is so obvious that Obama is on the right tract, big money insurance companies and drug companies do not want the system to change. Right now they are in control. This is not the best for the american people.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  80. Steve

    It seems to me that there are really two issues: one is universal access to healthcare and the other is universal coverage.

    I can afford my healthcare (thank God) but if I lose my employers coverage I only have 18 months of additional coverage (COBRA). After that, I'm one of the uninsured because I had cancer several years ago and no one will sell me a personal policy.

    Universal coverage (in fact all coverage) can be administered through the same mechanism that is in place now for the administration of medicare. The private sector bids for the job.

    All citizens should have the same level of benefits as the elected officials in Washington. Let's open up the Federal plan to all!

    June 10, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  81. C. H. Cunningham

    Government Health Care? What is the difference between Government Health Care and The VA Medical System. The VA Health Care system is Government Health Care.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  82. Helen Chaparro

    Those who do not want Universal Health Care must have a good job where they pay nothing for their insurance or they have not had a major illness, maybe because having insurance they can go to the doctor to prevent major illness. The Senators who are arguing against health insurance for everyone, do they pay for their own health insurance or our tax dollars paying for it????? I want the same kind of insurance they have and at the same price they pay....I am on cobra which will run out in a few months, I pay $344.00 a month plus co-pays when this runs out I find that I will have to pay over $1000.00 a month plus copays and with a cap...that is over half my monthly income, I am 62 and do not qualify for medical or medicare you tell me what to do.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  83. Sean in Canada

    Just a follow up to my last post. "We do not pay anything for healthcare in Canada". we can go to any hospital, any walk in clinic and get healthcare with no questions asked and no fee's since it is all free.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  84. Ernest In Newfoundland

    Canada has free healthcare (private insurance required for dental, and a few other things)
    but I have to clear up some misconceptions about Government run healthcare
    I choose my own doctor (the only beauracrat I see at a hospital is the receptionist when I give them my Medicare card) I am not told what treatments I can and cannot receive, I am asked how can We help you, instead of do you have insurance
    the wait times in Canada are high in rural areas as doctors are swamped with patients (alot of doctors don't move to rural areas as there is little for them to do with their families on their off time) also alot of doctors have gone to the US to make their money as they can see more patients and charge higher fees than here in Canada

    I pay a little more on my taxes , but I get the peace of mind of knowing I can get sick and not have to worry about going broke trying to pay for the treatment
    Universal health care is a fundamental human right, but the insurance companies want you to spend money on 'full coverage' health insurance and then deny you when your sick and the hospitals ask for their fee, it sounds like someone saying they'll take you to dinner and pay the bill, but says he has to go to the washroom and darts out the door , leaving you the bill

    Wake up America
    it's time to smell the roses and realize your being grossly misinformed

    June 10, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  85. Scott May

    So, will this new "reformed health care" remove jobs from current health insurance providers? Will it create federal jobs for a new sort of health care provider?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  86. Chuck

    Healthcare, along with every aspect of American
    society is just another example of the great divide
    between the growing gap between the rich and the poor.

    Rich people want to keep and make more money and
    poor people don't have any money.

    One way to help pay for any reform is to take a portion of
    the taxes rich people pay and appliy it to any public
    healthcare system. For example, a percentage of the
    taxes of anyone earning over $250, 000 would be applied
    to a new "medicare" type system.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  87. Gary

    At a minimum, 85 cents of every premium dollar spent, goes to pay health claims. Regardless of any projected administration savings, unless we can control claims, there will be no savings of any significance achieved under any proposed plan. It's a ponzy scheme.

    The real solution, and one most likely to obtain bi-partisan support, is to further regulate the insurance industry. Just as in the State of New York, where plans are community rated and individual applicants can "NOT" be denied, so should it be in the entire Country.

    Insurance companies should be regulated to genuinely do the following:

    1) Pool all companies of similar size, and the exact same rate change be given to each and every group within a certain group. True pooling.

    2) Preventive coverage must be included and promoted in all medical plans offered.

    3) Pass "Harkin's" bill "Healthy Workforce Act" and let's light a fire under the innertia corporate America is under, to finally implement work site promoted Lifestyle and behavior change programs.

    4) Exapnd upon what the results of New York vs Insurance Carriers regarding Usual & Cuxtomary charges resulted in, across America. Insurance companies must be forced to use its own data to arrive at what fees are usual and customary, and not just rely upon raw data provided by Ingenix and other such data sources.

    5) Force insurance carriers to become more transparent with regard to providing claims data both in aggregate and in detail by coverage to companieswith greater than 50 employees, and Pooled ClaimsData for groups under 50 so that any rate change can be understood.

    Much more, but will leave it there. There is so much that can be done with the current system to improve the majority of issues, but Obama unfortunately the democrats are being overly ambitious without fixing the holes in the system we already know.

    -Gary

    June 10, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  88. charlie

    As long as the Obama administration insists on building this reformed plan on the present base run by the insurance industry, it is doom to failure because that base is already broken. It appears that this is the painful result of the usual political standoff between the parties, and as so often happens, we will settle for a crippled system which will be terribly expensive and satisfy no one. We MUST have a government run system, preferably a single payer plan.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  89. parvin

    Tony,

    I just was watching the health care proposal and pros and cons, Here is my comments: health care is a huge problem but as media reporter you should not ignor the bigger issue of gas prices, the price of gas is going to eat up the health care premium for most people. Only media and people can make a difference here by being pro-active and fighting the gas companies. There is no reason for gas to go up and they are taking advantage of Mr. President's attention on the world and health care and cheating on gas price.

    Washington should make the gas companies (wall street) vs (main street people) to issue a $500 gas card to every driver in the country to overcome billions of dollars they collected for no reason last one and half year. In hopes that this action would put some sense in their greedy minds. Have a nice day. Parvin

    June 10, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  90. Rob, DE

    The republicans say that they want Americans to have choices, but these choices can't include a government backed plan. They say it would put the private insurers out of business! If they can't offer a good product for a reasonable price they deserve to fail. I thought that was one of the rules of capitalism and the free market.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  91. Beeuw van Kuijeren

    After a long time in the US I will be returning to The Netherlands where for far less money (PRIVATE insurance) I will get better coverage. Why can't the US do what other countries do?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_in_the_Netherlands

    June 10, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  92. Miguel

    I can't belive that CNN is giving any credibility to the Conservatives for Patient's Rights campaign headed by Rick Scott. You should due some due diligence and examine the effect of his policies on health care during his tenure at Columbia HCA, but maybe since one of CNN's former CNN reporter Gene Randall his campaign gets a pass on journalistic integrity and objectivity.

    Miguel

    June 10, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  93. Guy Kimble

    I don't understand why our goverment just doesn't get with the all the hospitals and find out the overall operation costs and work with them in finding a solution instead of using middle men or so called insurance companies.

    I guess when the people that represent you are in bed with the insurance companies it's no wonder why we don't get rid of them.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  94. Richard Kilmon

    My wife and I have worked all our life knowing that we will need more medical care as we age. She worked as a clerk in a State with low pay because we thought we could get health benefits when she retired.
    It seems obvious to me that when a national health care plan begins, most states and companies will bail out of their plans to save money. Then we have one system.
    Then we hear that rationing will be one way to "pay" for covering everybody. To me that translates into: let the retirees die, we can better use the resources elsewhere. This is the ugly face of national health care. Who do we save. Who do we let die.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  95. Judith

    While the GOPs in Washington keep trying hard to plant Fear in the American people about everything President Obama wants to do they are going to try to fight real hard about the health care because they have been in bed with the Ins Companies for years.

    We voted for Change.This is a new time with a new President and yes we need health care.

    I wish the GOPs in Washington would get the wax out of their ears because Obama stated who ever wanted to keep their health care they can while others can get it through the Goverment.I trust the Gov before the Ins Companies who have been making millions off us Americans.
    The Ins Companies got the Red Carpet in Washington while the doctors and nurses were push out.What's that telling ones? The GOPs do not want Change because they wouldn't be getting their fair shares.

    The GOPs want two classes of people,the Rich and the Working Poor.

    I would love to say to these GOPs wake up 'we the people do want change and want health care.Stop telling the media that people do not want it! You GOPs speak only for themselves and for ones they can control with their make believe speeches.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  96. Beverly

    What I keep hearing is that the Gov would dictate to the doctors what procedures, tests, surgeries, exams are allowed which puts a fear in people wanting to accept Universal Health Care. Isn't that what the insurance companies have been doing for decades? I'd like to think it couldn't get any worse with the Gov in control. I'm unemployed w/o insurance and over the age of 50, thankfully no health concerns, but I know it's a matter of time. I believe a doctor in New York (?) Chicago(?) who opened a clinic with Flat Fees for treatments. I just had an ear infection and paid $145 plus rx of another $40. Money I can't afford and delayed being treated because of the financial strain. I wish clinics would start having flat fees. Insurance could then be only needed for major illnesses and surgeries. My two cents

    June 10, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  97. Terry Kendall

    RE: s smitmans question-The man who appeared in the commercial was the CEO of one of the big for profit medical care providers. FYI they payed the largest settlement for Medicare fraud ever adjudicated. Listen ti NPR.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  98. Claude M Dickson

    I have always been lucky enough to have a job that has had a good insurance policy but I have a close friend that was self employed and could not afford insurance. After a beaking his ankle he was told there was nothing further that could be done .So nothing was done and now that it has not healed properley he is left with social security disablility. He asked why he couldn't have payed the bill out of his pocket or why so many are against people like him having affordable insurance.

    Claude from Texas

    June 10, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  99. john d. frederiksen

    I pay more than $500 a month on my own without prescription insurance, and I’m a republican and have not agreed with the President on most of his agenda, but I do believe this is right thing to do at this time. This I believe would fix the economy faster then other government spending!!!

    June 10, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  100. US.Visitor

    The united states should have free medical care, i live in the UK and the national health service has been giving free health care since 1948, this was established right after world war 2, so it was not a point of money as the country was still rebuilding after major destruction, it allowed all those citizens whose homes were destroyed during the war to have one less thing to worry about, it was and is a blessing. Absolutely everything is free, surgery, consultations, oncology, pregnancy, even medicine. All that is required when entering a hospital or clinic is name and address, i have been to the hospital many times, including surgery and i have not paid anything for it, the doctors and nurses were excellent. Even though its run by the government it can't be classed as something bad or communist, considering i've seen doctors drive away from the hospitals in Audis and Mercedes, so they get paid as well as they would in hospital in the United States i imagine. As a university student in the UK, i have to say not paying for health care is definitely one less thing to worry about, life is hard enough without the knowledge that you can go bankrupt if something horrible happens. I have visited the United States many times, and i love everything about it, except for the health care, it is a worry to visit and be careful to not get sick or injured so that i do not have to go to the hospital and drain all the money i have. Also, meeting some people and hearing their stories of having to pay a lot of money to see a doctor, some had stress related illnesses, which seems unfair since all the money they would have to pay to be seen and treated by a doctor, would cause more stress and further illness.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  101. Miguel

    Last line should read

    "but maybe since he has hired former CNN reporter Gene Randall his campaign gets a pass on journalistic integrity and objectivity".

    Miguel

    June 10, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  102. Steve Glock

    Hey Tony. The segment with Dr. Ghupta was great. Long on facts and short on speculation. We need an hour special like that. This is important! You asked "why does this affect me?" Another big reason – things change. Next year you develop Diabetes and you will never again have the option of choosing private healthcare. And have you noticed, every year they cover less and it costs more. This is about having choices for all.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  103. carol

    The elephant in the room when talking about the health care crisis is the problem of illegals. Until we address this problem we cannot control health care costs. We could afford decent health care for all U.S. citizens right now, but the healthcare system is bogged down providing "culturally sensitive" health care for illegals. I am astonished that the American Medical Association, the most powerful lobbying group in this country, has not been more forward-thinking in this regard. Why hasn't the AMA developed a relationship with Mexico's medical association so that healthcare providers in the U.S. can pick up the phone and in good conscience refer sick illegals back to Mexican healthcare providers?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  104. Godfrey

    I hear so much about Canada's healthcare not liviing upto peoples expectations. Slow service, long waiting periods. That is nonsense. I have lived in Canada for thirty seven years and never had a problem with socialized government run medical care. I have been to an emergency facility here. No difference in time. I felt we were bening held for a longer time so we could be billed for their time in their facility.
    My children came to visit me and remarked to why are so many elderly people working. If socialized medical care was in place the elderly would no longer have to work and make room for the younger generation, who so desperately need work.

    Why can't we have both.

    Thank you

    June 10, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  105. Lou Leahy

    Tony, its not rocket or brain science. What was last years PROFIT in the health insurance industry? What is the total cost to SELL health insurance? What is the avg. pay of managment workers within the health insurance industry? With Gov. insurance: NO profit, NO sales costs and much lower managment salaries.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  106. Doug D Mackenzie

    There won't be a problem paying for the government health care plan. We will have European style health care with European style taxes. 50% income tax, 17% value added tax (like a national sales tax), and roughly 5 dollar a gallon tax on gasoline. No problem.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  107. Jacqui Walker

    Health care reform is a necessity. My husband and I owe our physical and financial health to the government-run Medicare, BUT it also needs to be changed. We pay half as much in premiums for Medicare coverage, which pays 80% as we pay to the insurance co. which pays 20% of the allowable payment for medical service. Let's allow maybe a little (20%) increase in Medicare premiums and a big cut in the cost of medical care. And where is the Miedicare Trust Fund?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  108. joey

    WHO PAYS FOR ALL THE POLITICIANS MEDICAL BILLS ON THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC SIDE? ALSO, HOW MUCH MONEY IN TOTAL HAS BEEN PAID OUT OVER THE DECADES? CAN YOUR WEB SITE FIND OUT THAT ANSWER? ALSO, IN LIFE THERE ARE OPTIONS AND EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM AND IF MAJOR HOSPITALS AND MAJOR HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES HAVE A PROBLEM WITH GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE THEN MAYBE THEY SHOULD BE MORE RESONABLE, FAIR AND TREAT SICK PEOPLE WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT NOT JUST A NUMBER. I PAY $1700 MONTHLY JUST FOR HEALTH INSURANCE AND ITI’S TUFF, THE AVERAGE PERSON CAN NOT AND COULD NOT AFFORD TO PAY THIS KIND OF MONEY, SOMETIMES I MYSELF HAVE TROUBLE PAYING SO MUCH. IT TAKES THIS MUCH MONEY JUST TO STAY A LIVE SO, YES I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THE OPTION. FOR THE PAST EIGHT YEARS THE REPUBLICANS KNEW THIS WAS A MAJOR ISSUE AND THEY FAILED TO FACE THIS HEAD ON, INSTEAD THE REPUBLICANS LIED AND HAD COMMERCIALS PUTTING THE FEAR IN TO US ABOUT HOW HORRIBLE GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE WOULD BE FOR AMERICANS. ALL THE REPUBLICANS DO IS SPREAD THEIR LIES AND SPUE THEIR HATE INTO TO OUR HEARTS. WELL, I AM TIRED OF IT SO, GIVE ME THE OPTION ALREADY TO CHOOSE WHAT IS BEST FOR MY HEALTH. ALSO, REPUBLICANS NEVER SEE A MEDICAL BILL BECAUSE IT’S PAID FOR BY AMERICANS? IT’S EASY FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE RICH AND WEALHTY TO LOOK DOWN UPON THOSE WHO ARE NOT BUT UNTIL THE REPUBLICANS HAVE LIVED A DAY IN A FAMILIES SHOES WHO CAN NOT PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE, ROOF OVER THEIR FAMILIES HEAD, AND CAN NOT PROVIDE HEALTH CARE FOR THEIR LOVED ONES THEN JUST MAYBE THE REPUBLICANS WOULD GET THE PICTURE.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  109. Barbara Hartley MD

    Dr Gupta is mistaken in his assumption that the expense of treating the large number of uninsured in this country is causing insurance premiums to rise. Hospitals and doctors are not able to cover the expense of treating an uninsured patient by charging more for an insured one. Insurance companies pay what they allow, not what the doctor or hospital charges. As a family doctor, I can charge whatever I want for an office visit, but what I will get is the approximately $55 that your insurance company will pay. There is very little room for negotiation with the health insurance industry. The cost of treating the uninsured is borne by the hospitals themselves, and to an extent by the taxpayer. Many small rural hospitals have closed because of this. And that cost is largely borne by the working poor who are uninsured or underinsured. They do not get the discounts that the insurance company demands. They end up being charged full price, and they pay more than the hospital or doctor would have gotten for their treatment if they had insurance. They often end up bankrupt because of it. And their access to care is profoundly limited. I can (and do) see an uninsured patient at my office for $20. But if that patient needs to see a specialist or needs a CT scan or an expensive medicine, I can't help. That patient will go untreated until he or she ends up in an emergency room. I strongly believe that we need to reform our healthcare system.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  110. Kyle

    I wrote this months ago and it's still true:

    In reference to Healthcare Reform:

    We are constantly reminded how millions of unemployed Americans are out of health benefits, how unemployment health insurances such as C.O.B.R.A. are more costly and how Health Insurance is one of the largest expenditures for the private and the public sector.

