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July 21st, 2009
06:50 PM ET

Health care reform: how do we pay for it?

In closed door bipartisan meetings, senators hash out how to pay for healthcare reform.

Filed under: CNN Newsroom
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Steve

    If we could just get all the Companies and Rich folks who are currently both Evading taxes, and using ridiculous loopholes to reduce their tax responsibilities, we'd fill the coffers of our Treasury.
    If we could just get back some of the Money the Treasury handed out ASIDE from the TARP money all year in 2008 (2 -3trillion?)
    We'd have a huge influx of cash.
    If we could just make our taxation and fees match all our trading partners, then we'd fill our coffers.

    Whats really sad is that NO ONE....NO ONE bothered to take up Warren Buffet's Millionaires Challenge for 1 Million Dollars in cash to prove their Personal Secretary pays a higher tax rate at their medium salaries vs. the Millionaire's outrageous incomes.

    That pretty much says it all.

    And why wouldnt Hospitals want to get all those "Free" uninsured ER visits taken care of?
    Ohhhh... because its more lucrative to concentrate on Insurance company kickbacks than getting society covered.

    July 21, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  2. suhail khan

    latest survey 50 % american r not happy the way OBAMA HANDLING health reform so r 50% AMERICANS rich looks like .Gross income with no child 1.6 million pay close 665,150 dollars as tax thats nothing new 5.4% is new pause for a second look how much money that is.There r 1 million home less white folks in california thats just one state

    July 21, 2009 at 7:09 pm |
  3. Jana A. Floyd Palumbo

    By making legal every illegal drug on the books now, and taxing the crap out of them. Hello? Legislate Morality anyone? How's that working out for you? About as well as it did when you tried to take alcohol away right?!

    July 21, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  4. Stehen Marr

    Get rid of the lobbiest and end kickbacks. (This means congress may have to get a second job like we do.) Oh yeah, start auditing professional expresses! I bet that alone would save tons of money.

    July 21, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  5. Carole`

    No one seems to be able to spell out how any plan will be or work let alone cost. Why would anyone vote on a bill with out knowing the in and out of such a costly plan.
    I like what I have–I don't what to pay any more taxes. And I certainly don't think the goverment officials are smart enough to even understand the content of this bill since they aren't business men. I bet they don't even pay their owe bills and don't have a since of how much we're already taxed. If we stopped sending millions to all the other countries that slap us in the face and spent that money on health care and schools American life would be so much better.
    My husband started with nothing and has work like a dog all is life and because of his hard work we're taxed to death. Is this fair????

    July 21, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  6. harbans singh

    i was watching a cnn news on a renting of a wheel chair, the
    medcare is paying 1300 hundred dollars in rent. me and my wife
    both are diabetics, insulin dependants. we use four vials amonth
    each, that means 8 vials. both of are using the same type of
    insulin but different brans. my wife is disable and on medicare.
    i have a separate insurance coverage. my wifes out of pocket
    expense is 3.25 dollars per vial and medicare pays to the
    provider almost 52.00 a vial. i buy my insulin from walmart
    pharmay for 23.67cents each. if i have to pay through my
    insurance i have to pay 25.00 dollars per vial. i wonder why
    medicare is paying so high for insulain. if medicare can bring
    the cost down to 25.00 dollars a vial then medicare can save
    1200.00 per individual diabetic patients. i do all my refills at
    walmart pharmacy because the generic brand is costing me
    4.00 dollars month for months supply and i am saving a lot of
    money. i am surprised that there is no control over the pricing
    system in this country.

    July 21, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  7. Khalid

    Every one who benefited from Reagan and Bush Tax Cuts and Clinton Economy Boom, should pay for the H/C reforms. This reform should have taken place many years ago, instead of TAX CUTS for the rich giveaways of the 1980s and 2000'2

    Take 10 to 15% of Social Security Checks from every on who is 62 to 80 years old. They got the money trough from the GOP Presidents. We Can Not pass the cost to our future generations in terms of Deficits.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  8. Ruby

    Why is Lou Dobbs still employed by CNN? How many more racists remarks is CNN waiting for to come out of his mouth before they say anything to him?

