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July 24th, 2009
07:24 AM ET

Pre-Existing Conditions: What if you're already sick?

As part of our series on health care reform, we invited a breast cancer survivor and a representative from the health insurance industry about pre-existing conditions.

Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Dan Leahy

    What we're all sick of is CNN doing everything it can to portray health care reform as in deep trouble. Every minor setback is portrayed as a possible death blow to reform, or as a major defeat for Obama. It could not be more obvious that CNN is in league with the corporate interests determined to defeat meaningful health care reform. It might not be this way if all you millionaires didn't have cadillac health coverage.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  2. John A Babitskas

    Hi Elizebeth, please explain that the doctor you see in the emergency room is an independant contractor in most cases, You will be billed for his/her services and the bill collector will come after you. The hospital may write of their bill but, all off the doctors you see will still bill you and they simply pass it on to bill collectora. Example, a recent hospital stay came to 265,000 Dollars. But of that, over 20,000 dollars are owed to independat contractors. So, those who say "go to the emergency room, it's freee". are sadly mistaken. I love your work and keep it up. John

    July 24, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  3. mariano coll-roche

    forget about the new health care. i rather have congress healthcare/ system,including, dental, retirement,vacation,etc.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:01 am |
  4. Sharon Stine

    I believe using the new health program will be giving up life. According to Tom Daschle we senior citizens have to understand we can not get care. We are going to have to LIVE or probably DIE with it. Of course, I don't see many of the congressmen or the president planning on using this plan. If they were using this plan Ted Kennedy would not be getting the operations and health care he is getting.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  5. Donald A.Tyson Sr

    I'm a diabetic, have high blood pressure, elavated cholesterol and find it very difficult to get additional insurance because of these pre-existing conditions. Look...It all about the insurance companies making money. As long as you are not sick, and don't get sick, everything is fine, once you get sick (sometimes because you can't affort to pay for good medical care) forget it.
    NOTE: Keep up the good work Tony.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  6. j

    Tony, I think actions speak louder than words. This insurance representative, as well as other Healthcare Insurance companies have had years to do something about pre-existing conditions, before Government decided to step-up with a Public Plan. It's nice to have some talk sweet to you, but another to have sweet words put to action.

    The Healthcare Industry has done nothing about covering pre-existing condition within their policies before, so why speak up now? It's clear they don't want things to change for the better. This representative is fooling no one. If you cared that much before, you would have done something about it years ago. Only until Government is going to correct this problem..does she have the nerve to come out claiming our public plan is not going to help her do the right thing for others.

    Lady, fool me once shame one me. Fool me twice shame on you! CNN is doing a great job getting to the bottom of the truth. Nice news coverage on Medicare and the Wheelchair piece.

    My prayers go out to this Cancer survior and her family! The Insurance Industry should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to try to prevent real change.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  7. Eva

    Elizabeth, why didn't you ask how much profit the insurance companies are making now. I am in the same position as your guest and because I cannot afford health insurance I just don't have any. I have not had cancer since 1991 but if I apply my health insurance would cost me approximately $800.00 a month. I am on social security and cannot afford to pay this plus my co-pays etc. The republicans are blocking every attempt to get health insurance for people like me. I do not understand why this is so hard for people to understand how desperately we need this in this country. I am more than willing to pay my fair share but I cannot give up all the money I have to live on to obtain health insurance. I have worked all my life and paid taxes and now that I need help it is being fought tooth and nail by republicans. Where is their plan?

    July 24, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  8. j

    Tony, I think actions speak louder than words. This insurance representative, as well as other Healthcare Insurance companies have had years to do something about pre-existing conditions, before Government decided to step-up with a Public Plan. It’s nice to have someone sweet talk you, but another to have sweet words put into action.

    The Healthcare Industry has done nothing about covering pre-existing conditions within their policies. So why speak up now? It’s clear they don’t want things to change for the better. This representative is fooling noone. If you cared that much before, you would have done something about it years ago. Only until Government is going to correct this problem, does she have the nerve to come out claiming our public plan is not going to help her do the right thing for others.

    Lady, fool me once shame on me. Fool me twice shame on you! CNN is doing a great job getting to the bottom of the truth. Nice news coverage on Medicare and the Wheelchair piece.

    My prayers go out to this Cancer survior and her family! The Insurance Industry should be ashamed of themselves for continuing to try to prevent real change.

    July 24, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  9. Miriam from Philly

    If the President wasn't pushing a deadline, would we have any sense of urgency about health care reform, or would we continue to put it off?

