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August 16th, 2009
02:24 PM ET

Answering your health care questions

All week, you've submitted questions on the Health Care Reform Bill.

Here were your top nine concerns.

1. "Death panels"– What kind of power will health care reform give the government

2. Abortion – Is it true that the plan will require taxpayers to subsidize abortions?

3. Illegal Immigrants – Will illegal immigrants be covered under the reform bills?

4. Medicare for Seniors – Will there be cuts in medicare?

5. Bank Accounts – Will the government have access to our bank accounts?

6. Keeping your current plan – Can people keep their own health insurance if they want to?

7. Coverage for college students – Will college students be covered under their parents' health insurance policies?

8. Perscription drugs – We haven't heard much about prescription drugs. Are they covered?

9. Dental – What about dental insurance? Is it included?

Here are our answers.

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield • Josh Levs
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    What does it takes to make Republicans and Democrats egree in something?

    August 16, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  2. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    What does it takes to make Republicans and Democrats agree into something?

    August 16, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  3. george in MD

    under the new proposed health plan ,does that mein all your care is covered ? eye-care and dental-care coverage.
    also under this plan is been stated that illegals are not covered ,if that is so, where do illegal immigrants going get free tax funded care from?.
    this is not unfair criticism of illegal immigrants that do receive our taxed free healthcare now...I just want to have that plan new plan be clarified.

    August 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  4. Sue in Newtown, PA

    I am a Democrat looking for the TRUTH about the healthcare bill approved by congress. I am only getting bits and pieces of the truth amongst all the debating. I am trying to hear BOTH LIBERAL AND CONSERVATIVE viewpoints in order to understand just what the ultimate healthcare bill may look like, and what it will mean to me, my family, my friends, and all the uninsured citizens of the USA. I HAVE DOWNLOADED THE ENTIRE BILL and have read parts of it, and I do understand what I read, but it is very time consuming. I am getting some facts – though not enough – from the liberal representatives in the news. But I am REALLY FRUSTRATED WITH THE CONSERVATIVE PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVES who are not condemning the fictitious claims being disseminated from extreme conservative organizations that have and still are FOMENTING ANGER AND DISCONTENT, especially among senior citizens. Because senior citizens have been targeted, it makes me wonder if they have done so because the YOUNG CONSERVATIVES OVERALL BELIEVE THE HEALTHCARE BILL IS GOOD FOR THE USA. I see the vitriol as the extremist conservatives falsely portraying the story of “The Little Train That Could” as “The Big Train That Will Run Over Conservatives!” Please, conservative representatives, GIVE US SOME INTELLIGENT, LEGITIMATE REASONS where and why you think the bill fails. Help us ALL understand where you stand!
    Thank you!

    August 16, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  5. Art

    Two ?s That Need to be Asked in the Health Care Debate
    of those Town Hallers that say they don't trust there government.

    1- Did you trust your government when they told you we had to make preemptive war on Iraq and spend over a trillion $s to do so? Did you speak out then and if not why not? I don't believe these folks lack a trust in the government, they just don't trust President Obama.

    2-When detractors say why can't we buy our Health Insurance across state lines which would be more competitive? I would like to know who will then regulate these companies relative to maintaining reserves and paying claims. And if they say the federal government will, then they need to be asked why they want to turn over a states ability to regulate who does business in there states and turn that over to the feds, especially if they don't trust the Federal government to begin with.

    3- And then one more: If you feel that the Federal Government should not be involved in the health care and end of life issues of the individual, they need to be asked if they supported the Republican Congress and President who intervened the private affairs of Terry Shivo and overruled the decisions of the Florida State courts?

    Three simple ?s will tell you what the feelings and knowledge base of the protester really are.

    August 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  6. michael armstrong sr.

    I think this health care debate is going to turn out to be 2012 election killer for Obama maybe all the previous presidents knew this was a project best left alone because of the reprecusions for a second term.

