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June 24th, 2009
09:38 AM ET

Health Care: Full Court Press

President Obama is piling on the pressure when it comes to health care. He’s spending his day selling national health care reform and hosting a town hall meeting tonight, while lawmakers struggle to come up with money to pay for the massive overhaul. The President wants a bill on his desk by October.

Do you think health care reform is going to help you, hurt you or have no effect at all? Leave us a comment. We'll share some of them air in the CNN Newsroom.

Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. ed


    June 24, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  2. Larry

    Health care reform has been haunting this country for the last two decades. It used to be you got good medical treatment for your premium costs. That all changed with the advent of HMO's in the early '90's.

    Insurance has become the biggest scam in this country. Pay your premiums and what do you get? Most probably a notice that your condition isn't covered.

    The lawmakers in Washington, led by President Obama, need to keep pushing for reform. And the industry, like the banking industy, needs to be investigated.

    June 24, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  3. Shannon Orellana

    Health care reform should have been over hauled many years ago. Premiums have gone up and services have gone down. Today, companys pick and chose who gets insurance and who doesn't depending upon pre-existing conditions. This leave Americans who need it most with nothing.

    Insurance company are a scam in this country with huge amounts for premiums, co-pays, and percentages due. Medical care has gained such momentum because of insurance company's being run for profit which has nothing to do with the care patients recieve.

    Obama and his cabinet need to stay on top of congress and force them to get it done. If they miss their break then too bad!! Get the job done and quit making side door and back door deals. Lobbyists need to be banned from making so many deals because they are lobbying for the huge company's not the people. We the people want representation!!

    June 24, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  4. Jason Kittles

    Amen to that Tony! I refuse to Twitter or "tweet" as well!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  5. Scott Goldstein

    Health care reform, if it includes the public option, would absolutely help me. The government can clearly provide a more efficient, lower-cost alternative to private for-profit insurance, if not, why would the insurance companies be so scared of a public option? I and so many other Americans need a public health care option!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  6. Paul

    No doubt it will help. All of those fighting this change are fighting for one reason only...profits.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  7. alvina Balog


    June 24, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  8. A Herrle

    We need change. I am concerned about change. Change will be good if it includes the same health care that Congress/Senate gets.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  9. nate

    I CANNOT BELIEVE that Republicans can choose to be greedy rather than compassionate towards people without healthcare! Oh wait....yes I can!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  10. John Lankford

    Health care reform can only help. Anytime you have more options you can make better decision. Some people are afraid of change

    June 24, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  11. John Babitskas

    Tony, isn't that a good thng if the government plan is cheaper. For the love of money, I can not understand people who are afraid of compeition.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  12. William E. Hartung

    Everyone freaks out when you mention Socialized Medicine; this reaction comes out of ignorance. I have been on Socialized Medicine since I was 22 years old, I am now 76 and doing great. For all that time I have been in the care of the Military Medical System.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  13. Mary Mallory

    YES, there must be health care reform. I believe that single payer is the best way to go. I lost my job more than 18 months ago and am paying into CalCobra more than $1100 a month for me and my college age son who has a pre-existing condition. At the very least we need universal health care for everyone, regardless of present health. A public option will create the kind of competition heretofore not seen for private health insurance companies. And frankly, as long as health insurance companies are publicly held, they will be beholden to their shareholders and not to their insured.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  14. Rick Fernandez

    It can only help us because the sole objective of Health Care reform is to make Health care affordable if not free to those that need it.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  15. Ed J

    It is common practice for employers to "shop" for insurance for their employees changing plans yearly. Employees are at the mercy of employers for their insurance plans as it is now. Red herring to say the employers will drop plans just because of public insurance plan.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  16. Johnnie from Tamarac,Fla

    I think it would be good for the country. All these ally needs to go to are unreasonable. The people need healthcare now. Congress on both sides,should be ashame even debating the issue

    June 24, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  17. Derek

    Many fears about the competitive impact of a national health care program are premature. Other than the basic concept of such a thing, it is impossible to compare or evaluate the impact without understanding the benefits and particulars of such a program.
    Personally, though, I'd be glad to see some competition to the exorbitant monthly premiums that I pay now.....$950 with a $2500 deductible.....
    With the rising costs, my wife and I will not be able to afford health care in our 60's when we will most need it. But as usual with America, we have the best money can buy.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  18. Diane

    It will hurt me and my family. Private insurance plans will not be able to compete with government plans. Private plans need to make a profit to stay in business. A government plan has an infinite amount of money to spend (tax payer money). It can lose money indefinitely and still stay in business (note: Amtrak and the postal system).

    June 24, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  19. mark

    President Obama is bent on spending every last dollar that my grandchildren will ever make. If I ran my personal finances the way that he is running the government finances, I would be arrested and put in jail. He should be treated the same way.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  20. Sam

    Helath care reform will help me as a small business and as a head of household.
    Health isurance has become the biggest legal thief in this country.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  21. Skip Z

    Health Care Reform? It depends what flavor. With regards to what Obama wants it will hurt everyone. The government can't run what they have. Can you say Amtrak, postal service, Social Security, Government Motors....

    June 24, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  22. Jim Bauernfeind

    I lived with government sponsored health care for 27 years during my military career and NEVER wanted for anything. Gone were the worries of where our doctor could operate or which doctor do I have to choose because my health insurance tells me where to go or which procedure can I have because of insurance limits. I received excellent care from doctors who were unrestricted in their practice of good medical care, something your family doctor cannot say to you today.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  23. Jay

    Why doesnt the administration just leave people alone that are happy with their healthcare and provide care for people that dont have insurance/ dont like their current ploicy? I dont think the gov. should force policy, if they make one on people that already have adequit insurance.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  24. Tony Dan

    I am sure that healthcare reform will not only help me but will benefit us all by making sure we all have access to medical care. This should be a no brainer but living in a nation that prioritizes profit over people and individual over community the battle will be a very complex one as those in power concede nothing without demand!


    June 24, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  25. Patricia Akin

    I have had to quit working because of my health. As of July 1, 2009 I will be without health insurance for the first time in thirty years. I will admit that I am very worried. I have congestive heart failure and not having insurance is like a death sentence for me. An overhaul of our health insurance system with a public option will definately help me. The cheapest insurance I could find, if they accept me with a pre-existing condition, will take one-third of my fixed income. I cannot afford that.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  26. Johnny Martin

    I think a government healthcare plan would be a good thing in the long run. The insurance companies have been making too much money at the the peoples expense for too long. A little competition is always a good thing.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  27. C Villani

    No way the government can run healthcare. Fix will be much worse than the problem.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  28. Bernice Christianson

    I am 61 years old; no longer working; have several pre-existing conditions which does not allow me to get medical; yet my conditions are deteriorating.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  29. Sheena

    The thought of health protection certainly makes me feel safe. I think it will help me. I do believe that there could be an option for private care for those who want and strong oversight over government services.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  30. John

    Hi, 3 years ago I became disabled due to West Nile Virus. About a year ago I was eligible for medicare part-b. I did take it upon my self to get a supplemental insurance but that is FREE. If you ask me, medicare is the best insurance I have ever had. If something like that was to be the new idea, I am all for it. Many people criticize Medicare. I think that's just because they don't fully understand how it works. I am only 45 and will probably have medicare for the rest of my life. That's fine for me.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  31. Egberto Willies

    It is imperative that we have healthcare reform with a public option. This will definitely help not only those using the public option but those using the private insurers as well as the private insurer will need to keep their prices in check to compete. That said we need more dollars in the system to take care of the uninsured or the uninsurable. It seems to me that ultimately paying for healthcare should be a non-profit enterprise. This will immediately add 25 to 30% more total dollars in the system no longer going to health insurance executive, shareholder dividends, advertising and other costs not necessary in a not for profit or government option.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  32. Michael Passaretti

    Health care reform will certainly hurt us all. America was founded on the belief that government should take a back seat, "laissez faire" if you will. Since the 1920s and the New Deal era, government has been moving from the back seat to the driver's seat. Where does it end?

    The founding fathers would roll over in their graves if they knew how much control our government has over our lives. Competition is being artificially dominated by a controlling central power, the kind of power our 15th century settlers spent their lives escaping.

    If we continue in this direction we will soon find ourselves in an unpleasant creek sans paddle.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  33. jeff clark

    help... no doubt!!!

    after being in State Government for 15 years, this Gov. Health plan can afford me and others to use our education(s) creatively (not allowed in State and strike out on our own as entrepreneurs!!! currently many people in the US are nothing but "indentured servants" to their employer – for fear of loosing their current Health Care...

    June 24, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  34. Lane

    The right wing always spouts to let the free market do its job. So if the insurance co's can't compete then let the system work and they can fall by the wayside or put out a better product at a better price. This is basic econ 101.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  35. bert

    As a small business owner and bread-winner for a family of 3, I have trouble affording a quality health care plan for my family. If the government can give everyone an affordable health care plan, what's the problem? It'll save us money in the long-run and increase many folks quality of life. It's makes me sick to hear Republicans protecting the same establishments weaking our economy. We need REFORM.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  36. Brock Martin

    When was the last time anybody heard of a health care crisis in Canada where every citizen is covered? There are better ways than our current system in which families are one major illness or operation away from financial ruin.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  37. Maurice, Hillside, NJ

    I believe that people are fearful of the unknown. People are comfortable with what they know. As a military veteran I receive government owned health care. I love my health care and trust me the fact that I don't pay makes this an even far more attractive option.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  38. Abby

    While i was watching your show today from South Dakota, I was actually finishing my summer school college report on whether or not America should switch to government health insurance.
    After becoming educated through my research, I have concluded we should not turn to the government health insurance. Yes, we do need a change in this economic time, but not this drastic of a change.
    This proposal will affect large businesses with their competition and taxes.
    Also, I do not believe all the content included in the proposal including the choice of the doctor and the effectivness of the government will be accurate.
    What will happen if the proposal passes and fails?
    We are already having a hard time with businesses, and the insurance industry has built itself to comfort, why ruin this?
    Plus, Obama tells the American people if this bill does go through, and they are satisfied with their current insurance, there is nor worry. But, the government threatens to raise pvt. insurance to raise premiums which basically forces the American people to turn to the government insurance.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  39. Luis

    If Health Care companies cant give everyone insurance then the government should step in and help those are most in need, these greedy companies shouldn't complain about the government stepping in as they've brought it upon themselves, had they treated everyone equally regardless of illness or disease, and been reasonable with their prices then the thought of health care reform would've never even been aroused. Sadly Health Care reform will cost all of us, but at least my grandmother will be able to get the care she needs and deserves, and to me that's far more important than money.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  40. Elly from Michigan

    Health care reform is going to help me if at a minimum a public option is included in the reform effort. I really think we need single payer to exploit all of the cost savings that could be generated by a public option. So what if employers want to take advantage of cost savings associated with a public plan! Won't the savings lead to improved corporate competitiveness and eventually improved employment conditions? Isn't this what we want? I cannot believe that a public option will be any worse than the private company provided plan that I have right now. The co-pays are exorbitant and I must constantly fight for every claim. The private insurer tries to deny virtually every claim, and I have a "great" private insurance policy. I ask, who out there is really satisfied with their health insurance???????