    The Auto Industry and other business sectors are calling for bailouts while stating how much of a drain Healthcare Benefits are on their cash flow, jeopardizing the stability of their businesses.

    Other countries have Government Sponsored Universal Healthcare Programs and are paying less for drugs manufactured by U.S. Pharmaceutical Companies. Yet, our government has made it illegal for us purchase those same less expensive drugs for imported back into our country, forcing many Americans to pay a significantly higher costs. The past Administration has severely hampered Medicare’s and other government programs’ abilities to negotiate with these companies for fairer pricing. People are needlessly at risk, while others make huge profits denying treatment.

    A government subsidized healthcare structure would lessen the financial burden on businesses, reducing the need for bailout moneys, while allowing healthcare to be more accessible to all in the United States.

    Secondly, a Purchase Group the size of a National Healthcare System would create increased leveraging power and with the proper oversight, will guarantee lower drug cost.

    A Universal Healthcare Program would lead to additional savings by unifying individual health plans and eliminate duplicate administrative spending .

    Most importantly, all U.S. citizens would receive the same levels of healthcare and health maintenance regardless of income, resulting in a healthier and less burdensome society.

    Critics will protest that this will lead to a larger government, and increased taxes.
    But as the President has recently stated, “We as a nation will be saddled with the hidden cost of Healthcare”, by not reforming the present structure.
    How much in additional taxes do we presently shoulder in Corporate Bailouts and additional health service for the Underinsured and Uninsured.?

    If you would survey the average American , asking: “if their Healthcare contribution went directly to the government and would mean better healthcare benefits at lower drug costs“, what do you believe they’d say?
    Furthermore, the governmental sector has become the fastest growing source of job creation in this economy, creating job opportunities, putting a taxable base back to work, while keeps the U.S. a float.

    History has shown the Insurance and Pharmaceutical industries are in business to maximize profits. And recent corporate practice has emphasized a need for oversight and regulation. Do you really think those in government who have benefited from their inflated profit margins will really speak truth to power?

    But that ‘s why the people have entrusted the Obama Administration to make these types of changes?
    And this further underscores the need for the American public to continue to act as the fourth branch of the government, overseeing and supporting the actions of their elected officials to insure that our best interests are being represented.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  111. J. Tennis

    I’m not convinced that the Federal government can in fact “compete” with the many various aspects in the area of healthcare that it obviously needs to survive in this venture! I have serious concerns that should government become a competing body with America’s current healthcare system, we will eventually see the inevitable “unfair” competition of government intervention become so prominent, it could then, in turn cause certain companies within the healthcare system considered “too big” to fail, face the same fate as those such as GM, Chrysler, AIG and so on, that are now, for all intent and purpose, government owned, thereby failing the system and the American public all together.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  112. LA Jacobs

    I have a dream; One day every single American, employed or unemployed will live with Universal Healthcare.

    Republicans: Review Canada's Healtcare Program for proof and evidence of success.

    Obama Administration Strategy: create a national advertising campaign promoting what the benefits are of your Healthcare Reform Bill.
    Money for the advertising campaign will be provided by Obama supporters like me.

    Healthcare Reform Bill Advertising Campaign Strategy: Send everyone who voted for President Obama an email asking for $ to generate a Healthcare Reform Bill Advertising Campaign. Within the email, recipients can also sign a petition supporting the Obama Administration Healthcare Reform Bill. These email recipients and there correspondeces could later be tranfered into the Healthcare Reform Bill Supporters Blog.

    Successful Awareness Solution: The Obama administration would have educated the national public through ADVERTISING and built a community of supporters within the national public.

    In the end if the people what Universal Healthcare then no politician should argue otherwise. The strategy is to make republicians go against the people of the United States.

    LA Jacobs

    June 10, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  113. Rodney HEbert

    Republicans, claim to want to be a party to healthcare reform, yet during the Bush Administration, only succeeded in dropping millions of children from healthcare coverage. Now, they criticise Obama for calling for universal health coverage. Reeks of hypocrist to me.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  114. Jane

    My husband and I are both retired but not 65 yet. I pay monthly for our medical insurance, which is very good and a resonable price from where I used to work. What I want to know is, what happens to the insurance I have now? Will that be taken away from us and discontinued if we go to a National Health Care or can we just keep what we have?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  115. Diana

    Could it be that lobbyists for the insurance companies and their relationship with congress could derail this all important healthcare reform project? Simply put, the effort that insurance companies make to discern eligibility, pre-existing conditions, secondary coverage, in order to deny coverage, is a war against American citizens. They have turned healthcare into a high stakes gamble and they always win. Healthcare should be between doctors and patients in a civilized environment. Please invite the insurance companies to leave the table and control their greed until we know what real service, if any, they can provide.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  116. Donna

    Just a comment from BC Canada. A lot of mention has been made of Canadian wait times for specialist care, while this can definately be a problem little mention has been made of the benefits. Our medical covers pretty much everything: doctors visits, hospital stays, special testing (MRI's, cat scans, etc) surgery, cancer treatments, dialysis, and child birth. You don't have to carry different medical plans to make sure you are covered in different situations. Your premiums do not go up or get cancelled if you get sick, no HMO's dictating what treatment you can get or what doctor you can see. When people have coverage they seek treatment sooner, when they are "less sick", which is less expensive, and more importantly prevents more serious problems for the individual.

    Those against seem to be exagerating the cost, I would just point out that in the long run it is less expensive than having a huge number of americans uninsured. Enourmous amounts of money have been "lent" to bankers, insurance companies, and car companies yet when it comes to working towards making sure every american has afforable access to health care all of a sudden it costs too much. Yet America is great because of its citizens, are they not worth the investment into their health?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  117. Tom Harper

    Since I'm a supporter of single payer, this new Congressional plan isn't my first choice. But there is no sense in making the perfect the enemy of the good. So, I hope we can get it through Congress and get it signed by the President. Then implement it.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  118. Ron M

    Tony

    I am a dual citizen of Canada and the US. I have lived in the US for quite some time now and do not intend to move back to Canada.

    The insurance companies and idealistic conservatives are feeding a line of crap to everyone about the Canadian healthcare system.

    1. Everyone is insured. You have no choice just like you have no choice about requiring the heathcare system if you get sick. Any insurance system needs premiums from healthy people to pay for the care of the sick and elderly. Seems simple to me – I cannot drive a car without insurance nor should I be able to live without health insurance.

    2. At 10% of GDP, Canada's healthcare spending is far below the 16% seen in the USA. We spend more on healthcare than any other nation and millions of people never get the care they need because they cannot afford it. That is morally wrong.

    3. People in Canada get the care they need, when they need it. My mother fought cancer for 17 years and always got the best care, the tests needed and the most advanced medications. You can always fiond people that are unhappy with whatever system you have and the fear mongering is laughable. Healthcare is rarely discussed in political discussions in Canada and is always discussed hear – seems to me like it is our system that is broken not theirs...

    4. If every person must pay for healthcare insurance, the premiums individually are lower. That is simple math that cannot be argued. You can argue about public vs private but not about ensuring everyone is insured. The argument that it should be your decision is not valid when we accept the argument that it is morally wrong to deny services to someone that needs them solely on their ability to pay.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  119. Rob, DE

    The only thing worse than some D.C. bureaucrat telling our doctors what to do, would be to have health care run by some rich wall street types, who's only concern is getting our premium payments and figuring out how not cover us so they can make a profit from our sickness and death...... Oh wait, that's what we have now isn't it?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  120. penny

    No one disputes the need for health care reform. However, we need to drop from the rolls those that can afford health insurance but choose not to purchase it and those that are in this country illegally. This will cut the number of uninsured in half and congress can then discuss the most cost effective ways to cover those that trully need help without adding more taxes to an already burdened taxpayer.We want to help americans that are in need, not those who use the system.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  121. Claire

    I lost my healthcare, along with my job, last year so signed up for Medicare. Inundated with information on supplementary health care plans, I was unable to make sense of, compare, or select one that I thought would work best for me—so I didn't sign up for anything additional!

    I'm in good health and seldom visit doctors, so I have no idea of the cost of health care today or what that 20 percent out of pocket cost of a doctor visit or tests might mean to my savings, so I dread going to the doctor. Help!

    June 10, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  122. Mike Dean

    The simplest and most cost-effectve remedy would be to provide universal coverage and to create one agency to collect medical fees and pay claims.This would eliminate the overlap,duplication,bureaucracy, and waste created by thousands of individual plans, the hidden costs that continue to drive health care out of reach for a growing number of Americans.A single-payer system is the answer.Radical? We already have universal health care and a single payer system for everybody aged sixty five and over: Medicare.Study after study has concluded that the most practical and cost effective way to provide quality health care and to restrain costs is a single payer system, but no plan has come close to adoption because of fierce opposition by the powerful health care lobby.To discredit the single-payer idea,insureres,HMO's, for profit hospitals and other private interests play on Americans' long-standing fears of big government.In truth, it is the private market that has created a massive bureaucracy, one that dwarfs the size and costs of Medicare,the most efficiently run health insurance program in America in terms of administrative costs. The idea of a single payer plan run by the US government carries with it too much political baggage ever to get off the ground.What's needed is a fresh approach. How about we loosely copy and then amend and expand on what already exits in another setting-the Federal Reserve System, a quasigovermental organization that oversees the nations's money and banking policies.Call this independent agency the US Council on Health Care.Like the Fed, the council would set an overall policy for health care and influence its direction by controlling federal spending.Unlike the Federal Reserve it would be entirely funded by taxpayers. The money could come from just two taxes, a gross-receipts levy on businesses and a flt-tax, similar to the current Medicare tax, on all individuals income, not just wages.This would not represent an additional cost to society, but rather replace existing taxes and write-offs.It would cut costs for corporations and raise taxes slightly on individuals at the top of the income ladder.The market system is a devastating failure.Our country must change it.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  123. Parthenia

    Health care is absolutely essential for every American. Why is there a delay by those who are securely insured? No one in their right mind should resist the best chance for helth care for our entire country. Those that are able ccan keep what they have. Give the rest of us a break!

    What does the President need to get cooperation? Each and every American should participate with him to carry out the dynamic plan he has for health care. It’s within our reach. Why can’t we help him do it?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  124. Jim

    If the premiums are winthin reason and you do away with deductibles on insurance policies and on Medicare, then I feel that everyone would benefit except those that don't have health care. With the National debt growing by the millions each day and the new Administration not knowing how to handle the debt, we are on a quick road to a country going bankrupt. Americans cannot bail out the government debt, we will eventually become a third world country.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  125. Michael

    The Conservatives/Republicans know passing health care reform bill is the right thing to do.But because they want President Obama to fail they will vote no.Good bye GOP.God bless President Obama and God bless America.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  126. Ann Oriadha

    I support the public option and President Obama's 3 principles for health care reform:

    1) Reduce Cost
    2) Guarantee Choice (private or public option)
    3) Ensure affordable quality care for all Americans

    Now is the time for us to finally get this done!

    June 10, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  127. jech in Canada

    "Wait time" in Canada is more because of shortage of nurses and doctors, as in many, if not all,parts of the world, and not because of failure of universal health care. I'm a registered nurse here in Canada and I live about 400 kms away from a major hospital. I can tell you that if any our patients needs angiogram or any major health procedure, we can send them off to that major hospital in 1-4 days and have it done. Basic health care is available to all. Emergency care is free. Patients doesn't pay a cent when they are admitted to the hospital. We have gov't backed health care insurance as well as,if employed, employer provided health care benefits.
    Of course, we have to pay. But not as much as what you guys pay. The ones against that system are those from health insurance providers that are afraid to loose their millions of profit. They bled most of you dry enough. Maybe its time for them to stop.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  128. Karyn

    Healthcare for all is essential, and pre-existing conditions should not be a factor EVER! Our family healthcare coverage is a tremendous percentage of our income, and with two children born with significant medical concerns, we have no option but to purchase it. The system as it is has dictated our lives, at times demanding we take lower paying options that provide health insurance, vs. higher-paying independent employment because no insurance company will cover us individually at any price because of their pre-existing conditions.

    I became part of a company-wide lay-off in November, and had to pay COBRA (heaven forbid we allow any lapse in coverage, which would allow pre-existing conditions to come into play). I quickly found "temp to hire" employment, and was informed they were pleased with my work and wanted to make me permanent at the end of my third month. Much to my surprise, I instead lost the job. The only thing that changed in those couple of weeks was that I had to take a day and a half off to tend to my son's medical emergency the following week. So being medically fragile is a double whammy in the current climate–I have to assume they were not only concerned with the time I had to take off (despite my assurance this was unusual), but I'm sure this incident made them consider the risk of higher insurance rates overall once my family became eligible for employee insurance coverage.

