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August 22nd, 2009
10:42 AM ET

Health Care: Many questions, few answers

Despite town halls across the country, there are still more questions then answers.

The 1000 page health care reform bill is causing confusion and stirring debate.

What are your health care questions? What are you confused about?Submit your questions, then tune in today at 4 P.M. Eastern where our panel of guests will separate fact from fiction in the muddled health care debate.

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield • Josh Levs
soundoff (331 Responses)
  1. ron vanadia

    Let's include a tort reform which is much needed......a public option is a must....the move forward! To continue on this unsustainable path is rediculous...and everyone knows it. Lets define the plan in simple,plain language,...and get this done!

    August 22, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  2. Inger Moen

    All these people who are so afraid that the government will take over health care in this country have forgotten that many of them are presently getting 80% of their,health care costs covered by Medicare. Where do they think the money for Medicare comes from? Santa Claus?

    August 22, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  3. Michele

    Presently, we do not have adequate physician coverage for the ill. Physicians today are overworked. Who will care for the additional 46 million people? Healthcare is not a limitless resource. What happens when the money runs out?

    August 22, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  4. David

    The only reason there is still confusion is quite simple. There are too many ignorant people at these town hall meetings who have not bothered to actually read the proposed reform House bill. I have read all 1000+ pages and admit there is a lot of typical politically confusing language. Only politicians can use 100 words and not say anything. I don't know who or how it can be explained strongly enough that (a) there are no death panels, period; (b) illegal aliens are not covered; (c) you will not lose the health care you have, but will have more options; (d) Nazi Germany is NOT a model for this bill; (e) Rush Limbaugh is evil; and (f) 24/7 news networks are as much to blame for the problem as anyone else.

    If the news programs would actually concentrate only on the truth of the plans and stop paying attention to these uninformed, loud and rude attendees at the town halls, reform would actually have a chance. I don't blame the general public. I can understand their frustration when you have Republicans and talk radio lying to them every day.

    August 22, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  5. Karleen Sanders

    Has anyone who is worried about the "death panels" stopped to think what an insult that is to the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists and all other healthcare providers? Nurses are "patient advocates" and we would never let that happen. The AMA and other professional associations would not back such a proposal as "killing Granny." Think people. Do you not trust us to take care of you? How insulting, Sarah Palin and others. Most of the doctors, nurses, etc. have dedicated years of their lives to care for patients. We are not going to let people die because they are old, disadvantaged or other reasons. That is why health care needs to be reformed.

    August 22, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  6. L Mcvicar

    I really did not appreciate the comment made by Vice President Biden.... I have a job where I have to ask the patient if they have had any recent tests and the thought of the patient banging me in the head with the clip board is not a nice one I am only doing my job..

    .I have been working in a medical office for over 10 years. With the thoughts of anyone being able to obtain your medical records from any office at any time makes me a little uneasy.....what security system are they working on so nurses or receptionists from the hospital or private offices can't look up their neighbors just to find out what they are being seen for at the hospital or any private office.... Will it show up on your record everyone who has accessed your record like a credit report? It doesn't now.......I think EMR(electronic medical records) are a wonderful idea but I see a lot of violations already....

    August 22, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  7. Jessica W. in Tucson, AZ

    A lot of the discussion about the health care reform bill has centered around abortion and whether or not it will be covered by this plan.

    I have heard that it will be covered, if you chose to pay the extra fee to have the service covered.

    Isn't the point of this bill to bring COMPREHENSIVE, affordable health care to all people? It seems to me that if you are going to charge women/families an extra fee to cover abortion then it isn't really comprehensive, it may no longer be affordable, and it isn't really covering all people. In my mind it seems unfair and unreasonable to charge extra for a service that every women has a right to, after all abortion is LEGAL in the US.

    Why not just include abortion coverage in the plan? It is a fairly low cost surgical procedure, compared to others, so overall it seems like it would really not affect the tax payers. I realize that many people don't believe in abortions, but then they don't have to have one. And just because they do not believe in it doesn't mean those who do should lose out on having health insurance for it.

    August 22, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  8. Myra Broussard

    I've never seen a whole country argue over an issue of which it knew no facts. When will we get a list of straight comprehensive facts that have been pulled from that load of paper work? Whoever wrote the plan needs to give us the cliffnotes!

    August 22, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  9. Cabell

    Would CNN explain how this proposed health care insurance will effect the current insurance companies' ACTUARIES.

    Hey, what do they say about a stupid question? I'm sure a lot of Americans want to know the answer, and I have not seen or heard anything about this actuary matter. I'm not really sure how to spell actuary less understand the in and outs of the matter. I'm just a retires working stiff.

    If the current insurance company, as we understand it, would shut down, life or health, who gets the money in the actuary? I understand for every (face value) policy the insurance company is required to hold in escrow or actuary a dollar for dollar.

    Is interest gained on these monies? Who gets the bundle? Who would reap the benefits from the pot in this case, the actuary?

    CEO, CFO, and a whole bunch of congressional kickback comes to mind.

    August 22, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  10. Turner

    What is the President thinking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel he is surrounded by very selfish and stupid people or he is not what he seems to be. I lived in Canada and it is a beautiful country but their health care is terrible and forget Mexico. We are suppose to be the number one country in the world for freedom of choice and to have socialized medicine rammed down our throats is un-American. I saw the President in a news meeting saying WE WILL HAVE THIS MEDICAL PLAN if so God help all of us. He needs to sit in a dark room alone and think of what he is trying to do and would he put his own family through this medical hell he wants for all of us, quite frankly I don't think so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 22, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  11. Kathryn A Upton

    I hear the GOP saying that the GOV doesn't know how to run anything in defense of their reasons not to cooperate on the Health Care stuff. They ARE the GOV; so are they saying that they do not know how to do anything? Are the CIA, FBI, FED, CBO ,Military and all Gov agencies THE GOV; and are they all being run badly as the GOP keeps ranting as the REASON not to trust a GOV run Health Option?
    I am sick of hearing the GOP's nonsense. Isn't anybody paying attention to their stupid comments?

    August 22, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  12. Emmanuel

    About the health care debate being a government-run program. My question to all those opposed to this program: Who runs the law makers health care and medicare plans? The Government. Perhaps those law makers that are opposed to the government plan should explain to the public why it cannot have the type of plan that they have.

    August 22, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  13. Turner

    I would like to add to my comment of a minute ago:

    What the President needs to do is find a way that these drug companies can come down off their expensive clouds and make drugs affordable to all and have the insurance companies quit telling doctors how to treat their patients.

    Clean the Drug companies
    Clean the Insurance companies

    These are the problems that have made all desperate when it comes dealing with the medical profession.

    Fix what is broken and not try to make Americans pay for the folly of these companies.

    When I woke up this morning I looked out the door and took a deep breathe of air and said well another day and we are still free God help all of us what is ahead for tomorrow if this President does not wake up.

    From what I can see he is being used by the drug and insurance companies and their lobbyists. Everyone is entitled to a profit to keep on going but the mess we are in now shoving socialized medicine down our throats is not the answer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    He needs to cut the head of the snakes before they devour all of us.

    August 22, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  14. Irene D. Thomas

    This is not a question but an issue that should be raised by someone: FAIRNESS. Here's a major example from my own family. My daughter is a Kaiser oncologist with the best insurance money can buy but she gets it for free. My son is a hairstylist with his own salon, but he can't afford any of the health insurance plans offered to self-employed people. Neither can my friends who are artists, carpenters, musicians. Do those who are lucky enough to have cheap health insurance as part of their jobs realize they are a privileged class? Do they know that self-employed people in Calif are asked to pay an average of $1200 per month for insurance with a $5000 deductible?
    A public option is the only answer to help these people and bring some fairness to the system, because the market won't do it.
    I am one of the privileged class and I am appalled by the predicament of my less lucky friends and family. How about you?

    August 22, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  15. Curt Leady

    I don't know why CNN is not explaining what the premium cost per month will be. I believe House Bill 3200 on pages 136 to 140 outlines the public health option guidelines. However, it is hard to calculate. How is the american public suppose to make a decision on the legislation if we haven't been told the Individual monthly costs? Please provide the monthly premium costs.

    August 22, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  16. David

    I cannot remember the last time I saw so many exclamation marks in one paragraph, and so little to exclaim. I lived in Germany for several years and the medical coverage there is excellent. Socialized medicine, if that is the term with which you feel most comfortable, works very well. Yes, it was costly to the worker, but you never worried about getting sick, you never postponed a doctor visit because of cost. You did not worry about getting older or taking care of older relatives. The best care was there for everyone. I am the first to admit I know nothing of Canadian or Mexican health care, but I can speak to comparing the American and the German system. Despite all the patriotic chest thumping, we in the US do not have the greatest health care in the world. We have the technology, we have the intelligence, but we do not apply either of those to our health care system.

    August 22, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  17. Joyce Michelson

    I am over 65 and have Medicare–Part A only which I am entitled to and have already paid for. Medicare Part A only covers Hospital care.
    I did not purchase Part B because it only covers doctors visits with many restrictions involved. i.e. certain tests only once every 5 years.
    Part B does not cover perscription drugs, so one has to purchase part D which has many restrictions also. Medicare does not cover dental care or optical care which is very expensive.
    I do not agree with the pundits who say that Medicare is a well priced and successful govt. run program. I do not see any benefits to a Medicare like program for all. I do not know a remedy for this very complex problem.

    August 22, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  18. James of Houston

    This response is for C.O.L.4E1.L.I.F.E. of Missouri.

    C.O.L.4E1.L.I.F.E. of Missouri, I agree with you completely! Let’s first get people back to work. With a bi-weekly income, they can then purchase the health care policy that best fits their needs (single, self and family, HMO or health co-op coverage, or catastrophic coverage only) and not a “one-size-fits-all” policy with all kinds of expensive “bells and whistles” like a Government run program will force on each of us.

    BTW, did you see the coverage last night of the state-run health care system that the state ligislature enacted last year in Hawaii? They had to cancel it after one year because it was much too expensive! … They learned when a state service is offered for free, people use it much more frequently. … What a new revelation for our legislators to recognize!

    August 22, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  19. Oliver

    Why can't heath insurance be purchased across state lines and modeled more like auto insurance? Right now, you can only buy from insurance companies in your state. Health insurance in some states is much, much higher than in others. Many states only have a few insurance companies to choose from leading to monopolies within those states.

    If the government opens up the market so that you can buy insurance anywhere in the U.S., wouldn't this obviously reduce the costs? There are many hundreds of insurance providers across America. Health insurance should also offer healthy policy holder discounts (similar to good driver discounts as in auto insurance). For example, you get discounts towards your policy if you: a) are at a healthy weight for your height; b) you have good blood pressure and cholesterol numbers; c) you do not smoke nor drink alcoho; etc...etc....

    No one has seemed to discuss this in depth, both in the media and in the political arena. Can CNN look into this further?

    August 22, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  20. Keith Van Soest

    The main theme in the townhall meetings seems to be, people do not want their healthcare costs to go up, and fear of socialized medicine. My question is, how is the government planning to cover the 47 million people who are deprived of healthcare insurance? Is there another solution than making public funds available to them, ergo raising healthcare costs? Are there reliable statistics available concerning savings on healthcare costs?
    How about disallowing the immoral contingency fees to lawyers and cutting out juries to determine amounts of compensation to be awarded for malpractice? Why not have such cases resolved by arbitration and experts? The billions of dollars saved by this and by lower malpractice insurance premiums, which form part of the outrageous fees charged by hospitals and clinics could well go a long way to helping our 47 million fellow citizens. My heart goes out to them, and if my costs have to be increased to help them receiving health coverage, so be it. Greater austerity in hospital buildings, which often compete with luxury hotels, could also lower costs, as could building rooms accommodating two, three of four patients. Private rooms could be made availble at extra cost. Anonymous

    August 22, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  21. Ed Akenzua

    Why doesn't the President use more doctors , real life patient stories and surrogates to make the case for public option. His story of his mother or grandmother does not resonate. Clearly he is not a salesman and the other side is simply out selling him. I would like to see CNN go through the 1000 page proposals line by line and use it to educate the public every time any side makes an assertion. The daily show used it why can’t CNN. I just don't get it, most of the demostrators are already on a public plan. Take a poll on whether medicare should be cancelled and you will have your answer for public option.

    The news media, CNN in particular in trying to be “balanced” does not do enough to correct the misinformation. Your facts check makes it appear all sides are lying so its a wash. Which misses the main point of the debate, further confusing your viewers.

    It is becoming known that anyone who wants to tell lies or spew hate can go on cnn and they will be tepidly challenged at best but if you go to the daily show you will be exposed.

    CNN has always been reluctant to challenge the right for fear of being labeled. This was evident in the Bush era where CNN reporters like Wolf gave Bush operatives like Chaney a pass on all the lies leading to Iraq war. Now you're doing it all over again with Health care.

    Ladera Heights, California

    August 22, 2009 at 1:57 pm |


    August 22, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  23. lina marsik

    I resent your title, "Many questions, few answers" and also makeing fun of it as Christine did while flapping the bundle of pages around. I agree there is a definate falling off of approval rating for Pres. Obama. But not for his program, but rather for the way he has gone too far overboard trying to get Republican support. I'm tired of the Republicans saying "the American people don't want" this and don't want that. The American people can speak for themselves, and we have spoken when we voted him in as President. Now, President Obama, just get on with it thank you very much.

    August 22, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  24. Kyle


    August 22, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  25. L.D. Johnson

    Does the healthcare public option mean that participants pay premiums to the government, or is the coverage free like medicare. This hasn't been made very clear.

    August 22, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  26. PK

    Insuring people with pre-existing conditions is not a big deal- you just charge such a high premium, no one will be able to afford it...

    Or the insurance companies come up with their "high deductible" plan which only provides insurance up to $50,000 after you pay the first 5 or 10 thousand dollars.

    I know all of the tricks because I am a health insurance agent.

    August 22, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  27. Joann

    Josh/Today (not under reform) plwase lay out for me the continuous coverage as it relates to pre-existing conditions. Fro calrity: workied corporate job for 20 yrs-fully covered/took COBRA for 18 mths-was fine/COBRA up and have to go to an individual policy/quesiton now is am I covered by law (New York) for my pre-existing conditions and medications.

    August 22, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  28. Dan

    I have a question. Why not make public option similar to medicaid program with stricter eligibility requirement such as
    (1) ONLY those currently uninsured will be admitted to the program
    (2) you cannot simply drop your plan for a cheaper public option
    (3) only when you are denied for coverage could you apply for a public option?
    This way those well-to-do and currently have insurance will stay with their private insurances. No more argument about public option will drive private insurance out of business.

    August 22, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  29. James In Kamiah, Idaho

    The CBO says that preventative care is not cost effective, but it keeps out the peace of mind factor.

    Why did people start seeling their stock when the banking crisis hit? Because they no longer had faith ot peace of mind in their brokers. Madoff certainly didn't help.

    What illnesses are either caused or exacerbated by that lack of peace of mind? Well, a lack of peace of mind mirrors stress.

    Stress related illnesses include, but are not limited to; ulcers, heartburn/angina (sp?), gastrointestinal problems, weakened immunity, headaches, depression, lethargy, loss of sleep/insomnia, loss of appetite as well as overactive appetite which leads to binge eating comfort foods, which leads to greater risk of obesity that factors into higher risk for diabetes, heart problems, breathing problems, loss of desire, poor sexlife/performance, loss of drive, etc.

    So, my question is, with all of these effects coming into play, how did the CBO come to it's determination and was it wise enough to include these factors in it's study?

    August 22, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  30. James In Kamiah, Idaho

    All of which adds to poor work performance, which leads to poor work profits.

    August 22, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  31. James In Kamiah, Idaho

    Listening to drew griffins broadcast right now... I'm wondering, in regards to susan's call in to the conservative talk show... Where's my X-Box?