    June 24, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  41. Whitey

    Well as a college student that is going to be graduating in the fall, the idea of a gov. sponsored program sounds great for a couple of reasons. When you graduate from college you lose the insurance provided by the school and you're to old to be on your folks' plan. secondly with all the tough times students are having to find jobs, who knows when they will be covered again unless they take their own private policy that is very pricey for someone that has no income. So the idea of a cheaper health insurance plan that anyone can get sounds like a great idea to me right now.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  42. DonD

    I am a carpenter in Texas with a family of four. My employer does not provide health insurance and we have not been able to afford it for years. My 2 sons get care from medicade. My wife and I have nothing, We pray that an affordable plan will come out of all this debate.Obama's plan can only help us.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  43. Concerened from Tamarac,Fla

    Lets March to Washington for this good cause and let congress know they will be fired 2010

    June 24, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  44. Leslye

    Change is more likely to help than hurt. A government option will help balance for-profit greed, and costs should be balanced by Iraq war savings. No-brainer.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  45. Matt

    We need health reform in order to keep the insurance companies honest about their practices. I shouldn't be paying my premiums and keeping my side of the deal just to be dropped if I get sick. That is not health care, it's a rip off.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  46. Jason

    Once this new Government Healthcare plan passes, you will see company after company go with this plan for their employees because it will be so much cheaper. So, when Obama says we will still have a choice to continue what we currently have is a misnomer, unless your company doesn't care about the bottom line (and there are a few) your healthcare will most likely change.

    Bottom line, good or bad, everyone will experience a change in coverage once this plan goes into affect.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  47. Harry Corsover

    Health care reform has to help us. As self-employed professionals who have had a series of serious illnesses and surgeries, even with insurance, health care costs have had very serious financial consequences for us. And since premiums for the high-risk pool (the only way we could get insurance at all) continued to rise, it became too much too afford.

    In addition, people who are afraid of being "hurt" by a public plan apparently don't realize or don't care that about 1/3 of what they pay in premiums (not to mention higher co-pays and deductibles) goes to non-health care costs like layers of administration, profits and executive salaries and bonuses.

    America desperately needs real health care reform and needs it quickly. What we think is the best option, an improved Medicare For All (with everybody in and nobody out) doesn't seem to be getting any serious consideration. It's time to treat health care as a right, not a privilege, and put quality, affordable health care before profits.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  48. Medhat

    The question should be "Do we need -as a nation- Health Care reform or not?" Not if it will help me personally?
    We need to stop thinking as individuals and think as a nation. We all are going to lose health care if not reformed.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  49. Karl Mueller

    The President's health care plan will certainly benefit me. In my 25-year career as a chef, I had health insurance for all of ONE YEAR, because it either wasn't available through my employer, or was prohibitively expensive. I am now starting a second career in I.T. (cooking career ended due to on-the-job injury), and I will likely have no immediate health insurance option in this career either. Many of the prospects in my new field are either contract work, or temporary, with no benefits. At 47, I can't expect my overall good health to hold up forever! I find it pathetic that someone such as myself can work full-time for DECADES and be uninsured. Time for the politics of greed to end!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  50. lloyd truly

    A public plan will definately help all people because EMPLYER based insurance is disapeering and has been both disapeering and declining in quality for decades,the few people with it have drastically increased out of pocket expenses and are being rejected for treatments when they get sick.We paid 2 trillion dollars for bushes tax cuts for the ultra rich,cant we spend half that amount to stop the suffering?

    June 24, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  51. Art in West Virginia

    We cannot trust corporate America with our health. The only thing worse than a government bureaucracy is a corporate bureaucracy. The government inevitably answers to its people, the corporation only ever to itself.

    These private insurance people exploit our fear of health problems to get rich on the backs of the middle class. That they will fight against reform tooth and nail is the best evidence of their thievery. They don't want to give up the windfall that they are reaping at our expense. It's paying for their bad investments.

    My wife and I are mid 50s and despite being in relatively good health, we pay almost $1000 per month for essentially nothing more than catastrophic coverage. Our deductible is over $6000, so we can never file a claim. They just keep sucking the money from us and give us nothing in return. We still pay out of pocket for all of our health care expenses on top of the $1000 per month in premiums. It's obscene!

    We want Medicare! We hope that at least our government will lower the eligibility age to 50 or 55.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  52. Raymond


    The facts are, Americans are un-sure about the proposed changes in health care (i.e. it may affect their current coverage) mainly due to false advertisements on the other-side .... it is simply scaring the people .... I wish there was some "truth in advertising" review-board prior to placement of commercial ad's....... If the truth was presented in a clear and simple manner ... rather than just opposition spin .... WE WOULD BE UNITED

    June 24, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  53. Thomas Arteaga

    Well, It Depends On How You Define "Health Care Reform". For Instance, Instead Of Creating A Government Sponsored Health Care Insurance Plan, Why Not Lower Eligibility Standards For Medicaid & Actually Keep Tabs On The Money Spent & Cut Costs By Restructuring The Medicaid (For Lack Of A Better Term) System. I Believe It Should Be A Last Resort Solution.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  54. Ed

    The proposed health care reform is going to hurt everyone's health care. I work for local city government and budgets are very tight. We are reducing costs everywhere we can find. The city will definitely take the Federal health care program for all their employees to save money. All they have to say to the employees is take the Federal health care as a cost savings measure, or we will have to begin lay offs. All local governments will do this as a cost savings measure.

    I like my health care just the way it is, but I fear that my city will force me to take the Federal program to save money.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  55. Ted

    Healthcare as presently being porpoosed will be of extreme benefit to congress. Again, we have a similar situation as with the GOP several years ago jamming through lousy prescription coverage for the user and of extreme benefit to PhRMA. The current bill is bought and paid for by the healthcare industry. So far only those in Congress get the best coverage. This is strictly political with virtually no consideration whatsoever for those uninsured. NO provision to guarantee coverage without regard to pre-existing conditions. Isn't that what this al all about? Greed and power grabbing by work again as usual by the influence peddlers we elect.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  56. Robb

    The public option is long overdue and should help me. I will not ever again purchase private insurance in the US! They are strictly out for profit not healthcare. Profiting from human suffering is immoral.

    I have lived in the UK and found their system of government provided healthcare reliable, humane and adequate. I would prefer to see a similar system in the US.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  57. Douglas

    Given the current unemployment in my area Flint, MI, Health care reform should be taken serious. If you dont have a job to provide health care where do they turn for healthcare. If you oppose good health care at an competitive cost, how will the economic situation ever get better, CAN'T BUY WHAT I CAN'T AFFORD!!!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  58. Michael Smitheman

    I can only believe health care reform, particularly with a public option will help me and be a good thing.

    Why are we worried about the private health insurance companies not being able to compete with a public option? Good if they can't compete! Maybe if they want to stay in the health care industry they should start worrying about the nations health rather than competing for our dollars.

    Unfortunately I feel there are too many influential people with a vested, monetary interest in the industry as it is today, who will forever try and block change to keep dollars in their pockets.

    Obama needs to stand his ground and push his ideas through. Will they be perfect? No ... but will they be a step in the right direction? Any move away from the money hungry, competitive industry that we have today that kills innocent people (even those with insurance), is a good thing.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  59. Dave Burns

    You are giving all the Scary things about Public Option Gov. Healthcare.
    Tell them the Good News.
    We are allready paying for Healthcare for EVERYBODY. We're just NOT getting it.
    30cents of every Dollar goes to Insurance Company Profits and Bonases.
    A Gov. Plan would use this 30cents of every Dollar to take care of the UNINSURED. At NO EXTRA COST.
    The Insurance Companys can compete by more service, or LOWER Cost. Competition. What we don't Have Now!.
    Congress and Senate is Bought and Paid for by Insurance Co. Lobbyist.

    How about You guys at CNN.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  60. Candace

    Hi Tony

    Welcome to the internet age! 😉

    I am a 40 year old healthy woman with no health problems. I work in a small private non-profit agency, and we cannot afford to pay for health insurance for our employees, so we do PROVIDE health insurance as an option, but each employee has to pay for it themselves. My health insurance premium MONTHLY is $700 a month just for MYSELF alone. I make $40,000 a year, and $700 a month of that goes to health insurance.

    I hope and pray that Obama's plan helps me. Paying for my health insurance is the most expensive monthly bill I have after my rent. And it makes it impossible to pay my other bills as I need to. Please share my story. I have heard about people who don't have health insurance, and people's health insurance being cut back, but I have not heard anyone share a story like mine. It needs to be told. EVEN THOUGH WE ARE PART OF A LARGE GROUP OF AGENCIES, and I am not self-employed or paying for an individual policy, it STILL costs me $700 a month for one person for health insurance.

    IT keeps me from paying my bills, and it is no way to live.