    July 24, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  10. d stinson

    The ad CNN has been running re Canadian woman purportedly with brain cancer and unable to get immediate medical help in Canada needs to be verified!!!!! I've lived in Canada forty years, with family, extended family, friends, who have unfortunately suffered with cancer, heart attack, strokes, etc. NEVER IN MY MEMORY has anyone not received immediate first rate medical attention. However, should it be 'elective' surgery then yes, you may be on a waiting list. I have heard this Canadian woman did not have brain cancer and it was her decision to go to the states for medical assistance because her problem was elective and she wasn't prepared to wait. I think this ad should be verified for it's authenticity. Health care is in a tenuous place in the US and this ad has a negative,false message. I have lived in both countries. Canada has a great health program, not perfect, but still one of the best in the world. Check it out!

    July 24, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  11. Bob From Colorado

    I worked as an insurance broker for many years. The concept of pre-existing conditions and buying insurance is not as simple as portrayed. First, what is insurance? Insurance is a way of spreading financial risk amongst a group of people. My experience is a large percentage of people do not want to pay for insurance until they need it. Then they feel they have some right to coverage after the fact. This is beyond absurd. Imagine an uninsured driver has a car accident and goes out the next day to purchase insurance to cover the accident which has already happened. Is that OK? Even more absurd is the idea of someone is told they have a terminal illness and then want to purchase life insurance. Now lets talk about pre-existing conditions. The actual exposure to the insurance company is much greater than a simple life insurance policy. It is not all that uncommon for someone who has a serious illness to have expenses that exceed a million dollars. By definition, if the insurance company is required to accept someone with pre-existing conditions, premiums have to raise. This will be a fact.

    The lack of personal resposibility on the part of the population is really a large part of the problem. An example when I would be hiring the number of people of all ages who would say something like this: "I'm healthy, give me the money instead of the health insurance" I was paying for, surprised me every time. They would rather be driving around in a fancy new car than participating in a health insurance plan for their family. Often the lack of health insurance is a personal choice

    The number of people who would try to get both health insurance and life insurance after the fact would amaze me. Most of these people did have the ability to purchase both before they became sick and chose not to. It makes no sense for us to bail out someone who is not willing to accept the simple personal responsibility of purchasing health insurance.

    The only way to fairly add a waiver of pre-existing conditions is to require every human in the US to have and pay for health insurance. If they can't afford it, which would have to be proved then provide assistance to help them pay the premiums. Otherwise the cost of health insurance will sky rocket.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  12. Katie

    When it comes down to it, what are we as taxpayers, business owners, senior citizens, and individuals willing to pay for health care? Unless everyone participates, the costs of insurance are higher than the actual health care. Especially if someone, like me, has several chronic conditions. I am exceptionally blessed to have health insurance through my employer and my husband's retired military benefits. But so many people don't have that blessing.

    Everyone in the system has to look at the costs and benefits. Maybe we as customers can't get everything we want. And maybe the doctors, hospitals, etc. can't get the reimbursement that they want. But if we all compromise, couldn't something happen? It really doesn't have to be all or nothing.

    July 24, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  13. Bob Frazer

    Hello Tony
    Thanks for your coverage on the national health plan news.
    My question is "How , if at all will the senior HMO advantage plans be effected under the proposed plan?"

    We have been with Cigna senior hmo plan here in Arizona for 12 years, it is very affordable for folks like us on social security and a small pension. There is only the monthly medicare cost, no other monthly premiums, no primary care drs. co-pay, and a great hospital plan.
    We haven't heard this question asked and were just curious.

    Bob and Bonnie Frazer
    retired in Arizona

    July 24, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  14. Cheri Akins

    I do think this is racial profiling because if this was an older white man who proved he was a professor at Harvard I am sure the conversation would have been more cordial. Yes, this officer was so weak that he thinks he can tell the professor how to behave. This is scary! He keeps his ego fully activated, that is Officer Crowley versus Professor Gates who has rigghts and when he tried to exercise his rights he was arrested. The white officer should apologize. God pls end the cellular racism. thank you, Cheri

    July 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  15. Peggy Duncan

    I'm the guest in this story. If I could have, i would have challenged the healthcare executive with this: what specifically have you done to change, when, are you finished, are you satisfied with it, what took you so long, and can my team come check?

    President Obama cannot do this alone. We have to wrap our arms around this entire problem and tackle it from all sides.

    I want the food industry to make food healthier and stop putting salt, sugar, and steroids in our food. I want individuals to get more serious about the food, drink, and abusive substances they put in their bodies (you know who you are). I want a national movement of people walking and exercising. And I want all companies in the healthcare industry to examine every process, procedure, and technology solution in place so they can operate more efficiently...what are you waiting for?