    August 22, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  32. Josh Reese

    The alternative model being mentioned in place of the "public option" scenario is that of the "co-op". I love the concept of a consumer-onwed co-op health system, and they seem to work for communities that have already embraced them. In the multiple bills now floating around Congress, how is the co-op model being discussed, and how can a community-based health-system be nationalized by the federal government?

    August 22, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  33. Bonnie Upchurch

    What is a person who is on disability suppose to do to get a supplemental insurance that is affordable at the age of 59. I am a resident of Lake County, IN and have tired to locate an affordable supplemental insurance since I am on medicare and not eligible for medicaid. Unfortunately, my six month period has passed and I have been unsuccessful to find a supplement. Everyone tells me you MUST be 65 years of age for a reasonable priced supplement. When I ask them why, I receive no explanation. I guess I must be penalized for my disability till age of 65 to purchase an affordable supplement insurance for my medicare I pay for monthly. Is this true?

    August 22, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  34. Wants the Truth

    A few statements I heard this week.....I heard Obama saying insurance needs to pay for mammograms and other preventative tests and we need to work on staying healthy. Come on - these false statements are really getting irritating. Mammograms etc. are covered by insurance and the have been covered for years!!!!!!!!!!! Also, I saw him say when a kid comes into the M.D. with a sore throat currently the M.D. will look at a chart and see he would make more money if the kid's tonsils were removed so that is the chosen route by the M.D.. Come on - I have never met an M.D. who operates this way and I can't imagine someone saying this!!!! Where's the data??? And, we are supposed to believe this administration is telling us the truth?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 22, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  35. Wes Snypes -- TOLEDO

    I was listening to the 20 year old at Barney Frank's Townhall claiming that he & his generation would pay for any reform for their lifetimes. If there is no reform what is the estimate of health insurance in terms of % of wages in 20-30 years? What would he be paying?

    August 22, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  36. tnabcman

    I understand that under the health reform plan that if I were born on an even number year (1954) the federal government will multiply my year of birth by a square root of my age (7.21) and then assess me that amount of money per year to pay for health care for one-eyed illegal immigrants *IF* they have more than four children with at least one of each sex included in those four births. That comes to just over $14,000. Is that true? Is that in the bill? I'M SCARED OF THIS BILL ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    August 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  37. Kenny M

    I see that they are saying if you make $350,000 or more you will pay an extra tax for healthcare. I don't have to worry about that yet, but will this min income level be tied to inflation? Just like the AMT tax i s being levied on millions of Americans now, yet in the 60's when it was introduced , it was only for the rich.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  38. jay Waggoner

    I don't brlieve ther is a helat care system in the count\ry. if there is a system someone describe it and then let us know wha they want to change and then document the changes and show how the changes will increse the quality of care or reduce the cost.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  39. Sarah

    Everyone knows that federal government employees have just about the best health care of anyone in the US. If this health care is so good, why can't they devise a way to put EVERY AMERICAN on the same amazing healthcare that they have? Just because they are elected officials does't mean they deserve better doctors, more options, and lower premiums than anyone else. We elected them, we should benefit like they do!

    August 22, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  40. Barry Esham

    Have you done any investigative work on the ties between the health care insurance industry and the amount of money given to members of Congress for their campaign war chests? In my brief research several names pop up as concerns, such as Ben Nelson and Orrin Hatch. In many circles because of conflicts of interest, these people would recuse themselves. Of course we know that won't happen in Congress. After all, votes are projected based on the amount of contributions, and we do have the best Congress money can buy. It would seem the most vocal, or those who are opposed to the public option, appear to be getting the most from the lobbyists. Does the American public know this? Shouldn't it get more exposure?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  41. Harvey

    With all of the confusion surrounding how the public care option works as a choice inside of the total program, why not show a simple grid chart with the available options across the top (plan a, plan b, public option) and the benefits (co-pay, out-of-pocket max. etc.) down the side and contrast it with the federal program. Pictures often tell a better story when words fail. Just my thoughts.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  42. DJ Rico

    I know that News is also in competition for ratings but why can't the 'Media' be honest about the current plans that are out there in a way that is clear and truthful.

    If Medicare and Medicade are government run and the VA is certainly govt. run why isn't there a special on how those programs work and why that is being used as the model for the so-called Public Option.

    Let's put some of these crazys to shame with their lies and not fool people in to believing that the govt. is the enemy. Although George W didn't help things any.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  43. NFuhrman

    I have not heard people talk about what seems to be seperate issues, the care of teeth and eyes, so I ask:

    Are teeth and eyes considered a pre-existing condition, and thus would be covered under a health insurance reform bill?

    Is tooth and eye care considered part of keeping people well so they would be covered under a health insurance reform bill?


    August 22, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  44. anthony

    josh, could cnn please post a list of which members of congress use the federal employee health insurance vs. a private plan? my guess is most of the shrill voices screaming about "government takeover" are enjoying a sweet deal from government insurance. if so they should be called out publicly and made to explain why we average citizens can't have the same type of deal.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  45. Mike


    So you say " the Government's health insurance program is the biggest" so "OF COURSE" they get the best rates?!?!?!?! WHAT!!!



    The US Military is the biggest but do they get the prices at the best possible rate?!??! NO... they aren't incentivized to.

    Is there plenty of waste in the current Medicare system??? YES Why??? The government runs it. No incentive to run it lean or well.

    Does the US Post Office run profitably or well??? NO... they left plenty of room for UPS and FEDEX to have great PROFITABLE businesses.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  46. Dan P

    I just heard your comment on the air about the federal plan and you are SO WRONG !!!!!

    I work for the federal government. This past year the insure with Blue Cross/Blue Shield went up significantly. More than 50% of the employees and retirees have their health insurcace through them.

    This past year rates went up significantly where the costs were the same for the past 5 years or so. The copay costs went to $20 from $15, percentage coverage for providers went up from 10% to 15% for expenses. The mail order prescriptions went from $35 copay for a name brand to $65 copay for a three month supply.

    The biggest issue that raised hearings in congress was the attempt to not cover out of network outpatient surgeries. As a result, open season was extended and the Blue changed to cover it.

    The office of Personnel Mangement DOES NOT NEGOTIATE rates, the federal employees do not have the power to negotiate rates. Given these changes that occurred with the plan it raised eye brows with me in some political appointee in OPM gaming the system and then landing a job with Blue after.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  47. jay Waggoner

    if we increse access to the health care will the physicians participate in taaking on additional patients at medicare re imbursement rates.
    Congress can do nothing to reduce the cost of health care, Health care is poduced by people labor is the largesst componert of health care costs, how artre they going to control the costs of labor in health care? .

    August 22, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  48. Peter

    I was watching and Josh said federal employees get better health care plans. I just wanted to say fed employees do not get the same plans and depending on branch of government the cost is different for the same plans. For example the post office has a cheaper employee cost while the department of defense is more expensive for the same plan. Alot of the cost is agreed to buy unions and contracts. Just make sure when you talk about the government plan to be sure to say it is not at all the same from department to department and congress and the workers in the reg departments. We get some choices not alot. I would say it is better then most peoples choices but not at all what the people seem to think it is.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  49. Sarah

    Abortion should not be included in every health care option. Just because abortion is legal does not mean it is right. I do not believe in abortions. Forcing people who do not believe in abortions to help finance them is just like forcing an atheist to give tithes to the local church. It is wrong and no one would go for it.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  50. Dan P

    Also with the 200+ insurance companies what is eligable to the employee is based on their residency. There are national plans like Blue Cross /Blue shield, adn HMOs like Kaiser and Aetna to name a few. Then you also have access to ones that are offered only in your state. These plans are also usually available to the state employees. Where I live in Washington State their is Group Health available. In Viginia Group Health would not be available.

    The other thing the federal plan does not have that private employers do are good vision and dental plans. Currently it is offered to employees without federal backing or subsidies. The coverage is very weak.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  51. kaz

    I know there are too many variables to answer the question below, but can any one express educated guess on following questions?
    1. A family of four who has an individual health insurance, how much monthly premium reduction can they expect per month? i.e. $5.00? $50? $100? $250 or per month? OR 5%, 10%, 25%?
    2. Can you say who ever have pre-existing condition will realize bigger savings?

    I hope some one address the above questions.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  52. Sarah

    And why can't the president wait for the economy to get better before deciding if we need health care reform? One reason many people don't have health insurance is because they dont have a job! Get jobs Obama! Then, reform health care, if it is still necessary.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  53. Dan P

    The the one hidden secret about the federal employee plan that attracts people older is because as it stands now you just need to work 5 years (could have changed to 10 years–not sure) to be able to participate in the polan as a retiree. Unlike what you see with retirees from the auto workers, the federal governemnt will keep you under the insurance after you retire.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  54. Cindy Lugo

    No one has explained why co-ops don't work, and why the insurance industry is fine with co-ops but not a public option. Stocks for the Insurance Industry soared at the idea the White House might be willing to substitute co-ops.

    Here's why:

    Co-ops do not affect Insurance Industry pricing (GAO study done March 2000). Co-ops that succeed (e.g. blue cross/blue shield) are bought up and run by the Insurance Industry to keep prices steady. They remain non-profit but do not affect % of GDP or price to the consumer.

    Nothing prevents the Insurance Industry from buying up, buying out, or even starting co-ops to prevent real competition. Without real competition the Insurance Industry will not lower prices. This will increase the % of GDP we spend on healthcare already unsustainable.

    The top 10 rated countries have universal coverage, require non-profit health care whether it's public or private sector, and have sustainable % of GDP.

    Because we have a for-profit Insurance Industry we pay approx. $4-6000 more per person than any other industrialized country, yet we don't have universal coverage and we are rated 37th as a nation for our Health Care (just above Costa Rica).

    We are paying Billions for insurance industry advertising, exorbitant salaries, and billions more for the insurance industry to lobby against us to increase their profits and remove competition. Without a non-profit public option, the Insurance Industry will not lower costs.

    The Blue Dogs are deceiving themselves and the public. Co-ops are absolutely not a viable competition to bring down costs. This is being done at the expense of our citizens health, financial stability and our nations solvency.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  55. James In Kamiah, Idaho

    I here a lot of people saying that Illegal Immigrants aren't covered under this new healthcare plan, but that's a bit like saying that people who wish to committ insurance fraud aren't covered; somewhere, someone is going to find a loophole, and I'm not convinced Illegal Immigrants won't still be able to exploit that.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  56. Karl Hunter

    I am in new york on holiday from England. I have been watching and following the health debate for last week. I know i can't really fully understand the americans concerns to this but i think president obama is trying to offer you a public care similar to the NHS in the UK. The NHS is one of the best things about the UK, not having to worry if you or one of your kids becomes seriously ill, as the NHS is free. I think this is what president obama is trying to introduce, a free alternative to families who need it with still the option of going private. Ofcourse you may have a slightly higher tax deduction but at least you know you have somewhere to go when your ill and not having to worry about finding the money. It's simple – the president is thinking of everyone from the rich to the poor.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  57. William Hasselbusch Jr.

    I would like to hear CNN comments on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce television ads that contain lies about the current health care reform objectives and proposals.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  58. Michael Robinson

    I just watched your segment on why average americans can't get the same health care as Congress/ Federal Government, and as a former Fed. Employee you are right they get the better deal. As important as healthcare reform is, why are they not revealing "Everything" to us? Be upfront with the American People. Not just bits and pieces of it. Congress is no better than us. Also, shouldn't the focus be on getting jobs back in the U.S? People can't pay for healthcare, government or otherwise without a job.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  59. James In Kamiah, Idaho


    As an Atheist who believes Abortion is an option, not a choice or a preference, I say here here!

    August 22, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  60. Margaret Owens

    For those asking their representatives about the Congressional Health Plan: we the taxpayers pay for this plan that gives Senators and Representatives the "Cadillac" style benefits. We also pay for the plans of state government employees with our local tax payments. You bet I want that plan!

    August 22, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  61. Diane SC

    If we spend twice as much per person on health care than other industrialized nations do. How is it possible that “Health Care Reform” is going to cost a trillion dollars (over 10 years) more than what we are already spending?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  62. Jason

    I am 31 year old from Florida. Is the argument seperated along a certain demographic of American regarding Public vs. non-public health insurance options? It seems those who oppose of the Public seem to be white, older or retired Americans? Does Race, Gender or Income Class has a direct affect on this debate?

    Jason from Florida

    August 22, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  63. Wants True Answers

    We've been told health care reform is tied to the health of our economy. However, I have not seen any data on how exactly the current health care reform proposal helps our economy. Can you tell us how the current health care refeform proposal will help our economy? Perhaps the administration should wake up and address the economic woes of America (not just AIG, Wall Street, GM, etc.). or they are just ignoring them. Perhaps we could have some legislation to address the fact that many corporations continue to send thousands of jobs overseas because the labor is so cheap - it certainly isn't because the quality is there!! Why is there so much attention to health care and the economy has been put on the shelf? Is this because the administration's attempt to help the economy hasn't worked so they want to go onto the next topic of health care?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  64. Andreams

    Pre-existing conditions keep being addressed as a problem. What about age? I'm now paying 77% of my income for insurance and would like to know it the cost for those age 55-65 is going to be remedied.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  65. Tishawna

    I live in MA, and was working as a Accountant in Boston, this State you have to be covered with health insurance, the only insurance I could afford was mass Health,and about 2 months after I had mass health I found out I had breast cancer and mass health covered everything even when I started under going reconstruction I received 2 implants and they reconstructed a nipple for me using the skin from my tummy. One of my good friends who had breast cancer 1 year before me who pays for a high cost insurance and they will not cover nipple re-placement, how do you think she feels, all she wants is to look and feel like herself again and her insurance company wants her to pay out of pocket . I just had my surgery and I have one more to go, but I tell you if I didn't have mass health I would feel s bad as my friend. We need a change.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  66. Mike

    I am a union employee, and my healthcare is fully paid by my employer......we are given about 8 to 10 choices every year from a list of healthcare choices, why is it so bad to have a government choice?...the GOP says I may lose my ability to see certain doctors....well same thing now. If I pick a different choice at the start of next year, my kids would have to see different's still just another wouldn't be mandated for me to there really a problem with having options?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  67. Nick

    Where is the rundown of U.S. Senators / Representatives, and what type of support they receive from Insurance, Pharmaceutical and Health Care companies?.. And where they stand on Health Care Reform? Maybe I am playing the role of "Captain Obvious", but we all need to follow the dollar on this one, folks. It may explain why some are deeply entrenched in reform, and others are adamantly opposed.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  68. Bob

    OK, very few Democrats are against health care and ALL Republicans are against it. Has anyone really looked into WHY are ALL Republicans against this health care. Do we really believe that GOD gave Republicans a different brain than Democrats OR as everyone knows is it a party thing and if it is then someone should examine WHY! Historically, Democrats are for the poor and Republicans are for the Rich.. Now there is a start to look at. Why doesn't anyone really talk about the cost of the uninsured when they go to an ER as they do because there is no other option. Does America know just how much an ER visit by the insuranced cost you and I (the uninsured don't pay). Well the cost is a lot more than if they had a health plan Also, the Republicans seem to be against government health care YET what do they think medicare is and it works GREAT. Many say the states should handle health care while forgetting that just about ALL states are broke. Someone (media) should take these IMPORTANT points and ask the Republians in congress the tough questions without letting them talk and NOT answering the question. I will bet in the year 2011-2012-2020 etc nothing changes and I want to, in advance, thank all the Republicans for continuing to screw up this great (maybe) country. I am not a Democrat.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  69. janet givens

    heart problems run in my family. I had a stress test at 56 years old. I make 16,000.00 a year. I owe the hospital $1,138.00 out of pocket. That is with INSURANCE. My question is if I have this test done under the presidents new plan, how much out of pocket will I have to pay? Because, I am going to be paying this for a very long time.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  70. Arizona Retiree

    How does the Govt. propose to regulate people's behavior to live healthier lives to save money on health care costs as suggested in the town hall you showed on your program. You can lead them to water but you cannot make them drink.
    Also if the Govt. wants to get rid of Medicare Advantage programs, what are seniors supposed to do since Medicare only covers 80 % of most health care costs. If Seniors are forced to buy suplemental coverage through groups such as AARP, the cost for that coverage is more than 4 times higher than Medicare Advantage programs.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  71. Thomas