    I look forward to a more sane insurance program, one which does not discriminate, including against medically-involved children and their already struggling families.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  129. Tom Harper

    Penny:
    How can you drop from the roll that doesn't have health care? They are not on the roll. What needs to be done is have them pay a penalty for not joining a public plan. Dropping them off a roll that they are not on is not going to do anything. The fact that they don't buy it but can afford it, means they don't need it and don't want to pay for it. Allowing them to stay outside the system for free is not going to help and fix the system.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  130. terry

    Health care should be part of the commons. It should not be run by for profit health insurance companies and HMO's..I do not mind paying a little more in taxes to provide this..We pay taxes to provide Socialist public schools, to provide Socialist public fire and police service, the Socialist courts which big business and for for profit health insurance companies use. So Socialist health care should be in there too.. We need to put pressure on our U.S. Senators who are not allowing the public debate. Some of those senators are democrats. With senators like them, who needs republicans.
    This is what the problem is, for profit insurance companies and HMO lobbyists floating hundreds of millions of dollars in capital hill are very hard to compete with. Republicans and some Democrats alike are taking these campaign donations This is where campaign finance reform needs to be passed.
    Some senators need to raise millions of dollars during their terms in order be get re-elected. They may not be able to do this easily. So some HMO lobbyist comes around and offers this money in exchange for a votes to kill any public heath insurance bill that come their way.
    ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY...

    June 10, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  131. Dr Ogletree

    We have several examples of what government-run health care would resemble; MEDICAID, MEDICARE, VA system, and military health care. All of these programs limit the care they cover and the medications they allow. These programs have "panels" of providers and non-providers who make decisions based on factors such as cost, alternative treatment even if it is outdated or less effective, and local availability. They have also established what is required and what they consider to be excessive diagnostic tools as well as requirements for the conduct of actual patient care called "clinical pathways". They have established guidelines concerning the number of days a patient may be allowed to stay in the hospital, exceptions to which must be reviewed by "utilization coordinators", usually nurses or non-medical administrators. Socialized medicine is already here and it affects every practice in our country. Extending government control would be a horrible mistake.

    June 10, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  132. Charlie Erickson

    I hope that the administration's panel on health care reform is reading all of these posts, and that Congress is also. There are some really good comments and recommendations here. The people here are not just opinionating and complaining, many are offering up ideas.

    This is one of the best threads I've come across, in a long time. this is what happens when common sense and independent thinking are unleashed. This is the people speaking, not lobbyists (bribery artists), or corporate America.

    Keep it up everyone.

    Charlie.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  133. Tom Harper

    As far as I'm concerned, I believe that health care is a human right. I'd even let the illegals join the Public Plan or be subsidized for it if necessary.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  134. Rob

    Tony,

    Information, as I am sure you, is being disseminated from so many legitimate and questionable sources it is truly hard for one to make heads or tails of complicated issues like medical care. Here are a few questions I have about Medical Care in US:
    1. Should we look to a more successful medical care program currently implemented in another country as a starting point for generating idea? (Based on the coverage CNN has provided I am under the impression the US has not considered this idea)
    2. How many countries have medical benefits similar or equal to ours?
    3. What countries have medical benefits close to, if not equal to, ours that are currently succeeding at ensuring all people have health care?
    4. Do the insurance or drug companies play any part in the USA’s ideas for a new health plan?
    5. Are the insurance or drug companies in other countries positioned to have significant control of their health plans?
    6. My findings show the majority of counties on the planet earth have a government assisted health care plan. Why do we, or CNN, focus on Canada as an example the majority of the time? Last internationals survey I saw listed them as 30, and the USA as 37 for efficient, cost – effective, advanced technology, knowledgeable, and preventive health care, so I am curious why Canada seems to be the best example of government assisted health care?
    7. Luckily, I believe, insurance and drug companies would easily be able to contribute to funding, if not completely funding a government assisted program since they will no longer be paying for as many government officials, lobbyist, and other organizations that are needed when the government is not involved. Would this not be true? If drug companies or insurance companies have made any money over the years. They could probably show their dedication to USA and a successful health plan by providing a little of their profit to funding the recreation.
    8. Why is the government’s involvement in health care spoke about with fear, or concern, most of the time in the major media (CNN included), and not more positive? I ask this since the Military, Postal Service, Libraries, Courts, Police, Fire Dept, and many other organizations are considered to be involved with the government and tax payer dollar, but not spoke about with fear, and concern, do to not being privately owned businesses. At least not that I am aware of.
    9. Why is our health a business in the US? That is my main question. Like most businesses they thrive on money, so it appears the rich are worthy of all sorts of benefits, and the rest of us are, well, not.

    I have many more questions, but figure this is enough for now,

    Thank you,
    -Rob

    June 10, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  135. Michael

    Under the Conservatives/Republicans America was for sale.We the people were being left behind and the rich got richer and poor got poorer.Everytime the Conservatives/Republicans open their mouth they sound like terrorist brain washing people with their lies and ideology,and their fear tactics.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  136. Dale Shipley

    The GOP is trying to strike fear in everyone that the GOVERMENT is in your business. If the new coverage is like medicare ,the hospital won't make as much money In January a trip to the emergency room cost $785.00 , medicare paid $134.15 and I paid $33.54 so now you see why the GOP hates it.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  137. Tony the actuary

    Yes, it's time for a reality check. Some of comments above are just not consistent with the facts. Like Terry's comment "I dont mind paying a little more in taxes." We're talking about moving the 28% bracket to 48%. Similarly insurance company profits are roughly $10B. That's a drop in the bucket, same prespective as trying to pay a monthly mortgage by looking at the one dollar bills in your wallet.

    Without a focus on the cost drivers, neither a govt nor a private system cannot control escalation and affordability fails. Inevitably access and quality will also fail.

    E.g. why isn't tort reform on anyone's agenda? Medical malpractice and defensive treatments are major causes of the cost escalation. Is it simply that Congress is 98% lawyers? Yes, it's all about money.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  138. Tom Harper

    GOP. Goobers On the Potomac.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  139. Candy Smith

    We are in such a mess right now, It is going to take major changes.
    How about effinciency experts? There is way to much paperwork-
    streamline all aspects of the paperwork trail-The biggest thing=
    PREVENTION!!! incentives to go to the gym, "healthy points" maybe to use on daily items people may use....I think if everyone used a little more prevention, we would have less abuse.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  140. Sydell Stokes

    There is already a plan for health care used by all Federal employees including members of Congress; it is called the FEHBG- or Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and it WORKS. Why can't it be used as a model for all health care programs? What if working people were taxed a percentage of their salary to pay for non-working health care needs? We get taxed anyway because of Emergency Room hospital visits by those who have no health care plans and who cause health care costs to increase – in accounting terms it's called "cost shifting".

    I have a friend who travels all over the world. She t ells me that France has the best system. There, the patient is seen quickly in clean waiting rooms, given a receipt for medical services which is presented to the State for reimbursement. She is also given cab fare home. We should be discussing our plans with countries who have existing health care systems that work.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  141. CAROL

    Now that Moosegirl has inserted herself back into the news, let me make sure that all know that her husband, Todd Palin, and their children qualify for FREE GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE in Alaska due to his native Indian ancestry under the program, Alaska Area Native Health Service; i.e. she and Todd did not have to sit down around "kitchen table" and worry about health care. She, being a good Republican, lied. Google this for more info and to verify my statement.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  142. elizabeth

    I have read the other emails from canadian's not one canadian is unhappy with their health care. Maybe you need to send people up here to see how it works. (Or are they afraid they might find out it works!!! like Micheal Moore).

    Could you post some of these canadian comments to let people know that what the american public is being told is not correct.

    People that are happy with their health care that provides 80%, do they realize when they actually do get sick and stay in a hospital, get home to find out that they are in terrible debt.

    Our elderly here can enjoy their retirement without the stress of worrying about health care costs, as medicare does not cover everything, Canadian health care does.

    Here it does not matter how rich or how poor, your system is like 400 years ago in europe, the king, the aristocracy and the rest are the paupers.

    What else do you have but your life, health care should be a right!!!!!

    June 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  143. Tom Harper

    Candy:
    Certainly nothing wrong with forcing a little exercise as part of any health plan. But it should be managed by a professional fitness trainer. Don't want those that are obese or morbidly obese taking on too much too soon.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  144. Matt Acord

    The thing that I don't hear anybody saying when they talk about health care is that if you have private health care through your employer then you do not have health INSURANCE. You only have a health maintenance plan that covers you until you or a family members becomes to expensive and you loose your job. Does it make any sense that your health care is dependent on having a job and having a job relies on you being healthy? I am speaking from experience. I had a good job but when my wife developed a serious lung condition I was "laid Off" and my health care was cut that same day. Now I am looking for a job and trying to pay over 1200 dollars a month for COBRA so that our insurance doesn't lapse and she becomes uninsurable.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  145. Dan

    It is incredibly frustrating that single-payer is getting so little discussion, so late. All of the other options are indeed going to be very costly, while single payer would cost the same or less than our current system. People don't want choices in their insurance. They want to have choices when it comes to providers.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  146. CaroleB

    I'm concerned that the fear tactics from those who are against health care reform are not being countered more by the facts – even on CNN. For many years, we have had rationed health care: Those who can afford health care choices get them. Those without benefits are lucky to have emergency rooms to go to for their primary care. The idiotic Medicare drug "benefit " bill is another symptom of follow-the-money decision making by lobbyists that resulted in enormous costs to the American people. Reliable statistics show that we spend more in health care per capita and get poorer results than even some third world countries – yet "poor quality" and "less access to healthcare" are arguments put forward against government plans. Anyone who has had to change insurance companies mid-year know that they have to also change doctors because of the in-network and out-of-network limits on choices of physicians. Also, the out-of-pocket upfront payment begins anew. Pre-existing conditions are also major reasons insurance companies deny coverage. We need to have more exposure to the signs that our health care system is broken. We have a lot of dedicated professionals in the health care field who want to do a good job. We have serious problems in Congress (follow the money!) for MCs and Senators in the pockets of drug companies and insurance companies. That's the REALLY scary scenario! Shed more light on this, please!

    June 10, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  147. Tom Harper

    Matt:
    Certainly what you have said is true for people with critical care issues or pre-existing conditions. If I was you I would head immediately to Cuba. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. This coumtry is completely awful for people in your situation.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  148. CAROL

    Michael:

    I compare the zealous, religious right and ultra conservatives to the Taliban (in fact, I call them the American Taliban). There is no difference. Both want a theocracy, fear based, exclusive (with two classes: the elite and the very poor), male dominated government which, of course, would be to their (exclusive) benefit.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  149. Tom Harper

    Dan:

    The reason single-payer is getting so little discussion is that it is dead in the water. You can't run the ship from the Hold.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  150. Tom Harper

    Matt:

    The reason I said Cuba is that when I saw the Michael Moore movie on health care. It seems that they will help out people no matter what. Of course, the level of health care in Cuba is well below U.S. standards. But U.S. standards are completely irrelevant when someone is in the position of your family. And as far as prescriptions, you can get those courtesy of the Cuban government down there.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  151. Charlie Erickson

    As far as Dr. Ogletree's comment goes; don't knock the system until you understand how it works.

    The VA Benefits System is pretty much screwed up, the VA Healthcare system is generally now considered one of the finest in the world; if not the best. I've been in the system for about 40 years. I've seen changes that are literally astounding. It is so efficient and guarded against mistakes, it makes one feel very at ease. They have all of the state of the art equipment.

    When I enter even the emergency room, I am assigned my own personal UPC info bracelet. Whenever I've been an inpatient, everytime a nurse or doctor comes to see me, which is quite often, especially when first admitted, My UPC is checked against info contained in an electronic device, that they all have. Every speck of info is cross checked and double checked. They encourage patient questions, and when questioned, they have answers (especially when administering medications)at the ready with no hemming or hawing, or they will get the answers for you.

    There's always someone coming to see you; be it a cleric, the roving library cart, the VA Volunteer Corps, healthcare techs, dieticians, administrative assistants checking the accuracy of personal info on file, updating and filling in blanks, doctors, nurses, orderlies, and the housekeeping staff will talk to you. If any VA employee notices anyone in distress, they will offer help. If for any reason one might suddenly be unable to walk or stand, you will be helped to get where you're going.

    When one is waiting for prescriptions, they make consult with a pharmacist, before it goes to the in house pharmacy. Once there, prescriptions are mostly filled within 30 minutes. They have three ways to refill prescriptions; via phone, the internet, and dropping off a refill request, All refills are mailed. They also bargain with the drug companies, unlike medicare. One big cost saver is that if you are prescribed 25mg of Atarax (for example) they will give you 50 mg tablets and a pill cutter. That probably saves millions, in the long run.

    It has become a premier system. Some Veterans confuse the problems of the benefits system, as being those of the healthcare system. As with any system, there will always be those who love to complain; but check with most Veterans and you will see and hear of what I am referring to.

    The VA Healthcare system might even be a model, to be used in the healthcare reform process.

    Charlie.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  152. Mike

    CNN = The Best
    Keep asking, pushing for, reporting REAL specifics. It is way past time for feel good guidelines. I hear no specifics about what full coverage including drug benefit for a family of four will cost. I hear nothing about getting health care OUT of businesses. Most businesses are great in their own field and horrible at insurence. Our businesses are not competitive, I have friends afraid to start their own business, and I’ve passed up chances to change jobs because of fear of poor or non-existent health insurance in a different company. Keep pressing the pols for real details.

    June 10, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  153. Michael Parson

    Tony,
    How many times have we as a people heard of families living without health coverage because of skyrocketing costs? How many times have insurance companies decided what treatments we, as taxpaying Americans, are eligible to receive? How long will we allow pharmaceutical companies to overcharge our citizens, decreasing our ability to make conscious and meaningful decisions for our family’s health? In my opinion, the only things universal health care will take from us are the monopolies imposed upon us by the insurance and pharmaceutical giants as well as the greed of a healthcare system that thrives as it runs the country into the ground. Universal health care works. Please look at other countries that have done it. Yes, our taxes will be increased but it would be a small amount compared to the millions already spent on those less fortunate citizens whom rely on government assistance to meet their medical needs or face the daunting task of living in America without healthcare. This is a win for all but the industries aforementioned but I really don’t care if they continue their record setting profits.
    Michael

    June 10, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  154. RJ

    My question is when the hard working tax payer going to get better insurance than people on welfare which by the way I`m paying for? I`m sick of people that keep popping out babies and I have to pay for them! Nobody helped pay for me or my kid so why do I have to pay for all the lazy and irresponsible people that keep having babies they cant afford??????????

    June 10, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  155. Charlie Erickson

    Oh, and by the way, the VA Healthcare System focuses on wellness and prevention.

    Charlie.

    June 10, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  156. Tom Harper

    Mike:

    We will learn more as the process continues about the plan. And the plan we end up might not look very much like the plan President Obama signs. At least the process has begun and I hope it yields a result better than the zero-sum game we have with health care right now.

    June 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  157. Tom Harper

    Charlie:

    You said, 'The VA system has all state of the art equipment.' Nonsense. You're either completely disingenouous or not at the Hampton Virginia VA.