    I truly wish the naysayers with these $40 million dollar mouths would stop whining about this issue and use that time to fix the problem. We cannot continue to dig ourselves into a hole unless we just want to be in the hole. I don't.

    July 24, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  16. Benita Arnold

    I agree with Tony, I think actions speak louder than words. Insurance Companies and representative, as well as other Healthcare Insurance companies have had years to do something about pre-existing conditions, before Government decided to step-up with a Public Plan. President Obama has the best interest at state for the welfares of many individuals that can not afford Healthcare, hospitalization, prescription drugs, etc. I believe that if we do not fully support Obama on many of these issues when it comes to Healtcare related. For goodness sake, think about your children, their children, and your elderly parents, and not too mention that one day we all will grow old and then what will we have as far as Healhcare. Jobs are stil laying off many individuals. And recently I found out that the company I'm currently working with as of now has increased the company Healtcare Benefits, what next, too totally eliminate these Healthcare Benefits altogether!!! People It's Time To Wake UPPPP!!!!!!

    July 24, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  17. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    Certainly Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions cannot keep quiet. That is a question for President Barack Obama. He is the only one who is going to make a decision to pass the question and choice to Congress. The fact is that minorities and Patients who carry the “Pre-Existing Condition” Label for their Health Conditions have never being acknowledged. I am happy that finally the discussion will take place because it has being delay thanks to filibusters, big interests corporation and politicians. Who is at fault? Mr. President Barack Obama did not cause the situation. Where are all these monsters?

    July 24, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  18. Bruce from Newport Beach, CA

    Even though I call in sick two days a year, I can't get private coverage due to a herniated disk. That is why I don't leave my job and become self employed. I want the public health insurance option because I could become self employed and get RELIABLE coverage that would not be canceled.

    July 24, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  19. Ellen Martorella

    There is no doubt that reform is needed, however it is not the Republican's fault if things aren't moving forward at lightning speed. It is the Blue Dog Democrats that are concerned with how the President's idea will be paid for. The reality is that the Republicans have many valuable ideas, however they are not included in meetings putting together health care reform nor are their amendments considered.

    The liberal Democrats have total control over what the health care bill includes. Are any of you aware that the legislation contains language REQUIRING that beginning at age 65, you will be REQUIRED to meet with your primary care physician every five years to discuss your right to end your life before you require expensive care and offering you a death option? The President is using hot button issues such as high premiums and pre-existing conditions as a way to garner support for a bill that contains many instances of troubling language. Why rush this and ramrod it through Congress? Reforming our ENTIRE system is something that should be carefully discussed and reviewed as to feasibility. Six months will not make that much of a difference in the big picture except that every part of this 1,018 page bill can be debated and READ. Why have to "reform" the entire system? Why not leave the 70 plus percent of people who are happy with their current coverage and set up a program that will cover those who are uninsured because they can't afford premiums or those with pre-existing conditions? Why should the entire country have to pay through higher taxes?

    Obama tied health care premiums to the national deficit in an attempt to get people fired up because the economy is considered more important to Americans than health care reform.

    Stop knocking O'Reilly, stop knocking Republicans and ask more questions before you stand behind legislation that will impact the lives of 300 million Americans in how we receive care from our doctors.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  20. Peggy Duncan

    Ellen, you're saying 70% of people are happy with their insurance. That's as long as they have a job, don't change jobs, don't have the audacity to become ill. And whether they're happy with their insurance or not, the system has massive waste due to inefficiencies and out-dated or underutilized technology. This has to be cleaned up so I don't have to do without although I'm willing to pay and I won't have to have a $5,000.00 deductible to be able to pay for a plan that will probably rip me off if I get sick.

    Bill O'Reilly and his $40 million dollar mouth has nothing in common with you (I'm guessing) so you might want to start listening to people who can truly relate to this problem.

    July 24, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  21. Kellie

    You are definitely right. Something needs to be done. I only have cysts in my breasts but once my husband lost his job a year ago, I was told the same thing. Denied. I've been on Cobra ever since, hoping he will land a full time job with benefits. I have 6 mos left. And no actual illness.

    Amen to the fact that wealthy people, and those with (what they think are) secure jobs, see no need for change.

    There is a need for change. The problem I see is that no one can quite figure out what the change is and what it would look like. I personally do not feel like our gov is either able to or trustworthy to handle health insurance properly. However, if you take the huge profit margins from insurance companies, get pharma cos to have to work on a different level where some profits go to research and the rest to production instead of huge benefits for investors, and, like you said, if we can get on a healthier lifestyle, both by food being created and by our own regimen, that would be the biggest steps.

