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July 21st, 2009
04:19 PM ET

RNC Chairman on Health Care (& His Own Insurance!)

Coming into our first hour today, President Obama spoke again about the need for health care reform. If you missed it, have a listen:



A few minutes later, Kyra got some reaction from Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, and some context from our Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.


soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Joey K

    Here are some questions I think should be asked, but haven’t been yet:

    Do doctors really need to make $400/hour?

    Is it necessary for a single pill to cost $100?

    Is it right for high sugar cereals to advertise toward children?

    What if nobody had insurance and the money was simply used when needed (government money)?

    –Wouldn’t this save a lot of money?

    How was healthcare more affordable 30 years ago than it is now?

    What healthcare spending is wasteful or useless?

    Could we tax companies that hurt our health (candy, soda pop, Red Lobster, McDonald’s, etc.)

    And would it be efficient to offer incentives to companies offering healthier items (healthier items would be cheaper, more people would choose healthy, less people would need to use things ilke emergency services, government would have to spend less money)?

    Is raising taxes the only option for offering affordable/reasonable healthcare?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  2. LRonHoover

    i love steele, the guy is totally out of touch with reality. and liz cohen – thanks for challenging on the point about the hypothetical granny being denied a hip replacement because she's too old.

    July 21, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  3. Mr. H.L. Atkinson

    Thankyou to Rick for trying to get some Canadian comment on the Republican attacks on our northern health care system. Jon Stewart of The Daily Show ran a clip of Mitch McConnel spouting baloney. If you have a member of your familiy getting good care in their 90s, it can make you want to throw something at the tv screen. I'd like to know who funds the Kentucky senator's campaign war chest. If Rick ever wants a good explanation of our system, there is a superb one in the September 1992 Consumer Reports from way back in the Clinton era. Dr. Michael Rachlis of Toronto has written several books on our system and is quoted by CR. Kiefer Sutherland's mother, Shirley Douglas, via the Canadian Health Coalition is another outspoken defender of Canada's system. Her father Tommy Douglas was a key reform mover.I would note the timid Democrats are not advocating our single-payer system . And CR says even it is not socialized medicine.The five principles of the Canada Health Act are supposed to be: universality, portability, accessibility, comprehensiveness and public administration and accountability. Problems can be discussed during both federal and provincial elections...a northern viewer in Manitoba

    July 21, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  4. Steve

    Steele is such a toool for the GOP in propagating his Propaganda against the people and for the industry paying the GOp and conserv dems.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  5. Steve

    Kyra and Cohen were awesome!!!!

    When steele says theres this "47million" block out of 310million, and thats not this big ...whatever. He leads the viewer/ listener into a dark corner.

    The fact is that 47 Million block is not the same group over and over, 365 a year that is without insurance.

    That is composed of Millions every year that Lose jobs, have jobs that dont have it, vs. some that do, contract, have spouses that have it, then lose it, many cannot be covered, some were on medicaid and then got jobs and came off it, etc.
    This group is Shifting constantly and may encompass 200 million americans when including children.

    Then consider that The elderly already have Medicare at retirement as their socialized medicine, and arent included in that group.

    Remove the Elderly on Medicare group from our 300 million+ population, and then consider 47Million uninsured from that remainder.

    July 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  6. Mike

    I heard your interview Steele RNC Chair.

    Why not have CNN poll all Senators, and members of Congress on who they have their personal health plan with. Private or Government Sponsored. If a government sponsored plan is good enough for them why isn't good enough for everyone else. I think it hypocritical the Rep Congress is saying "do you really want the government to run your health care plan",,when they have a government plan.

    July 21, 2009 at 8:25 pm |
  7. jean smith

    I cannot believe that in all the talk of the government possibly getting in between you and your doctor, what no one is saying is that insurance companies have been doing this for years! Insurance companies are all about making money,so if they think it;s going to cost too much, they deny you. C'mon people ,wake up! It's time to do something and show these multi million dollar profit companies that we're mad, and not going to take it anymore!

    July 22, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  8. Diana

    I think that we need a competitve health coverage this will make these companies focus on consumers more than their own capital gain I pay on health care through my company for years without any claims and when I am ready to use it I have a insurance coupon which makes no difference in the overall cost

    July 22, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  9. Mary

    Chairman Michael Steele, do not give up. You definitely make more sense than these two CNN people and Obama, and my group of voters and friends are made up of republicans and democrats. I would like to ask the questions asked of you on air to these two airheads. Cohen and Phillips: What kind of healthcare do you have, are you happy with it, how is it provided? Come on, let's be fair here, Mr. Steele answered your questions, now answer mine. Cohen, I listen to you to see how you are going to make yourself look stupid over and over and over again. Cohen these are my questions to you (since you appear to have insider information on what is in this bill, which those of us who it will directly impact do not), what is the annual deduction going to be, if any; how will the amount I pay for said insurance be determined; and what happens to me if my doctor does not choose to participate in this healthcare insurance? Both of you and Obama need to take a "mental illness day off," because the three of you clearly need it. Cohen you just continue to misspeak and like Obama only want to hear your views confirmed and might I add, God forbid, should you ever develop cancer of any kind that I be allowed to watch on video a doctor "just yanking it out."