    August 16, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  7. William Anthony

    Obama continues to say that the govt option plan will have to be self supporting, ofcourse, that means with tax increases, etc. Now if the govt plan is to compete with private plans tell me how a private company has a chance to compete. First the govt program is subsidized with tax increases and cuts in medicare so immediatly you know that the premiums to participants will not be large enough to support the program as is required with private insurance companies. How is this an even playing field, not to mention that the govt pays nothing for its financing or any or the many taxes paid by a private company. How can anyone ever reconcile these things to keep an level playing field. The fact is, they cannot. And that is the reason that eventually there will be one plan and it will be all govt and a one payer system as Obama stated at a AFLCIO meeting during the campaign that he wanted. He said it will take time, but that is what he wants. A govt option will lead to just that and at some point, we will have no more borrowing power to fund an already bankrupt govt. and when their are no more funds then the govt will have to decide what they cover and what they do not just as today with medicare, but on an expanded basis. This is rationing and someone in your govt will finally decide whether you get treatment or not. Please wake up and look below the surface answers. You are being had and CNN is not very smart for not looking deeper into the issues. What shallow news coverage and naive beyond belief. Get your head out of the sand PLEASE.

    August 16, 2009 at 4:33 pm |


    August 16, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  9. Cecil Jones

    So we have come full circle on the healthcare debate and Pres. Obama is ready to throw in the towel saying, "No, He Can't." What type of leadership is this? He must admit that this wasn't his "Big Idea" and he can't find a way to "Giterdone." What's the "Silver Bullet?" We are never going to give up the public option of Military Care or Elderly Assistance...period. We could have granted an exception for care for people not eligible, but building an Obamacare Dream was too risky. Look at the debate? He used a trillion dollar lure to get healthcare at the table and keep them loyal to his ideas. In Obama's other hand is a cattle prod threatening these loyal lapdogs trying to collect the money they stole. Obama's insurance reform was always "Mike Vick Sick." They knew it wouldn't work so they tried to rush. They know somebody can find a solution so they limit the debate like Dick Cheney on Energy. Let the Liberals in the White House? Everyone involved in this process is a Republican or Republican-Lite.

    August 17, 2009 at 8:32 am |
  10. aleco


    August 17, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  11. joe

    It is interesting that as the Health care bill has had time to be digested (instead of being forced to a vote by Mr. Obama with little time to actually read the bill), many conflicting views have resulted due to the ambiguity of the language and my feeling is that if a bill is crafted with such ambiguous language that so much of it can be left open for interpretation, then it should not pass! Once we let the Government in, they will define it however they feel fit and whatever Mr. Obama is saying now he could easily go back on.

    August 17, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  12. Paul Smith

    Regarding Doctor's concerns about Doctor shortage, they suggest using more Physician's Assistants and Nurse Practitioners to fill the void. My comment is will they bill patients at a lower rate for seeing non-MDs? They currently do NOT. The contention is that patients are paying for the space, not the skill of the provider. If this is the case, then if the patient is seen by someone in the parking lot, it would be free, correct?

    August 17, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  13. Jose Carrasquillo

    I have watch every station talk about HEALTH CARE REFORM and it seams to me that there 3 plans, Obama plan, republican plan and democrat plan. All station put 2 or 3 politician for 5 minutes on to answer questions. One say one thing the other contradicts that. So We the people are confuse. None have any proof of what they say and in 5 minutes you can’t say much so at the end we still confuse. If the document is on line and there 1000 pages long no one have the time to read that or to understand it.

    I think that a program oh maybe 4,5,6 hours, something like a debate, may give the people more information. And answer the questions with proof on hand, not from the top of your head. One representing republicans, one democrats and one Obama.

    Get the answers to the questions that the people have from the document that is in place. Have proof that what they say to the people is the truth. If any one contradict or challenge and answer lit him or her prove it. And when it comes the time to pay for it show mw the number and exactly where is this money coming from.

