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June 12th, 2009
07:25 AM ET

Health Care Reform

President Obama hit the road yesterday to talk health care reform. At a town hall meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin he laid out his case for revamping the nation’s health care system, highlighting vast differences in the quality and cost of health care across the country. The U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world; we spend almost 50 percent more per person than any other country. President Obama emphasized health care as the biggest threat to the federal deficit and a vital part of fixing the overall economy.

Americans are also struggling with their own personal debt, in large part due to health care costs. A recent Harvard study found that more than 60 percent of bankruptcy filings are due to medical costs. From 2001 to 2007 the number of bankruptcies related to medical expenses rose 50 percent. In his remarks yesterday President Obama said, “Within a decade we will be spending one out of every five dollars we earn on health care. In thirty years, it will be one out of every three.” With hopes of having a new health care bill on his desk by October, there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered. So far there is little support for government-sponsored health care among Republicans, and little faith from Democrats in fixing the current system.

The President will continue to push his agenda on Monday as he heads to Chicago to convince America’s largest physician organization, the American Medical Association, which earlier this week said that they are opposed to a government-sponsored health care system. Another option that has been gaining in popularity as a potential compromise between a full fledged government-run system and a solely private option are non-profit health insurance cooperatives.

At 10:30am ET we’ll get the views and opinions from three different people in our Snapshot Across America. Heidi Collins will speak with Michael Cannon from the Cannon Institute, Dr. Jane Delgado, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, and Chris Woleske, Executive Vice President of Biden Health Care.

What are your thoughts on the issue? Post your suggestions and opinions.

Post by: , ,
Filed under: Anchors • Heidi Collins
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. michael armstrong sr.

    if i had health care several years ago i wouldnt be disabeld right now i had a heart condition and didnt even know it untill it was to late now im a burdon to the government why does going to the E.R. cost so much.

    June 12, 2009 at 8:22 am |
  2. Audrey

    I just heard Heidi say that Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy is suffering from "depression". This is not the case. Patrick Kennedy, like myself, is bipolar, and he is quite outspoken about it. He is a regular contributor to Bipolar Magazine. I get sick of the media lumping everyone with a mental illness into the category of "clinical depression." Most of us who are bipolar tend to be more manic and on the upbeat side of things rather than depressed.

    June 12, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  3. patti williams

    As an RN I can tell you that a government-run system is not the answer. Medicare and Medicaid are a terrible failure, proof that the government will fail again and absolutely lead to rationing of care for all as well as increased taxes for all.

    June 12, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  4. Kay Ann Davison

    America needs a non-profit national health care system. Most of the money spent on Health care in this country ends up as profit for insurance companies, HMO’s and anyone else who can figure out how to make a profit on sick people. 60% or 70% of money spent on health care in this country does not go to ACTUAL HEALTHCARE. With a national non-profit Healthcare system created from the best parts of Canada, French and English, Healthcare Systems we could have a Great System. With a system like that in place,The money we now spend on Medicare and Medicaid would pay for everything.
    Businesses could hire more people with the money they save by not having Healthcare costs. Hospitals could charge much less because everyone’s bill would be paid.
    By limiting Mal-practice Lawsuits, Doctors could lower prices. There would be no Pre-Existing Conditions because everyone would be covered for everything. Computerized records would help eliminate fraud. Eliminate Medical mistakes and cut costs. There would be no reason you couldn’t go to the same doctor you have now. For people with money who don’t want to wait for the system to work, Doctors would be available.
    The American peoples Health Care system should not be used for profit by anyone who can squeeze a dollar from it. If this is socialism, so be it!

    June 12, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  5. Jonathan

    $1 trillion of money we don't have for an unfair system? No thank you. We don't have the money, and for those of us that work hard at our jobs to get health insurance might as well stop trying since people that sit around all day and do nothing will get the same benefits.

    June 12, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  6. Chris Corley

    Idea, why don't we ask those in congress opposing healthcare reform to lead by example, give up their government sponsored healthcare first, I mean like right now, today.

    June 12, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  7. Rita

    Health care reform would be wonderful as long as all of congress and government workers go on the same program. Why should they have such good health care that we as taxpayers pay 2/3 of their cost. They are richer than any of us so let them pay for all of it. Otherwise put them on Medicare and Social Security and see how fast it gets fixed.
    I hope the decision makers see this. Our Congress should be fired and we need term limits and no big retirement plans that we pay for.
    Thank you

    June 12, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  8. Bill W

    We have to get everyone in the mix. Regardless of where the $$ comes from everyone has to be putting money in and getting coverage. Insurance only works when we all share the risk, the sick and the healthy all together. It has got to be mandated. Can we all agree on that feature first.

    June 12, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  9. Connie

    We are going to have to pay for Health Care Reform one way or another. If we do not address the issue now we are going to see the aging Baby Boomers suck our health system dry and leave the bill for the rest of us. If we do something now at least the Baby Boomers will be funding some of what they are going to use.

    June 12, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  10. sule

    I work in the Medical field and my question is Why can't we get rid of all the Healt Insurance companies, HMO's and let the doctors and hospitals compete. Competetion is the main stone for this country people win if others compete.

    June 12, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  11. Joan deVelder

    We already have a wonderful health care insurance plan in is what our Senators and Congressmen have...I don't see them complaining about their one payer coverage...the US government...they are not running away from it, nor do they call it socialism. If that plan is good enough for our representatives, then it is good enough for me. I say, give me what works and is loved by the participants in the plan...their satisfaction is the best testimony to a government payer policy! And...all the people who are employed by the private health insurance sector can be rehired to administer this one for government employees. Further...with our private many of us have not had choice of doctors? We have coverage, the company changes plans and suddenly our doctors are not in that plan and we have to change doctors. That scare tactic that we will lose the right to choose our simply what we have our Representatives get to choose their doctors? I say: We people deserve the same coverage as our Representatives...NOW! Thank you for the opportunity to express this...I am 58 years old and have NEVER blogged before.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  12. Pat Huck

    I think we need to look at the German system. As I understand it from relatives and friends in Germany is the employer still contributes. But, they have a choice of 3 plans in each state. They have excellent health care. I hope the new system we go to is complete and less costly. I have 1 son who has no insurance and I am on social security.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  13. J. C. C. C.

    Who, Would want to do this? Let me put this issue to rest. Thi Health Care Reform is the same as a U.S. Perso being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba indefently without his or her day in Court. SHAMEFULL. JCCC-20090612-001

    June 12, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  14. Allen

    Health Care Reform is MEANINGLESS if:

    1. There is no Public Option.
    2. Everybody is not covered.
    3. Coverage can be denied or reduced based on "Pre-existing" conditions.
    4. It does not contain Patients' Rights.
    5. Strict Regulations are not imposed on insurance plans.
    6. Affordability and costs to consumers, as well as providers, are not addressed.
    7. Accessibility, delivery and quality are not maintained and/or improved.
    8. There's NO oversight from a medical, financial and sec.ur.ity persp.ectives.
    9. Profit motive is NOT REMOVED.
    10. Innovation, Research guidelines and funding are not addressed.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  15. sonia

    I am a 40 year old business owner who has smoldering multiple myeloma. I am cancer free but a ticking time bomb.