    July 21, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  9. Patricia Jones

    I feel like Michael Jackson father Joe Jackson should " SHUT UP " the people and fans are very disspointed in they way he is running his mouth. l personally think he should be morning over Micheal Death. it seems to me he always wanted to be famous and he will go thought any lenth to get some reconition. Janet Jackson could not hardly open her mouth at the BET Awards every one new she was morning over her brother death. Joe Jackson just seems to keep on talking. l would like to say to Joe Jackson you had a beautiful blessed son. and the whole world loved him and will miss him very very much we all will have to die one day . We don't know how or when or where we will leave this earth but we know we will . God has called Michael home. He's in a better place this is some people only hell and some people only heven. l do belive that he was murder by the doctor. and l know that the doctor will pay. PLEASE PLEASE let the FBI do there work and be QUITE PLEASE l belive you can mess thing up runnung your mouth. god told me to tell you this Joe Jackson Michael Jackson Father " GOOD MORNING "JOE" THIS IS GOD I WILL NOT BE REQUIRING YOUR HELP TODAY " WILL I BE ABLE TO TRUST YOU TO TRUST ME. Trust in god not in man. The word is praying your family and so am l stay strong. God blesses you with THE KING OF POP and of the WORLD be greatful for that. You know Michael Jackson was a quite man and l don't think he would like your actions right now . l don't remember you taken these actions when Michael Jackson was going to court. that when you should have made some noise. it's ok to be mad. you are not the only one it's ok to hurt. it's ok morn but it is not ok to get in the way of a investigation please do it for Michael Jackson your son. PLEASE

    July 21, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  10. James Gibson

    Hi I was wondering how hard can it be to figer out this helth care thing I think the senete dems need to get off there butts and pass obomas plan and quit snivling about things. rember its not politics as usual any more

    James Gibson

    July 22, 2009 at 12:23 am |
  11. michael armstrong sr.

    Health care reform can be done by raising the sales tax on merchandise sold instead of 8% sales tax on the dollar they could raise it to 10% on the dollar .

    July 22, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  12. jane myce

    I am an American living in Canada. I pay CAD$54 a month for better care than I ever got in the States even when I had what Americans think is good insurance. I have never waited anything close to 6 months for anything. Emergency care is instant. I am appalled to see my fellow citizens falling for the lies being spread about single-payer plans generally, and Canada's plan in particular.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  13. Monty Kuttner

    The Health Care Savings Account should be the basis for a national program for everyone under 65. Group high deductible policies should be available from insurance companies or the government if the companies won't provide such coverage at a reasonable cost. The companies or the government should also make available separate policies covering the high deductible amount for those who want or need it. The mandatory high deductible policy will lower the cost of preventing medical cost catastrophies that result in bankruptcies.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  14. sue riley

    When are the people going to get it.This country is run by insurance companies and banks.Ask everyone that has insurance what has happened to their rates and copays over the past 10 years.They are paying more and getting less.We need universal coverage to compete with the insurance companies.Rates will go down if they have to compete with government sponsored policies.If you look closely I bet you will find that the insurance companies are behind everyone who is calling out for no universal coverage.As usual people are being led like lambs to the slaughter.Wake up,open your eyes and you will see what the lobbying from the insurance companies are doing to you.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  15. Karen Zaytsoff

    Everyone should have a small percentage of their income taken for health care – everyone! It is unfair to singlke out one segment of society to pay for all. All taxpayers should pay. How much would one percent bring in?
    Insurance companies should not be allowed to deny coverage to their clients for pre-exisiting conditions or any treatments they choose not to cover.
    Doctors should be held to account by some sort of anti-trust legislation which would prevent them from enriching themselves by using their own labs and medical equipment or Drugs.
    This requires major changes to the way health care is delivered, it cannot be done in baby steps.

    July 22, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  16. Jason Spikes

    Health care is supposed to be about doctors and patients but instead, 40% of health care dollars go to paperwork and profits. Universal free healthcare should eliminate the wasteful, inefficient and failed private insurance system. All healthcare workers should be federal employees and all citizens would receive no questions asked walk in care by showing their id. Our country would save billions and our doctors and nurses would provide real care.
    Jason Spikes, South Padre Island, Texas.

    July 22, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  17. Erskine Ratchford

    It amazes me that people who are against Health Care Reform think that the health insurance companies will be everyone's friend and improve on their poor manner of providing health coverage. So many people think they have some protective coverage with their health insurance only to find out when they need help, the health insurance companies decline to cover the costs. With no competition the public is at the mercy (which is none) of the health insurance companies as to cost, acceptance and coverage. We need the public option to try and keep the health insurance companies honest as best as possible.

    July 22, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  18. Robb Yale

    I have been watching your reports on upper tax levies on wealthy Americans... perhaps 50% tax rate. One issue you are not reporting is the fact that most of those fortunate Americans are not actually paying a 50% rate. There are taxable deductions on many investments and tax shelters that drastically lowers taxable income. Tony, do you really beleive that anyone really pays a 50% rate on their gross income???

    July 22, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  19. Erskine Ratchford

    Comments that employers will not be able to provide private health insurance coverage to their employees if a public health insurance program is available are pure bunk (provided by health insurance companies). With the increasing costs (and coverage reductions) pushed on to employers by the health insurance companies, more and more employers are having to either drop health insurance coverage for their employees or let some employees go. If a lower cost public health insurance plan was in place, the private health insurance companies would have some competition to keep from passing on unrestrainted costs or the employer could use the public health insurance program to continue health insurance coverage to employees.

    July 22, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  20. Joe

    I hope someone is listening! Why is the American public allowing this President to both create irrevocable harm with huge debt levels for future generations as well as targeting the working/educated population of this country as his meal ticket. Has everyone lost sight that this leader (I use that term lightly) has never been involved in creating any legislation and now he is pressuring the country to pass tremendous reform with little more than a few weeks time to review it. IT IS MANIC BEHAVIOR. He is only pursuing such a strategy because the Dems control both t he House and Senate, but to date everything he has pursued has failed. A leader is not someone who just spends money on many types of ideas (TARP, TALF, PIIP) hoping something sticks so he can say his is right, a leader is someone who is decisive. WE all have serious issues in this country and it is not the time to now talk about Health Care; where are the jobs he promised? Where is the "green economy"? All he has done, due to his naivety, is put this country in unimaginable debt, make us beholden to China that we actually entertain conversations of a "Global Currency", and has made us the laughing stock of N. Korea. I beg America, create balance in the House and Senate in the next election so true, thoughtful legislation may be passed. Stop this President's Manic behavior and/or just refuse to pay taxes. If we, the target masses of Mr. Obama for his funding needs stand together and stop paying taxes and/or form a "working America rights group" maybe he will understand that he is destroying this country. You have all worked hard for what you have, why are you letting a socialist take it from you? Change is needed, he was not it! Restore balance to the political system, one party should not govern with an iron fist.

    July 22, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  21. James T Hamilton

    No new taxes to support Health care until we complete the following.Thanks

    Health Care Question/Statement

    I agree with the Blue Dog Democrats

    • Controller Cost First, then incentives, and finally as a last resort add taxes
    o Automation
    o Limitation of Duplications
    o Reform the Medicare Billing System (I have first hand knowledge of this mess.
    o Get a handle on Drug Costs

    o Then Provide incentives to Doctors, Care Providers and Patients who meet certain goals that help reduce health care costs

    I have a grave concern that if we don't do the above items first and go directly to increased taxes that we could fall further into the current recession that we in.

    The government says that if you currently have health care insurance you will be able to keep it. My concern is that employers with changed to a less expensive/less quality government funded plan.
    Also, this is a big issue, please do not rush.

    July 22, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  22. Glenn Coates

    Ms. Riley says, "They are paying more and getting less." That would be exacerbated if the naive Kennedy/Conrad idea of taxing insurance companies direct is enacted. They would view the tax as an added cost and pass it on to policy holders in the form of higher premiums or reduced coverage. Plus, trying to sugarcoat such a move would just be another penalty on small business owners.

    July 22, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  23. Holly Waddles

    Sue Riley says it very well. Wake up people! The insurance companies are raping us. I am now out of work & was offered Cobra for over $400. mos. Who can afford that when they are out of work? Tax the insurance companies and offer a government option to drive the costs down. Why do you think people go to Canada for their prescription drugs? No one should have to go to those extremes to live. The time is now for health reform. This country needs set prices across the boards for office visits and hospital supplies. Obama has the right mindset, and we need to all rally behind him to get the job done.

    July 22, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  24. Allen Phillips

    If California has managed to legalize medical marijuana and subsequently tax it, why can’t we legalize it nationally and have the tax revenues subsidize the nationalized healthcare program. If you put a pencil to it wouldn’t the government collect hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenues that are crrently not there? I don’t buy the notion that legalized marijuana would create more addicts, Has anyone ever overdosed on marijuana?

    July 22, 2009 at 8:11 pm |
  25. Ben Cargile

    The Repugs want to break Obama because they want to get back into WhiteHouse and Congressional power. As long as Demos have power it is likely that more of the crimes and misdeeds of the Bush/Cheney administration will be uncovered. Repugs don't care about the average Americans, the repugs just want power to keep themselves enriched.

    July 23, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  26. Randy N

    We pay for everthing in this country, it does matter if people don't have the money to do it. The people our goverment that do all of this are already rich, Why don't they pay for it they after all caused the problems We are having in this country not US. The public needs Cnn and other media to help Impeach this Administration Will you help?

    July 23, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  27. michael holzgang

    Perhaps a health care system should consist of Government loans. If you NEED care apply for a low interest loan. However, meaningless care should be eliminated. There currently is much waste in spending. Drug addicts who take ILLEGAL drugs currently get free hospital care. Why? You can't have a law and yet too support the criminal. That is not even in the definition of the word 'justice'. Why would tax dollars be spent for the life time care of a child murderer? There is no leadership in government, just over paid functionaries who have trouble standing as a MAN and making reasoned decisions. Our forefathers gave LOTS of thought to the Declaration and the Constitution. Today however it is all about emotional unreasoned scatter brained thinking, officials afraid to make decisions, everything has to go to committee.