    Thanks Tony.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  61. Betty C. Smith

    The tax payers already pay for medicare and medicaid, how much more would it cost for everyone to be added onto the new plan? If they use a co-pay system for the one's who can afford it, it would more than likely be less than what some are paying now for the coverage they have.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  62. Linda McKinnon

    I have health insurance with a $1,000. deductible, I pay a high monthly premium. Last wk I reached my deductible and a few days later I received a letter from my Ins.Co telling me that my premium will increase by $80/mth next month... How long can I aford it??? I am waiting for a reform in our healthcare system and if the gov start a public plan as I read... I will take it without any hesitation

    June 24, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  63. Steve

    Based on what has been reported thus far with respect to the direction of currently contemplated health care reform, I am very concerned that it will make my own and my family's health care much worse, more cumbersome and more time consuming to get effective treatment, with less freedom of personal choice in our own care. I am further concerned that medical care providers (i.e., doctors, specialists, hospitals, etc.) will be less likely to give us/present us, with the best options for our care, becasue of other outside influences (government, insurance, etc.). We all want hope for a better world, but not at the cost of our health/lives and that of our children's. Having been recently diagnosed with some very disconcerting issues, makes this topic and the direction it appears to be heading, all the more disconcerting to me. Thank you.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  64. Marcella

    I believe health care reform will help many people, including myself. Of course, this depends on how it's done; it requires a lot of expertise, sensitivity and thoughtfulness.
    I am a pediatrician and I am constantly serving patients and families that are uninsured or underinsured. The current system is deeply flawed. Health care needs to be treated as a basic human right rather than a business opportunity.
    A centralized, government-run system can not only serve us by providing basic health services to our communities, but it can also be pivotal in streamlining services, organizing patient information and creating standards of care by centralizing information on health and disease.
    I myself did not have any insurance until I was 21 and I have several friends and family members who still lack insurance. The current system is unsustainable, painful for both clinicians and patients, and leaves too many people to slip through the cracks.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  65. Nita Lindley

    Healthcare reform will definitely help my family and our small business.
    We can't afford to cover our 2 employees and we are drowning in personal healthcare premiums. People are dying due to lack of insurance or being underinsured. The leading cause of bankruptcy among the MIDDLE CLASS is unpaid medical bills. Companies are moving overseas and the main reason they give is the depressive burden of healthcare. Congress, stop the petty sniping and partisan name calling. Give us what you have. Get this done.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  66. Hal Holzman

    Tony: I am a retired Federal worker with very good health insurance – yet in the first 6 months of 2009 (excluding insurance premiums – around $2000), my wife and I have had to shell out over $1500 for routine medical care – for example – physicals and associated lab tests plus routine – but important – screenings like a colonoscopy which alone cost me over $300 in cash. We have a fee-for- service plan – one of the best out there. If we have to pay so much for routine care/preventive care – what chance does the average worker have – WITHOUT health care reform?

    June 24, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  67. Almir

    Why are you scaring people with these stories of trillions of dollars over the next 10 years, millions, and what not? This has to be gradual change to government health plan. It will not happen over night. What about the idea of switching 25 million people every year for next 10 years, with children and elderly in the first place.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  68. Dwight

    As a self-employed individual, I would LOVE a government option for my health insurance. I pay almost $500 per month for healthcare, with a huge deductible. I'm afraid to use it, I'm afraid not to have it. To have an option would be a godsend.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  69. S. Stumpp

    Greed by health insurance companies and prosthetic service providers is what drives tyhe cost of health care todaay. The insurance companies know that the government could provide health care at a lower price, and they are afraid of losing profits. Thus, they are leading a scare campaign, trying to convinc people that single-payer is a bad idea.
    Some years ago, my health care was through an HMO. It was great and the prices were well affordable. Then Cigna bought them out, and the prices increased while the services declines. Doctyors abandoned the health center in droves.
    I am a "baby boomer" and am approaching retirement. Quite frankly, the only reason I keep working is that, as an individual, I could not possibly afford health care for my wife and myself.
    Life sucks, and then you die from lack ofaffordable healthy care.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  70. Celina C

    I think its wonderful! I really and truly would go for it! So many people are not able to get any health care programs through other sources. Or they have a program, but its the very minimum they can afford, and it doesn't cover all that they need it to. This way, we can all get some help where we need it! Health has to be the most important thing! Many Americans get sick, or begin to experience pain, and cannot go to the hospital or a doctor because they already have bills that they didn't pay. And they don't have any kind of health insurance. its actually hurting the economy by having so many people who cannot pay for hospital and clinical visits. It forces them to live in pain and doesn't allow them to work as efficiently as they could. It also leaves unpaid bills and this is one way to slowly change that. To cut the amount of debt that happens every year. So the way I see it, is that this is a Win-Win situation for everyone. Yes it will cost quite a bit, but it will help Americans greatly in the long run!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  71. Ray

    All I know is we spend to much money (R&D) on relieving the symptoms of illness rather than curing illnesses. A for profit health care system does not want to cure disease. No disease no money......simple....think about it.......if a Government program is instituted more effort will be put forth to eliminate a disease.......why because the taxpayer will demand it from Congress

    June 24, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  72. S Spady

    Your polls and conversations are always flat and one dimensional. Why don't you focus on the fact that healthcare cannot continue as it is – cost are out of control, it does not cover everyone and we get less for the money. Companies should not be profiting on people's health. Of course reform will change healthcare! That is the whole point. There is so much focus on the goverment coming between people and their doctors when right now the health insurance industry comes between people and their doctors. They spend an exhorbant amount of money trying not to cover people. How is it that other westernized countries are able to provide universal healthcare for less. The simple fact is that if we don't change healthcare individuals will not have the existing plans they have right now anyway.

    The US spends trillions of dollars on the Iraq war and trillions of dollars on the bailout (yes including the federal reserve money) but all of the sudden it too expensive to reform healthcare. If we don't do it now it will cost trillions more down the line – we've got to stop being shortsighted.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  73. Scotty

    As a physician, our current healthcare system could not be worse, so any change will be an improvement. With our current system, 30% of all healthcare dollars go toward administration of the health plan, including executive bonuses, which may account for as much as $1,000,000,000 yearly for a single health insurer. The bonus of a single executive would cover 34,000 people for an entire year. A "public plan" would not pay executives exorbitant salaries and bonuses and therefore much more money would be available for reducing premiums and making healthcare much more affordable. Were it not for the extensive waste in our current system, our premiums could and should be much lower. Additionally, private plans are in the business of maximizing profits, meaning their goal is to deny as much care as possible. Rescinding policy on a woman who developed breast cancer because she did not disclose she had a wart removed is an atrocity that occurs in the private sector on a daily basis; something that would not occur with a public option. IT IS TIME WE ALL BAN TOGETHER AND STEP UP TO SUPPORT THE PUBLIC PLAN. I just chuckle every time I see one of the GOP commercials saying "would you want a government bureaucrat standing in between you and your doctor?" It's a joke, because currently, we have our own private insurance company standing between the patient and doctor, denying necessary diagnostic procedures and treatments. Further, why would these commercials say "quality" of care would worsen? It involves the same physicians, so why would "quality" go down?

    June 24, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  74. Michael Geer

    If Government Healthcare insurance is as good as what the congress has and its cheaper so all americans can afford it. That should be good. Also, if companies can better afford healthcare because of the governement option then maybe more companies will provide healthcare. Bottom line is there is so much fraud, waste and abuse in the current system that something has to be done. one last thought
    if we take all the money we spend on government healthcare like
    medicaid, medicare, champus, va medical, and reapply that money to a universal healthcare system it might become cheaper than everyone thinks.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  75. Rhonda

    I have health care coverage and in good finacial shape so I won't be affected much by health care reform. But less fortunate people will definately have their lives improved by healthcare reform especially something like Medicare for everyone.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  76. Jeff Givens

    It will help me. I don't have insurance for my self as I am self employed and have been looking for coverage equal to that of my former employer and can not find anything that comes close in coverage for even half the cost. I have been working in the health care industry for almost 10 years and have lots of friends who are doctors and they say they would do more for people if they had some type of either tax credit for pro bono work. I've seen so many familys come in and are scared to death about there loved one, and once we stableize them they immediatly start with how much did this cost. We need something and I don't care what it is I need an option. Insurance companys aren't out there to gt you healthy they are there to make a profit. They do t have our best intrested in mind.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  77. John

    America has the best healthcare in the world because we have the best research in the world. No one has talked about the significant contribution that taxpayers make to support that research. We now have an opportunity for all Americans to benefit from the research supported by their tax dollars. That is an important issue that all Americans need to understand.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  78. Loris

    Help! Employers for years have been dropping health care, making people work 36 hours and calling them part time. The Healthcare industry is big business and they buy influence. It is time we joined the rest of the first world and helped taxpayers.
    Taxpayers should stop believing these Congressmen in lobbyist pockets! If it is such a loser why do they want to keep it? Health care tied to your job is not good if you get sick. People need to wake up!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  79. Nick Carotenuto


    When healthcare is facing a change, it should be expected that a majority of people will exhibit fear in the face of that change. Throughout history, people have feared change for which they have not specifically clammored. This is the human condition.
    I think this fear regarding the unknown not be allowed to outweigh the social crisis represented by the millions of uninsured people in our country.


    Nick Carotenuto
    MSW student at UNC Chapel Hill

    June 24, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  80. Owen

    Tony, I think the deep pockets ,(We the People) have is the only thing that can fight the high prices of Health Insurance Companies. We must form a Union against Health Care Organizations, because the present status is not working. The Presidents bill has got to help us.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  81. William foltz

    I don't think it will matter either way. Company's shop for lower cost health care every year. I do think a gov option will help bring down prices, because they will have to compete !

    June 24, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  82. Milton Malla

    Hey Tony, I've sent this to your "ireport", The White House and to Secretary Sebelius. Still waiting for anyone to address this suggestion.
    I watch CNN in earnest each and everyday. I saw Ms. Sebelius talking of health care and FIXING the problems. The Medicaid system needs to be held accountable. My Mom is a para-plegic and has been receiving Medicaid benefits for over 15 years and I am eternally grateful. However, I take care of all of my Mom's affairs, bill paying and all correspondences, but in all the years... I have never received one statement that outlines what was paid on her behalf through Medicaid. In my opinion, Medicaid is a gigantic cookie jar that has no safeguards. Personally, I have my own health-care through a retirement contract through the NYC Transit System and whenever I see a doctor or have a procedure or fill a prescription, a statement comes to me and I review each one. That is accountability. Why don't they FIX what they have in place, before looking to establish a new plan? I can go on and on, but you have the main idea. I'd be happy to discuss my views further. Thanks, Milton Malla.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  83. Taylor Blanchard

    The President's Healthcare plan will help everyone who's struggling to afford healthcare. The Republicans keep saying that President Obama's Healthcare Plan will take away our choice. What choice? Right now you can choose any doctor "YOUR HEALTHCARE CORPORATION ALLOWS YOU TO CHOOSE". You can have any diagnostic test your doctor advises "if your healthcare corporation allows you to have it" and you can have any medication your doctor says you need "if your healthcare corporation allows you to have it". Your employer has the choice of what insurer he deals with. You don't have a choice. The republications are protecting corporations not people. Folks who don't want the government "interfering with their healthcare" should ask themselves "who owns the healthcare corporation that's making decisions about your treatment? What country owns that company? England? Japan? China?"