    My husband lost his corporate job and health benefits. When I tried to get health insurance for myself and employees, I was denied as “uninsurable” No one will touch me with that on my health record. So if my smoldering myeloma turns into stage 1, I could loose everything I have ever worked for.

    I support a universal health care system like Canada or France. Two main reasons

    1) Everyone should be entitled to good health care for free. No one should get rich off people’s illness.

    2) As an employer, why should I carry the burden of paying for their health insurance?

    Most people work at jobs they hate just to have decent health care.
    If health care was free most people would work in jobs they LOVE not jobs they have to have to pay medical bills.

    Universal health- A healthier, happier America.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  16. Bob

    Health care for profit like we have now will never work!
    I'd rather have my government between me and my doctor, then have a private insurance company only interested in the bottom line between me and my doctor !!
    I'm on medicare, which is great, and my wife, a foreign born citizen had excellant medical care in a Socialized system her previous country had! Single payor government program that has real regulatory controls, and oversight is the best way! Our American based companies are at a huge disadvantage competing against foreign companies in a global economy!
    Doctors are against this because they don't want to loose 6 and 7 figure incomes, and a 4 1/2 day work week!! Greed has over taken their oath!

    June 12, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  17. Steve

    If the government were to eliminate all requirements to provide healthcare to illegal immigrants, they'd be able to use that money to help fund the healthcare project.

    If the government were to eliminate all forign language communication for federal government business and in all federal buildings/offices, that would save a few billion that could be used for funding the healthcare project.

    If the government were to levy a 'healthcare tax' on the illegals found in this country now and for the future ones that may be allowed in under the comprehensive immigration bill, that's forthcoming, that might help take the pressure off of Americans that are footing the bill for those who elect to break the law.

    Finally, if the government can devise a tax option, for those who want illegal immigrants to flood our country, that people can pay into to help support illegals health, education and social services. Least the entire country go the way of California.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  18. paul varbaro

    I'm all for Obama reforming health care. If he comes up with a plan they should try it on the president , congress and the millions of federal employees first to see if it works. Then we'll see how they like waiting a month to schedule an operation or getting an appointment to see a doctor like they do in Canada.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  19. DrSean

    Once again the government is trying to bribe voters with the promise of a "free" service at the cost of our freedom. the main reason cost of healthcare keeps going up so fast is that there is no other field that keeps innovating so fast. people should just accept that not everyone can afford the latest treatment, drug, or diagnostic test. Just like not everyone can afford first class plane tickets, luxury homes, or Mercedeses. If you institute gov healthcare, it will invariably limit pay for companies and doctors, innovation and progress will die. The cost of care keeps going up astronomically because more people who can't afford the latest are getting the latest. Government is a not a charity organization. government never had the right or responsibility to provide nanny care to people. people have rights of liberty and pursuit of happiness to go out and earn the best healthcare they want, and if they can't, there are many private charities to turn to. in order to get more votes, no politicians have the right to try to enslave taxpayers and doctors in order to buy the votes of the poor who can't afford things on their own.
    The only thing that may work is reforming healthcare WITHOUT any government involvement. a good option would be non profit regional insurance co-operatives that people in the given region could buy into. Having lived in Canada and Britain, I could promise you the government will ruin the quality and promptness of care we have in the US and will tax the hell out of us to do it. In addition, it will keep borrowing money from China, causing the dollar to plummet more and make future generations slaves to our debt. WAKE UP PEOPLE.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  20. Bill

    Hi Heidi; Everyone realizes we need healthcare reform. The problem is that it is a problem that will only get worse until our congress decides to enforce the immigration laws and stops providing healthcare to every Tom, Dick, and Mary from all over the world. I totally agree with what Professor Carol Swain said yesterday on CNN. The two issues are entwined and one won't be solved without the other. Medicaid is in trouble because of all the non-citizens using it. Any bill passed now will be out of reach financially because of the immigration drag on government services whether admitted or not. Congress knows this and the bill will fail. We have no jobs, no money, our American citizens losing their homes, seniors savings gone, and our leaders want to bring in 12 to 20 million more people to compete for the jobs we don't have, the healthcare we don't have
    and who knows what else.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  21. Keith Larmore

    I think health care cost are high. My employer has even started charging its employees a surcharge on top of the regular cost of there insurance, back charging there employees of cost overages from the past 2yrs. Its totally crazy.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  22. JoAnn in Iowa

    I want to buy into my US Senator's plan. I'm willing to pay the same premium he pays. I can not afford to support the insurance industry. They are using my healthcare dollars for insurance agent salaries and for stockholder dividends and for fancy new insurance buildings and for broker salaries.

    Our current healthcare system is unfair and inefficient and the healthcare insurance industry makes all the rules. There are people dying out here in the real world. I am not in a group so I pay a high premium for a high deductible insurance with pre-existing condition exclusions for the exact things I need medical care for.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  23. Richard Delarye

    Our President is on the right road but here in Florida we have H.M.O. and they are very good to the senior who need it. We have Wellcare and if it wasn't for them we would be unable to get our prescription. This is for Srs.. only and the handicaped but I think would would with a different version for everyone. Good Job Mr. President

    June 12, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  24. Bill

    Over the past 20 years I've rung up a large credit card debt to keep my business open. I can't afford health insurance as it is now. I don't need tax cuts to fund my health care. I want Obama's plan!!!!

    June 12, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  25. Georges Gontier

    I'm in Montreal,where we have government and private health care.
    We pay our taxes which is very high but my family can see a doctor when ever for free.
    I hope americans can get the same, which for us is just a way of life.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  26. Bill

    As a retired healthcare manager, hundreds of millions of $'s are wasted in sorting through thousands of 3rd party payers (insurance co.s) and their coverage. Just adopting a single payor (government) system would save huge $$$'s. Do not let the insurance industry confuse you by saying the financing of universal health coverage (Canada) is the same as the PROVIDING of healthcare (G. Britain)

    Medicare is not perfect, but neither is most insurance coverage. Ask 100 citizens on Medicare if they would change it and 75-85% would decline, in my 35 year opinion.

    Most developed countries have national or universal H.C. coverage for its citizens with better health status statistics and at a lower cost. Our 45+ million citizens with no coverage is a disgrace for a country who has claimed the highest standard of living in the world.