    The administration states that cuts in Medicare on the order of $500 billion are supposed to be implemented to pay for this1 trillion+ healthcare program (which still only covers 1/3 of those uninsured). What are those cuts, and how can you cut this much service without denial of services? What are these cuts EXACTLY, given that nobody believes that cutting inefficiencies in the program can yield these types of savings?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  72. phil lachowicz

    i think we need to make the folks reform the health care insurance have to pay for it out of their own pockets just like i and my wife does
    i know for a fact we as a nation would have the best low cost health care insurance in the world
    we as a nation need to stop the injustice in health care insurance and make sure at the federal level it is abided by
    like the issue with a penalty at 8 percent my boss told me i might just take that penalty it's way cheaper than the cost of insurance so it should be at 50 percent
    no illegals should get insurance period unless they pay in full for it insurance companies should all be a not for profit corp so it 's focus will be true health care and not profits but still allowing bonuses for hard work that benefits the we the people
    the biggest lobbing groups are from insurance companies so they can put operations and laws in their favor instead of paid lobbing has to end it corrupts very core of our political system of
    the feds should make the laws fair and just , uniform for all the states and enforce them through the fbi period a crime is a crime and no butts do the crime u do the time
    no preexisting exclusions period
    drug companies advertising should not be on tv doctors have told me this causes them fits' people want drugs that do not help them and they spends alot of wasted time telling them this fact
    the states should be the ones administrating the plans through the depts they do now
    we need to expose the true costs of hosiptals and the stuff insurance companies pay out
    i was shown a bill for 250.00 for 3 towels for 1 day 25 dollars for a box of kleenex from my insurer after a hospital stay and i didn't even use the kleenex
    medicare should be rolled into this as a whole so the folks using this form health care is also unifrom
    last but not least a federal retail sales tax to helps pay for it like to cents to anything tangible sold
    we will all end up paying for something regarding public health care so lets start it out right by doing a retail federal tax only for the purpose period that's just some of my thoughts that i have had since i have been paying outrageous rates for health care insurance and soon won't be able to afford anymore at least here in michigan

    August 22, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  73. Jan

    It turns out that Dr. Cuffe, neurosurgeon, one of the fear mongering disinformation spreaders, stands to gain much from keeping things status quo as neurosurgeons are very well compensated. Back surgery for disc disease, which Dr Cuffe performs, is among the most controversial and well compensated procedures. Dr Cuffe was sanctioned, fined and made to perform community service for wrong site surgery by the Florida Board of Medicine in 2007.
    Why doesn't the news media bring these things to light for public education?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  74. Denise

    I've been on the Texas Risk Pool because I have borderline cancer and no insurance company would cover me. The premium was $600/month with a $5000 deductible and a $10,000 out of pocket per year. This doesn't include vision or dental. So one third of my montly income went to health insurance. After 5 years of this my savings of $70,000 was gone.

    My dream of owning a home is gone. My dreams are gone period. I walk around in a slow boil rage at our current healthcare system. I work to pay my health insurance there isn't much left after that.

    People who don't want healthcare reform are people who have never had a healthcare crisis or they are just plain ignorant.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  75. Dan P

    Getting blocked because of pre-existing conditions means the need to see doctors, do medical tests, and take medication for these conditions will not be covered by the helth insurance.

    As a result you have to pay out of pocket at a higher rate than what i would be under insurance.

    Under an individual plan you pay more than if you are a group. You dont have the power to negotiate rates. Even if pre-existing is removed, an individual will still pay higher than if they were a part of a group. Its the entire modeling of the insurance industry.

    Hospitals billing model is set up those who dont have insurance in essence pay for the ones who do. The reason is because each procedure has a negotiated rate where the hospital would like to charge more if they can. Since they do not get as much as they would like they escalate the cost for those without insurance.

    This is a problem that hasnt been addressed because if everyone gets insurance then the billing structure will change.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  76. Gary

    If a gov't option were to emerge, what would stop a company that now offers insurance coverage to their employees from dropping there coverage and letting their employees fend for themselves?

    and if 85% of the American people are covered with health insurance in some way, why can't the gov't pass legislation mandating portability and pre-existing coverage, cross-state lines purchasing of insurance and reform of torts, then let the marketplace take care of the rest?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  77. Fredrick

    I am listening to CNN as I am sending this comment.
    The issue just addressed concerned "Fact from Fiction."
    The question of "Death Panels" came up. The news anchor – who is suppose to be seperating "Fact from Fiction" had the adaucity to suggetst that this issuse was not completely out of the bill yet. He is about as responsible as Sarah Palin!! When was "DEATH PANELS" ever in any of the bills being considered by Congress. He needs to let sonmeone who knows the facts deal with "Facts from Fiction."

    August 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  78. Bob

    How about this! Put the Democrats in congress bill on a Federal ballot and put the Republicans bill on the ballot also and as a third choice put :do nothing:. Then America votes and let the chip fall where they may put the winner gets the bill put into effect.

    Leave Congress out of the voting otherwise this will go on and on and on

    August 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  79. L.D. Johnson

    Why hasn't the media made the public aware of how much CEOs at insurance companies receive as compensation? Example: the CEO of Aenta made over $24 million in 2008. The CEO of Wellpoint made over $9 million. Why is there so much whining about covering the poor and unisured, while consumers are already footing the bill for outrageous executive compensation?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  80. Conrad N.

    I have AIDS and am on disability. My Medicare Part D annual prescription costs are $30-33,000.00. This does not include doctor visits, lab tests, etc. Do any of the plans allow the government to negotiate volume discounts or price controls? 3 HIV meds are $700-800 each per month. I am only 1 person with 1 illness.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  81. Gordon Downs

    Why not have a medicare option where medicare increases the rate and covers 100% of the cost rather than 80%. My supplementary insurance that covers the 20% not covered by medicare cost me about two time the current medicre cost that covers 80% of the cost of health care. This option would eliminate the need for supplementry insurance which oftens has restrictions for persons with some health conditions.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  82. Eric A. Dubuclet


    August 22, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  83. Leonard Robinson

    What i would like to know is. 1. How many Congressmen that are against the President Health Care Progam and do not want a Government run Health Care Program, Ask them why they still have it and why haven't they gave it up for some other insurance program? Then have them to explain why they are keeping the government run Health Care Program.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  84. david horowitz

    Josh, if the objectives are controlling costs in healthcare, then why would we consider launching a new government bureaucracy on top of the existing system. Anyone who says that will reduce costs needs to talk to the Congressional Budget Office. My company just saved 20% with high deductible health insurance, even after 100% funding of the employee's deductible requirements by the company into a health savings account for the employee to use. If cost control is what we want, then let insurance companies compete across state lines (more competition), promote high deductible insurance solutions, tort reform (reduce insurance costs), allow for pre-exisitng conditions (insurance companies have offered this), and reduce prescription costs (they have already offered 150b, we'll take it). None of these require another government employee, and would result in over 30% savings from today with better care. Okay?, Now, if the objective isnt reducing costs, but to create an equality of misery for health care consumers and social restructuring by liberals rather than an equality of riches, then they will have to go it alone. Dave

    August 22, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  85. Ron Maron

    Illegal aliens are swarming our hospitals receiving free care that legal citizens are paying for out of our taxes. California alone has had to close some hospitals because they cannot handle all of the patients.
    This is ovewhelming our system. Illegals line up outside the hospitals to have their wives deliver babies free of charge. I think that they should either be forced to pay or not receive medical care. Why should we pay taxes for illegals to get free medical care when unless I am practically on the street myself I must pay heavily for medical services?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  86. daniel gilpin

    I would like to know why no one has mentioned the goverment run health care for the native americans.I lived in a native american community for 15 years no one pays for anything.I believe this system works incredibly well for the native americans why can't it work for the rest of us.why would it be a bad thing to eliminate insurnce companie all togther from the health i see it all there profits alone put back into the economy would drasticly improve everyones life.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  87. Gloria

    I just heard CNN's spot on federal employees health benefits. The President, Representatives, and Senators keeping telling Americans that they should get the same health benefits that are available to the politicians and federal employees. What they forget to say is how much the plans cost. My plan costs at total of $1120 per month or $13,440 per year. How many Americans can afford to pay those kind of premiums? The government makes a contribution for its employees like most companies. But even the employee premiums are quite high.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  88. MacChuck

    Medicare for all HR676. As Stated in Constitution of the United States ""We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the 'GENERAL WELFARE', and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.""
    Seems clear to me we should stop fighting between ourselves and unite as a Country and see to it that all are covered. This is a war against poor health, nothing more nothing less.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  89. Ron Green

    OMG, If the Gov’t cant do anything right, lets privatize, education, homeland security, the military, air traffic control, police, fire…etc.
    Obviously the health of the nation needs to be part of the Govt’s purvue. Lets start paying for it with some of the massive profits the insure companies make off of the American workers.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  90. janet givens

    The company my husband works for is small and their insurance isn't all that great. My problem is I can't afford to go to the doctor because my co-payment is $50.00 for a specialist. But if my husband was working for a larger company my co-payment my be $10.00. This doesn't seem fair to me. That's like going to the store and paying $7.00 for milk and the person next to me gets to pay $2.00.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  91. Andreams

    Pre-X is talked about all the time. What about age rated premiums? By the time you are 55-65, the premiums are so expensive we can't afford them. In a large group, the premiums are flat rates, same for all. Is there anything like that in any of the bills? I'm now paying 77% of my income for insurance and can't keep doing it.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  92. Judy Galloway

    Why not rescind the public health care received by our elected representatives ? Of course those who have the cheapest and best health care in America (paid for by all of us) find it difficult to give one whit about the rest of the citizen's needs. If we take away their health care, level the playing field then I'll bet they will come up with a solution in no time.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  93. Nuwan Sam

    One reason for the todays high healthcare cost is the unnecessary law suits against doctors and hospitals. Not only insurance companies profit from healthcare but also the lawyers. So my question is that how would this proposed reform handle the rising cost due to healtcare malpractise lawsuits ?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  94. Dan P

    @janet givens

    Under the blue cross blue shield federal plan without know exactly what tests were done I would say you would likely have cost $200-$300 hundred dollars. Maybe even less just depending on how the test ws done.

    The billing is complicated because the hospital where you have a test bills it at a specific cost, say $10,000 which you would have to pay without insurance. But because your health insurance negotiated rates the rate actually is only $1000 with your health insurance negotiated rate. From there you pay a percentage part depending on the insurance. With the federal blue cross blue shield this would be 85% covered and you pay 15% or $150. Some insurances may be different like they expect you to pay 30% which would equate to $300.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  95. tim smith

    If I choose to keep my current health plan, do i still have to pay the tax?

    Why would pay for someone else's health care even thought that may or may not be legal citizens?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  96. Denise

    I think America should be split in half. Republicans or the people that don't care about helping others could have one half. They could get rid of medicare and the VA which are government run healthcare programs. They could stop welfare to the needy and give it to large corporations. It would be survival of the fittest!

    Then I, a resident of the other half with healthcare, would be a big supporter of a BORDER FENCE!!!!

    August 22, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  97. John Doherty

    I saw a piece on CNN an hour ago regarding "a group of one person" health insurance(alongside "risk pools" coverage). I am in Texas, on Medicare, & my wife is in the "risk pool",which we were told we had to switch to from our 2 person group plan(myself & her) when I went on Medicare 12/1/08. Where can I get info on the "group of one plan" for her that CNN referred to for the next 3.5 years until she gets Medicare, since the Texas Risk Pool costs too much & doesn't deliver near the results we've had with our group plan in the past?? Thanks,
    John Doherty

    August 22, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  98. Greg Rath

    With over a 1000 pgs. of reform how can the American citizen know what is in the bill and which side we should believe. I',m glad this wasn't passed on the Presidents' schedule or we would have had all of the bill jammed down our throats,like it or not.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  99. Kate

    Is there any indication on how any of these proposed health care plans will affect those of us who use the VA Healthcare system? It is my only insurance. The VA here (Albany NY) is excellent and I would not want the change.


    August 22, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  100. Michelle

    Can the WHITE HOUSE give us a side by side comparison chart of some average medical/dental/vision plans that people have versus what they will offer with a public option? I think that the media has perpetrated many myths about why this wont work and wont be a good idea question is; iswhat we have now working ? NO
    I am also an employee with a private insurer, CIGNA. I have NO vision benefits, its not even an option. The dental coverage for adults maxes out at $2500 a year PERIOD. I work for a private insurer like what people are fighting to keep and I have 20% coinsurances, a $2500 deductible (family) a $10,000 max oop.. So to put it into perspective if I go to the hospital for appendicits I have to pay out of pocket the first $2500 which is the deductible, then I pay 20% of the bill up to $10,000. I make 30,000/yr Can someone tell me how I could afford that? CIGNA believes this plan is wonderful can you imagine the medical bankrupcy this could cause me if I should ever have a stay in the hospital? I got sick with pneumonia and refused to go to the hospital because of the cost. That is ridiculous. People complain about Medicare but Medicare is cheaper than what my EMPLOYER who is a private insurer offers me. Wendell Potter (ex CIGNA employee) recently spoke out about the bottom line of CIGNA and other insurers.. HELLLOO people.. Josh can you refresh people on that article? I dont hear people offering to GIVE up Medicare, FAA, FDC, Welfare, FOOD STAMPS, the CDC, FBI, Military none of those things that are also GOVERNMENT RUN.. why not HEALTHCARE, if not for Medicare most people over 65 wouldnt even have coverage, the private companies would refuse them for all their pre existing conditions.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  101. Arizona Retiree

    First of all, Medicare is not free. A premium is deducted from the retiree's check every month. Then in addition seniors need to purchase additional coverage.
    Second, L.D. Johnson, Your comment to my post has nothing to do with the subject which I wrote about.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  102. Dan P

    Actually health insurance reform where everyone has their insurance on their own , not tied to their employer would actually promote entreprenuership. Right now I wouldnt be able to start my own business or take a job in a small startup because the health insurance affect on me under the current situation would be disasterous. I would like a system where everyone has their own policy.

    This could either be a public option or through private insurance. My preference would be to have it either at the state or federal level where individuals pay for the plan at reasonable rate.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  103. Jan Newman MD, FACS

    What people don't seem to understand is all these uninsured patients are currently being cared for when they are far sicker, demand far more resources, and are far less able to pay. Doctors and hospitals care for these patients and write off the debt. They then overcharge patients with insurance to compensate for uncompensated care.
    Everyone with insurance is currently paying for their care.

    Insurance companies add a 25-30% surcharge to medical care to ensure that their executives make millions of dollars and to "administer" insurance. (Refuse payments) Medicare adds 5% for the same administrative costs. Insured patients are paying that sur charge.

    The previous administration and Congress hamstrung Medicare not allowing price negotiation to ensure that medical device manufacturers and Big Pharma could pay their stockholders and make big money . If they could negotiate prices, Medicare would save even more money.
    Every for profit hospital makes their money on the backs of those who are sick and suffering.

    The media needs to bring the facts to light. Could you do that?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  104. Diane SC

    A new study by SurveyUSA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June.

    In asking its question SurveyUSA used the same exact words that NBC/Wall Street Journal had used when conducting its June 2009 survey. That one that found 76 percent approval for the public option.

    Why are we being told that the "majority" of Americans don't want a public plan?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  105. Jane

    First, I have heard that under the House Bill, the intent is to allow Americans to retain their doctors and health care plan; however, I have also heard that this is ONLY true as long as you retain the same employment. If you go to another company which has health care coverage and would cover you; as the house bill is currently written, you would be forced into the public option and could not use the new employer's coverage option. This would quickly ensure that everyone would be forced into the federal program.

    A similar question involves the use of tax dollars for abortions. I realize that abortion is not specified currently. My understanding is that the lack of a specific provision to prohibit it in essence permits it.

