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June 16th, 2009
08:41 AM ET

Keep 'Em Coming

We got a huge response from all of you yesterday on Iran and health care. Clearly we're not going to solve either problem in one day. So the discussion continues.
Scroll down, read yesterday's posts and comments, then scroll back up and post (or update) your thoughts here.

Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Larry

    I loved Obama's speech to the AMA yesterday. I think he made it clear his objective is a mutual solution to a very complex problem.

    Doctors are good people. You don't go thru all that education if you don't care.

    There's a solution to this. And it's probably right in front of our faces, as usual.

    Insurance companies need to start giving people the coverage they pay for, and hospitals need to get real about their charges. You don't charge $56,000 for a procedure that should only cost $5,600.

    Hospital fees need to be regulated.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  2. glenn

    Outside the Box

    Suggestion to the President {as part of his focus on PREVENTION as part of the proposed Health Care Reform} give incentives to families and employers by GIVING BACK A PERCENTAGE of their monthly or annual health insurance paid for by the families and employers IF THEY DID NOT USE IT because these families chose to have a healthy lifestyle.

    It's so ironic for healthy families ALLOT a big part of their hard earned money and pay for something at the same time hopefully praying not to use. {Instead of saving for their children's college educ.}

    How to do it: Treat it like tax, give REFUNDS! Since families and employers pay to private insurances, gov't has to make the refund. The gov't have to arrange with the private insurance companies to take part on the refund, so the gov't will not the only one to take burden of refunding families & employers. And if the insurance companies do not want money as refunds, give shares of stocks equivalent. Whatever works.

    Just a suggestion.
    Mom Glenn

    June 16, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  3. Terry Burt

    We dont need the government to run health care to solve this problem. (Besides, do we want the government to add Public Health Insurance to the list of government initiatives such as Fannie Mae, Medicare and the U.S. Postal Service?)

    We can solve this problem quite easily by merely removing the barriers to competition and letting the health insurance industry directly face the competitive forces that the American consumer will inject. There is no reason, other than government regulation, that someone in Massachusetts should pay $520 per month for the same coverage that costs $120 per month in Arizona. Consumers should be free to purchase any health insurance on the market, no matter the state of residence.

    Take a lesson from the life insurance industry, where competitive forces have dropped term life insurance rates consistently over the past fifteen years. These A+ rated companies compete nationally and competitively and consumers have benefited with lower prices.

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

    Next time you have a small business owner on who has cut staff because of healthcare or anything, ask them if they took a cut in pay themselves. I have worked for two small businesses in financial trouble: at one the owner gave himself a raise after laying off 6 people and making the other 30 people take a 10% pay cut; at the other the owner made a statement privately that he would never reduce his salary. Maybe I just hit a stroke of bad owners but I think not.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  5. claire hoffman

    I just heard about the physician who said their liability insurance is 27, 000 / year, well my health insurance as a small business is 28, 000 for premimums alone, no counting copays, medications – and this is for 2 people.

    As a nurse, I wish physician's would stop complaining. They never police themselves and let incompetent and dangerous physician's continue to practice and turn a blind eye.

    As any physician if they have ever seen negligence, and the, did they report it to anyone.

    Let's take a bet on the answers you get.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  6. Ruth M.

    I'm 62, unemployed and uninsured. I need health care/medical insurance I can afford until Medicare kicks in. Right now insurance would be 30% of my Soc. Sec. income. I have to continue praying I don't have an accident or get sick. We are fortunate that DH gets his medical from VA.
    I read an article that stated seniors need $250K to cover medical expenses. I don't have that kind of money so I guess if I get sick I'll just have to die young.

    Ruth M., Samson, AL

    June 16, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  7. Mat Steinberg

    The cost of purchasing health insurance has been under reported both by the supporters of the existing system, those that support tax credits and in the news. We have a family of four, two adults and two kids. Because my wife and I suffer from migraines, we are considered high risk. The monthly premium for us was $1,500 per month ($18,000 per year) with high deductibles. A $5,000 tax credit would not come close to covering our basic health care costs.