    It is time to change, or at least begin to change and I hope the hundreds of millions of dollars the insurance co will spend to fight tooth and nail will not defer us

    Bill, Ocala-FL

    June 12, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  27. Bill

    Oh and Heidi I like you even more since you're using a MacBook Pro!
    Don't let anyone give you a hard time about using the Mac.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  28. Jim Guy

    Health care should NOT be a for profit business. Eliminate the insurance companies and we save enormous amounts of money in administrative costs.
    People don't like the term "socialized medicine". We have a socialised fired department, police department etc. Why not health care.
    Socialized medicine works better than our system in nearly every other developed country in the world.
    Opponents always say there will be a waiting list for services and you wont be able to choose your doctor. This maybe true, but no more true than it is here in the US.
    NOW in the USA there are waiting lists also. In most cases If you need to see a specialist you must be referred, and in most cases you will wait a month or more to see a specialist, or have surgery unless it is an emergency. If you dont have insurance you cant get on the list at all. Before you can get public help you must be broke, bankrupt, destitute in the USA.
    From research Ive seen the wait is no worse in Canada than it is in the USA, and Canadian cost per capita is only arond 60% if what it is in the US, and care is at least equal if not better than what is received here (assuming you can afford insurance).
    If you have an existing condition in this country you most likely cannot get health insurance, and if you can, the cost would be prohibitive.
    We need a socialized system that covers EVERYONE and if we cant have that a single payer system that covers EVERYONE would be the next best thing.
    Our health system should be non profit, even though greedy ceo's and republicans will kick and scream and make up even more lies to try to do anything in their power to prevent it.
    Again...socialized medicine or at least single payer.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  29. jerome mark gossett

    hiedi, its refreshing to finally have a president who doesnt subscribe to the ole "every man for himself" philosiphy when it comes to health care. As a crohns disease patient, I know the importance of preventive care. Its as important as a pre-emptive strike. Mark, chattanooga,TN

    June 12, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  30. James

    It's very clear that the companies that benefit most from our healthcare system have been the pharmaceutical and device companies. The drug and device patents they file usually last a good 25 years. Perhaps there should be an uninsured healthcare fee or tax collected during FDA appication filings and throughout a patents life span. This would be part of business as usual for the drug and device industries, while benefiting those that need health issurance so badly.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  31. phyllis baron

    If all the fraud were removed from medicare & medicaid (not to mention illegals) there would be enough money to insure the uninsured.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  32. Michael Huett

    Health Insurance providers have had it their way forever. They are breaking the back of America. They have a license to steal! Why would it be so bad to provide some much needed competition in order to provide much needed health care for our citizens? Most of our allies around the world have some form of socialized medicine and they seem to be doing okay.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  33. Joyce


    I would also like to propose a new political party...the "Americrats"
    Only for people who LOVE this country and place it first above political affiliations, economic gain and other old school separatist behavior.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  34. Karen Muth

    I am concerned for those of us who will soon be on Medicare and who will have to get a drug supplement policy. I have MS and take a daily shot of Copaxone to keep me in remission. My present Kansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance policy is $372.00 a month with about $200.00 a month for the 13 prescriptions I use. I can pay that. What I can't pay is the cost after August 31, 2110 for a daily shot of Copaxone to maintain my MS remission.

    Until I am 65, my present BCBS policy charges only $20.00—the drug company which furnishes Copaxone gives my insurance a $20.00 per month rebate—for a three-month supply of Copaxone.

    The minute I turn 65, I have to get a supplemental policy to cover drugs and one to pick up what Medicare doesn't pay on hospital and doctors' office visits. I will pay the monthly premium. But under that same BCBS company supplemental policy, all of a sudden I have to pay full cost of my drugs—I have 12 other drugs—until I reach $2510.00 out-of-pocket expenses. (Copaxone's actual monthly cost is around $2400.00-$2800.00 a month.) At that time I will pay 1/3 of Copaxone’@s actual cost or $800.00—just for Copaxone—until I have reached $4,050.00. After that, the monthly charge for Copaxone shots alone—until the end of that year's coverage and having met my $4, 050.00 out-of-pocket expenses—is in the $200.00's. (Copaxone is what health insurance companies call a tier 4 drug.) Basically I will need to have at least six-seven thousand dollars in cash at the beginning of every year after I turn 65!

    Why was Medicare set up like this? Is it due to drug companies' demands and the failure of Congress to make laws prohibiting these excessive charges? How did my cost for Copaxone make such a catastrophic rise in price when I become a Medicare patient?

    Why can't Medicare be revised so reasonable co-pays cover drugs after a person turns 65? Why does Medicare have doughnut holes! Why are insurance companies allowed to raise drug costs after a person turns 65?

    I know other retired people with high medical needs are suffering too. Many, like me, will have to cut down drug and doctor costs by foregoing medically needed drugs and treatments. This will adversely affect our health, which will force Medicare to face far more hospital expenses than if we took our prescribed medications correctly!

    Congress must adjust or add provisions and laws to keep Medicare patients like me from having to pay exorbitant drug and health care expenses due to our government’s refusal to regulate and reform our present health care costs.

    My husband would be shocked when I tell him that I am considering either dropping Copaxone or trying to take a shot every other day! We are not destitute—yet—but my husband is diabetic and has suffered a heart attack with its attached tier 4 drugs. Even with his supplemental health care policy, he is forking over our money until he to reaches $2510 in medical costs and then he too has the same payments under Medicare that I will. Now, our retirement income—already seriously depleted with the plunging stock market making our tidy accumulation of company stock look abysmally anemic—is cut by his having to come up with six-seven thousand at the first of every year. Next year, that cost will double with me then on the Medicare-supplemental-drug-and-health-care policies.

    I can certainly see why seniors cut or stop taking their drugs. My only hope is that I can stay in remission for a while—without my Copaxone— before I will have to be hospitalized or die!

    I am disabled with MS and could have gone on Medicare as early at 62. Ha! I am staying on my present BCBS policy for as long as I can!

    Karen Muth

    June 12, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  35. Carl Clark

    I trust a government offered health care plan. Health care should not be a capitalist venture. It should be based on our natures of compassion and care for one another. If our society is going to evolve to the next level we must put our basic needs on a fair and egalitarian level. Our president thinks of how we should be and attempts to get us there, whereas his main opponents only think of the present and without a regard to the common futuristic benefit to all Americans, and by extension, all humans. This is the American spirit, lifting all humans to a better and best reality.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  36. Richard S.

    Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not we in the U.S. want healthcare for people or for profit.
    As someone who has lived in England, Germany and The Netherlands, I've experienced healthcare for people.
    Compared to the current healthcare for profit in the USA, I'd certainly choose the "healthcare for people" system.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  37. Carl Almonor

    46 Million people uninsured or under insured. Enough said we need this.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  38. Steve

    The health care system of America is ridiculous right now. Companies are profiting way too much. I know Americans who are very sick right now, laid off, and cannot get health care. Some of them are even going over to Canada, Where guess what? HEALTH CARE IS FREE, and doctors still make money.

    Someone needs to fix the health care system, It's free in several other countries, why can't it be free here? I'm attending college next year, and it's going to cost me $93,000. How the hell am I going to pay for health care?

    June 12, 2009 at 10:47 am |


    June 12, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  40. J Jones

    I am orginally from Canada and have two sisters and two sons still living there. My 80 year old sister had to wait one year before they could schedule a hip replacement. One of my sons had to wait 8 months for an MRI unless he wanted to pay $400.00 for the procedure.
    The Canadian system is not the ideal and I fear we are heading in that direction. It is not free. When I left Canada, my husband and I were paying 50% of our income in taxes. There is no free ride.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  41. Karen - Missouri

    Heidi, I'm going to be 60 and in all my years, I've never seen such a fiasco as the current healthcare plight. People should NOT have to make a choice between food on the table and healthcare. When CEOs of healthcare industries make millions of dollars each year yet people can't afford insurance...there is something drastically wrong! Reform CAN NOT WAIT! And the ads against healthcare reform are misleading and lies. We will have a CHOICE, so the ads are stupid against it...preventing families from having a choice instead of being raped from outrageous costs that don't even cover what the insurance should.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:49 am |

    National Single Payer health insurance is the only way to solve our health care crisis. 60% of bankruptcies in the US are from health care costs. 46 million uninsured even more under insured. Insurance companies continue to feed us the same lies they have been telling us for the past 30 years. They are trying to scare us from government run health care. The only thing scary is a private health care system that is killing and bankrupting America. Countries with single payer systems are ranked higher by WHO than the US. They enjoy longer life spans than us here in the US. The majority of Americans and nurses support a National Health care system. Any plan that does include a public option will be a violation of democracy. Give the people what they want, give them a real public option.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  43. DrSean

    Heidi, you interviewed Dr. Jane Delgado President and CEO of the National Alliance for HISPANIC Health. Why does the opinion of such a narrow interest group matter so much? one big reason healthcare cost is skyrocketing is illegal immigrants obtaining healthcare charged to the American taxpayer.
    If you interviewed the president of a hypothetical organization named the National alliance for WHITE health, you would probably be chastised as racist and your show would shut down. what a double standard!

