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June 16th, 2009
09:06 AM ET

Health Care In-Depth

As part of our week-long examination of the nation’s health care, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen looks into racial and gender disparities. Do white people get better health care than minorities? Do men get better health care than women? How and why does this happen? Join Tony and Elizabeth today at 11am ET, and share your comments and stories here.

Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Dan Leahy

    Medicare overhead – 4%
    Overhead for private insurance companies – 30 to 40%.
    There is a huge difference. The possibility for saving billions with a public option is very promising.
    Why don't you ever report on the facts?

    June 16, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  2. Akangbe Assongba

    We need to do something about healthcare. My co workers & eye have broken teeth & I have impacted wisdom teeth. We havent done anything in years because it is to expensive.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  3. don gattin

    the main problem is the health system has become a profit seeking enterprise. All everyone is looking for is the all mighty dollar. When hospitals and doctors can charge what ever they want to the patient and the insurance companies refuse to pay. That leaves the patient's holding the bag.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  4. Carolyn

    How much do the healthcare insurance CEOs make, plus company-wide bonuses? (They are huge.)

    Let's write some new laws to get rid of the excess indulgences that exist in the industry.

    Then, and only then, should we start thinking about other possible options.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  5. Chandra G

    If we believe that people will go to school for 12 to 14 years to become a physician without being well-compensated we are living in a dream world. It's not just the cost of the education; it's also the cost of being a young person who spends over a decade immersed in intense study. My husband is a brilliant orthodontist who went to school for ten years. Over the years he has helped thousands of people solve bite problems and severely misaligned teeth. As loving and generous as he is, he wouldn't have invested his youth training in this intense field without the expectation of being very well-compensated at the end.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  6. don gattin

    another problem I see is the shrinking service capability of the health system to serve the people. In other words more beds not less as is the trend at the moment. we Have hospitals shutting down daily.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  7. Joseph Hutchison

    It's crucial to our global competitiveness that we move away from employer-based health care. This dovetails with the need to get all Americans the care that should be their right. So-called "single payer" would be ideal, but a public option might be the only achievable step we can take at this time toward a health care system that works for us all. If you think the system is working now, just compare outcomes in the U.S. with outcomes in other industrialized nations. In fact, outcomes would be worth an in-depth segment on CNN.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  8. Dr. Gene Wentzel

    To fix the rising cost of the healthcare system we need to understand where the problem is and where it is not. Doctors DO NOT set their rates any longer. It is the insurance company that dictates to the participating physician what their reimbursement will be and it's a take it or leave it plan.

    Next is the ever increasing co-payment system instead of the classic 80%-20% co-insurance. It started with 5 dollar copays, then 15, then 30 and now patients walk in with 40 and 50 dollar copayments. This, in most cases, exceeds what the insurance company allows for the visit and therfore the insurance company pays ZERO and the patient pays 100% of the fee. How is that insurance? I always thought insurance was LIABILITY SHARING. If the insurance company doesn't pick up at least 50% of the liability what's the point?

    Dr. Gene Wentzel
    Mount Holly, NJ

    June 16, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  9. Gloria

    I would like to hear more about HR676 which has not been getting the coverage it should and about how the lobbyists for the health insurance companies are influencing congress and the President against the single payer health care system. Take the profit out of health care and we will save tillions of dollars. Why not interview Dr. David Himmelstein, Asso. Professor of Harvard Medical School and Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the National Intsitutes of Health for a more in-depth analysis of our health care system.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  10. Allen N Wollscheidt

    The healthcare DEBATE is broken, too - just like the healthcare system : Healthcare is NOT an option, not withstanding the views of the Wrongists.

    The small business owner whines about his insurance costs and considers ending the benefit. What would this accomplish, in the long term ? His employees would only have to get their own insurance at yet higher cost - or do without. Both of those last options will raise the MINIMUM salary needs of his employees or reduce their effectiveness or both. Healthcare needs MUST BE MET, somehow. (I said NEEDS, not necessarily current costs)

    So, fiddling around with ideas on HOW TO PAY are completely off the proper target. The task is to get the COSTS DOWN. Then there will be either no problem or a very much lesser one doing the paying operation.