    Then there should be a way for everyone to be able to get treatment without going broke. That is the sticky point. I don't want national socialized health care. I don't believe it will work in our country the same way it works in considerably smaller, closed countries such as France, Germany, Canada. We are a whole different beast and I don't think we can view our situation in the exact same light.

    Plus our system requires us to also take care of anyone who might be here illegally also. Which leads to a whole other question of, what about those of us who are here legally? I pay a ton of taxes, pretty much 25-35% of my take-home sole proprietorship income, which puts me back at $20k a year if I'm lucky, before $700 a month health care costs.

    Sigh... it's a very complicated issue. I would love to see something change quickly but I'm a little concerned that it will go through fast without the full consideration of how to actually do it, what it will look like, what the benefit will be, and how much more it will cost, and do we even truly know what it will cost. Right now I can't make heads or tails of the whole proposal. The news medias, ALL of them, are just confusing the issue more because they can't make heads or tails of it either.

    I hope we all have answers soon that we can live with, make use of, and be confident of. I'm glad you spoke up.

    July 24, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  22. Kellie

    Just watched the whole thing. That was great. I feel like the right questions are never getting to the right people. At least this time we got to hear something different. And something that in the sense of running a business, makes some sense. There are just so many sides to this issue, it's very complicated and so important.

    And it's good to hear someone who is more like me, just a regular working person, asking regular questions and seeking intelligent answers that can help put the pieces of all this together in a realistic way.

    I promise, I'm getting off my soapbox right now and getting back to work.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  23. Peggy Duncan

    Hey Kellie, thank you for this well thought-out response. Yes, the problem is very complicated and that's why I'm glad that President Obama has a team of experts who know a lot more than we do about how to work this.

    It can work. If the gov can get a letter from Atlanta to California in 3-4 days for .44 cents, we can get healthcare under control. But we all have to do our part: eat healthy, exercise, stop smoking, stop the fraud, eliminate efficiencies, etc.

    Just think, if the Republicans had spent time helping to make this work instead of being in secret meetings developing tactics to stop President Obama, we might already have a vote.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  24. Peggy Duncan

    D Stinson, someone wrote to me from Canada and they said the same thing.

    Yes, Tony, this needs to be verified.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  25. Peggy Duncan

    Miriam from Philly, He's pushing the deadline to keep them from procrastinating and putting it off.

    July 24, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  26. Ramona B. Smedley

    Let our voices be heard directly by our representatives – our congressmen, our senators, even the White House – bombard their offices with telephone calls, emails, letters, petitions; personally visit their offices.

    From a subjective point of view, I would like to know if considerations are be given to disabled, paraplegic/quadraplegic, medicaid and SSI recipients, providing for better overall services and human courtesies. Currently, typical Medicaid benefits do not allow for much prescribed and warranted physical therapy. Adequate replacement mobility and occupational equipment is most often denied.

    I would personally like to see a readily available, overall summary of the Proposal, in simple/concrete terminology.

    Kudos to this Administration for every attempt being made.

    July 25, 2009 at 3:03 am |
  27. Roger

    Tony, I remember before the election you mocked those that suggested Obama's policies were socialism. I can remember one show how you spat out the word "socialism" in a sarcastic way and read the dictionary definition of it.

    Now, the government owns most of GM, part of Chrysler, part of several banks, dictating who runs the companies and their compensations.

    Now the government wants to take over the health care system.

    Who is right now? Not you. And you ask "what are we willing to give up for our health care." I'll tell you right now it's not the Federal government's responsibilty to take care of me.

    I always thought the press savored their responsibility to question those in authority. But lately it seems you are all cheerleaders and sycophants. I'll be sure to get you a pair of kneepads for your next interview with the president.

    July 25, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  28. D Mahurin

    The estimated uninsured would seem to me to be a substantiial voting block, I would encourage these to contact their reluctant reps and senators to reconsider their positions.
    Also, it is the Republican Party that is consider ed by many to be the cradle of the Christian Right. I would encourage these people to read their Bible and consider its position on the relationship and resonsibilies of the rich towards the power, – and ask themselves, "What would Jesus do?"

    July 25, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  29. Peggy Duncan

    I just read that Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said something about not wanting healthcare reform because if all had health insurance she would have to stand in line longer at the doctor's. I'm speechless.

    July 25, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  30. d stinson

    Why doesn't CNN send reporters to Canada, check on our health plan, interview some of the citizens, get the facts, the truth!!!! This is as important an issue to cover as the racial controversy.