    June 24, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  84. Ivan

    I think a lot of Americans will benefit from it, especially the ones with no coverage what so ever.People are concerned about it affecting their coverage,however the President still has not announced the details of the health care reform.So no one should jump to conclusions yet. Even if the full reform doesn't pass any reforms to our health care system is greatly welcomed.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  85. A Herrle

    Health care companies advertise against change with their profits.
    The "other side" advertises as well. Question: Who profits from a change here? Answer: It sure aint the Health companies

    June 24, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  86. Darte Asbell

    Health care in the USA is mess because of the greed & underhanded practices of the health insurance companies.
    These same health insurance companies are spending a huge amount on advertising to convince the public that they have the public interest at heart & public insurance will stop them! They presently eliminate competion by using their pre-existing clause to deny company switchers coverage.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  87. Catherine

    Being a type 1 diabetic, health care reform can only improve my situation. As an adult, I chose to return to school full time and my COBRA coverage expired before I finished. The student insurance available to me only covers $1000/year of prescription coverage; $1000 would not pay for three months of my prescriptions. However, I am not insurable by any other kind of comprehensive insurance package; I have literally had agents laugh when they discovered I was a diabetic seeking to find individual coverage. This is not only a financial problem but also takes away individuals with chronic illnesses freedom in life. My only choice in insurance coverage is to be covered by an employer; I do not pick between jobs based on salary or how much I would really rather work somewhere but rather on the quality of their insurance benefits. Explain how that is freedom to me.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:18 am |

    I have a question? How has privatized healthcare worked for us to-date? I have a 29-year-old son who has had health problems for the last ten years. He works only part-time with no health benefits. Therefore, he has an independent plan and pays over $500 per month for minimal coverage, high deductible, no drug coverage, etc. ...We tried to help him get government assistance but because we have a home and we (his parents) have jobs, and because he currently lives with us and we can be labeled as his "household," we/he had no luck. ...How's it working for us today? It's NOT! I'm happy for those who do not have such difficult personal situation; however, my family and I are not alone. We are in the majority. Americans need help. We are thankful for President Obama and we know that he can work miracles overnight. We trust him to make it better. ...I could tell you horror stories about the healthcare and drug industry, based on first-hand experience with my son. ...Thanks for inviting responses.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  89. Michael Passaretti

    Those of you that are purporting to establish a system similar to Canada, as one person commented, or another social health care nation, are very ill informed. I lived in a country that had socialized health care, and the problems they experienced are something you could only dream about.

    Have you seen a pregnant woman give birth to a baby in a bathroom stall at the hospital? I have. The moral hazard inherent in social health policies is way too dangerous for us to risk.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  90. victor

    I work for the second largest retail company in the US. My employer has made my insurance very expensive this year. Retail does not pay well and we are in need of a change. Will they give me more money to cover my insurance? What do you think? I remember in the past when the employer picked up the whole thing. Do you?

    June 24, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  91. Carolyn

    We have gone from $700.00 a month to $1,056.00 a month for my insurance in 2 years. I was diagnosed with uterine cancer and I have to beg still for a pet scan to see if it spread. It only cost $1400.00 for a pet scan, insurance is the biggest rip off in this country. Work all your life and they make you go on individual plans that are priced out of a retired persons income ability.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  92. Emilio Decker Jr

    I definitely feel that health care , the way President Obama is proposing, will help Americans, especially those who are at the bottom of the economic ladder, to obtain better medical help.

    For too long, those in the United States who are afluent and rich, mostly the conservatives, who want to maintain the status quo, have had it easy when it comes to medical care FOR THEM. As usual, they do not think of the lowly Americans who struggle to support themselves any way they can. Many lose loved ones because of lack of proper medical care. People in Canada and Europe are doing okay, why shouldn't we in the good ole USA?

    June 24, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  93. Kelly

    Answer me this please? I am a 58 year old man who is a smoker(daminit I am trying to quit) mayber if the tobacco companies are regulated by the FDC they will take out the drugs that keep us hooked.
    Now! I also have arthrethis, a bad back,knees and ankles. I am also HIV+ have severe sinus problems, wear glasses,and a rash as well due to the stress!! I have absolutely no insurance whatsover and certainly cannot afford any. Yet the insurance companies are paying big bucks to stop us from getting any help whatsover. WHAT IS IT GONNA COST ME TO GET DECENT INSURANCE WITH ALL THESE PROBLEMS THAT I LIVE WITH DAILY?
    OH! I make a little over $17,000.00 a year (before taxes)!!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  94. Alethea

    Competition in any industry is good for the consumer. If the government comes up with an effective and a cost competitive option, then wouldn't this prompt the private insurers to do more to reduce their costs and overhead and profits they and their suppliers charge? Just like competition drives down the prices of technology and services in other industries, and all the consumers benefit, I am hopeful we will see the same thing in the health industry when the government offers a competitive option.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  95. Chris

    Have you noticed all of the fear mongering going on by the conservative elites? This reform will improve the standard of living in our country dramatically and they hate that because if we the people are doing better, it effects the executive bottom line. I'm certain we're doing the right thing! Let's get 'er done!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  96. Claire Langham

    President Obama's heath care reform proposals will make health in America better, not only for me, for most all Americans. Health care was very limited in rural America, and health insurance plans began in the Post World War II era as our nation transitioned from a rural to an urban populace. Due to many factors, including mobile careers, increasing unemployment, jobs that do not offer health insurance, "cherry-picking" only healthy applicants to insure, etc., many people pay in directly or indirectly, for years, Fortunately for MediCare and a supplement, I am still covered. Others are between jobs, and despite years of premiums, have no coverage. Thus, Obama's health care reforms would create a better situation for most Americans.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  97. Robin

    I know it will help all American's. We are far behind other countries who have goverment healthcare and their people are thriving and in better health, because of their healthcare systems. I deeply believe, that the healthcare insurance and Pharmaceutical companies do not want this country to follow all the other countries lead, because they will lose billions. There is nothing to fear, look at France or Canada's healthcare system? They're wonderful to their people and even provide childcare or Nannies for Newborns so a Mom can go to the supermarket, do chores or get some rest! We are fed the scare tactics and rhetoric of the greedy companies here, the only people who should be scared is, the over paid, millionaire, CEO's who may lose their 100 FT Yacht's!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  98. Joe Griffith

    I am a self employed person with diabetes and I bought insurance from blue shield for people with pre-existing problems. I could not afford the good package, but thought I was covered for any serious problem. I had to have a couple of operations and discovered that my insurance will not pay any money to any hospital, just to the doctors. It said it would cover transplants, but now I would have to have it done in the doctors office!!!!!!! I nned some reasonably priced insurance I am almost 60 and we don't make enough money to pay 7 or 8 thousand a year for insurance. I NEED a good 100 to 200 dollar insurance policy. Thank you, please let people know what is going on.
    Joe Griffith

    June 24, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  99. Christine

    How can this not have a negative effect on most every working person? Why would an employer pay the high cost of medical insurance for employees when they can get government health care cheaper either on their own or the employer providing that for them? Maybe the government won't touch our health plans but employers are going to do what's best for their bottom line leaving us with inferior health care, long waits or denial for necessary procedures and every other negative effect associated with socialized medicine. Insurance companies will be effected to the point where we will be paying higher homeowners, auto and life insurance premiums to make up for the health care premium shortfalls causing yet another insurance premium monster. How long are we going to go on pushing bills through congress without thoroughly exploring the negative effects. Did they not learn a lesson with the GM bailout?

    June 24, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  100. Albin Turbak

    Before this discussion goes any further, shouldn't we first define that any legislation will apply ONLY TO LEGAL US.Citizens . Right now Illegals are the main cost of Bankpuptcy for most US Hospitals. Many americans might want to help fellow citizens but should abssolutely rebel against pursuing the lunacy of helping to pay for continued coverage of Ilegals.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  101. Bob in Colorado

    I think any government program will be a disaster. At 69 I am still working in my own company. I am forced to use Medicare as my primary coverage rather than any other plan that my company might provide. While there is no co-pay, there are limits as to what Medicare will cover and it really does not cover the actual costs of what it does cover. It has become very difficult to find doctors and medical service providers who will accept Medicare patients. Even carrying a regular health care plan through my company does not compensate for the Medicare shortfall. Because of my age, I must deal with Medicare as my primary form of insurance. ~~~ If you think the government can run a health care plan that is cost effective and provides adequate coverage, take a hard look at Medicare. Consider as well the future costs of Medicare and the tax increases as well as the coverage reductions it will take to move that system back to solvency.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  102. Bill

    I don't get it! No FOR PROFIT ORGANIZATION SHOULD BE IN CHARGE OF MY HEALTH CARE!. If you like your health care system now, it is only because you have never had a real health problem. Thousands of people die each year, denied medication/treatment, because the INSURANCE COMPANIES NEED TO MAKE A PROFIT!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  103. Adam

    I'm going to end up paying through the teeth for health care reform. A public option will be cheaper because it won't have to break even. Unlike the private sector, the government can simply create taxes to pay for its shortfalls. A subsidized government program can very easily drive out of business all competition either on purpose or accidentally. Once there is a monopoly of any sort, there are no options when your "insurer" (that is the government) decides to cut back on your coverage.

    Why can't we just make insurance costs tax deductible for everyone and subsidize lower premiums for those who are truly unable to afford it. We don't need to penalize people who live responsibly by subsidizing the insurance of those who choose non-necessities over insurance or are too lazy to fill out forms for government programs already in place. There is also the question of whether we can afford to cover those who reside int the US unlawfully.

    Also, shouldn't we worry about the deficit before we even discuss health care? At a certain point the country will go bankrupt and there will be no government programs at all.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  104. Rae

    As I understand it, President Obama is proposing a government plan based on a pool of insurers offering a pool of health care coverage plans at a lower rate than current private plans. What I do not understand is who are these insurers and how can they offer their plans cheaper? If they are the insurers that are currently offering private plans, what is it about offering plans through a government pool that will mean that they can offer plans cheaper?

    How can I say if it is going to help me or hurt me if I do not even understand what is being proposed?

    June 24, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  105. Mitch

    I do NOT have health insurance and I am not old enough for medicare. I would love to have health care. BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF QUALITY HEALTH CARE! Obama and the democrats will place us into Socialized Medicine. Look at Canada and the UK. Sure health care is free there. But there is a waiting list for major surgery and life saving treatments. Also, when the governerment gets involved in health care you lose the "free enterprise factor". Free eneterprise encourages research and development and quality!

    I handled all the insurance for 25 years for my former employer. I knew 20 years ago that HMO's were the first step toward socialized medicine and would diminish the quality of health care.

    Our health care system may not be perfect but it is one of the best in the world. Why else would people from Canada, the UK, many countries in Europe and Africa come here for treatment.

    Our system needs reform. But we do not need nor should we want reform that places us closer to socialized medicine.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  106. Guy

    I'm all for health care reform. My full-time job is as an Emergency Room Technician in St Louis, MO. Ninety percent of the people walking through the ER have no insurance. Most of them are in the poorest of health. The majority have high blood pressure before the age of 30, are on dialysis by the time they reach 35 years of age, and have barely any teeth left by 45.

    Guy M.

    P.S. Did I forget to also mention the diabetes, the high obesity rate, and having 4 kids by the age of 20 with no income!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  107. Diana

    Public-plan option or single-payer would help me, but more than that, it would help everyone because it would lower healthcare costs in the end. Right now, the insurance companies are making off like bandits, and we all know it. It's time to do better with our heathcare.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  108. Raymond

    Simple Solution to Health care: Take the Greed out of the System ....... pooof ..., it's Solved

    -–> (Canada, Taiwan, Germany, France, Thailand, Japan etc etc etc .. did it ..... Why can't we ? )

    June 24, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  109. Don Berrenger

    In regards to the possibility of our government offering health care, I think it is VERY scary because we do not know the definition thereof. Gee, perhaps they should come up with one. Wouldn’t that be a giant step forward. Duh!

    If this idea of government healthcare reform is written as law, and THEN the definition is created, then it could be devastating. Those of us who are fortunate to have decent health coverage could end up, as suggested by Tony on air, with our employer having a very tempting, inferior plan to subscribe to, should the government plan be an ill attempt.

    I suspect, simply because the government has never done this before, that the plan will be inferior. Additionally, too many voices and hands will be in the plan looking out for themselves.
    Please don’t ruin another area of our American lives. It’s bad enough that my condo and auto are both worth less than I paid for them. If I lose the control of having good health care, that would just be too much.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  110. Susan Fricker

    I work for the municipal government and we have just switched from private insurance to the GIC program It consisted of a open house of participating health insurance companies like Blue Cross,Tufts, Harvard Pilgrim and many large others. We could pick who we wanted based on the coverage they offered. Costs varied for monthly costs and for drugs/ office visits; but you could pick the best fit for your needs. This sounds like a much better idea...perhaps this is where Obama is headed? There is a state based program in MA but most people pick private insurers anyway. Competition does bring down prices. Most providers had a large list of very good doctors(both local and in Boston) or offered you any choice you wanted (i.e. your current doctor WAS in the list) My office visit costs and pharmacy will go up, and I will pay a small fee if I need an X-ray or EEG etc. But I am saving over $250 a month on insurance fees...for me at least I feel it will balance out as I am 55 and on medications, but if you are young it is a much better deal...but your choice. I can live with this choice and the ability to pick my own doctors and not get referrals necessarily from my local Physician (which just gives him more $ for me to come in and get the referral) All of us lucky enough to be working may have to pay more for an office visit, (I payed $10 before and pay $20 now)
    My only concern is the program makes it much easier and almost pushes you toward getting medications by mail (a 3 mo supply for the cost of 2 months locally) I feel they are trying to put local pharmacies out of business (I do not mean CVS etc).

    June 24, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  111. Katlehman

    One important issue is the number of illegal immigrants captured in the number of people without insurance. Another issue is the number of people that can afford insurance but choose not to purchase it. Obama avoids addressing these two points. During the campaign he said illegal immigrants would not be covered. Not surprisingly, he is silent now. He admits to problems with the Stimulus that he pressured Congress to pass with out a full understanding of the details. The benefits of the Stimulus are yet to be seen although we have seen failures. Stop force feeding us Obamanomics.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  112. Gustavo G

    I have been unemplyed for 9 month, that means WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE for 9 month, since cobra and all other options available are options I can not afford.
    I am an architect and on my last job, working for a company with 350 employees, the insurance optinos change twice in three years due to high cost. That means that even when I had a job I couldn't keep the coverage I want.
    If the health insurance industry stop spending money lobbing in DC, and on expensive adds, and instead invest on preventive care and improve their service we'll be in a better scenario already.

    You are the best. Thank you to let me share my morning with you.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  113. Albin Turbak, Ph,D.

    Before Congress and the President present any possible package for consideration to the public, shouldn't we all be told that such actions will apply only to LEGAL U.S. Citizens. While many Americans might want to help fellow citizens they might not want to continue to pay for coverage for Illegals. Over the last 2 years over 60 U.S. Hospitals have gone bankrupt while providing government mandated hospital
    care for Illegals. Since there are an estimated 15-20 million Illegals in the country (and growing) this is not a minor point.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  114. Norma

    NOT having meaningful reform, including a robust public option, will hurt everyone – even those who mistakenly believe that the coverage they have now will last forever. Skyrocketing costs are unsustainable. $400 billion per year in health care dollars now go toward obscene CEO salaries and shareholder profits. Insurance profiteers will ALWAYS put their profits ahead of people. We need to fear the greed of the influential insurance giants, not the competition of a public option. Don't worry,nothing will put the insurance lobbyists out of business. We can only hope that the competition of a public option will keep them under control.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  115. Dr. Van Moorlehem

    This comment is in response to an earlier post by Scotty:

    Scotty- I'm afraid you are sorely misinformed and incredibly naive. Although, I share your disgust at some of the corporate excesses and meddling into our direct doctor patient relationship. However, your assumptions that the government could do a better job for less defies any and all examples of government run programs. Do you think the Veterans Assoc. healthcare system is the ideal? Apparently you do. How about the public healthcare system. Ever worked in a county hospital? They are black holes of every increasing costs. Poor outcomes and very unhappy patients. Have you ever talked to our friends up north? The Canadians come down to the US in droves to get better healthcare. If Canada offered a better system then why do they come down here? Medicare will be insolvent in a few years. The government can't even run the programs they have now. They are deficit spending to cover everything. I hear your frustration, but your cure is worse than the disease. Yes, we need to reform. Yes, we need wise regulation over the insurance companies. But only through competition and free market principles will we be able to drive down costs. Tort reform has been proven to lower overall healthcare dollars spent. You as a physician should be championing a proven solution, not pandering to this administration. If you want a great example of one company's proven successful cost containment with improved outcomes and improved patient satisfaction, please read the Opinion page from the WSJ two weeks ago by Safeway's CEO. They have held done costs by empowering patients and making them more responsible for their own state of health and rewarding them with lowered premiums (much like car insurance discounts for good drivers) if they meet some measures of health. Read this Op ED piece, it will help educate you and I hope dispel your socialist notions of a better system. Please get informed! You have enormous influence given your station in life. Don't waste it!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  116. dennis

    yes h/c reform will affect my current h/c FOR THE BETTER .I had truoble getting any ALL they will insure are healthy people .ALL they CARE about is your money. NOTyour health.I AM afraid of seeing the doctor for fear of them terminating me after they take the money i have.I have a family of three children and have had no work for over 3 months and my health is in serious. ??? seriosly . Idont know what im gonna do.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  117. Bill

    Everyone needs food, shelter, clothing and HEALTHCARE! Healthcare should be part of the Bill Of Rights! The public needs to get off of their dead butts and really look into the healthcare disaster.

    Most people just stick their head in the sand and say "Oh health care system is OK." Well, wait til you have a real health concern. You will see that if it costs money, YOU WILL BE DENIED!

    Then and only then will they get it!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  118. M

    I am a new medical school graduate with over $250,000 in debt – which is pretty typical for students graduating from schools in big US cities. For the next five years of my life – my residency – I will be working about 80 hours/week for what amounts to less than 10 dollars/hour. I, ofcourse will not be able to start paying these loans until I finish all my training and by the time I pay them, I would have payed more than double this amount (over half a million). It, however, seems like whenever healthcare reform is talked about, physicians are always an easy target to take aim at. I would like to ask, how many people start their lives after thirty and with a half million in debt to pay off? I obviously didnot go into medicine for the money, but I would also like to lead a decent life. There was always that promise; even though the perception that physicians make alot of money these days is simply wrong. Every year, congress attempts to lower medicare reimbursement rates. The last time, it took a tremendous amount of physicians lobbying and talking to congress to keep them at their current levels, set in 2001 and which have not kept up with the rising cost of living. Many private insurance companies base their level of reimbursement on what medicare pays. So with a new government health plan, I can foresee these rates go down and down, forcing many doctors out of work and decreasing the demand for medical training. Everyone loses. I think any healthcare reform plan should take into consideration the staggering cost of medical education in the US these days before it attempts to look at physician salaries.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  119. Kay Fadell

    I'm all for health care reform in the U.S. as long as the individual has the right to choose their own doctor and hospital. In the long run I feel that doctors and hospitals will try harder to perform. Also,since more people will be able to recieve health care the doctors and hospitals will end up with a higher volume of patients. If hospitals would stop trying to appeal to the public by making hospitals look like resorts I believe that their costs would lower. I hope that the public knows who actually pays for all that remodeling.

    There should also be a cap on the cost of medicine, and medical supplies. I've seen too many times when there was a proposed bill for caping the cost of medication that the pharacutical companies hurry and bring up the price before the bill could pass. This again is a case of greed in these companies and to heck with the people who need this medication but probably could not afford it now unless the patient takes it from their grocery or bill budget.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  120. Crash

    There is a serious disconnect in this country with regards to health care, period. This is not just the case with healthcare, but with law and many other social service professions. When one becomes a doctor for financial gain, it kind of eliminates the whole idea behind it, doesn't it? Don't get me started on the pharmaceutical companies!

    How is it possible that people are dying in this country of preventable and treatable illnesses if we consider our system of living to be the best in the world? We are one of the only first world countries where this is the case, and it breaks my heart. All one needs to do is spend some time in Europe and you realize what a mess we have going on in the US. I have a friend who has cancer and cannot afford treatment, his insurance company has denied treatment through a loophole and we have had some benefits for him, but it still won't be enough. This is a MIDDLE CLASS person. If he can't afford it, what is someone to do who is supporting a family and can barely afford rent and food. I can't afford health care and I have insurance! I have some issues that I need to get checked out, but my deductible is so high that I just can't manage to go at this point. I live in debt from past medical bills that I can't afford to pay.

    If we can come up with something that covers people who just can't afford it, why wouldn't we do it? The almighty dollar? Greed? Probably for the same reason that things like gay marriage have a hard time being passed in this country. Fear. People are so concerned about their own little piece, and it terrifies them that they might lose that peice, even without looking at the details. We do so many horrible things to each other here in the name of money. It is soooo sad to me. We need huge reform in this country, and not just with medical care.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  121. Matthias

    Doctors are greedy, callous, self center who never care about their patent, any doctor who refuse to accept Obama medical care from the government because many of them will miss their flamboyance life style because government Medicare will help poor people, and many people in America will go there as example Highland Hospital Oakland.
    We are capital nation, we care about ourselves and nobody, but government are about the people who vote them not like third world name who care about themselves not the people that vote them.
    There some doctors who is good, God are fairing

    June 24, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  122. John

    As a new US citizen I am amazed by complexity of America’s heath care system.
    I see on one hand excellent doctors and hospitals, and on the other hand insurance industry wants to insure only young and healthy (increased profits) and legal system, which allows frivolous lawsuits (this increases costs to doctors and hospitals).

    I have seen healthcare system both, in Europe and in Canada. These systems are not that bed as critics (insurance and drug industry lobbyists) and media portray them. In fact from the perspective of national health (prevention, epidemics), economic competitiveness (employer cost), and individual (no one has to go bankrupt because of health problems, no one is tied to a job because of health insurance) they are better.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  123. Bill

    People are concerned that if we get a government plan, the insurance companies will go out of business. Ohh, the poor insurance companies. They have been screwing us and killing people for years! Their CEO's make millions, while good people are denied health care and DIE.

    The insurance companies NEED TO BE TAKEN OUT OF THE PICTURE!

    These companies have people whose sole job is to find ways to deny coverage to as many people as they can. They keep costs down by AVOIDING COVERAGE!

    Meanwhile people are dying! That is not an urban legend.

    To stay in business and pay large salaries, they need to make a profit!

    They don't care about your health! THEY CARE ABOUT PROFITS!

    June 24, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  124. Satrupa

    We need affordable health care NOW. It would help everyone who chooses it as well as those who keep their private insurance.

    Single Payer is really the way to re-vamp the system we have, but the PROPAGANDA against it, which is paid for the Insurance Industry and Drug companies has confused the public debate and blocked real reform.

    IT is the LACK of competition in these industries and their excessive profits that has raised the cost of medical care for citizens beyond all reasonable means. Simply look at the price of medicines and care in other countries to see what is possible.

    Politicians and the Media keep asking if the country can afford it, BUT what is true is that we can't NOT afford it. We absolutely CAN find the funds for this most urgent need.
    Look at the money we spend for war! Look at the humanitarian aid we shower on the world! Look at the waste in currently funded programs and programs that don't work!

    This should be the highest priority of Congress and the President should veto any plan that doesn't include an affordable public heath care option.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  125. jeff clark

    ...odd... i don't see any HMO CEOs commenting on this issue/blogg...

    June 24, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  126. Scotty

    Mitch, get you facts straight. Being #37 in the world, just ahead of Croatia and Cuba, is not "one of the best" healthcare systems in the world. Countries, such as England and France, that have national healthcare have MUCH better healthcare and on average, live years longer. Our current system is about as broken as it could get and it is well past time for a new plan.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  127. Guy in Troy, Illinois

    I get so disgusted when I here foreign countries have free health coverage and here I am living in the greatest country in the world with none. It's about time someone (President Obama in this case) will add some fire underneath those health insurance companies' feet. They've been way too long lavishing themselves with our poor earned money. I'm glad the government "stepped up to the plate" and will add some competition.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  128. Charles Kopack

    Health Care Reform, what an admirable goal! But, with the greed for pharmaceutical and insurance companies, the ineffeciency of government agencies (like the FDA and NIH) it probably will not work. Added to that is the question of how this is going to be paid for (more taxes?).

    On a personal note, I have health insurance, but, (being retired) I don;t see a doctor (despite being diabled) because I can't afford the co-pays.

    So, unless corporate greed, government inefficiency, and the "god-like" attitude of doctors can be brought into line, there will be no real change.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  129. Debbra Decker

    I am all FOR Pres. Obama's health plan. I paid health ins. all my working life, I'm 53 yr old, and when I lost my job with a religious based hospital (I'm a RN), I was denied COBRA or anything else cause it was religious hospital!!! That is WRONG! I now cannot get ins. to cover me since I have a pre-existing condition and my entire well being is/was controlled by insurance companies. Of course I welcome any plan, you would too if you didn't have any hope but via President Obama...he is my last hope to even stay alive now.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  130. Allen Robbins, Florida

    Should the public option be removed from the legislative process we should demand the following:

    1. Limit all administrative costs for all health care providers and insurance companies to an 8% maximum.

    2. Require all Health Insurance companies to comply with the same standards as the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program (FEHBP).
    We should demand the same health care requirements that both Democratic and Republican Senators and Congressmen demand for them selves.

    The process is called Accreditation. Example NCQA which is a comprehensive screening process to make sure Federal Employee get the best plans and care possible.

    Not all insurance companies can sell insurance to federal employees. The plans that fail are weeded out.

    All hospitals in America are required to be accredited or loose their federal funding.

    It would be in there best interest to pass a Public Option Choice or be forced to match FEHBP. The best run health care delivery system in America today.


    June 24, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  131. Lucia

    I have insurance thanks to my mother's job and so far it has been good. A health care reform will give EVERYONE the opportunity to receive the treatment they need without fear of owing thousands of dollars. A friend of mine got in car accident, he has no insurance and now he owes 140,000 dollars. He has a broken shoulder, a broken leg.. what is he suppose to do? I suggested him to go to Cuba and get his surgeries and treatment virtually for free. So much for demonizing Cuba.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  132. Barbin

    Hubby and I are retirees. We have good health ins. We support adding a public option so that the nation can save $$$ by not having to pay for so many uninsured in the ERs. Each one of us with ins. is subsidizing those without. (Just like the tuition we paid for our kids college subsidized students who weren't as fortunate. I don't hear people complaining about that.) With the changes the President proposes, I believe the nation will cover more people and reduce per capita costs.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  133. Larry

    Simplify medical insurance to reduce the cost of administration and make it easy for consumers to compare prices. State laws set the terms of auto and homeowners insurance so comparing prices is easy. Have 3 or 4 governement set forms making it easier to shop for and administer coverage. If I need coverage C, I could gets quotes from several different carriers for the bet price.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  134. J


    We live in a country where the more we use our healthcare system the more our National Deficit grows, what a strange correlation. It seems that instead of turning people away from quality care, we should be using a Healthcare System that strengthens our Economy by getting everyone treated affordably.

    The more the public use this system...the more our deficit gets paid down. We all benefit, every day, week, year! Today, the HHS has said Obama is open to hearing ideas for lowering cost, provided the idea doesn't increase more spending. Well, here is a suggestion from someone who is tired of people making excuses why things shouldn't get done.

    The idea doesn't require tax payer money and it also pays down our National Debt. The idea is for the US Government to be the sole re-seller of all prescriptive products. The money the Government makes from re-selling these products goes directly into paying down our National Debt. So the more patients use this system..the more we pay down our deficit...everyone wins!

    The drug industry will no longer have to spend billions in advertisements costs, because products get into the marketplace by hospitals ordering through State Government by volume purchasing.

    This method does not require anyone to pay more taxes, nor does it add to our National Deficit, and the sick actually get treated with the latest prescriptive products.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  135. Goyito

    Hi, I live in Guadalajara, and lately I’ve been watching the CNN news almost every day in the morning (to practice my English). And now that the Health Care Reform is the every day topic in the news of the US, I wanted to make a comment about my experiences in Mexico. As you may know, here in Mexico there’s an institution called: IMSS (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social) that is in charged of the whole national Social Security (there are some private social security options, but only the high salary/administrative workers in big companies are benefit with them). From my own experience, I try to avoid as much as possible going to the IMSS to get service, this because I know that first of all, going there means losing half a day for sure (long wait times & burocracy distinguish this institute), also I know that if I go for almost any kind of pain, all I’m going to get (after all the wait) is some Naproxen (and some Ampicilin in case of a soar throat).
    I remember one time that I went in to the IMSS in Tijuana because of an acute pain in my knee (as a background; I damaged my knee when I was just a teenager because I used to be a cyclist, and I over trained myself), so I waited about 2½ hours to get to the first instance doctor (family doctor), and after a few questions and some little inspection, I was told: “you don’t have nothing, you’re just fine”, “look at me, I’m 50 years old, and I don’t have any pain…” .

    In this case, I had to try my own methods for my pain: not being stand for so long, exercise, Glucosmine & Chondroitin, (when it have gotten bad), have worked for me.

    Well, this was my story, I’m sure not all the doctors in the IMSS are like the one that checked me. I’ve heard that if you get to the specialist doctor(the family Dr. sends you), you should be in good hands. And as per the institute, I’ve heard that when it comes to surgeries, they’re really good and that they have very new medical equipment.

    I know that the law system in the US is much more efficient than here, and you can even demand the government if your car gets damaged because of a hole on the street (here, they probably would laugh at you if you try to do so). As for us, what can I say; at least we’re not getting beaten by the police in downtown like people in Iran.

    Anyway, whatever the resolution for your Health Care issue is, I hope that it is for your good.


    Greetings from Guadalajara!
    PS: What I way to say the news Tony!

    June 24, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  136. Pat

    I am not afraid of national Healthcare. I do not fear what it would mean for the healthcare industry as a whole. As long as the wellness of the American People is afor profit industry our health care system will continue to be broken With the option of a government plan I hope it will run other healthcare companies out of business because simply put: A life isn't worth a companies rising profits.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  137. Maureen

    I'm fortunate enough to have health care but I still pay a lot out of pocket. I have family members without health care & as Pres Obama said "everyone who doesn't have health care should @ least have the same health care coverage that members in congress have". It's our taxpayers money that's paying members of congress wages & health care, so why can't we have a public option? Pres Obama shouldn't compromise on the public option. The republicans don't care anything about us ordinary people, they can't relate to not having health care.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  138. Linda Stevens

    I have a Medicare backed HMO. I am very happy with it. I'm sure that under Pres. Obama's health plan I will lose my coverage. And what do I get stuck with, MEDICARE! While my mother was dying of cancer, I watched my stepfather pull his hair trying to complete Medicare forms. That's not for me. I voted for President Obama, but I am asking him to leave my health insurance alone.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  139. Jana in Baton Rouge (from Germany)

    Why do opponents of health care reform always cite examples from Britain and Canada? What about Germany? I lived there the first 24 years of my life. Everyone pays a premium every month, but therefore you get good quality health care without having long waiting periods. No one has to worry that they go broke or can't afford care, because of high health care costs. I really love the U.S., but health care here is very scary. If I ever got very sick, I would go home to Europe. Too bad that not everyone here has that option. Please stop bringing up only bad examples from Europe and Canada. Instead, focus on the many people that are being helped by these health care systems.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  140. Tom Godfrey

    I do not want to switch insurance companies. My question is that I pay $25,000.00 per year for a family of 4 for great coverage, how is it that it will cost $62,000.00 per year,per person, for mediocre and Government controlled Health Insurance?

    June 24, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  141. Megan

    I am an RN in a hospital in Arizona and feel strongly that this country needs healthcare reform! I constantly see patients that get the run around from doctors and never get fully treated. We have people come around demanding patients to be discharged because the insurance company only allows this much. Our ER's are full of people that are there for a physical exam, or STD checks... something that can be done in the MD's office. That is delaying care for someone who is truely sick. I think alot of people don't realize that our tax dollars are paying for alot of the care given to people without insurance, so I don't really see the difference in costs in healthcare reform.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  142. Debbra

    Give me a break "M"...physicians make $200K + a yr and an average person make $35-50K/hr in the real world and which cannot even begin to pay for health insurance and doctor bills to maintain health!

    Health care reform is a definite need like bread and water now!

    June 24, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  143. Katy in Florida

    I am divided on government sponsored healthcare. I am disabled and am covered by Medicare and Medicaid. I recently moved from Maryland to Florida and my coverage changed dramatically. In Maryland, I had no problem finding good doctors and was able to be seen at no cost to me. Florida has very strict limits on what is covered and on how long they will cover certain therapies. Now I have to spend more than one third of my monthly income of just less than $700 on my health care needs. If I was certain that a government sponsored health care plan would offer the kind of coverage I had in Maryland, I would be whole-heartedly in favor of it. If it resembled the coverage I have now in Florida, I would absolutely be against it. By the way, I am a far leftist democrat, but I'm having a hard time getting behind the President on this issue. I do think that the health industry should not be for profit. I think there is a lot of room for compromise between what the President is asking for and what is realistic.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  144. Christine

    Maybe what we need is insurance reform rather than health reform. Skyrocketing, hence unaffordable, health insurance premiums are at the crux of the health reform issue. Americans pay huge amounts of money for their auto, homeowners, life and health insurance premiums only to be dropped or levied premium increases if a claim is filed. I'm also sick of paying expensive premiums to make up for the increasing illegal population flooding our hospitals and never paying a dime or driving in our country with no insurance and skate when involved in an accident. I have a cousin who was hit by an illegal without a US driver's license or insurance. They impounded the illegal's car but did not detain him then wondered why they couldn't find him to press charges. If anyone in this country went to Mexico and did the same, they would be thrown in jail with no sign of a key. It's about time we quit letting the tail wag the dog in this country. You're not legal in this country, you don't get the perks of a US citizen including education, healthcare or welfare.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  145. Brian D

    I think reform is something that's badly needed especially on things such as liability and waste. The most important thing is how are the uninsured going to be paid for. I've seen several reports that say reducing medicare reimbursements is the big way they plan on doing that. I think liability and waste are critical to reducing costs. Frankly I think the government is in denial thinking lower reimbursement is going to cover everything. More then 50% of all hospitals in the US operate in the red at the current reimbursement level. Question is what's going to happen if that gets lowered. I personally believe you'll see less services offered, longer wait times like you see in Canada and the UK as well as hospital closings. The company that owns the hospital I work for now has been going through things with a fine tooth comb and has closed a few hospitals already. This is not going to stop and could potentially become exacerbated.

    June 24, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  146. Tellez

    Every one knows whats going on here the rich want to get richer
    (Doctors and Hospitals the rich and above all insurance companies)
    who cares about the health of the individual person,
    1) If you have a preexisting condition you might be able to find an medical plan but I doubt it ,but even if you do you will have to pay and arm and a leg for it .

    2) Blue Cross , Aetna , Blue Shield ,amongst others will not insure you with a preexisting condition they only insure the cream of the crop that's how there underwriters work and get paid ,and hold on to there jobs, buy only signing up the good customers so to speak.

    We need heath care reform ask the people that don't have insurance they will tell you, if they dont its because they could never afford medical insuranceand dont know what its like to have there health taken care of !

    June 24, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  147. Gail Thell

    I keep hearing the concern that employers may choose to change to a government run program if it were more cost effective than their current plan.

    As an HR Director, I make adjustments and changes to our plan on an annual basis. To keep from taking double diget increases we have changed insurance companies, or changed our plan to reduce the levels of coverage. Our employee don't get to have a say in which plan we choose, just an option to participate in the plan that is offered.

    Granted we are a smaller employer, but most people do work for small companies.

    So, if the government plan is more stable and covers our employees at a more reasonable bet we would jump on it!

    June 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  148. Armand L. Archambeault

    Health cannot be insured, but can be helped along with good advice and help by the government as a right to added to each citizen's basic rights. If this means that our government competes with the private industries, then so be it. This is the only fair way to go for our government, to be fair to its citizens. Those who wish to pay independent insurance companies may do so as they wish, but those companies cannot complain about government 'competition' because the 'competition' of fairness to all citizens is necessary and deserved by the peoples. Love, Armand

    June 24, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  149. michael


    June 24, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  150. Dee in sunny (and somewhat wet) Florida

    I don't think true health care reform will come with this, or any other, administration, until the American People finally get it into their heads that if we had national health care for every citizen it would be a good thing!

    What are the arguments against it? First, a LOT of people say they don't want to pay for health care for someone else (meaning someone too poor to pay on their own) Well, wake up America, you already are paying! And I do NOT mean only through taxes. I mean through the health care PREMIUMS (they are called premiums for a reason, look it up!) that are paid to insurance companies. The insurance companies have all kinds of "plans" and some plans cover people who could not otherwise afford to go to the doctor! So, premiums are paying for the GROUP (which why it is called group health care).

    But never forget, our health care system is FOR PROFIT. Tham simply means that every single insurer, no matter how much they cry and moan about not making enough, ARE MAKING A PROFIT! Otherwise they would go out of business. This tells me that, even after all the claims are paid (following a lot of hassle and arguing with the insurer), and even after ALL operating expenses, the insurers are GETTING RICH! DUH. Is that a hard concept?

    Second, many people don't want some "bureaucrat" making their medical decisions. Are we collectively so stupid that we think a DOCTOR looks at every single claim we submit? HA! Claims are received, processed and paid or rejected by CLAIMS SPECIALISTS, who are basically CLERICAL WORKERS (think, BUREAUCRAT) So, how would a government single payer system be much different what to those who are against having a clerk meddle in their health care), from what we have now? Well, for one thing I am pretty sure the government system would not be FOR PROFIT!

    How would we PAY for a national health care system? Ask yourself how much you are paying right now, to your insurance company. How much would it cost if you lost your job and had to rely on COBRA benefits? How much would it cost you if you lost your job (or got injured and disabled) if you had to pay for all medical treatment out of pocket? Trust me, a national insurance plan might even SAVE the people money! If a plan participant does not have to contribute to the PROFIT of an insurance company, it cannot be worse than what we are paying right now.

    As to the efficiency of a government system, I must take a look at Medicare. I have absolutely no problem getting my claims paid by Medicare, often at about the same APPROVED amount as would be paid by a private insurer. The system seems to be functioning smoothly, and since it goes to a single payer there is not a lot of question about who pays what. My doctor gets paid, there is a "negotiated" amount they get, and I pay the rest. If I WANT to have supplemental insurance I can, but I am pretty well satisfied with Medicare.

    How to compare a government single payer system to other government departments to see if they are efficient? How about the USPS. It moves BILLIONS of pieces of mail every day, from door to door, and at a really small cost to the sender! It's pretty accurate and very little mail gets 'lost'. The same can be said for Social Security. It is mostly very efficient. Beneficiaries get their check or direct deposit EVERY month without fail (usually) and the workers are (mostly) friendly and efficient.

    So, why is everyone so scared about national health care? Because the drug and insurance companies are using scare tactics to maintain their market share! Trust me, they do NOT have the best interests of the PATIENT at heart! And anyone who believes they do is being fooled.

    June 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  151. Sandy

    Unequivocally, this healtcare reform will it help me/us...Do I want to have the government in the business of my healthcare? Absolutely, I do! Currently our health is dictated by the purse strings of the private sectors and mainly this includes what insurance companies will pay doctors and what they won't, who they will cover and who they won't etc...its complicated.

    Private insurance carriers are looking after one thing only, the weight of their pocketbooks. And; they are badly misinformed if they truly believe the "People" are not smart enough or savvy enough to figure it all out...we most certainly are and on whatever mask you try to disguise it! You have left way too many people in the wake of denied coverages and claims "and" outrageous healthcare bills they can never pay back. "Healthy" competition...bring it on, its perfect. Notice how all these corporate insurance carriers are scrambling to naysay with letters to Congress, etc., Mr. President, you must be on the right track!

    For every one (1) person the private sector finds to rebuke this plan...we can find hundreds to "counter-rebuke" with the facts to prove it.

    Its going to be, and is, a real mess for President Obama; but, he is a very bright man with an exceptional code of ethic. This healtcare reform is long, long overdue! There is alot of money disguised in a lot of different faces and a lot of different interests. While the President is certainly bright enough and strong enough of Congress and the Senate? For those fine members who have fought tirelessly for many, many years in the interest of our health, thank you, truly, thank you! The rest of you, and you know who you are, are pathetic.

    The fact: The richest private interest companies dictate the poorest quality healthcare in the "Free World." What's wrong with this picture?!

    June 24, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  152. Eric Glinsboeckel

    I have been paying into the insurance pots for 20 years now. I was recently laid off and now I cannot find an insurance company to cover me no matter how much I am willing to pay – excuses range from cholesterol levels to them not receiving results on tests that were never conducted.

    I am extremely irritated with this system and how I am now not even being considered to get health insurance at all. A government plan would help; they seem to work in Europe!

    I wish something could be done to these insurance companies scamming all of us out of our lives....

    June 24, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  153. Dodie - California

    We are way over due for affordable health care. I will be so happy to be rid of the ((for HUGE profit insurance companies)). I am a government employee for 25+ years and when I retire, my insurance premium connected with the local government will be $612 per month for an HMO. Now who on earth can afford that on retirement!!!

    Thank You President Obama!

    June 24, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  154. Amy

    I think the United States has the best health care available in the world. Is it perfect? No way. It beats the heck out of socialized medicine, so get over that hump America and lets move on to personal responsibility for ones own health care coverage.

    In the state of California, at one point in time, it was optional to have car insurance, but no more. I think the same should hold true to personal health care. If your employer provides it, great, otherwise take care of yourself. I cannot tell you the number of people i personally know who do not have health insurance, but they have money to go out to bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Even parents who say it is too expensive, yet their kid has every toy on the market cluttering their rooms.

    Insurance would be so much less expensive if everyone participated. Younger people might have to live at home a little longer. Yet over time this would become an anticipated expense. It would eventually cost Americans less in the long run because of the number of people participating.

    The government can help step in by creating guidelines with insurance companies for better coverage to more people, creating rate structures based on health and history. The government should spend money on educating students how to better take care of their personal health. instruct on basic good habits of eating right, exercise and staying away from the bad things that can compromise our health.