    Yes, insurance costs need to be lowered.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  8. joeywang

    Here is my issue with government running health care. The people who will pay for it is not the 46 million that already don't have it. It will be us who work and pay now, we will just be paying more. Also will someone from the news agencies please explain what the cost will be. If we look at what other countries charge, let's say CANADA. The average citizen pays 50% tax, and you don't get a choice. You go to the doctor the system tells you to. There are many things wrong with socialized medicine, and the news agencies really should start explaining the bad, and not just pander to the mass of people who do not understand what will happen.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  9. Mike

    Essentially, many "CHOOSE" to be unhealthy. A new health care plan should include incentives for those who choose to maintain good health. If you're overweight for example, your "portion" of the health care cost shouild be greater then those who maintain healthy weight. A sliding scale could be used for each and every American to gauge overall health posture; the higher your risk, the higher your overall cost to the system. Just a thought, if all Americans maintained a healthy lifestyle, cost's should go south. Many of the leading causes of death in our society are due to personal choices. Choose poorly, pay the price.... make better choices, reap the benefits.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  10. Mira Ann Sikes

    We are just not accustomed to having a credible leader , and we are not accustomed to practicing a lot of patience, and we are not accustomed to the government trying to play fair(er).

    I trust my President. I firmly believe that if we support him and give him some "breathing room", he will deliver for us all.

    Thank you.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  11. Tom Wnek

    Almost everyone agrees that all Americans should have access to affordable health insurance. I don't hear too many politicians and/or pundits state what "affordable" means. Why not ask them, both in terms of actual dollar amount and as a percentage of annual, after tax income, what they think is "affordable" for the average American?

    Most of the people debating and legislating health care have health insurance provided by their employers and/or the govt. Why not ask them how much their own insurance costs? I'd be willing to bet that many don't even know. There is a huge disconnect between the realities that face those who are burdened with trying to find and afford insurance and those who make the rules. What do you think would happen if our govt. leaders had to pay 20%, 30%, 40% or more of their income to buy health insurance?

    June 16, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  12. Dave L

    Just watched the segment with Dr. Gupta with Heidi. How about CNN doing a full up 1-2 hour segment covering all of the issues and both sides on the Health Care plans. The daily news segments never fullyl develop the story, focus on attention getting items and tease us with a couple of emails. I would also favor the panel discussion format like the finance, ecomony and housing panels you have done recently.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  13. Lila

    I am very concerned that nurses are not getting a place at the table to discuss changes in our health system. We are the eyes and ears for thr hospitals, the doctors, home health, etc. We have so much knowledge to give and ideas to share. But it all seems about doctors – they are not the only providers in the system. The AMA is always bowed down to, what about the ANA? Where is our input?
    Hospitals will cut costs on the backs of staffing – fewer nurses and less safe care for your or your loved one. Historically this has been the case – we are paid less, work loads increase, and the doctors play golf! Meanwhile, nurses who are University educated are paid less than many in the workplace, but expected to work nights, holidays, when they are ill and on short notice if there is a call out. And not necessarily with health insurance coverage, either. I have worked alongside people who could not afford to occupy the bed, when ill, that they had changed the sheets on the week before.
    Please interview the ANA people, give more sides to this important story and change in our healthcare. You are a news organization – give a balanced view – please. I like Dr Gupta, but he isn't a god – I am sure even he would be willing to acknowledge the importance of his talented nursing staff.
    We are out here, working hard every day, for lower wages, and they are going to get lower as this goes forward. Please do not leave us out of the story!

    June 16, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  14. Bernadette Loesch

    Dear Heidi, My advice for revamping our horrible educaitonal system, get it out of the hands of school administrators. A very, very simple solution: take the school system that is doing the very best and standardize the rest to match that one.

