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June 12th, 2009
11:15 AM ET

Can America Afford Health Care Reform?

Do you have health insurance? Or are you among the millions of Americans who are uninsured? President Obama wants everyone to be covered. But can the nation afford to do that? 

We want to hear from you about everything from the current state of health care to what health care in America should be – and how we should get there. Tell us all: the good, the bad and the ugly. If you have a question about what’s being proposed in Washington or the timetable for possible action, post it here. We’ll get some answers when Fredricka Whitfield takes a hard look at health care reform Saturday at 4pm ET.

Filed under: Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (282 Responses)
  1. J Biggs

    Government supported: IT works in other parts of the world. Don't believe the Republican hype that it doesn't. I lived in Europe for 7 even years sorry to say America does not have the best health system in the world.
    What we have here in the US is the best technical health system in the world. However, not for 53 Million US home landers they have no health care at all. none!

    June 10, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  2. jarrod

    The gov. job is to set the guidelines that the insurence co. MUST fallow for the people NOT to protect the insurence co. People first the cost is not important. Theres more fight for a unborn fetes and none for the living talk about being a__backwards.

    June 10, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  3. Tom Harper

    Of course I believe that the government should provide a safety net for health care. In my opinion health care is a human right and that there should be a single payer National Health Care System. But that doesn't look likely so if the government could provide a public option for those that have no health care then that would be good. The amount that they pay for it could be kept low through government subsidy. Below the poverty threshold people should not have to pay for their own health care.

    June 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  4. Kerrie

    I wonder if the people leaving the comments pay taxes.

    June 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  5. warren

    the government shouldnt get in health care this is not a socialist country no matter what obama wants to do his stimus plan is a joke just like his administration cant wait for his term to end then maybe him clinton and carter can get together and make a new three stooges movie

    June 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  6. 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 6:20 pm |
  7. Co

    Public/private parnership works!!, also in Healthcare. In The Netherlands this system was introduced some 6 years ago and works!!. Every citizen is obligated to be insured under the 'basic insurance programme' under control by the government and paid for by health insurance tax paid by either the employer or the individual. Additional insurance for cover over and above the basic insurance is a choice of the individual and paid for by the individual or by 'special, taxed, benefits offered by the employer. The "private" part insurers are making a profit and have nothing to complain about. Waiting times for treatment is in some cases long but depends on the choice of hospital. Hospitals are more or less specialized in certain treatments. Wating times are reducing along the whole spectrum of the medical aid system. Family doctor (GP's) systems are a crucial instrument in the reduction of the calls upon hospital aid!! a great cost reducer!! I am amazed by the lack of international knowledge of healthcare systems by the opponents of a just, universal system that will ultimately reduce healthcare cost!! Healthcare insurance premium in The Netherlands is only age related, NOT medical history related, as is imposed by law. The premium we pay for the basic package plus additional insurance for international coverage and a number of additional risk coverage, is less than half of what we would pay in the US. Come on, wake up opponents, don't fight against better knowledge and don't play politics with a healthy health insurance system this country so desperately needs.

    June 10, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  8. Angela Ness Vancouver , Canada

    I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to have to make a choice between you and your familys' health because of cost . We can help people through programs such as social assistance when people lose their jobs , and they never have to pay it back . But if you are sick and dont have the money in the first place to purchase insurance , and do get sick , you could end up paying for years on your hospital bill . Money should be the last thing anyone should have to worry about if they are sick or injured . In a country as advanced as the U.S. is , healthcare for everyone should'nt even be an issue .

    June 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  9. J. Tennis

    It surely seems to me that any government intervention into the business of our nation’s healthcare system need be seriously questioned. How can we continue to justify allowing government intrusion into private industry without some fundamental checks and balances? For instance, before passing any legislation to this end, shouldn’t the American people first be comforted with the reassurance that a “Language Czar” will be named to “READ” it first?

    June 10, 2009 at 8:05 pm |
  10. Linda Finch

    YES! Crimoney, let's dp it and have done with it for God's sake.

    June 10, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  11. Michael

    The Conservatives/Republicans are anti government and anti american,When they were in power america was for sale.We the people are paying for their lies and ideology and their fear tactics.We the people stand united to get health care reform passed.We the people want to enjoy a good health care like the Senate and House Of Representives do.It didn't matter to the GOP the cost of the Iraq war,so way should the cost of health care for all americans be a problem?

    June 10, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  12. Sara

    We need a single payer health system. People can go to the doctors they choose, elective surgeries and treatements will be at the cost of the people. A small co-pay would keep citizens from abusing the system.

    The insurance lobby is very powerful and a single payer system would make insurance companies lose profits. Canada's health care costs average $4,000 per person per year. The US's current health care costs, the way we run things now, average $8,000, per person per year. We can do better with a single payer system.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:53 am |
  13. Tony the actuary

    We have government sponsored health system in the US, its called Medicare. Sure it's only universal for over 65 but we should forget about Europe, Canada etc and learn from our own experience. Has Medicare been a benefits disaster, an adminstrative disaster and a financial disaster? The benefits are incomplete and horribly complex. The tax rates are not selfsupporting and the trust funds insolvent. The provider reimbrusements are insufficient.

    Sara's comment about the cost differentials have nothing to do with the systems itself. Canada has a younger populatuion. Canada does not have to deal with obseity, negative lifestyles and a legal system that's out of control. A govt system will not change these underlining cost drivers. Someone will probably jump in and mention insurance company profits but they are a drop in the bucket. Thats like trying to pay your monthly mortgage by looking at the one dollar bills in your wallet.

    We fought a economic war with USSR and kicked their butt. Capitalism works when it is properly directed. The private insurance needs lots of changes but that is way to go.

    June 11, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  14. E. Bond

    Why are the Republicans "appalled" at having a government health plan? Members of Congress have had a government run health plan for years. They get to choose from a number of private plans in a health program administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

    June 11, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  15. Derrick H.

    I do not feel that the Government should be involved in providing individuals with Health Care. I think the more power we give the Government, the more will be taken from the people., we will soon be heading in the direction of a socialist society.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  16. tom

    We clearly have it wrong . This country can offer up the best medical care to any one but we fall fare short of this since Nixon made the heath care system a business ! Now all that the medical field in America is , Is a for profit business ! We have to take control we have to look at Mexico and Canada We have to take this very seriously and NOW ! I have NO insurance and if I were to get sick I would DIE today ! Great job America !

    June 11, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  17. Suzie M

    Where was all the AMA concern when huge private insurance companies took over health care decisions in managed care schemes? That system was sure to and has killed and injured millions of patients. Thanks, AMA, but I'd rather have President Obama make the decision this time.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  18. John Babitskas

    It will never happen. The Doctors Association is against it. Every single persn who has health insurance is against it. The insurance industry does not want it. The Drug companes don't want it. Lawyers don't want it because you can't sue the government. This country couldn't handle having 50 million people being added to the burden of current physicians. Stop worrying, it ain't gonna happen.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  19. Milton Smith

    No pill fruads malpractice fruad fruad and more fruad fruads dr fruads fruad

    June 11, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  20. John Stanley

    I think this is the only way ,to have health care coverage. But! there has to be rules and regulators to be sure the regs. are followed.I don't mean some one who is paid a bonus, to deny claims.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  21. tom

    HEY ALL you Sheeple why not take the time to watch a movie ( documentary ) called SICKO ! This country has the WORST health care in the world . It is all for profit and money . If you do not believe me just watch and see . More people DIE in the us than any other country WORLD WIDE HELL even the Gitmo detainees get WAY better care than ANY US CITIZEN EVER CAN !!! Wake up !

    June 11, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  22. tom

    The AMA is NOT for giving HEALTH CARE THEY WANT CASH and the proof has been there forever ! Wake UP Sheeple ! THE AMA wants us to pay and PAY BIG or you DIE plain and simple if you do not have coverage and or health insurance You are a liability if you have things like cancer or a EXPENSIVE deadly medical disorder You will not make the AMA or issuance company's money then you will be rejected denied coverage and DIE ! The proof is there just wake up and see for once in your life CNN tell the truth about the medical situation get the word out about the money making game they play CHANGE THE SYSTEM FOR ONCE !!!

    June 11, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  23. Sonya Roberts

    Expecting the Health Industry to support any form of Federal Health Care is like asking the Mafia to endorse the Rico Act.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  24. Mitchell Gibson

    Insurance is not the problem. Insurance is not the solution. Insurance is simply a reflection of the problem – incredibly high prices and fraud. High prices and fraud charged and engaged in by by doctors, hospitals, drug companies, medical supply companies, and others involved in the healthcare business. If the problem is not clearly identified, the solution will not be effective.
    The world economy was devastated by greed and the lack of goverment regulation and oversight of the financial industry. It is time for government regulation and oversight of the healthcare industry. Those who price-gouge the public in a time of crisis, such as a hurricane, are treated as criminals. Doctors, hospitals, drug companies and medical supply companies who gouge the public with their high prices should also be treated as the criminals they are.
    The only solution to the high prices and fraud in healthcare is a government – imposed price list and vigorous prosecution of those who defraud the system.

    Mitch Gibson

    June 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  25. Ari Rutenberg

    Of course they should. First of all John Boehner does not know what he is talking about. There is no rationing in the public plan, and there will certainly be less "bureaucratic" interference than we have with the HMOs. I mean they deny coverage for those with even minor existing conditions, and then when you have it they spend as much of your premium trying to not pay you as they do actually doing their jobs.

    The job of providing people with medical care and the aim of making massive, and ever increasing, profits are simply at odds with each other. A government program will not be perfect, but it will allow Doctors and patients to decide what treatments are necessary (as Mr. Boehner apparently would like) and it won't nickle and dime them to pay for its own massive bulk, and the dividends, on which the for-profit insurers actually spend the bulk of premiums. Boehner would rather let his friends keep getting rich off other peoples misery than actually attempt to do whats is in the best interest of Americans.

    June 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  26. tom

    No the only way is to do away with the current health care setup . Issuance company's the AMA And the HMO system ! They have proven to deny people health care when they needed it the most the health care system has killed off more Americans than it has saved ! WHY ? due to lack of coverage , denial of coverage and the HMO saying NO ! WE need to stop this and NOW ! Just look at how we treat our sick and dieing and look at any other countries sick and dieing ! WE HAVE IT ALL WRONG !!!

    June 11, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  27. don gattin

    Yes we need a public insurance plan. Especially or those people that these insuracnce companies who shoot people down just because they are too disabled in those bright idiots working for insurance companies. Of course they don't want a public plan it takes away from their profits. When insurance companies can take these peoples money but refuse to cover them becuase they have a pre existing condition Like SPINA BIFIDA and many others. I have SPINA BIFIDA BTW. so I can see the con job the AMA and insurance companies are pulling.

    June 11, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  28. Tom in the Desert

    Yes, the other 13 Industrialized Nations which have provided Universal health care have at least the equal quality of our health care. International studies consistently show that US health care fluctuates from all across the spectrum of 14 depending upon the issue – just as the other 13 do. In several instances, US healthcare outcomes are at the bottom of the heap – just like our students' scores in math, sciences, etc.

    June 11, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  29. Sherry Saint

    As a canadian, I think you don't understand the system. The government does not decide whether or not you get treatment, the doctors decide. In your system now, my understanding is that an uneducated person at the insurance company is the one who decides whether or not to cover tests and treatment. I think it is incoragable to think that people get sick, and go broke at the same time. Insurance companies can drop your coverage at the drop of a hat if you start costing them money, that to me is insane.

    June 11, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  30. Arkady226

    John Boehner is such a sleazy politician. He epitomizes all that is wrong with Washington. He lies, he misrepresents, he dissembles. He is si disingenuous. I would like to know if he uses his government insurance program supplied to House members? Do his parents receive Social Security? Do any of his constituents receive Medicare or Medicaid? If so, then, those are the programs that this health care initiative is attempting to resemble.

    June 11, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  31. James in Hawaii

    Absolutely and its about time people in power took their heads out of their behinds, said no to health industry kick-backs and put the country's health first.

    It's amazing that the Republicans are opposed to everything without offering alternatives or offer constructive comments. I've worked with nay-sayers like them and needless to say the company replaced them with people who contributed to the company's mission. I hope we as a nation do the same in the next round of elections.

    June 11, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  32. Ben

    Any solution provided today is doomed to failure. We do not have nearly enough primary care physicians to cover the flood of patients that would be newly insured. Connecticut found this out when they instituted universal coverage. If we find a way past that hurdle, there is a way to make universal coverage work. Unfortunately, it would involve the complete elimination of powerful, entrenched special interests. First, we need to get rid of the concept of insurance. Health is a utility that people need regularly, not a set of insurable events. Doctors and hospitals should be paid a set amount that is enough to keep the best and brightest in the field and that is graduated by experience and training. This should be hourly and administration time should be billable. The facilities bill to the government their expenses, which are paid quickly and without much question. Doctors would make all the medical decisions. This would only work if the doctors were shielded from any incentive to provide unnecessary care. This means removing drug advertising (particularly direct to consumer advertising), eliminating access to physicians and patients by medical supply company sales entities, and reducing fear of litigation. Without external incentive, a doctor will provide only the care that a patient really needs. Of course, we would need to do some monitoring to eliminate fraud (for instance, a hospital negotiating a deal with a medical goods company), but for the most part, the rules would be very limited. However, this is very unlikely to happen in this country. The drug companies, insurance companies and durable medical goods companies have most of congress in their pockets.

    June 11, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  33. Curt

    We Americans have had enough of socialism already with Obama. Another disasterous goverment program that will limit our ability to get the health care we need, the prescriptions we need, the technology we need, the medical developement we need, the pharmaceutical developement we need and the ability to go to the hospital we need is just insane. Obama Care? No way. Oh yea Obama needs to be put on notice that this is America, not some 3rd world country. We don't need Obama.

    June 11, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  34. Leonard

    The Republican members of congress have a "socialist" healthcare plan for themselves and their families but believe Americans are too stupid to have a decent public option. John McCain would not have any insurance coverage for his numerous cancer treatments but for the "socialist' insurance policy that he gets from congress and the "socialist" coverage he gets for being a military vet because any other individual would have been labeled as having a "pre-existing condition." What a bunch of scammers.

    The AMA has been completely infiltrated by lobbyists and doctors only care about profits and money. The "socialist" medicare and medicaid system we currently have costs the government $686 billion in 2008 (23% of the budget). Where will the money keep coming from? China? I don't think the Chinese will keep loaning America money to pay greedy doctors and hospital administrators.

    We are ready to pay more in taxes to have a single payer system which is the only sustainable path in another 5 years or else the economy will go burst. The Repoblicans can continue their campaign against poor Americans and continue to lose big time in every election. It's their choice.

    June 11, 2009 at 7:39 pm |
  35. Purple Spider

    For those who need Health Insurance, very good idea. For those who have coverage – bug out!!!

    June 12, 2009 at 6:34 am |
  36. RusRus

    If the wealthy have health coverage, why shouldn't the poor? As ussual the GOP (the party of no), stands up only for wealthy Americans. Here is the hypocracy of their thinking. You can't have an abortion, but once you are born they don't you to have health care, and if you are poor and steal they want to throw you in jail for life. What a great group of people. This is in addition to their blind support of poluting oil companies, who destroy everything they touch. Thats the GOP way. Name calling and temper tantrums when they do not get their way, because they know best. They should change their logo from "The party of Lincoln" to "The party of narrow minds".

    June 12, 2009 at 7:27 am |
  37. C Demarest

    I grew up a military brat. Our health care was provided by the military. If I could descrbe the experience, I would say that it would remind you of going to the DMV to renew your tags or standing in line at the post office. Take a number!!

    If this is what we are in for, I am not interested, If genuine help is on the way I welcome it. I am self employed and pay my own catostrophic health care premiums and the first $10,000.00 per year out of pocket.

    June 12, 2009 at 7:35 am |
  38. RusRus

    The people who would deny health care to other people because they can't afford it remind me of "Everybody is equal, some are more equal than others" from the movie Animal Farm. Watch it with your children and they will explain the premise to those of you ignorant enough not to get it.

    June 12, 2009 at 7:40 am |
  39. RusRus

    Dont worry greedy hoarders, in all industrialized nations with government supported health care, the health care industry can still afford their fancy Mercedes cars and country club fees and Mc Mansions. Your fear is misguided. Health care is not about profit, its about helping the sick regardless of their financial status.

    June 12, 2009 at 7:51 am |
  40. 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!
    Jack Kemp, Redfield, S.D.

    June 12, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  41. Charles Perry

    Amercians overwhelmingly do not want government run healthcare. Lower cost, increased quality, and more coverage for the masses are mutually exclusive events, i.e., they cannot occur together. The reality is that government run anything is a disaster. Government should attack the causes for the dramatic increases in medical cost rather than the patient for a solution. By financial default, some government czar will, in fact, be making medical decisions on the basis of what financially suits their financial objectives. Obama states that it is not socialized medicine. What, then, are "Federally Qualified Health Centers" (FQHCS) which are detailed in the Healthcare Bill. This should be a huge red flag to the AMA. European countries a telling the United States NOT to have government run Healthcare because IT DOESN'T WORK! The government will, like all other programs under their control, mismanage, corrupt, and disrupt the healthcare that exist in America today. Futhermore, this unfunded liability will further jeapordize the financial future of America.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:04 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.
    Why is it that we can afford two wars, massive corporate subsidies, huge bailouts for a handful of the rich, yet when it comes to health care we are always confronted with the question of "can we afford it?" The truth is we cant afford not to have a public option. 60% percent of bankruptcies are from health care costs. How high does that figure have to get before the main stream press asks "Can we afford Private health insurance?"

    June 12, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  43. Eva

    Doctors don't want to make what they made in 2001? My family makes now what we made in 2001! My husband has 2 weeks mandatory furlough this year and now we pay $300 a month toward our health care premium. I work part-time while raising our child and now I have to go back to work full-time as soon as possible.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  44. Larry V.

    Too many American citizens can not afford health care as it is currently available. A family policy for myself (age 59) my wife (age 48) and daughter (age 19) is over $1,800 per month. This is with a $5,000 per person deductible. This is more than my mortgage payment. And there is no coverage in the first year for any pre-existing conditions. Basically, the nations health insurance companies, who deal in risk management, do not want any risk. They only want to insure those with near zero risk of any coverage issues. Individuals need to be able to purchase health coverage at the same prices as offered through large employers. A new hire at a large company does not have to go through any screening process to get health insurance nor does their family members. Why should individual policies be any different? WE NEED NATIONAL HEALTHCARE FOR THESE REASONS, UNLESS THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY IS WILLING TO CHANGE THE WAY IT ISSUES COVERAGE.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  45. damir

    I`m from Europe and I came from the Socialist country. When I was getting ready to come to USA I was worned by other people to watch for the health insurance because it is one of the countries with the worst health insurance situation on the world. When I was growing up as a kid, when I needed a doctor I would go to doctors office, after he checked me out he would prescribe me a medication wich I would then pick up at the farmacy..all that didn`t cost me a penny. Every person hired had to, by the law, get a social,retirement and health insurance from the employer. Health care was free, schools and colleges were free also. But then again, all the big corporations were owned by the government and there was no million dollar bonuses, CEO`s did have a decen 6 figure salary but nothing like here. USA is a great country, you can be a CEO , destroy the whole company and still get 20 000 000 dollars bonus....ha ha ha..only in America ....but when president is trying to have people insured, well, than thats a problem....very interesting....