    June 10, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  158. Chuck Rutterford

    The issue with unaffordable health insurance premiums is that everyone is expecting first dollar 100% coverage from their providers. This is not a feasable option. What deductible do you have in your policy if you paying $1700/month? In my state a family of 4 can get coverage for $350/month with a $2000 deductible 80/20 plan. Reform should happen at the state level because health care costs will vary. Someone who lives in a state where health care costs are lower per person should not have to shoulder the cost of those living in a state where costs are higher.

    One option to reduce the overall cost of health insurance which would reduce premiums is to eliminate the co-pay at the medical facility. Office visit charges have tripled in the past 10 years due to the fact that the patient is not paying the entire cost of the visit so doctors have raised the charge for an office visit which has been passed on to the payers of the premiums. An office visit 10 years ago was an average of 35-40 dollars and specialists charged 100-150. Both of those are now tripled because the patient only has to pay 20-35 dollars out of pocket. Higer demand with less supply of physicians is another factor in the increase. If the insurance company is not having to subsidise the difference between the co-pay and the charge, premiums will go lower. This is not a theory, it is in practice with some companies. I used to sell these type of options in policies.

    If the government is going to get involved I would rather have them involved in a way where the individual is able to choose from a group of policy options with the current providers in their state and reimburse them for their premiums. These policies would obviously need to be with increased deductibles, $1500 or $2000 for example, for some personal responsiblitiy should be on the patient. With a larger near 100% participation, no pre-existing condition should be excluded from coverage in any policy. The reason they are excluded now is because the risk pool is to small to spread the cost for these conditions

    The role of our government is not to take care of us from cradle to grave. If you think it is, then you have not read the Constitution or a history book. This is a representative Republic not a welfare state. This problem did not present itself until wage cap policies permitted employers to add payment of health care premiums as a benefit to lure workers. When the responsiblity of payment shifted from the user to the employer an entitlement mentality evolved and prices rose to unacceptable levels.

    June 10, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  159. Tom Harper

    Chuck:

    "everyone" is expecting first dollar 100% coverage is wrong. This is called a process Chuck. First you make an offer, either I accept or I make a counter offer. Then you accept or counter my counter offer. Hopefully, at the end of the day we can come up with something that is agreeable. If not, no deal.

    June 10, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  160. Charlie Erickson

    Tom Harper, I did not bring into focus any particular Medical Center when I made the statement. The VA system as a whole, is what I'm referring to. If you are familiar with the concept and setup of the VISN system, then you will know that the many facilities all have their speciaties, and will refer you to another nearby facility within the VISN when necessary. Most VAMC's have connecting transportation for those without cars, or who can't drive. You can go outside your VISN, if you need or want to. I have on many occasions. Any VA facility anywhere, can access your complete records in seconds, just by scanning your VA ID or entering just your last initial and the last four of your SS#.

    I now live in Martinsburg, West Virginia, but I'm originally From NYC. I decide to leave NYC after almost 60 years, and I chose Martinsburg, in part because of their great smaller facility (everything is smaller than NYC's 17 & 18 story Centers, along with their many facilities).

    Having high cost duplicate services at each facility would only drive up costs. That's the idea here. Here, I have access to the Baltimore, DC, Pittsburgh and other reasonably close by Medical Centers.

    So no, I'm not being disingenuous. I know my way around, within the system. It's extremely well managed. 25 or 30 years ago, it was one of the worst. What a turnaround.

    There is however, one thing that the VAMC's have which probably cannot be duplicated elsewhere. That is the camaraderie between Veterans. Veterans help other Veterans. If you ask another Veteran for guidance or help, they almost always gladly help. We communicate when we're in close proximity, like at any VA facility, and many numbers of us have good relationships with staff; to include maintenance and housekeeping staff. The VAMC's are one of the only medical care facilities, where socializing happens. VA hospitals are usually not quiet places. They're not really noisy either, but you will always hear talking and laughing, but rarely ever griping.

    Lastly, due to the nature of it's clients/patients, lifetime lasting relationships happen between the staff (which many themselves are Vets) and the Veterans. This only makes for a better healthcare system.

    Charlie.

    June 10, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  161. serio-comedy

    What is the public option?

    I have health insurance, Medicare and a supplemental insurance. During the few years I have been on Medicare, I have learned that some health care providers don't like Medicare. At my age, 68, you want them to like you. A lot.

    Would persons on Medicare be able to choose that option?

    June 10, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  162. Shelly

    My thoughts on state sponsored health care:

    I believe this health care option may be what this society needs for many reasons.
    1. the uninsured, produce more sick nonworking people and the insured produce more stable working people.

    2.young mothers would not have to remain unmarried to receive health care for their young children through medicaid. Because the fathers may not be able to afford health insurance for his family.

    Another thing my husband and I are insured with Aetna and for the last year we have been paying to much for our prescription druges.

    I don`t care if they blame it on mail order mix up or greediness, it`s all the same to us.

    From my window view, this health care could be a bridge over trouble waters, toward reconnecting the family unite.

    June 10, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  163. Tom Harper

    Charlie:

    Well, if you meant the VA system as a whole then your wrong. Because that VA hospital is part of the system. Got a little problem with logic, don't you, Charlie. And veterans helping other veterans is nice but it is not a health care system.

    June 10, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  164. Tom Harper

    serio-comedy:

    We don't know the details yet. We'll have to wait until a plan is signed by the President. Until then, we only get what the media tells us. I haven't heard how Medicare is affected. I did hear on the evening news last night that the Congressional plan, as it currently stands, has a public option. As to who is eligible, I don't know.

    June 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  165. Charlie Erickson

    Sorry Tom Harper, You sound politically motivated, or at least just are looking for things to complain about. Your comment (@2:57 PM) has no substance and makes no sense. Explain exactly what you see wrong with the system, because these blog equivalents of sound bites you're using just to knock what I'm saying, are meaningless.

    I don't want to start an argument, but you'd better be ready to back up what you say with some information,experience and common sense.

    I also doubt that CNN would appreciate us using this, as a personal back and forth blog.

    Charlie.

    June 10, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  166. Tom Harper

    Charlie:

    And you're politically motivated are you Charlie?. Maybe the VAMC could re-wire your logic circuits.

    June 10, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  167. Charlie Erickson

    Okay, I refuse to deal with nonsense. enough of this.

    Charlie.

    June 10, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  168. Tom Harper

    More than 21,000 servicemen and servicewomen have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. When the war ends for disabled veterans, their fight unfortunately continues at home as they struggle to receive disabled veteran treatment and proper veterans hospital treatment.
    Disabled American veterans have to wade through a mountain of paperwork to initiate Veterans Administration benefits. Complaints about VA disability claims processes range from an abundance of red tape to delays in getting benefits administered to rubber-stamped denials.
    In addition to the fight for Veterans Administration benefits, veterans' hospitals cause problems for vets, too. Disabled veterans have to wait to get admitted for medical care, and then find that the quality of care administered isn't always up to par with typical hospital systems. In addition, many Veterans Administration hospitals have closed or scaled back and so, therefore, have the resources available to our veterans.
    Gathering and sharing medical data within the Veteran Administration hospital system is another challenge. Lost patient files and problems communicating with other government entities continually plague veterans' hospitals.
    The VA issued a write-up of Veterans' Administration hospital conditions in 2007 in an attempt to rectify the ongoing problems within their healthcare system. The Environment of Care report provides detail on problems including mold, leaking roofs and at one Veterans Administration hospital, bat infestation.
    The US Government of Accountability worries that claims are being paid for conditions that weren't caused by active duty and may look to eliminate certain disabilities for which vets are compensated today.

    June 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  169. ED

    YESTERDAY I POSTED COMMENTS ONTHIS ARTICAL. IT WAS NOT POSTED.
    LAST NIGHT I WROTE IN AGAIN AND ASKED WHY IT WAS NOT POSTED.
    NO REPLY.
    TODAY I AM WRITING AGAIN. WHAT IS GOING ON? WHY IS MY QUESTION NOT BEING ANSWERED? WHY AM I BEING IGNORED?
    IS THEIR ANY ONE OUT THEIR READING THIS?
    HELLO. WAKE UP AND GIVE ME AN ANSWER. TODAY.

    June 11, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  170. John Tyson- Mississippi

    CNN's Poppy Harlow is doing her part to confuse the american people on the Healthcare issue. It serves no purpose to tell people that the CO-OP option is on the table. We have seen the beginning of the end for insurance company middlemen that want a "piece" of the pie. Insurance companies are removed from Medicare because of their greed and their lack of concern for anyone but themselves. Programs that affect people should be run by the people.

    June 11, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  171. John Tyson- Mississippi

    A Government-run system is ok by me. Healthcare should be non-profit and and have no middlemen. As a Conservative, I believe in the wholesale approach with no middlemen. the health of the American people should not be within a private Capitalistic system because of the inherent Greed of the Capitalistic environment

    June 11, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  172. John Tyson- Mississippi

    Healthcare premiums with Insurance companies for small businesses for their employees, on average, have risen 2.5 times the rate of inflation EACH YEAR for the last 30 years. Re: Howard Dean, C-Span, 6-10-09. This makes Small businesses uncompetitive. Giving employees a choice of a public Plan removes the business from this burden.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  173. John Tyson- Mississippi

    The proposed public option affects persons under the age of 65. For those who wish to confuse others, the public plan at present would NOT cover undocumented Alien ADULTS but WILL COVER undocumented Alien CHILDREN.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  174. Gilbert West

    What do the republicans call what they did over the past 8 years if not "government spending?" All they did was spend, and with no discernable benefit. We got nothing in return for republican government spending. And another thing, all these hateful hot air filled wind bags who ask the question: "When do we stop blaming the Bush administration?" Don't these fools realize that the 2009 budget was prepared by George Bush... not President Obama? Budgets for the following fiscal year are always prepared in advance. President Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2009, well after the cureent budget had been written and the related spending started. Maybe thats why there is such a disconnect. The republicans don't even realize what they have done. And, since it takes a man to own up to his responsibilties... the repbulicans will never admit the screwed up. These aren't men. These are some arrogant, snot-nosed punks with an overblown sense of entitlement and no regard for the well-being of the American people. President Obama and his adminsitration should move forward and ignore the republicans. All of the name-calling and labeling is just another form of bigotry they have grown up practicing. The republicans clearly do not have any answers. If they do, they should all be tried for treason for allowing the country to descend into this abyss while holding out on the American people. And finally, there is a world of difference between "spending" a la the last administration, and investing in America's future. What investment can be made without the need to ante-up the cost? They spent on the basis of a lie... and that is why it is going to cost us so much to straighten the economy out. Just because the thieves are no longer occupying the premises doesn't mean the damage has disappeared. The damage is still here, created as it was, over an 8-year reign of irresponsibility, criminal negligence, and fraud. Everyone who speaks out in denial should be prosecuted as a co-conspirator.

    GWest

    June 11, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  175. Jaycie

    Elizabeth Cohen seem to be unaware that if a person gets a job with a large company which offers group coverage health insurance, the insurance carrier is usually required to accept all members of that group regardless of any pre conditions in return for getting their business. Insurance companies are only allowed to deny coverage for those applying for individual insurance, because no government regultion stops them from cherry picking among applicants. I hear lots of complaints from those who want no change that under a public plan, people will be denied needed treatments, will not be able to choose their doctors, will have to wait for treatment, etc. Isn't that EXACTLY what we have now, with private insurance? In California, Blue Cross has been notorious for all of the above. as have other private plans. .

    June 11, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  176. Charlie Erickson

    Tom, You like so many others are confusing the VA Benefits Administration with the VA Healthcare Administration. The type of benefits and percentage of disability (if any), is decided by the Benefits Administration. The Healthcare Administration provides guess what?

    I had to fight for over two years to get my benefits. Many have to fight much longer. I got tough with them, and proved my case beyond any shadow of doubt. If a Veteran happens to be close to death, they will delay and wait it out, and if the Veteran dies, even on the day he/she might be awarded compensation, the case is immediately closed, and the Vet's family will get nothing. They have unwritten directives, like unless you're extremely traumatically injured, they will automatically turn you down on on your first attempt at disability compensation. I could write a book about how the Benefits Administration tries to screw the Veteran. What I have been referring to, is the Healthcare Administration.

    Mold is always a constant problem, for every institution, everywhere it's humid; especially in bath/ toilet areas. It's a constant battle. No big surprise there. Stachbotrys Chartarum is the mold that's the biggest problem. It's also known as the black toxic mold, which it is. It's like the pesty aquaintence who keeps coming by, even after you manage to get him to go. It's next to impossible to irradicate, once it makes it's first appearance. If Housekeeping knows about it, then they will address it; at least at every VAMC I've been in. Bats make their way in through open doors and/ or windows that are not screened, usually through the maintainence protion of the facility. I once had a little bat fly in and cling to the edge of the tile holders of the drop ceiling. The next day it was gone.

    The point you make concerning sharing and transferring of medical data, is a thing of the past. I refer you back to my previous posts on the subject. When was the last time you used a VAMC?

    There will always be some facilities which are "better" than others. That is universal. Still, all in all, The VAMC is viewed as one of the premier Healthcare systems around.

    Now, I don't want to get into a back and forth here. If you want to know more, contact the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP), Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Inc. (ACHC), and others. In addition, read up on electronic healthcare records @ Wikipedia.

    Charlie.

    June 11, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  177. Leonard

    The Republicans preached "war without end" politics and lost big time. Now again, the are preaching that a "public healthcare system is a non-starter" even though these same hypocrites have a publicly funded (call it socialist) healthcare system for themselves and their families. Clearly, we can see that they are only there for themselves and the political contributions they get from the price gouging hospital groups that have no iota of human compassion.

    Ask any American that has lived in France or England what they think of the healthcare system in those "socialist" systems. England is the most financially conservative country on the planet yet, they have the common sense to have a single-payer system that eliminates situations where a hospital buys an item (such as band-aid) for $1 and charges the patient $150 because "insurance pays for it". No other sector has such a obnoxious profit margin system.

    No one is advocating a budget-breaking healthcare system but one that eliminates excessive profit margins (by using more non-profit hospitals), cherry-picking for healthy clients by insurance companies, and a system that everyone can pay into that is budget neutral (meaning it spend only what it takes in to avoid adding to the spiralling deficit).

    June 11, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  178. Leo, Dallas, TX

    For-profit health insurance has outlived its usefulness – (Physicians for a National Health Program

    http://www.pnhp.org/news/2008/september/forprofit_health_in.php

    June 11, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  179. Anne

    I hear a lot of debate about regulating healthcare for deserving, struggling, valid American Citizens and valid immigrants. This I am all for.
    What about discussing where the burden of our existing costly programs is actually from. The existing quazi-loopholes of custody battles being fought in our juvenile court systems, mainly aimed at our disabled, probably single, parents. Most, if not all, are capable of raising their own children.
    Grandparents, seeking to relive their parenthood. Foster parents finding it easier to adopt this way.
    Adoption/Foster subsidies
    Mainly to families that are well off and can afford to care for these children on their own!
    This is in "addition" to medicaid and dental each child is eligible for
    PAST the age of 18!!!
    These are not crime or drug related issues...
    This is the quazi loophole..Gaining children to raise who basically are paid for well past 18...
    THIS IS WHERE MOST OF THE PUBLIC MONEY IS GOING.