    Thanks for your help in clarifying these issues.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  106. Bob Brandis

    I have heard a lot about not being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. My question is will insurance companies be able to increase the cost of premiums for pre-existing conditions? If so, even if limited 50% or 100% it will still cause many with pre-existing conditions to be priced out of the market.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  107. Gus Napoli

    Will Obama now appreciate how deeply Americans of all political stripes care about the healthcare reform issue? Rather than ramming anything through the Congress, any ultimate bill should be posted on online for all of us to digest for at least 30 days before a final vote. This is not something to be rushed.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  108. Carol

    I'm on Medicare. I know that Part A of Medicare is funded by the government and costs me around $95.00 a month in premiums. I pay Blue Cross/Blue Shield for a plan known as an Advantage Plan. Blue Cross deducts $81.00 a month from my bank account to pay for this plan. This premium includes Part D (for my drugs). I'm not sure how the Advantage plan differs from Medicare Part B if I were to purchase the latter from the government, if that is possible. I don't know if Medicare Part B is funded by the government at all. I know that Medicare Part D is a terrible plan foisted upon seniors by a Republican President and Republican Congress to benefit only one entity – the Drug Companies. Additionally, it was never paid for. The cost was just dumped into the Federal deficit (which the conservatives, who seem to have forgotten where this huge deficit came from, keep screaming about at some of the Town Hall meetings). This country has seen what it has gotten from previous Republican Governments – nothing other than some drug coverage for seniors. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Veteran's care has been put into law by Democratic presidents. Considering the track record of the Republican governments I think it should be clear by now that the Republican party is NEVER going to vote for any Health Care Reform that benefits the insured and uninsured citizens of this country.

    I was paying $552.00 a month two years ago before I went on Medicare. Had I not gone on Disability, I would now probably be paying over $700.00 a month for insurance. I am uninsurable, i.e., I have been unable to shop for cheaper insurance since 1993 because of pre-existing conditions. I have always felt fortunate that my husband, a cancer survivor, and I could afford these exhorbatant premium costs and were able to pay for individual insurance.

    The irony is that doctors and hospitals charge full price to people who are uninsured. Those people who have insurance pay a 'Negotiated' price for the health services provided by doctors, hospitals, labs, etc. My hospital charged me a over $8,000.00 for one night in the ER and one day in the hospital. Blue Cross paid the hospital less than $3,000.00 of that bill and my part, under my Advantage plan was $250.00. If I were uninsured, I would have had to pay the full amount of over $8,000.00

    August 22, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  109. Shaponda

    As an independent college student, will I be covered in the healthcare reform? Will I be able to choose my own doctor for my individual needs and be confident that I am receiving quality care? Will there be any limits on the specialist I will be able to see such as a gynecologist? Will vision and dental care be included at all in the plan? If so, what will be my limitations for these services?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  110. Paula Hunt

    Wasn't HIPPA designed to not only protect our privacy but also to assure we could not be denied covereage based on pre-existing conditions so long as there was continuity of coverage? This, of course, assuming we could afford the coverage. I believe HIPPA is still alive and well but haven't heard much about it recently.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  111. Jude Dornisch

    One of the current concerns voiced about health care reform is the potential loss of your current plan or doctor. It seems to me that the underlying question is how many people actually have this choice? Aren't most working families covered by their employers coverage not theirs? How many families actually own their coverage and how does that compare to other forms of insurance?

    August 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  112. Christine

    Wellness care is more costs than savings b/c many people wouldn't have gotten sick in the first place, some will get sick anyway, and those that are helped aren't worth the overall cost spent on all.

    Also, I'm tired of the idea that adults need to be incentivized to do the right thing in regards to their health. People who lead unhealthy lifestyles should pay more for their healthcare. There's the incentive for them. Stop smoking, drinking, drugs, bad eating habits, etc and your healthcare cost will go down. If they refuse to make better choices and change their lives then they have no one but themselves to blame if their healthcare costs spiral out of control. If they end up in the emergency room, then put them on a payment plan to pay the money back. Tough love works better than excuse-making, sob stories, and reinforcing bad behavior.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  113. James In Kamiah, Idaho

    I Protest!

    I play world of warcraft and I'm fine!

    While the initial cost of the game is quite expensive 30-80 dollars in some cases, it costs less than the price of a movie. It's also like a movie you're involved in. So, you get to not only watch a movie, you get to participate in one for two months on thirty dollars.

    ...Now... where did I put my level 71 Gnome mage.... 😉

    August 22, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  114. Michelle

    Can the WHITE HOUSE give us a side by side comparison chart of some average medical/dental/vision plans that people have versus what they will offer with a public option? I think that the media has perpetrated many myths about why this wont work and wont be a good idea question is; iswhat we have now working ? NO
    I am also an employee with a private insurer, CIGNA. I have NO vision benefits, its not even an option. The dental coverage for adults maxes out at $2500 a year PERIOD. I work for a private insurer like what people are fighting to keep and I have 20% coinsurances, a $2500 deductible (family) a $10,000 max oop.. So to put it into perspective if I go to the hospital for appendicits I have to pay out of pocket the first $2500 which is the deductible, then I pay 20% of the bill up to $10,000. I make 30,000/yr Can someone tell me how I could afford that? CIGNA believes this plan is wonderful can you imagine the medical bankrupcy this could cause me if I should ever have a stay in the hospital? I got sick with pneumonia and refused to go to the hospital because of the cost. That is ridiculous. People complain about Medicare but Medicare is cheaper than what my EMPLOYER who is a private insurer offers me. Wendell Potter (ex CIGNA employee) recently spoke out about the bottom line of CIGNA and other insurers.. HELLLOO people.. Josh can you refresh people on that article? I dont hear people offering to GIVE up Medicare, FAA, FDC, Welfare, FOOD STAMPS, the CDC, FBI, Military none of those things that are also GOVERNMENT RUN.. why not HEALTHCARE, if not for Medicare most people over 65 wouldnt even have coverage, the private companies would refuse them for all their pre existing conditions. I work everyday and I am paing for medical coverage that I cant afford to use, I tried to get an appointment to a specialist and was told it would be in December (so with what we have theres a wait now), I cannot afford my prescriptions so I go without because I have to pay rent today I cannot afford to be homeless with a child, so point is why would I want to keep paying for something I cannot use, that will keep going up every year, my cost share inflates and benefits are cut.. I think the government should have a chance to fix this because working on the other side I can say private insurers are only worried about their bottom line, and that will not change. So the people opposing government help are shooting themselves in their own foot.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  115. Sue M.

    We need health coverage now. For all the people who have it- God Bless You, but many of us don't. I unfortunately lost my job due to company wide cut backs. I can't afford a state run insurance for my family for $700.00 a month for 5 of us. I've paid my taxes too for many years. I've paid for things I didn't agree with!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It's not fair we all can't have a health plan. We spend alot of money on other unnecessary things. Insurance is a necessity for all Americans.
    In previous administrations not too long ago one of the presidents had passed into law that pre existing conditions had to be covered by the insurance companies- why is that such a big deal now. That is fair As we all age many of us have conditions.
    Cobra was once good when it was first passed – but the insurance companies have since made it so unaffordable that you can't keep it..
    I feel the politicians that vote against the plan should be forced to be without a plan for themselves, so they can understand the frustration not having insurance brings.
    With so many people out of work, there are so many of us without health insuance.
    We can spend money on that stupid war , and other junk- but we can't take care of our own people!

    August 22, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  116. James In Kamiah, Idaho

    @Tim Smith... I'm not sure what the complaint is... you already pay taxes on programs you dont' benefit from.

    You should pay taxes that help everyone because it properly and evenly distributes the risks and benefits. you may end up paying for an illegal immigrant that exploits any given loophole at anytime anyways, but in this case it involves making sure that sick illegal immigrant doesn't pass his sickness on to his child who passes it on to your child or mine, and if it happens to, we'll be covered.

    August 22, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  117. Diane SC

    Why would you believe a poll conducted by BC/BS a for profit insurance company?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  118. Christine

    Inger-People have money confiscated from their paychecks for 40+ years to pay for Medicare once they're retired, it's not the same thing, they are being paid back what they are owed.

    Leonard-Congress is not on gov. run healthcare. They have private insurance funded by the taxpayers. That's why people are saying that they should be forced to be on a gov. plan if they think it's good enough for constituents.

    Daniel-I just saw a special on Indian Reservation healthcare and it's horrible. The people were all saying how bad it is and that it would be awful for the country. Don't know what you're talking about.

    The VA gov. run healthcare system already pushes vets to pull the plug in their "Your Life, Your Choices" book. Big report Sunday morning on another network. Bush administration refused to use the "death book" but Obama is using it.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  119. Paulette

    I am not against healthcare reform. I don't think it should be at the expense of senior citizens. Nor should immigrants who have not become citizens receive healthcare or any type of government assistance. I believe healthcare that is good enough for tax payers that pay the salaries of Washington bureaucrats should be good enough for the bureaucrats. ONE system for all.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  120. Robert Elston

    Isn't the root problem out-of-control health care costs? The hospitals and the insurance companies say that uncompensated costs (charity,bad debt, underpayment by medicare and medicaid) force the hospitals to overcharge the insured and self-pay. But the American Hospital Association says that the uncompensated costs to hopspitals is only 10% of their total costs.
    Must be some other reason

    August 22, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  121. ovie gibson

    Who's going to pay for a government option? Taxes will go up for anyone making over $100,000 a year. The government can't even run cash for clunkers or the post office or anything else for that matter. I do not trust our government running our healthcare. Ultimately there will be rationing of healthcare. It will be 10 times more expensive than the original estimates. WE will end up in a mess that we can't get out of. Why do alot of Canadians end up in the US for healthcare? Why is the Canadian system about to implode? There is a waiting period in Canada for most care. Why is there such a rush about the most sweeping bill in history? Why don't we slow down, make it bipartisan and get it right? No government option. Some people would rather own a new truck than have health insurance. They are making a choice and need to live with it. We have about ten million people uninsured maybe we need to deal with these people. Ovie

    August 22, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  122. James In Kamiah, Idaho

    I noticed the insurance defenders mention their worries about the government instituting artificially low rates, but won't that help offset the insurance companies already "artificially" HIGH rates? 😉 I believe it will.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  123. James In Kamiah, Idaho

    I'm sorry folks... I should have sent this to How I'm Dealing with the recession. 😉

    I Protest!

    I play world of warcraft and I’m fine!

    While the initial cost of the game is quite expensive 30-80 dollars in some cases, it costs less than the price of a movie. It’s also like a movie you’re involved in. So, you get to not only watch a movie, you get to participate in one for two months on thirty dollars.

    …Now… where did I put my level 71 Gnome mage….

    August 22, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  124. brian


    I Just Watched Your Piece On The Goverments Health Policy And Why It Is The Best. (The More In The Pool The Better The Benifit).

    So To Make This Real Simple Allow All Currently Insured And All Uninsured To Be Able To Access The Benifit Of The Goverments Policy.

    For Those Who Have Generous Employers Let The Employer Continue To Pay ForThem And For Those Who Pay For Themselves Let The Continue To Pay At A Lower Rate. For Those With No Insurance Allow The To Pay At The Reduced Rate.

    If All It Takes Is To Increase The Membership To Get Better Prices And Let This Happen And The Competition Will Take Its Course.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  125. D.A. Benson

    Obama will cut 500 million from social security & medicare and says it will be saved by eliminating fraud, waste and abuse.
    When has the government ever eliminated fraud, waste and abuse?


    August 22, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  126. Arizona Retiree

    There is no such thing as free health Care, nor should there be.
    Seniors, pay a premium out of their Soc. Sec. checks, then buy either a Medicare Advantage, Supplement, or subscribe to an HMO. I have a Medicare Advantage program and my cost to the Dr. is a $20 co-pay and the specialist gets $30 co-pay. Besides this, if you have Xrays in a hospital, the Dr. that reads the Xray can bill you separtly for that service. I subscribe to this plan so that I can go to any Dr. or use any lab or specialist of my choosing which you cannot do if you are in an HMO.
    No One has ever mentioned what the $500 Billion in Medicare cuts will affect for seniors.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  127. Stan

    Currently there are approx. 20 million illegals( John McCains numbers) in this country who use the hospital emergency rooms for their health care needs. Hospitals are obligated to treat them, even though they have no health insurance.Those costs are passed to all other hospital patients, you and I, who use hospital care with insurance.
    How will insurance reform stop this? Are non-citizens eligble for free health care, after "reform", like they are now? If yes,Who Pays?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  128. claire

    Medicare now sets prices Doctors can charge. I went to see a psychiatrist and his price was 100.00 per hour until I was 65 and after that medicare set his price at 75.00. I have not seen this mentioned

    August 22, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  129. Kathryne Rushford

    I have gone untreated for 5 years an injury caused by the government had to pay for COBRA just to find out what injuries I have a herniated disk in neck 2buldging disks in lower back something torn approx 70% movement Had to lift 1000 to 2000 lbs of parcels a day for over a month
    worked as much as 7 and 10 days in a row. The government denied the claim.I went from a large employer to a large employer. Emergency
    room is not something I should have to do(and some of them are bad)
    I have been run out of my savings by the government and I reported wrong doing by the company I use to work for who they fined. They have
    gone backwards.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  130. Dan P

    The other issue with health insurance is that many work for employers who offer it but they cant addord it. I know of one person who can afford the individual plan but cant affor a family plan so she is covered by the state childhood insurance program even though she makes an income around 3-4 times above poverty level.

    For example with the count. Wal Mart offer insurance to all employees but many just cant afford it.

    The way to change this is by making a premiums a person pays for insurance as a percentage of their pre-tax income. For example an employee making $26000 slaray paid every other week, which makes the check $1000 if you say insurance cost depending on which plan they are in (HMO or PPO) then the premiums pays 5% for the PPO or $50 and 3% for an HMO or $25. If an employee makes $52,000 these cost become $100 and $50.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  131. sallie brown

    i really don't understand why there is a big uproar on health care. when i was growing up and a single mother. i took my children to the "clinic" I observed many unwed mothers having babies who were on welfare. the emergency room is full of people with welfare and ssi and wic and food stamps. these people do get treated and eat. i feel very bad for these folks, its embarrasing for them.

    where i think assistance needs to be addressed is child care. working single mothers pay an outragous amount of money for child care. some get a discount based on their income, but it is still around 75.00 to 90.00 per week per child.

    why are women encouraged to go to college when the unemployment is so high?

    Just thought I would ask?????

    August 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  132. John

    How can you add 40-50 million people to the healthcare system with no extra doctors without increasing the wait times? And since it takes at least 6 years to train a new doctor, where would new doctors come from? Do you think you can just graduate more people from medical school? They don't have the bandwith to just accept more students without sacrificing the quality of medical training.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  133. Helen Clarke

    The President states in the radio interview that it is very difficult, to insure peolpe at the age of 50-64 which is so . I am 51 year old and I have no healthcare insurance. I work for a scoolbuscomp,and most of these private companies do not provide healthcare. Would it be possible that the goverment provides medicare for those that have a hard time to get healthins. with preexisting conditions?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  134. Peter S

    Are the current legislative proposals the staaring point for a decades long effort to move to a single payer government controlled system? It often seems the so called fact checkers "debunk myths" by referring to current legislative proposals while failing to acknowledge that many of these supposed myths do quite accurately describe the type of health care system liberals, including President Obama, have long advocated.

    Bottom line, on Mondays. Wednesdays and Fridays, Obama tells the liberals to be patient because this is just the start of a long eveloutionary process that will achieve everything they want. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, he tells health reform sceptics the current legislation does not include anything he poromised the liberals and they are paranoid to worry about them.

    Are the fact checkers playing fair by measuring so called myths against current options rather than the liberals long term goals?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  135. Bengt Holmgren

    Why doesn't the government start the Health Care Reform with a smaller undertaking? Such as fix the Medicare problem that is running out of money in a few years. If they can do that by saving 500 billion maybe we can trust them with a full Health Care Reform....