    June 12, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  44. Franklin Stone

    I keep hearing that president Obama is "only considering" 3 options. If anyone else aside from me actually WATCHED or LISTENED to the president during his townhall meeting, he said he was willing to do anything that will work. The other important thing to keep in mind is that no one is talking about socialized or government run/controlled health care. What he is considering would be another option provided by the gov, meaning you have private health care AS IS and then an additional option available to everyone. how does that equate to completely government controlled healthcare and what is the big deal about people who make more money annually paying more money in taxes to cover it?

    June 12, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  45. Braden Parker

    I will be a graduating medical student in 2013. When all is said and done I spend over $200K on my education. Although I am not opposed to a government run health care system, I am concerned that doctor salaries will be cut and I will be paying off my student debt until I am on my deathbed.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  46. RusRus

    What is Michael Cannon of the CATO institute talking about? Does he not listen, or does he only listen selectively? President Obama specified lower health care costs trough prevention. These "think tanks" are full of people with their own agendas, and the people representing them do not live in the real world like the rest of us. Perhaps President Obama should tax the "think tanks' since they provide nothing tangible to our society, just like paper shuffling banks that shuffled our manufacturing to China and Mexico where wages are 10% of what it is in developed countries. They just parrot what their wealthy benefactors instruct them to say. Shame on Mr. Cannon and his selective hearing.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  47. Barbara Brusstar

    Including a government insurance option is the only meaningful way to begin to control healthcare costs. Maintaining the current private insurance monopoly (PIM) as-is has amply demonstrated that it doesn't work and needs to be changed. If the PIM could have reduced costs while maintaining their profits, they would have. We've been there, done that! Including another option for non-profit healthcare cooperatives is fine, but should NOT be a substitute for the public option. If the PIM can't survive the competition, so be it.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  48. Eric

    If there is no public health care option, nothing will improve in terms of costs. Period. The insurance companies must be removed from the equation for those 45 million Americans who are uninsured. What other solution is there? I personally have been on corporate group insruance for most of my life and then on private plans. I can tell you for a fact the insurance industry is badly out of control in terms of screwing the American people for profit. My premiums have DOUBLED in just three years to completely unnafordable levels. The ONLY way to stop this, and to get everybody health care is to have a public option. I considered myself more of a Republican up until this health care debate. It's clear the party is concerned about protecting the big corporate profits before the well being of the American people. I am NOT an Obama fan, but the man has it right with his health proposal objectives.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:56 am |

    Our current system of rationed care is killing us. We need to keep the pressure up. The big corporations in America will bypass the democratic system if we do not. It is clear that these companies have had a strangle hold on health care. Give the majority of people in the US a voice. Give them a real public option

    June 12, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  50. Larry in Tx

    It's obvious that it would be cheaper to support health care alone rather than health care PLUS insurance co. profits. If the only way to get non-profit health care is with the gov't, then let's get started. What we have now is not working.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  51. Don Lohrey

    Prescription drugs should be purchased by the Federal Government in bulk and passed on to the resellers. These drugs should then be posted on the internet for easy price comparisons (have you ever tried to compare drug prices-almost impossible). Buying medical service should be like buying a car – we should be able to go to the internet and compare the prices of various services (gall bladder, appendix removal, etc.) at different hospitals and then be able to view the success rate at each hospital and the success rate of each physician operating there. Competition needs to be injected into the medical profession with competition for price and quality of service.

    As far as preventative practice, mandate that oils low in transfat and cholestrol be used in restaurants. Mandate a lower salt content for processed foods – if someone wants more salt they can always add more based on personal taste. Institute a fast food tax that will be used to help fund annual checkups for children that will be done through their local school. Make sure that physical education is present in all schools and that a healthy lunch is available. Place a tax on pop (Coke, Pepsi) as these and fast food are primary causes for obesity among our kids. Again this tax could be used for vaccination programs for kids.

    A healthy America begins with the kids. Thanks

    June 12, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  52. Kirby

    I worked as an insurance analyst for the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) from 2003 through 2005. The DOI is part of the Dept of Regulatory Agencies, and not only provides assistance to consumers, but also regulates the insurance industry.

    Part of the regulatory work includes analyzing financial statements and compensation packages of the insurance companies doing business in Colorado. In 2004, the compensation package for the CEO of Anthem Blue Cross was $33 million. The compensation package for the CEO of PacifiCare was $113 million.

    If we're ever going to control the cost of healthcare in the US, the first place to look is at the compensation packages of the top executives in the healthcare industry. The amount of money these people make is not only disgusting, but it's incredibly unethical and immoral. They make this money from the rates they charge you and me for coverage, that they often times deny.

    We all hear about how much athletes are earning; but people choose to go to the games, to buy the jerseys and the hats. Nobody chooses to get cancer, or diabetes, or asthma. For people who are proving an essential service to the general public to be making that kind of money is sickening, and it should be illegal.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  53. David A Whitaker

    Hello Tony, we don't have a choice when it come down to health care. Those that have care say, the President is spending to much money on health care plan. For those, that don't have health care see this as a chance to get goodhealth for a changed.

    Martinsburg, WV

    June 12, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  54. Mark Winter

    There is a consistent outcry that if government gets involved in heathcare, then services will go be limited, costs will increase and quality of care will decrease. Today 46 million Americans are without any healthcare, companies are reducing health benefits for cost control, insurance companies are controlling and limiting treatment, the ongoing "pre-exisiting" condition clause, even dropping people off plans. How much worse does private sector coverage have to get, how many more millions have to be affected? Do the American people not deserve a reasonable level of healthcare as in all other non 3rd world countries. This mantra of let the "market" address this issue is ludidrous – the "market" put us in financial crisis, the "market" forced goverment intervention in all industries due to safety issues, disclosure issues, a few of many examples. In this case leaving it to the "market" will cost lives. Government management of healthcare may not be a first choice, but the "market" has left us no other choice.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  55. Vince Dennen

    Can someone tell me why one of the most obvious components of health care reform is never mentioned? American taxpayers CURRENTLY pay the health expenses of the poor and uninsured. We just pay most of those dollars after they are deathly ill. If they were able to fix someones health problem when it was in "sniffle stage" instead of "transplant stage" , EVERYONE would benefit. Of course the initial costs of coverage would be high, but over the next decade it would be far less expensive.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  56. Ken Shriver

    I am 27 and have not had health insurance since I was 18 and covered under my parents insurance. I would not want the government to cover my healthcare expenses. I also do not want my taxes to cover all the fat people's healthcare expenses who don't exercise. I just don't feel it is the government's responsibility!