    June 12, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  46. RusRus

    Private health care is the most corrupt around. The reason is profit for insurers. Outrageous bonuses to top exectuvies for not treating and covering the sick. That is some system, works great for Cheney (numerous heart surgeries), and for Mc Cains skin cancer. Oh yes I almost forgot they are rich beyond the common persons comprehension. Poor people do not hire lobbyists to present their side of the issue like the AMA, who's members live much better than the average citizen. It appears in a nation priding itself on equality, some are more equal than others. It reminds me of the communist system, where they high ups get the benefits while the masses toil. The natural conclusion is that the GOP is a closet communist party.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  47. damir

    "Amercians overwhelmingly do not want government run healthcare"....I would love to know where did you get that from...?

    "European countries a telling the United States NOT to have government run Healthcare because IT DOESN’T WORK"...? which country....? please tell me.... European countries are not stupid, sorry to burts your bubble, if they wanted to have health sistem as US they would have it...and second, government run healthcare DOES WORK....I spent over 30 years living in the country with government run healtcare....where is your experience comming from?

    " The reality is that government run anything is a disaster." maybe China...? who is borrowing their cash to US so we can go on with our PERFECT PRIVATE RUN system...?

    – you have no proof for any of your claims, I hate when republicans talk about something they don`t know anything about....

    June 12, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  48. JT

    Tony, I take personal offense from your comment that physicians are afraid of making less money and ordering excessive and unnecessary tests on patients just to avoid malpractice action. As a physician in trainning, my colleagues and I make every effort to be discerning clinically and only order testing that is required. Younger physicians in general are greatly concerned about the appropriate allocation of healthcare resources, Your comment that physicians are concerned primarily with personal compensation only illustrates the stereotype toward doctors that is perpetuated in America today. As a young physician I can attest to the fact that the days of the "filthy rich doctor" are over. The cost of medical education has climbed exponentially and the personal costs to maintain licensure and education are extreme. If reform is to occur and be effective in healthcare and the government wants to restrict costs, they must also provide assistance to physicians in trainning. A plan that outlines lower physician compensation without addressing the up to half a million dollars worth of debt that young doctors can accure will fail. I am personally concerned that if drastic reform passes, older physicians will retire and younger physicians will be forced out due to debt. The resulting shortage of doctors in this country would put America in a debilitating healthcare situation.

    June 12, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  49. Erna Boldt

    When Pres. Truman attempted to introduce a government plan health insurance, the AMA "went on a Bandwagon" and was able to engage the Pharma Industries as well, and finally convincing the public, that it is called "socialist" medicine. It faioled then, and it will band-aid only
    what is in Congress at this time.


    June 12, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  50. damir

    physicians are not the problem, the insurance companies are, they are trying to scare people with socialized healthcare wich works just fine all over the world. The problem is, in socialized healthcare there is no middle man (health insurance companies) but physicians send the bill to the government... in the case that USA switches to socialized healthcare all of those giant health insurance companies would be out of work and bankrupt overnite...

    June 12, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  51. Nurse

    Am not sure if any of reform is going to work with the insurance being in the lead as you know that they will not change as they have been for so long.
    I do not have insurance, five years ago I lost my job and my cobra was going to be $800 a month because I have HIV, the insurance company told me that I will not get a better deal than what they offered me , I will not mention that insurance company, which told me that my record is already in the system that ,no insurance will offer me a less coverage than what they would have given me. So because of my health problem I started looking for a different health care , then I found one which was a discount that has worked real good for me and I have helped others to be able to be on a discount health care without being asked if you have any health problem and be able to go to any Dr without thinking of my health problem, I will share this website with others you will not believe how great it is and most people think discounts health card are not good, But it's not true ,try and see how it works, they also have a program were if you cannot afford you medication all you pay is $80 and all you medication will be delivered to your home no matter how much they cost but you have to have low income category. But you can get help.
    Here is the website check it out health care everyone can afford

    June 12, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  52. Guddy

    My husband and I got very sick in 2003. My husband got an amputation on his food because he has ha an aneurysm. One year later he got diabetics. I was diagnosed in 2003 with breast cancer and in 2004 I got a herniated disk after an accident. We have no Health insurance, but in 2003 we had Medicaid.
    We filed for bankruptcy in 2004. Because we worked in Germany over a long time, we are receiving SS disability retirement in Germany since 2005 SS. But because we are receiving it from Germany, we are eligible for Medicare. Now our income is to high for Medicaid and to low for a insurance. We will not get one, because of our precondition. And we have no money left, because of our payment to the trustee. We can not afford our medication and our follow ups. The only what we have is Medicaid share of cost. This means we have to met 1990.- each month to get medicaid. This only works, when we are going in a emergancy to get every thing done, what we need. Month by month. When we would do this, the cost will be app. 30.000,- a year. What we need is app. 3.000,- a year. This system is very expensive and sucks.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  53. Larry

    I'll tell you how to finance health care non-profit agencies.

    Most non-profits aren't non-profit anyway. They employ people..and at very good salary rates. I used to volunteer for a local non-profit where the president was taking a $140,000 salary plus an expense account and had a staff of 13 people all also well paid.

    I would estimate that only 30 – 40% of the money meant to help these agencies goes to the programs and research they represent.

    The IRS needs tighter rules on these so-called charities.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  54. D. Detzler

    Everyone is pushing for the "same as Congress gets" health care, but what they really are saying is "same as federal employees get", which is entirely different.   I think you should investigate the real cost of premiums, co-pays, prescriptions, and  lack of any dental or eye coverage.   When I go to the doctor or dentist, they give me that "too bad" look.  Most State and County insurance plans are more superior to federal coverage and often include generous dental coverage.  My plan pays $22  for an office visit including normal treatment given   There are umpteen insurance plans you can choose from in the federal program, which drives  the cost up – if there were one  or two plans it would be significantly lower.  My husband and I have combined coverage and we are retired – our premium is $397 a month.  We pay $20 co-pay for a doctor visit, 15% of all other medical costs, a $400 deductible each.  There is a major medical cap which is a blessing, but the monthly costs of medications just for myself  is approximately $150.00 a month in addition to the premium.  This does not take into account the cost of surgical procedures that have cost me a total of $2,000 in co-pays last year. 
    Our plan is Blue Cross/Blue Shield, but is not the same plan available to others and has less benefits than those businesses that provide coverage to their employees..
    My husband has had no medical costs because he avoids doctors, eats only one meal a day and walks four miles a day without fail.  He still splurges once and a while – has his goodies and drinks wine on occasion.  This speaks to Obama's preventive medicine and fitness plan.
    The pharmacy costs are unbelievable for people who  don't have health coverage.  One of my medications costs $35.00, but the real cost is more than triple that.  One of my friends just had a medication prescribed that is $1,335 for 30 pills (1 month supply).  She has no insurance other than medicare and is on disability – fortunately she will be able to get this lifesaving drug.  My question is "why should any drug cost that much"?  Someone not on medicare would not be able to afford this drug and it probably wouldn't have been prescribed and that person would have a shorter life span. 
    The whole medical industry stinks.  The high cost of medical care is pushed by greedy doctors, insurance companies, lawyers that pursue ambulances and advertise what prescriptions would be sueable, etc.  My doctor won't accept Medicare patients and if you look in the yellow pages you will see advertisements "We accept Medicare patients".   Why aren't all doctors required to take Medicare patients?  I don't qualify for Medicare benefits yet and wonder if I'll have to change my doctor when I do.

    The only way the poor or indigent have health care is when they collapse in a hospital lobby.  Take a tour of the British hospitals and see how well run they are.  See  all the elderly taken care of in beautiful airy hospitals with careing staffs.  if they are homebound, they get weekly visits from nurses who prescribe medication, take their blood pressures, etc. – all a zero cost.   Maybe they don't have the "Best" doctors because the "Best" doctors come to the states to make the "Big Bucks", but they have "Good" doctors who are caring and provide good care.SO, what's the answer?   I wouldn't have enough dough to really have the "Best" doctor anyway.  Maybe Madonna could afford one, but I couldn't.   I'd go for a good doctor over the best doctor any day.  Socialized medicine is not a panacea, but it is better than what we have right now.
    Oh, the argument of you won't get health care on demand and that you will have to wait in line for care argument is also a fraud.  Sure, if your surgery can wait it probably will wait until it can be scheduled.  How is that different from not being able to get an appointment for 4 months to see an Orthopedist.  That's how long I waited with a bad knee injury and that was the shortest waiting time with any doctor in the closest city.  I also waited four months for an appointment to see an eye specialist.  Once I got the appointments I received the care I wanted and needed four months earlier.   This is not unusual as my friends have had the same experience in trying to schedule appointments with specialists.  This also happens in big cities that have specialists as most GP's limit themselves to hangnails because of  fear of  law suits
    Socialized medicine funded by taxes and/or a premium charged  to individuals and business owners would help pay for the cost, but also share the cost of  health care to employees.  A cap on malpractice should be imposed.   

    June 12, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  55. Diane Royer

    When I hear some Republicans saying that subsidizing some sort of health care coverage for the 45+ million of us who are uninsured would break the nation's economy, I believe they are acting immorally. First, their own health coverage is subsidized by the federal government, that's us, all the nation's taxpayers because even our unemployment benefits are taxed. So, we who have nothing can afford to pay for part of THEIR benefits, but it is being argued that the rest of this nation's citizens cannot help to pay ours? No one expects that coverage will be free–even Medicare has premiums. Also, wouldn't common sense tell you that if a person cannot afford health insurance premiums, there is no way they could pay the actual medical bills that come from injury or illness? Those bills will have to be written off as uncollectible or be charged off in a personal bankruptcy. I think this is the height of hypocrisy and class hatred. Poor people are looked at as losers who can't control their own lives, but many are born with nothing, work all their lives and still end up with nothing. It's not as if were all issued the same amount of "Monopoly money" when we were born and some of us just blew it through ignorance or carelessness. And, by the way, how can so many Republicans claim that they are "pro-life" and still be so vicious to people less materially blessed than themselves? Isn't it time to remember that we were all once fetuses? Fight for us as much when we get out of the womb as when we are still in it.

    June 12, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  56. RJ

    can we afford it, what, do you mean the rest of us still working to pay for everybodies elses health care, NO WAY! Its sick as it is already that welfare people get better health care in which I pay for both than I do! You want to help someone how about the middle class tax payer whos paying for everyones health care!

    June 12, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  57. RJ

    i say start taxing these so called non profit churches, mosques, and synagogs! When a preacher or priest or rabbi drive around in Mercedes and live fat lives then its time to tax the church! Religion has become just like law enforcement a business instead of providing a service! Tkae all the money tied up into churches not only could we pay for health insurance for all but we could zero the national debt as well! I`m sure God wont mind that the churches are giving up their wealth to serve the people, matter of fact I bet thats what Jesus would do!

    June 12, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  58. Sara

    Question: Why is there no consideration for Single Payer Health Care? I agree with John Appleton's post. According to the "Physicians for a National Health Program", private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume one-third (31 percent) of every health care dollar. The majority of doctors and nurses would prefer single payer health care. Single Payer isn't even currently on the table. Is it because insurance companies have a huge influence on our congress?

    Anyone against Single Payer Health Care never took (or never paid attention to) economics courses.

    June 12, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  59. Tony

    We pay for everyone to have health care now. You can't send people away so they get health care and the system builds it into the cost we pay. There are several models out there so why not look for the good and leave out the bad. I also believe this is an area that will help not hurt business. Let's get everyone in the system and stop kidding ourselves that it will cost more.

    June 12, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  60. Charlie Erickson

    This is such an incredibly complex situation and there are so many variables in this equation, that it's impossible to know up front, what the price tag will be. Affordability is a relative term.

    As soon as any healthcare bill becomes law, the administration and Congress should already have begun work, on reform of the new healthcare reform law.

    I'm sure it will take many "reforms" to finally get one that really works. One reform bill put forth by anyone or group and passed into law, will just not get it right, or even close.


    June 12, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  61. Mike Deist

    Dumb question. Not only can America afford health care reform, America can't afford not to have health care reform.

    June 12, 2009 at 8:15 pm |
  62. Claudia Word

    Other countries provide health care for their citizens. Is the United States in so much poorer financial shape that we can't afford it? It may just be a case that our priorities need reshaping. A good place to begin would be to downsize the staff of each senator and congressman to a maximum of twelve. Additionally a maximum of four staff members could accompany the politician on any given trip. The members not on the trip could be contacted via phone or e-mail as their input was needed. By the way, the health insurance benefits given to Washington politicians should be no better than those available to public school teachers. As to getting doctors to accept change, require each doctor to give one afternoon a week in service to his country to see the under-insured at little or no cost. Come on Washington; there is more than one way to skin a rabbit. Right now healthcare is the rabbit we need to skin!

    June 12, 2009 at 9:25 pm |
  63. Larry

    Keep in mind the basics of health care reform...No more paying for $10 aspirin or $20 band-aids. No more $6000/day semi-private rooms. No more charging $50,000 for procedures that should only cost $5,000. No more gouging anywhere.

    Hospital charges are basically unregulated at any level. And insurance companies always find ways not to pay for services anyway.

    What people pay for insurance premiums in this country gets them little to no coverage.

    Like everything that lead to the near collapse of our financial system greed has been the biggest player in the health care industry.

    I'm a big fan of regulation and always will be.

    People in our country with severe health situations have the right to be covered and treated without declaring bankruptcy.

    People who don't agree with that need to experience severe health situations in their own lives.

    June 13, 2009 at 5:49 am |
  64. C. & J.

    Why can't America have as good health care system as it has a military?

    June 13, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  65. obs

    i agree with j biggs. it does work in other countries. i lived australia for a few years and they get a basic universal health care which covers immunization, emergencies, check ups , child birth( which in my opinion should always be free) and more that i cant think of right at the moment. but they also give anyone who has a baby about 2000$ they also have private insurance which is cheaper than what we pay, they only pay about 80$ a month.

    i think costs should be cut and better health services should be provided. america has an obese problem, we should put obese people in health programs like fitness and nutrition so they can avoid more costs at the hospital. research in healthier food would be great for preventing obesity, decrease frozen food sections in gorcery stores, expand the produce section and get rid of high fructose corn syrup.

    June 13, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  66. R Larson

    The U.S. national debt at the end of 2008 was about 10.6 trillion dollars. In 2008 the federal government receipts were about 2.5 trillion dollars. How long would it take to pay off the national debt? Lets do a very simple example of what it would take. If the
    government cut its deficit spending and ran a 5% surplus it would take 85 years to pay off the debt. That is an entire generation. Now that simple example ignores many things, such as interest on the debt, under funded Social Security program and the financial crisis bailout programs, so it is actually far worse. Now it could be said the country will take in more receipts as the economy grows and that is true, but to forecast that grow for 85-100 years is not wise. Do you think we can afford it? I don’t.

    June 13, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  67. turion

    insurance companies are filthy rich, have them pay for universal health care. in europe people are happier and healthier than americans cause of their health care system.

    america cant affford health care reform, really? we payed for iraq, how much did that cost? not only did it cost money it cost people's lives.

    how much do we pay for insurance when we dont use it? and when we use insurance we dont get full coverage. a friend of mine at work had to pay 11,000$ for his wife's chemotherapy. the actual cost was 24,000$ but his insurance company said they'll only pay 13,000$, leaving him to pay for the rest. our health care system drags people down in their lives, when will we get full coverage? at least i got treated for free in euorpe on a visit.

    so what will it be? pay for insurance we don't use for many of us?
    pay for what the insurance company wont cover when you get hospitalized or when a loved one does? or get taxed?

    im all for universal health. we should try it. who knows maybe americans will be happier.

    June 13, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  68. Randall

    In view of our that the World Health Organization rate our system overall 37th out of 189, behind Chile, Dominica, Costa Rica, and Denmark, I wholeheartedly support "Choice" (every individual's right of choice of which plan to use). A "public pay" option - would leverage purchasing power and drive down costs. I no longer see the administrative benefit of insurance companies. When I hear "Would you like government to intervene here?" I think, "Do you mean, instead of being gouged by insurance companies and the drug companies?" Well, yes.

    June 13, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  69. Emmanuel

    What the hell do you mean by that katie?
    "I wonder is the people leaving messages pay taxes?"

    Ive myself have been working since i was 15 years old with out stop even during school i am currently 21 years old still working and not covered by any health coverage not cause i don't pay taxes but by the fact i cant afford to be paying over 250$ for some health insurance and medicare only cover you if your under 21 or 21 with kids?Thats not fair i don't get coverage cause i'm not a parent? what kind of bs is this?

    June 13, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  70. annie s

    America can't afford NOT to have health care reform. We have a higher infant mortality rate than 28 other countries, including Cuba. We rank 50th in life expectancy. 50% of all bankruptcies are caused by medical bills. This "greatest country in the world" has 47 million uninsured and 25 million under- insured people. Enough! No one is asking for free care; we are asking for affordable and accessible health care for all Americans.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  71. Hanna

    I think it has become abundantly clear that we need healthcare reform. This is not only necessary for all to be able to afford reasonable care, it is an absolute necessity to reign in deficits. The present system will surely bankrupt not only individuals, families and small business but the government as well, both on the state and the federal level. The question should not be "Can we afford healthcare reform?" – it should be "What kind of reform will be the best for our particular situation?" There is plenty of evidence out there to be studied. How do other countries deal with this? It does not mean that we have to advocate any particular version, but we could draw some conclusions from practices elsewhere and modify them to suit our needs here.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  72. Marco Piccinin

    I'm originally fro Italy and I've been living in this country for five years now. The italian health care system is purely socialist, that is: people that have higher income, pay higher taxes to support/provide coverage for people that cannot afford for it. However, every single day, someone is found to lie on his income to get money from the government or a cut in his taxes. Many people are constantly sitting on wheelchairs during the day, and in the night they are caught jogging around their house. This is just to get money from the government health care system. I simply want to say that government SHOULD put his hands in the health care system of a country, but the country NEEDS TO BE READY. Are people with health insurance ready for this? (Of course people that are actually struggling will be) What can the government do to "watch" the impostors and the fraudolents? The health care providers and doctors will find their way to be fine...The problem is the culture and the people...The question I always ask myself is: would the people here be willing to pay for someone lazy, that spent all his life drinking and wandering around the streets of his town? Maybe molesting the others around? The practical example? In Italy I know many people that since they were 18 they get a monthly supporting check...Because? They are "sick"...Drinking wine or beer all day, sleeping on others house backyard...But since they need support, the government pays them a check every month...
    OBAMA can do it...But again, the people need to be ready!

    June 13, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  73. Ted

    Government solutions never look at unintended consequences. Just look at the programs of the past that destroyed private ownership and industry. Private health insurance will cease to exist in competition with a government subsidized program, fewer students will elect to pursue a medical degree based on the return on investment and the fixes (sure to follow) will be even more expensive. It's time to scrub the voting rolls of the third world illegal voters in this country that continue to vote benefits for themselves without paying the taxes to support them. It's time for students to wise up and stop listening to professors that preach about Marxism that has never and will never work. It's funny how people wise up when they're in the real world and most professors never have been.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  74. Khalid Shiekh

    I am for improving our healthcare system without affecting the excellent quality and service delivery of today.