    August 22, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  136. Arizona Retiree

    Isn't it true that Abortions and illegals will be covered under HR3200 simply because they have not been excluded in the bill.
    It's just as much what isn't in the bill as what is included.
    Read between the lines.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  137. David Brezic

    So what's the big deal with "funding for abortion"? Today, private employer-provided health care plans are deductible as a business expense for tax purposes. So indirectly the U.S. taxpayers ARE subsidizing plans that pay for abortions.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  138. Stan

    The Federal Stimulus Plan has put our country several Trillion Dollars in debt. Wouldn't it be wise to wait until our economy improves before we decide on universal healthcare for all?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  139. Dot Snowden

    My private family health Ins cost $12,k a year, with a $5k deductible

    Last year they told me they would not cover a drug that cost $1600 a month (no generic subsitute available)

    So i could not afford it ( sorry that is a morgage payment and car payment and Ins for both) and did not get it.

    Then they kicked me out or not following medical advice ..

    What would a public plan do about that?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  140. Jenna Lovett

    What about the children? How are they not involved?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  141. Steve

    Will Alternative Healthcare be covered in the new plan? For example, acupuncture and herbal medicine.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  142. Mary

    What happened to that promise of receiveign the "same health careas members of Congress" do?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  143. Teirra

    Are there any provisions to alleviate the spiraling cost of prescription drugs ? Any help for Seniors?

    (Medicare Part D as it stands is a bad joke. Seriously!)

    August 22, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  144. Tom Craig

    Why is there no mention of the speech by a Canadian official that their form of health insurance has a good chance of imploding?


    August 22, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  145. Horsefly

    If there is a public health care plan, then, what is the incentive for employers to continue to provide private health insurance to its employees? Employers would save money by not offering private health insurance to its employees so therefore would be encouraged to stop providing it.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  146. Dexter

    Josh, the public option or exchance the same as what I (a Federal Gov't Employee) have now.. I get to choice between several insurance companies and what type of coverage.. is insurance company like The Mail Handlers or First Health controlled by the Gov't or are these companies just part of the exchange or options?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  147. m scott

    with the new programs being mandatory – what would happen if you got ill and didn't have it

    are you arrested, fined, etc?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  148. Janis Morgan

    Does any one have a ball park figure of the cost of any of these plans for the consumer as to whether they will truely be affordable or something just to shut people up for a while and say that they have a health care reform? I understand that the figures are only ball park but has anyone quoted any figures at all.?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  149. Don in Calif.

    On the question of pre-existing conditions, all the talk seems to miss the point. It's fine to say "you can't exclude" – but if the insurers can charge more, based on a pre-existing illness, it amounts to the same thing. No one is talking about that.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  150. nancy bledsoe

    A question I have not heard is about medigap insurance. Mine has gone up a least $10 a month in each of the last 4 years. Will there be any relief from that either in a public plan or on the exchange?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  151. Lynn Fountain

    We get pounded everyday with How Much Health Care Reform is going to Cost. WHY do we NOT hear about the other side of the coin: what is the estimated cost to THE TAXPAYER of NO REFORM – the cost of the Status Quo? It should be an easier cost to tabulate. Without this information, there is no informed decision.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  152. B. Davis

    Your discussion on rationing was disappointing. I have heard several seniors say that the new health plan would mean that young people get to see the doctor, while old people will be left to die without medical care. "In Dispute" for rationing questions does not address these fears of elderly people.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  153. wesley

    can you tell us, just straight up, why congress thinks they don't have to be subject to this health care plan. if it is good enough for us common folk, why isn't it good enough for them? don't they work for us? makes me think something going on when they say not for them>>>>>

    August 22, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  154. Ron Carmichael

    The cost estimated by the CBO of about 1 trillion dollars over ten years for Health Reform makes me wonder what the cost to our country would be if there were no change in the status quo?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  155. James In Kamiah, Idaho

    There is a lot of fear about the so-called public option being cheaper, but does that cheaper public option only give limited healthcare?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  156. Brad

    Why are healthcare costs 50 to 100% of GNP than other industrialized countries. Do you think that healthcare wages increasing 2 to 3% more over a twenty year period vs those of others professsions have an impact? Over 50% of healthcare costs are in labor.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  157. Nancy Quick

    What has happened to the idea of opening up the federal emplyees health insurance plan to everyone?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  158. dan

    How will the new federal agency that both bills creat be able to find a balance between setting the public option rates and premiums to low and possibly driving many insurers out of business and keeping them to high and therefore not cover as many of the 46 million uninsured. Also will this bill expand medicaid to reach some of those who still wont be able to afford health insurance with the cheaper public option? If so how much will that cost and where does it come from?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  159. BobbyD


    It takes me two months to schedule a yearly and simple dermatology appointment to monitor my sun exposure and moles. With the current plan, where will we get the medical personnel (Doctors, Nurses, and Admin Staff) to schedule and see everybody? Also, how will we prioritize visits based on millions of more patients trying to get their appointment(s) on an already over-loaded calendar?


    August 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  160. Charles

    I worked for a Bell System Company for most of my life. It's now Verizon. I have retiree medical benefits as promised all thoughout my career with them. Could I lose my benefits with this new health care reform legislation?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  161. carol

    Who is currently paying for the healthcare of the uninsured? And how will the cost of that care differ if those people are covered by a public healthcare option? Aren't we paying for the medical care of the uninsured already, either through medicaid, or through higher premiums on those of us who can afford healthcare insurance?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  162. Max

    What about people like me who do not qualify for public health care plans and cannot afford private insurance as it's so costly, Will this reform force the cost reduction on private insurance market.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  163. Cindy Merrill

    The "Stimulus" gave seniors a one time bonus of $250. That's approx. $5 a week for a year. Compare that to the $13 a week added to the average paycheck. Now throw in the projected cuts in Medicare, the threat ( either imagined or at least partially true), of rationing healthcare for the elderly: Guess what? Seniors think they're now considered second class citizens. Gosh! WHERE did they get that idea from? The government. When a social worker tells a 67 year old diabetic that he can't get his SNAP food credit increased ( even though dietic food costs 30% more on average), you know something is terribly wrong.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  164. t lowe

    Everyone is saying, "no, the new health care will NOT cover illgals" BUT, if the person has an "anchor" baby, a child that is born in the US. That child is automatically a U S citizen, THEN - that childs immediate family WILL be covered by health care!! People need to use the correct "wording". YES, the family of a US citizen will be covered, even if the rest of the family is ILLEGAL. Lets all start being honest, not beat around the bush about this. thank you

    August 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  165. tom

    Would tort reform lower Health care costs or are premium increases more linked to the malpractice insurers investments?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  166. Anthony Cipolla

    What about comprehensive malpractice reform? We physicians are forced to practice defensive medicine to help guard against malpractice lawsuits.Is there anything in any of these proposed bills that addressess this important issue?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  167. Michelle

    I am a person who has a company that provides excellent healthcare, but my worry is for my grandmother and mother, they do not. Why does this healthcare program seem to work so well in other countries, what will stop it from working in the US. it is our responsibility to care for those who are not able. Part of our rights as US citizens is to be able to help one another that is how our country was founded by everyone putting in a helping hand.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  168. Marsha Coleman

    I am automatically denied 'long term care' health insurance because I am a wheelchair user. Will that remain the same under President Obama's plan?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  169. donna

    Why can't the government regulate the existing insurance companies to make it more affordable to every one including rules for preexisting conditions and rate increases. The insurance companies are the ones who have gotten us into this health care crisis. That leaves medicare intake to take care those in real need.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  170. carol bolster

    Thanks for the honestly, we need more of this, you are really making sense, it's a relief to hear sane people. Fox is ready for the insane asylum. How do they get away with lies like that? You can tell they even know they are lieing. It's time for the government to step in and put an end to their BS, Carol Bolster, Sparta, Wisconsin THANKS, THANKS,THANKS

    August 22, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  171. john

    Health care can be paid for by legalizing maruirana, let colleges grow it for the students, sell it to the goverment under ATF, the goverment sell it, and states tax it, we have achohol and tobacco that kills millions each year and mariurana donesn't kill anyone only helps those who need it .

    August 22, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  172. jay

    If my employer provides a private insurance plan and I decide to go with the public option, would my employer still be required to make a company contribution to the public option on my behalf?

    I ask this because it would mean that my employer would have to pay for both the private insurance and the public option

    August 22, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  173. Ernie

    I will be retiring in the next year and I was eligible for insurance coverage until I am 65. & years) My employer has now told me that I will have to be put 403B health plan because of IRS Regulations and will also have to go on the Federal Cobra Program. Do I have an option not to go on these plans and just remain on my regular group insurance plan as a retired subset of the plan.


    August 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  174. Ron Coleman

    Like all legislation written by Congress, the Health Care Bills are intentionally vague, so that after implementation, they can be interpreted in any way that Congress wants !

    August 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  175. Ron Carmichael

    Are health care "out of pocket" costs going up about 3 times faster than incomes as President Obama mentioned the other day?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  176. sharon hinkebein

    I receive my social security disability. The amount is too much to qualigy for medicaid to pick up what medicare does not. I cannot afford a supplement. Will health care reform make a supplement that I can afford or change the gudelines of income to qualify for Medicaid.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  177. wayne bauer

    It doesn't make sense to me to pay private for proft medical insurance that pays its executives millions of dollars and whose bottom line is to make as much money as possible by limiting services to its members. Why? The insurance companies are the problem!

    August 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  178. Chuck

    I'm an average person and not a smart one so please help me understand.

    My understanding is that the public option with all of it's flaws and fault will only be another choice among the other insurance companies out there and it will not be mandatory, meaning, anyone that doesn't want it can still stay with or go to another insurance company. This will only help to make sure everyone is insured and drive down the cost and the availability of the competition. This is like MediCare without the age restriction.

    Am I correct? If so, what is the problem except for the big insurance companies losing some of their huge profits?

    Isn't this what they have in Canada, France, England, Germany,....?

    Thank you,

    August 22, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  179. Margaret

    Under the public plan, will doctors be required to participate in the plan or will it be voluntary?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  180. Sue in Newtown, PA

    Thanks for all the great info Josh! Wish you could answer this question for me. How much of the house or senate bills mimic what's already in private insurance policies? I hear people complaining about various sections of the bills, but I think they're just similar to what people already have in their own private insurance policies, they just don't know it because who reads all the details of their policies? And who even has access to all those administrative details? Most people only know what procedures get paid for, and what their co-pays are.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  181. Steven Kelly

    Why haven't we heard any more about TORT Reform?
    A huge expense in health care is for doctors to cover their butts from malpractice suits!

    August 22, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  182. Robert G. Gourley

    I pay a monthly premium for a Medicare extra insuance, is there anything currently proposed that will effect this plan?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  183. Deanna McGowan

    Why is CNN denying to cover the real health care reform debate single-payer public plan vs public option? Why does the CBO refuse to release financial cost figures for single payer system?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  184. Max

    What about people in jobs where the companies do not offer health care. No one is talking about reforming the laws and rules where every worker in great America has insurance.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  185. David

    Only 45 Democrat Senators are committed to the public option and that includes Sen. Kennedy. And out of those 45 Senators, some are opposed to a national exchange. So, the White House needs to twist some arms to get a national public option in the bill.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  186. jerry coleman

    Josh when they say i want to give the public a plan like congress have, do private companies handle that or dose the government have full control, are the government plan ran by private insurers.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  187. Randi Reed

    Can CNN reporters please stop spreading the myth that Emergency Rooms are required to treat anyone who comes in? Fact: in the US, Emergency rooms are legally required to stabilize the patient. That's it, nothing more...Not provide prescription meds after patient is stabilized, not provide any follow up care, nothing. Some do more IF they WANT, but in major cities when wait times are long it's unlikely to happen. (After all, let's not forget the reports CNN did about the people who were Patient dumped in Los Angeles and the lady who died in a waiting room here waiting for treatment.)

    August 22, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  188. Michael Adams

    I would like to know how health insurance reform will affect Medicaid.
    I've heard that the rolls would be expanded. Can you tell me if this is true and if so, how would it be accomplished?

    Michael Adams
    Charlotte, NC

    August 22, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  189. M-AZ

    Why does (Lori) from fact make so many speculations? I thought the point was to get to the actual facts about the bill not these future "republican" style speculations about how the public option might get too big. In addition, the comment she made about how "national competition" was McCain's idea showed a definite republican political preference. During the campaign, Obama also said that we would have a national health care system with competition and choice like the federal employee's insurance plan. That would also require national competition, so to say that it was McCain's idea is not only incorrect, but shows her political preference which seems to become more apparent every time she is on the show. Plus, she should stick to the facts – isn't that what she is there for?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  190. Charlie

    I stayed in hospital. Bill was $38000. Insurance paid $9500. My copay was $2500. The hospital was obligated to accept under insurace agreement.

    I lost my vision insurance and told the doctor that I would pay him the same amount he was paid last year by the insurance for the exam (40% less than his "published" rate. He said he could not do this. When asked why he said he was audited by the insurance companies and would lose his ability to be a participating providor if he provided care to non-insured for less than his published rates.

    If you are uninsured you are required to pay 60-300% more than insured patients. This is astounding to me and not well reported. This seems an incredibule marketing ploy by insurance companies and I do not think people understand it.

    Need a question. This is my experience, I can document all but the doctors conversation. Why is this not reported? I am lucky, I could have paid $13000. I could have lost my home at $38000.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  191. Donna

    When considering who will provide care for all the uninsured when they become insured, there are 2 things that should be considered:
    1. The uninsured and under insured are a;ready receiving care in our emergency rooms, clinics and doctor's offices. Their care is currently causing the price shifting where those insured and tax payers are already paying for much of the care.
    2. It's true that more doctors and nurses would be needed – that's already true. One answer to providing effective, safe and less costly care to the additional numbers of patients would be the use of nurse practitioners and physician assistance. Many are already giving excellent care to patients and this system could easily be expanded.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  192. Greg

    The strenght of private health networks is the ability to sign up providers. Do you think that the government can sign up providers when the reimbursement rate would have to be low in order to save money. The hospitals are already struggling at current contracted rates

    August 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  193. kathy

    how does the healthcars plan help the working poor who can't afford insurance at any price. that would put a burden on the people

    August 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  194. Alfred Griffin

    We has estimates of was it will cost to insure the uninsured after health care reform. Can you give the cost of caring for the uninsured today.

    Thank you,


    August 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  195. Jerry Del Vecchio

    Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently told the Associated Press that Indian Health Services has been a “historic failure” and she promised to improve the agency. If the governement can't deliver quality healhcare to the American Indian after 55 years, how can the government provide healthcare for 50 million + Americans?

    The secretary would get a lot of support for that notion from Indian country. Native Americans are the first to point out how the system has not kept up with the need – issues that will be explored at a National Indian Health Summit in Denver July 7 – 9.
    The General Accountability Office reported last year that because of shortages in budget, personnel and facilities “the IHS rarely provides benefits comparable with complete insurance coverage for the eligible population.” It spends about one-third less per capita than Americans in general and half of what’s spent for the health care of a federal prisoner. Often that means a rationing of care, especially when it means contracting with doctors outside the IHS network.
    The federal government accepts a double standard. Any discussion about rationing – or government care – is off the table unless you’re a member of an American Indian tribe or Alaskan Native community with a sort of pre-paid insurance program (many treaties, executive orders and laws were specific in making American Indian health care an obligation to the United States).
    But the federal management of its health care network is full of inconsistencies, including the way the government pays itself. Medicare only reimburses IHS or tribal health facilities for 80 percent of the costs. So an already underfunded IHS essentially subsidizes Medicare. According to NCAI, fixing this problem would add $40 million a year to the budget.
    This may sound odd, but I think with sufficient resources, IHS could be the model for reform. The agency already knows how to control costs and the successful operation of a rural health care network. So much so that many rural non-Indian communities are looking for ways to tap into the system for the general population.
    And while the scarcity of funding results in substandard care, it’s not the only story. There has been considerable improvement in American Indian and Alaskan Native health since IHS was established. One study reported: “In the first 25 years of the program, infant mortality dropped by 82 percent, the maternal death rate dropped by 89 percent, the mortality rate from tuberculosis diminished by 96 percent, and deaths from diarrhea and dehydration fell by 93 percent. The improvement in Indians’ health status outpaced the health gains of other U.S. disadvantaged populations.”
    One reason for those improved health conditions was an early decision to invest in education, sanitation and preventative care. We know this about health care expenditures: Upfront spending saves money later. And IHS provides an example of a government agency that did just that over its five decades.
    Neither President Obama nor Congress needs a new study to improve government management of Indian health programs. But it will require more money. The IHS could spend significantly more dollars on its patients – and still be a health care bargain for taxpayers. Congress also ought to remove the federal governments’ double standard on Indian health care by reenacting the now expired Indian Health Care Improvement Act. This original law, signed by President Ford, was successful by any measure and one reason for the better statistics. Once again, improving the health care of American Indians and Alaskan Natives is a test. If the federal government can’t get this small segment of its own health care operations right, then it has no chance to reform an entire system.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  196. Dodie - California

    I have worked in health care since 1985. Every time the private sector takes over a government run facility, they hire those willing to be paid lower, most do not have the credentials we have, the cost to the individual doubles and the cost to the taxpayer is increased. Remember private sector = ((( for profit ))) government = non profit.