    June 12, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  57. Cheryl

    I am an uninsured person who is now faced with the reality that I have debilitating irreversible nerve damage caused by dental procedures. The problem is that the diagnosis is based primarily on the verbal account given by me because there are not definitive tests that can identify the damage. This does not mean that I will not be required to pay thousands of dollars on tests that will not identify the problem in order to prove that I am telling the truth. I should not be required to have tests to prove what it is not, I already know what it is not. All of these tests will be a profit to someone at my expense and that is wrong.
    I believe when I contract with a medical professional to perform a service I should get the service I paid for including proper diagnosis and not hit or miss guessing games to determine what the problem is or is not. No one should have to go from doctor to doctor to doctor because they, the doctors, don’t know what the problem is. Isn’t that their job?
    I believe we need a non-profit health care system that includes not only medical conditions but dental, visual and mental health as well. There also needs to be a change in how diagnostics and treatment are determined to stop the endless expense of tests that do not identify the problem and treatments that do not work. No one should have to sacrifice everything they have worked and saved for to get the proper medical services they need. It is a disgrace.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  58. DrSean

    The only thing that may work is reforming healthcare WITHOUT any government involvement. a good option would be non profit regional insurance co-operatives that people in the given region could buy into. Having lived in Canada and Britain, I could promise you the government will ruin the quality and promptness of care we have in the US and will tax the hell out of us to do it. In addition, it will keep borrowing money from China, causing the dollar to plummet more and make future generations slaves to our debt.

    Once again the government is trying to bribe voters with the promise of a “free” service at the cost of our freedom. the main reason cost of healthcare keeps going up so fast is that there is no other field that keeps innovating so fast. the truth is not everyone can afford the latest treatment, drug, or diagnostic test. Just like not everyone can afford first class plane tickets, luxury homes, or Mercedeses. If you institute gov healthcare, it will invariably limit pay for companies and doctors, innovation and progress will die. The cost of care keeps going up astronomically because more people who can’t afford the latest are getting the latest. Cost of health insurance keeps going up because insurance companies are mandated to cover many new expensive treatments. Government is a not a charity organization. government never had the right or responsibility to provide medical care to people. people have rights of liberty and pursuit of happiness to go out and earn the best healthcare they want, and if they can’t, there are many private charities to turn to. in order to get more votes, no politicians have the right to try to enslave taxpayers and doctors in order to buy votes. The government doesn't produce any healthcare, it can only redistribute wealth and healthcare.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  59. Doug

    Health care for profit is immoral. The insurance industries motive is to earn money by making sure they charge people a good deal more than they will ever have to pay out. Most often this will be in opposition to making sure people get the health care they need. We need a publicly funded health care system, designed to provide care to everyone, and anything less should simply be unacceptable. Will it be perfect? Not a chance; but with the (currently) highest health care cost in the world, and poorer outcomes than any nation that we'd like to be compared to, it'll be an improvement.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  60. Red

    There should be one principal goal regarding the whole issue of health care reform, and it is as important as reform itself; GET THE PROFIT OUT OF HEALTH CARE! It is amazing the discriminatory glitches one eliminates if the profit motive is gone. Examples from the insurance industry would be exclusions and adjustable premiums based on pre existing conditions. As far as real reform is concerned, the best gigantic first step involves a single payer system.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:18 am |

    Why is it that the majority of Americans don't have a voice in health care. For decades study after study have showed that the majority of Americans Support a National Not for Profit system, yet we still don't have a public option why is that.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  62. KarenW

    This healthcare reform is going to be to costly to implement. Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt how can we possibly add healthcare for all. Taxes are going to go throught the roof to pay for a stimulus program that isnt working. For all of the Obama voters that thaught that he was going to give you a tax break, hold on, you will pay on the consumer level like crazy. Your federal taxes have to go up. If your state taxes have stayed the same like in Minnesota thanks to Pawlenty you are fortunate. He has the insite to realize the feds are going to tax us like crazy to pay for the pork spending our congress has allowed. We must remember nothing is free we will pay one way or another and the top 5% has gotten smaller through this economic downturn. So hold on to your wallets.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  63. Irene

    Something has to be done! There are new diseases entering our country everyday. Health care is a necessity not a luxury.

    The Doctors alone with the Hospitals are charging outrageous prices, which makes it impossible to pay your medical bill even if you have insurance. I went over my hospital bill just to see what I was actually being charged for. You would not believe the price they put on very small items. Greed and fear has created a monster.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  64. Don E

    I see many problems with our current profit system. Even the so called non profit services. Okay CEOs of healthcare systems are also getting big bonus money. If you’re non-profit how can this be? Also there is so much money wasted on competition of hospitals. We have 4 hospital within 30 20 miles and some are even part of the same system but still spend money on advertizing. This cause just repeat of services, each hospital has an MRI. We don't need more high tech equipment we just need better ways to get out patients to them. A free health care transportation service. Hospital must but an amount that they can not exceed in their public relations. Word of mouth will prevail in spite of all the waste of times and money to try to convince folks that our hospital is better than the other ones. Also I rather have a hospital that I can have enough staff to take care of me and not a hospital that looks like a 5 star hotel. Money again wasted on older hospital having mega buck face lifts but just like any other cosmetic changes the real skin below never changes. Mega systems are buying out our small community hospitals taking away community pride and developing a healthcare monopoly. Nursing shortage every time a hospital spends money on non-healthcare issues that less nursing staff. Lawyers have the medical field running scared so much of the paperwork and time from the patient is the result of the old Cover your Butt type medicine. Get rid of joint commission and install a government hospital inspection program. Need government mandated nurse/patient ratio. This is one field that having too many employees will not harm any one and prevent medical healthcare workers burnout. People would be shocked if they really new the mental and emotional condition of their healthcare workers. Education, not only incentives to recruit healthcare workers but also incentives to retain healthcare workers. Medication: Stop the 200% profits. All medical forms used in hospitals and MD offices universal so that regardless where and go or work its all the same. Have this printed in our prisons turn around some of the waste in our prison system. Give healthcare to everyone but you must be legal citizen. We take care of you then report you to the ICE. We are missing a great way to identify illegals. It's not heartless we will provide care then after they are well we can proceed to the proper channels they need to either apply for citizen ship with requirements or return to the home front. Well are losing money on illegal in out country due to the Bi-lingual needs. Our forms are required to be available in Spanish; we are required to provide all the patients with the language of their choice. ENGLISH must be required to be a citizen. This in its self will save healthcare a lot of money. Increase money and funds available to Hospice and palliative care. Lets all get behind a SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM. Get rid of repeated services, stop the monopoly of healthcare system, restore the small community hospital, and provide free transportation to seniors and folks going to healthcare services. Free transportation for seniors would permit the aged to live more independent. With an affordable healthcare system older folks could get out of the workforce earlier and then give the younger folks am opportunity to get in the work force. we have only so many jobs and many older folks work longer simply for the healthcare benefits, meanwhile we have our qualified youth working at any job they can get, which usually in spite of the career choice they may waste 4-5 years just trying to get into the job they are trained for, because they have to wait until the older folk retire or pass on. So with affordable healthcare we would improve the whole world. thanks