    Also, do we know how the illegal immigrants without health insurance have affected our system?

    June 13, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  75. Sharon Bach

    My beautiful, talented daughter would still be alive today had some sort of coverage been available to her. We tried to apply but two clerical errors had left her uninsured before we realized it and then no insurance company would cover her.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  76. Kevin H

    No. The Govt should not provide Health INSURANCE! Gov't should provide Free Health CARE. Insurance is the problem. The ever-meddling middle man should be limited to property. Insure my car, house, sure. But no for-profit entity should have any say in Health policy or Healthcare delivery. NATIONAL HEALTH NOW.

    Canadians have no problem funding their governmental obligation. Britain instituted National Health after the devastation of the Blitz. Dems are acquiescing to Republicans and their greedy campaign contributors to deny Americans a fundamental RIGHT. Why? Profits. Shameful.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  77. VIV

    Fred, Curious when you and the Administration say “Insurance for All Americans”, does that mean all American Citizens or all people living in America who may not be Americans or legal American citizens. The distinction makes a difference in the total cost of this ambitious plan.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  78. Jason Harter, Iowa

    Medical insurance companies are wasteful, they are mere economic leeches who seek to wherever possible leave the sick to be sick and a sly smile towards any healthy person's pocket book. They are a middle entity that is wasteful, undeded , and unethical in our society. They are a company whose very business survives off of denying care as much as possible to those who need it. They give massive bonuses for employee's who can deny medical claims and those who can discover pre-existing conditions. Medicla insunrance companies are Gambling with health/ethics.

    Universal Health Care.

    PS Public Education is a socialistic tool. So if you feel that Universal Health Care wouldn't work or that it is too socialistic, take a look at public education.

    I would like my children when they get older to see universal health care as accepted as education.

    And it will be. IF we don't give into greed and excessive selfishness. We Need our Thomas Jefferson on Health Care (he fought hard to show how government funded education could work)

    June 13, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  79. Rob

    I think the goverment should stay out of health care. Look at the mess medicare is in. Medicare has only enough money until 2013 and then what? If the goverment cant handle that how are they to handle goverment health care for the uninsured?

    More taxes and more goverment mandates.

    The way to fix the system is keep the goverment OUT!

    June 13, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  80. anir

    As a physician who has practiced both in Canada and in the US, I can say with complete confidence and passion that it is absolutely imperative, both short term and long term, from an economic, ethical, health-outcomes and social perspective that this great country do all it can to put politics and ignorance aside and come up with a health care system that addresses the needs of all of its constituents – not just those who are gainfully employed with good health insurance plans, but also for those who cannot afford health care, or who are DENIED health care because of so-called pre-existing conditions. I have personally dealt with the financial, social and medical fall-out that results when you essentially have two groups of people – those who have access to good health care, and those who do not. Physicians who mock the so-called "socialists" of other countries do not know what they are talking about; patients who jump on the political bandwagon and decry "socialism" and "big government" don't understand how the current system ultimately makes matters worse for the nation. Ultimately, the only people who benefit from the current system are the CEOs of the large insurance companies and HMOs. I'm not sure how we can claim to be the greatest country in the planet and yet, when it comes to an issue as paramount as health care, we shirk away and turn such a personal issue into a political one. It's sad, and it's high time we take our blinders off and look at the big picture instead of stagnating in myopia. I laugh when I see those right wing advertisements showing self-serving vignettes of "patients" with horror stories. True – there is no perfect health care system anywhere in the world – but the American system can and must be improved.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  81. Joe in New York

    I am one of the millions that does not have health insurance, nor can I afford the monthly rates with my current income. A recent hospital stay has put me into debt that seems to overwhelm my day to day life. Affordabel insurance is a great concept and I support President Obama in making this right affordable to all Americans.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  82. Jason Harter, Iowa

    Medical insurance companies are wasteful, they are mere economic leeches who seek to wherever possible to leave the sick to be sick and a sly smile towards any healthy person's pocket book. They are a middle entity that is wasteful, uneeded , and unethical in our society. They are a company whose very business survives off of denying care as much as possible to those who need it. They give massive bonuses for employee's who can deny medical claims and those who can discover pre-existing conditions. Medicla insunrance companies are Gambling with health/ethics.

    Universal Health Care, We demand it.

    PS Public Education is a socialistic tool. So if you feel that Universal Health Care wouldn't work or that it is too socialistic, take a look at public education.

    I would like my children when they get older to see universal health care as accepted as education.

    And it will be. IF we don't give into greed and excessive selfishness. We Need our Thomas Jefferson on Health Care (he fought hard to show how government funded education could work)

    June 13, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  83. Alan

    Senator Kennedy's health care reform bill calls for the creation of a government-run health plan to compete with private carriers. It would pay doctors and hospitals 10% more than Medicare does - which is nearly 20% less than their actual costs. The difference in cost is shifted to private carriers. This advantage would eventually drive private carriers out-of-business. So why not just come out for a government takeover of health insurance? (President Obama insists that people could keep their current private health insurance if they want. But those plans would become too expensive if forced to cover the gap between what the public plan pays providers and their actual costs, so keeping your current coverage is a hollow promise in the long term).

    Speaker Pelosi insists a public plan must compete on a level playing field, which seems to mean it would pay market rates to providers and abide by the same rules as private carriers. If that's the case, why do we need a government-run plan? There are already non-profit carriers in the marketplace.

    Seems to me a public health plan is unnecessary (unless the real goal is a government takeover of health care). And since moderate Democrats and Republicans are adamantly opposed to it, President Obama could demonstrate a real commitment to bipartisanship by backing off the this aspect of his reform plan.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  84. quadmom

    I think we have a new question: Can America afford to miss health care reform? The current system and it's future trends will bankrupt our nation without reform. We need to reign in abuses and fraud in the current system. If we do so, we can afford to provide basic care to all.
    Of course, the details are challenging, but to stick our heads in the sand will only worsen the problem.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  85. paula

    The severity of this problem is found in the number of deaths each and every day, approximately 20,000 per yr according to the Institute of Medicine and the Urban Institute.

    I am a two-time cancer survivor. I am self-employed. I lost my Cobra coverage in 2003 and can't even begin to afford health care insurance. I will be 65 this December and will be eligible for Medicare.

    I haven't had any tests since 2002. People ask me if I can't afford to pay for the tests. The answer is yes, I can. But I could not afford treatment if test should show I have a major problem.

    I am amazed I am still alive and not a statistic on the above-mentioned report.

    I think each and every member in Congress should receive a monthly report of real names and ages of persons who died the previous month. They should receive a monthly report until something is done.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  86. Richard Love

    I believe we are moving in the exact wrong direction. We need to move toward a system of more individual responsibility not less. This is the only way we can expect to bring down total healthcare costs. Most Americans can deal with routine healthcare costs just like we do with other living expenses. We can pay for them just like we do for car repairs or car maintenance. Insurance should be protection for the big emergencies: surgery, cancer, etc. Having insurance involved in all aspects of healthcare delivery adds significant additional costs without additional value and reduces the influence of consumers to find the most cost effective solutions to their needs. I am in favor of a government subsidy for low income individuals for the "big emergencies".

    June 13, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  87. A.M

    i think that the government should be involved, because clearly what we're doing isn't working for everyone. There are people who have no health care, and some of those who do are going bankrupt trying to pay for it

    June 13, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  88. Charleston

    How do you plan to pay for it. Tax my health care benefits. It is called a benefit for a reason. In America we already have a health care system for the poor. It is called medicaid. If you make to much money to be on medicaid then you can affoard to purchase your own health care, or seek out employment that provides better coverage as a benefit. If you choose to purchasae a house you cant affoard, or a Cadillac instead of health care, how is this the problem of those that have to pay for a governmetn system via taxes. So I should have to take a $4000 pay cut so that the benefits and money that I earned can be distriubted to those that CHOOSE not to carry their own coverage? That must be illegal. The latest plan from the Senate calls for just that. I understand that most of the comments here probably come form people that choose not to have health care, or have it provided. But when the tax man commeth and takes away the money from your pay check, you may regret having supported such a lamebrain idea. Of course you will continue to think that it is free becuase you buy into all this media BS from CNN and the like. However $4000 out of my pay check and millions of others is $4000 that is not in the economy. Of course the bill exludes Union members from having to pay this tax, which is out right discrimination against non union or even non-democrat voters. We are being robbed by a government that is to big, to greedy, to power hungry, and to obsessed with taking over every facet of our lives. I personally dont thin that we need the government encrouching into any more pieces of our lives. What is next. If I oppose this plan they will have me arrested for treason? Silence the opposition is what barney Frank said the other night on Bill Maur. Seriously, what in the world is wrong with this country.


    June 13, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  89. Chuck Self

    Seems many think healthcare is a basic human right and as such each person deserves it!

    What about quality food, clean, warm accomodations? Where does society stop providing things necessary for a healthy life? Because if the argument is for society to provide all things required to maintain human dignity without regard individual responsibility, the incentive structure has changed and those in the most meager jobs will likely choose to stay at home and watch CNN.

    The fact is, the government has not paid for social security or medicare. Until those two monstrous structural deficits are addressed, it is my strong belief the government has no right to expand other programs that will only add to the mess.

    When will we (Americans) learn that you actually have to pay for what you buy. Seems this is what got us into the recent financial crisis and ironically enough it seems to be the tool being used to "reinvigorate" our economy.

    I for one have zero confidence in the government's ability to pull this off efficiently.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  90. Marisa2

    D, Detzler's post is intelligent, knowledgable, and well-stated. Thank goodness for THINKERS like Ms. Detzler. As for you "anti-socialists," you all need to get a dictionary or encyclopedia and look up the real meaning of socialism – which basically deals with things for "the good of all" – not "I've got mine, so sc*ew the rest of you," which is typical GOP conservative thinking. Our medical costs in the USA are astronomical – and the level of care here is poor when compared to what we spend vs. what we get for the money – unlike nations who have shown more "enlightenment" with it comes to a national health care system.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  91. Roxan

    I would bet that those who don't want some form of national health care have never been without it. I am self employed and tried for years to be able to aford health insurance on my own. I got to the point where it was imposible to provide for any and stay in business. It wasn't untill I got married that I was able to get health insurance again.
    We need some form of insurance for those of us who fall through cracks and are gainfully employed.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  92. Goz

    While I acknowledge that basic health care should be accessible to all Americans, I also disagree with the fundamental values and beliefs which are currently driving the health care reform.

    We want our lives to be extended at all cause. We want to resort to legal means if desired outcomes are not achieved. We want the best and the latest treatments for our conditions. Yet we want to get it for free. Do people walk into a supermarket/restaurant and demand that food be sold to them at the price which they perceive to be right? Probably not, although everyone agrees that food is a necessity in life. Same with a care dealership, a law office, or any other businesses with which we engage.

    There is a price tag for health care reform. It is NOT FREE!!!! We the taxpayers will have to bear the burden of this reform. We will end up paying more in taxes and get less in return. In order to provide coverage for everyone, the government will definitely ration your care and dictate the types of treatment that you will get. The group of Americans who will suffer the most is the middle class Americans who will have to assume the responsibility of paying for everyone while seeing their benefits dwindle. No one is immune to benefits reduction, even the ones with good coverage. Big insurance companies will follow the government footsteps, because why would they provide comprehensive coverage when their biggest and most powerful competitor (the government) is slashing cost. We would be left with no choices even though Obama like us to believe that choices are retained with his current plan. With that in mind, what is the incentive to work hard anymore???

    The fundamental value upon which this country was found and which has made this country so successful is being destroyed in front of our eyes. THE INCENTIVE TO WORK HARD!!!

    People also claim that we spend more money per capita on health care, yet our outcomes are not better than those of Canada or of some European countries which provide universal health care. Let me tell you this from experience, if u had a serious condition you want to be treated in the U.S. and not elsewhere. Cancer survival years in the US is longer than that in Europe and Canada. There are many more health outcomes which the U.S. leads in due to our health care system, but are often not mentioned.

    Furthermore, the public has been mislead to believed that hospital and doctor reimbursement are the reasons for the rising health care cost. Reimbursement rate has either been cut or not changed significantly to keep up with inflation. The total cost is high but it is due to an ever expanding population of seniors. People are just living longer and carry with them many chronic conditions which are expensive to treat. It is the cost incurred directly or indirectly by our medical legal system and it is the cost of medical technology which is often used to protect providers from frivolous lawsuits, that is draining our economy.

    Last but not least, emphasis on preventive medicine is commendable. Unfortunately most uninsured Americans even after they are insured may not take full advantage of the care provided to them. Bad habits are bad habits. People will continue to abuse their bodies and expect others to pay for them.

    If you want affordable health care, then quit suing, quit demanding that you and your loved ones be maintained on life support even though functional recovery is minimal, quit abusing your bodies, and to sum it all up get rid of your sense of entitlement!!!!

    June 13, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  93. Marilyn R

    I Think the Government should definitely be involved in Health care, because if everyone does not have access to proper health care, there would be millions of sick people walking around town. And surely America does not want to be a nation of unhealthy people.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  94. Wayne

    Diane Royer....

    A Reply. My Health Care is not currently subsidized by the Federal Government. Poor people in the United States have more opportunities to suceed than anywhere in the world. If they CHOOSE not to take advantage of what is out there for them, then it is their fault. This has nothing to do with what political party they are from. Seriously, how could it. It sounds like you are just angry abou the abortion debate, which frankly should not even be a debate. If sometthing is take to the supreme court 28 times and affirmed, then Congress should take it up as legislation. But they are all afraid to take that on. Legalize abortion then the debate is over. As for your assumtions that you are paying taxes that subsidize everyone elses life, then you are wrong. Unemployment insurance is designed as a gap for when you loose your job, not as a permenant source of income. We have government health care for the poor already. Why do we need to expand the coverage. I would say that if you can't affoard the $250 a month catastrpophic coverage, then you should strive to improve your situation so that you can, and stop waiting around for someone else to fix it for you. Only you can better your life. The government is not going to do that for you. The government should not be in the business of such things, it is outside the Federal Charter and the constituion for them to do so. I suggest you read up a bit more on how taxes are collected and distriubuted. Employees all pay into the Medicare, Medicaid, and Unemployment programs as an insurance, it is matched by the employers. These programs do not subsidise any insurance plans. If you use one of these you can purchase a suplemental plan. I would agree that health care costs are out of control, but I would contend that it is the government meddling that creates this and not the insurance companies.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  95. Kyle

    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 consolidating the cost associated with 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 our best interests are being represented.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  96. Marty, Grand Rapids

    I have health coverage. I pay taxes (Nice generalization Kerrie). We should have a single payer government sponsored healthcare. I would pay higher taxes to do so if needed. It would cut out the non value added insurrance companies and provide all American's with healthcare. Instead of rationing by wealth or money, we will ration based on need and resources. These are not boob jobs or calf implants we are talking about. People, human beings, are dying, living with pain or or going bankrupt because they were laid off or don't have a job that provides it. Children, who's only fault is to be born to a parent who has been laid off or don't have a job that provides health care are dying or living with pain. The silence from the religous right on this topic is deafening. Every other industrialized nation can provide healthcare to all it's citizens but the US can't? Greed and power keeps us from moving in the right direction. You wouldn't walk past a hurt person on the side of the road, stop pretending that you are not doing that by supporting the status quo.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  97. David

    I'm in 100% agreement with Obama's proposals for heath care and I think he's on the right track.

    June 13, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  98. skotsbox

    Although I believe healthcare reform of some sort is important
    I do not believe now is the best time for it
    we already carry too much deficit

    June 13, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  99. Michael

    Having experienced Canada's "socialized" plan, I believe we need something. However, we need to go slowly and figure out the deficiencies in that type of plan. How about starting with covering Major Medical and Chronic Disease (the major reason for personal bankruptcies). Then we can address the under/un-insured. ABORT THE NOTION OF COMPREHENSIVE and digest this big problem slowly!

    June 13, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  100. Elly from Michigan

    Implementing a single payersystem would allow us to provide quality affordable health care to all Americans while minimizing the need to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for health care. By eliminating excess executive pay and corporate profits from the health care equation and by spreading the costs and risks over the entire nation you will be able to reduce health care costs substantially. Single payer is the most economical way to provide health care to the American people. Extend medicare to everyone, it works!!!! This also makes the most sense for American business. Here we are spending billions to save the auto industry (which I support – being from Michigan)whose problems have been caused in large part by having to pay for the health care coverage of its workers while its foreign competitors do not have to bear this cost. If we do not deal with this problem in a responsible way, by implementing a single payer program, it is going to continue to haunt us by inhibiting our economic recovery as health care costs will continue to escalate as the health insurance industry continues to rake us over the coals. Why are we protecting this paper pushing, lack of value added industry and allowing the manufacturing industry to disappear at the peril of the American middle class????? Interview physicians from the organization Physicians for a National Health Program and the California Nurses Association instead of those with vested interests in the current health insurance industry and you will get the true story.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  101. Bonnie OConnor

    Yes I think that the government should provide healthcare particularly to the people who have none and to those whose healthcare is inadequate. I also think it should be mandatory and affordable to all Americans and provide quality and timely service to all,.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  102. margaret

    Gee wonder why there is a problem funding a health care plan. Could it be Obama has already spent way beyond his means to bail out all these big companies or banks. Dah!!!!!!! This country is going down fast because of his know it all attitude. The future is really bad since he has become president. Seems he just can't stop spending and then when something that really needs done can't get done because they don't know where the money is coming from. Go figure.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  103. Kimberly Shaffer

    Why can't Americans have at least the quality and availability of healthcare as 30 of the Western countries for a lower cost? Because the insurance companies don't want to let go of the profits they make by denying care to the majority of their clients. Cap the profits, make them eliminate a pre-existent clause or high risk pool, offer a public option, and they can still make money and we can have what we need. Healthcare for all, not health INSURANCE for all. Listen to the people!

    June 13, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  104. Scott Cramer

    Yes, it's a no brainer. The system we have now does not work and is unsustainable. We need single payer, not-for-profit health insurance just as most developed nations have. Ask citizens of those countries and you'll find they would have it no other way. We don't see those citizens rushing to come to the United States for health procedures. Can we afford it? The answer is that we can't afford not to have it. We always find money somehow for wars and weapons. Well, it's time to invest in health care reform now and make it happen. We can take the single payer model and improve upon it. Single payer now!