    June 16, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  15. James Wahler

    The solution to cheaper and better health care is for the government to nullify ALL past legislation that relates to it, including abolishing the FDA. (The pharmaceutical companies will no longer be 'protected' but will be force to depend on companies like Underwriters Laboratories to determine efficacy and safety.)

    If this sounds extreme, consider the fact that every time legislation was passed the cost went up and the quality went down.

    Just like everything that the government does outside of their enumerated powers, it is illegal and wasteful. Our government thinks that their few minds are better than the minds of millions of citizens!

    The high cost of insurance is primarily caused by State regulations that force comprehensive packages that include, maternity coverage for unmarried men, chiropractic, and acupuncture for those who would never use it!

    June 16, 2009 at 9:53 am |
  16. Jay in OK

    I like the analogy of the auto mechanic. I went to the hospital and was charged by the hospital for the physician who attended. I also received a bill from the same physician for the same services. I believe that this is being DOUBLE charged for the same service. I might note the hospital charged more than the doctor.

    I don't get charged by the auto repair facility for the mechanic and the mechanic. I am billed for the actual hours that my vehicle is in the repair facility.

    I would like to know how this can be? Perhaps CNN should bring the types of charges and billing practices that hospital use into the light. Not to mention name names of institutions that show abusive practices.

    Thank you.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  17. Chris Link

    I was on with Heidi Collins this morning from Tennessee. Responding to an earlier posting regarding pay cuts by small business owners, our answer is "yes." We have all taken cuts, employees and owners. The owners went first and took the biggest percentage cuts. I know other business owners, small and large, that have done the same thing. I believe responsible business owners play fair, want the best for their employees and will do their best to continue providing good jobs and healthcare benefits. We are facing tough choices every year and need help. I am proud of the President's leadership on healthcare reform.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  18. niki

    Just at least cover something from Iran.5 minutes per hour is not enough !!! do something CNN. cover IRAN. Do something!

    June 16, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  19. Paul

    No matter what kind of heath care package you come up with it will not cover everyone. It simply is not possible to cover everyone. So whatever you come up with, someone is going to complain. My idea for more health care coverage – many more free clinics. How do you get doctors for these clinics, offer incentives to Medical School Graduates that forgive school loans in exchange for a 5 Year commitment to work in one of these clinics. You can also give Doctors tax breaks for providing some free health care.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  20. katie

    I love hearing from people who DO NOT have any contact with patients in either a hospital or office setting.

    I would love to see a poll of people who watch CNN and see what the response would be to the following questions:

    1) How many have health insurance/

    2) How many schedule an annual physical with their doctor ( if they have no underlying medical problems )

    3) of those who schedule an annual physical, how many actually follow up with the doctor and address new medical issues when they are relatively easy to remedy ( either diet, health changes or monitoring to reverse the problem.

    I would love to see these statistics, since Obama's proposal is to have "preventative care" and reduce health cost. COMPLIANCE with preventative healthcare is not easy....stop smoking, reduce fat in diet, lose weight ...are all easy to accomplish????

    before any of your viewers can comment on healthcare they need to answer the above questions and see where they think??

    June 16, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  21. Diego

    Yes, I believe that insurance companies give their interests higher proirity than a possible solution to high health care costs. On the other hand, I visited a local hospital a few months ago for a tetanus shot. I have no insurance so, as expected, a hospital administrator wanted to know how I was planning to pay for the $900.00 bill. $900.00 for one shot that took about 3 minutes to administer. Yes we want practitioners of medicine to be compensated in order to promote growth in medical technologies, but $900.00 for a tetanus shot is extortion.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  22. susan s. hoffman

    I'm 63, my husband is on Medicare. My insurance is the same as we've had for 28 yrs --- catastrophic coverage. That means we pay the first several thousand and then it kicks in for each illness. Sounds awful, but careful planning has it covered. This is insurance to keep us from going bankrupt, but not the medical care plan most people think of as insurance. My health is my responsibility and I take that seriously. A program with a sliding scale to make sure all pay something would be better. As for the Canadian program - haven't we all heard or talked to people who came here to get the treatment they could not get at home? I know I have (case in point: the sick quads in Alberta flown to Montana because there were not any neonatal intensive beds available).