    June 11, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  180. Robert Thompson

    Health Care has become a political issue rampant with swift and inefficient ideas in Washington. The major insurance initiative the government has offered for those 65 and older, Medicare, is severely underfunded and is in serious trouble. Compound this problem with our economic issues along with Social Security deficits, one can quickly realize that we can't afford to overhaul health care and create a public option run by the goverment. The true nature of this initiative is to capture more tax dollars from every working American. This is a tactic to bring fresh revenue into Washington via our tax dollars. With all do respect, Sen. Kennedy has had his eyes on a single payor system since the 70's, and we saw a resurgence in the 90's with the Clintons. Politicians were smart enough during those years to prevent the government from getting involved. There are better and more efficient ways to solve the health care issue. Creating more government is not one of them.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  181. c. monk

    In regards to doctors currently making the same amount that they made in 2001, I encourage you to have your people take a poll to see how many American workers (if they are lucky enough to still be working) are making less than they were in 2001. My husband is not even making half what he was making in 2001. I can't think of one person who wants to be making less than they were in 2001, but millions of Americans are making much less now.

    June 12, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  182. Kathy

    Heidi, How could you ask such a question to Tony?
    Re: Your question – "Would you like to be earning the wages of 2001?"
    I am sure, both of you are aware that millions of Americans today earn less than 1991 wages, (let alone 2001 wages) without benefits, without perks, and by working far more hours each day, and are required to have more than one job each day, just to provide the basics in living cost.
    I was very disappointed with that question because you both are in a 'very' high paying job yourselves and now I feel you really don't get what is happening with the majority of Americans.

    Kathy

    June 12, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  183. J.J. Saecker

    The congress and senate use the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. This is a tried and true system that could be used as a model for both Medicaire, and a choice for the rest of America. Why do elected representatives oppose a similar plan for their constituents? Does the FEHBP limit choice of providers and interfere with the decisions between the doctor and patient? My employee offered health care most certainly does.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  184. Kaye Perrier

    I retired with a good income from California, but with high drug costs, I am almost in the doughnut hole for this year. I have no heart problems, high cholesterol, or diabetes,. The medications I require are high dollar and not on medicare's formulary list: restasis, for extremely dry eye; spiriva, the best for a lung condition that is now almost gone and i can sing in the choir; evista, for ostepenia. Fosamax would be covered, but I chose not to take it after researching the pros and cons.

    Many of my friends are doing without life-saving medications in order to just eat and pay the rent. Without affordable health costs, there go I.

    Dental and Eye care:: Are older people not supposed to be able to chew, see, or hear? What about a good group plan for these life's necessities? I went to Mexico and now am seeing a U. S. dentist, because of the botched job. $$$$ Help!!

    Kaye Perrier

    June 13, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  185. seth weingarten,m.d.

    I am a retired neurosurgeon who has always been for a system of universal healthcare to protect our middle class . I am reviewing the various health systems in different countries because no system is perfect.

    However.......my personal experience as a neurosurgeon suggests to me that whether there is a one payor system or not the cost of healthcare in our country will not go down becuse the payment schedules for healthcare are now correlated with procedures done rather than the outcome of those procedures. In my field of neurosurgery we have almost an epidemic of spine surgeries being done...and the only way to limit the costs of these procedures would be if the doctors operating on these patients with back pain were paid based on the results of their interventions rather than on the number of surgeries they performed.

    s

    June 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  186. NICHOLAS PETROFF

    The kind of propaganda to bamboozle uninformed Americans that is being churned out by the Republicans concerning government run health care is pure, unadulterated nonsense. Shame on CNN and other news organizations that allow this kind of garbage to flood the airwaves without some kind of a caveat.

    I lived in Germany for 15 years and was part of the German health care system because that is the law. One cannot legally live in Germany without health care. The umbrella state sponsored service is called AOK. Now here is something that even a Republican can understand: the more you earn the more you pay! When I was earning over 150,000 dollars per year I paid approximately 500 dollars a month into the plan. When I became unemployed because my company folded my unemployment insurance kicked in which amounted to my having to again pay about 500 dollars, that is, PER YEAR! The health service, however, never changed. It was exactly the same for me irrespective of how much I paid into it. And I never had to wait in crowded reception rooms for service from doctors of my choice! NOW LISTEN UP REPUBLICANS, I ALSO HAD THE OPTION TO BUY INTO ANY OTHER HEALTH INSURANCE IN ADDITION TO THE BASIC PLAN!!! JUST AS WE NOW HAVE SOCIAL SECURITY AS A BASIC FALL- BACK PENSION PLAN AND OTHER PENSIONS FROM PRIVATE INSURANCE PROVIDERS. By the way, isn't Social Security SOCIALISM? And where would we be now if Bush and gang got away with their privatization of Social Security as planned before the Wall Street crash of our so-called, beloved "deregulated market economy?"

    Nick

    June 13, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  187. Kevin

    The problem is insurance whether government of privately ran. You have the healthy subsidizing the unhealthy and the responsible subsidizing the un-responsible. People should have the freedom to choose and be required to take responsibility for those choices. Today we have people who have the freedom to choose and want someone else to pay for those choices. Should someone that eats healthy and exercises pay for someone's insulin because they drink sugar pop, eat McDonald's burgers and don't exercise?

    June 14, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  188. Michael J. Bartiss, OD, MD

    This is a letter that I have sent to Secretary Sebelius, President Obama as well as Senators Hagen and Burr. I have not received any response form any of these parties.

    Dear Secretary Sebelius,

    The availability and cost of health care insurance has certainly become a critical issue in the lives and minds of the citizens of our country.

    I feel that it is important that you hear from those who are "in the trenches", i.e. the people actually providing heath care services.

    It is my belief that we have a health care insurance crisis rather than a health care crisis per se.

    It is also my belief that ultimately, we need to get health care insurance off Wall Street.

    Mandating that all insurance carriers sell their stock and become not-for-profit companies would allow competitive forces to continue to function in the marketplace and allow the private sector, rather than a state or federal government entity, to administer the operations. It is my belief that the private sector is very capable of running efficient insurance companies, but they cannot serve the best interests of their insured clients and their stockholders at the same time.

    State (Insurance Commissioners) and Federal oversight to insure that these companies behave in a not-for-profit manner would protect the interests of the American public. This change would shift enormous amounts of capital from investors directly into health care delivery; allowing greater health care access, more affordable health care coverage and more expansive health care benefits.

    Heath care insurance companies do not need venture capital and there are hundreds of other investment options for investors.

    At a time when the costs of health care are rapidly rising, does it make sense that significant health care dollars are spent to pay “middle men” expenses to insurance companies and their shareholders rather than spend these dollars for health care services that directly impact the lives of the citizenry?

    The health insurance lobby however, as we both know, is powerful and influential. This type of change would require real political courage and commitment from our elected officials to become a reality.

    This proposal represents a significant change from the system we now have. The reality, however, is that the health insurance system that worked in the past, no longer works for the American public.

    Patching the current system has neither fixed the problem in the past nor will it fix the problem in the future if it does not directly and dramatically effect the allocation of increasingly scarce financial resources for health care.

    I will be happy to discuss this issue with you or your representatives if you wish to do so.

    Respectfully yours,

    Michael J. Bartiss, O.D., M.D.
    Pinehurst, NC

    June 16, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  189. Jeanie

    I suggest the following: eliminate Medicare and Medicaid and replace these with universal health care for all. Can the (rapidly disappearing) middle class pay for yet another health care program????

    June 16, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  190. John

    The 43 million Americans without health care and insurance (including myself and family) need to be cared for just as well as the folks with it. The Republicans, AMA etc care only about lining pockets and not the welfare of our people. As stated in CNN's interview today of a Republican Senator, he was not able to say his plan would cover the Americans in need. Most people don't understand that the burden and cost is already being paid for buy us indirectly and the care most without insurance is sub-standard. We must as a country address this head on. I am behind Obama 100% and hope the rest of America would jump on board.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:22 am |
  191. Garfield (Canada)

    The US talks about freedom from this and freedom from that, isn`t it time your citizens got freedom from the fear of sickness and its costs? In Canada we are free from that worry and our healh care is a right for all not something for the rich to profit from.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  192. Susan Hupp

    I am a 63 year old divorced woman without a job. I receive 897.00 a month in social security. I take 400.00 a month out of my annunity. I spend 215.00 a month for limited insurance. I take 7 medicines monthly for a number of health conditions. One medicine comes from Canada. I don't eat good, I skip medicine......got to make payments on 5,000. in credit card bills, a small mortgage, and lot rent for my manufactured home. I cringe when opening up the utility bills and even sit in the library where it is cool when the weather is in the 80s...I cannot afford to run the the a/c at home. My one luxury is driving 65 miles to visit my daughter and her family and stay overnight there. I am ashamed to not be able to put money in the collection at her church and even more so at my church. I need dental care but my dentist refuses to give a discount. I worked for 14 years until I could no longer do it.....physically I was getting worse every day I tried to stay at my job where I was overworked and had to push people and equipment weighing over 400lbs. If I continue to take 5,000. out of my annunity each year, that will be gone by the time I am 79 yrs. old even with the interest I'm getting on it. Please, Mr. President, tell us seniors how you are going to help us. Give us National Healthcare if that is the answer. I am so confused by the options available once I turn 65 in 14 months. Who do we turn to with these questions? Many of us know the "Golden Years" are an elusive expression, particularly for us who are unmarried and just trying to get by.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  193. Robert in Tulsa

    We have a national 9.5% unemployment rate, and it's quickly climbing to 10%. The stimulus package has not eliminated our economic issues, and a second stimulus package is looming. We need to stabilize our economy before we do anything with health care, as it's only 1/6 of our economic pulse. Our current health care system needs to be "tweaked", not overhauled. And all sectors (Private insurers, Pharmaceuticals, and the Medical and Hospital Associations) should work together to find common ground. Senate, Congress, and the Oval Office does not have enough knowledge to base their decisions on an industry they not only know little about, all the while trying to pass legislation in record time. I wonder why, is it because all facets of government are majority Democratic for at least a year?

    The health care price tag is now being quoted at roughly 660 billion dollars, but when you add in the proposed increases to Medicaid and other programs, the price tag quickly increases back to over 1 trillion dollars. And America, this is just a "down payment" for this "public option". Then, it's supposedly going to be sustained by premiums charged for the "public option" . Nobody has seen a plan design which shows what services will be covered and what will be excluded. But know this, the government will base their "public option" coverage on evidence-based medicine, a standard by which private insurers already follow. Not to mention, there will be a rationing of health care that nobody in this country has ever experienced.

    Come on America, we are a smart country full of smart people. The real way to handle health care is to think long term, and for our government to overhaul healthcare and create a "public option" is just a "band-aid". It's similar to an old adage, it usually takes and equal amount of time to get out of a mess, as it took to get into that mess to begin with. Our system has remained stagnant in areas other than the insurance side of our health care system, remember, insurance just pays for services. There is nobody addressing the psychological aspect of what creates poor health. What about our country's mentality of just simply taking care of ourselves and living healthier lifestyles? The United States overall is of the most obese countries in the world. We all make poor decisions that affect our health everyday, but then we all feel entitled to cheap health care that covers everything.

    Another adage, "Be careful what you wish for", will prove itself true as we sit here and allow our government to wreck our health care system.

    July 8, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  194. Bea

    I don't care how they arrive at the end result, but people should be covered PERIOD. I have excellent coverage, plus supplemental and pay half of the premium. My share is $400 per month. Without the supplemental, my bill for heart surgery would have been $50,000 above what my primary coverage paid. Roughly eighty percent of the bankruptcies in this country are because of medical bills. Doesn't that cost us? The first order of business should be to get rid of the government drug coverage. What a joke. How much do Federal and State governments pay in health care now? I think the answer will shock a lot of people.

    July 8, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  195. Michael

    As reported on MSNBC the Senate is being payed to vote against health care reform.The Republicans and some Dems do not have the countrys best interest in mind.How can america be rank # 37 and france rank #1 in health care? How can we have change in america when lobbist pay politcians to look the other way?How can we have change when the Conservatives/Republicans use scare tactics and lies?God bless President Obama for trying to do the right thing for the people AND THE COUNTRY.

    July 9, 2009 at 2:49 am |
  196. Tom Hay

    I support the Presidents idea that everyone should have health care. Unfortunately, it has been well demonstrated around the world that socialized health care does not work well. Anytime something is free, people abuse it. Anytime the government pays for and controls, any service the quality is poor and the real cost is high.

    I again state. The best plan is:
    1. Give everyone access to the health care plans used by Congress. Congress will always have quality care, as they make the rules!
    2. Provide tax rebates based on income for coverage of the cost of coverage. Also, assess all companies using the plan for a share of employee costs.
    3. Allow the free market to set prices and control costs. They are far better at this than the Government.
    4. Eliminate Medicare and Medicaid placing all those people in the same system. That will save the Government Billions and finally give equal protection to everyone!

    Now, you can be sure that if Congress and the Government are using the plans they will be adequate and the service will be there. Otherwise, if Congress has a different plan, ours will always be based on costs and politics not quality of care.

    July 9, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  197. Pat from Wilmington CA

    I believe the boarders need to be secured before we have any health care reform. we don't need more people coming here to get a hand out and everyone else fitting the bill, also I recently witness gross over charging in the the hospitals. where we had to pay over $25.00 for a disposable gown . this kind of thing need to be fixed before we can even consider health care reform. we are a long way away from universal health care.

    July 9, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  198. Bryan Faulkner

    Universal Health Care is the ONLY answer. Everyone deserves to get help when they are injured or sick. A person's well being should not be decided by whether or not they can afford to pay for it. Even middle class people can't afford serious illnesses with current health care plans.

    The cost of health care needs to be absorbed as much as possible by everyone that lives or passes through this country. With our GDP over 14 trillion dollars we could implement a Nation wide sales tax at 2 cents per dollar and earn over 280 billion dollars a year to help pay for it.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  199. Michael

    Now the blue dogs, Conservative Dems., are trying to stop health care reform this is madness.What kind of people do we put in office to just turn their back on the people who put them there.We talk about how other countrys treat their people, look how we, the american people are being treated.This is sad and we the people need to be angry about this and stop letting the politcians who are being paid to stop health care reform get away with this crime.Under the Conservatives/Republicans for 8 years our more we were lied to.Now is the time to let them know the buck stops here.President Obama is doing his part for the people and we the people need to hold those who are not doing their part accountible for their action.

    July 11, 2009 at 12:13 am |
  200. Richard

    When will we stop the insanity? Our current system of health care is not working. The insurance companies in our nation have been robbing from us for years; taking our premiums only to deny us of our rightful claims for which we've paid. It's time to stop empowering the insurance companies. It's time to take a lesson from the other free world nations where they actually care about their people.
    Nationalized health care has been benchmarked as a success. It appears that only the insurance companies, their lobby, and their political allies along with the uneducated in this country are ones who don't want it. As for me, I would gladly pay into the system or even pay higher taxes to achieve this. (Who said it would be free?)
    The people of our nation should decide. Not the insurance companies nor the politicians.