    CNN is my favorite news source; however, I'm feelng betrayed every time I watch that false ad wth the Canadian woman and her fabricated story.

    I understand revenue is important but with an issue as important as country wide health care for all and uphill battle the president is facing get it through, just seems to me hypicrictical?

    July 25, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  31. Roger

    Mr. Mahurin:

    The Bible wants the individual to make their decisions to help others, not have a coercive government force you to help others. That's dictatorship. That's slavery.

    "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar. Render unto God the things that are God's."

    The Federal Government's powers are expressly enumerated. That doesn't prevent the States or the people from doing things not listed in the Constition.

    Either live up to the Constition or change it by the Amendment process.

    July 25, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  32. Wanda Gurley Thomas

    It was delightful to see the interview with Ms. Duncan and the discussion that ensued. My husband and I are a self employed and have experienced major setbacks when it comes to insurance. My insurer, BCBS, advised me that my annual physical was considered a pre-existing condition (i.e., routine mammogram and pap smear) and would not pay. I argued the point and I was appalled at the customer service rep/supervisor and the entire company for giving me that reason for non-payment to the doctor and the lab. It has been extremely hard to pay our monthly premiums and we have a $3000.00 deductible. Our co-pay is $40.00 each visit and our monthly payments are $400.00 for myself and $650.00 for my husband. We are a small business and the $1050.00 with $3000.00 deductible is an enormous bill for coverage. The hospital, lab, scans, MRI's and whatever else that seems to be tacked on are ridiculous. I am very fortunate that I take no medications or have any conditions that require frequent doctor visits, however I am penalized as if I have something catastrophic. I can provide you with horror stories, this is just the tip of the iceberg just like many others I'm sure.

    July 25, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  33. Jeff in Key West

    Hi Tony, I'd like to know how many of these law makers are getting money from the insurance companies and how much? It's time to look out for us, not the insurance companies.

    July 27, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  34. Ted Carnahan

    "Hi Peggy, I am so glad you asked that question and I want to personally thank Tony for having you on today and for organizing this healthy discussion that is taking place at kitchen tables all across this great nation of ours by good, honest hard-working families and small business owners just like Peggy who know the true value of our wonderful doctors and nurses who go to work every day in order to help people just like...."

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! Cut the double talk, lady!!! Quit stalling!!! Don't try to tell me that the insurance regimes are suddenly going to go legit and start policing themselves just because they feel Peggy's pain!!! I don't buy it!!!

    July 27, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  35. Jennifer

    I wish everyone would shut up about why they CAN'T do something, and come up with a way they CAN do it. There are millions of people out there with no insurance who are DYING, while the insurance companies make record profits, and Congress sits around all day fighting over silliness instead of ensuring all of us are okay.

    My mother died two weeks ago of a massive heart attack. She had no insurance. Companies here aren't hiring people in retail full-time so they don't have to provide insurance. She has had chest pains for months. She KNEW the big one was coming (went as far as two days before to give me a will she was going to sign the day she died), and had to suffer in silence.

    Go to the hospital? that wasn't an option because friends of hers who had gone to the ER without insurance were left in hallways for hours and refused treatment. She couldn't afford all the tests, medication, possible bypass surgery, etc.

    so her only option was to know she was dying, and wait for it to happen. I lost my mother and best friend, because the healthcare industry is screwed up, and instead of taking care of our citizens, they're in it for a quick buck....making millions while our premiums go up, coverages go down, and millions of people have no insurance and are left to die.

    July 28, 2009 at 8:01 am |
  36. Jim

    Tony, I'm fortunate at this time to be a living example of the pitfalls of obesity.

    Met my wife at 185 pounds; diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at 228 pounds; diagnosed with prostrate cancer at 255 pounds. After hospitalization and surgery to remove my prostrate, I left the hospital at 224 pounds. Recovery activity and exercise restrictions and a insulin enhanced appetite have my weight currently at 246 pounds.

    Now riding bike, walking and watching my calories and carbs in my own attempt to reach 210 pounds. Believe me when I say obesity does increase the potential for life threatening disease and death.

    July 28, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  37. d stinson

    Jennifer, I am so very sorry to hear about your mother and how she went untreated to her death.