    July 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  10. James

    The republicans need to step back and regroup .They have taken money from big drug and insurance lobbyists just as long as Democrats have. Isn't it time that the people should get a taste of the good life? Like getting health care that don't drop you when you get diagnosed with a pre existing condition, or you are laid off and, after the foreclosure you are backed into the bankruptsy corner? How, many politicians would drop the health care plans that WE pay for, and sign on to the crap they want us to buy? so the lobbyists can pay them more money, Politicians should not vote on this because it is a conflict of interest.

    July 23, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  11. David - Dallas, TX

    Michael Steel is just face cover that repubs use to cover their faces while he (Michael Steele) fooling himself in the face of real issues. The American need this reform now or never, and don't forget this reform started back with Harry Truman up to date. Pres isn't that stupid to lead this country into debt. He doesn't want that to happen, but the republicans in love with special interest groups trying to avert this progress.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  12. Fen

    When my father was alive he had a triple bypass done and the INSURANCE company he had him sent home in 3 days . That was not the doctors deciding but the insurance deemed this procedure to warrant only a 3 day stay for it .
    My wife's grandmother of 86 was on medicare and they refused to pay for he nursinghome when she broke her hip and had to use what was left of her life savings to cover it so if ya ask me everything we have now is broke and needs to be fixxed but of course the people that can afford the top health care don't want reform . Why should the common people of the country have as good as we do ?
    Try to live with a policy that you have to work procedures in the right time frame so you can get coverage for half of it on one year and the other half on another year just because it would put you over your yearly allowance or to have companies tell you your son can't get an operation payed for because it was prexisting . Lucky for me he was born with his problems and we won that battle but they sure did try to deny the claims for months and we had to get lawyers involved .
    Those are just some of my experiances with insurance in America and Mr Steele thinks most people are happy ? Get a clue . In my honest opinion these poloticains need to remember who it is they are ELECTED to represent because big business has done nothing but sell us out to the highest bidder.

    July 24, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  13. Suzette

    As a Canadian I would think twice before poking fun at you President on the health care issue... Can you imagine what it would be like every time you go see your doctor,specialist or hospital all you would need is to show your health card, never having to worry about getting a bill in your mail box. Specialist, MRI, CT scan,mammograms, cancer treatment all is covered. Rich or poor,young or old every child, every elderly would get the proper medical to stay healthy everyone is equal so there is no discrimination when it comes to health. We do have to pay for our med, eye exams dentist unless we have insurance benefits, but if you need eye surgery or dental surgery then the exams are covered as well as the surgery of course..
    I just can`t imagine not having my Canadian health care ( I think every country in the world should have health care)

    So please listen to your president hear him out...
    I can`t think of anyone here who does`nt like President Obama

    July 25, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  14. Lenny, Dallas, TX

    Republicans are very short on facts and very high on rhetoric. They are very good politicians and very poor with managing government when in power. Steele is no diffferent when he states that 85% of Americans like their health care coverage. Let's see what Gallup poll says about this:

    Americans are only a bit less positive about their own healthcare coverage, with 67% describing the coverage they now have as excellent or good.
    Nov. 13 – 16, 2008.

    May 18, 2009
    A recent Gallup Poll finds that up to 29% of Americans would consider traveling abroad for medical procedures such as heart bypass surgery, hip or knee replacement, plastic surgery, cancer diagnosis and treatment, or alternative medical care.

    December 1, 2008
    For the second straight year, Americans see access to medical care as the most urgent health problem facing the country, easily outranking some of the preeminent concerns from earlier this decade.

    The Nov. 11-14 survey shows that 30% of Americans say they or a family member have put off medical treatment because of cost, up from 22% in 1991, when Gallup first asked the question.

    July 22, 2009
    In the United States, Hispanics, those making less than $36,000 per year, and 18- to 29-year-olds are the most likely to be uninsured, at 42%, 29%, and 28%, respectively.

    You can see that the republicans simply make up "facts" as they go along. They constantly quote the Lewin Group as an independent source when the Lewin Group is owned by United Healthcare!! How is that "independent" ???

    July 27, 2009 at 3:47 pm |

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