    The first step toward doing so is in process : Universal comprehensive healthcare RECORDS. The next is automating the healthcare intake and outcome surveillance processes (surveillance today is UTTERLY BROKEN, I can assure you, much to EVERYONE'S risk).

    I do not have the time to retail in detail our experiences recently here in Jacksonville. Florida - but healthcare here is a NIGHTMARE to the point of injury and endangerment. Complete incompetence and indifference ! !
    These folks here simply do not and cannot handle the job and they are apparently unable or unwilling to train their employess properly to help, if indeed they know themselves how to work properly ! They apparently are also unaware of their problems and do not receive the news gracefully !

    June 16, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  11. Marianne Phila RN

    Report the facts. The insurance industry with the help of the media is trying to defeat healthcare reform. This nation currently gives free medicare and supplemental insurance to immigrants who have never worked or paid taxes in this contry; I see this every day on the front lines of a Phila Hospital. These people have better healthcare than I do and better access. I fear the future. My 21 year old diabetic son can't get what he needs. Aetna and United healthcare are already rationing care. WAKE UP!

    June 16, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  12. ERIC, MA.


    June 16, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  13. Kevin Twine

    In fighting the so-called "public health insurance option", health insurance companies whine about the government playing unfair and driving private insurance out of business. That's like Fed-Ex or UPS complaining about unfair competition from the Postal Service!

    The health insurance industry is a model of inefficiency that has for years done nothing about the relentless increases in premium prices. They waste 30 percent of your premium dollars denying claims with blizzards of paperwork, paying out-sized salaries and bonuses to senior executives, and contributing over $41 million to the campaigns of current Congresspeople and the President.

    If premiums increase over the next ten years as fast as they did in the last ten, by 2020 health insurance will cost you one out of every three dollars you earn. This is a bloated and inefficient industry by any standards. No wonder they worry about competing with the government!

    June 16, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  14. penny hilston

    Why not just forget about health care insurance? Just lower the health costs.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  15. Howard Flysher

    Why don't you ask your commentators how much they have of their portfolio in Health insurance stocks. It seem that 30 senators as reported in the Washington Post have in excese of $11 million invested. how can they trully vote for health care reform that will hurt their own pockets. also what about campaign contributions from the health Insurance business going to effect how they vote. For once be REAL and ask the question about how and why some of your guests are leaning to one side or the other

    June 16, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  16. Kari H.

    What I don't undersatnd is why the focus on the health care professionals is on the AMA. Nursing organizations need to be involved in all this debate. We care for patients in a holistic manner. We look at the patients as a whole, not as a heart, lung or renal patient. We endorse preventative medicine. As President Obama has stated, preventing costly diseases, such as diabetes, heart failure & renal failure requiring dialysis, will save everyone a lot of money. Nurse Practitioners are more cost effective as primary care providers and in many instance provide better care since we care for the patient as a whole person. Rep. Cooper in the House understands the important role nurses play & feel that we should play a larger role in reforming healthcare.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  17. Michael Davala

    Socialized Medicine has failed everywhere it has been tried. I'm disappointed that the US media will neither research nor report this.

    I'm disappointed that the media will not research the so called 47 million uninsured.

    The so called 47 million uninsured includes illegal immigrants and the young who do not need it. From anAugust 29, 2007 IBD article found at :

    One of the shocking things in the Census Bureau's report this week on poverty and health care in America is that so many well-to-do people can easily afford health care, but choose to go without it.

    The median household income, according to the data released this week, is $48,200. You might be surprised to discover that 38% of all the uninsured — that's almost 18 million people — have incomes higher than $50,000 a year. An astounding 20% of all uninsured have incomes over $75,000. These are people who can afford coverage.

    Is it really a good idea to tax working people to subsidize those who refuse to pay for a necessity they could easily buy? The answer, of course, is no.

    One other breakdown of the data is instructive. By far the group with highest share of uninsured is Hispanics. Some 34.1% of all Hispanics lack coverage.

    That latter piece of data is alarming. Drilling even deeper, one finds that fully 27% of all the uninsured in the U.S. — that's 12.6 million people — aren't even citizens.

    Not coincidentally, the government also estimates that about 12 million illegals now reside in the U.S., though some think tanks put the number as high as 20 million.