    My suggestions for expanding coverage is to require all to get in surance and to drop the pre-existing condition qualifier. Surely, those two changes would help to midigate the increase in premiums.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  23. James Ordonez

    People, People, People! It is an embarrassing era for our Country when in light of the world's nations having exemplary working models of Universal Health Care, with close to comparable tax rates (that WORK [!!!] even with their issues), that we as a people are too infantile, stubborn and "American" to even allow the discussion of "Single Payer" Universal Care on the table. Instead we mule-headedly insist on Reinventing The Wheel at the cost of one fifth of the nation's population, the ill, the elderly and children who do not have access to health care. And we ALL know it’s about money for the corporations superseding the poor. The mountain you are climbing will not, (Mark my words) “will not work” and you WILL fail without humbling yourselves and working together with each other and the world on this issue. How dare you ALL?? You are an embarrassment in the eyes of the world. It will be this that topples the American Empire, as all empires fall. Good luck.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  24. Double A

    Dems are so scared of the lack of GOP votes they are willing to dilute the Bill to the levels of Homeopathic Medicine. Co-Ops are a Red Herring tossed in the path to a Public Option. Organizing the Co-Ops is no easy task. I have seen many come and go even in areas like Food Co-Ops. Only a few quacks will sign up with a fledging Health Co-Op. Further it will have no power of bargaining. By this logic the Medicare system should also be converted to Co-Ops run by the elderly.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  25. Cheryl

    Imagine how much money could be saved if there was no health insurance industry. Think about it. The only intrest insurance companies have is to make a profit at the expense of others. They decide who gets treatment, how much that treatment costs and who will be covered by them. Why do we need them?
    I am so tired of hearing how it wouldn't be fair to the insurance companies in our free enterprise system to have a public option. We are all at the mercy of these companies and that is not fair to my LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PERSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  26. Nick_C

    Heidi that was one stupid and "typical American know nothing" comment that you stated "I am not sure if they know the real meaning of democracy in Iran"! These people are educated and possess a history that puts ours to shame! They do know the meaning of democracy and freedom, much more than we do in North America. Comments like makes people hate the North America!

    June 16, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  27. Nick

    Heidi is gorgeous. That's all I have to say.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  28. Steven Zeledon, II

    In a recent article in the Economist Magazine entitled "A Pot of Gold", a case was made for ending our counterproductive "War on Drugs". In a manner that is intuitively understandable, the article lays out the many benefits that would accrue, from saving the $40 billion we spend every year trying to eliminate the supply of drugs, to eliminating the arrest of over 1.5 million citizens each year and the incarceration of over one half million of them. Treating the cultivation of marijuana the same as we do that of our wine industry would reduce by 70% the flow of money to the Mexican cartels and save over 6,000 lives being lost each year to drug violence. In addition, the benefits to local economies and the tax revenues gained there from would be huge.
    Why then, don't we turn our crisis in Mexico into an opportunity to change a failed policy?

    June 16, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  29. MoleNicole

    Dear Ms. Collins,

    I am an Ob/Gyn physician in the state of Illinois, and although I did appreciate many of Mr. Obama's comments, I am still concerned with the enormous cost of malpractice insurance. I have been in practice only 3 years, and my insurance payments are over $80,000. For an OB/Gyn physician who has been in practice, this number can reach $200,000 and more. And yes, I do believe it is due to the enormous payouts that can occur if an incident goes to court.

    I appreciate the sentiment about "caps." What caps are is a limit on payment of NON-economic damages. We never want to keep a patient who has truly been wronged without care for the rest of his or her life, that SHOULD be paid, no matter what the cost. It's the "pain and suffering" money that we believe should be limited. This will help keep malpractice payments under control.

    I feel the need to comment on the email that I just heard. The person complains about the fees for "office visits" and compared us to mechanics. First of all, a mechanic works fee-for-service. We don't. Your insurance company dictates our payment. You pay a lawyer by the HOUR for his/her consultation. Why can't you pay a nominal fee to consult with a professional about your health?

    As for hospital fees, our hospital only collects a TINY fraction of what it bills. It doesn't matter what we charge, we will only get a set amount.

    And with regard to "dangerous" physicians: the 100,000 deaths that occur each year due to medical errors occur within a SYSTEM. Yes, doctors are a part of that system, but mistakes happen with nurses, medical assistants, even the clerks who handle paperwork. We all need to recognize this and work together to increase safety.

    I implore everyone to consider Obama's plan; I think it makes sense for those who have plenty to help support those who have little, but to not forget those who are delivering the care we suffered and trained SO hard to obtain.

    Thank you.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  30. Don Snare

    About your story on the woman "ADDICTED TO POT "
    Does anyone check the stories that these people tell ?
    Anyone with the smallest of knowledge about marijuana knows that it is IMPOSSIBLE for 1 person to smoke $1,000 worth of marijuana in A months time. That woman is A liar looking to sue somebody. You would find it hard to find one doctor that would say that THC is an addictive agent . Just the same as you could not find A doctor to say that marijuana is good for you.
    D. Snare Huntingdon PA.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  31. Omar

    President Obama should reform the way food is handle in the United States. We need to understand that if we eat poor foods, full of chemicals & hormones our bodies are going to be a birth place of illnesses. Education is also needed for a healthier way of life where mind, body & soul are intuned creating a better society.
    A healthy minded society plus organic foods equal less sick people & less money spend on Health care.

    June 16, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  32. Peaceful_CTZ

    Thank you CNN for the great coverage! You are allowing the entire world to see for themselves how policy is made and "enforced" in Iran.

    FYI, there are circulating emails from Iran informing that calls are being made to households with a recording stating that the household members have been spoted in the protests and if they continue, they would be dealt with.
    Threating phone calls, ban on int'l journalist covering these events... what do they have to hide I wonder? Please continue to cover as much as you can. Freedom of speach should be every citizens inalienable right.


    June 16, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  33. Diego

    Recreational Drugs should be legalized. A large portion of the profits and taxes earned should go into health care. Some will say that drug users will increase health care costs. My answer to that is that the drug users are already increasing health care costs.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  34. Brigitte

    Health care insurance and for profit should never be associated, but the largest carriers are for profit (i.e., WellPoint); I have worked for both and I can witness the difference in salary from a mutual company to a for profit company. Who do you think pays for the difference? You and I in our premiums!
    Why is it that in all the talks about universal coverage, Canada and England are at the top of the list of "what not to do", but no one ever brings up the State of Hawaii with the 1974 prepaid health care act? This is the closest to Universal Health coverage you can get in this country and it appears to be working. Of course to all the uninsured who currently have access to health care and instead chose to opt out because they do not "yet" need the coverage, this would not be attractive at all. In Hawaii every employer has to provide health care coverage to all employees working at least 20 hours per week, but the employee cannot waive coverage unless they can show proof of coverage under another plan (spouse coverage...). By the way, one of the main carriers in Hawaii is Hawaii Medical Service Association, and no surprise there, it is a not for profit company!

    June 16, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  35. Jesse Hamric

    As far as healthcare goes I am split. I am a Air Force veteran. I was not in long enough to get health care, so it's hard for me.

    That being said, I still do not think universial healthcare is good. I feel that a persons health is their responsiblity. Rather then trying to give every American healthcare, we should focus on more charity hospitals, where people can get free medical attention.

    I think many people would abuse government healthcare, and in the end it would fail horribly.

    I just can't accept the fact that people who are unemployed by choice of their own, can now get healthcare with my tax dollars. It will soon be totally possible for people to.