    This will take time, but I think you will have every one tune in. We want answers but in 5 minutes no one can answer them and it only leave us confuse when some one else contradict that.

    Jose R. Carrasquillo
    San Antonio, Texas

    August 17, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  14. Adam

    I am an Orthopedic resident, almost finished with my residency and preparing to head back into the USAF to finish my committment (I am also a graduate of the USAF Academy) I am curious why there has been no discussion (or at least very little discussion) about tort reform as a part of the health care reform plan. In our institution, we treat many patients who do not have insurance – if you come to the ER, and you need surgery, you will get it. The attending on call will take care of you. However in treating these uninsured, non-paying patients, the attendings (as well as the residents in this particular state) become liable. Every year someone else is sued by one of the patients in our "free" clinics. It is no wonder why physicians are suspicious, tentative, and sometimes seemingly heartless. I would not want to sacrifice my children's future by operating on someone who has no financial stake in their own care. I ask again....where is the tort reform? Protect doctors from the litigenous society in which we live, and it will free them to care for everyone..........

    August 17, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  15. Tom Jeffries

    I have a question for ANY or ALL; IF public option is dropped AND private health insurance are forced to comply with covering people with pre-existing conditions/ no dropping people that develope catatrosphic illnesses.Will those private insurance companies USE the excuse" since our costs have gone up because of compliance,we are forced to raise our premiums"...isnt health care REFORM a misnomer?

    August 17, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  16. KIm

    "Land of 1000 dances" for a 1000 pages of Universial Health Care ! 1,2,3 yes we can ! Go Obama ! "Fire it up and let's go !"

    August 17, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  17. Greg

    We can't leave healthcare in the hands of politicians. The only effective long-term solution to healthcare reform is preventative medicine. We must take charge of our lives and our health. Luckily, there are several online tools that can help you lead a healthier life. Tools such as offer ways to get in shape, stay in shape, and lead healthy lives. The site has a wide array of information on fitness, nutrition, and health. It also offers group support and motivation to make it easier to stick to a healthy lifestyle.

    August 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  18. Blake Green

    There seems to be a paucity of coverage of positive Town Halls in favor of Health Care Reform like those that took place in California's 13 District held by Rep. Pete Stark who played a large role in writing the House Bill. Is your coverage of this topic being influenced by your sponsors (i.e. pharmaceutical and insurance companies). Please keep in mind most American live in places outside the South and Midwest, and continued coverage of a vocal minority distorts the reality and distracts people from the real issues (esp. that profit motive denies patients coverage).

    August 17, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  19. Kim

    I just don't understand what this debate is really about. For decades people have been giving their opinion on what health care is or could be, but no one is stepping up to bat – until now. We have a leader who is finally holding their ground and saying we need to do something now...not keep talking about it. The thing is that I don't believe people truly know what the benefits to Obama's Health Care reform could mean from them individually. Now anyone who has ever seen Michael Moore's documentary 'Sicko' will recall when one uninsured man living in the US (in the film) had an accident resulting in the severing of two of his fingers. The cost to replace those fingers was in the double digit thousands. Well, a similar incident befell my mother while we were vacationing in Paris (France). Not only did an ambulance pick her up from the hotel and rush her immediately to the doctor for stitches, but they sent her home in a paid cab. At the time I was visiting friends, my mother didn't even know the French language, yet they took care of her...tended her wounds and made sure she arrived back safely to the hotel! AND THERE WAS NO CHARGE! Now for anyone who has family or friends that something like this could befall, I would be proud to say that I was a part of a government that not only cared for my own health...but cared for those who at times find themselves without care no matter what there circumstances or condition in life.

    We live in an altruistic society in which we all need each other, a body with common interest – to survive and prosper. And I don't know about you, but as much as I take for granted certain parts of me, I do know that I can't walk if my my legs are broken and I can't work if my arms are in casts. So basically what I'm trying to say is that a strong body....a prosperous body will only ever continue to grow and achieve as long as it's healthy and taken care of, and if we could just do that for each other....then I don't think one person could morally say that health care for all, supported by all is such a bad idea.