    June 13, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  105. Bob E Sherman

    The issue should be affordable health care, not affordable insurance. My wife's 3 hour visit to the ER last week cost $3,500. They performed one test and found nothing wrong. If private insurance companies won't cover everyone, and they won't ; the Federal Government must step in. But, the health care doesn't have to be free. Everyone can afford something. I'm sure if we go to the homes of those with no insurance receiving free care in the ER (that my wife is paying for) we would find cigarettes, cell phones, and iPods. If we cut the waste and abuse, including but not limited to providing health care to illegal aliens, we can afford it.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  106. Nehemiah Frank

    You ask me can America afford Health Care reform. I ask you – Can America afford a war? As a national I truly believe that we are our brother’s keeper. In order to form this more perfect union that are forefathers have been dreaming about for the last 250 years we need to be healthy. There is a huge lack in the health care system in this nation. As people become more and more greedy with the price of individual health care (upping the price) plans the poor and even the middle class can no longer afford to pay for health care. When the bills stack up from the hospital’s it just sends more and more Americans into debt. Thus, lowering their credit scores –adding to that; they can’t be approved for the home loan that they’ve wanted; which adds to the home loan crisis in this country. The bank’s can’t get the loans approved nor make money off the home loans and then they can’t afford their bills. Then the government comes to bail them out. It’s a circle. We need health care. IT’S A BIGGER PROBLEM THAN MOST PEOPLE THINK. One system affects the other. We truly are our brother’s keeper.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  107. Jimmy H

    The biggest complaint about our current health care is that it is too expensive and medical decisions are being made by faceless insurance companies that are simply making a profit. The biggest concern about a gov't program of any kind is that it will overly bureaucratic that will be heavy that will equally ineffective. Why is nobody talking about a third option: Direct health care.

    Why not take all the insurance companies (whether public or private) out of the formula. I pay my doctor directly on a monthly basis to treat any health issue I may have. Obviously, it would be a little more complicated than this, but it would take the middle man out which would lower prices. Insurance companies drive up monthly rates based on speculation. A doctor could set rates based on actual cost and create really competition ulimately lowering costs.

    Most importantly, Health Care decisions will be made by the individuals and their doctor instead of some administrator sitting in an office who is only looking at a Profit and Loss statement.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  108. John from Tampa Bay

    Its funny how the Republicans are whining and crying about "socialized healthcare" when they (Mccain, Cheney and all the rest of the buffoons) are getting free health care coming from my hard earned tax dollars.The Republicans have no problem spending almost a trillion bucks on a stupid war(which we should have gotten out years ago)in Iraq but moan about helping out our own poor citizens. Btw, Iam a iraq veteran who voted for President Obama and Iam still proud I voted for him. I hope the present Republican Party goes down in flames and ends up in the ash heap of history because they are disgusting. Their constant hostility towards average working American people sickens me.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  109. Matthew Fye

    I am sad to see on this blog more fear mongering about socialism. The fact is, the government pays for many things in this country (schools, fire protection, police, etc.), which, however imperfect they are, are much better than they would be if the government did not provide them. Public healthcare is available all over the rest of the industrialized world, and is much cheaper than it is here in America. The lines at the hospital, lack of choice, and hgh costs that anti-public healthcare crusaders are for are all associated with private healthcare, not the high quality public system available even in Cuba.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  110. kenny

    Do we have 40 million or 50 million Americans without healthcare?
    Are these numbers accurate? Also are the green card holders and the illegal immigrants going to have healthcare payed by Americans?
    I think immigrantion issues should be taken care of first over healthcare reform

    June 13, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  111. Ray

    We need a reform badly. Yes, we are highly developed and good in our Medical Technologies but if its not affordable than what's the use of it, think in a common sense way.

    Much worried about my Health Insurnace than Job in current economic condition. Now you all understand why we need a reform of oru Health Insurance sector ASAP.

    - Ray

    June 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  112. Ron

    There absolutely needs to be a change in the way the medical community is run. I am all for people receiving care who can not afford it, but what is making it unaffordable. There are several layers to this complicated system. First of all, the Medical System is different than any other type of business. You cannot walk into McDonald's and get a hamburger just because you are hungry if you don't have money, but you can sure as heck get treatment in an emergency room if you are sick. Health Care is a different business model. So let's look at where the profits are going. Are the Nurses, Doctors or Hospitals making all the money... nope, in fact there is a national shortage of nurses and doctors (especially primary care) because the job isn't what it used to be. President Obama thinks EMR will change the world. Nope, it's another opening for groups to come between people and their health care. I know that some of Mr. Obama's advisors own EMR companies so why not hand them some business. After all who shoulders the cost of this, the taxpayer and the doctors who have to pay for it. I am not saying medicine shouldn't catch up to the times but let's focus on what is really broken instead of trying to bring a new bucket on board to bail out the boat. The top 10 CEOs from insurance companies make over 3 million dollars a year!! Just the CEO. What exactly are they doing, they are denying your procedures, reducing physician reimbursement and increasing patient financial responsibility. Hmmm sounds to me that maybe our insurance system isn't the answer. Then there are the drug companies. New drugs are a necessity, the ridiculous prices are not. There needs to be a substantial cost for R&D but these companies are milking the system. The problem is the Lobby. I am not advocating a one payor system (Medicaid is awful) and the government should NOT run medicine, it has enough trouble with less complicated matters, it would only serve to slow down an already archaic system. The answer is to put the power back in the hands of the patients and the doctors. The insurance companies are dictating medical care, not sure how many of them went to medical school but they are deciding how and when you are treated. If all plans were available to all people then it would create a free market. Why do insurance companies get to tell doctors how much they can charge? In what other business is the price set by anything else but market demand? Health care should focus on primary preventative care and let the doctors start doing what they went to medical school to do. They shouldn't need to get a degree from Harvard in order to process 19 different insurance companies forms only to have them deny claims anyway. The burden of this system has been placed on small businesses, physicians and the patients. All the money is going to the Insurance Companies, Drug Companies and Medical Manufacturers. Can you see the disconnect Mr. President? Can you see that this great democracy you love has created a medical monster. Eliminate the lobbying power, force insurance companies to open the books and compete for business. Drive down costs by eliminating the greedy middle man, not penalizing those who serve the system. Allow physicians to run a free market practice like every other business in the country. Focus on expanding low cost EMR options, not $50,000 systems that do more to slow down and inhibit care than to improve it. Work on a standard that makes sense for physicians, hospitals and patients, not what helps pad CEO pockets, even if they write you big checks on election day. It doesn't need to be socialism to work, it needs to be good old fashion capitalism and eliminating the monopoly that is the insurance system.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  113. Calatrava

    I believe that a goverment run insurence would be deadly for the american taxpayer for a simple reason. The problem doesn't come from the private insure companies the problem here comes from the private clinics and hospitals. Medicare and Medicaid are just ways for these clinics to steal money from the goverment =from us.

    If we create another state-run system we are going to destroy the private insure companies. That's true. But the private clinics and hospitals will continue to suck the blood from the Federal Goverment. And the National debt will be near the moon by the end of the next decade.

    Also I think creating a national health care program is non sense. Because doesn't make sense to create a program that will not be obligatory and it doesn't make sense that obama cut taxes and later charges for health care. Is not that the same.???

    Why don't rise taxes and provide FREE service in PUBLIC hospitals.
    Is not that the same thing.

    I think the solution is to create hospitals and clinics run by the goverment that do charge anything for the peopel who go there. And increase a little bit taxes for averyone.

    In that way everyone is going to covered. and there won't stealing from the feredel govermente.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  114. Ted Klammer

    One payor is the way to go, but no chance – screwed again. All the industrial countries in the world have health care for all – not us – The for profit system is draining us – 60% of all bankrupties are related to medical expenses. There has not been one case of ANYONE GOING BANKRUPT IN CANADA – look at the savings that would generate – can't have that. In England there are still hospitals that are for profit-if one wants to spend the money,rather than use the public institutions. The drug companies got their "socialized medicine" part D of medicare-for profit, and we are not allowed to negoiate for lower costs,SWEET. The salaries of most health care providers are out of sight ; for example the CEO of United Health receives one and a half billion dollars – what suckers we are. We must have the public option, no for profit companies allowed to set the rules – now that is competition. Twenty five % of the Health industries money is spent on advertising, administration costs and "good will" – eliminate that and the public saves 200 billion a year. Eliminate for profits , and industry will save a bundle on health care insurance for their employees – can't have that. This no choice of doctors arguement is all bull and lies – that line is for all those that have yogurt for a brain. Over 40 million are uninsured -what do they use when sick – the emergency rooms – they can't pay so the taxpayer pays -huge costs for us. Oh yes 125 dollars to walk in the emergency room, and the medicine if any, is retail; such as, anti-biotic at 136.00 dollars a pop-PROFIT through the roof. Now we do not want to stop the gold mine do we? Putting the uninsured on the public health plan woud save one trillion dollars a year- THATS RIGHT ONE TRILLION DOLLARS A YEAR IN SAVINGS. Just think of the reduced use of emergency rooms there would be. Just the folks that use the emergency room for sinus infections, because they have no insurance would save the medical system gobs of bucks. The medicare advantage plan is the way to go -they are for preventive medicine and wellness – includes gym membership-what a novel idea to help people get well, and fit -obesity – gets you to work out more, and eat more healthy. Now, you have a choice here – can't make you excercise if you do not want too. Oh, how many of you have your medical procedures denined-plenty. A friend was granted a colonoscopy, but if polyps were found the cost to the patient is seven hundred dollars for each one removed – I said, can't be- there it was in black and white – 700.00 dollars each one. gads what a choice. Listened to a "DOCTOR" Senator talking bull – you will have to wait for an operation, no choice of doctors,etc. This guy has a college education – spews a bunch of lies- needs to go back to school, and learn the real story. I wrote too much sorry, but there is more – maybe next time. Thank you.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  115. A

    I am all for every American having access to good health coverage. My issue is when the government controls it. There have been posts applauding health care in European countries, such as Denmark. The problem is when you are gonna have surgery, you don't get to choose your own doctor. The government tells you when, where, and with whom your surgery will be with. What about the freedom to schedule your own surgery, or get a second opinion? What they also don't tell you is that everything is taxed so high that your health care is "free"(a VW Golf will cost you $40,000). Also, why do you think Canadians come down here for health care? My soon-to-be brother-in-law is Canadian. When he goes to the doctor to get a check-up or get a shot it takes him all day. He is in that waiting room for 6 hours. Now I know that sometimes we have to wait a long time here too, but the longest I've ever had to wait is 2 hours. If we model our health care after these other countries, will I literally have to take a whole day off of work just to go get some shots? How is this helping me? Or are the doctors gonna start working weekends so I don't have to lose out on a days pay? Will I lose all freedom when it comes to surgeries, second opinions, or choice of doctor? Though I definitely agree that our health care needs reformation, I do not agree that these other countries are perfect health care models. Please keep the spirit of America alive. Give us choice.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  116. Alan

    I pay a $1000 a month for COBRA for my previous employers insurance plan(BCBS) as my present small biz employer does not offer good insurance. My wife has had a organ transplant and is un-insurable through the abundance of 'Private Insurance plans as the Republicans may like to call it.

    What would you do if you had an sick & uninsurable spouse and had to pay a $1000/month for insurance ? You call that choice???
    What If i were to have a stroke and not be able to work? What would happen to my wife?

    How much do these protesting Republicans pay for health insurance per month? umm .. Free ? on our dime? And they think me paying a $1000/month because I have no other option... is a good ... 'CHOICE'?
    Its shocking to me how so many people(elected and in the media), with such little comprehension abilities about the misery caused by the current system, are trying to block universal health care.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  117. Sean (Yukon Canada)

    How can the US afford not to have universal health care? Billions and billions are spent each year on defence and wasted on thousands of other programs, I cannot imagine what could possibly be more important than a heathy productive populace rather than millions of people bankrupted and impoverished by lack of health care.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  118. RB

    I have health care coverage thru my employer which I pay into monthly. I agree with President Obama that everyone should have health care coverage (whether I have to pay a tax on my plan or not). It is a sick and petty minded person who does not want to help those who need medical assistance but can't afford it. Those opposing it for what ever reason (be it kickbacks or just being children of satan), They will one day have to answer for their stance whether it be at the gates of Heaven or in the torment of Hell.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  119. Raven

    I believe that ALL Americans should have health care. BUT, we cannot afford to pay for it through the government. Let the government regulate insurance companies and employees. Gove.Healthcare has NOT worked in Canada. It is bad enough now, but to allow the government to dictate health care too? What happened to America being free? Come on, I am tired of the government tired of taking away my rights and freedoms. There are too many peoploe who have chosen NOT to work and pay their own way. Deal with them first.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  120. Matt

    We pay the most per capita for health care yet are ranked in the 30's globally on the actual quality of health care. The bulk of the countries that do better than we do have nationalized health care and somehow do it cheaper. We should get more for our buck, and if the government is the way to do that, then we should pursue that route.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  121. Guddy

    I don't understand all the discustiobns. This It is only a fight from the Insurance companies, they are scared that they don't make enough profit.
    When America can find money to kill people in a war, than it will find money for keep the people healthy. We all have the right to be save.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  122. mike mcfarland

    the best way to handle health care,is eliminate the insurance companies.the only thing they are good at is ripping people should be nonprofit,because insurance companies care about the bottom line only and then some.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  123. Jody

    All americans should have the type of healthcare provided at the Veterans Administration. It is a great system that provides outstanding medical care on a personal level. is run by the government. Universal Health Care is a must for a society.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  124. Ann Sullivan

    I am 81 years old and have had the expierience of having healthcare thru my previos employer. It got so expensive that I had to look for affordable suplimental insurance. Medicare is a great insurance. It keeps costs in line. No overcharging since Medicare sets the approved amount for certain conditions. Why can't we all have affordable insurance. I'm with President O'bama.
    Ann Sullivam-Florissant, Mo

    June 13, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  125. Carl

    I find it so sad that the AMA, an organization substantiated by our nation's doctors, would work so hard to stop the passing of a bill that would extend health benefits to those in need. We've reached a morbid future when our own doctors are willing to overtly renege on the hippocratic oath.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  126. Allan W.

    I watch you every weekend and I am very interested in the health care issue as I am 67 years old and about to retire with medicare. I don't think we have heard enough reporting about the other countries such as Canada that have government sponsored health care. How does it work and the pros and cons.
    It is unbelievable that a country as rich as we are could ever allow someone to not have the necessary care to live just because of money. Have we as a society become that cold and uncaring?

    June 13, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  127. mike mcfarland

    i can not believe this everything i write is moderated.why???????

    June 13, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  128. Dave Wolfson

    The health care issue is a defining moment for our country. We simply cannot afford to not extend modern health care to all our citizens, just as we have extended transportation and education to all (more or less). Our wise founders saw the need to "promote the general welfare" long before technology so inextricably united us; and this guidance more than any other single principle has brought us to prosperity and peace.

    The all-private health insurance model clearly doesn't work well, which is why no other developed country adopts it. It didn't work well for seniors, which is why we have Medicare. President Obama's approach just makes sense, and we need a public plan option to keep everyone honest - including the government.

    Do it now. Get it started this year. Sure, some aspects will need fixing; but we've always been very good at fixing things and taking on tough challenges. That's what makes us a great country.

    June 13, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  129. BS

    Republican hype!?! If you truly believe that things are working in Canada and Europe, then why are people coming here to try to get the transplants/medications they need to save their lives? Why are our best doctors leaving surgery due to government-run malpractice? Why are less and less college graduates enticed to move onto medical school? What Dems don't understand is that our next generation will be on lines at doctors that they have had chosen for them by this government run health insurance, and the doctors will be inundated and making less and less money each year. And public choice!?! Is he kidding? Private insurance companies will never survive. Right now private insurance holders know that if they have problems with their health insurance they can find another plan and switch. Companies feel this pressure right now, and competition drives them to commit to their customers. Without this competition, and with over 60% of Americans on universal healthcare plans, who would actually deal with private companies?

    Oh, and let's not forget the >$1 trillion dollar cost.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  130. Jude LeGrande

    We have a perfectly good health care plan in place right now, called Medicare. Why not open it's doors to anyone wanting to use the coverage? When I had private insurance, the cost was $350 a month for a $2500 deductible plan, with an 80% co-pay with no drugs or maternity benefits. ie I couldn't use the plan because as a pay check to paycheck worker of 40 years, I didn't have the $2500 deductible, or the $5000 maximum yearly contribution, or the 20% that would be billed to me. So I paid every year in the event of a "catistrophic" event, and never used the coverage!

    I've just turned 65 and signed up for Medicare, the cost is $300 per month, I also bought the additional Plans that pick-up the "difference in conditions" (what Medicare doesn't pay) and drugs. I finally had a surgical proceedure that I was unable to afford under the "private" insurance plan, and I am being billed for nothing! THANK YOU MEDICARE!

    I must say that the "choices" to consider in signing up for Medicare are TOTALLY unnecessary! A SINGLE PAYER PLAN is absolutely what we must have.

    My children were born in Canada. My daughter cost $4 and my son cost $7 (I had a TV). Every worker pays a small amount every month. There are no confusing plans to choose from. A deduction out of your paycheck and you can go to the doctor/hospital whenever you need.

    I've worked in the insurance industry for 40+ years and while when I first started the rates were based on profit/loss, I don't believe that anymore. If you turn in a loss, you're cancelled or sur-charged.. Executives earn millions while the workers earn enough to pay mortgage and buy food, but never enough to pay escalating health care costs or contribute to savings.



    Insurance companies don't deserve to be included in the health care industry any longer. Medical doctors don't deserve the inflated rates charged either. My doctor clients have Porches, Mercedes and BMWs. Their children wreck their vehicles, and the parents just go buy another for them. Wretched Excesses! END THIS.

    Health Care is as much a "right" as clean air, water soil , education, energy and transportation.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  131. Mary Haslam

    The best solution is a UNIVERSAL SINGLE PAYER healthcare system. That is, MEDICARE for all. Eliminate the greedy, bloodsucking health insurance companies who have been gouging us for all these years. They even deny treatment just to put another dollar in their CEO's pockets. Eliminate profit motive from health care.
    Mary in Texas

    June 13, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  132. RB

    Could it be that the person we turn away from medical assistance (for lack of health care ins.) is the one carrying the virus that will make mankind extinct. Are we being tested? If we are, will we fail? God promised not to destroy the world by water. I wonder if it will be by ignorance?

    June 13, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  133. Nora

    After working in the medical insurance since 1980's, I have seen premiums climb high and coverage go down. My husband and I are amoung the more fortunate to have Medicare Part A&B and then his retirement policy through his work which we pay the premium. We do not have to have the Plan D, (dreaded and bad coverage) so we do not have the famous "doughnut hole". Needless to say I still help seniors out with their insurance problem claims. My sister has medicare part a&b, a supplemental and plan D, her premiums run a lot less than our coverage does, but the dougnut hole puts her in poverty, we have gone to all generics possible, but again certain drugs such as insulin, plavix has no generics. My sister is out over $6000.00 including her premiums and co-pays, when she only has under $13,000.00 income. She has 100% medical coverage but the dougnut hole kills her. It needs to be sit up similiar to the federal civil service policys, that the retirees has. At one point President Obama was indicating that would resolve a lot. As for the younger unemployed families kids 18 and up, they need coverage. If families do not have a $100,000.00 income, how can they pay these high premiums and eat. As well as the seniors do without food and some have income of $60.00 to much to qualify for assistance??????

    June 13, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  134. Gayle, Amherst NY

    It really confuses me as to why this is a question. It's like asking can we as a nation afford police departments or fire departments or any other government sponsored services which we already have.

    Throughout the 50 states, we have various layers of governments...from towns, cities, counties, states to federal. Each layer provides services to it's citizens that provide for the common good of all the citizens.