    1. Live off welfare
    2. Life off foodstamps
    3. Life off free insurance

    And never have to work a day in their life.

    When we offer universal healthcare it will be even less motivation for people to find jobs.

    We are a nation of "give me" and people need to learn to work for theirself.


    As for Iran. Who cares, it isn't our buisness.

    June 16, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  36. SKIP

    There will be NO public health plan, if the average citizen has anything to say about it. The majority of people want control of their family's medical options. For those that really believe this is sound judgment or that they won't lose control of making choices for plans, treatment, and physicians if the federal government takes over (i.e. U.S.P.S., Amtrak, GM, Chrysler, Banks, Insurance Companies); then I have a plot of land in the middle of the Atlantic to sell you...

    Per my earlier comment on selling a plot of land in the Atlantic to those true believers in the administration’s health plan offer: As with all the current governmental decisions; only "AFTER you've signed onto / bought into the public health care plan"– Then I'll take time to clarify all the details: "The land I will have sold you, just happens to be several thousand feet deep, somewhere close to Atlantis." Good luck in building on it...

    June 16, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  37. RJ

    whats wrong withis picture, you have those of us who work and have to pay for health insurance and then you have those who dont work for health insurance and then when it comes to coverage the ones who dont work have better coverage than the ones who work, someone please answer this for me!

    June 16, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  38. RJ

    Obama government wants to regulate tobacco and health care well what about big oil??? Oil affects more people in this country than tobacco does, oil is far more important to the economy than oil is so why regulate something that fewer than half Americans even buy but just about every American uses oil! I say its time to regulate oil and then it would be easier for the government to switch over to something else, like electric, powered by the wind and sun you know those free sources that dont cost anything! Then we`ll have those feeling sorry for the oil industry and those jobs but I say too bad they have had 100 years to switch to something different, having their share in the alternative market, its too late, you snooze you loze and say say the hell with big oil!

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

    My wife and I are forced to pay almost $500 a month for our health insurance which includes Dental and NO optical, now someone who doesnt pay like low income or no income not only recieve better coverage they also recieve optical, so what make the working man go blind??? Obama wants to regulate everything, if he wants to reign in health care costs he needs to regulate insurance companies, they are the root of the high costs, low coverage and in some cases no coverage, they cover what they want to. As far as low income or no income they should be forced to work for their health benefits period, its time to stop the free rides! The tax payers that are left cant afford to pay for everyone elses health care the numbers just aint there, its simple math!

    June 16, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  40. RJ

    another thing about our insurance is we use it very rarely, but when I do use it and have to go to the hospitol, well what I see is people there on assistance taking their kid to the emergency room for sniffles, heres where a huge cost accumulates and is passed off on the guy who the hospitol figures can pay the working guy! My wife went into the hospitol for a in-patient out-patient proceedure and was there 3 hours not even long enough to eat and after the 80% was paid by the insurance company we owed the hospitol over $1000 out of pocket expense. That was just for the hospitol, this didnt include the doctor, lab and all the rest of the gold diggers, while the snot nose got full coverage at the emergency room!

    June 16, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  41. RJ

    Viewer Mike said this earlier......Essentially, many “CHOOSE” to be unhealthy. A new health care plan should include incentives for those who choose to maintain good health. If you’re overweight for example, your “portion” of the health care cost shouild be greater then those who maintain healthy weight. A sliding scale could be used for each and every American to gauge overall health posture; the higher your risk, the higher your overall cost to the system. Just a thought, if all Americans maintained a healthy lifestyle, cost’s should go south. Many of the leading causes of death in our society are due to personal choices. Choose poorly, pay the price…. make better choices, reap the benefits. Mike my man you are exactly right, 100% right, obese people are far greater risk to our health care syatem than any smokers will ever be but its too taboo to talk about fat people as if they cant help it! Keep em coming Mike your the man!

    June 16, 2009 at 1:37 pm |

    To Kyra,

    I am a veteran who receives care at a VA hospital. It takes 30-45 days to get an appointment. I fractured my ribs and got a pneumothorax in September 2008 and you would think that they would have followed up with an MRI of my back since I have a service connected disability related to my back. A friend of mine who is a diabetic told the doctor last month that she is having problems with her leg and walking. Anyone who knows about diabetes knows that if there is something going on with a diabetics legs, that is a red flag! She said they told her to get more exercise. I could tell you many more tales of treatment at a VA hospital/facility since I was also an employee but I will save them for later.

    June 16, 2009 at 1:37 pm |


    To Kyra:

    I had a colonoscopy a few months ago at a VA hospital and they haven't asked me if I want Hepatitis or HIV testing. I will have to ask I am sure and then I am not sure if they will give me the testing. I may have to go to my private healthcare insurance to get the testing and probably will because I trust them more.

    June 16, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  44. DrakeZ

    Since when I was still a child I developed a 'pre-existing medical condition' that would forever make it impossible for me to be privately insured or to afford my own healthcare costs, living in America was a potentially lethal threat for me. I moved as soon as I could to Canada, where everyone receives a plastic healthcard from the government in the mail for free, and with this card all non-drug health care costs, from medical appointments to diagnostic tests, from hospital stays to operations, are free, and the only bureaucracy involved is the need to show your plastic card to the service provider. I can pick my own doctor, pick my own hospital, and have just as much input into my healthcare as I ever did in the U.S.

    People often inaccurately compare the effectiveness of private with public healthcare systems without realizing that they are comparing apples and oranges. While a public healthcare system like Canada's costs about 10% of the GNP to cover 100% of the population, America's private system costs 16.2% of the GNP to cover only 86% of the population. Since this represents paying almost twice as much per person covered in America as is spent in Canada, no wonder the American system has shorter waiting times for treatments. But if a public healthcare system were adequately funded, then it would be even more efficient than the current private system in the U.S., since no money would have to be wasted on private profit rather than being devoted to public health, and profit now consumes about 15% of all healthcare dollars.

    Polls show that what Canadians feel most defines their country as its proudest treasure is its public healthcare system, so Americans considering a public healthcare option should seriously consider that fact when they express fears about changing from a system based on private greed to one based on public need.

    Although taxes are higher in Canada to cover the costs of providing everyone with free healthcare at the point of delivery, progressive taxation burdens people according to how rich they are, while private payment for healthcare burdens people according to how sick they are. The former system might force a few millionaires to buy a Cadillac rather than a Rolls Royce, but the latter system forces sick people to die without the medical care they cannot afford. There is no need to argue which system is more humane. The total amount paid by the Canadian public for universal healthcare is less than the total amount paid by the American public for incomplete healthcare, so I don't understand why the public system is so often criticized as 'too expensive' just because it registered that cost as increased taxation rather than as insurance fees and private medical bills. It is more humane to pay for healthcare by irritating everyone gently at tax time when they find their taxes are higher, than driving the vulnerable minority of desperately ill people into bankruptcy at the very moment they have to cope with a diagnosis of cancer, renal failure, or severe heart disease.

    June 16, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  45. Ken

    When I look at health care I see VA Health Care.

    Contrary to popular opinion, this old Vietnam Vet's VA care has been outstanding.

    My VA doctor did not have to call 1-800-Mommy-May-I to get permission to order a CT scan. I have follow-up care every 3 months to follow my diabetes and other problems.

    Annual eye tests with glasses provided at no charge.

    Prescriptions refilled over the internet (as well as an 800 phone number) and delivered to your front door – as well as a local VA pharmacy when that is needed.

    And a Health IT system that provides full health records any place in the country. If I'm out of town and need care that information is available to every VA doctor in the country. Are there any private care programs that can match that?