    August 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  20. Robin Simpson

    H1N1=Swine Flu(mimics Anthrax) question.
    This is laying dormant somewhere,or We would not be preparing for the worst of it to come. If this flu is dormant in a person,when the person receives the vaccine shot will it do more harm/possible death?

    August 17, 2009 at 9:31 pm |
  21. Patricia A. of Hampton, VA

    Death Panels for Seniors and the Terminally ill:
    Yes, there are going to be death panels, or as Bill Clinton would call them, "government panels" that decide if you are going to get treatment. Who are we kidding? The whole purpose of this bill is to lower costs.
    The baby boomers will soon be hitting 65 and this country can't pay their health care fills. I'm sorry to be on the receiving end but I just turned 60 yrs. old and I do understand that the gov. can't afford to keep spending 100's of thousands of dollars on keeping me alive if I get ill. Bummer. It's the real world and no one wants to hear it.
    It's not politically correct to say it.
    Grow up people.
    We're going to have to make some tough choices to provide health care for the majority of Americans.
    I'm not happy about it, but it's reality. The wheels of gov. are moving and are going to run over the poor, seniors and those with fragile health.

    August 17, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  22. Kim

    It's getting really annoying to hear all this talk about 'poor people and senior citizens' not being cared for under Obama's plan. That's just plain ignorance. I mean honestly, are they really getting care now? It makes me wonder if people are even listening to what they say before they voice their opion. 'The wheels of gov. are moving and are going to run over the poor, seniors and those with fragile health'...if we initiate a health care plan that enables every American to receive treatment? What kind of sense does that make?

    And why is everyone so against a government run health care plan anyway? As far as I'm concerned it can't be any worse than things are now. And if critics would stop jumping the gun concerning this issue and really think about it, the government has been pretty good at socializing certain aspects of our culture.....public schools, waste management, law enforcement, food & safety regulations. What if we had to individually pay for an officer to patrol our neighborhoods or arrest someone who attacks us? Or pay someone to come to our homes and remove our waste? Or directly pay for someone to educate our 2, 4, or 6 children for the next 18-22 years? All these things are run and regulated by the government and our society hasn't broken down nor has our freedoms been taken away. And I'm certain that if they were not regulated by the government, some private company would find a way to charge ridiculous prices all these services just like insurance companies are doing now. And if you can't pay....well, too bad for you! Is that the type of country we want to have?

    As much as people ramble against and reject this health care plan, they really need to look at the benefits. For all you middle class people who can afford insurance, what are you gonna do if you lose your job in the next year or two and you can't afford insurance for yourself or your child? And someone in your family needs regular health care treatments? I'm pretty sure your insurance company won't look back over your years of steady payments and say 'hey he's been loyal let's just go ahead and pay for his treatment'....not if you had to stop making payments. But with a government regulated health care plan that makes sure you get that treatment during your hard time, you wouldn't have to have to worry about insurance payments or not being covered.

    I just really wish people would stop being so selfish...if not for their own sake, then for the sake of a friends or family who just might find themselves in position where they would benefit from this plan as we all would.

    August 18, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  23. MIKE

    I keep hearing all these comments about what Congress is doing with health care. Now you know how sausage is made. You cannot follow what Congress does without those special reporting services like the Congressional Record. What about making Congress put all their ideas that have been submitted for the health care legislation put them on the internet and explain what each section means and why the particular Congressman/woman intends by putting this language in the proposed Bill. Right now Congress can simply say the majority wants it but no one knows who is putting in these provisions that will be life and death matters for the public.