    July 11, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  201. ED

    WHY DO PEOPLE FROM CANADA COME TO THE U.S. FOR HEALTH CARE? THERE SYSTEM DOESN'T WORK! WHY DO PEOPLE IN ENGLAND,FRANCE, AND GERMANY DIE WAITING FOR HEALTH CARE? THEIR SYSTEM DOESN'T WORK.
    NOW WE WANT TO GO TO NATIONAL HEALTHCARE. IS IT GOING TO BE BETTER THEN THEIRS?
    FIND OUT WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEIR SYSTEMS TO MAKE SURE WE DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE THEY MADE. THEY HAVE DONE ALL THE WORK. ALLWE HAVE TO DO IS REFINE IT SO WE DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE THEY DID.
    THEN GIVE THE PEOPLE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE.
    WHY CAN'T IT BE FREE? THEY SPEND BILLIONS ON THE WAR. BILLIONS ON FIGHTING DRUGS. WHY DO WE HAVE TO PAY FOR NATIONAL HEALTH CARE THAT THEY WANT TO IMPOSE ON US?
    THEY WANT TO INCREASE GAS TAX 2 CENTSTO PAY FOR IT. THAT IS INCREASING TAXES ON PEOPLE WHO MAKE LESS THEN $250,000, RIGHT? OUR GOVERNMENT IS THROWING MONEY AROUND LIKE IS NOTHING, LET THEM FINANCE IT 100%!

    July 11, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  202. EILEEN WULLSCHLEGER

    I was listening to your program dealing with racism in medical care. I am a white, retired school teacher and have been treated very poorly by the U of Michigan health system. I was diagnosed as asthmatic by a doctor in their Cough Center in Ann Arbor...at a cost of approx. $8,000(insurance and out of pocket money). I wanted to get on the Michigan Pesticide Notification Registry run by the MI Dept. of Agriculture. If on the registr, you get a phone call from the pesticide company in advance of pesticide spraying. The MDOA has only 69 registered members out of 10 million people in MI. Roadblocks, such as a required doctor's certificate keep the poor,uninsured and unemployed from participating,yet I have good insurance and my U of M doctor refused to sign the required DC and abruptly ended my care...meds included. He gave no reason for abrupt termination of care. I was without a doctor's care for over two years for new doctors wanted to do all diagnostic testing again... for that is where the money is but my insurance didn't wish to pay for same tests again, in such a short time frame...I agree that is wasteful. The U of M has no fair and unbiased system to review patient complaints...some slick lawyer has suggested an " I am sorry approach" from health system to patient complaintant...very disingenuous,at best. I filed a complaint with the Michigan of Community Health...it appears no one read the complaint which was filed twice...I was refered to as a "HE and HIM" in both finding-I'm female. On the third try, I was told that my medical records had no mention of termination of care or end of meds. I have proof that I faxed his office the DC(saved fax receipt) and I have a copy of his nurse, Lisa terminating my care on my message machine. I filed a complaint with the Chicago Office for Civil Rights and do not believe it was investigated for I spoke to no one regarding this matter...only a mumbo jumbo explanation came in a letter. I wrote every Regent at U of M and the head CEO at the health system, a Dr. Kelch. No response came to me. In MI , it appears that no resonse is the response. I wrote every MI State legislator in the Health commitee and Agriculture Committee twice(in Lansing)but again there is a lack of will and interest in this citizen's concern, excect for State Rep. Tim Bledsoe-he takes no special interest money and offered helpful suggestions. There is a bill that gathers dust that would do away with the required DC but it appears the lobbyists for the pesticide industry and agriculture industry know how to shelve a bill so that only 69 people can play the game. I have tried every avenue. This white, retired senior citizen with adequate health insuranse has as much clout and influence as a poor black citizen...I feel their pain and identify with the injustice and I know the health system is mainly about making money. the problem is beyond race. The health system appears to work for the politicians. Only those with influence get good care, like federal senators and congress members, I would be glad to share my story. Eileen Wullschleger.

    July 20, 2009 at 11:35 pm |
  203. Terri Tylo

    People making over $250,000 a year ARE RICH compared to the rest of us. And by the time they take their usual tax deductions, they pay next to nothing compared to the shrinking middle class. They can afford to pay for healthcare especially when you take into the matter ALL of the deductions and concessions they have received in the last 8 years from the Bush administration.

    During these same years, the sick, elderly and the barely visible middle class have gotten raped (financially, emotionally, and spiritually) by the same fat cats in Washington, who are listening to the few whining, stingy, and cheep rich people who contribute to their war chests. All the while, these politicians and the rich don’t have to worry about losing their homes or filing for bankruptcy if they get sick. Fair is fair and we voted for these people and will replace them if they don’t stop this posturing!

    July 21, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  204. Maureen Steffek

    My brother died after months in excruciating pain form cancer. Cancer that could have been eradicated when it was diagnosed. But he couldn't afford private health care and couldn't qualify for public health care. The MILLIONS of Americans without health care suffer from real illnesses, real pain and real death. They are some one's child, mother, father, sister, grandfather. Please, we need to help them now.

    July 22, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  205. Bea

    It's true, the people who suffer the most are not the very poor who are eligible for public assistance, but the lower middle class. My friend and her husband are in their fifties and had a very modest house that they had worked for years to pay off because it was their retirement, a place to live that they could afford when they could no longer earn income. He used a small inheritance from his mother to finish paying it off. She was a secretary and he was a mechanice. His boss canceled his health insurance when business got slow, and didn't even tell him he had done it. She was a diabetic and couldn't get health insurance on her own. The worst happened, and she had a heart attack. She could not get public assistance because, although they had no other savings and a very modest income, they owned that house. She is in her eighth year of paying off medical bills.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  206. Sally Jo

    If we are suppose to have a two party system, why don't we have a plan from the Republican Party that shows how we can improve health care in the US. This is a big problem for many in the country who are forced to go to the ER for treatment, etc. and have no other way to get treatment, no insurance. That in turn creates a large expense to the whole system. I want to hear how the Republican Party thinks we can make the changes we need, not just the same old political put-me-downs!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  207. Darahs

    Why is the Obama administration not keen to work on fixing broken issues with healthcare:

    1.) High amount of fraud, waste and loss in current Medicare and Medicaid Systems

    2.) Currently a large amount of money (Billions) is spent to at various government run hospitals to help people who are uninsured or ill-legal.

    3.) People who receive medicaid prescription drugs do not consume the drugs received from pharmacy and throw them away.

    4.) Why not form a uninsured cooperative in each of the 50 states and this cooperative works for people along with the government to find them healthcare access

    5.) Limit liability in Medical Law suit's.... Why nobody wants to question this?

    Instead of doing a complete business process re-engineering, it is better to fix problems in the current system which pretty good.

    Healthcare needs to be hard earned right for people who are born healthy and not granted free.

    Why is president obama not trying to look for small solutions to fix the specific problems that are currently bothering the system.

    Let be smarter on this at least and not rush things and have the system sink and give coming generations more problems. Let us work like Toyota Manufacturing plants where focus is more to produce best quality by making sure no errors in system, rather than changing the system end to end.

    July 27, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  208. Darahs

    I would also like to highlight one thing more:

    Just think of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two government institutions have caused big problems recently by supporting government politics. We have recent report of Dodd and Conrad been getting great help for mortgage.

    This is what will happen if we have politics run government health option. More corruption and more problems.....

    Guys please support to stop this healthcare reform and eventual further reduction in our healthcare problems. Small fixes will solve most of the problems.

    Are the politicians willing to sign-up for the same public option??? If yes, we all should move that.

    July 27, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  209. Karyn

    Darahs, the health care mess requires a lot more than small fixes. It isn't until you are truly bitten by our current system that anyone can understand just how bad things are. Too many Americans are falling through the cracks and paying the ultimate price.

    We all hear people malign Canada's & Western Europe's universal health care program, yet what they don't say is that those countries health care statistics beat the U.S. in nearly every area, including infant and child mortality and life expectancy rates, proving that Universal Health Care is not the nightmare scenario lobbyists and their political mouthpieces would like us to believe it is–it can actually work. It still amazes me that people are willing to trust for-profit insurance companies over the government; what a sad statement that is. Not that I believe universal health care will be easy or foolproof, but I so feel safer putting my family's health in the hands of elected officials than the for-profit, self-serving insurance middlemen, who have already proven to me they do not have our best interests at heart.

    July 27, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  210. Jeff in South Jersey

    How can anyone trust the "for profit" companies who benefit from declining their subscribers, rescinding coverage, tangle healthcare in red tape and pay a CEOs ungodly compensation?

    United Healthcare as an example - paid their CEO - one man - $324,000,000 over a recent five year period. (Are you kidding me?)

    The conservative pundits are playing you people as pawns.

    Insurance companies are pouring millions of lobbying dollars into DC to keep the status quo.

    July 27, 2009 at 9:15 pm |
  211. Steven Morello

    If you don't support a fellow American's right to health, you have to get the "United We Stand" bumper sticker off your car!!

    July 27, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  212. Tom

    Yes, THAT IS THE ACID TEST.
    I support ANY health care plan that includes all Congress and Government officials on the same plan.
    I Obama truly believes his plan is good, then put all retired Presidents on the plan, including himself in the future.

    EVERYONE – Write your Congress person and tell them you want the same insurance they have!

    July 27, 2009 at 11:54 pm |
  213. John in Colorado

    I am am on unemployment and have been since last November and can't find work. I'm also a Vietnam Veteran where as I have access to very good Medical Care. My wife has diabetes and has no medical insurance. The cost of her insulin and other prescriptions are large. If something serious were to happen we would use the ER though not be able to pay for it. She works full time and takes home less than I do on unemployment and we are just able to get by month to month. My extended unemployment runs out in September and we don't know what we are going to do. I find it very difficult reading comments about leaving healthcare alone as it is imperative that this country has a federally funded plan to insure that ALL Americans have access to medical care.

    July 28, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  214. Darahs

    Karyn,

    US is the best of healthcare system and innovation. You cannot compare or benchmark US with canada or other western european nations. Let we share with you small and easy ways to fix problems. I have been a volunteer at Hospitals for the last 4+ years and have tremendous wastage.

    1.) You have people in Medicare and Medicaid. I have personally seen at least 25+ patients who are currently reaping benefits from obesity handicapped healthcare status and do not want to become well. They just throw away the prescription drugs (Wallgreens supplies). This is one such example and we have many more.

    Thus if you can fix the wastage and integrate wellness programs with Medicare and Medicaid you will save billions billions of dollars

    2.) All national option of competition for Insurance companies. This will give companies bigger markets to compete and bring down cost. The problem is not with insurance companies but structure in which they are operating. This structure has created them to be less sensitive for their customers (we the people) even though they are so many in numbers. This alone will bring the insurance pricing down by over 40-50% and you will have many more innovative products in the markets for consumers like us. (The reduction in premium is benchmarked using the auto insurance or home insurance reductions achieved)

    3.) Hospital's currenntly pay their staff doctors and nurse salaries that are most competitive in the world and while we hear so much Rhetoric on Wall Street Bonuses we hear nothing being done on their earnings. Most importantly billions and billions are spent on medical lawsuits and this additionally has doctors doing hundreds of test just to cover themselves... If you can put a cap or limit on this... We will save more billions and billions even if we do not do anything to healthcare professionals salary and lawyers salaries in the US.

    4.) Invest the above savings in securing the un-insured who have lost jobs, people who have not been given coverage because of prior medical problems and so on....

    I can share with more and more such small small leakages in the system and that alone will fund all the current uninsured.

    The savings from medical devices companies, drug companies, public hospital leakages etc. etc. and many more are still left. Obesity in our country is killing us as compared to any other part of the world. Africa is dying of hunger and we are dying of eating.

    Obama agenda is re-write and my 2cents to people like us is to fix current problems and do a slow transition year on year to ideal state with one underlying basis: WORK HARD TO GET WHAT YOU WANT AND THERE IS NO FREE MEAL.

    EACH ONE WILL BENEFIT IN A SLOW TRANSITION THAN MASSIVE RESTRUCTURING WITHOUT CLEAR GOALS

    July 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  215. Jeff in South Jersey

    Darahs, do you think there might be any savings in United Healthcare trimming CEO compensation? Since they paid their CEO $324,000,000 over a recent five year period.
    HOW MUCH HARD WORK DID HE DO TO DESERVE ALL OF THE FREE MEALS THAT AMOUNT MIGHT BUY?

    If you like paying a company your hard earned money, so they can support obscene compensation like that, fine... have at it. But it would nice to know that we have options at a reasonable price, if government can make that happen without eliminating your choice of a for-profit insurance company, then we can all be happy.

    July 28, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  216. Darahs

    Jeff,

    US is the only country in the world where it is easiest to start your own business. You can be a CEO as well and realize your dreams.

    Let us not question on why an individual person should earn what amount.... It is decided by the market forces for their own credentials, perfromance and what value they deliver... If anyone does not perform at his or her job.. They are fired..... Could be a CEO, Manager, Engineer, Blue-Collar and so on....

    Let us be honest US majors like GM, Chrysler and Ford produced poor quality cars and we the local people moved from their products to Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai etc..... They gave more value for our money (Good Products which had great life and less cost of maintenance).... Japanese car majors took lessons and heard from the great american Edward Deming on quality and US car majors refused to listen to him... We can see the result of it...

    This is one country in the world that has largest amount of people who have moved from rags to riches.... EAST or WEST US is the best and it is because of its hardworking people.

    Hard work can take you as well to be a CEO.
    So please do not worry how much others are earning. You can definitely be a CEO and make much more.

    Let us not get personal Jeff.

    If we become social and want more government we will not have any future... Think of East Germany, Soviet Union and other such countries that have lost to us in advancement. Sweden, Austria, Italy and other countries in Europe with highly socialist agenda are struggling and young age guys are moving out of their respective countries as they do not want to take the burden of their aging population.

    Critical is to make public policies that fix current leakages/wastages/Corruption.

    Let us focus as individuals to put our efforts in the USA for innovation, new products and export to countries technology made in USA.... Working for a organization or your own company.....

    If we can cut our obesity and other habits like excessive smoking, drinking by 50% we will save over 1 trillion dollars.... Less diabetes, less heart problems, less liver failure, less kidney failure ...

    July 28, 2009 at 9:19 pm |
  217. Jeff in South Jersey

    Darahs,
    The point is that we need an option. A public option. An opportunity for people to gain fairly priced healthcare and for private for-profit insurance be held accountable. I am fortunate enough to have terrific health care... through my wife. I started my own business and had I not had her, there would be no way I could have done it, while providing my family with health insurance. If we are going to get behind the innovation, hard work and the will to succeed of the Americans with with wonderful ideas, then that is reason enough to have a public option. I realize that one way or another that I will be funding it in some small way... but I'm fine with that. And you should be too, if you believe in the American dream of success. Without it, many dreams are blanketed by the fear of a health tragedy and hence financial ruin. I agree, there are no free meals, however, the benefit extends far beyond, and in many directions away from those seeking a free meal. Options Darahs, options are all I ask for the American people. And big money has been taking those options away from Americans for 30 years.