    Thus this question is like asking IF towns or cities AFFORD police protection or sanitation services or public eduction, most larger towns and cities decide it is important to provide these services and fund them through taxes BECAUSE to not have the services would be detrimental to the public good. Therefore these costs are determined to be necessary costs. Some small towns forgo the cost, because they are part of a larger community which provides those services (i.e. a small town without a police department that receives this service from the county or state police), The small town people are still paying for this service (in the long run) but in a different way and maybe in a smaller portion of their tax dollars, but they are still paying.

    Why isn't health care treated the same as police, education, or other government provided service? In this day and age, it is barbaric that health care is a for profit industry, that is only available to those who can afford it....that would be similar to saying education, police protection and military protection should be privatized and only available to those who can "afford" it. We as a society acknowledge that would be negative for society as a whole for these services to be privatized, thus we agree as a society to fund these services through taxes.

    Health care is not a luxury item....people DIE or live unproductive lives if they are sick or injured and are unable to receive care for their illnesses or injuries. DUH!!!! Therefore, to me, people's LIVES and the ability to live a productive, fulfilling life is Priceless. We can't afford to NOT provide health care to our citizens. The costs of not providing this necessity to the masses is truly unethical and synonymous with genocide of the poor.

    If a poor person or working person cannot afford health insurance, they OBVIOUSLY cannot afford the huge medical bills. If they cannot afford the bills, this will affect their ability to :
    A. take care of themselves and remain or become productive members of society.
    B. treat problems BEFORE they become a major problems
    C. Stress from the situation can cause their problems to become worse!

    The above situation in turns costs society MORE money In the long run! Because eventually the person dies or becomes a ward of the state.

    Another thing, when you buy in bulk you save money in the long run. Business does this all the time. For those who use the business debate as a reason not to have universal health care, I would suggest, don't know much about business, because there is more to running a successful business than just raking in profits, there is also containing costs, as well as other things. The cost to business to supply health care to its employees is not efficient or cost effective and keeps American companies from being truly competitive globally. Business looks to ways to save money and often will look to outsourcing or buying products or services in bulk. The only "business" excuse for not overhauling the system is for the for profit businesses that make their money from our current system. Other businesses would benefit. Not only that by buying in "bulk" (i.e. a single payer system) we will actually save money in the long run.

    Recently a friend died. He was 44 years old and three months ago was laid off and lost his health insurance. He was under a lot of stress, due to the financial situation....he wasn't feeling well for a couple of weeks before he died, but was afraid to go to the doctor because he didn't have health insurance and was scared of how much it would cost...well he, his wife and two children ended up paying the ULTIMATE Price for him not going to the doctor. He had a massive heart attack in the middle of the night on Memorial Day. Died within minutes...his wife found him in the morning. Due to their financial situation and his lay off, the family is now destitute and will be applying for welfare. After his lay off, they had too much money to qualify for medical assistance....well, now they qualify.

    See...we still end up paying....but the cost is a lot higher in our present, broken, unethical, immoral, unfair, inefficient health care system, then it would be if we did the right thing as a people.

    You can tell a lot about a society by how it treats is most vulnerable citizens....we don't look good right now. It's class warfare. The haves vs the have nots and it is a sad commentary on our country's morals.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  135. Angela

    This past weekend, I went to refill my insulin prescription and was notified of a $150 penalty per refill because I am unable to use the mail order program required as part of my drug prescription. I work for an airline and travel extensively and am unable to have drugs sent to my home since I may not be there for weeks at a time. Insulin has to be kept cool and cannot simply set in my mailbox for days. I felt completely and utterly helpless. What do I do? I make 35K a year based in DC, I stay in hotels weekely, and cannot afford this. I also cannot afford to pay for the insulin up front since it costs rougly $500 per box. I have written letters to my respresentatives, the white house, and the prescription company. If I cant afford to refill, then Ill be forced to check into a hospital to get the life sustaining drugs I need. Or I die.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  136. Mary

    It's gotten to the point now where people can't afford to be sick in this country. If you are self-employed you pay outrageous health insurance premiums, and God forbid you have a pre-existing condition! People have died in this country because they can't afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars they need for care when an illness strikes. And what about all the people who are being laid off and are no longer insured through their employers? What are they supposed to do - just pray they don't get sick?

    June 13, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  137. Janet Briscoe

    I am one of those people without Health care coverage and I have medical problems that need testing to see how sick I really am, but my doctor can not do much for me with out insurance. I was working up until January and was laid off because I could not perform my work to their satisfaction because of my medical proplems. The insurance this company offered me was not a major medical plan. It provided for very little of my health care expenses and if I use Cobra I would get the same coverage. Two years ago my doctor wanted me to have an upper GI, but the hospital he was going to do this proceedure at would not take my insurance because it did not cover much of this proceedure. Now I just seem to be getting worse. I can not get on medicaid because the goverment will not claim me disabled and I can not afford the testing that would show how sick I am. I feel like I am in a Catch 22 situation. I think everyone should be able to have health insurance, not just the rich or people who have good health care insurance they receive from work, It is not rignt to treat people this way. I have had good health care insurance in the past from jobs that I have had, but since I was in my late 40's I have a hard time getting work, so I have to take any insurance they offer no matter how good or bad it is. So now I am stuck without a job and no insurance. When I was younger I did not have a problem keeping a job, because I was healthy and could do my job. This is a bad situation to be in and I know If these other people who are not for health care reform were going to have these problems they would change their minds about this. I deserve to live as much as anyone else and this whole situation makes me very mad.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  138. Terry Taylor

    It's easy to say "cost is no obstacle" to providing public health care when many people don't pay taxes now and expect that someone else will pay for it.. Accoding to the non-partisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, 40% of American households earn 75% of the nation's personal income and pay 100% of the personal income tax. The rest – following exemptions, deductions and refunds – pay nothing. We have a progressive tax system, but those who don't pay now want to "soak the rich" some more. And the rich pay more in payroll and estate taxes, too. I'm not in the rich group, but let's have everyone pay their fair share. No more writing checks on someone else's bank account.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  139. Marianne Phila RN

    Yes we can! Take the billions siponed off the top by big wall street insurance and put it into care. The healthcare system must provide reasonable care to its citizens with an eye toward future cures. The people who care for patients 24/7 should be rewarded. The people working on cures and providing todays cures are not working for the insurance industry. The GOP , AMA and AHA are worried about paying big bucks to their members. Why do the CEO and CFO of non profit hospitals make millions? Why do we allow recent imigrants to this country who have never paid taxes here get medicare for nothing. We must not have a welfare state. We as a culture begin to accept death as a natural consequence of life. Treating until death is not always a reasonable approach and it cost us too much. (Sorry Pro Life, your insurance should cost more.)

    June 13, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  140. Mona

    Being a dissabled retiree, after having 2 brain surgeries, and using up my cobra early in 2001-2002, I finally obtain Medicare Part A&B, before my divorce, my x-husband medical insurance was primary, it was an HMO policy. NEEDLESS TO SAY MY MEDICARE WAS NOT USED UNTIL after my divorce . I have only my social security and a small work pension, making my income below $1260.00 a month. You talk about a mess, without my sister's and niece's help, I would be living on the streets. Once the PRESCRIPTION PLAN D WAS PUT INTO EFFECT the " doughnut hole" killed any chances of being able to afford my prescriptions. However the 1st year some policies offered coverage during the "doughnut hole" the cost was high and so was the co-pays. I usually was in the doughnut hole with the 2nd quarter order. AFTER THE 1ST YEAR OF NO INSURANCE COMPANIES OFFERED AN EXTENDED COVERAGE WHILE IN THE DOUGHNUT HOLE. iN 2008, MY COST INCLUDING THE PREMIUMS WAS OVER $6,000.00, SO NEEDLESS I FINALLY MET MY OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES IN DECEMBER, LEAVING ME ONLY WITH PRESCRIPTION COVERAGE FOR ABOUT 3 WEEKS. SO FOR SENIORS WITH A LOT OF PRESCRIPTIONS I SAY DO AWAY WITH THE DOUGHNUT HOLE AND PROVIDE MORE ASSISTANCE TO THE SENIORS WHO MAKE UNDER $15,000.00. AND SIT UP COVERAGE FOR ANY PERSON WITHOUT INSURANCE ESPECIALLY FAMILIES AND KIDS WHO ARE 18. THOUGHT PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS LOOKING AT WHAT THE FEDERAL CIVIL SERVICE PEOPLE HAVE.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  141. Randy Carruthers

    The federal spending is already at an unsustainable level.
    In the history of the world there has never been a government run medical program that provides excellent medical care and encourages medical progress. Why go further in debt for a socialistic medical program which won't work well?

    June 13, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  142. John

    The Republicans whining and moaning about"socialized medicine" makes me laugh. They complain about the cost but when it comes to overspending on a stupid war in Iraq(close to a trillion dollars), they remain silent. Iam all for a nationalized health insurance plan and I support President Obama one hundred percent. Btw, Iam a Iraq war veteran who voted for President Obama and I still would again.Mabye if the US got out of Iraq, we would free up all the war money to pay for such a health plan.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  143. jim crawford

    According to statistics from around the world, the health insurance system that is most effective, most efficient, least expensive to run, and which provides the best health care available is a single payer system run by a democratically elected government.

    At present, if something goes wrong in our medical care, we have to contact an insurance company agent, who doesn't make any extra money by taking up our side in a dispute. On the contrary, insurance companies have special groups whose job it is to figure out how to deny claims, or to extend the time frame for denying them. In the mean time, the patient's disease progresses, and in fact some patents die while waiting for decisions from insurance companies.

    With a government run system and democratically elected representation, the first people the representative listens to are their constituents. We don't have any leverage with insurance companies. But we do with our elected representatives - If we don't like them, we boot them out of office. In actuality, representatives of our democratically elected governments – local, state, and federal, have a vested interest in listening to us because we are their constituents.

    Further, single payer is NOT 'socialized” medicine; Taiwan, a clearly capitalist country, has such a system, one of the most efficient in the world – patients' choice of doctors, choice of hospitals, no interference between doctors and patients from insurance companies or otherwise, and NO waiting lists, all because the government sees to it that the needs of patients rank first in the concern of the system.

    Our Congress has a system that covers its own members for a modest premium [about $200 per month]. The Canadians have a system, single payer, by which every citizen, in individual provinces, is covered for a citizen payment of $50 per month. Taiwan's system is similar.

    In short, the more our democratically elected government is involved in our health care system, whether with an alternative government run fallback plan or a single payer system, the better off all of us are going to be. The public realizes this, which is one of the reasons some 60% of our citizens support such a plan.

    jim crawford
    Westwood NJ

    June 13, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  144. Andrew Gram

    We need to make a decision as a people that if someone is sick, they can see a doctor. Period.

    We need Single Payer Now!

    June 13, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  145. Jamie

    You pretend to show both sides of the debate by having a Democrat and Republican representative but they do not represent both sides of the health care issue. They both represent different parts of the same side and you have not given ample space to a true proponent of a Single Payer Health Care plan. This is the only way America will be able to provide the care necessary to all Americans as well as keep costs down for businesses and the public.

    Please try to show both sides and not just two slightly different parts of the same side.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  146. Joe in SoCal

    I would like to see a single-payer system. If we're gonna reform health-care I think we should go all the way to make it most efficient.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  147. Polly

    President Obama was my hope. Now I feel like he's the same old same old. He is such a disappointment to me mand my entire family.
    What has he done? Absolutely nothing.
    I feel like I voted for a Republican. I cant for the life of me understand what President Obama has done and what Democratic policies he believes in. I am sorry to say this, but maybe he is a failure already. All bark and no bite to him.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  148. msmith1122

    Just like Emenem says just when you thought it was all good boom. Just when men figure their not perverts they call them insane, just when women feel sexually powerful they don’t want her. The pattern goes on if it were numbers it would be 1,10,-10.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  149. Ralph Smith

    The truth of the matter is that there is not going to be a perfect system.

    I come down on the side of a national health plan that would cover all Americans. We probably could have saved General Motors if we had done this 20 years ago.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  150. Minsi

    I think basic healthcare should be handled by the government. I don't understand why people don't trust the government with handling healthcare. Anywhere else in the world this system works just great. I'm tired of people who are afraid of change. We trust the government handling our military, but we can't trust them handling basic healthcare? There will always be options for private health insurance.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  151. Dan H

    Single-Payer would be the most affordable option. Why should we be worrying if private insurers get pushed out. They have failed to provide all americans affordable, portable insurance all while they waste billions of our premiums trying to weed out the very people that need insurance the most. The people want their choice in healthcare providers, not insurance companies. Single-payer is the only workable option.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  152. Ryan Burns (VT)

    What happened to shrinking goverment that so many promiss? universal health care expand the control that goverment has on our lives!!! hasent any one heared of the libertarian party?

    June 13, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  153. kayaker at sea

    No!!! Obama already said our government is out of money. The chinese already are nervous about our financial stability. They are funding what Obama and Congress has spent already. We are months or days away with wars possibly in North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran. Welcome to the real world. A world where danger exists and drives foreign policy. Look at CALIFORNIA!!! That is our future!!!! Obama will bankrupt this country if you do not stand up!!! MASSIVE TAXES are coming for the middle class!!! Another campaign promise bites the dust!!! Change??? How about spare change is all you have left, friends!!!

    June 13, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  154. Ellie Wallis

    I am so tired of the insurance companies. Their goal is to deny as many people as possible. You think you have good insurance and then when you have to use it you find out how inadequate it is. We need a single payer plan. It won't cost anymore than all we are spending now. It will just be money spent on people who need health care instead of going to the expense of the insurance companies.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  155. Maggie Gunter

    Yes the Govt. should be involved. All should be insured and we are forgetting the money that's currently spent for the uninsured in emergency rooms. Who is currently paying for that? Add that to the equation and you will come up with a different cost for Health care Reform. It may cost a liitle more to get this implimented but cost effective in the end. Let us stop being so selfish and pull together to make this a better nation for all.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  156. Ryan Burns (VT)

    I thought Obama wanted to shrink our goverment, universal health care increases goverment control on our lives.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  157. semsem

    Every citizen deserves Government Medicare type healthcare. One same plan for all. Premiums should be based on income.
    Should not be offered by for profit companies. My premiums have been doubling every 4 years.

    June 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  158. David from Philadelphia

    People are willing to pay $125 per month for cable or $700 a month for fancy cars, but nobody wants to pay for their health. CNN just ran a clip of a woman complaining about being thousands of dollars in debt. Would you rather be in debt or be ill or worse.... dead?

    June 13, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  159. Andrew Zimmerle

    No, we cannot afford it.

    If someone without insurance can prove they are not wasting money on wants (restaurant meals, cable, cell phone, designer clothes) vs. necessities, then maybe we should provide them "free" healthcare. This number would be a lot smaller than the current number of uninsured people in America though.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  160. ATL Dane

    Question for the lawmakers that oppose the public option of health insurance. Do you as a lawmaker like your health insurance choices as a government employee? Because your health insurance is a Public Option. We as taxpayers contribute to the payment of your salary & your health insurance options. My wife is a federal employee and the choices of health insurance are good I think. But without my wife, I would be one of those individuals that could not afford health insurance because my PRE-EXSISTING CONDITION. I have asthma and I learned early that I could not get health insurance as a asthmatic. What is soo bad about a public option of health insurance that we can't extend the same benefits or excuse me "privilege" of having some coverage at all?

    June 13, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  161. David from Philadelphia

    Universal healthcare already exists. By law, no one can be turned away from the ER. No one is talking about tort reform which is a huge contributor to the cost of healthcare as medmal premiums are through the roof and docs must practice defensive medicine to protect themselves from opportunistic american greed and greedy lawyers. People all want the best of care, but nobody wants to pay for it. If not implemented correctly and in concert with providers/insurers, the system will collapse. Please get educated before taking a purely moral stand. Don't fall for the media hype.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  162. Ray Wilson Jr

    In regards to some type of national healthcare plan. Why isn't this the main issue that we as americans talk and care about? Why isn't this something the media realy focuses on? Why is it that criminal who are in jail and memebers of congress are 2 of only a few groups of people that get free 100% coverage, at the tax payers expense? In many cases on the backs of taxpayers who don't have or can't afford insurance coverage themselves! Why is it in these tough times there has been no mention of congress reducing their pay and benefits? Instead they keep thing like "abortion" front and center. all the while screwing the average american into bankruptcy. Why don't you guys start focusing on all the corruption and inadequacy?

    June 13, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  163. Patrick Cavanaugh

    In the raging health care debate, the Canadian Health Care model has been much disparaged. Try a Google search and you'll find Canadians are a lot happier with there model than Americans are with our model

    June 13, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  164. Matt Friedman

    Let us assume Obama and his friends nationalize health care and the government runs it. I now am paying for people to get health care, therefore I have the right to monitor them. If they are overweight, fines – smokers – fines, alcoholics – fines, the list goes on. Obviously I do not want that, but if my MONEY is taken to pay for someone's abuse to their body, I get to hold them accountable. We do not hold people accountable for welfare (the number of people on welfare with mobile phones is staggering), do we truly expect to hold people accountable that we provide healthcare.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  165. SylviaL

    Please stop assuming that health care is the same as health insurance. And PLEASE stop assuming that the almost 50 million people without health INSURANCE go without health care!

    I currently do not have health insurance because it was costing me as much as my rent. BUT I go to my doctor regularly and I get my prescriptions I need every month. I WRITE A CHECK. It's cheaper than carrying insurance at this time.

    Please don't perpetuate myths. There is a problem, but there simply is no 'Oh My GOD, CRISIS'. Millions of uninsured are uninsured by choice and still get healthcare, others are eligible for health insurance but simply wait until they have to to fill out the paperwork.

    Let's help those who truly need it, but that figure doesn't come close to almost 50 million!

    June 13, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  166. A, Kemler

    Single Payer would be the cheapest & most comprehensive.

    If everyone was in the “pool”.. healthy & sick… with just a little taken out of our paychecks, or a pay in by those making over 500k per year.. No problem paying for it.

    People wouldn’t have to stay in abusive relationships for the healthcare. People wouldn’t have to stay in jobs they HATE for healthcare. Kids out of college and “aged out” of their parent’s plans.. and unemployed due to the economy would be safe. People wouldn’t have to chose to keep their home or let grandma die.

    Bankruptcy wouldn’t face so many middle class Americans who have an accident on the roads, or just one serious chronic condition.

    Insurance companies don’t add ANYTHING to the health of the Country. If buggy whip manufacturers had had a big enough lobby in the 1900’s, every car would have to have a buggy whip in it today.

    We deserve a comprehensive National Health Care Plan.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  167. mike

    To pay for universal healthcare the scope of services covered by medicare will be cut. There will always be a role for supplemental health care coverage provided by a third party insurer.

    If a single-payer system is implemented and reimbursement is reduced, physicians will cut back on the number of hours they work or leave the field alltogether. This will exacerbate the physician shortage in America, and people will have to wait to receive the services they need. Imagine being diagnosed with breast cancer and having to wait in line to have the tumor removed. I don't think that the average American would go for that.