    Also, can people please stop saying that there are 47 million uninsured persons in U.S. After you deduct the illegal aliens, and why should they get insurance? They should be deported and make Mexico pay for their medical needs. Next deduct those who are young and don't want to pay for insurance and you get down to roughly 8 million so called uninsured. Of course, uninsured doesn't mean they are not medically cared for by the emergency rooms of nearly every hospital in this country. Everyone has a story like I do of someone who is not working going to the hospital and staying there for 14 days and not paying one penny for the service. All of us with insurance pay for that unemployed woman I know. So she won't be getting better health with free insurance that we taxpayers have to fund. So we end of paying for their insurance and subsidizing for the emergency rooms around the country. So we pay double. Now that isn't fair to all of us who try to pay our insurance premiums each year and all we get are premium increases each year. Obamacare won't change that formula and Americans better wake up to that fact before they take this Obamacare on the chin.

    August 18, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  24. Don D. Brock

    If doctors refuse treatment to illegal aliens they would be ignoring there hypocritical (or is that Hippocratic (lol)) oath.
    I believe every body should get what immediate care they need (I may want to Travel some day) and then face deportation, or would you let them bleed on the bus or plane back and risk the same treatment of Americans who wonder across the boarder in other countries?.
    Do unto others AS you would have them do unto you. do not return evil for good because the paybacks will never end.

    Don D. Brock

    August 19, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  25. Gary

    We all know what the problem is, IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE MIGHTY DOLLAR, People dont plan to get sick, Insurance companies make Millions, and a person gets sick and there is a procedure to get this person well but the insurance wont pay, that has to change, this is the 21 century, Nobody should have to sell their home or go bankrupt becasue they get ill,

    August 20, 2009 at 3:21 am |
  26. Lou

    Why are religious organizations above the law when it comes to health insurance? The U.S. Labor Department has informed me I’m “not eligible for the COBRA premium subsidy” as an “Assistance Eligible Individual” under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) because my previous employer is “a religious organization that is not subject to federal laws regarding COBRA.” Therefore, they are not subject to offering the COBRA premium subsidy,” and I will have to pay the full monthly COBRA premiums of $480.33 instead of the reduced ARRA monthly Premium Reductions of $164.12. By the way, my previous employer, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU), is not really a religious organization per se but a United Methodist-related institution according to B-CU's website. Besides, think about it, if my previous employer had been a secular organization instead of a religious-related one, I would have been able to pay $312.21 less per month even though religious institutions are supposed to be non-profit organizations that help people in general. Finally, are religious organizations and religious-related institutions going to be above the law if and when the new health insurance policies come into effect?

    August 20, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  27. JR

    I support the public option, but would like to see some information on how they plan on increasing the number of doctors and nurses to care for the significant increase in patients.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  28. James of Houston

    We like and support President Obama; however, if he wants to better understand why America’s discomfort with end-of-life discussions threatens to derail his health-care reform, he might begin with his own Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Last year, bureaucrats at the VA’s National Center for Ethics in Health Care incorporated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, “Your Life, Your Choices.” It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA’s preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes..The document lists various scenarios and asks our veterans to then decide whether their own life would be “not worth living.”

    When the government can steer our disabled veterans to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living, the conservatives will incorrectly say, "who needs a death panel when the new health care policies will do the same for the rest of us?”

    August 21, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  29. Max

    is new reforms going to bring dow the costs of the private insurance for people like me who do not qualify for and Govt plan like medicaid but cannot afford to buy private insurance.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  30. gloria katz

    If we do not fix the question of illegal immigrants, health care costs will keep going up. They will still go to our hospitals and we will have to pay for it. Something must be done to limit their access to our hospital., They should only be able to use hospital if its a matter of life and death.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  31. Stephen James

    It seems to me that the government already runs a massive healthcare system for the military. How many millions of Americans receive their healthcare through the military? How well is the government managing that system?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  32. Barbara Boop

    I work for a chiropractor and I am wondering if the new plan or plans will cut our chiropractic care all together because Medicare has very limited coverage as it is. Our practice has alot of Medicare patients that are concerned about this. There are also alot of other insurance plans that limit coverage and even pay less than Medicare allowed amount.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  33. PJ Ray

    Why is it that no one has mentioned making it illegal for drug companies, suppliers, equipment companies, etc. to offer physicians or their staff gifts or prizes like cruises and equipment just for writing prescriptions for their products?