    June 12, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  65. Judith

    I have always believed that there is something inherently wrong with people making money off the illnesses and misery of sick people. The media talks about the high cost of health care, but I have never seen an in depth anaylsis of WHY. A friend was recently in the hospital, and was charged $92.00 for one pill. She had her own prescription for that medication, but wasn't allowed to use it. That is outrageous. I had follow-up laser surgery for cataracts, wasn't even there for more than 5 minutes, and the bill was almost $1,000. WHY? Please, please do a show on why we are being charged these outrageous prices.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  66. James from Dallas

    Opposition says Healthcare Reform cost too much, America does not want Government run Healthcare, we can wait. Let's have some "REAL TALK" on this issue! It has never gained any ground because the very people pushing back has Government insurance and these are the same people that the Healthcare Industry has made big campaign contributions to, so don't bite the hand that feeds you? If Congress faced the same realties that the voters who put them office has, then the debate would not be regarded as no reform needed or America does not want this. Congress has it good, the taxpayer as usual suffers and has it bad!!! The one thing I can respect California on is that the country knows first hand from voters what they want and how they feel as opposed to someone standing in front of a camera and saying they know what I want without ever having heard my voice or seen my face!

    June 12, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  67. charlie

    My background is 45 years in hospital management, and after retirement, spent over 15 years in UK, and taught comparative health care systems in a program for international graduate students. I lived under UK's NHS and have had a good chance to evaluate various national health programs and compare them to our US system, which is predictably broken.
    As a result, I have concluded that this country would best be served by a government run system, preferably a single payer system. Unfortunately, however, we suffer from several major handicaps which will probably present us from reaching this logical solution, namely a national attitude of greed and self-service which I did not see in Europe. Thus, we will probably settle for a mediocre system that will be terribly expensive and disappointing to most.
    I think there are several major obstacles before an optimum solution can be achieved:
    1. The immigration, as Bill points out, is a big problem which is now facing UK as immigration from EU countries accelerates. This issue has not been resolved, and is politically explosive. It may result in costs which we cannot meet.
    2. Cost containment can only be achieved by reorganizing the entire health care system, not just a part. We have a splintered collection of programs such as the VA system, Indian Health system, Medicaid, Medicare, various Child Health programs, etc etc. Merging these would yield enormous savings which would probably pay for the entire reorganization, but the obvious political resistance will probably prevent this solution. The alternatives are the hated tax increase, reduction of benefits, or other unacceptable alternatives.
    3. We have a broken health care system, but it appears that the major interests that influence Congress appear to be in charge of the country, and these include the Insurance industry, Proprietary provider groups, and Healthcare unions such as AMA, etc. This political dilemma is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, and will probably lead us to an unworkable solution based on an attempt to protect these special interest groups. It may take a constitutional change in our system in order to overcome this problem.
    The immediate solution will be tricky and not pleasing to all the players, and repairing the broken system will require a great deal of sacrafice by many interests. I admire our President for this attempt, but wonder if our citizens will be willing to make these concessions.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  68. Ken

    The United States has the highest standard of living on the planet yet our health care doesn't cover all its citizens. Why? It must be because of where our priorites are set. This needs to be changed. All citizens of the United States should have the health care plan that our Congress members and Administration Officials now have as a minimum bottom line. People should have a choice if they are presently satisfied with what they now have they can keep it. Separate from control of health care decisions the Insurance companies, drug manufactures and Federal Government as much as possible. Let the local clinics, hospitals, and health care providers make these decisions. Reduce paper work and red tape regulations by going to networking, computerized records. In other words get out of the way and let the health care people do their jobs with less involvement in areas that now take up their time. Get the hospitals and clinics out of the business of trying to make money. They should be more focused on providing the best health care for each patient rather then decisions for making a profit. Think about the drug manufacturing companies constantly advertizing and lobbying their products and the cost involved which is passed on to those needing the medicine. Rein in this practice and let the Doctors prescribe the medicine. This is just a few of my thoughts on changes to make our Health System more efficient and cost effective.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  69. James

    It’s very clear that some of the businesses that benefit most from our healthcare system have been pharmaceutical and device companies. Their patents on file last a good 20+ years. Perhaps there should be a healthcare fee / tax collected during FDA Application filings, as well as throughout a patent's lifespan. This could be business as usual for the drug / device industries, while helping many without healthcare.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  70. Greg Rohde, RPh.

    I believe we forgotten the real meaning of insurance. It is to spread ricks over a number of people. With our current system, most times this is not being done. Individuals, small groups and people with pre-existing conditions are not able to spread out the risks and are forced to pay much higher premiums than individuals fortunate enough to be part of a large group.
    If the insurance plans were standardized and everyone was in the same group, the risks would be equally shared by all insurance companies. All insured would pay the same premium and the insurance companies would forced to run effiecently to generate more profit. Insurance plans would be standardized, but could be of different levels of coverage so people wanting more coverage could pay a higher premium. Individuals who put themselves at higher risks because of controllable situations (smoking, obesity, lack of exercise etc.) would also pay a higher premium. Having all members of congress receieve the same insurance is also a good idea-they may get a little better idea of what it's like in the real world.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  71. Eric

    There's an important detail that seems to continually get lost or misrepresented in this health care debate: NOBODY is proposing FREE health care. In order for people to utllize the proposed Public Option they will have to PAY for it, so a good portion of the cost will be covered and paid for. The largest taxpayer incurred expense will be as a result of the "poor" who will WILL RECIEVE FREE CARE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER REGARDLESS OF WEATHER THERE IS ULTIMATELY A PUBLIC OPTION OR NOT. So, would you rather incur some form of tax increase to fund the poor and recieve no benefit, or rather also be included in the benefit?

    Also, I agree that immigration is a huge part of the equation that is adding to costly facet of the health care issue. Here's an interesting solution: As part of the health care reform, how about the government mandate all emergency rooms to require proof of residency from patients. If somebody can't prove residency, they still get treated, but before being discharged they are turned over to an INS agent for ultimate determination, and possibly jailed or deported. That would be a humane approach . You can imagine how quickly that would reduce the number of illegals stealing from our healthcare industry.

    June 12, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  72. john christopher

    The American Medical Association is attacking Obama's health care reform in the same disingenuous way they joined the Canadian Medical Association in attacking Tommy Douglas's universal health care reform in Canada in 1960.

    The fact is that if these people were genuine about reforming private health care, they would have (at least) started by now.

    The reason they haven't done this and are attacking the public system is: GREED! They see patients in the same way that Yosemite Sam sees a beautiful Swan gliding over the water. What Sam sees is a steaming, cooked Goose floating by on a big platter.

    When Tommy Douglas gave Canada public health care the medical bankruptcies stopped in their tracks and doctors actually made more money than they did on private health care. One reason was that there were more patients and no defaults.

    The reason Canadian health care can be maligned is not because of the Douglas plan. It is for the simple reason that successive federal governments have reneged on the funding responsiblilities, causing massive waiting periods and human misery.

    The AMA's motives are self-serving and reprehensible. To achieve their goals they will pour billions in killing health care reform so they can continue to suck the life out of the American people.