    July 28, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  218. Karyn

    Wow, Darahs, Hard work is all it takes? What about the hardworking families who work for small businesses that can't provide adequate and/or affordable insurance? What about the hard working mom who would prefer to work part-time so she can be with her children, but can't, because part-time jobs rarely come with benefits. What about the hard-working father who accepted a job not because it was in his particular area of expertise or interest, but because it was with a big enough company that he could have the option of decent benefits for his family. What about the self-employed family who can't find coverage at any cost because their children have disabilities and every insurance company considers them "uninsurable."

    For far too many people, our employer-based system takes away freedom of choice, dictating where you work and for whom and how many hours. That does not sound like the American way to me.

    Statistics don't lie. Most Western European nations and Canada have a health care system with a better outcome than our own, yet we pay more for our health care than any other country in the world. The system is broken. It is not a matter of working harder.

    Would you consider private coverage for police and fire protection? It's the same thing–they are services that protect the health and welfare of all citizens that we hope we never need as individuals, but wouldn't want to be without in an emergency. I can't imagine anyone would risk privatizing these services.

    Do you honestly believe that an insurance executive, making hundreds of millions of dollars off of the insurance premiums of hard working families has earned it? Their stockholders may be happy (?), but what about the people whose insurance premiums pay their salaries? Do you think they agree these compensation packages are earned once they become sick and are denied coverage and must complete mountains of paperwork and repeated appeals to get the coverage to which they were entitled to all along?

    I commend you on your volunteer work. I too have years of experience alongside the disabled community, and yes I have seen some abuse, but certainly not more than what has come out of Wall Street, Detroit, and the executive offices of far too many insurance entities. What I see far more of are hard-working families that are collapsing under the strain of a very broken system.

    July 28, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  219. Michael B Wilde

    I hear there will be more competition between insurers–This is the biggest plate of BS served to the public. Let's not forget the last serving the government dished out in our best interest- deregulation of TV service-DAH! It'll bring down the cost for consumers with more competition most folks bill doubled. Here's another serving of government intervention under the umbrella of competition lowers cost. Maryland deregulated the electric companies saying competition is good for you–well guess what!since deregulation began we got hit with a 72% increase in rates.Insurance companies will backup restructure and sock it to us they are in business to make money and that my friend will come at a cost to us.

    July 29, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  220. Kevin

    Dear Bright, Hard-Working College Student:

    The average compensation for Goldman-Sachs employees was published in Time magazine last week and approaches $700,000. Now to make that kind of money, you have to work hard and commit to 2 extra years to get your MBA. Your student loans may increase by $50-100 K, but it may just be worth it. Why not think of primary care or pediatrics. Sure its 4 years of med school and a minimum of three years of poorly-paid residency with a student loan burden of well over $200K, but it really pays off. Salaries hover at 1/6th the Goldman Sachs average.

    We speak of unintended consequences and Congress aims to reduce physician compensation 20% by 2010. Be very wary...the American public will start to get what they pay for.

    July 29, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  221. Darahs

    Karyn,

    Medicare and Medicaid have given trillions of support to folks that you have categorized and also has resulted in a large/excessive amount of wastage. Additionally Public Hospitals in each county provides extremely decent care to people who do not have any insurance.

    Canada health system is definitely not a great example. There are more cases where people have lost limbs because of long wait times. Please take a trip to Windsor,ON if possible and you will listen to enough stories. I have highlighted one example.... I have many more to share....

    I have personally experienced germany for 3 years and US healthcare is definitely the best.

    I agree with you 100% our payor system needs fixing and has leakages. But the current problem is more challenging on account of struggling economy and Obama administration has taken us for a ride. Speaking Eloquently and same old words has made things only terrible with the current congress and obama administration.

    If you seriously go line by line on the current healthcare challenges, 70-80% of people can be insured with better outcomes.

    Public or Privatization of Support Services is a function of taxation and depends how much government you want in life. People have private security too in mutliple cases along with electronic gadets to protect homes.

    More public services you seek: Higher is the taxation and quality of service is limited. kathleen sebelius own state of kansas has highest medical corruption.

    Take Houston, Texas as a example: ZERO state tax Skeletal Police Force and very high amount of crime and buglery.

    Let us take one point after the other:

    1.) Medical lawsuit liabilities: US is the highest and other countries have extremely limited liabilities. You can save over 200 Billion USD in about 10 years. Source is Bureau of Justice Statistics

    2.) Medicaid leakages/corruption/wastage: you can save over 100 Billion USD in about 10 years. Source: Steven Malanga of the Manhattan Institute (This excludes Political Corruption)

    3.) Leakages in on account of excessive tests to cover law suites over 100 Billion USD.
    Source: Massachusetts Medical Society

    4.) Current Payor structure limited to states and not across state lines resulting in limited market and higher YoY increases. It is estimated based on benchmark of Auto and Home premiums this can be brought down by 30-40% at least.... Thus more affordability.

    5.) Lifestyle and health wellness through prevention ????? I do not have any estimates here from any source honestly...

    There are many more like this... I have complied from multiple hospital and secondary research sources about 30 such initiatives and these can pay for everyone....

    I see one thing... US Congress with Nancy Pelosi and Obama administration is creating panic and only using words with no solutions.. these were the same tactics used to passed the stimulus which has no benefit and only you will find more cases of corruption and are trying the same for healthcare reform... Let me make it clear Republicans are no holy. So want to have this discussion above politicis and unions and votes......

    My 2 cents is fix top 10 problems this year.... You will see benefits for the current year... Move to next 10 problems in 2010.... You will see benefits....

    Interestingly the entire revamp suggested in multiple bills still takes over a decade to cover all uninsured.... So they are only creating new problems which in future I and you have to deal.... Unknown problems and Unknown new challenges.... WHY DO WE WANT THIS....

    July 29, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  222. Darahs

    Kevin,

    I think your note is incorrect with wrong facts. Just as Nancy Pelosi and congress members have done over the stimulus.....

    You will not make it to Goldman if you are not from IVY league school along with the world's best analytical mind/talent and this means fees of 200K to start with... After you graduate only a few would get selected to work for Goldman-Sachs....

    After you graduate you do not start with 700K salary..... It only after working for 4 to 5 years and working 18 to 20 hours a day you might end up making >500K bonuses if your business calls are right. There is no job security and you can be fired anytime if you do not perform. So you are on a sword.

    Same is for Med school.... Surgeons: Cardiac, neuro, urologist.... make savings of over 500K to 1 Million USD in a year and they deduct all expenses... Get great international trips, cruises etc... to present papers on behalf of pharma and medical devices companies.....

    Please go to businessweek.com and take a refresher for the business schools.... It is extremely tough and competitive for any student to make it to top business schools (GMAT scores) like Harvard, Sloan, Stern, Colombia, Wharton, GSB, Kellogg and so on....

    July 29, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  223. Maureen Steffek

    Darahs: Where do you get your "facts". Let me give you a REAL fact. My brother was a hard working self employed born in America, never on welfare, white American. He couldn't afford a private health plan and he couldn't qualify for a public one. So he did what a lot of people in this country do- he DIED. Sure they let him into the hospital for a couple of months at the end of his life. By then it was too late to stop the cancer so he died in excruciating pain. Public money was spent to help him die. Probably more than it would have taken to treat his cancer so he could live. If the system worked, there would be no debate. If the Republican Party had a plan, they would quit playing the fear card. Unfortunately, it seems to be the only one left in their hand.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  224. Maureen Steffek

    Kevin, Thanks for pointing that out. What are we paying the MBA Goldman Sachs employee that huge salary for? Oh, right- to wreck our economy! This is another place where we just waste money. Do we really need all these MBA paper pushers? How about educating doctors, engineers, scientists. Yep, those degrees require more effort than the MBA. Maybe that's one reason the rest of the world is catching and passing us. While they are educating people who can think and create, we are educating mid level paper pushers who can vote each other obscene salaries.

    July 30, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  225. Jeff in South Jersey

    Be aware of what you will see and hear during the August recess.
    You are currently and will be hearing all about studies by The Lewin Group. They've issued talking points for all those opposed to reform.

    The Washington Post has revealed that the Lewin Group – which is commonly cited by opposing lawmakers and conservative pundits as an "independent, nonpartisan" think tank – is owned by a major health insurance company, who's CEO made millions and spends millions on lobbyists and campaign contributions to none other than the same legislators dishing out these talking points.

    So I ask you, what is in their best interest? This is big money hard at work to keep the status quo!

    July 30, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  226. Bob Morgan

    Bob from Iowa:

    When I was laid off from my job, my family and I lost all healthcare. We now have to pay over $700 per month for basic care and we are healthy. I'm for any type of healthcare reform where your job status, employed or not, has any affect on your healthcare.

    All Americans should have the same exact healthcare coverage.

    We all have the same police, fire, and post office coverage. What the heck is the difference? I'd be glad to give these up and have healthcare coverage for my family.

    July 30, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  227. Kimberly

    I feel that this suppossed healthcare reform discrimates against the elderly and those who are incredibly ill. People should question because if you are going to pay these monthly premiums you should be covered no matter what the degree of illness or procedure. Not only that but lets say you pay into a particular healthcare insurance and god forbid a life critical illness comes to bare-and then find out you have been paying all those premiums and find out you are not covered because you are to old or to close to death- where is the hope in that!!! I am only 37 but this concerns me for those who really are in dispair.

    July 31, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  228. Joe in Collegeville

    Can anyone please tell me why Mr. Obama, Ms. Pelosi, and many in Congress are bent on free health care for the 15 million illegals in the US today and the millions they will be able to bring in under chain migration and family reunification regulations if and when they receive the Obama Amnesty?

    This is 15 million + at $8,000+++ per year (national average for health care) in virtually free health care since they are not likely to every pay enough taxes to cover their share.

    Obama and Pelosi have both said "illegals will not be covered" knowing full well the amnesty bill will make the legal residents.
    Also, congress yesterday voted AGAINST a bill to require proof of citizenship to sign up, which is the back door that will be used the amnesty bill is defeated.

    August 1, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  229. tabbetha

    I support Obama's health care plan, I fall into the lower income and i cannot afford health insurance for myself but I make too much money to get the health insurance from the Michigan state government.
    I think that the health care plan will help some of the people of the lower income. My sister has two children and her and her husband cannot get health insurance for them because they can not afford it and again make too much money for the michigan state health requirements.

    August 4, 2009 at 7:32 am |
  230. Carolina

    I'm so glad that in Canada we have public health care, and upset me to see Republicans and Insurances sending people to US street to show opposition or to say that our system as a bad. They are selfish and mediocre!

    In 2005 when traveling to Brazil, I met an American that was going to visit her grand-parents and also to use the opportunity to see doctors because she couldn't afford in US (gynecologists and cardiologist). Told me that she lost almost everything in a car accident (she husband and were still paying the credit cards).
    I was surprised when she asked me if I was going to do the same, and I replied saying that it for me could be the expensive since we have everything for free here.
    I explained that I had a heart attack and spent 10 days at the hospital and that the only expenses my family had were with the parking lot. Even the ambulance to get me on the highway was paid.

    I love Canada and it's health system. We are equal.
    God loves Canada! 🙂

    August 6, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  231. Carolina

    With Private Health Care you have "care" when you don't need care.
    You get old and need care, and you get dropped by the Insurances! You become to expensive!

    I love Canada and our health system!

    God bless Canadians! 🙂

    August 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  232. tabbetha

    We aren't equal here I am a healthy, 30yrs old don't smoke or drink. but because i had lung problems when i was a baby and it damaged one if my lungs so it doesn't work quite right, the insurance companies label me under high risk and charge me twice as much. even though i haven't had a single problem with my lungs or anything else since. i dont qualify for ssi to get insurance i cant get insurance from the state, i am screwed 😀 lol

    August 7, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  233. Bernie Lemieux

    President Obama's plan to pay for health care is badly flawed. His "Robin Hood" approach won't work; robbing the rich to pay for the poor is ridiculous. This is not a movie. The perception should be that everyone will pay something for his or her health care and that it should not be "for a profit system". That's only fair. The poeple that will be dropped from or opt to drop from their health insurance plans should not mind paying for the universal system, i'm sure that they paid a lot more for their private plans. A couple thousands is better than ten thousands. What is the best way for everyone to pay according to their means? A tax increase on taxable income would seem to be the best way but it would punish low income poeple and the jobless and the homeless would not pay at all. Remember i said that everybody should pay something! I think the best way is to institute a small consumption tax levied by the federal government on all consumer products. The government would have the power to exempt food (from the supermarket only), children's clothing and anything else they wish as we do in Canada. At tax time, give a tax credit to the low income poeple on a sliding scale let's say up to 20 thousand dollars. This could all be done by computer to keep it simple, expedient and to minimize paper work. This way, everybody pays something, no free ride. The poeple with private insurance would probably complain that they are now paying a new tax unfairly because the're not on the universal system. My answer to that, "too bad, get used to it you have help too" Another way to raise money is to increase the "sin taxes" specially tobacco which is a killer product. There is a misconception out there that 85% of americans are satisfied with their health care. Nonsense, if you asked all americans how they like their health care. The figure would probably be around 48%. The United States is the last indusrial democracy not to have a universal health care system. This is the 21st century. Join the world!

    August 7, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  234. Cary Francis

    Healthcare is a right!
    Together we stand divided we fall !!
    Those who can pay more,those who can't pay less.
    America is built on people-all people-denying no-one.
    Tommy Douglas was a great Canadian because he made it happen for us.
    Cary Francis 39 Five ( 5 ) pacemakers
    I make $25 hr and pay $ 162.00 every three months.

    August 7, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  235. Vic from Modesto,CA

    Debates are healthy. Health coverage is this country is driven by profit. It seems like the people who are at these town hall debates are the same people who thought Obama was a muslim. The same ones who do not understand the complexity of the issue. The same who tend to have their opinions formed by Rush and Palin. We need reform. The American people sent Obama to Washington for change. Its natural to resist change but it must me done. I have faith that the President has the best interests of the American people at heart.

    August 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  236. Dan in Maryland

    CNN: I really am perplexed over the debate of a public healthcare option. Why don't we expand the private options offered to our government workers? These are private insurance companies that have bought into providing health insurance to a very large group of American workers. Last time I looked there were many that play by these sets of rules and since they still provide health insurance are still making a profit.

    What really concerns me is the insurance company buildings located on very expensive real estate in New York. I really am not very interested in paying for marble-inlayed foyers corporate offices for insurance executies that resemble the excesses of Sadam Husain's palaces. I am all for a profit. But this cannot mean that a insurance company executive, an employee of the company, should have a golden parachute that divests him of risk. How many homes should this employee own?

    Lastly, I believe that insurance companies will do anything and everything to keep the public option in whatever form from becoming law. They answer to their stockholders and not their policy holders. Their job is to provide the least expensive product with the greatest profit. Period! It is just about margins & profits. That is why they have doctors who's only job is to deny coverage. It is why actuarial tables that statistically analyze an illness against costs of caring for that illness are not made public but are kept secret. That is why experimental procedures and drugs are not paid for.

    I am a capitalist but do believe that private industry without oversight will do everything within the system of laws, moral, imoral or amoral, to make as much profit as possible. To do otherwise would lead to the removal and suing of their executives that have not effectively served their shareholders. This is why they have college students standing in line so that their high pressure lobbyists can have first crack at the congressional leaders. For a insurance company not to spend whatever it took to reduce the exposure to stockholder losses would be criminal.

    However, with all of this said, I believe that a public option is the right decision. Not one that minimizes medical payments but places insurance executives in comfortable offices, driving fine American made vehicles, and in homes that are not cathedrals.

    I believe that the only way we will get here is to trim the fat, reduce redundency, make one electronic healthcare form that has the ability to remove patient administration for illness survailance by all researchers, and by insuring our medical personnel can be paid by the patient that they see or by the company that they work for. Those that hustle and take the risks still can reap higher rewards. However, they just have to play under a set of rules that says everyone gets insurance.

    August 11, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  237. Doug Robinson

    Sadly, Pres. Obama is being portrayed by some as a proponent of improper socialistic measures regarding his representation of a national healthcare plan.
    I respect that this is an American issue and that I am a Canadian. I only offer my two cents worth here only because I wish good things for all of my US friends.
    We have had universal healthcare here in Canada for over 45 years. I pay nothing for physicians, specialists, surgery, medical tests, hospitalization, prescription drugs etc. etc..
    I really don't consider myself or my government to be raging socialists bent on destroying free enterprise or infringing on human rights. In fact, what I do feel is.... very very fortunate!

    August 12, 2009 at 2:44 am |
  238. Jeff in South Jersey

    Hey Dan, basically that's what they're trying to do with several of the bills in play. The idea is to create an "exchange" similar to what Federal Employees have. A market place where people can select from participating PRIVATE insurance companies and possibly a public option. The private insurance companies that would like to be a part of this exchange would be required to abide by certain regulations, including no recision, no exclusion for preexisting conditions and better reimbursement to doctors and hospitals. ANyone with an existing plan that they like can keep it, as it would be "grandfathered." But those same private insurance companies can participate in the exchange with an appropriate plan. It's up to you as an individual to select from the menu offered on the exchange. For those who can't afford anything offered on the menu, they would be offered government assistance in purchasing a basic plan. Once all of this is in play, I understand that the two exchanges eventually would possibly be merged.

    All of this seems pretty fair to me. I can't understand why some people are opposed to this once they get the facts. Insurance companies, lobbyists and big pharma will receive a haircut of profits, so they are rolling out a lot of misinformation.

    Hang in there, and keep your ears open for the FACTS, and once you get the FACTS, share them with others.

    August 12, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  239. Erik

    Dear CNN:

    As it is well understood that you are eager to present ALL information and reasonable analysis available on the health care discussion, please review the analysis of Professor John David Lewis at Duke. He cites the sections of HR 3200 that have inspired some of the greatest concerns of those expressing opposition to the existing reform proposition.

    http://www.classicalideals.com/HR3200.htm

    August 12, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  240. Gary

    We can fund Healthcare Reform with a fraction of the money spent on fighting wars in other countries.

    August 12, 2009 at 9:08 pm |
  241. Pablo Rojas

    I am living in Costa Rica. US can learn about the social security systems that we use to give a good and spread health service to almost the 100% of the population.

    August 13, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  242. Joe in Collegeville

    The biggest problem with health care reform as I see it, is that the president and some in congress want this to be able to provide free health care for the 15 million illegals and their families they will be permitted to bring in under chain migration and family reunification rules.
    And yes, it will be free based on the illegals low incomes.
    The evidence of this is that there is nothing in H.R. 3200 that requires proof of citizenship. Last week a house committee killed an amendment to the bill that would have required this.
    This is only the emergency back door. The front door is the Comprehensive Amnesty bill that the president and some in congress has said they will have ready in 2010. The president even promised this to the president of Mexico when he was there.

    15 million illegal now. millions more over the next 10 years. This will bury health care reform.
    Amnestied or not we will be paying for their free health care for years if not generations.

    August 13, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  243. Carol

    US media talk about Canadians getting treatment in US; BUT they always forget to mention that if we exceptionally need to get US treatment, OUR government pay OUR bills in US. We don't get screwed up by the bills.
    They also forget to say that in Canada since 90's, and from time-to-time we have to renew ours health cards ( nowadays with photo) because many US citizens cross to Canada with fake or using 3rd. party health card to get free health treatment.

    I don't think our health care is bad, for me is excellent! We have family doctors, after hours doctors and walking clinic...

    Few years ago a friend – single mom – had breast cancer and need surgery and chemotherapy; she didn't pay a penny...is it bad?

    A co-worker, last year had ovary and uterus removed; not she is not bankrupt.

    US has a great President, and don't see it!

    Be careful not to elect an idiot like Palin. She is Bush in skirts!

    She is an opportunist, always trying to show herself...By the way, she uses all the resources available to show how dumb she is... look what she said about health care reform. She twists everything she hears.

    I'm proud to be Canadian and to have a Canadian Health care!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  244. john o snoberger

    I think it is time for the United States to come together on Heathcare for the FUTURES OF OUR KIDS because without a heathly nation who is going to be our futures workforce and I think cnn as done the best job in the media in covering Heathcare and the President is doing more for the U. S. than Bush did in 8 years. All America 's should get Heathcare and should be covered even if they are already sick.
    john from: CA.

    August 15, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  245. darwin roth

    Question....Am I mistaken or am I the only one who knows that Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance companies across the nation are built on a non profit model?

    example from a Blues web site:

    Welcome to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

    Vision
    When people think of health benefits, they will first think of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. We will build lasting loyalty through exemplary service and cost-effective, innovative products. The keys to success are a skilled work force, strong business relationships with providers and responsive systems.

    Mission
    Our commitment to Michigan is what differentiates us from other health insurance companies doing business here. That mission has never changed. Nearly 70 years ago, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan started with a purpose to provide people with the security of knowing they have health care when they need it. Today, that nonprofit mission is the same and we’re accomplishing it in many ways, including:

    Now the current buzz word is not for profit,,,,,,in my experience bcbs products cost the same as other industry (for profit) products.

    Can you help get this info diseminated so we can have real discussions?

    August 18, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  246. Jeff in South Jersey

    Darwin, take a closer look at Blue Cross / Blue Shield. They originally were non-profit years ago, but all of the deregulation that took place in the 80s opened the door for the for-profits, and you will see today that the majority of BCBS have been bought by the for-profits including Wellpoint.
    It's unfortunate that we didn't realize how all of this along with the banks and Wall Street was unfolding 25 years ago. The anger at the town halls is well intended and patriotic but unfortunately it is misplaced by slight of hand, as no one has been paying attention to who is behind the curtain.

    August 18, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  247. Diana Wheatly

    I received an e-mail regarding Obama asking Current Military and former Military to buy insurance to reduce cost of VA Program. Is this true? I will attach a portion of it.
    Bad press, including major mockery of the plan by comedian Jon Stewart, led to President Obama abandoning his proposal to require veterans carry private health insurance to cover the estimated $540 million annual cost to the federal government of treatment for injuries to military personnel received during their tours on active duty.
    The President admitted that he was puzzled by the magnitude of the opposition to his proposal.

    "Look, it's an all volunteer force," Obama complained. "Nobody made these guys go to war. They had to have known and accepted the risks. Now they whine about bearing the costs of their choice? It doesn't compute.." "I thought these were people who were proud to sacrifice for their country, "Obama
    Continued." I wasn't asking for blood, just money. With the country facing the worst financial crisis in its history, I'd have thought that the patriotic thing to do would be to try to help reduce the nation's deficit. I guess I underestimated the selfishness of some of my fellow Americans."

    Please pass this on to every one including every vet and their
    Families whom you know.

    August 18, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  248. Karyn

    Diana, in short, NO, it is not true. The "quotes" are pure fiction. They came from a March 22 article in the conservative "New Republic," and at the time clearly labeled as satire.

    It is based on the Obama administration having briefly considered having private insurance pay for certain combat injuries and other related conditions back in March, as a means to save millions in Federal dollars. The administration backed down within two days, once all the unintended ramifications were considered, including the fact that it might increase soldier's insurance costs down the line. It was a mistake to publicly float this consideration without fully vetting the consequence, but it has since been made clear that the intent was never to pass costs on to veterans, or in any way minimize appreciation for their service and sacrifice. Unfortunately, nothing will stop certain entities with their own interests at heart from spreading this ridiculous satire as fact.

    August 18, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  249. HRamz

    Can anyone tell me what is so wrong with the public option? My daughter was working two full time jobs and 1 part time job to pay her college loan when she was involved in an accident. She could not afford medical insurance and although the injuries she sustained was covered through her auto insurance, they discovered MS, not covered. Now she can't get medical... we, you and I, will pay for the expenses incurred when advanced deterioration forces her to get treatment. You will not remember how beautiful and vivacious she was, I will. All this, so that some Insurance Executive can profit? How many people must be sacrificed for the almighty dollar?

    I am a staunch supporter of the public option but I do have concern that like morality, should not be imposed upon others. Does anybody know what is in place to prevent the extinction of private sector?

    August 18, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  250. TH

    I can't tell you much about the PO, but as for "Helth Care Reform" this I can say...

    – The current cost of health care in 07 ws $ 2.4 trillion, the expected cost of Obamacare is $ 4.3 trillion!!

    – Expected "reform" coverage costs $ 1.6 trillion over 10 years, covering only one third of the uninsured.

    – 119 milion already-insured people could swithch to ghe goverment plan, driving costs higher

    August 19, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  251. th

    CNN thanks... for deleting my posting before I could get it up...Did you find the truth to shocking for your readers? Proposed Obamacare being EXPOSED as the largest gov program ever??

    August 19, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  252. TC'S

    I'm a true Republican at heart and a believer in the free market. Govt's roll should be to ensure that capitalism works for the best interests of the common citizenry (the best products and the lowest costs). Unfortunately I now see the health industry (insurance, doctors, hospitals, etc.) in the same light as the Wall Street firms. More concerned about individual profits then the larger, longer view picture of what's best for the general populus (longterm viability/profitability). So....I find myself in favor of a significant health care reform...by the way my health insurance (which I rarely use) just went up 31% this year....It's a shame that the healthcare industry was too focused on their own profitability and welfare to see that they should have done something about the costs/reforming the industry before the gov't and the people needed to do something about it.....just like Wall Street....it's dissappointing to see these faults in our capitalist/free market leaders....and its terrible that they couldn't see this rediculousness (increasing costs/waste) before the gov't/people had to get involved....

    August 20, 2009 at 7:26 am |
  253. Kevin R.N.

    ...We find these truths to be self evident. That all men are created equal. And they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. The right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and healthcare! They missed that one!, So, It is time for another amendment!, so we can move forward, to be the greatest nation, and that shining light on the hill!

    August 20, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  254. Kevin R.N.

    The grassroots...we are america! We took this country back from the Abyss! And we know, that we will face corporations and individuals, that will try to block us all the way!, tooth and nail!, but you cannot stop us!, for we have risen up to take our country back!, And we won't back down!

    August 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  255. Kevin R.N.

    Sorry, we hold these truths, not find them!

    August 20, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  256. Candy Smith

    Look folks, This is not rocket science.... We need to think with some "Common Sense.' I have worked in the Medical Field for many years- We have so much waste, deceptive practices, cushioning of fees, and the constant influx of illegal ailens who take advantage of our broken system- something has to give. This is not going to be easy, but if we clean up our healthcare system, and make it a desirable profession once again, maybe, just maybe we could have a system that works. Stop waste, get non-citizens off the system, streamline the paperwork, Centralize all Medical Records so they can be accessed promptly, Put all Pharmacies on a National system so refills can be pulled up from anywhere, which would help curb multiple prescriptions from being filled, and last put not least, give discounts for preventive medicine!!!!

    August 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  257. Ethan Seabury-Kolod

    Obama spends so much time defending false claims about the public option, that all he can talk about is how bad the current system is and how we need reform. What is obscured in this debate is how the public option benefits the people who are questioning it (I.e. Medicare recipients, middle-class Americans), because the political right keeps telling them they will lose coverage. People need to understand the heart of the issue, the public option will not make people lose coverage, it just cuts out the middleman industry of insurance companies who drain millions of dollars from the American citizens. As long as people keep listening to the lies perpetuated on Fox News and other corporate media sources, they will continue to be at the mercy of the insurance and pharmecutical companies.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  258. Ruth

    I believe the opposition to health care reform is fueled by three forces: Greed, fear and racial prejudice.
    Insurance companies and doctors are scared to death of the public option. The ads paid for by these well financed groups have ignited the fears of the uninformed vocal minority which already distrusts a black president.

    September 8, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  259. Jeff

    I want to suggest another concept to be included in healthcare reform: a Health Credit. This is how it would work.

    If I have good health (as quantified by not spending as much on healthcare), I get a health credit. This works very well within a public option system. Say each person in the program pays $1000 per year to buy a public option that covers $2000 of healthcare bills for basic/preventive care including dental, vision, and generic (but not branded) drugs. The person and the government would split the cost 50/50. If that person has a balance of any portion of their $1000 at the end of the year, they roll it over to the next year or can withdraw it tax free. This should incentivize people to not spend, and the best way not to spend is to keep yourself healthy. If they want to save up for say Lasic – then they can earn their way there too over several years.

    Like all other plans, the public option would be negotiating price discounts for mass purchase power.

    Of course in this system, people are free to buy more advanced health insurance or fee for service products. Thus the for profit insurance companies will still make plenty of money. Analogous to riding the subway for $1.25 or taking your private car for $20 on a federally funded interstate – people should have choice based on what they can afford and the government shouldn't subsidize anything above the minimum required to keep the overall health of the population high enough to be competitive in a globally connected economy. Remember our constitution says "life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness" but not healthcare are rights – this must be balanced against the long term sustainability of our economy which means keeping the population healthy.

    To go along with this, we need a large government funded training program to train physicians and other healthcare workers who promise to spend the first 5 (or so) years of their practice within the public option system (likely at a lower salary level but good benefits) in exchange for free or lowered tuition. This way even if there are more patients who enroll, they can be covered by the physicians or residents in training in these public option programs. The programs could be hosted by existing hospitals & clinics – who will be happy since they won't have to pay as much and get more low cost labor. eveyrone wins. Then once physicians are done with their service, they could decide to go into private practice or not based on the best choice for them, but you'd have a significant percentage of physicians over time who belong to this fraternity and in the future would know how to reduce overall healthcare cost and provide higher value in ways we do not today.

    September 21, 2009 at 10:59 am |