    I have seen what a huge role defensive medicine plays in driving up healthcare costs. In the ED, nearly every patient with shortness of breath gets an expensive CT scan to rule out a blood clot in the lungs, even if the scan is not clnically indicated. Extra diagnostic tests and procedures done by physicians in order to avoid medical malpractice suits is the rule today. The government needs to start looking at ways to limit jury awards in malpractice suits as well as regulating which suits end up going to trial.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  168. philly

    The Health Care System is BROKEN! More than a quarter of Americans don't have Health Insurance... one out of every four people. Emergency care is too expensive without it. 2 stitches, a 10 minute proceedure costs $2,100.00. Universal Health Care is needed desperately. The only people against it are either those working in the field making a fortune from the current system, or those who already have insurance. It would be better to have a system that is not perfect but everyone is covered then to have the current system that have people without coverage.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  169. J. Allred

    Why have the media not asked whether Congress and the President will promise to get rid of the elaboratetaxpayer paid, private medical insurance they have now and go on any plan they enact for the american public? If it's so great for us why not for them??....

    June 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  170. Steve Keeffe

    I would like to know why we can't go to the same system that already work for England, France and Canada. The doctors like their system and so do the patients.

    It is the HMO'S and the drug companies that are spending 100's of millions lobbying congress to make sure the American people do not get a system that is already in place and works!

    June 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  171. Miranda Keefe

    Right now those without insurance go to Emergency Rooms, which can not turn them away, but which also drives up costs.

    If we had everyone in one system that was non-profit and which the people could control with democracy, the cost would actually be less. LESS.

    Almost everybody would pay less in additional taxes if it was funded though the general budget than they now pay to buy coverage.

    The democracy controlled universal system would be less between the patient and the doctor, because we the people would set the policy via voting, than what we have now where the HMO is between the patient and the doctor and sets the policy so the already wealthy can become more wealthy via profits.

    A public option is a compromise. The comparison made by Fredricka that a public option is like our current education system where everyone pays for public schools but people can choose private schools. WRONG. That would be universal single payer, which doesn't prohibit private insurance in addition. A Public Option would be like only those who send their kids to public schools paying for it.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  172. L.Beckett MD

    Of course the US can afford national healthcare!! Our current system provides too much un-necessary treatment for some and nothing for others. Private insurors spend over 20% of healthcare dollars on administration (how best to deny claims, marketing and donating to politicians to keep the status quo!!) Decreasing the un-necessary cardiac bypass operations, GI procedures, MRI and CAT scans for headaches, and c-sections can save billions of dollars each year. Lowering the cost of pharaceuticals by contracting and competitive bids to the costs paid by the rest of the world bill save more. And, hospital bills bare no relationship to their costs....after doing an NIH Fellowship in computers and medicine, we found hospitals don't know what their fixed and variable costs per procedure are. Hospitals have huge amounts of waste in outdated policies and procedures. VA Hospitals are costly, ineffective and provide an inferior quality of care compared to private or public hospitals. Veterans can be cared for more efficiently and less costly in the private sector. There are ample areas for reform that will yield billions of dollars in savings, which can pay for universal coverage. There is lots of work to do....the politicians must stop stalling, stop saying "No" (are you listening, fellow Republicans??), and start the reform process.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  173. William

    Why not try it. The Gov. has been able to expand the government thus far with little opposition. We have already passed the cigarette bill, think of how much less insuring people will cost the government when no-one can smoking. The government might as well try its rapid expansion until the people say enough is enough.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  174. RCallahan

    In all the talk that has been in the news regarding the high cost of Health Care and solutions to this problem, one thing I do not hear is THE PROFITS HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS ARE MAKING.
    What are the CEO's making, what are the administrative cost being charged to insurer, what Foundations do Health Providers have that cost the insurer, what are the lobbyist being paid, what is the connection between Health Care Providers and our elected officials,
    why are Providers allowed to increase individuals and families 37% a year when the Health Provider has only had to pay out minimal amount for the Insurer.

    None of the above is new, it has been going on for 9 years with little assistance from our electied officials on all sides to resolve our problem.

    Lets attack part of the problem by requiring the Health Care Providers to limit cost and profits, cap the annual increases for premiums at 5%. Had they done this years ago we would not be in this mess.

    We need to put "PEOPLE AND PRINCIPLES before PROFITS."

    Sadly the Health Care Industry has become a hungry, greedy beast.
    Are we going to wait and just let this implode like Wall Street, Banking Industry, Foreclosures, etc. Politicians its now up to you, your time is running out...

    June 13, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  175. daniel vogelgesang

    As long as the government plan is to add an insurer that will compete with the other insurance companies, then I am all for it. I do believe that Medicare is the most efficient delivery system we have by far in the US, so why not give it a try. It would not be any worse than what we have.

    This is all about the private insurance companies making their fortunes and not the social goals of helping each other.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  176. Arlene Geiger

    A robust public plan option in a nationwide health insurance exchange is essential to keeping costs down while insuring quality care for all. Everyone would have a choice of keeping their current health insurance or choosing between a variety of private health insurance plans and a public health insurance plan.

    Incuding a public plan would not only add to the choice that people would have, but would create real competition that would improve the private insurance plans both in terms of their not trying to avoid covering you when you actually need them, and allowing physicians more autonomy than they are with all the private HMO's. The public plan competition would also keep the escalating costs down. We need to keep the costs down and that is what the public competition would do. Medicare's administrative costs are much lower than any of the private plan's administrative costs.

    The public plan would mean that you still go to private doctors and private labs but the public plan.

    The health insurance and other health corporations are making money but contributing nothing to our health – they are spendingt enormous amounts of money to make you think the public plan would be something it is not. They are just afraid of making less money by having to deliver more real health care.

    Public plan means – more choice, more competition reducing costs and improving quality. Don't let their money buy your vote is what I would say to my congressional representatives.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  177. Gerard

    If you're made afraid by the ads touting the failures of single-payer Canadian and European systems, just rely on the facts. Our "for profit" system has given us more misdiagnoses and deaths per capita, I'd bet, than any nation with a single payer. There are loads and loads of examples that don't make it into lobbyists' TV ads.

    Health care should be boring and predictable, just like banking should be. Health care should be a regulated "utility". Deregulated health care has soared in cost just like deregulated electricity has. I now pay Con Ed $44 to deliver $33 of electricity!

    June 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  178. J. McCoy

    Its shameful that the United States does not have some kind of universal health care when most all of the western developed countries have addressed this issue. It is my understanding that in this country that we spend more per patient and get poorer results than in these countries. Why? Those who profit from the system the way it is will never allow things to change to a system they won't profit from and our government will never have the will to go against them. I refer to a comment on line from Bill Mahr...France has the best health care system, and we should steal it.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  179. Philip Micali of bWell-informed

    Whether a public option (government managed plan) is introduced or not to spur competition, the legislation must be deficit neutral. All Americans should have health insurance, which my virtue of universal coverage, cost of care and coverage will come down for all.

    A major issue is that many of us don't understand how health insurance works and how we can help ourselves and the insurance company save money and deal successfully with the suppliers (doctors and hospitals). We cannot afford to let cost of health insurance coverage and cost of care outstrip inflation and wage increases. If it continued, our economy will only get worse.

    Philip Micali
    CEO/Founder bWell-informed

    June 13, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  180. Larisa in Seattle

    Please, please, please commit some actual journalism and ask EVERY politician who is against a robust public option for health care (or against reform altogether) how much money he or she gets from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Our health care system has been bought and sold by these special interests and Americans are getting less and less for our money. It's an outrage!

    I don't know anyone who doesn't have a health care horror story - insured and uninsured alike - either something that happened directly to them or someone they knew. How much longer are we going to accept having worse health care (by many metrics including infant mortality, etc.) than some third world countries???!!

    The "government" boogieman argument is just a distraction. Medicare is a government plan and it runs at a MUCH lower overhead than the private, for-profit system. The special interests were against that as well and our society is better off for the program.

    The public option is just that, an OPTION. Meaning you can keep your private plan if you want. The ONLY way to keep insurance companies honest is to give them some honest, robust competition. That's why they're screaming so loudly now.

    For God's sake, if we don't do this now and do it right, we will continue to decline economically and as a society. Please stop listening to the partisan hacks (on either side) and do some real research on the issue. The FACTS support how beneficial a strong public option will be to millions of Americans who have wrongfully been denied coverage or are paying more and more and more for substandard plans while insurance executives take home millions. This isn't right.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  181. Ruth Wilhelm

    Health insurance provided by an employer is like income. It is, in effect, a "freebie," which not all people enjoy. Taxing this "extra income" would seem a logical place to obtain the funds needed to support health care for others who don't have ANY insurance.

    Also, hopefully there would be some way to distinguish those persons who have income to purchase health insurance but decline to do so. Others should not have to pay for their health care.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  182. Ira D Jinkins Sr

    We can not afford, not to provide health care, for all Americans. I am a military veteran, and, if not for my VA Health Care, I would be in bad shape. And, yes, It is provided by our tax dollars, also, remember that our elected officials are provided health care with tax dollars, I do not hear people complaining about their coverage. It is past time to put an end to the tax payer dollars, that are subsidizing, the pharmaceutical companies and health manage organizations. During the past administration, the pharmaceutical companies, were provided, $1.2 Trillion Dollars, over ten years, at tax payers expense, where is the outrage, with the above, tax giveaway?? After, over 50-years, "what has the HMO's and Pharmaceutical Companies, done to our nation, our states and our businesses"? They have been a failure, why, because of putting the dollars, ahead of fair pricing and proper health care, "This is what some in the health care industry, is not telling the American People". I Support The Public Health Care Option!!

    June 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  183. Rudolph Koser

    The Republicans keep saying they want no bureaucrats between you and your doctor. What about insurance company bureaucrats between you and your doctor and deciding what will be covered?. We need to cover the uninsured in some fashion. Our infant mortality rate tells me our present health system isn't working. And oh by the way, medicare is a government plan that I don't see many conservatives turning down.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  184. Janice Miller

    Primary care is in dire need of repair. Hospital re admission rates for chronic diseases cannot improve without adequate numbers of primary care providers. Medical school graduates are not entering primary care due to a miserable reimbursement structure. What initiatives has the president envisioned to improve primary care delivery? Why have we heard nothing about Nurse Practitioners in this proposal? They are highly skilled, cost efficient and well sought after by patients.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  185. A.M.S

    We have schools, police, fire and military run by government and they are working so efficiently that nobody wants to privatise them. Why couldn't government run healthcare? Government run healthcare guarantees that everybody get healthcare. When we spend the most money on healthcare and still ranked number 37, there is a big problem.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  186. Carrie

    We've all seen the commercials regarding the health care system in Canada designed to scare us out of moving towards a government run program for all – maybe we should look to our supposed superior system. There are thousands of Americans WITH health insurance who are denied necessary treatments because they are "experimental" – meaning expensive. We need a better system and those who say we don't simply haven't been victimized by the private, profit driven health insurance companies...yet.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  187. lamour of Houston, TX

    A JOKE!! We CLAIM to be No. 1 in the westernized industrialized world? ! There there is NO excuse for having 46 million Americans uninsured. Many countries ridicule our lack of an adequate healthcare system, and this adds to the negative status the U.S. has worldwide. WE NEED UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE NOW! NO TAXING OF HEALTH CARE BENEFITS. Countries with universal health care of some sort are: Afghanistan*, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iraq*, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and the United Kingdom

    June 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  188. Mark Hettesheimer

    The whole problem of Healthcare revolves around the culture we practice here in America. For instance, a great percentage of healthcare expenses are due to unhealthy lifestyles and lack of periodic wellness checks by a doctor. This causes the system to react to a condition when it is more expensive and drastically reducing the rate of sucess.

    How much healthcare expenses would be avoided by making yearly biometric testing and wellness examinations required?

    1. Would provide education to those practicing unhealthy lifestyles for possible modification to avoid future issues.

    2. Capture current ailments at earlier stages increasing our odds to handle in an efficent manner.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  189. Alan in South Pasadena, Florida

    Everyone living in the United States should have the equivalent of Medicare. Everyone would be covered. Medicare is the most efficient means of delivering healthcare in America. Pay for it by employee contributions, employer contributions, and a national sales tax. If you wanted a more extensive health insurance plan, then buy your own supplemental insurance from a private insurer.
    This would solve many other problems as well. You would not need to stay a job just to make sure that preexisting conditions would be covered by insurance. American companies would be on a more equal competitive footing with foreign companies that do not have to pay for their employes heathcare. The uninsured that currently flood our community hospital ERs would then be covered with basic care, eliminating their costs from being passed along to those who do have insurance.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  190. toni maira

    i am listening to all the comments on this blog...i can't believe that no one is considering that all county hospitals, state hospitals, veterans healthcare, and medicare, medicaid are already run by the government. they are already supported by taxes. why can't the rules for qualifying be expanded to include people that are now not able to afford insurance? my husband and i are in our 60's and pay $1700.00 a month for premium on an hmo. i would gladly pay $700.00 a month in taxes for a universal plan than continue paying for this inadequate insurance. insurance companies are traded on the stock market and shareholders want a return on their investment. your health is secondary to making a profit! WAKE UP AMERICA! WE ARE 38TH IN THE WORLD FOR QUALITY HEALTHCARE AFTER SOME THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES.....

    June 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  191. George

    Why only in USA health care system the words "coverage, policy, pre-existing conditions" exist? Because they are inventions of health insurance companies.

    Mr Obama, please study and compare the costs and only the costs of all medical procedures, visits, surgeries, follow-ups, etc from the followings countries: Germany, Sweden, Norway, France, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Nederlands, Ireland etc. Put them in the same spreadsheet with the USA costs. Make sure you compare as well the medication costs from the same brand manufactured by the same vendor. Then you will know what to do......

    Good Luck!!!


    June 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  192. Adonis

    I currently do not have insurance my wife does, how ever her copay is so high that there is no way we can afford to go unless it involves the children and it's an emergency.

    I hear every always talking about the cost of universal coverage and bad mouthing the systems in place in Canada and the UK. I've heard complaints about having to wait in lines in Canada. I must be the only person who's sat with his pregnant wife dehydrated in an emergency room for 6 hours before we could be seen. Every time I go to the doctor with one of my children It takes at least an hour before the doctor even comes into the room to see us. I am absolutely frustrated with all the bad press. It seems that because my family is lower income that when doctors or hospitals here the word state insurance then you get shuffled to the back of the waiting line and are the last priority.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  193. kayaker at sea

    Rep. Robert Andrews is going to spend more than one trillion dollars on a belief that government is effiecient at running the private sector. As a politician, I want to empower my re-election potential by giving, giving, giving to many to buy votes. We are bankrupt!!!!!!! We are out of money!!!!!!!! HOW DO YOU PAY FOR SOMETHING YOU DO NOT HAVE MONEY TO PAY FOR??????? THIS PLAN IS A PLAN FOR BANKRUPTCY when China cuts off our financing!!! Anyone thought about that yet???? How long can we live off of massive deficits without complete collapse of our dollar and hyper inflation? Anyone thinking about that?????

    June 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  194. rod-Texas

    I have a good employer provided health coverage, but members of my family do not. We need real healthcare reform that includes a health public option. Our health system has been run by private companies for decades and look at the mess we are now. It is time to try new things and a public option sounds like a good incentive to keep insurance companies honest.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  195. Don

    A government sponsored plan is a bad idea. Medicare and Medicaid are not well run well as it is – just visit any nursing home and look at all the states who are not funding their obligations. Medicare does not pay doctors to provide preventative care and does not encourage personal responsibility for maintaining ones own wellness.

    Private health care insurance companies could and should be better regulated from a consumer protection standpoint and Medicare should be means tested, particularly if we are going to start taxing healthcare benets offered through employers. We should improve the existing system and keep government out of the insurance business.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  196. Jane

    Public choice option is critical to successful healthcare reform. It is the only way to ensure full coverage for Americans throughout our life cycle and changing circumstances. As a small business owner healthcare concerns restrain my ability to to expand my business.Currently, I am enrolled in an expensive, inadequate plan that I would lose if I am ill for any period of time due and unable to work. I want the insurance companies' red tape and shell game marketing strategies designed to wear down subscribers to stop. I am in full accord with President Obama's commitment to healthcare reform.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  197. JackM

    Let's see here. I'm trying to come up with a list of things that the government gets involved with that are successful and that we get a great return on our investment for the taxpayer. The Post Office? Yeah, right! The Social Security System? Darned near bankrupt. Medicare? Major problems. TARP? Should rename it CRAP! Supplemental Security Income? Nope, we just use taxpayer money to support lazy people who we pay to go a doctor and get themselves and their children a medical exclusion, (you know serious things like ADD and depression) so they can collect up to $674 per mo per person. Spending Program (disguised as a "stimulus" package)? Goes to show you that you can do anything with numbers, doesn't it?? Medicaid System? More incentive for people to simply have babies while others with little enthusiasm for honest work, qualify for food stamps and medical assistance, compliments of those who work. I'm glad the taxpayer can allow them to sit at home. I'd never forgive myself if they missed their soap operas or Oprah. And God I hope they would never have to give up their cars, cell phones, tatoos, piercings. bling, cigarettes, and drugs. That would be so unfair! Bottom line is the government wastes our money in everything they do. Period. Government run health care would be no different. It saddens me to know that the country I love so much has become a nation of "takers." These "takers" only ever talk about what else can I get from the working folks for free? All our government programs have addicted them to "entitlements" with never a thought about responsibility or where the money comes from to pay for everything. It's days like this I wonder why I ever served 4 years in the Air Force trying to help other countries experience democracy and protect what our forefathers gave to us! I don't know what county I live in anymore, but it sure as hell isn't the USA.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  198. pepe

    our current health system ran by private insurance companies is bankrupting the country. why cannot we have a public option that keep the abuses of the insurance companies under control? I think real healthcare reform needs to have a public option

    June 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  199. Jeff Adams

    The question is: How can we afford NOT to reform healthcare. The current system is unsustainable. It insures that millions more will be priced out of the healthcare system until we manage costs and prevent insurance companies, drug companies and healtcare providers from raising rates without being accountable for results.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  200. DyNama

    the only thing more disastrous than a government-run healthcare system is the current system run by insurance companies and Big Pharm

    June 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  201. charlie

    No country having a national health system is able to maintain a fragmented collection of programs such as the VA, Indian Health, Medicare, Medicare, Childrens Health, etc. Merging of these programs will fund the proposed reform, otherwise the burden falls back on taxation to maintain both. That seems to have been the pathway followed by all such countries that have reformed their healthcare delivery system, nor is it necessary.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  202. lamour of Houston, TX

    The WHO rates the US #37; This Georgia congressman says we should not force people to have health insurance???? What lunacy@! His health insurance is provided by the govt. US citizens deserve the same quality of health care

    June 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  203. Ann N

    I don't know ANYONE who can afford to continue their plans under COBRA. It is hugely expensive, especially for someone who has just lost their job...

    June 13, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  204. Gary Harris

    When your health insurance hits you with accumulated deductibles of 10 thousand dollars in 6 months time there is something really wrong with the system. My wife's second hospitalization began December Didand ended January 4. The new deductible began January 1. Had she leave the hospital and then re-enter? No. "Well, the deductible year has to begin at a set time." Why can't they look at each case? If I had a choice I'd place my trust in a government-run system over private one because the profit motive would disappear. I am for a single-payersystem. My relatives in Canada have excellent care. The current state of affairs is disgraceful.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  205. Tony Sharples

    The notion by some that a national healthcare plan would be inferior to private insurers is disingenuous. Private insurers have for decades been rationing healthcare by denying payment for certain treatments and medications. Since when did an insurance actuary have the necessary schooling to make medical decisions that under law, only MD's have the automony to make. Our politicians enjoy government paid healthcare. Why not extend that to "we the people" who pay for it? Letting people suffer and die because of lack of funds or because of some money minded insurance co. is a crime.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  206. Charlie Shannon

    We must have universal health care. It must be "not for profit" in that insurance companies have no business ripping off money from providing health insurance.