    Putting the two together, this suggests that — surprise — a major reason for the uninsured "problem" is our failure to enforce our border.

    By some estimates, another 20% or so is uninsured only for a couple of months a year. As TV journalist John Stossel recently noted, as many as a third of all those eligible for public health programs don't even bother to apply.

    Once you whittle it down, you start to realize that the number of hard-core uninsured who are citizens is in fact fairly small — perhaps half the reported 47 million or less.

    Other links the medis should report on:

    June 16, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  18. dboquet

    The appropriate depiction of insurance companies in America, pardon the cliché, the inmates is in charge of the asylum. Consider the influence, control, and power insurance companies have on our care and quality of care we receive. Ask any doctor what is their biggest challenge in healthcare, I would bet, dealing with insurance companies are at the top of the list. Why isn’t the biggest challenge, keeping all of their patients in the best of health. We have allowed insurance companies to corrupt our healthcare system. I would suggest removing them from the equation. Let the government regulate and dare I say, profit from managing and regulating health care costs. Give the power of medical decisions to those who practice medicine. I would bet, the costs would be about the same in taxes as they are in health insurance coverage. The problem with this is, the government is not proven to run anything with precision and efficiency. The thought of the government running anything makes us cringe, because they are great politicians not great managers.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  19. dan in Tucson AZ

    Our nations health care is a system put in place by and for the elite of this country managed by greedy corporations looking to save dollars over health. We need a change. Washington is crying over the trillion it would cost. I didn't see Washington crying when it handed even more over to those greedy corporations. What's wrong with this picture? Why is middle America dying because it cannot get proper health care? Why does the poor and illegal get medical treatment over working Americans? Why doesn't health care cover all conditions? Why are we letting non-medical health care company workers make life or death decisions about medical treatments? Why is it that doctors are encouraged to fix everything with a pill? Why do we have token co-pays? Why do we wait 4 hours to see a nurse because the doctor is too busy? Why does it take 6 months to get an appointment for a checkup?

    You would think we have third world health care, but they actually get better health care.

    When are we going to wake up and take our health care system back?

    June 16, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  20. Marianne Phila RN

    CNN could be the media outlet that does the investigative reporting necessary to uncover the real story: Big wall street insurance is bilking billions from American Consumers for a deacreasing level of care. Big insurance and the GOP want you to fear reform so big insurance can keep their piece of the pie and dictate healthcare policy. My brother in law lives in Mass and has the free state program. He is worth $1.5 million, retired @50 and has 2 heart stents. He pays minimally for his drugs and care while living the good life. This program is not in trouble financially. Check it out. Investigate how much the average business pays big insurance to cover its employees and what the buisness tax brak is. Check into how much hospitals and Doctors actually get for current care. Let me know how much is spent to care for medicare recipients from Russia and Mexico who Never paid a dime in taxes and came here old and sick. Enough of the fear tactics already!

    June 16, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  21. Bela

    The solution for health care reform does not have to be that difficult. The gov. should subsidize medical education. In return doctors taking advantage of that financial help would be required to work in public clinics that would service the uninsured for a given number of years. Doctors would normally graduate from med school with tremendous debt. This solution would be a win-win for all concerned. Gov. subsidized research should come with price limits for the medicine that results from that research. In general health care should start in the schools where the public can learn alternative care, preventative health practices, etc.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  22. KAC Indianapolis, IN

    As Americans we need to stop expecting the government and insurance companies to do for us what we are capable of doing ourselves.
    If we would put the money that we spend on our healthcare premiums in an account so that when we need the money we have it for our own health care. We would never have to worry about whether or not the insurance company is going to deny our claim or if we have a preexisting condition because we would pay for it ourselves. If we ever need the money for something else we have our OWN funds in an account to use. The money is not just going to pay a premium and then possibly never benefiting us again. Some of us have forgotten how to save or never learned. We have the opportunity to make our money work for us. Most doctors and hospitals will allow payment arrangements with you for payment if you cannot pay it all at once. So why are we paying insurance companies again…?

    June 16, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  23. Barry Jolly

    I've lived in the USA for 20 years. Originally from England, I'm also familiar with Canada's sytem as well as having lived in other areas of the world without any public healthcare systems. There's MUCH misleading information coming out about the dangers of and what some of those "socialized medicine" countries can offer. Most of my family still lives in England and get GREAT care.