    July 28, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  38. Darlene Stukas

    Tony, I am watching your show on health care reform & I have lost 25 lbs become a vegan but still have HBP & High cholestrol. I am a lucky one I have private insurance but I can't get these #'s down to save my life. You can tax my foods I don't eat garbage. Wouldn't bother me however I do have a problem maybe you could help me w/. Last winter I went in for a colon scope at age 53 putting it off as long as I could, no one goes into a DR to ask for a scope up your butt however my old insurance company Cigna wouldn't pay for it saying I've had problems w/my bowels bvefore so my ? is should you be allowed to be tested for cancer even if they think you have a pre existing condition? for free? I am 54 MY hubby is 56 he has not had this test & I won't let him after what happened to me! love your show, DS

    July 28, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  39. d stinson

    And by the way, as a senior citizen living in Canada, my health insurance montly payment is under $100, including prescriptions. My main md is one of my choice, and should I need a specialist I can ask my main provider to refer me to the specialist of my choice. This probably wouldn't happen in my case because I have complete faith in my own doctor and know she'd refer me to the best specialist available.

    As I listen to the tragic stories from my neighbors to the south, I again thank God I am back living in Canada.

    July 28, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  40. d stinson

    Darlene, I hear you and I'm sorry you don't have the options I enjoy from my medical plan. I, too, have suffered from an intestinal disease (as did my mother, as do two of my children) My surgeon has scheduled me for a procedure every three, four years to monitor and watch for signs of cancer. No cost to me! My son suffers same, has had several hospital stays – no costl; however, my daughter in Washington State, who had major surgery to remove portion of bowel has State health care but it doesn't totally cover and she had to delve into her savings to pay the bills.

    I'm getting a bit irritated listening to so many uninformed negative statements about Canada's health care program and even the President suggesting it's something Amercans don't want. I don't have 100% knowledge, there are probably some negatives, however, from what I know, from what I've experienced, what I hear from friends and family across the country, I have never heard horror stories like the ones coming from US citizens.

    PS And like I said in a previous post my monthly health insurance payment is less than one hundred dollars – less than one thousand dollars a year! The son I mention above is not in position to pay for health insurance. His situation doesn't prevent him having medical and hospital care in Canada.,

    July 28, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  41. Carol from Atlanta

    I agree with Peggy Duncan's tweet about our healthcare system. I was laid off last year and would love to start my own business, but healthcare is a big concern for me. I, too, have a pre-existing condition that I believe may make coverage very difficult for me to get on my own. I am currently on COBRA (expensive), but that will end this fall. At a time when our President is encouraging entrepreneurism, this is a huge deterrent. CNN, thanks for putting a spotlight on this very important issue in the national news media.

    July 28, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  42. Bruce from Newport Beach, CA

    I can't get individual coverage because of my herniated disk, and I have called in sick only two days a year for the past eight years.

    The real solution is the public health insurance option which will not deny coverage to anyone. The public option would lower costs the same way public universities charge lower tuition than private universities. Obama, please back the public option because many self employed are under the threat of bankruptcy due to no coverage.

    July 29, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  43. bulldog4obama

    ATTENTION!!!! If anyone is SERIOUS about getting this done, ditch free healthcare for all Federal workers. Let them pay for their healthcare JUST LIKE THE REST OF US DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 29, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  44. jimmie Beardsley

    My attempt to keep up with the health plans for this country is #1 . to listen to the my President and how he breaks down this daunting situation.
    I feel the break-in conversation between Tony and Dana was not only rude but totally unnecessary during his speech in Raleigh, NC

    Their conversation blocked out my ability to hear the President's question and answer period.

    I would like to hear my President.

    Please don't do that again. I find it most annoying as I'm sure millions of others do also.

    Thank you,
    Jimmie Beardsley

    July 29, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  45. Joanna Clark

    The only solution that will save money in the process is to ditch all existing health care programs and replace them with a single-payer plan that guarantees comprehensive - health, eyes, dental, etc., for every citizen from conception to death.

    How do we pay for it... here's a two for one idea. Put an annual $0.50 per gallon tax on gasoline, increasing it annually until the price reaches $5.00 per gallon. Fifty-percent of this added tax goes to funding health care, the other fifty-percent will go to improving our roads and bridges.

    As the cost of gas goes up. people will get rid of their gas guzzlers, switching to hybrids and/or hydrogen powered vehicles, thus reducing our dependence on foreign oil and reducing our carbon-footprint. At the same time the cost of health care is reduced.

    July 29, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  46. scotte

    Health Care, Education and the penal system are commodities that feeds our capatilistic, free enterprise system. It's all about the dollar.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  47. Peggy Jackson

    I think what the president is doing is great, If more people would talk to each other about race in this country , We could elimate a lot of false sterotypes about each race. One job that I had , We were able to take a class about race to understand each other better. Because we all do not see issues the same because of peoples culture. We all want what is best for our society , And justice for all people equally under the law.

    July 30, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  48. John Bonatesta

    This entire race/beer issue has gotten completly out of hand.Enough already.
    Both parties over reacted. Report it and forget it. DONE PLEASE !!!!!!
    Sick of hearing about it..
    Wrap it up in yesterdays news paper like a piece of fish.

    July 30, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  49. steve

    I as a white male was pulled over all the time in Beverly hills Calif. at that time a drove a pinto. I was in a band that practice on Maple same street Diana Ross lived on. I was asked what i was doing, why i was there, who did i know, and they checked the facts. Even thou I felt a little upset i still had enough intellect to understand why. Was it profiling? Yes. Was it racial profiling? I don't know, let me think. One time it was a black officer. Get over it !!! Lets not accentuate the bad and call it the norm. that's race baiting. Is your partisan politics worth that? I think not. It's not red states, it's not blue states, It's the United States. It's not white, black, red, or yellow. WHO SAID THAT???

    July 30, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  50. C.A

    Mr. Harris the fear factor regarding health care reform is coming from conservative talk radio and foxnews on a daily basis. The negativity toward the President from Sean Hannity,Rush LImbaugh and FoxNews is relentless. They criticize him all day everyday and spread the fear factor on all the major airwaves in every city across America. It's really scary. C.A Houston,Tx

    July 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  51. Legacy

    Tony, I'm a bit curious... After the press confrence by the 911caller why is it that No One will talk about the Central Issue...

    Since when do police officers write events in their Official Police Report that didn't happen? Is that Protocol?
    If the reference to the "two black males with backpacks." was made up, then you have to question the entire Official Police Report. It's that sipmle...
    Either he lied or he imagined it. Officers that lie on Official Police Reports should be Fired. Officers that imagine events that didn't take place Should not be on the Force.

    July 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  52. Chris

    I believe that what many of us are sick of is paying the bills for those (not retired, not laid off) people who do not want to work for what they get. Come on people, the cost will not be nearly so high for a healthcare plan if the ones too lazy to contribute were left out and told for once that they need to get on the "work" wagon and help support this country. They are the main reason we're in a free fall in everything from healthcare, housing, learning, crime, etc. Has anyone paid any attention to the fact that many of the largest cities have closed their so called "projects" due to the behaviour of those living there? We can no longer afford to carry these people on our already overtaxed paychecks.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  53. CJ

    Hi Tony,

    A friend once told me that until I dated out of my race I never realized the hardships that Black Americans face. My friends and I use to discuss why Blacks were so defensive all the time and why they felt they were always being targeted. He said heand his date would walk down a grocery aisle and the White person would guard their cart on grab their purse. He was treated totally different when he was alone versus when he was with her. Let's discuss this. Do you really think there can be a "class" for racial problems. I am a believer you must be Black to understand what it is to deal with race issues everyday of your life. Yes let's get together.One thing for sure all three of these men will have a different out look on life and I believe all will be more sensitive. And one more thing, I truly believe we all have to open not only our minds but our hearts. Blacks are wounded and Whites just don't understand that all of us are trying to live, love and survive. Being Black in America you have the burden of carrying and in spite of dealing with the issue of being disinfranchised and still attempting to live in this great country and achieve the American Dream.
    Add that to being an everyday human in our country and see how you would deal with it.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  54. John R. Affigne Jr.

    It seems to me that most of the black guests you have had commenting on the Prof. Gates incident have avoided placing what actually happened in its true perspective, and instead, have employed all kind of diplomacy telling us what we know, viz., that there is racism in the United States today. The fact is that of all individuals involved, only Sgt. was entirely correct in the manner he discharged his responsibilities. Prof. Gates, apparently relying on his own race abused Sgt. Crowley with his behavior, irrational statements and his failure to show him the respect he deserved. He rushed too quickly to a racial judgment. President Obama did worse. After stating that he did not know the facts, he charged the Cambridge Police of acting stupidly. He violated a well known principle in legal litigation, viz., avoiding prejudicing a potential legal situation by taking sides befor all the facts are in. Observe, if you will, that Sgt. Crowley's Deparment, in short order, exonerated him.

    July 30, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  55. d stinson

    So many of the previous comments have valid points. What leaves me wondering is why the OFFICER, with all his training and knowledge about race relations, why he didn't understand the professor's position and sensitivity and use his , the policeman's sensitivity, to dilute the situation???? Hmmmm?

    July 30, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  56. Daniel Brown

    I followed the Grateful Dead for 18 years, and I was proud of it. So proud that I adorned my old chevy truck with stickers and decals. It wasn't until the 3rd time I was stopped (in 1982) enroute to some concerts, for no reason at all, that I figured out I had voluntarily pasted a bullseye on my truck.
    During that stop, I was handcuffed face down on the shoulder of I-40 while the NC trooper slung all my luggage and bedding out of the truck (in search of drugs I s'pose). He didn't find anything and left me to pick up my belongings. I soon after, removed all the stickers and decals and was never stopped again for driving while "DEAD".
    I have no trouble believing law enforcement violates people of all race's civil rights on a massive scale on a daily basis. I do believe Mr Gates probably became indignant, I know I did when I was laying face down on the shoulder of I-40, at the whim/behest of the North Carolina highway patrol

    July 30, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  57. Ira Epstein

    I wouldn't mind helping to pay for medical care for people with legitimate medical issues. However, I don't think it is fair that I would have to pay for medical care for people who continue to live risky health life styles such as illegal drug users, alcoholics, obese people, smokers, etc. If such people would change their life style, medical cost would drop dramatically.

    July 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  58. Chris

    So why can't all of our government employees from the lowest worker to the highest (as in Obama) have the same healthcare program that they want to force on everyone else. Also, why do people who will not work be eligible for it? Everyone in this country has to contribute or we are lost. You keep giving everything to some people and they keep begging and expecting more.

    August 1, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  59. Joyce

    I'm a proud Canadian – and one of the things I'm proudest of is our wonderful healthcare system, which is one of the best in the world.

    Never, in my whole life, have I ever had a problem getting a procedure or a test in a timely manner. Neither has anyone in my family, my husband's family, my friends – or anyone I've ever known.

    Of course, no system is perfect and I'm sure mistakes do happen, but they're certainly not the norm.

    If you've got a serious illness, you're going to go to the head of the line. People with non-life-threatening illnesses might have to wait a bit longer, but no one's going to argue with that. It makes sense.

    Oh, and at the end of that "slightly longer wait?" It's *free.*

    August 3, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  60. Ramona B. Smedley

    Less than 2 weeks ago, I lost my eldest son who became paraplegic as the result of a fall 1.5 years ago. Unfortunately, and as he was ever reminded by health care providers, he had Medicaid (for which we were thankful) and was an SSI recipient. Though, according to medical scientists, he was never to realize any movement below his point of injury, during the past few mos. he astounded his providers by doing so, consistently. They immediately deemed it necessary for him to have physical therapy and submitted their written recommendations to his Medicaid provider. Up to and including the date of his sudden and unexpected death, 7/28/09, approval for same had not been forthcoming. Imagine his enthusiasm when he was able to make those several and constant movements; he became very hopeful to walk again, and imagine his disappointment as he sat in his ill-fitted wheelchair (waiting for replacement for 6 mos.) hopin and praying that someone at Medicaid would issue approval for PT along those lines! And, hoping that at least one of his several providers would be more aggressive as a professional advocate with Medicaid. And, imagine the seemingly heartless responses I, as his caregiver, received upon follow-ups as to the status of not one but two pending approvals. (i.e., "well you know he's Medicaid.")
    So, though all things are obviously purely subjective, we would do the universe much good if we all stepped out of our individual 'whine zones' and in unison got on a band wagon campaigning for overall improved benefits, considerations, and more humane responses – compassion. This is my subjective plea.

    August 7, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  61. Sandra Lovasco

    Hi Tony, I used to have good health care coverage, however, after being out of work because of being hurt in a few car accidents (not my fault) I can no longer afford it. I was a teacher and behavior analyst, I also covered my husband. Now my husband goes to the VA and I get doctors for my injuries. (the doctors get paid when the insurance companies settle). This does not give me flu shot, mammograms and general care.
    I am also a naturalized citizen from the UK and the health care was great. I have been here 32 years and my only problem has been taking care of the health of myself and my children (all grown). I became a teacher in 1999 after raising my children as a hairdresser and a single mother.
    I am upset with the way people are saying we have the greatest health care in the world. We do not.
    I am pursuing my doctorate in special education while living on student loans. There are children sick and poisoned with toxins left by big business. I believe that it is the same big business that is against health care reform. They have the money and the insurance to take care of their family. The insurance companies don't want change, but it is time that we health care without profit.

    August 11, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  62. Frank

    Kyra- Once we pass reform and we're not denighed coverage due to a pre-existing illness, what's to protect us from the peditory health insurance industry practices like price gougeing us because: (1) we have a pre-existing illness and (2) we're required by law to have health insurance.
    I hope someone in government has the sence to forsee this and do something about it! That's why a public option is such an important ingredient to health care reform! Something has to keep the insurance companies honest!

    October 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
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