    June 12, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  73. Timothy Hasselman

    I am 70 years old and still employed full time as an engineer with a small business engineering firm. My wife is 64 and retired. Until this March when I switched to Medicare, I was covered by company-paid insurance in a PPO plan. My wife has individual PPO coverage because it' was less expensive than coverage under my company plan. My employer paid $800/mo for my coverage and I paid an additional $200/mo. My wife pays $700/mo for her coverage. Our out-of-pocket costs are an additional $800/mo. Total health care costs are $2,500/mo or $30,000/yr. We are among the fortunate few. Next year we will both be on Medicare and will have the peace of mind that gov't-provided health coverage offers. We wish this peace of mind for all Americans. We need universal health care with a gov't-provider option!

    June 12, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  74. James

    I have read the CNN blog with many different view points regarding those who don't have health insurance coverage. There are many Americans who do have insurance, but pay high deductibles and high premiums, yet have never had a healthcare problem or ever used their health insurance coverage. And there are many Americans who have lost their jobs because of the Financial Industry mistakes. Many have lost their homes and loved ones due to natural disasters. I think it's cruel for others to judge those who have lost so much. It is selfishness and greed that has gotten us in this mess.

    High healthcare costs, industry greed, and inadequate cost controls are what we all should be looking toward changing. Just because you have a job now, doesn't mean you will have it later. Car accidents, airplain accidents, and just plain getting a life threatening illness may one day find you in their predicament. Be kind to others. We are all in the same boat together! Stop blaming others and start sharing solutions.

    For all those who are offering solutions and covering the healthcare debate. Thank you!

    June 12, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  75. Tom Harper

    We've got to start running this country like a civilized society instead of a concentration camp for Capitalist predators. Affordable Universal Health care NOW!

    June 12, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  76. goli

    can u post more stuff about iranian women and the election heidi? pls.

    June 12, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  77. Laura E. Nason

    Obama is not talking about "HEALTH CARE REFORM", he's talking about "WEALTH CARE PRESERVATION" for obscenely wealthy INSURANCE EXECUTIVES. Why do you think the "Democrats" in charge of the "hearings" are all ADAMANTLY OPPOSED to anything that might upset their biggest CAMPAIGN DONORS? When it comes to choosing what's good for ALL the people who are below their income level OR what's best for their biggest DONORS, Democrats, Republicans AND Independents ARE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE. Health care for Americans is more costly and less profitable than KILLING and building WMD. Of course it's OKAY to spend more than $100,000,000,000 a year to take care of the few who make their residence in the "space station" because 2000 years from NOW they might need to KNOW how long bugs live in SPACE. In the mean time the PEOPLE of AMERICA don't matter as much as a hill of beans. If enough of us die EARLY the politicians might not have to pay out ANOTHER Social Security Check. And if we die SLOWLY IN AGONY while WAITING, Well so what! It's not our wealthy, comfortably INSURED, at OUR expense, politicians concern. It's OBSCENE to feel EMPATHY for underlings.

    June 12, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  78. Sarah

    The Chris Woleske referred to in the article is Executive Vice President of BELLIN HEALTH in Green Bay, Wisconsin – not Biden Health.

    June 12, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  79. David

    Heidi, thanks for this newcast this morning. On healthcare, I don't know how we can get into elaborate two or three part plans when congress is not yet even in the middle of debate yet, but I am looking forward to see what they come up with, will it be a simply irresistable package of cost cutting measures and expanded access to insurance for people who for various reasons do not have any coverage.?

    At present I see two sets of concerns. One is list of reasons for extending insurance availablity to everyone given by Dr Sanjay Gupta. He said there were three reasons to do it. Medically, people need to be treated and give care to make sure they stay healthy, to prevent more dire illness. Morally, it is uncaring to let people suffer with illness that could get worse and increase their suffering and possible endanger their lives when there are treatment and care available to help them. I guess there is some overlap between pts one and two. The third point he made is that it is incredibly costly to have millions of people without insurance because they tend to forego treatment and get more and more sick and this impact the healthcare system in increased insurance premiums and other costs, fees probably. I hope I got this right. I thought Dr. Gupta three points were very compelling. Solid reasons.

    Up against this, I feel is the consideration that we want to insure the freedom of doctors and healthcare providers overall to practice medicine as best they can without being tangled up in guidelines that not flexibly enough guide medical practice.

    I noticed that the President addressed all these concerns in his town hall meeting in Green Bay WI on Thursday, I felt he was feeling out the subject and has been doing that to sort of untie the knots of issues and find the best choices and ways to approach cutting costs, opening up access to care, and keep the govt's part in this within a sensible budget. There was something kind of free flowing in his remarks that connected with me, I could express it as he was moderating as he is going into this subject, but that might not completely say it. I feel he's taking up this issue, these issues, knowledgeably and fluidly. In my view, the fluidity will help with working through details, staying focused on giving good care, and finding successful compromises.

    Hope these remarks are of interest, just wanted to post my comment while the subject is hot, this subject will be endlessly though I imagine.

    Also a very good synopis or rundown of the cost background of US health care and the financial impacts to individuals. Thank you! The fact that healthcare is the reason for 60% of bankruptcies is a shocking statistic.

    I wish you would post the video of your Snapshot Across America interview today with the blog or have a link to it in the text. First of all I love those interviews and sometimes there are distractions for viewers of your show and we miss pieces of the discussion.

    Thanks for the chance to post these comments.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:43 pm |
  80. Richard S.

    Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not we in the U.S. want health care primarily for the benefit of all of our citizens or for those relatively few people who profit from the current health care system.

    June 13, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  81. belinda harshaw

    good job preident

    June 13, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  82. Nicole Deliz

    We need a change. That much is certain. Whether it is one medical care system, like Socialized Health Care, or another change, it does not matter. In the end WE NEED A CHANGE. Lets face it. Health Care only benefits one thing right now. The health care companies. We, as Americans, deserve better then that.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  83. Jack

    I am with Aenta Insurance prior to Medicare part D my co-payent for name brand drugs was $10 generic $0 . Now with the governmet forced part D the two name brand drugs co-payment are $70 & $40 and the co-paymet for generic is $15. If this is what is going to happen with new government medical insurance we just cant do it.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  84. sandra

    I have long considered profit based on the helplessness and suffering of others can only be described as immoral, a word it appears others are reluctant to utter. My husband and I are retired and pay not only for Medicare insurance, but an annual premium amount for "disaster coverage" of a bit over $4,000.

    Last year he was in hospital for 10 days, got a defibrillator, ad infinitum ad nauseum. Had we not had the supplemental insurance our entire savings would be gone.

    I wish I could put every member of Congress in the dock and ask each why since the majority of Americans favor a single payer system they refuse to consider it. Which was the congressional twit who last week threw out 13 individuals for asking unauthorized questionsand making statements in favor of a single payer system. Nice work!

    June 13, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  85. Cameron

    Our current healthcare system is a corrupt tragedy in which not even human life is sacred. I have a daughter born in Qatar in the middle east. A country with one phone company and no sewer sytem. My daughter required an operation which they performed at the Hamad general hospital for free immediately after diagnosing the problem with my consent. No long lines, no waiting for two years, right away. She is now fine and healthy but would have died here in the USA. The answer to the question of insurance, is no insurance. In other countries an ID or passport is all that was required. Republicans will say I am not patriotic because I point out the flaws of our system, it means even human life needs to be a privilege of the rich. Just a healthcare system for every human being, this is in response to your guest’s comments about illegal aliens getting treatment,what if an illegal has swine flu and gets no treatment and unintentionally infects 15 citizens because you turned him away? All life is precious when they talk about abortions, what about peole who have been born,whether they were american or not? The Qataris did not deny us because we were american. We should take that as an example.