    We must consider financing it differently, such as a 10% fee on all durable goods, $2 a gallon gasoline and a $1 a gallon on jet fuel, a $20 fee on oil imports, a $1 a pound on all food fats, a 400% tax on harmful foods such as high-fructose corn syrup, a 8% surcharge on imported products to cover the Social Security tax and Medicare taxes that wasn't paid by the people who made these products.
    What universal health insurance would accomplish – the doctors will remain the same, except they now will not have to spend time fighting with clerks who now deny treatment. We must limit unnecessary tests.
    Canadians pay half of what we do, because drug and insurance companies are not taking their cut of their health dollars.

    I am 78 years old, have federal employees insurance, on which we pay 29% of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield premium, plus the $96 a month Medicare premium.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  207. Maria Becker

    Everyone talks about Human Health as a product: 'the market', 'affordable', etc. When are all of you understand that human health is not a product to sell. That is how the subject is treated in other countries. That is why they are ahead in this subject. Please, it is not a product. You can't put a price to LIFE.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  208. Sasha

    i think we should universal health care we have more people who need health care than not we have more people who can not afford health care than not 18000 people die a year do to not having health care why not try to help those people. i don't think people should really have a say when it comes to universal health care this question isn't for dummies we need it all AMERICANS HAVE TO HAVE HEALTH CARE AS EQUAL AS THE NEXT AND NO ONE SHOULD SAY DIFFERENT.. i vote universal health care

    June 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  209. Gayle, Amherst NY

    Why don't the republican's understand that people CAN"T afford this.....I'm watching the interview, as we speak with Phil Genrey, and I am appalled and sickened by the selfish nasty idiocy of his commentary!

    June 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  210. Mikko

    No one in the civilized world is wishing for American style healthcare system. That should tell you something to start with.

    As a small business employer I will drop my insurance plan the minute I and my employees have an alternative. I will however increase my medical out of pocket plan amount to replace more of care not covered by government plan.

    I feel sorry for the poor and uneducated in this country. They keep voting republican while being taken to cleaners six ways to Sunday. I hope Obama is able to fix this travesty for the sake of my American kids. Oh well, I've got them dual citizenship just in case.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  211. Michael

    The President talks about stopping doctors from performing too many (unnecessary) tests to save money.True the doctors do too many tests to protect themselves from malpractice Lawsuits.How come Mr.Obama does not say anything about curbing the malpractice suits so the doctors don't have to too many tests to protect themselves.

    Belleville, IL

    June 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  212. Jamie

    I lived in Canada for the first 16 years of my life and I miss the health care coverage I had there ever since I moved to America. I've waited just as long if not longer with my private medical insurance here in America than I ever did in Canada.

    The most I ever waited to see a doctor in Canada as a walk-in patient was one hour, while for a similar situation in New York State I waited 3 hours before seeing a doctor.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  213. DyNama

    one thing we are not discussing is rationing health care. we feed the poor, but not filet mignon; we house the poor, but not in penthouse apartments; do we really think that every american, regardless of economic status, is _entitled_ to a heart transplant?

    June 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  214. Eric Simon

    Taken from my April 28, 2009 letter to the President.

    Summarized as follows from the letter.

    The following are impediments to progress in changing how health care is administered.
    1 – Remove the American Medical Association from any over sight or regulatory capacity. The contradiction within the group impedes how issues are viewed and resolved.
    2 – Insurance companies, who preach Wellness and alternatives approaches, must provide coverage at the same percentage as regular medicine (e.g., acupuncture, dietitians, psychotherapy, etc).
    3 – Remove obstacles’ in bringing product/drugs to market.
    4 – Alternative medical treatments, i.e., ayurvedic and osteopathic medicine to chiropractic care and acupuncture or any other complementary and alternative approach, as well as experimental drugs to be paid for, since many physicians recommend these treatments.
    5 – Eliminate all lobbyists, which reduce the cost of doing business for any US company, which needs to be passed along to the end-user.
    6 – Educate patients to question and challenge doctors and obtain second opinions.
    7 – Educate doctors to be effective listeners, to question patients thoroughly, to look at the patient, and not at their pads, so they can observe the response/reaction.
    8 – Outlaw the ambulance chasers who are looking to get rich quick, while the patient suffers.
    9 – Slow down the approach to writing quick prescriptions and hasty surgeries.
    10 – A national database of filled prescriptions’, so patients can not go from doctor to doctor.
    11 – Hold doctors accountable for writing Rx's that contradict medications already in use, exacerbating patient’s condition.
    12 – Automatic conversion to private-individual policy when COBRA expires. Insured today under COBRA, tomorrow – not – is the person any different the next day? There is no logic to the reason given by insurance companies that the person is uninsurable.
    13 – Get rid of the white haired, risk adverse, campaign contribution oriented politicians who are not looking out for their constituents, but their own paychecks and gilded healthcare through the US Government.

    Lastly, if Cuba can have one doctor for every 100 citizens, versus the US, which is one doctor for over 300, there is something radically wrong with the approach being taken in this country.

    It seems our Congressmen/women and Senators believe that contributions from Big Business is more important than the value they place on the lives of their constituents.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  215. pepe

    Tell the Congressman that people are dying here in the US also waiting for care and many die because they are denied care for lack of payment.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  216. Jeff Adams

    The government is needed to keep profits and greed from ruling our healthcare system. Let the government negotiate drug prices. After all,
    it's the government who gave the drug companies a patent of 15 years or more, which is the same as a monopoly, so why can't the government negotiate what the drug company can charge for their product. This is American people's health that is basic to quality of life, it shouldn't be treated like any other commodity.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  217. lamour of Houston, TX

    It is incredible that this Georgia Congressman says healthcare is not a right for all US citizens! And just think, he represents his uninsured consituents who "have no right to be insured" ! Unbelievable! 37 countries have universal health care of some some. Why re-invent the wheel? Pick up the phone and ask these 37 countries how they did it. We deserve and are entitled to just as must as other citizens.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  218. philly

    (R) Phil Gingery- Hope you enjoyed your time in Congress but I doubt you're going to be re-elected. When did it become a Politician's job to start protecting businesses and their profits while the people they are supposed to represent are suffereing? The Republicans need to wake up.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  219. Larisa in Seattle

    Cong. Gingrey is a walking advertisement for the insurance industry - all of his comments today were based on what would and wouldn't be acceptable to an insurer, NOT what's in the best interest of the patient.

    Since he doesn't think health care is a right, I guess he'll be giving up his cushie health care plan now, eh? I can't imagine what he's done to deserve it that millions of hard working Americans haven't. Pathetic.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  220. Maggie Gunter

    That Republican congressman who recently spoke has literally said nothing. He did not say anything concrete about the Republican idea of Health Care Reform that will make a difference.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  221. paul cummins



    June 13, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  222. Paulo Simoes

    I live in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and we our into our 3rd year of state run healthcare. I only have to pay $40 a month for my healthcare plan. A healthcare plan that has saved my bacon twice already! I love it and a weight as been lifted of my shoulders. I hope that congress passed legislation mandating that all states adopt this program and offer state run insurance at affordable rates.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  223. rick

    Your report says that the average cost for an employee's insurance premium is $4,500. As a small business my average annual cost per employee is $9,000. Because one or two had some medical problems. why has no one talked about what the cost per month will be under Obama's plan.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  224. Cathy

    Health Care reform for all Americans is needed due to the increase in cost that have taken place over the years. Fraud by prescription companies and other medical companies or providers has to be stopped. I am totally disabled and now have both Medicare and Medicaid coverage. Prior to the prescription drug coverage I was paying $ 600.00 a month for my prescriptions. Now I pay $ 3.00 maximum for each prescription, per month. I also recently needed spinal surgery and it was all covered. But must importantly, the costs that the government is paying compared to the individual is quiet less.

    Pass Health Care Reform.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  225. M MacDonald

    With all due respect to Congressman Phil Gingrey, my Canadian Grandfather had a hip replacement at 85 and my Grandmother had major surgery at 91 in order to retain the use of her leg. To make sweeping statements such as "She wouldn't have received that treatment in a single payer system" is misinformed at best and scaremongering at worst. I am a Canadian living in the U.S. and while I have insurance and fine healthcare here, my family living in Canada are perfectly happy with their system and can't imagine anything else. I don't know whether a Canadian system would work here because of cultural differences, but it's time for the fear mongering to stop and an informed discussion to begin.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  226. Gayle, Amherst NY

    Representative Phil Genrey is a very evil, ill informed person. People here in the US die because they Can't AFFORD HEALTH CARE...why doesn't the republican party understand that????? What about that don't people like him understand????

    When he talked about his 90 year old mothers hip replacement and that she could get it...I was in shock. She's the END of her life. She will be dying soon, for one reason or another. That is how it should be., that is natural. She's lived a long life. However, a 25 or 35 or 45 year old person who cannot AFFORD major health care for a major health issues and DIES is tragic and it is not right to compare that with someone having to wait for health care for a minor inconvenience (as in a Universal plan) is less so.

    We are not taking about services that cost a few hundred dollars here....cancer treatments can run into tens of thousands to millions, as can many major health ailments.

    That moron Genrey (and I don't care that he is Doctor;...he's obviously not practicing or a very concerned one....and obviously has never known what it is like not to be able to afford anything) is an elitist, ill informed moron! You can be educated and still be a moron.

    As I am watching this program, my blood pressure has doubled! I'm boiling mad that he is that uncaring. 47 million people!

    June 13, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  227. Adonis

    I also have a problem with those who like to say things like, people have a tendency to die from waiting for important surgeries and such. Doesn't that same thing happen here? Except we have to fight the same companies who we are paying to live. They continually find ways to make sure we cannot get care, while still taking our is that "American!?" Or is that what we define as American these days? This should truly be referred to as the Fleecing of America! Keeping the poor poorer and out of the middle class by continuing to find ways to take our money and kill us because we can't afford to live.

    Oh, and how is someone supposed to pay for all this as a minimum wage worker with a gross income of around 10 grand a year? You can hardly pay rent to live in a decent place for that much unless you don't have kids and don't buy much food and public transportation is very accessible.

    When I lost my job we couldn't even afford the payments to get Cobra insurance. Are any of these politicians in anyway actually aware of what it cost to live on anything less than 20 thousand a year?

    June 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  228. paul cummins


    June 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  229. Ayad Iraqi

    Four years ago I have crossed the Atlantic to learn from the high quality health care standards and going back to rehabilitate the health care system in a war torn country, such as Iraq. However, It is so shameful and astonishing to see that the accessibility to and affordability of the health care in the US is beyond reasonable comprehension. I believe I came to the wrong side of the world to learn from!

    How disgraseful to say Health Care is not a right to the people!
    It is a basic right to ensure nation's prosperity and development.

    Since when physicans and other health care professionals forgot their first duty of saving humanity? Since when they started to consider financial reimbursement before patient's health and wellbeing.

    There is an American proverb that I learned years ago and kept ringing in my mind: If you can not stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    So if you do not respect and consider the oath of your profession, change your careeer!

    It is so sad to see such a big number of people without insurance to get the right to check their blood cholesterol at least!, yet; those with health insurance still can not get essential health care procedures and screenings.

    Dental health is an example by itself. The government along side with the professional organizations that govern the practice have to step in and stop this rediculous nonsense "tyrani" against this basic right.

    It astonishes me even more to hear stake-holders advocate a private health insurance system and not a public one.

    The Iraqi people in their war torn country having better health care access than their counterpart in the US, a developed country!

    Yours in public health...

    June 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  230. aj

    after being employed with office depot for almost 15 years and now they decided to reduce their employee's . they told us that we would only have 7 days left on our insurance. notice was given only 7 days left on the month and our insurance would end. it took almost 2 weeks to get the information started after being let go from work. during the two weeks we had to go to the doctor with the flu. self pay was the only way that we could see the doctor. and then if we signed up for cobra with the 60% reduced rate with the so called goverment help. we still could not afford the rate with unemployment pay. so we tried and get insurance for our family from blue cross and was turned down. and that is without any minor or major illness in our family. so we now have been without insurance and risking our future to the rich and famous hospital,doctors in health care. the private insurance and goverment with 60% cobra being paid to help us get on a insurance is not working for a normal everyday family. we are hoping to get on another plan with our furture employer.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  231. Anir

    Republican comments on healthcare in other countries such as Canada and the UK are misinformed and misleading. Yes – there are clear inadequacies, such as longer wait times for non-emergent health care; however, when it comes to life threatening illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, etc, there are initiatives to fast track such patients to get good quality care in a timely fashion. Again, there is no perfect system, but to completely deny the merits in each system is naive and inane.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  232. Fred

    I retired in 2002 after working with the Federal Civil Service, I signed up for Medicare Part A&B and kept my policy through my work as my supplemental. I pay family premiums and each year those premiums go up and coverage goes down. However my wife and I consider ourselves lucky, not to have to have Prescription Plan D with it dougnut hole problems. We have a lot of health problems and take a lot of prescriptions using generics whenever possible, but some prescriptions have no generics. It was mention during President Obama campaign he was considering coverage for all the uninsured to be offered this same type of coverage as the resolution for seniors this would be a little more expensive than what I have seen on premiums for people with regular Medicare Part A&B and then a supplemental, plus Plan D, but if those seniors have a lot of prescriptions it would resolve the dreaded "doughnut Hole" back breaker. As for family coverage and young people 18 and up they really need help. With the lay offs in our hometown and people in their mid 30's & 50"s they will have no insurance coverage and with the present medicaid requirements, and drawing unemployment they will not qualify for assistance. Think the whole program needs to be revamped, but go to the people who live it and know how it feels to do without, not politicians who do not understand the first thing about insurance. I do not understand myself about insurance, but I am fortunate to have a wife who has worked in the medical insurance field to know how to help and be persistant.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  233. Suzanne Alarcon

    I am married to a physician an ran the office for 20 year. I also managed several businesses over the years. There is soooooo much waste and fraud in medicine. As we converse with other doctors they know that they could cut the cost of medicine in half if someone would do what they know are real problems in the system. When I have tried to contact our insurance company about outragous charges for medical equipment or double charges for some doctors they just say don't worry about it, it's covered under your insurance! I feel as frustrated as the doctors as I see that one big part of the problem is malpractice, but the government is run by lawyers and will not try to clean up that part of the problem. The lawyers give too much money to officials to keep getting them elected that no one will touch that hot button. I WISH you would give some of us the chance to let you know where the waste is.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  234. Andrew Gram

    To continue to bring up small business in the context of health care reform is disingenious. "Disingenious" here means 'deceptive'. There is no proposal to dump the costs of health care onto small business.

    We need to make a decision as a people that if someone is sick, they can see a doctor, Period. Not by going to the emergency room, not dependent on their employment status. We must tend to the truly sick of all kinds, not just those with life-threatening emergency conditions.

    We need Single-Payer. Other proposals might help. The Corporatist and Republican opposition to reform is simply astonishing, and so deeply wrong.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  235. Ann Davis

    Laura is a PLANT. If you're claiming to talk to "regular citizen" make sure he'she hasn't already staked their claim as a partisan.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  236. William B.

    I work in a major hospital. Doctors continue to admit patients that do not require care. Furthermore, these same physicians will do everything to keep the patient admitted until they have exhausted their Medicare benefits. Once Medicare is exhausted, the patient is miraculously cured and discharged. There is an unspoken agreement between the physicians and the hospitals. This is the income and unrealistic high profit for both. The AMA ought not to be involved in this discussion. It is a conflict of interest and perpetuates high health care costs. Our current healthcare system employs the same practices as Wall Street.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  237. Paulo Simoes

    There aren't many checks I look forward to writing but the monthly check to commonwealth care for $40 is one of them for sure! I dont see why in the next 5 years or so all 50 states can't adobt similar programs as the one I enjoy here in the Bay State and provide affordable healthcare for those who cant afford or chose not to go to the over priced private sector.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  238. Nancy Strandmark, Bloomington, MN

    I don't understand most of peoples' arguments against healthcare reform.

    It is an extremely important topic for me. I was born with a preexisting condition (spina bifida, resulting in very severe scoliosis), so there is no chance I will ever be able to purchase health insurance under the current system. As a child, I received treatment at a Shriner's Hospital, and my Dad stayed with the same company from the time I was born until he retired so that he could be sure I would always have access to healthcare until I was grown and on my own.

    I graduated from the University of Minnesota summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa and the earned a Master's Degree and nearly a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Quantitative Psychology, which is a branch of applied statistics. Illinois has one of the United States' best graduate programs in that field. I'm considered "ABD" - all but dissertation. I did fine in graduate school, but fell behind due to self doubt and an undiagnosed mood disorder (bipolar II disorder.)

    Despite my abilities and education, no one has seen fit to employ me since I returned to the Twin Cities in 1990. I have been living on SSI, even though neither of my disabilities should preclude me from working. I depend on Medical Assistance for healthcare. Now our DEAR Governor Tim Pawlenty, in his personal pursuit of adjusting the future Minnesota budget, intends to make severe cuts to that program or even eliminate it.

    What I don't understand is why there is any kind of connection between employment and healthcare. I truly believe that our current system gives businesses that offer health insurance a positive disincentive to ever hire anyone who has an obvious disability. It's always possible to claim there were other applicants who are more qualified. Duh!

    There needs to be a distinction between actual healthcare and payment for its cost. Doctors and other healthcare professionals (excepting chiropractors, providers of "alternative" healthcare, etc.) need to be in charge of healthcare decisions and treatment. There can be a board of highly respected doctors and people from NIH and NIMH to work out acceptable treatments for specific conditions. Appeals for treatment of atypical cases could be made to that board. HMOs have no expertise to make those kinds of decisions and seem to only go by treatment cost.

    Costs for medical care should be covered by Federal income taxes, with a board of directors with representatives from government, doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies to decide on reasonable costs for healthcare treatments.

    In addition, the U.S. Constitution needs to be amended to include as part of the Bill of Rights a right to necessary healthcare, a roof over one's head, and, if one is capable of working, an appropriate job that uses each persons innate abilities.

    There have to be fair, humane solutions for these problems!!!!!

    June 13, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  239. Kevin Donovan

    Health Care is tied to the economy. We have a domestic styled economy but we are trying to compete in a global economy. The structure of our economy needs to be updated to make American companies more competitive in today’s economy.
    When someone has company provided health insurance, the cost of their products or services are higher. When the costs of health insurance are taken out of our pockets we will need to be paid more money to keep our quality of life the same. When the government uses income tax money to help those who can’t afford health care, it is still money taken from the manufacturing side of our economy.
    We can offer health care to all Americans and remove the burden of the cost from American companies. Instead of paying for health care from the manufacturing side of the economy we should tap the economy from the wholesale and retail side of the economy. We must first understand that there is no free health care; we pay for it through higher costs, higher taxes or just straight from our pockets. By taping products and services sold in the country instead of products and services being made in our country will lower the costs of American made products.
    The biggest winners are those companies that still offer health care to their employees. The products being exported will not have any of the costs of health care making them more competitive world wide. We need to export more products. Also people who pay for health care insurance themselves will be big winners. The companies that make products in other countries and sell those products here will be the only ones that will have higher costs.
    This is just how to pay for health care but does not cover the insanity of insurance companies that make money declining coverage while hospitals go bankrupt and close.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  240. Darin

    The governent needs to provide health care for all Americans. The problem with the health care is that you go to the ER/primary doctor then they send you to another doctor to get the same prescription drug they could have given you. Because they know what the problem was!