    There are two areas I would like to address:

    1. checks and balances to decrease corruption in the government
    2. Health care for American citizens only!!!
    3. Health care is affordable… NOT FREE!!!
    4. Everyone has to pay premiums. We have too many people in California that just want to live off the system. I am tired of working to support everyone else!

    SSI, SSDI, Medical, Medicare, low income housing, welfare: I want each claim from each person checked out thoroughly! I have seen too many people who lied get these benefits for life! Again, I am tired of working to support everyone else!!!

    August 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  197. John

    Will health insurance be cheaper with the goverment option. I have no health insurance and it would cost me and my wife over $36,000 per year. We are both 61 and yes I do have a job with no insurance.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  198. Ken Stone

    Please address the tort refom issue on CNN. I personally am under treatment and feel doctors are ordering tests to cover their concerns. One young physician was is tears who tried to get through medical school debt, etc, which was compounded by exhorbitant insurance premiums. I had rather that the physicians have premiums that are manageable so that the doctors can turn a profit to pay for their investment in training. $30 to $50K premiums are not necessary. Some shyster lawyers take advantage of the situation. Even if it is only a small percentage of the health problem, let's fix it. I could probably sue o recoup some damages, but I feel that is not appropriate. Let's fix the problem for physicians and patients and not for lawyers, who get rich in chasing this kind of income!!!

    August 22, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  199. rennie obrien

    will chiropractic and acupuncture be covered under the public option

    August 22, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  200. MacChuck

    Are Insurance companies currently attempting to increase out of pocket costs from 20% to 35%.
    Was a Senate Committee addressing this?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  201. Laura

    HI Josh,

    What is the mechanism for screening the legal status of applicants under the health care proposals?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  202. Shannon Champion

    Re: government panel deciding which therapies or tests will be allowed.

    Currently, most insurance companies require a physician to get pre-approval from the insurance company before hospital admissions or certain diagnostics are ordered.
    And why is it always the M.D. whose feel will be reduced and not the pharmaceutical companies, equipment manufacturers, or insurance CEO's?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  203. Jeanne

    I am willing to accept the federal health care plan as long as my coverage is the same as my Senators and Representatives, and President. We elect them and pay them, why should we expect less.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  204. Sean L

    Why are we not hearing anything more about being able to buy drugs from places like Canada? I also don't hear much about lowering taxes on healthcare.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  205. Anna Olson

    I for one have been unemployed since Sept 2008 and I have applied for County Medicaid. Now this is what is hurting me.....
    I get $700. a month for unemployment. There is a share of cost for people that get County medicaid. The share of cost is $327.00 a month. That means that I have to pay the $327. before they will help pay for any medical at all. How do I pay rent and utility bills and eat if there is a cost like this.

    In the new Healthcare plan. Are they talking about fixing the share of cost that is on medical people that are unemployed. We cannot survive on something like this. It is pretty bad when you have to choose to either go to the Dr. or eat and pay rent......

    I am hoping to get answers to my question.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  206. Marion

    There is a lot of worry that there are not enough medical professionals to handle everyone who needs care in America, especially if more people are going to be added to the system. Is it not plausible then that the government should also offer more scholarships or aid for school to capable individuals who want to pursue jobs or careers in the health sciences and public health professions?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  207. Shannon Champion

    per previous comment–
    The last line should read "M.D. whose fees-"

    August 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  208. Mark

    I just happend to visit the post office yesterday. The service was typicaly bad. I wondered as I stood in a long line that if most people think the government has does a pretty bad job running the postal service why would anyone in their right mind want them to run health care?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  209. rena dworkin

    I would like to have the congressmen who are against the public option explain to the citizens of the usa, why they hold on to their public , very expensive insurance, instead of switching to the private insurances that they are backing sooo strongly...

    August 22, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  210. ed carr

    Individual states have to ilmprove insurance plans for their state. That is why there is little competition. With a Federal plan option, will the states have the right to review, approve/disapprove the government option?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  211. Cheryl Fox

    Current Cost of healthcare for uninsured: Why is no one talking about this current cost of care for uninsured people in emergency rooms, clinis, etc and how much it might offset the cost of reform? What about the cost of Medicaid today?

    August 22, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  212. Alfred Griffin

    We have estimates of what it will cost to insure the uninsured after health care reform. Can you give the cost of caring for the uninsured today.

    Thank you,


    August 22, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  213. Andy Carr

    I'm from Britain and I really can't understand why people are so against a public healthcare system. Surely it is in everyone's interest for it to cost as little as possible and thus force PRIVATE health care companies to lower their premiums in fear of the competition. If I am ill or in an accident then I go to the Doctors or a Hospital without question... "prevention" is far cheaper then "treatment", and a healthier society creates a more flourishing one. Your not ruled by a dictatorship America, you really shouldn't be so fearful.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  214. Fran

    Is Drew's job just to knock the program? He like the court jester against health care. Bring on some balance to this clown.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  215. Charlie

    Many people call for tort reform. What are the truely injured to do. We need medical board reform before tort reform. In California we have tort reform. Basically you cannot get medical care without signing away any right to sue. It stinks.

    Doctor did lipo suction on 5 patients in a morning. He reused cannellas. (one time use devices) YUCK. First patient had MSRA staff. Four others contracted it. No suit allowed. Minimal compensation. DOCTORS LICENSE WAS NOT REVOKED. YGBSM. Medical boards are doctors protecting doctors. Until they accept the responsibility of disciplining themselves or we take it out of the hands of Doctors, tort reform is a get-out-of-jail-free pass for bad doctors.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  216. Steven Keller

    In terms of "essential" care– we already have a wonderful system that is: 1) complete– covers all diseases and treatments; 2) is non-political; and 3) is constantly being updated and reviewed. it is called EBM or Evidence Based Medicine– where there are 4 levels within this classification– good evidence that a particular treatment is effective in most people; ok evidence that a particular treatment is somewhat effective in some people; evidence that the treatment leads to more harm than good; and not enough evidence. Clearly we could pass legislation that covered all Americans with the top classification and then every individual would be free to purchase private insurance to cover the more questionable treatments.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  217. Jerry - CO

    I am a retired RN – I was "in the trenches" for 40 years in a variety of healthcare settings. 20+ years ago people brought up the idea of having a heath care menu but such an idea was quickly squashed. Why? It is all about "cost sharing". Why should a couple pay the same cost for a "family plan" as a couple w/8 chldren? Why should a senior citizen have to pay for a health plan that includes maternity care? Perhaps young people would not want to include a hospice option in their plans.
    The thing is health care plans need to offer more choices so that people can pick & pay for the services they might want. And people need to be held more accountable for the unhealthy life choices they make & that the rest of us must pay for.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  218. james nagy

    How can you be against Abortions and for the slow death of 47 million Americans and call your self a Christian? Do you like holding the bible in one hand and a gun in the other? Heres one of the Christains best saying and that is (What would Jesus Do). If Republicans really think they are Christians I'll see them in HELL, save a spot and tell Satan you'll are coming.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  219. Mark

    I just happened to visit the post office yesterday. The service was typically bad.

    As I stood in a long line I wondered...since most people believe the federal government does a pretty bad job running the postal service why would anyone in their right mind want them to get their hands on our health care?

    August 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  220. Judy

    Perhaps Congress should decide first whether to make a health care reform bill that is general, somewhat like our Federal Constitution, leaving specifics up to physicians and, to a lesser extent, patients or to try to include every possible contingency.

    Personally, I like publicly funded healthcare, with physicians deciding what treatment is needed and patients choosing what doctor or other provider to see. Taxing the very rich more highly, perhaps according to two or more classes of income, and containing payment paperwork to the single payer–the government–would, I hope, go a long way to paying for universal coverage.

    Another issue is equity in treatment, since more money usually means higher quality treatment. Should patients be able to pay extra for extra treatment, for instance?

    August 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  221. Mary

    Our insurance company recently switched my husband and me to a medicare advantage insurance plan and we lost benefits. We now pay co-pays which we didn't pay before, and lost some prescription drug coverage. I think President Obama is correct when he states that insurance companies benefit more from the medicare advantage plans than patients do. We definitely prefer our original medicare plan over the medicare advantage plan, but weren't given a choice in the matter which is typical of the way insurance companies operate.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  222. Jan


    August 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  223. Frank

    Josh : Doctors pay high fees in insurance so they can practice Medicine. These cost are passed to the patients. Why is it that this area is not in the of health reform ? Could it be that there are to many lawyers in this prosess?

    Frank Ct

    August 22, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  224. Robin

    What happens to the people who currently have health insurance? The comment was made that someone would determine (a Health Administrator,) what it was covered and what was not. What stops private insurance companies to only cover the same things as the government plans. Will I have to pay extra to maintain my current coverage?

    August 22, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  225. Dodie - California

    @ L Mcvicar

    Like you, I work for the .....................! I work with a system that comes out of Washington which lists and tracks every person in the USA that has ever had an incident. When I log on to that system, It tracks every move I make. If I wanted to check someone out (not due to my job) and I searched their name, I would be immediately fired and probably end up in Fort Leavenworth Federal Prison.

    I am sure a similar system would be in place.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  226. jeff

    since congress is disfuntional ,woukd it make sense to make the health care issue a public vote rather than a congressional vote . reason being congrss has a finite number of poeple that special intrest can pursue . by moving this out this would even the field of play significantly we need both parties to create thier repective bills and let us decide. at the end congrss will have no choice but to enact what ever bill is chosen. if healthcare is a human right why are we not looking to amend the bill of rights???????

    August 22, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  227. Andrew Wroblewski


    August 22, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  228. M. Griswold

    What is the role of states in implementing HR 3200?

    August 22, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  229. Christine Studaker

    All I keep hearing is that I can keep my current health plan if I choose....Isn't it ultimately up to my employer whether or not I keep my current coverage? If they choose to change to the government plan, then I must also, whether I want to or not. Why is no one approaching that aspect of this? Also, on another note; car dealers in my area are not getting paid for their "Cash for Clunkers" deals, and the government copmuters are always down or throwing them off. And people want the government to handle national health care??? I think we're in big trouble.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  230. Judy

    Perhaps Congress should decide first whether to make a health care reform bill that is general, somewhat like our Federal Constitution, leaving specifics up to physicians and, to a lesser extent, patients, or to try to include every possible contingency.

    Personally, I like publicly funded healthcare, with physicians deciding what treatment is needed and patients choosing what doctor or other provider to see. Taxing the very rich more highly, perhaps according to two or more classes of income, and containing payment paperwork to the single payer–the government–would, I hope, go a long way to paying for universal coverage.

    Another issue is equity in treatment, since more money usually means higher quality treatment. Should patients be able to pay extra for extra treatment, for instance?

    August 22, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  231. Carolyn

    Is there a proposed preventative care program....I remember the great screening and advice from the health departments in each county. Keeping our nation fit helps lower the cost for healthcare. I would love to see more support groups for fitness and weight maintenance.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  232. Jan


    August 22, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  233. Dexter


    this fact finding online town hall is fair and just what America needs... questions answer'd and not drama... this is what was needed from the beginning ... Please keep doing this ...

    August 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  234. Robin

    It seems that mental health is not covered. What happens to people who need it and government says no? Who decides what is necessary? Will statistics decide?

    No government has the right to determine how someone feels.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  235. Ken Stone

    Please address tort reform. Lawyers are making the money on the back of good physicians. Normal premiums are necessary to fix the problem for young physicians who have to invest many $K in insurance premiums.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |


    August 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  237. GaryH

    Was in the hospital a few years ago for prostrate problems "TURP" got a bill that charged me $5 each for Tylanol!!! Last week had an MRI on my C-spine the bill was about $1300 it was discounted to BCBS to $295. My wifes friend's son had a stroke and was charged $1400 for an MRI If they paid cash upfront they would only have to pay $1000 !!!
    Something is very wrong here; HCR also needs to regulate HC providers and hospitals Just think: I was charged $5 for a tylanol!!!! I could have bought a jar of Tylanol for each one I received from the hospital; plus I was charged a daily room-rate that was totally outragious!!!! What is being done to rein in the bogus and outraious charges hospitals and medical facilities are charging????

    August 22, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  238. Connie

    Does the proposed health care reform bill mention anything concerning mandatory mail order of prescriptions from large mail order chains rather than allowing a patient to choose ones own local pharmacy. I depend on my hometown pharmacist to counsel me on my medications especially if I have been given a new prescription. I also like to ensure that I am receiving my medications on a timely basis rather than waiting for a lost package in the mail.

    Connie from North Carolina

    August 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  239. Jan


    August 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  240. Bill Galloway

    Since health care reform is still a dream in the making.....what will happen this Fall and Winter to the 46 million (give or take 5 or 6 million) who have no health care benefits and might be impacted by the H1 N1,flu virus? Will they be allowed to get the series of flu shots and at what cost?

    August 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  241. Robert Sheffield

    I am watching Josh Levs on CNN. One of his guests is Angie Hogan from
    She stated that if you get health care coverage through your employer through a large health care organization there are no pre-existing condition restrictions.
    She stated you only have this restriction if you are acquiring health care coverage independently.
    This is absolutely not true.
    Every group health care plan I have had through an employer had a waiting period for pre-existing condition, some as long as three years.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  242. Suzanne

    I am so ashamed and embarrassed for all of those people out there causing such grief over this and resisting, exaggerating and twisting the facts into nothing but fear tactics lies. Change in our healthcare system has been needed for a LONG time now. Both me and my husband have worked in healthcare for most of our lives and it is sad that a nation as strong, powerful and advanced as ours has let our healthcare system be neglected and a profit center for private insurance and pharmaceutical companies. I applaud the President for taking this on and couldn't be prouder of all of those in favor of it who have to now defend it to those who refuse to see the simple facts. I have never seen such sore losers holding on to their animosity over losing an election for so long. Please get over it. Don't they see that our tax dollars already go towards helping those who can't afford insurance in the way of huge write offs every year of those that have to go to hospitals for simple care that can't afford it? Nothing was done for 8 years to improve our healthcare system. Let intellect reign and make the positive changes that we need to take care of our own!!!!

    August 22, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  243. bob Sjordal

    There is all this talk about taxing the rich to pay for health care. Exactly how much money does the government expect to generate through taxing the evil rich people? What exactly will be the annual cost of Oba
    macare? Do the costs balance out or will we spiral into the big black hole of more debt? We have to do something, even if it is wrong and just trust us it will all work out are sentiments that are a little frightening at this point.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  244. Robin

    My salary is less because I traded off for health insurance. So that does that mean that I am supposed to settle for even less to fix everything? Is the president going to accept this plan or have a private one?

    All I have seen since Obama took office is more of a shrinking middle class. When does it end?

    August 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  245. Denise

    Reading through all these comments on healthcare reform just confirms how completely messed up it is. IF I KEEP WATCHING THE NEWS I'M GOING TO NEED MEDICAL ATTENTION OR A RIDE TO THE NUT HUT.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  246. John fron NJ

    As screwed up as things are with our insurance companies I feel going with the government involved is just too risky. Think of the government as a job applicant applying to run this program, I run all these big programs Post Office, Medicare, Medicaid and many others just fine, well except not one runs with what I budgeted it for, not one runs without an abnormal amount of fraud and cost overruns, and oh yeah a few of my bigger ones will be bankrupted in a few years but other than that I think I’m doing a good job and oh did I say I was a people person! With Insurance we have an avenue for when things go bad. We can go to another company, file a complaint with several places or sue their pants off. With a government programs you’re stuck, it is their way or the hi-way.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  247. Mike Golden

    I was tracking your program that was set up with SMEs to answer questions on the Admins Health Care bills. It was going well until a question was addressed (can't remember the specific question but is was addressed duting the program segment when the issue of Abortions was also covered). At any rate, Lori Robertson was answering the question and just at her last statement where she indicated "Yes" to the question (indicating a negative for the bill), the Graphic posted a "NO" over the question test (indicating a positive for the bill).

    CNN, sloppy indeed and thus your coverage of the issues and answers now has a credability gap with me and Ihave been a believer of CNN. Perhaps my friends who claim ohter networks do a better job of giving the facts accurately are right. As this issue is so critical to the country, I will no longer seek the truth from CNN alone.

    Like AARP, you just lost me.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  248. Paul T

    If the administration just wants to increase competition in the health care insurance industry, why can't the laws be changed to require a certain minimum number of providers serve in each state?
    Are Republican senators and congressmen working with Democrats in the actual crafting of the various versions of the healthcare bills working their way through both houses?

    August 22, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  249. Sue in Newtown, PA

    Re: The debate about whether abortion procedures wil be funded by federal taxes. Do any private insurance policies pay for abortions? Isn't it true that the people who have private insurance pay into the pool of money collected by the insurance companies, and that pool of money is made available to all the members to pay for their medical bills, which may include abortion procedures? If our current LAW DOES NOT ALLOW FEDERAL FUNDING FOR ABORTION, I would imagine that will still stand with the public option, since there is no mention of funding in the bills, again because of the law. I believe that It's all those who have private insurance who are actually already helping to fund abortions. Has anyone thought about this?

    August 22, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  250. Marie

    Why are hearing from the Republicans now? We didn't hear anything at all from them while George Bush was spending all our money on the Iraq War and making all of his friends rich off us. Are people really that stupid? Everyones asking how we are going to pay for health care reform that we desperately need. They were not worried about OUR MONEY when the Republicans are spending it, and please don't tell me that after centuries of Republicans getting rich off our money has them suddenly concerned!
    Instead of everyone getting so angry and hateful as the Republicans want you to do, why don't we finally put a STOP to the INSURANCE COMPANIES running this Country AND HELP EACH OTHER GET HEALTH COVERAGE FOR ALL. We are paying for all of the Politicians Health Insurance while we choose between FOOD and MEDICINE. Why don't you all calm down and try to come up with a solution that will work for all of us and not JUST THE RICH. Whod do you think is paying for all of their extravagant parties and vacations that costs millions of dollars a week? YOU ARE, SO KEEP TAKING CARE OF THEM AND DON'T LET OBAMA HELP US. Everyy person who has tried to help the American People, the Republicans have spreaded their vicious HATE so that YOU WON'T STAY FOCUSED AND YOUR FALLING FOR IT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 22, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  251. Ann

    Maybe the un-insured should go out and commit crimes. I think there is healthcare in prison.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  252. dan davidson

    1. I love Obama's health plan – Everyone is covered for everything and it doesn't cost a dime. Which one of the current bills house or senate does that?

    2. If companies are allowed to pay an 8% penalty to the government and not supply health care to employees – how is that not government run health care. Leave my insurance alone!

    August 22, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  253. Robert Sheffield

    Clarification of previous comment on pre-existing conditions.
    The pre-existing condition restrictions I mentioned in my previous comment were if you had been without coverage for a certain period of time. She is correct that if you transfer group coverage within a designated period there won't be a pre-existing condition restriction.
    Still if you are applying for health care coverage and have not had coverage for a certain period you WILL have pre-existing condition restrictions.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  254. CJ

    While you seem to have gotten correct the fact that people under 25 will be able to get dental care, you otherwise left out reality. Leaving aside that only in America could teeth and eyes be regarded as not parts of human bodies (do you know how old lions in the wild often die? Bad tooth or teeth. The lion starves to death because pain is too great for it to eat): 1) dental insurance for kids under 25 is silliness, since very few kids need dental care after leaving home and before reaching age 25; 2) dental insurance that is currently available through one’s employer is laughable. All dental plans are laughable, or would be were they not so pathetic.

    Been to a dentist lately for a root canal and crown, or for a bridge or implant? Yeah, dental insurance is cheap, but that’s because it doesn’t cover anything worth covering. Smile Saver, for instance, will pay 25% of the cost of a root canal. If the root canal is $2,000, which is cost for root canal of a molar here in Los Angeles, then Smile Saver will pay (maybe) $500, leaving you stuck with $1,500.

    I know because few people have worse teeth than I do. (As a matter of genetics. My mother had bad teeth, which I inherited.) I’ve paid out thousands just to keep my teeth from getting worse, never mind ever looking better, despite having dental insurance. (Forget implants anyway since they’re regarded as “cosmetic,” and so usually not covered at all. Why do you think dentists become expert in doing implants? Because they rake in dough directly from patients via collection agencies.)

    Dental “insurance” in the U.S. is a fraud at any price. Especially for low-income people like the lady you cited and myself. (Prices for drugs is another fraud. Same drugs can be bought in Mexico for half the price, proving prices are fixed by PHRMA in the U.S.)

    Yes, there are dental plans “out there,” but that’s not the question. The question is whether they amount to real insurance. The answer is that they absolutely do not.

    Otherwise, this entire ongoing farce is just that, a farce intended to accommodate insurance companies (obviously) at the same time as pretending to reform healthcare provision. Under a single-payer plan like my brother enjoys in Germany (with his German wife) would be the only sane way to go.

    But in America, we don’t do the sane thing, as we prefer to give dough away to freeloading shareholders in insurance companies. Same as we like to give money to Wall Street. We’re ridiculous without a clue as to what might be in our own best interest. As example of one particular bit of insanity, employers with payrolls less than half a mil would not be required to provide insurance for employees. So are those employees then supposed to go in search of jobs with outfits whose payrolls are over half a mil? Stupid, until one remembers that Congress has a fetish for small business, treated with kid gloves. Well, unless you want to start one, in which case good luck when the SBA refuses to lend you the start-up dough.

    A far more efficient and effective single-payer system could easily be paid for annually by cutting the defense allotment by two-thirds and bringing troops home from various foreign wars and the 800+ military bases we maintain around the world. And then repealing Bush’s big giveaway to the already obscenely wealthy, including same shareholders in insurance scams. But you won’t hear much about these possibilities from any President or any member of Congress, all of ‘em bought and paid for by scammers. (But for a few, like Weiner, Kucinich, Watters, Conyers, and Sanders just about alone in the Senate) And all with excellent dental insurance paid for by me, you and others in the private sector, among others.

    That is we’re having a national “debate” (not “we” exactly, so much as pols and insurance executives and media personnel) over whether or not to buy a burger or a hot-dog when a steak could be had at half the price. Once willing to rid the nation of middlemen parasites who behave like loan sharks.

    What I mean by “ridiculous.”

    August 22, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  255. Edith

    The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act passed Congress and was signed by the President in 2008. This bill requires health insurers to offer mental health benefits equal in cost and scope to medical and surgical benefits. The bill goes into effect in January, 2010. Therefore, my assumption is that healthcare reform will provide for parity between mental health and medical/surgical benefits.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  256. 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 22, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  257. John C.

    If we had people in the House and Senate that had an IQ over 50, and were sincerely interested in the welfare of the general public, they wouldn't have to look much farther then their Washington backyard to
    see that we currently have several government run medical programs,
    all of which are currently operating without concerns amongst their clientele. I have been fortunate enough to belong to one such program
    which has covered me and my wife over the past 40 years without any limits whatsoever for a premium of less than $150.00/quarter. Thirteen years ago I had a triple bypass and my total out of pocket cost
    was $25.00/day over a 30 day period. Now if the government can provide me and others with such a program, there is no reason why they can't recruit hospitals and doctors (offering choice of hospitals and doctors to all clients) on a nationwide basis. I got to choose my doctors over the years and the hospital closest to me. To those who want to keep their current insurance and pay $3,000.00-$6,000.00/yr
    or more let them feed the CEO's of the insurance companies and provide them with their mega-million dollar bonuses, and oh yeah,
    their overseas vacation spots. I realize that my exact program is not available to everyone, but there is nothing keeping them from forming
    a similar plan that would be available, especially to those with an IQ over 50.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  258. Ray

    Hello Josh

    Why is it that 10 years ago there was no healthcare crises and now there is?
    Now there are millions of Americans that are now unemployed, for the past 10 years American Corporations have been and are still busy outsourcing jobs to India and China. When people have jobs they can pay for their own healthcare.
    Globalization is rapidly destroying America, it's not hard to see just look around. Most items we now buy are made in China, Most Customer Service is now routed to India. Their economies are growing ours is on life support.
    The way to fix our Economy and Healthcare is to start bring jobs back to America.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  259. Susan

    Clearly health care in this country is a mess. Half of the people who go bankrupt have insurance. Costs are going up so fast that more people will be uninsured. Insurance co-pays and deductibles will keep rising. People who have insurance and don't care about this issue should be concerned. For those people yelling about the government interfering with their insurance, they could find themselves without insurance at any time.Our "system" is totally inefficient and chaotic. There are many thousands of different insurance plans. More than one-third of every health care dollar goes for administrative costs. Most people without insurance work . They need affordable coverage.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  260. David R. Palmer

    Fascinating. Apparently it's more important for some of you folks to make sure illegal aliens don't get coverage than it is to get affordable, decent coverage for yourselves and your families. Let's keep our eye on the ball, people.


    August 22, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  261. Mary Barnett

    Former Congressman Dick Armey, now of Freedomworks, has always opposed the existence of Medicare. If the current health care reform initiative fails, and our current system, including Medicare, becomes increasingly unsustainable, as many predict, won't that bring about his goal of ending Medicare?

    August 22, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  262. Anita Van Wyk

    Pres. Obama says that he will do away with Medicare Complete and that's where he will get alot of money to pay for his Health Plan. He also says that Seniors like Medicare,. Dont' most Seniors choose to be under some form of Medicare Complete and not Medicare alone? My husband and I have been under some form of Medicare Complete for 18 years and really like it, as are all of my friends. We would not like to be under just Medicare since that doesn't cover near as much as Medicare Complete. If we will be under Medicare alone, we will have more medical bills to pay & that will be very difficult!

    August 22, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  263. Sandra Covert

    Has anyone addressed whether our Constitution even gives goverment the power to do any of this. I remember the part about interstate commerce, but this whole public option does not seem to be applicable.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  264. Rich

    Why are you so misrepresenting the "public option" on all your shows? I've seen several times today you talk about how much will be spent by the gov't to run or administer this option. WRONG! Get your facts straight, it will be several billion to set it up BUT after that it will charge premiums and be self supporting. NO ONGOING SUBSIDY! Please get your facts right.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  265. Anita Van Wyk

    I submitted my question before I saw the place to check Notify me.
    I really would like a response to the question. Isn't the Pres. Obama statement of "Most Seniors like Medicare" wrong? Shouldn't he instead say, "Most Seniors like some form of Medicare Complete and would not like Medicare by itself." He says that he plans on doing away with Medicare Complete since it is too expensive for the Gov't to pay for. This is what I think is the reason that most Seniors are angry! Medicare as it is today rations care. He talks about honesty in the dialogue. But what about his honesty in the dialogue?

    August 22, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  266. Debbie Roberts

    Do either of the bills state when the health care reform would be effective? People like me with pre exiting conditions can't wait years for reasonable health care premiums. I know it takes time to implement but we need it asap.

    August 22, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  267. Wes Snypes -- TOLEDO

    Why is Blue Cross Blue Shield no longer a co-operative? What are the salaries of their CEOs?

    August 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  268. Mark

    A co-op will not necessarily offer a lower cost option than private insurers. Keep in mind that Blue Cross which is one of the largest health insurers in the US is a non profit, member owned mutual company. The private insurers should fully support a public option. Any public option will be so loaded with basic services that the premiums for a public option will be much higher than the private option and the subsidies will enable more people to buy private insurance. As far as the requirement that private insurers not exclude people with pre-existing conditions or charge them a higher premium for the pre-existing conditions, the private insurers will most likely just raise the premiums for everyone to cover the higher cost of the pre-existing conditions.

    August 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  269. Betty Phillips

    I do not want Obamacare, why? mostly it is because Obama is so dead set on getting this passed now, however, it will not be effective for a few more years, why is Obama in such a rush to prove he can do want he wants, does he actually think this will help him get a second term? what a laugh, people are totally sick of this president, he has only one thing on his mind, which is to travel, spend like a drunk sailor,and he still wants to spend more!!! Take a long walk on a short pier Obama, try to get something straight. Betty

    August 22, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  270. Jean MacLeod

    If Insurance is mandatory for everyone, who decides who pays how much for Insurance. What if, for instance a couple has moderate Insurance and now can't afford Insurance because of high rent and 2 cars that are necessary for work, what would happen in the Government says they have to pay for Insurance and they can't?? What does the Government mean by affordable Insurance??

    August 22, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  271. Jean MacLeod

    On my previous blog, I meant to say moderate income, not insurance.

    August 22, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  272. Jim Petty

    I am a retired state employee and have insurance through the state, plus my medicare insurance, which is primary. Are Obama and Pelosi's proposed bill going to screw anything up for my wife and myself? Between the state and medicare we pay a little under $400 a month, which we can handle.

    August 22, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  273. m scott

    it seems to me that there is a contradiciton in all of these plans

    with respect to illegal immigration – Obama says these groups will not be covered. However if an illegal immigrant walks into an emergency room – he/she will be treated...

    they do not have to pay into a mandatory program and still have free health care? what am I missing?

    August 22, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  274. Suzanne Callaway

    I am covered by a BC/BS policy through my husband. My problem is the insurance company does not cover preventitive medicine. I am very lucky to be healthy but even with the insurance I pay a $500 ded just to have test done. Why couldn't we get a rebate for taking care of ourselves after all "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". When I worked at a hospital we received a free physical on our anniversary. If the government wants to pay for something why not pay for our physical on our birthday. If we are healthy great no charge. If we need medical assistance than our insurance company would pay and we would pay our deductables and copays.

    Thank you

    August 22, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  275. Donald Rogerson

    Shouldn't we insist on a one payer syatem of Health Care.. Doesn't it make sense to cut out the middel man? Who should get our sympathies, the poor who are suffering needlessly or big money? What would Jesus do?

    August 22, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  276. T Newton

    Dear Josh,

    I try to be informed and I watch as many varieties of networks and cable news shows irregardless of the inferred bias. There are many conflicts wrt the current Health Care Bill(s), but one should be easily stated and resolved. However, the President seems to be ignoring one side of his opposition's arguments.

    My question as simple as I can state it... Just because the group "illegal immigrants" are not specifically mentioned in the House bill, how can he state that illegal immigrants "will not be covered (by taxpayer money)" under the current bill if they constitute a significant percentage of the "uninsured in America"?

    It seems to me that if Mr. Obama wants to be truly and transparently honest, then he and the statistics he so often refers to regarding how many uninsured people exist in the US that would be covered under his plan should be quoted accurately and NOT include the population of uninsured illegal immigrants. That would initiate an "Honest debate".

    I believe that anyone in the United States should have an equal opportunity to access health care.