    That has an enormous effect on the cost of our drugs and makes some doctors (if not all) more prone to push pills than to actually heal the patients.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  34. Steve

    My wife and I have seen the same internists for over 10 years, while covered under employer provided insurance. Since losing my job and coverage, we have had to rely upon state provided coverage. Our doctor's office manager has informed us we are longer welcome as patients, since they do not accept state provided insurance, even though they are listed as participating providers. Will healthcare reform require doctors to accept insurance whether it is privately or publicly provided?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  35. Ron Coleman

    The vast majority of lies concerning the new Health Care plan are spewing from the mouths of Barrick Obama and Robert Gibbs !

    August 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  36. Ron Coleman

    It was the U. S. Congress that mandated that all illegal immigrants
    in this country will receive free health care. What will happen when there are 100 million illegals in the country ? These same people refuse to complete the fence along our Southern border.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  37. mark

    I find it interesting that the people who are going to make these decisions on our healthcare system do not currently participate in it. Most/all of the government employees and politicians are covered by a separate enitity, aka GEHA, which has much better benefits than most non-government plans. Why should these people care what happens to the system when their decisions will not affect them directly. This is also true of the social security system. Why not combine/include THEIR healthcare plan and THEIR social security funds into ours so that everyone has the same benefits instead of the current caste system arrangement?

    August 23, 2009 at 3:25 am |
  38. Char

    We are paying for the illegal immigrants now. They receive their health care through the most expensive avenue – the Emergency Departments of our hospitals and the costs are passed on to all of us. We also provide illegals with family planning and immunizations for the benefit of both the individual and society. My biggest concern about health care reform is cost. There has to be a definitive plan to reduce cost or costs will soar. I think people want to see tort reform, know how the pharmaceutical companies will cut costs, have a better understanding of how benefits will be appropriated. Anyone who has private health insurance now knows that the insurance companies approve procedures, co-pays for medications, premiums, referrals for specialty care. So, our services are already limited – some more than others, depending on the type coverage they have.

    August 24, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  39. barbara arnold

    what about reforming the cost of prescription drugs and insurance companies??

    August 24, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  40. James of Houston

    This response is for Kim.
    Kim, I agree with you completely. Mr. Kennedy, were he still alive, would be very upset with the SSI and other cutbacks to our very poor.

    However, one way to increase the SSI and SSI disability payments is to get back all the stimulus money our Government has incorrectly sent to many convicted criminals in prison.

    Can you believe this! How can the Government run a health care program when they don’t have sufficient checks and balances to keep our much-needed stimulus checks out of the hands of convicted prisoners!

    August 26, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  41. Max

    If you cannot believe Govt for such a small job how did you or you still believe govt. for giving you security from terrorists because to me that is bigger and more complicated job.

    August 26, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  42. James of Houston

    This response is for Max.

    Max, I agree with you completely! The government cannot protect us from terrorists! Especially, since a number of CAI officers will soon be tried and convicted by the Obama administration for using "enhanced" interrogation techniques on the terrorists who were responsible for the USS Cole bombing and the 911 New York disaster!

    August 28, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  43. zabes

    Under the reform bills under consideration would a public option be considered an augmentation, expansion, or reformation of Medicaid or a new government program unto itself?

    August 29, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  44. MR.AL

    Now that it's comming down to the wire on Health Care.I heard that Republican lawmakers are asking for a Civil Battle. So far Repulicans havent run a Civil battle. The Insurence Companies and Iawmakers havent done so why now?


    August 31, 2009 at 12:08 am |