    July 23, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  28. Sarah H

    Absolutely put a tax on sodas and watery juice drinks! It's an inspired idea! They aren't good for us, much as many of us like them, and they add to the obesity epidemic which is both raising health costs exponentially and shortening lives.

    I am a big supporter of universal health care. We need to find ways to off set its cost. The fact that the bottling industry is hysterical about the idea of a tax on sodas and is flooding the TV with ads to fight it convinces me that we are on the right track. Just think of how many sodas are sold each year. Billions probably. If each had a nickel tax on it, what a revenue stream that would be.

    July 23, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  29. Warren W Wagner

    One way to help pay for health care. Cut cost eliminate half of our political offices. In this day and age do we really need so many politicians and political offices. Expand districts can't one person oversee more than one city or state. I'd rather cut political jobs than see people do without insurance.

    July 23, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  30. Diana D Sweeney

    It seems obvious to me that when insurance CEO's earn 14 million
    dollars per year and profit mark up is 30% beyond that, this country
    has major expense problems with healthcare. No one in government, not even the president, earns that kind of money and
    government does not have a profit markup. Furthermore, comparing
    costs of healthcare programs to medicare might be inappropriate
    in that medicare participants are 65 years old and older. This age
    range probably has the highest usage of healthcare making it the
    most costly to provide. This might be the reason for the need to
    have government provide this service since insurance companies
    did not want to cover anyone over 65. We have to reduce expenses
    and insurance companies won't change until forced or this would not
    be a problem at this time.

    July 23, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  31. Lea

    Enlighten me please, why is Pres Obama's personal verbal input about a friend any different than Pres Bush and Congress input in the Terry Schiebo's case. Congress was on recess and recomvened just to give their congressional input (how is this any different, I say mmmm).

    July 23, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  32. louis

    Where the money coming from? If we can afford to build missile shield to protect America. Why can't the current president and the democrats poll there acts together to build a health care shield to protect all of us. Ensuring a healthy country is essential, it is not socialisim. Does anyone think that buiding a strong military is socialism too?

    July 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  33. josh

    Have the rich and wealthy pay. I forgot they consider that socialism.

    July 23, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  34. Terry G

    I believe we can pay to have everyone covered by: (1) tax as income the health insurance premiums that employers pay on behalf of their employees. The rest of us in small business or on our own have to pay for insurance with after-tax dollars. Why not everyone?
    (2) Tax all non-essential foods with sugar in them such as all beverages with added sugar up to a certain percentage of content, including sodas, punch, Snapple, etc., all baked goods with sugar (not breads), all sugar coated cereals, all sugar candy , ice cream, and snacks, etc. – you get the point. It will raise lots of money and reduce obesity, diabetes, heart disease. It is not regressive if it is focused only on non-essential snack foods and desserts, not healthy fast food. Hamburgers are not sugar based so they would not be included on the tax list.
    (3) Insist that the health insurance division of all insurance companies operates as a not for profit division so they do not pay out dividends based on what they make off sick people. If you take profit out of health care, costs will go down. Research can be funded other ways. (4) Have all health insurance be sold equally in all states to increase choice and lower prices. (5) Mandate that all citizens and legal residents carry health insurance like a social security number and that everyone must have a free, covered annual check-up to keep them healthy and qualified for free or cheap insurance. It is the law to be registered with a health insurance plan. We cannot afford people without health insurance. (6) Recommend that all doctors connected with hospitals be paid salaries rather than incentivized by payment per procedure. Payment per procedure or test increases unnecessary procedures. (7) Tax all non-restorative cosmetic surgery (ie. not skin replacement for burns, or breast replacement after mastectomies ,or breast reduction for back problems, or intestinal banding to stop obesity, or tissue removal after significant weight loss), but YES to non-medical, age- related purely cosmetic surgery such as breat augmentation, face lifts, minor liposuction, etc.). The taxpayer does not need to pay for those things. (8) Require pre-natal care and testing to insure that all babies are healthy when born. It will lower the cost of delivery and post-natal care. (9) Tax the very rich 1% for more $ to cover health care. (10) No non-essential health CARE or insurance for visitors or undocumented residents. No docs means no care, unless you are dying from a gunshot or stab wound. (11) We must cover birth control of all kinds to reduce the need for abortions. Young children, esp. in poorer neighborhoods are having unhealthy underweight babies because no one is talking to them about reproductive responsibility to the outcome of their actions. This is only the beginning, but the public has lots of ideas. What I do know is that what we have now puts businesses and insurance companies in charge instead of patients and doctors! It is wrong and will implode! As a patient, I am not a product or service - I am a human being - and I should be in charge even if I have no income. Human dignity is all we have left when our health fails. Don't take it away.

    July 29, 2009 at 12:04 pm |

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