    This is a very long topic that could have a million avenues of pros and cons. I am no rocket scientist yet I truly believe that it would be a more responsible action that would make people more aware of their health and well being. I just don't understand why it is not an option on the table.

    June 24, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  155. kelsey

    If there is going to be a federally sponsored reform health care program, I think congress, senate, all federal employees, state employees, and the entire public at large should fall under the SAME BASIC health care plan.

    As is often the case in today's private employment marketplace, all enrolled subscribers (with exception of entitlement groups such as VA and Medicare) should be "required to pay premiums from their own personal funds" (e.i., no federal payroll employer benefits, etc. ) unless they fall below minimium income guidelines. We won't get a fair and equitable program until the congress and senate realize they also are only citizens and should not be in a health care program any better than available to the general citizen.

    If any of the fore mentioned subscribers to the public plan desired a level of health care they thought to be more desireable than the public plan, they would not have to participate. Those persons could purchase coverage in the private marketplace using their saved public plan premium and any additional funds necessary to purchase the level of health care they personally desired.

    Under a public / private plan as described, the free market insurance companies probably would not feel as threatened and might even be willing to share underwriting the public plan. The private insurers could even ( and probably more efficently ) administer the public plan. This could be a win, win for both the public and private marketplace.

    June 24, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  156. Roz Conroy

    I am sure it would hurt me, any GOVERNMENT solved health care problems, would ONLY help lead this GREATEST Country on the face of Planet Earth to go into default! President OBAMA has already said the USA is broke! Now, if you are BROKE, unless you don't understand a balance sheet, you don't have enough MONEY to pay for ANY more GOVERNMENT SPENDING. How can you/we ask our grandkids or theirs to pay for this wild spending spree? That would be "TAXATION (paying OUR bills) without REPRESENTATION", because the payers would not even, have been born, or not of voting age, yet .... to vote for this SPENDING! ...... GOD help the USA.... it is beyond GOD bless the USA! But we need Him to do that also...

    June 24, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  157. Shirley Tacker

    Health care reform is way overdue. The insurance companies have this country by the throat. Health insurance needs to be standardized and a government alternative is a good solution. Costs for care and costs for insurance must be reduced significantly, good coverage should be in the package and prexisting conditions need to be covered immediately.

    Now the insurance companies are saying they can come up with a plan, well they haven't so far and we have been in this mess for years.

    Yes, Yes, Yes to health care reform and a government insurance alternative. It will help us and more like us. We know people who need care and have no insurance so aren't getting care.

    Our politicians need to come together and work out a solution instead of just fighting each other.

    June 24, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  158. Diane Hewitt

    Health care will be rationed in order to cut costs. Age will be the deciding factor to deny certain proceedures. Patients with financial means will go outside the US for expensive live saving treatment.

    June 24, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  159. pete casa

    health care is all well & good but tax my benefits?? only because there's nothing left to tax! if Obama & congress want it so bad let them pay for it! selden NY

    June 25, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  160. Edward

    Government controlled Health Care, would quickly become "Stealth" Care, I fear! That would help none of us! President Obama already said, "Under His Plan" the choice would be between Surgery or Pain Killers!
    That would certainly help cut the cost of the program. I wonder how long under a Government operated program, that life style (Smokers, Obesity,
    exercise, age, etc.) would be limiting factors? They prove to be major factors to health problems, which raises the costs of same! How would government control, help these life styles?
    Our Federal and many State Governments are broke. How can the Federal Government even think about borrowing and spending $Trillions to control one more part of this Great Country! Government told us that our education system only needed more money to do a better job! They got more money, what do you think of the job that they are doing there? That is Government control at its worst! Why did people flock to private schools .. all the ones who could afford it?

    You want to see those same bureaucrats and politicians take over your health choices, or leave those choices to your Doctors? The USSR had all parts of the economy controlled by the government! I wonder what happened to the USSR? Just ask your Politicians (Congress) where are they going to find the money, borrow it from the Chinese? Until we can pay for this new program with surplus revenues and not pass those costs on to future generations! Borrowing, now, paying later, credit card type purchases, with interest tacked on, is not responsible, IMO.

    June 25, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  161. William

    Here is a thought for you to consider, Please!
    Why not treat Health Insurance, like other Insurance Programs?

    Life Insurance, makes Smokers, pay a higher price, because it has proved to shorten the quality and duration of life. Smokers pay almost twice as much as a NON-smoker! I am sure if a person were obese and couldn't pass a health test, they would be refused coverage, or if covered, at a higher rate!

    Auto Insurance rates are adjusted depending on tickets, accidents, DUIs
    etc. GOOD risk drivers get a price break.

    Fire Insurance, could be refused in some areas if they have a wood or shingle roof.

    Health Insurance is the only one that I know, where health risk persons don't have to pay for their unhealthy life styles! I see a lot of mention in the above about pre-existing conditions? Are we not talking about some of the same factors as other insurance carriers
    can adjust because of those factors?

    It would appear to this taxpayer, health care is being provided for
    for at NO Cost to/for many people. Is this not the reason many Emergency Hospitals have had to close their doors? I know several have had to close in our area, throwing that burden on other hospitals in the area! Government controlled health care is already here, how is that working? (Mediaid) .. Closing Hospitals is one answer?

    We just can't afford the $Trillions that a National Health Czar would cost us, or do we already have one of those.... Probably so?

    June 25, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  162. Leo, TX

    Tony, the resistance to heathcare reform is mainly from the very rich and the very ignorant who do not know the difference between debit and credit in accounting but can state confidently that government-run healthcare "will be too expensive" or will "restrict choice of doctors." This all totally untrue. Let's examine the facts:

    -Government healthcare will be cheaper because government will not charge excessive profits. FACT.
    -Government healthcare can be done in a smart way so we can all choose our doctors just as we choose which public universities we want to attend. The government does not decide which university you attend simply because it provides financial aid. FACT.

    All the fear-mongering is from republicans like Rick Scott (the guy on TV) who owns a chain of hospitals and was found guilty of massive fraud and had to settle for $1.7 billion for defrauding medicare in 1997.

    This same guy rationed healthcare services in his hospitals with reports of one technician monitoring 72 heart monitors and the nurse-to-patient ratio so bad, babies were attended as infrequently as every three hours in 1997 (see money driven medicine by Maggie Mahar, ABC News, 9/26/97). He doesn't deny that he disgraced out of office but will not include that in his commercials.

    In 2004, Rick Scott's HCA (the company once referred to as the healthcare equivalent of McDonald's) made $1.42 billion, so we know this is all about profits and has nothing to do with patient advocacy.

    June 26, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  163. Leo, Dallas, TX

    Someone just posted this " Government controlled Health Care, would quickly become “Stealth” Care, I fear! That would help none of us! President Obama already said, “Under His Plan” the choice would be between Surgery or Pain Killers!" which is completely false and it gets published.

    I posted a counter-argument based on well documented facts and CNN did not post it. Is CNN taking sides on this argument?

    June 26, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  164. hladinuk

    Why does Obama need town hall meetings when the public already voted for him for 2 primary reasons: to end the wars and to provide us with a public health care system. Why aren't the Deomocrats providing all-out support for the public's demands? Unfortunately, we have a bought government, by the lobbyists for the lobbyists. The Republicans and some of the Democrats are more concerned with the profits of the Health Care Industry than what the public demands. This is just another example of the shame of our government.

    July 1, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  165. Beth

    We should be looking at the true number of unisured at risk in our country – that would be not including the huge illegal alien population that is without healthcare and not including the people between jobs that actually could purchase cobra options. Until the government can provide for the "Legal , working , americans" the SAME or AT LEAST AS GOOD healthcare that our public servants get – that would be our congressional members – they need to rethink taking charge. The HMO process really took quality care down many notches – but I am sure congressional healthcare quality did not change or suffer through the GOVERNMENTS healthcare decisions.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  166. Chris Staggs

    Hey Tony,

    The Doctor you just had on in reference to her prescription for the reform to healthcare. One item that I noticed she left out, was cost controls. The skyrocketing costs of healthcare are resting with the services that are being provided and the tests being ordered by whom, the Doctor's. Also one item that made me chuckle, was her ascertion that we are need to be proactive in our health, that I do agree with however, when it costs almost $150.00 dollars for an office visit and you do not have insurance or, like me, your nsurance plan is really a "discount" plan, people cannot afford that cost. We need reform, we need cost containment and we need to ensure the services and the costs are in line with reality not inflated costs so the Doctor and the hospitals can maximize profits. Once you take the profit margin away, we may be able to do something about the costs.

    July 1, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  167. Jean Ann McLaughlin

    People who receive SSDI/SSI from Social Security, simply cannot afford health insurances especially if medications are involved. Shouldn't those already deignated disabled by a rigorous Social Security process have 100% of their insurance and medications paid for?

    July 1, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  168. Jean Ann McLaughlin, Massachusetts

    How will those who are on Medicare, Medicare-like (a possible new plan), and Medicaid be assured that they will be to get a Primary Care Physician of their choice, in their area?

    July 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  169. Heather Siegfried

    I have great health care, but I have several family members who don't have health care coverage. Although they are small business owners, they can not afford to pay for health insurance. Everyday they risk their health and their families security because they can not afford health care for themselves. My family members pay taxes, but do not have health coverage. I am for an expanded government health plan. I believe the best way to pay for a government plan is through several means:

    1) Tax Big Tobacco and fast food restaurants to pay for this. Add a box to federal and state taxes for people to donate money towards this health plan.

    2) Charge participants of this health plan a reasonable monthly rate for participating. A different rate for single people and families. Adjust rate based on ability to pay. I suggest $50 to $100 a month. (Most people without insurance can afford to pay something, but there isn't a plan that is affordable).

    3) Co-pays should be based on a sliding scale starting at $5 to $50.

    4) Employers who offer health care already need to continue to offer health care plans or pay more taxes to be involved in the government health plan.

    5) For major medical have a deductible that adjusts the out of pocket costs of the health plan based on the amount of participant's deductible.

    6) Offer participants several health plan options to choose from.

    7) Do not give a tax credit to use towards health care. Republicans who propose this idea, really do not understand how the average American spends their money.

    8) Do not base coverage on pre-existing conditions or charge more for people who are obese or smoke. That isn't going to solve our problems and creates even more issues that will still leave millions without health care. Right now there is more than 25% of Americans who are obese and that number is rising. I think a government plan should include preventive care, cessation programs, and discounts to promote healthy lifestyle changes.

    9) Give a tax credit to businesses and people who offer or have their own health plan coverage.

    July 10, 2009 at 12:29 pm |

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