    My daughter has recently recovered from cancer. Fortunately, she had excellent insurance and is cured now. She received GREAT care here in the USA.

    So the issue is not necessarily the standard of care as much as who is going to pay for it. If you don't have insurance here in the USA, it doesn't matter how good our system is, you're in trouble if you get sick. And too many small business employees do NOT have coverage and it isn't a choice – they simply cannot afford the coverage and would love to insurance that Congress & governement employees get. How's that for irony – uninsured employees pay taxes so the "public servants" can have insurance!

    However, there's too much that needs adddressing to respond in this short blog. I don't believe it's an all or nothing problem though. Could we not explore a "basic" public healthcare system that also allows employers and insurance companies to provide further additional coverage on top of that basic service?

    One of the fundamental current problems is that in this "third party pay" system there's no cost control exercised by the individual, since he/she is not responsible for the cost. Most people would balk at paying a $750 bill for a 10 minute consult for a physician to say "you're ok" but don't think twice [or need to] when that is covered by insurance. That is one of the reasons why we need a "public health system" to help control costs – the individual simple cannot do it right now. And if some people call it the government interfering in their choice – then they should always have the option of paying for health insurance out of their own pockets....

    June 16, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  24. ljconrady

    No one discusses the disproportionate administrative costs associated with health estimated to be 30-40%. The "MBAization " of healthcare with associated extreme salaries skyrockets costs and complicates what should be standardized, simple paperwork. My physician spends 1/2 time on patients and the other 1/2 on MBA-mandated paperwork!
    Universities are limited on passing off grant-related costs to approximately 10-15%. The same rule should be applied to health care facilities, physicians, allied health professionals, and insurance companies plus Medicare and Mediciade.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  25. ljconrady

    Addendum to my previous comment:
    My out-of-pocket expenses are over 25% of my income. I hate being ripped-off for that 30-40% that goes for impractical, excessive administrative costs.
    All health professionals are inundated with unnecessary paperwork. A recent hospitalization had a RN spending over an hour asking insurance-mandated questions to determine whether the hospital was following a treatment plan. A pharmacist worked full-time filling out paperwork justifying the prescribed medication. Ridiculous.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  26. Karen Zaytsoff

    Michael Devala says socialized medicine has "failed everywhere it has been tried". How do you measure failure? Life exppectancy? longer in Canada. Infant mortality? Better in Canada. Our system in Canada DOES WORK. We may have to wait a little longert for elective surgeries, but my experience with the health care system here has been wonderful. We pay $108.00 per montrh for our family. That is it. We do have an optional private insurance which will cover extras such as private room, services such as physiotherapy etc. and dental. That costs us an extra $210.00 per month with employer matching that cost.
    Having said all that I think Obama is wise to try to improve your current system rather than totally dismantling it and rebuilding.
    Most Canadians love ther health system and would never trade it for yours.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  27. sheila in miami

    healthcare in this country has a long way to go.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  28. Jon Kirk

    In yesterdays coverage of the Obama healthcare speach,you discussed with Elizabeth Cohen doctors income. She blurted out words to the effect of " well of course, who would want 2001 wages instead of 2009 wages" !! I'm not a doctor, I'm an unemployed tradesman who would crawl over broken glass to be back to my 2001 income level ! Very thoughtless statement.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  29. Brother Darryl

    Tony I live in Raleigh, NC. I am a black male, and I can honestly tell you race is a difference in healthcare. In Raleigh,NC, there are NO BLACK orthopedic surgeons, or orthopedic specialist. Most are White, Male, and Republicans that alone should tell you how black folks will get treated. Just imagine Rush Limbaugh treating a black person for a spinal injury. TONY, Don't forget, it wasn't long ago you stated out of your OWN mouth, the statistics of Unemployment for BLACKS is much HIGHER that it is for Whites. So, don't you think that stress alone would count for some bad health issues that might get ignored by biased doctors (Male White Republicans) ?

    June 16, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  30. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    Hi Tony, I would also think too that the Foods that most African Americans eat is also the cause of why we die before a white person. I really believe that 60% of our illness(smoking,eating red meats,and fattening foods) comes from the foods that we African Americans put inside out body.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  31. R Miranda

    Any conclusions re the disparity in health care between blacks and whites MUST include life style and personal decisions of the patient both before and after the inception of a disease or health condition. It is an unfortunate but very true fact that black men probably eat and live in an unhealthy manner far more than white men do. Ethnic background and life habits play a big role in this issue. I do not dispute the probable discriminatory behavior from health professionals at all, but the lifestyle factor is a very prominent factor.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  32. Instantgratitude

    I agree there is different treatment due to my personal experiences. I was recommended by a white friend to go to her doctor because she said her doctor will take care of me the right way.

    I was complaining that I'm in my early forties with these healthcare issues and my current doctor did not seem to investigate or give me tests that my age group should be getting. Well, I went to her doctor and received the same treatment – I was asked what was the reason for my visit and was going to receive a talking to without any tests until I specifically requested tests that proved I had an out of control cholestrol level.

    I had to inform this new doctor that my blood pressure is always high as she tried to explain that I probably just had "white coat" anxiety. With my insistence and my personal recording of high blood pressure readings at the pharmacies, she further looked in my records and discovered I always had high blood pressure readings whenever I came into her office. I was really upset that the doctor did not become alarmed or concerned enough to look into this herself.

    But, people of color (I'm not black, but I'm not white either – I'm mixed) have to be their own advocates and not trust that the health care providers will adequately provide.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  33. Rev. Lou

    Tony, how can one negotiate with doctors when people with no insurance are told the doctor is not taking new patients.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  34. Ruben

    Take it from a Black man who has "been there..!" Racism is rampant in the health care industry; just ask any Black man WITH or without "health care" about the bogus prescriptions and the one minute interviews with the doctor..!

    June 16, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  35. Karen Zaytsoff

    Your country is soooo resistant to any kind of change. Your money is still all the same colour! You haven't gone metric YET! And your health care system needs an overhaul. What is wrong with a socialized model? It exists already in public education, social security, polce, fire , and defence.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  36. SKIP

    If you believe biased studies; prepared by either side; then anything is believable. But, I personally believe that it comes down to the patient being assertive and protecting his own rights. In this day & time; if your physician will not comply to requests for better quality treatment; then choose a different physician. Don't blame it on society...

    June 16, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  37. don

    Hang on Medicare and Medicade they are going to try and take 2/3 of the funding from these programs and give them to the new programs. Where does that leave the folks in these programs. If these programs are going broke are the Democrats going to see that it happens sooner

    June 16, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  38. Sandy

    Elizabeth, thank you for your indepth reporting. As a white woman, currently out of work without health insurance, I would like to address a couple issues.

    1. When people are unemployed and govt mandates former employers offering COBRA, how does anyone unemployed afford it. COBRA is a joke. I haven't seen this addressed at all in any report.

    2. I have prescriptions that add up to more than $300/month. I called every pharmacy I could find. I know you have mentioned COSTCO & SAMS CLUB. My prescriptions at COSTCO, without any additional plan, was cut to $50.00. When I questioned my Pharmacist at Target, she said she doesn't know how they make any money on their prescription. COSTCO said, basically, they don't but are proud to offer it to their customers. Can't express this enough. Also shows the disparity in prescriptions.

    3. Long story made short. I lost my twin sister a few years ago, I was so grief-sticken and stressed by her diagnosis of 6 months to live, my immune system was highly compromised. I took a leave from my management position to spend time with her during this time. I put in for short-term disability, which I had been paying for out of my pay check for many, many years. They made me run through "hoops," as they did my doctor. They denied my claim, I was layed off, a month later I ended up in ICU on "my" death bed with septic pneumonia. One month before my sister died. My twin sister was calling me everyday, worried about me! A week later I was home assisted with oxygen, my sister's immune system was one compromised by cancer and vulnerability. I could not see her because of my contagious condition. Forty-eight hours before she passed away, she was in and out of consciousness calling my name. I went to her and she died in my arms two days later. She was so doped up for her pain, I don't even know if she knew I was there. She died in my arms, me holding her head and arms crying and trying to hold on to the thought that the hearing is the last sense to shut down.

    Two years later, still trying to cope with her loss and make sense of it, and again, another stint in ICU on septic infection, almost dying again, I was released and put in for a short term disability to attend grief counseling and a grief conselor. Once again, this was a different carrier

    June 16, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  39. Sandy


    ...once again, I was enied for pre-existing condition and once again, I was put through the ringer chasing down medical records and paperwork and stress of daily calls for any information they could get to deny my claim, which they did. My primary care doctor and counselor said they would testify in court on my disability and quite frankly, I am seriously thinking about it, even maybe a class-action. I am sure I'm not the only person this has happened to.

    So....Stress on a body/person=immunocompromise=susceptibility to disease and infection=higher cost in medical care=denial of Insurance coverages..

    June 16, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  40. k krone

    from ama site

    AMA Principles for Health System Reform (HSR)
    Improving the U.S. health care system
    Expand coverage
    Provide affordable, essential health insurance coverage for all
    Promote a robust private insurance market
    Ensure sustainable public programs for vulnerable populations
    Improve quality
    Provide real time data at point of care
    Use measurement as a tool, not an end point
    Correct problems with the Physicians Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI)
    Reform government programs
    Ensure adequate payments
    Enable balance billing and private contracting
    Replace Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR)
    Allow public subsidies for purchasing private insurance
    Reduce costs
    Break down silos and reward physicians for reducing costs
    Enact medical liability reforms
    Streamline insurance claims processing
    Increased focus on wellness/prevention
    Align insurance benefit design with prevention evidence
    Make public investments in education, community projects, and nutrition
    Eliminate racial, ethnic, and gender disparities
    Payment and delivery reforms
    Promote medical home and other steps to reward care coordination of chronic disease
    Provide antitrust relief to improve quality and care coordination
    Conduct adequate testing of new payment models

    June 16, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  41. David Steindorf

    As a health care provider (clinical psychologist) I can attest to the fact that the issue of rising costs is not exclusively one of "doctors getting richer." With the advent of managed care, my income has steadily declined over the past 10 years. Many factors are involved and are being reported in the media, such as, the rising cost of malpractice insurance and the rising costs of pharmaceuticals. However, what I never hear mentioned, and I believe it to be one of the major impediments to quality, affordable health care, is the very system that is supposed to be holding costs down; the managed care (health insurance) industry. Someone should be looking at what the CEOs of the large, national managed care companies are driving, not just the auto, oil, financial, and pharmaceutical industry CEOs. Look at health insurance executives' salaries and bonuses as well, and compare that to the salaries of the clerks who manage the mountain of paperwork that limits the health care providers' ability to spend valuable time with their patients. It's not all about doctors' salaries!

    June 16, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  42. Ed Billeaud

    Tony, your questions to the AMA president were brilliantly succint and to the point. Wonderful job on your part. Too bad she only answered about ten percent of what you asked. Keep up the great work. Thanks.

    June 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  43. Carol Miller

    Tony, My husband is 58 years old, and even though his company does over insurance it only covers the bare minimal which if you ask him its nothing. He doesnt go to the doctor because the doctor wants him to get the usual test for a man at his age. But he doesnt because well who is going to pay for it. I am disabliity and am on medicare but that only pays for so much also, then they have the gap for three months. My dad had a stroke almost two years ago and we are so broke from that because of the cost of medical. I do hope that the president does come up with some kind of plan for all. I would like to see like Blue Cross and Blue Shield and put their cost to something that everyone could afford. I watched your show today and do not agree with the AMA Lady today. The only reason the cost is so high is because of greed. The system may be back in the 2001 as far as the paper work but not the treament. sorry that this is so long but my husband and I have alot to say about this subject. Thank you

    June 16, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  44. Ed Billeaud

    The whole concept of "private insurance" is an outdated and out of touch economic model from yesteryear that, obviously, does not work well for anyone except the very wealthy, or those in power. Worse, it is a deteriorating, unsustainable system, certain to fail eventually.

    "Insurance" is just a word – "health care" is a necessity. Take the for-profit business element out of the equation, and we will have better health care for way less money.

    June 16, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  45. Karen Zaytsoff

    Sandy, my heart goes out to you! As Mr. Obama has said when you are sick the last thing you should have to worry about is all the red tape associated with your health insurance. I wish your country well as you grapple with al the systemic problems and I wish you well in overcoming your grief.

    June 16, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  46. Gary Lawson

    We will save a great deal of money in health care by removing the profiteering by insurance companies and their executives. This alone will save Ameriocans at least 15% of healthcare costs.

    If we remove the doctors from the employ of insurance companies and put them back into the business of providing care for sick persons, that would reduce another 10% in healthcare costs and make more doctors serving the public.

    Finally there should be a limited on how much lawyers can receive from mal-practice lawsuits, plus all punitave damages should go into a fund to improve health care and reduce costs to the public.

    These three changes should save about 1/3rd of the current national bill.

    June 16, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  47. Cavalry Sergeant

    90% of my medical experiences at VA facilities have been sub-standard at best. As a hospital employee, I know the standard, and I realize that medical staff are only human and mistakes can be made. Having said this, again, the vast majority of my VA experiences have been disappointing to the point that I would rather pay out of pocket for treatment at a quality facility than return to the VA for care. This recent news of transmission of blood diseases, which is unacceptable by even the worst hospital's standards, only confirms my decision.

    June 16, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  48. John Cannon

    Watch the DVD "DNA Curing Cancer" released by PBS, then check "Gleevec". There is a cure for cancer and has been since 1996. Why is this being covered up. The Doctor that invented Gleevec did so with the intention that it was to be altered to target all individual types of cancer and stop them. Cancer is just damage to the DNA strand. Once the location of the damage is identified for the type of cancer the Gleevec base drug can be altered to target and kill that type of cancer. We know the location of genetic breast cancer why is that not accomplished after 14 years?

    The corruption in healthcare goes all the way back to 1987. I sat in med-school with a guy who did hard drugs everyday. He made better grades than me. He partied harder than anyone I've ever met. He shouldn't even be alive much less a doctor. I don't understand how his body survived, but the way he made the grades was simple. His parents paid off the professor to pass him. They must have paid enough to shock the professor into giving him A's.

    June 16, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  49. John Cannon

    My Grandfather was misdiagnosed by the VA in Augusta Georgia. They said he had DIABETES on his first visit. He went because he has started feeling dizzy. Even I figured out what was wrong before they did. He had vertigo. They didn't even do a glucose tolorance test before the prescribed insulin that would have KILLED him! The family resisted allowing him to use the insulin so he lived through that misdiagnosis. By going to a regular Hospital it was proven that he did not have diabetes. His second visit to the VA led to a second misdiagnosis. They said he had Parkinson's disease, again without any testing they prescribed medicine. This time I could not stop my family from giving him the meds because Parkinson's tests are very difficult and expensive. The drugs did not help the dizziness and ended up rendering him invalid. After a few years we finally had the expensive tests and they confirmed he did not have Parkinson's. He simply had nerve damage in his right arm that caused a minimal amount of localized shaking in that arm only. In the end he only had vertigo which could have been easily remedied. The invalidity – side effects from the Parkinson's drugs finally led to his decline and he died last year. He was a soldier in WWII who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day 1. He fought in the battle of the Bulge and survived frozen feet, but he couldn't survive the VA!

    June 16, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  50. maria pappalardo

    Why do reporters and others compare US health care and its costs only to England and Canada? What about the Scandanavian countries? And how about some detail on what these "socialized" health systems you reported concerning nurse visits following child births. And what procedures, exactly, are English and Canadian people coming to the US for...elective?

    I would also hope that business would welcome just about anyone else picking up costs of health care since that is a major reason US businesses can't compete with countries that provide health care.

    Finally, how about the public health risks when so many americans can't afford things like vaccinations?

    I'd love to hear your experts on any of these.

    June 17, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  51. Carl

    I think you guys need to stop showing that video of that poor girl, Neda, in the streets dying. I think everyone understands the heartache death has on a community and family. These are images that her family will forever see. Stop showing it.

    June 22, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  52. alishba

    The HIPAA privacy rule exainlps this issue. Every time you see a doctor or a health plan company you are given a statement saying that you have received a copy of the HIPAA rules. If you are hurt on the job an employer has a right to your records. Otherwise no one that you do not authorize has a right to your records. Or your medical information. It is illegal for them to access your information without your authorization.

    June 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
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