    June 13, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  241. jacob armstrong

    i have Medicaid throw the Texas government it is not bad. i can not afford any health care. government dos not control the doctors i go to i get to chose if their is more then one doctor in my area.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  242. Ian & Cheryl Macgregor

    As Canadians, we are sick and tired of hearing a constant stream of GOP lawmakers' lies about our system. Don't you believe them America! Ask Mr. Gingrey how many Americans lives have been destroyed because they couldn't afford healthcare. It's a much larger number than the few outlier examples they can produce from our system.

    Our system produces better outcomes at two-thirds per-capita cost with an economy-of-scale of one-nineth the size of the US!

    So a few rich folks can afford to jump the queue and drop tens of thousands of dollars on care in the US. That means nothing because most Americans aren't so rich that they aren't still at the mercy of their HMO. Many more Americans than Canadians have been financially ruined as a result of serious illness. I know of no Canadian who has lost everything they have due to their medical costs. I'm sure there are a few examples that the right can find but this would be a rare exception indeed.
    We have our own doctor who we never have to wait to see. We've never had to wait for any tests that we've required and, when Cheryl needed e a hip replacement it cost us less than $200 dollars (including our premiums) – most Canadians pay less than a $1000 per year for full coverage and can get extended coverage beyond that to cover dental, drugs etc. if they so choose.
    Our system would be even better if only Americans would take back their government and insist on a similar single-payer system that could be harmonized with other countries to reduce overall costs even further.
    In short, you are being lied to. What else is new?

    June 13, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  243. Diane Pope

    All my family are in England which has a single payer system and I can assure you that they get excellent health care. There have been no long waits for surgeries such as knee and hip replacements, pace makers and the Doctor will come to the house in the middle of the night. The old people have no co pays and all their prescriptions are free. No one has the worry of medical bills and the lies being told about this are a disgrace.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  244. Billy


    What planet do these politicians come from. If you are unemployed and do not have the money to pay for health care, what good does a "Fair average rate for services" (GOP answer) do??

    June 13, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  245. toni maira


    June 13, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  246. Ned Benson

    Government run, single-payer health care not only works, it works in America, RIGHT NOW! Unfortunately access is limited to military veterans. It is called the Veterans Administration health system: government owned, government run, all doctors government employees, all hospitals government owned.

    Is Congressman Gingrey saying that the VA health system provides inadequate, poor quality, frequent delay health care to America's military veterans?

    Second, Congressman GIngrey cited his mother recently getting a knee replacement at age 90. Ironic that her surgery was provided through a government run single-payer health program called Medicare.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  247. KDelphi, MSW

    CNN should be ashamed of itself for having a liar like Phil Gingrey on.(I saw him on c-span, and he just plain LIED!Dr. Howard Dean pointed it out, and you can have him call me–I would enjoy it!)

    I have been treated under single payer plans in 3 countries, and, have been a Medical Social Worker. Check out who is getting paid-that will tell you why we're not getting single payer.

    Hint: you wont find it an CNN! Read my comments on the air...

    Part of the problem , is people ike the lady , "Laura" who was just on–she is one of those that could most benefit from a natl plan–butr she sticks to her neighbors's bogus argument that the "govt cant run GN..."

    Every civilized country on earth does it–its time to get with the program adn become civilized.

    If people could see the investments that our reps, govt and, yes, cnn, has in the
    "health care" industry, they would see the light...

    June 13, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  248. Rami Saffarini

    The Republican Congressman you had, said that his solution for the un-insured is that hospitals and doctors should not charge them the "sticker price", but should get a discount. Does the Congressman propose to enforce this through legislation?

    June 13, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  249. 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 4:53 pm |
  250. Terri Langford MD

    I am primary care physician still trying to provide quality care in spite of private insurance companies. The American health care system was hijacked when health insurance companies were allowed to change from NON-PROFIT to PROFIT status and began limiting payments to those actually providing care (hospitals, nurses, doctors,emergency facilities) and maximizing payments to executives and shareholders–the mission of these health insurance co. changed from facilitating quality care to all citizens to facilitating wealth accumulation for themselves. The profit reports for these companies are reported quarterly in terms of hundreds of millions of dollars while premiums and co-pays increase every year. Reimbursement rates to physicians and hospitals are NOT increased each year but executive pay and dividends continue to climb. There is plenty of money to provide quality health care to every American if these companies are required to convert back to Non Profit status and all of those profits are freed up to pay for true medical care. If the efforts of these companies were redirected to maximizing true quality and availability of medical services, success would be redefined in terms recreating what used to be the best medical care in the world. Innovation and research would benefit all Americans. If private for-profit insurance companies continue to siphon wealth off of the backs of our patients, a separate non-profit company will be subsidized by the citizens while these companies continue to rake in profits and avoid any genuine reform. Health insurance corporations are committed to patients in the same way that banks and mortgage companies were committed to providing safe and secure financial support to American families.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  251. Darin

    I have health insurance, but it is crazy that when I need prescrption refills I have to see the doctor for five minutes ask me how I'm feeling and then gives me a prescrption. I have lived in Europe and goverment health care works. I would still keep mine but it works.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  252. Lee

    Privately funded Medical practices with some funds from the government is a joke! This will leave the uninsured and under insured dying. We Need Universal Healthcare. Is the President going back on his word?. Why should we (taxpayers) afford to insure the Politicians with the taxpayers money yet we cannot be insured. Countries that are not as wealthy as the US has found ways. Why can't we?

    It looks like the President is now more concerned about the ones that are already insured. If they want to continue with the insurance company that they have then why not? Please consider the uninsured and under insured also. People are hurting, sick, and dying. We are broke as well as the country. The government has wiped out a lot of retirement money that people was depending on. We have lost jobs in record numbers. Give us a break!

    June 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  253. KDelphi, MSW

    Bring in a Frenchman, a Dane or a Canadian–they'll show you how, America!

    It is important to "not do nothing", but it is more impt to do it right!

    The "plan", as it is now, is worse than nothing.

    Now, I have to go pull my tooth with a pair of pliars.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  254. Donna Fox

    I am employed as a medical assistant for a physician in a family practice medical office.
    I have listened carefully to comments made and ads suggesting how horrible it would be for government to stand between a patient and their doctor when it come to choice in health care.
    Patients and doctors don't really have choices now. Just the illusion of choice. Doctors hands are tied by insurance companies. The insurance company CEOs are in control. It's big business and their pockets are very deep for lobbyists and fear inducing advertising campaigns.
    I would like to invite you to spend a day or two in a primary care office and see just what it is like to try to get the care patients need authorized by their insurance plans – and not just HMOs.
    Under our current health care system if a patient is 63 years old and the head of the household and is diagnosed with a serious illness, he or she will most likely first lose their job / income, then their health insurance, go through their retirement savings if they even have any and finally lose their home and or file for bankruptcy trying to save their life.
    If that same patient is 65 and diagnosed with that same illness and covered under Medicare benefits, most of his or her health care costs would be covered and the prognosis for every aspect for his or her life and that of the rest of their family would look a lot brighter.
    Don't we all deserve to have Medicare?
    I am not so naive as to believe that a government sponsored single payer health care system would be without flaws, after all "people" would ultimately be in charge and "people" are flawed and often times easily corrupted. But as someone who is on the front line of this battle on a daily basis I would rather be a "David" fighting one "Goliath" than be surrounded by them. A "Goliath" where I would have a vote / voice and a chance to make changes rather than hundreds upon hundreds of insurance company CEO "Goliaths" that are untouchable.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  255. Carol

    There has to be a way to create a universal tax deductible cradle to grave medical insurance program payable to a variety of levels of insurors. Within this program individuals should be able to shift to program levels they can afford at the time, as their financial situation changes. Employers and individuals should pay in through common ongoing taxation. The money can be funneled to private insurors. If it runs from cradle to grave it should cushion the reasons for exclusion for previous conditions now in place with intermittent insurance based on employment. To keep the economy robust, employers shouldn't carry the burden of health insurance and employees should have freedom to change jobs without fearing the consequences of not having insurance. By the way, I have had the good fortune of having excellent insurance since leaving college more than thirty years ago, and sometimes to insure employment freedom I have carried my own insurance along with my employers. Yet the year several members of the family had significant medical problems at one time our finances plummeted due to copays. This led to near disastrous consequences that has taken about nine years and counting to recover from.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  256. Kyle

    Addressing Universal Healthcare Costs:

    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.

    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 consolidating the cost associated with individual health plans and eliminate duplicate administrative cost .

    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.

    We have the examples of other countries to avoid their mistakes and make our improvements. We’ve experienced disasters with the Space Shutter Program, but the government always finds money to go forward. Why is that different for Healthcare. What’s more important?

    June 13, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  257. Don in Toledo

    Do we need health insurance coverage for everyone? You bet your bippy we do. Now the challenge is getting the politicians on our side and come up with a plan we all can afford. Fat chance of that happening with all the health insurers paying for the politicians to get elected.

    June 13, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  258. alex

    The large, profit driven pharmaceutical companies should pay 75% of the proposed new tax burden for our national health care reform. Then perhaps we can approach the effectiveness of the health care systems of Europe.

    June 13, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  259. Ned Benson

    Another point regarding the protests against illegal aliens getting government paid health care: Illegal aliens, like uninsured American citizens, get free health care now in the emergency rooms of American hospitals. The bill is paid by companies that provide health insurance to their employees and individuals who pay for their own health insurance. It is against the law for an emergency room to refuse treatment to anyone due to inability to pay. Grow up people! There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch, not now, not anytime. The question is whether we will a world-class health care system and get out of the middle rank of health care quality in the world as measured by health outcomes.

    June 13, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  260. KDelphi, MSW

    I read some of the comments here, and, as a Social Worker, I just want to cry when I see how the people who could benefit the most are so easily convinced that it would "cost them"..sigh

    We will ALL get what THEY deserve.

    Poor, dumb America...

    June 13, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  261. Ronald Hirsch, MD

    Health care should be government-run. Medicare for all. I support Single Payer National Health Insurance along with tens of thousands of physicians. The AMA does not represent me! Medicare runs with a 3% overhead; private insurers run 15-25% overhead- there are no profits to go to stockholders, no millionaire CEO's to pay. The bureaucrats in Washington can certainly do a better job with health care than the bureaucrats on Wall Street who are currently running health care-they sure have done a nice job with our economy, haven't they??? Millions of Americans are uninsured and millions more are one illness away from bankruptcy. Single payer can provide quality health care to all Americans. America's health outcomes lag behind most industrialized nations with nationalized health care and that is a disgrace.

    June 13, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  262. Katherine Lahti

    In other countries of the world people pay half as much for health care as we do with better health results (longevity, infant mortality, etc). The title of this thread is idiotic, "Can America afford health reform?" It should read "Why American cannot afford not to have health reform." Today Obama explained how he, though sensible savings in the way health care is delivered, will pay for it all. Go to

    June 13, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  263. Pamela Pearson

    Your past hour with Fredericka Whitfield was outrageously biased against universal health care. America’s experiment with health care delivery via the private markets has been an excruciatingly long FAILURE. We need a single payer system NOW. Short of that, a strong government-run public option is the only acceptable option. Sen. Baucus’ proposal of privately-run “cooperatives” is just a repackaging of the HMO concept, a fig leaf to preserve the current system. We won’t get fooled again! If the Democrats fail again, a third party will have to rise to do the job.

    June 13, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  264. ricardo

    Why not do away with health care/insurance entirely? Just let the poor and middle class get sick and die. Better yet, send in the military and gun them all down. Good solution, no? 🙁

    June 13, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  265. Wendy in SO. Cal

    I can't believe that anyone would argue that we ca't afford to do something about health care, it seems like a no brainer to me. My husband is a self-employed dentist and as a healthy family of four we have to pay over $18,000 in premiums for a plan that pays only 70% after we each meet a $500 deductible, preventive care is not covered. Our total cost for healthcare after we pay premiums, our portion of costs and the cost of items not covered, we have paid over$20,000 a year for a healthy family.

    It doesn't take a brain surgeon to deduct that our costs are influenced by insurance company cherrypicking and profits as well as the uninsured who have to use expensive (to taxpayers) emergency room services for their healthcare plan.

    The irony of the situation isn't lost on me, health care reform is being fought (deceptively) by our elected officials who have excellent and comprehensive benefits that are paid for by the very people they are trying to kick to the side of the road. We voted for change and I want to see it!!!!!!!!!

    June 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  266. Rob Garraway

    Hey Fred,

    As a Canadian who has spent most of my life under the Republican hated single payer medical system. And THANK GOD I DID! I'll explain. For years I lived with undiagnosed depression, "I never went to doctors". Then after loosing my job due to that same depression, my family got me to the doctor about the depression as well as a serious cough. I found out I have very extreme emphysema. In Jan. '07 I popped a lung, ended-up in the Hospital while they ended-up removing most of my right lung. Today at 57 I'm om disability Pension, I see my Doctor when I need to and, most important, I'm alive. Listening to US news on the subject of health care I am just glad I lived in a Country with people who care for all citizens, not just those with money in their pockets.
    Now correct me if I'm wrong. Under what I have said, if I lived in the US I would be dead today because I wouldnot have had any health coverage if I lived their.


    June 13, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  267. Von Bismark-Vienna

    America destreoys and builds Iran,Iraq with US funds;sends man to the moon;can destroy the planet with the blink of an eye yet can't afford health care? This is a joke.

    June 13, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  268. Mary

    Interesting to see the proponents talk about europe.....the netherlands, the UK, not have the population that the US has.....the UK is the size of Alabama.

    Those in Washington do not have "government health care" either.....they are enrolled in health plans just like other employees. Doctors are not the problem....they do take care of the uninsured, some on their own dime.

    It is utter nonsense that only those on "welfare" are the ones getting "better care" you not realize that the elderly in nursing homes are cared for through medicaid?? Those that are mentallly and physically handicapped are cared for through medicaid.....?? Apparently not.....

    Massachusetts has 97% of its citizens covered (which is great), though the cost is now killing the state. This, with a population of about 6 million......what do you think will happen with an additional 49 states, and an additional 244 million people in a government plan??

    June 13, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  269. chico_escuela

    The question America and the leaders in Washington have to ask is: Does profit play a role in health care in America?

    June 13, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  270. Mary

    One other was Teddy Roosevelt, a republican, who introduced the idea of government sponsored health care in the US and Lyndon Johnson, a democrat, who signed medicare/medicaid into law in the 1960s. It's tiring to read slams against republicans.

    FQCHC are community health centers located in the urban sections of the country....they've been around since the 1970s.

    June 13, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  271. TSAQ

    YES. What we can no longer afford is the (GREED) that has been going on for (CENTURIES).

    June 13, 2009 at 8:36 pm |
  272. RB

    I'm happy to see so many informed people pushing for a national health care program. The uninformed ( or brainwashed) need to research for themselves, instead of following talkshow host's leads. I would bet the hosts get kickbacks for pushing the misleading propaganda. Michael Moore's documentary disspells the myth of national healthcare being a negative. If you have not seen it, you should.

    June 14, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  273. Suzanne

    Primary care drs. are paid so little, especially considering what specilists are paid that most new physicians are not going into internal medicine

    June 14, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  274. Suzanne

    One of the largest problems in medicine is the overuse of the ER. The reason is that there are not enough primary care drs. The reason is that the payment is so little, especially considering the difference between specialists and primary care. Primary care drs. are working unbelievable hours for low reimbursements. Also, the "perks" are really bad when you compare them wirth government employees and teachers. In Mass. where people have to have insurance have told me that they can NOT find any primary care drs. The reason is that when government tells drs. how much they will be paid and the payment is so unfair they (the drs.) fnd another job (if young enough or move away. Some cousins who live in Mass. have told me that there just are not any primary drs. around to go to. It was surgeons who began the first medical insurance (Blue Cross and Blue Shield). The insurance was set up to pay high for "procedures" or operations. The amount paid for primary care, which is very time intensive was and is very little. Just think about it. If your Internist spends 20 minutes with you in the office and an hour looking up any new options for your care he or she gets paid only for the office visit. She will not be reimbursed for the phone calls all night .

    June 14, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  275. KDelphi, MSW

    When you add up the population of the EU, it is NOT a "small homogeneous" population, but, everyone is covered."Does money play a "role"?? LOL The insurance industry gave Baucus $14.8 million over 5 yrs and Grassley $2.3 million. Money is the ONLY reason we do not have a natl plan.

    Congress is enrolled in a private plan that is administered by the govt for its employees (like Public Employees Retirement) They have hundreds of plans to choose from. and. we pay for the bulk of it.

    I used to work for county and state govts...

    BC/BS is no benevolent group and is the second most profitable industry, second only to oil. The insurance industry IS the problem, along with DC.

    I am on Medicaid, and, it is often worse than nothing, and you cannot accept charity care, or your dr could lose his license. Obama is talking aobut cutting Medicaid-if he does that, it will not be worth being on at all. You have totally impoverish yourself to get on it at all, and, stay that way. You cannot go back to work (which saves no one money) and, not even family members can help you pay for medicaL bills that thye dont cover, so , yu end up without , or putting it on a credit card, if you have one left over, and then they pass a credit card bill that does nothing to put a limit on rates..

    I am through with both parties, and, if I had the money, I would leave the country.

    June 14, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  276. KDelphi, MSW

    MacDonald–why give any respect to Gingrey when he is promoting falsehoods?

    June 14, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  277. Joseph L Sanchez

    We put the Democratic Party to govern. The Health Plan is the best way to finish something thats been passed along since Truman.

    If the Republicans come back; its because the Democrat didn't
    walk the talk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 23, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  278. lisa scott

    if we can find money to pay for war then we can find money to pay for healthcare. it's that simple.

    June 23, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  279. Fred


    July 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  280. Biker D

    We can pay for everything we like or dislike.I did not like viet Nam but it's paid for.Paid in Full .Bushes phony WAR's PAID IN FULL.CRAP.

    January 3, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
  281. Biker D

    We can pay for everything we like or dislike.I did not like viet Nam but it's paid for.Paid in Full .Bushes phony WAR's PAID IN FULL.CRAP. SOOOO lets pay for a good thing,Good Health for all american's.Rich or poor,Ugly or Beautiful,we can even let the " NO" Party IN.Even DO nothing MCCain and his buddiy vfrom Arizona,They in the last 20 years have done nothing for Arizona and the people of this State.Let him and his rich Wifey have the same HEALTH CARE the rest of us have.

    January 3, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  282. mariza

    we should focus on more job. we need more job, then company should offer good benefit like(medical and good retirement benefit)
    the government should offer health care for full time student, good health care for elderly and disable people
    we should not put our company to another countries. we should bring them back here in the united state to create job.
    If we have good company, we have good job, we have good medical and retirement benefit.

    January 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm |