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June 18th, 2009
09:21 AM ET

Health Care Costs: How the U.S. Compares


As the debate heats up on Capitol Hill regarding health care reform, Tony and I have been exploring many of the issues surrounding why people on all sides of the debate say reform is needed. Yesterday, we compared health care costs in the United States versus other parts of the world.

At noon ET today, we are going to talk about preexisting conditions and the challenge of getting health insurance. Both the Democrats and the Republicans say their plans would guarantee coverage for people with preexisting conditions. Have you had a problem? If so, we’d love to hear about your experience.

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Tony in Maine

    Cohen was more or less accurate in her story with one glaring omission. She claims doctors (by not specifying, a casual listener would assume all or most doctors) oppose universal single payer government administered health insurance. She's wrong – the AMA which represents an ever decreasing number of doctors and which is very Republican opposes a Medicare like health insurance. There is a significant and growing number of socially conscious doctors who support removing the greed factor of privately run policies.

    In fact 59% of US doctors polled this year support national health insurance, only 32% oppose. This was reported in the annals of Internal Medicine and Reuters. A ten second Google by a CNN intern would have piked up on this.

    Ms. Cohen needs to find a new associate producer to do fact checks. Or perhaps this is just another inconvenient truth to be swept under the rug by conservatives.

    June 18, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  2. Ronnie

    Please do a story on state of Tennessee cutting people from Tenncare....Its a story that needs to be told. Im on social security disability...and im being cut from Tenncare..That 20% means i have to not have tests done...cause the prices are so high and it would dig deep into my income...Most all doctors want all there money ..not just the 80% medicare pays....HELP US!!!!!! do a story start at the governors office.....They do get stimulus money to run this Goverment pays 75% state 25% on the dollar.....

    June 18, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  3. Keith .... from Oregon

    There are a couple of possible causes of the higher costs in the US that you failed to mention.

    You didn't mention the impact on costs in the US because of lawsuits and the fear of lawsuits. How much of our health care cost is incurred for unnecessary tests or procedures or medication whose sole purpose seems to be to protect from a lawsuit?

    You also didn't mention that in the US there is a tendency to go to the doctor, or worse the emergency room, for everything including what many would consider to be things we should simply take care of ourselves. People go to the doctor these days for even the most trivial ailments.

    I know these things don't fit with your stated premise that higher administrative costs because of dealing with so many insurance plans is the real culprit and that the cure is a single by the government of course. If you really want us to consider this report news you need to be complete in your "reporting". Otherwise you come across as advocates, not journalists.

    June 18, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  4. AJ

    Why hasn't the Insurance Companies been sued for discrimination? A Class action Law suit should be placed on all Insurance companies for discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions! Where is the hunmanity? During the time when my wife was diagnoised with Stage IV Breast Cancer at the young age of 31, she was told that our Insurance Company does not cover for mamograms because of her age. She battled for 4 years but my job gave up before she did. My job laid me off because my claim's were bringing up the Companies overall premiums. Therefore I was forced to pay for a Cobra Insurance of $1000.00 dollars a month, meanwhile my unemployment claim was a total of $920.00 a month and NO Insurance company would approve us because of my wife's PRE-EXISTING CONDITION!!! Unfortunately to say we lost all of our savings and my wife succumbed to Breast Cancer. When will Insurance companies and corporations change?

    June 18, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  5. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    There you have it the answer to the competition. Does it works for you? Answer no. Where is the competition in all of this? If the economy of the country has deteriorated to this point, doctors cannot force the government to accommodate them. That reality does not longer exist. What part of it cannot be comprehended by most doctors? Are we reporting the facts or trying to create a situation? Is that news?

    June 18, 2009 at 11:29 am |

    A better piece than most coverage so far, but still lackluster at best. "administrative costs" really means profit. I can't help but feel that Ms. Cohen is biased on this issue. It seems that every time she mentions a pubic option she feels the need to state that some people don't like this option. She does not do this for other plans put forward. This is odd considering that the majority of people support a national single payer system. It is strange that the health care plan supported by the majority of the people in the US, is the one that must be constantly followed by the line "some people don't like this plan". Why are private plans discussed on CNN not followed by the line "Most people don't support this" or "Most people favor a public option however."
    Also lets not let the debate be relegated to a discussion between democrats and republicans. The differences between the two parties on this is issue is marginal. Instead lets have a discussion on what the people want. Please don't narrow the debate. Both parties take huge amounts of money from the insurance and drug industry.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  7. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    The reality is that media covers what it wants to cover. Situation like in Tennessee keep passing our attention because someone has sold out on the idea to ignore the situation. How can we fix the problem if we do not have a venue to present the facts without the harassment of the Big Agencies? Who is benefiting from such king of behavior? Is this part of the completion syndrome?

    June 18, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  8. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    That is a good question. Why hasn’t the Insurance Companies been sued for discrimination? I agree with AJ, A Class action Law suit should be placed on all Insurance companies for discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions! Where is the humanity? This is the same “modus operandis” of Insurance Companies and Companies. People are turn into a trouble maker. They end up paying a bill that will not serve them. The problem is PRE-EXISTING CONDITION label. There you go for competition and stay alive. I am sorry AJ. I think that this is the time for Insurance companies and corporations to change.

    June 18, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  9. Jack Besser

    As a Blood Cancer patient I get a transfusions every 23/24 days 2 units! Cost breakdown not counting trans portion, Blood draw at doctors–80.00, Blood match at hospital 821.60, transfusion at Hospital 1,665.68 are costs because I am a government retired employee my insurance pays it all!
    So my question is what happens for others? illegals, just not covered true citizens?
    My view is I am soon to be 87 years old WWII vet, had a good life just as soon die! Church's, do not condone suicide right? Well if I lived in a state such as Oregon that likely not a problem. Where does QUALITY OF LIFE COME INTO PLAY? TODAY i AM SO VERY TIRED, ANEMIC A TRUE EFFORT OT MOVE AROUND I AM COLD TOO!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  10. Robert Bugtel

    I'm looking at a bill for a nerve study that I had done. Total cost is $1,750. Insurance paid a whopping $262.50, leaving me to pay $1,487.50. I can't see how the public care option could possible be worse.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  11. Mitch

    Single-Payer Healthcare will allow for all American citizens to have access to the same quality of healthcare that all of our elected officials and government employees now enjoy.

    Single-Payer Healthcare will eliminate the need for those American citizens without healthcare from waiting until their medical needs are life threatening until going to the emergency room to receive healthcare. Single-Payer Healthcare will end this tragic situation that costs some American citizens their lives.

    Single-Payer Healthcare will eliminate the need for government reimbursement to hospitals to cover the costs of treatment to the uninsured.

    It’s why we campaigned for President Obama.
    It’s time for Single-Payer Healthcare
    It’s a Win-Win America !

    June 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  12. Kimberely Fitzpatrick

    My situation is totally different than these that I've heard about. My husband was working for a major oil company and fired due to missing work due to an incureable illness. Therefore we of course have no insurance and no job now. I really feel terrible for these people that have been affected by being turned away from their insurance company's when they need them the most. I went to try to get medical cards for my family and our youngest son was the only one elgible. They said my husband was drawing to much unemployment. Come on give me a break! I am disabled with a terrible back from working 15 yrs at nursing homes taking care of the elderly. We can't afford my pain meds (since now we're having to pay out of pocket) so I had to switch pain meds. No one should be left behind without insurance! This is happening to more people than you know. My thoughts and prayers are with those that were denied insurance.

    June 18, 2009 at 7:24 pm |