    June 16, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  46. Thom Walker, Jackson, CA

    Re: VA Health Care System....I can tell u from 64 years of health issues addressed at civilian and veterans hospitals, that the health care at Honolulu, Reno NV, Long Beach CA and Palo Alto VAs, is as good or better than non-vets are receiving anywhere. These facilities, it should be pointed out, are staffed by experienced medical professionals and learning doctors from some of the finest private and state institutions in the land. Such as, UC Irvine, U of NV Reno, Stanford University Med Center, etc. In many ways, these institutions support the VA with the very latest in medical innovations and practice superb dedication to their craft and the veteran patients they serve. The staff at these VA centers and these support facilities are unsung heroes to so many who have sacrificed so much for the American people.

    June 16, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  47. David

    I wonder too how much the problems in healthcare accessiblity stem from the economy that sucks so incredibly hard. How many of the 60% of bankruptcies include households whose wages have gone down due to unemployment or underemployment? I read that bankruptcies come from illnesses that are disabling. Insurance companies cut coverage for people w/such illnesses. Obviously, we need disability coverage. All of that is a problem, but employment problems in this economy have been going on for years and I would like to know how much that has contributed to the healthcare situation.
    The synopsis of the report from in the American Journal of Medicine that I am referring to says these bankrupticies occurred in 2007 before the current economic downturn, but the credit crisis, mortgage crisis, drop in housing values, and outsourcing of good paying jobs with benefits were all going on in 2007 and before that.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:29 am |
  48. Patricia Farrell

    Those who propose a single payor health system seem to forget that the big insurance companies and HMOs are not only composed of CEOs and boards of directors – they also provide jobs, benefits and pensions to lots of ordinary people. If those companies go under, many people will suffer tremendously, and there will be a ripple effect to the rest of the economy. If the government were to simply take over the payment of healthcare costs. they would have to absorb the salaries, benefits and administrative costs all borne now by the private healthcare system.

    Aside from that, it's the medical providers who determine the charges. I have a medical procedure done routinely that costs $330 – it takes about 15 seconds and involves drawing blood and flushing out a tube. MRIs and similar tests are outrageously expensive, although the equipment has probably been paid for many times over.
    In addition, our society demands the ultimate in health care. I've heard some people say that they think a routine full body CAT scan would be a good way to make sure they were in good health. A single payor system would have to impose certain limits on treatments, or else costs would spiral out of control, and taxes would go through the roof. Not to mentions the fact that many regard any type of government program as a cash cow to be tapped at will. People would not be able to achieve the perfect world of healthcare that many seem to expect. Many living in countries where they have a single payor system complain about the quality of care and the delay in getting treatment.

    By the way, who would get coverage under universal health insurance? Does the term American refer to those who are citizens, or does it include people who are just living here – some of whom may be living here on a very temporary basis and do not see themselves as American? If I were living and working in France, I doubt I would be eligible for a government program paid for by French citizens.

    June 17, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  49. Jose A

    How the medicare send you an statement saying that your Hospital bill has been paid in full (PAID), and later on bills start coming from the providers? What that the word Paid means?

    June 17, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  50. Tony Carlson

    There are something like 10.5 million self-employed people in the U.S., my wife and I included. This important group pays for its health insurance with taxed money. Why shouldn't we tax the insurance of those who work for corporations and government? It is certainly part of their compensation. Couldn't be because of their big lobbies, could it?

    June 17, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  51. Harold Greenberg

    How will President Obama’s Healthcare Reform affect Physical Therapy providers?

    June 17, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  52. elizabeth nabozny

    concerning steve jobs transplant. it has always been my understanding that people with cancer, especially "bad cancers" like pancreatic cancer, would not be eligible for organ transplants because of the shortened life-expectancy.
    i do feel that his wealth did certainly have everything to do with him receiving the liver.

    June 24, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  53. beth mcconkey

    Farrah was a amazing person she will be miss u rock Farrah u are #1 u where my fave Charlie's Angel you where a cool lady i wish there was more nice ppl in this world like u we miss u and we love u

    June 25, 2009 at 3:30 pm |

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