    June 13, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  86. John C.

    Here's the deal with health care...what Americans want, and what we need, is to be able to seek, and receive, medical treatment when needed without having to worry about how to pay. Despite how much support there is from consumers, bureaucrats like Max Baucus (MT) continue to say that "it's not on the table", and I call shenanigans! I doubt that there is a person in this country that wouldn't trade a fair tax in exchange for being able to get treatment.

    Answer this for me if you could – we, as taxpayers, have spent hundreds of billions of dollars bailing out greed-driven companies that were driven to the brink of bankruptcy by their own actions, yet we can't pay for our citizens to go to the doctor? Likely at a fraction of the cost?

    Finally, the arguments against the public option are the very reasons that we need it. Private insurance companies kill Americans for profit and yet it is somehow legal. These companies need to go under, or at the very, very least need some competition. The private insurance and pharmaceutical companies are killing us and something needs to put a stop to their rampage.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  87. Susan Chetwood

    The only beneficiaries of the current fragmented healthcare system are the insurance providers. They take 30% of all medical dollars for administrative costs and profit. We spend 200% more per capita on health costs than other developed nations, yet we have 46 million or more people not insured and even more underinsured. Also, the outcomes in this country are lower than for the other countries. We need to emulate the other advanced countries that look after their citizens instead of the corporate interests of a few. It is egregious to pander to the insurance companies.
    With a government sponsored plan, there will be one big pool of insured people instead of little pockets that will spread the costs among everyone. No-one should go bankrupt or have to worry about healthcare costs; it takes a toll on the country's wellbeing and productivity. I grew up with national health insurance in England and can assure you it is far superior to the broken system here. Yes, of course there are problems, but nothing like the problems we have in the United States. There would be civil unrest in any of the countries (UK, Canada, Sweden, France) if their universal healthcare were taken away and substituted with the inefficient, cherry-picking, inhumane system of the United States.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  88. Terry

    You judge society by the way they treat their sick,dieing,handicaped,young,and elderly. I don't think we are doing good so far.

    June 15, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  89. Patrick Fallon, Atlanta GA

    RE: National Health Care:

    In addition to my earlier comments I must add... it is in the best interest of the Unites States that all its people have health care coverage and access to education. A healthy, educated population is a very competitive advantage to forward with. New wealth and new economies can be generated.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  90. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    President Obama hit the road yesterday for a great speech for health care reform to doctors. He covered all the necessary topics to the American Medical Association (AMA). The President laid out the case for the nation’s AMA about the health care system. He made it short and sweet. President Barack Obama highlighted a vast list of topics that needed to be cover. The situation is that the quality and cost of health care across the country has gone down. The U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world; we spend almost 50 percent more per person than any other country. President Obama finally presented the topic of health care not only to the only Organization for Physicians but presented it to the Nation. The threat to the federal deficit and the importance to make a connection and to present this topic related to the overall economy of the United States. The sacrifice has to be share by physicians too. Americans had to endure alone this situation for decades thanks to Political Hidden Agendas and doctors need to be part of the equation. We cannot tolerate corruption and Big Political Agendas to continue to hide this topic that affects so many Americans. The idea of the less fortunate to continue to endure this situation alone is finally over. How can cutting off Citizens and Americans from Health Coverage can be patronized in America? I hope that President succeeds on his agenda but we all should work to share this situation as in England did and many other great countries.

    June 16, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  91. Dave Simmonds

    has hard as it is here in jamaica our given free all round health care,the cost we know is great but the people wellfare must be put first. A healthly country is a prosperous country.Mr Obama needs to implement a plan that not only will make private providers comfortable but the wider society at large.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  92. Liz

    if the help care reform wont go thru,beca use the votes arent their'i have an idea,since tax payers pay the insurance for members of congress.they make alot more money then the middle class.we have to pay for are in insurance and not much money left over when you pay 500. a i figure congress should pay for their insurance,like everybody else.then they would know how every one else feels.their insurance is free and best help the needy not congress they can afford it.low income family cant afford it,insurance is very expensive it would take their whole check and no money to live.we could save alot money if congress paided for their own insurance and they dont need a special doctor at white house.their they could save more money.take care of the needy not congress

    June 16, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  93. Jay Olmerhaugen

    I just retired from the Air Force and have dealt with VA healthcare for some time now. As all the malpractice that gets uncovered and reported, I'm glad to see some of the VA problems come to light. From my experience, VA professionals and facilities vary as much by location as on the civilian side. Although we have seen the negative stories reported more, I am happy with the care I have recieved. It is very clear, however, that the system has become overloaded and cannot keep up with the increasing number of vets from these sustained wars.

    It's terribly important our healthcare system gets major overhauls and our veteran's care should be at the forefront. Time will tell if the Obama administration funnels the much needed money and makes the changes needed to give our nations heros the support they deserve.

    June 16, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  94. Curly Top

    I support health care reform. I am a GM retiree who just was informed that vision and dental coverage will cease on Jan 1, 2010. Over the years, the coverage afforded by GM health care has decreased. While I was satisfied, I also elected to go to the VA as I have a disability rating and in a few years will be under Medicare. Note, the GM retiree will only receive Medicare Part A at 65. So I wanted to be established before that time. I am happy with the care at the VA.
    One of the problems is that group health coverage is limited to the ability of the employer to provide the coverage and how much the employee will be able to contribute. There is enough blame for the health care crisis to spread around. Provider charges have been unbundled and have skyrocketed in the past years. The cost of medicine has skyrocketed. The cost of health coverage has skyrocketed. Dental costs have also skyrocketed. Employers are squeezed with wanting to provide benefits and needing to make profit. Meanwhile, many folks can't even get the minimum in services. I feel caught in the middle with no end in sight.
    So please cut out the scare tactics and get with it to solve problems not create them to get back into "power".

    June 16, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  95. Eileen Harlow

    Just read Karen Muth's comment. I understand her situtation because I am in the same boat. Something really needs to be done with health care. It is a terrible shame that this country has these kinds of issues but I hope something good will come in the near future. I understand that drug Co.s have made statements to the President that they would be willing to pay 50% of drug expenses when seniors just as myself reach the donut hole. That is still not good for people like me. I have a cronic medical condition which requires $969.00 a month prescription to keep me healthy. I go into the donut hole very quickly. If the drug Co. pays 50% while I am in the hole that is still almost $500.00 a month to pay for along with all the other meds. We are low income ($22,600) a yr. Not low enough for drug help from Soc. Sec. So some kind of action needs to be taken to help seniors with high medical expenes. A good solid prescription coverage might save high expenses that medicare has to pay for hospital confinements because we would be healthier and wouldn't need to be in the hospital. Sincerely, Eileen Harlow

    June 26, 2009 at 1:44 am |
  96. Sarah

    They way to reduce health care costs it to get rid of the illegal residents. They are DRAINING our resources, leaving nothing left for our LEGAL residents.

    July 17, 2009 at 9:24 am |

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