    If a person presents at an urgent care or hospital with a life threatening situation of any type, they should be cared for first and then asked questions later. This may include a gunshot victim, a non-English speaking mother in labor, or even an obvious or self professed penniless homeless individual. Compassion first. This currently does happen everyday across America, and who pays for it? We do. You and I assuming you either pay taxes or a health insurance benefit premium. When that hospital serves the indigent they must write off the cost as a loss and absorb it with other patient's personal cash payments or other patient's insurance payments. Actually, I'm ok with that as a compromise simply due to the fact that it is on an "as needed basis", meaning it is settled or "paid for" if or when needed, not front loaded as a prepaid entitlement. Simply put in my view after practicing dentistry for 23 yrs, Compassion does not mean Entitlement.

    My company has paid 100% of my full time employees insurance premiums (which is for the EXACT same coverage as mine). Recently we have temporarily asked employees to cover up to 50% of their benefits in order to keep coverage and not layoff anyone, but we will get by this downturn and return to 100% benefit coverage. We have taken advantage of HSA accounts to help cover deductibles. It's not perfect but all of us would probably be in that so called "70-85%" of people happy with their current healthcare coverage. One problem is that our current policy is perfect for "healthy" people but can cost a lot of "out of pocket" to individuals that are chronically ill or go to the doctor for everything from sniffles, bruises, coughs, headaches, and broken arms and legs. Yes, that was tongue-in-cheek but it does bring up a truly HUGE problem with a "Public option/government option/single payer system. If my child (I have two) has a runny nose and I take him to the Doctor, it may cost me real money in the form of a co payment. As a parent I have the obligation to take care of my child but I also have the ability to say "Let's try Tylenol and rest for a few days" as that is what the Doctor will probably say most of the time. I must be a good parent and monitor him too. In other words, I don't have to run to the ER for everything, especially if it will drain my HSA unnecessarily. I speak from experience here when my now 20 yr old son almost did not survive an undetected undiagnosed ruptured appendix. My Huge point is this – If my health care coverage was free, then I would be much more inclined to run to the ER for any and everything since I would not have any financial consequences. ER rooms now are very busy, but if care was free they would be impossibly overcrowded to the detriment of the true emergency situation. In my son's example, free healthcare could have made a difference. No, his undetected ruptured appendix missed by a doctor (common in healthy 10 yr old boys, not a bad doctor) would still have been missed. The difference would have been the 5 days later when he was rushed into emergency surgery that saved his life. I believe that it is a logical conclusion that under an overloaded free system that he may not have been afforded the possibility of emergency surgery and a delay of only a few hours would have made the difference and resulted in an unnecessary and catastrophic loss of a young life. Furthermore, it is totally logical to assume that if the current Healthcare bills passes, it would do nothing to deter illegal immigrants to seek (necessary) care at their local ER room, therefore not only ignoring a current problem leading to overcrowding in our healthcare system but quite frankly adding to it to the detriment of tax paying citizens. Ok, I said it. It would sound like I am placing more value on my son's life than that of an illegal alien. Wow, what human would ever want to make that statement or worse yet, decision? Well I guess I have been forced to. Every day ground level ER doctors are forced to as well. What part of "illegal" in "illegal alien" is so confusing? What if Mr. Obama or Mrs. Pelosi had to make that very same decision? What if on a visit to Mrs. Pelosi in California one of Mr. Obama's beautiful daughters was rushed to a top of the line local hospital with only an hour to save her life but unfortunately earlier that day a van full of "illegal aliens" crashed while trying to evade authorities and they were receiving life saving surgery by all available doctors and were unavailable for hours? If you believe that is just too far fetched then 1. You are closed minded to the point I'm making and 2. Just assume any scenario to fit like the ER is simply overcrowded as normal. But do understand that I grew up in California and a van full of "illegal aliens" did crash and injure several people within a mile of my parents house. All were rushed to the hospital. Some survived, some died.
    The underlying issue here is that nobody (that is sane) feels that "illegal aliens" should be allowed to suffer or die, it is the fact that they are here forcing us to make that choice in the first place. If we don't choose to "keep them out" then ok, but we then should require them to contribute financially like everyone else. If they can't or won't contribute financially like our own indigent citizens, then the argument comes around full circle to again force you, I, and the doctors to make choices.
    So "illegal aliens" would not be covered by the current Health Care Bill according to Mr. Obama. That is true and that is disingenuous. "Illegal aliens" and "Healthcare Reform" are two separate political issues (or at least they should be). However, both cannot coexist in their current forms. Like it or not, the proposed Health Care Bill is constantly being compared to struggling Universal Health Care systems already existing in other countries like France, UK, and Canada. The comparisons are usually made by opponents stating lower standard of care, "rationing", and extremely long waits. You can argue those any way you want, but what if those countries had similar "illegal alien" components (as we do here), in addition to their (generally accepted as fact) crowding and financial shortfalls? "Illegal aliens" will not be covered under the current Health Care Bill but make no mistake, the American taxpayers will continue to pay for their healthcare and if we are to remain a compassionate country we will continue to do so, like it or not, without choice. With that being said, why won't Mr. Obama simply acknowledge it as fact and stop sidestepping the true issue? If he would simply acknowledge the above issues, then our country can engage in an "Honest debate," and move on to the next unresolved issues of his Health Care proposal(s). I believe there are more people upset at his denials than his policies. Remove the the "illegal aliens" from the quoted statistic of "uninsured living in America", quote the true number of uninsured "Americans," and I feel that honesty will deflate untold numbers of arguments and break down walls and lead to true "Honest debate".

    Here is a totally unrelated aside. Suppose the current debate doesn't change and Mrs. Pelosi achieves what she wants and the current Health Care Bill is passed by the Senate by "Reconciliation" with less than 60 votes and placed in front of Mr. Obama to sign into law. Suppose Mr. Obama concedes that he has "won" but chooses not to sign the bill stating that he promised a bipartisan Bill and requires it return to congress until more bipartisan votes are added? Who could fault him, ever? That would be leadership. That would be remarkable.

    T. Newton DDS

    August 22, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  277. Ralph Coryell

    Josh: The ELEPHANT in the room is BALLOONING medical care costs:
    The insured consumer has largely been taken out of the cost-saving picture. Providers charge whatever they want and are paid the prevailing rates, which the providers continue to escalate over time. Since it’s “free” once they’ve paid their premiums, the consumer rarely question and never challenge what is paid. If they see the ballooning bills, it’s “Thank heaven we have insurance!”

    In all the debate virtually everyone dodges this huge reason for runaway medical care costs. Where else are we, the consumer, left out of the economic buying decisions. We treat ourselves like pawns of the medical community with no right or ability to choose.

    Sooner or later we must recognize that the person in charge of my medical care is me. And that means making the informed choices after being adequately professionally informed. Many doctors will admit that on a good day they are right about 50% of the time.

    We probably need a tiered system of care with proportionately higher costs: Basic medical care for the indigent, Improved care paid for by most of us, and Luxury care for those that choose and pay accordingly.

    How many of us fly first class, stay in $400-500/night hotel rooms, dine at the best restaurants on our own money. Primarily those users are either paying the luxury rate themselves or are going free on someone else’s dime [e.g. Govt or company-paid]. Yet we automatically want “free” luxury care unquestioned once we’ve paid an insurance premium.

    Ask a provider how much this treatment will cost and they reply, “I don’t know, but don’t worry. It’s covered by your insurance.” If you persist, the financial office hems and haws and with difficulty you get the astronomical number. Then ask how much Medicare will approve, and you usually get a number somewhere between 20% and 35% of their pricing.

    Incentivise the consumers to be economical, as in all their other buying decisions and reintroduce competition back into the medical community: probably something along the lines of health savings accounts plus major medical insurance coverage for the big stuff, remembering basic care for the indigent.

    If the Govt gave away free cars [we seem to be moving in that direction], most of us would choose luxury cars. If it gives away free medical care, guess what we will want. They’ve been saying for several years “If you think medical care is expensive now, just wait until it’s free!”

    August 22, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  278. W. Edwards

    Will the "Public Option" insurance be available as a supplementary insurance for those people already on Medicare? Our current plan has gone from $171/mo. in 2001 to $525/mo. in 2009 and that hurts. On top of that, we have been informed that if we sign up for the Medicare drug plan our policy which has a drug plan will be cancelled.

    Thank you,
    K. & W. Edwards

    August 22, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  279. Jeff

    I agree about tort reform, that's the one Republican idea that should be included. If we don't get something done this year it may be another generation before we deal with this again. Meanwhile, Blue Cross raises my premiums $100/month every year. And we never even get sick!

    August 22, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  280. Wally McGill

    Chicago: hire Bratton, have him do the same thing for Chicago that he did for New York City and then Los Angeles. His approach to policing works, he has a great track record.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  281. Joseph

    All this national attention on Chicago crime will help Daley get more federal grant money to illegally funnel towards the Olympics!

    August 22, 2009 at 10:50 pm |
  282. bob edmiston

    The program will have bugs but it is a necessary step in the right direction. Selfishness and ignorance commands the opponents, who already have insurance. We have great insurance and would have been devastated without it. bob

    August 22, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  283. MR.AL

    Ive got alot of questions.



    August 23, 2009 at 12:41 am |
  284. martha brown

    Dear Public, America can no longer be subjected to the lies and distortions given by big insurance and drug companies. When I hear of the CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield getting a huge bonus of $700,00.00 dollars when a dear relative on unemployment is struggling to pay her health insurance ( Blue Cross) it makes me sick. When will we wake up to the greed in these industries? I want to know how much dealing in congress their Lobbyists are doing? We can no longer continue this course we need change for individual and our country's' success. Sincerely Martha Brown

    August 23, 2009 at 12:48 am |
  285. martha brown

    Why does congress have health care on the job? They are servants of the people. Are we as citizens less than congress? Health care costs are out of reach and getting worse. Lets not forget the drug companies choking us for every dime. martha brown

    August 23, 2009 at 12:54 am |
  286. Purple Spider

    If this nasty Health Care Reform was shoved through, why should I give up my waiting in line to see a doctor for an Illegal Alien? How RUDE!!!!!!! This President needs to regroup, read the documentation, be transparent to the people, fine-tune what we have and QUIT FIGHTING US!!!!! THE MORE HE FIGHTS, THE MORE WE WILL FIGHT!

    August 23, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  287. Mark Reuther

    We could instantly add a good chunk of change to the healthcare kitty by turning all healthcare providers into non-profits. I would like to know exactly how much US healthcare providers make in naked profits each year, over and above all the salaries, advertising, etc. Clearly this is money that we should be using to treat sick people. It is disgusting to me that huge profits are being gouged off the backs of sick Americans. Where is our patriotism? Why don't we put a stop to this!

    August 23, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  288. T Newton

    Isn't having a "panel of expert Doctors" (that have never seen me) dictating what tests and treatment are "best or necessary" to my chosen Doctor kinda like a "panel of expert Presidents" dictating policy to my chosen President?

    August 23, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  289. rob














    ................................REMEMBER THE YORKTOWN.................................


    August 23, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  290. Kathy A. Conrad

    The Beatitudes of Healthcare ...

    Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven … good thing too, because the hospitals sure won’t take them in.

    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted … comforted in knowing healthcare was not available to save their loved one.

    Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth … had they spoken up during the healthcare debate they might be pushing daisies today.

    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled ... yeah, filled clear up to their eyeballs with hospital bills and inflated insurance premiums.

    Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy … pulling the plug on affordable healthcare for all Americans could be considered an act of mercy.

    Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God … sooner than they had anticipated now that they can no longer afford healthcare.

    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God … fancy title for a futile battle to the death with insurance and drug lobbyists who outnumber them 6 to 1.

    Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven … consolation prize for being maligned and shouted down at public healthcare meetings.

    Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you … ah yes, never let a good story get in the way of the truth. Nothing like a smoke screen chock full of miss information to bring down our country’s attempt to bless and care for …

    … the poor in spirit … those who mourn … the meek … the hungry and thirsty … the merciful … the pure of heart … the peacemakers … the persecuted … and lastly, the UNINSURED.

    August 23, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  291. steve dockeray

    1)Here is a way to save on H-Care from ie: Aids

    2) Give freed Condoms , free tattoos , free needles to people in Jail so aids does not spread in Jail

    3)This would help stop the spread of Aids when prisoners get out

    4)Giving out free needles to people who live in the poor down town of any city

    5) you can put up safe injection sites that cut overdoes deaths & keeps people in touch until the time comes to deal with the Child Abuse etc. that lead to self medicate to hide the pain

    steve dockeray

    milner bc



    NIOMI was a heroin plan designed to reduce harm to community & the USER ie: Stephen Harper would not allow it to continue ie: Decepticons need a war on drugs etc. foe decepticon voters etc.

    1)If i could wave a magic wand i would buy Afghani Opium from Afghani farmers

    2)i would give people a choice ie: If we provide a clean place to live & supply of heroin would you leave the streets

    3)if you are a lady & u do not have to sell your body to get high , it helps break the Cycle .

    4) Once you no longer have to sell your body , it allows you the chance to see an out .

    5)once you can see a way out , you have a better chance to get clean & leave survival mode behind .

    6) This will cut property crime , keep our streets safer etc. , etc, etc,.

    steve dockeray

    milner bc


    August 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  292. David simpson

    the Republican's are masters at spin. Where the dems messed up is that they should have said "Medicaid for ALL." Then, we would get health care. God! are you people nuts, in this country everyone should have health care, not everyone can afford to purchase it and a tax break means nothing if you have no income. Why nto give everyone medicade, fix whatever the hell you think is worng with that, then if people want to still get private insurance, more power to them! But to sit and call a black president hitler, when hitler was the worst raciest in the world who hated black people, then to have racest white people try to turn the table is just nuts! If they don't want public healtth care, fine they don't have to use it, but for the rest of us, who do. give it to us. oh yea, I almost forgot, Thanks America for sending me over to IRAQ to get shot, only to not take care of me when I got back.

    August 23, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  293. Lindbergh Hutcheson

    Seeing that U.S. Congress' decision will somehow be influenced public consensus,the pros and cons should be weighed fairly and projected often enough, as it will enable the American people to make a more informed decision on how they feel about this important issue. Overall, I feel the option of a government funded healthcare program is a very good thing, as it will greatly benefit the financially disadvantaged.

    August 23, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  294. Lindbergh Hutcheson

    First sentence of last comment should read: "Seeing that U.S. Congress will somehow be influenced by public consensus.....

    August 23, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  295. Cecil Jones

    Why haven't we invited the 47 million not covered to speak on the subject? Why don't we empower those who it will impact the most to join the debate. What we see is a deception on all parts in the process. People who stand to make money or lose money are dominating the coverage. The Elderly are being stampeded by the thought of Insurance Reform and Medicare going broke. Break the issues down and accomplish one thing at a time. First, universal access to penicillin. Next, insurance and tort reform and finally let's look at the long term implications. The next tragedy could be tomorrow and doing the same thing or nothing is wrong.

    August 23, 2009 at 11:47 pm |
  296. jay Waggoner

    I have jhust completed reading about 75% of the posted coimments , and I cant believe the lack of knowledge regarding insurance ber it health fire auto or etc, the principal are all the same if you think healt care insurandcce is not run corredtly wy are you not complaing about autl, fire, or other types of insurance. Itr;s because you donot have any basic knowlge regarding the theio or concept of Isurance ergo Your comments donot make any sense. Unfoortunitley I don;t have a suggestion opn whreer you can get information othe tham a basic Insurance 101 text bvoo. Try you lodcal college for info on text books,

    August 24, 2009 at 1:27 am |
  297. jay Waggoner

    No one can describe the current health care system. If yoyu cant how do you know it's broke. Don't confuse Insurance with Health care. No Insurance company provides any heltlh care Health care people deliver health care Doctors NUrses, Radioology Techs a=Lab Techs etc. etc. None of these people are employee or practice as employees of Insurnce companies.
    all insurance companies do is pay for services as per the insurance contract. i.e. the policy.

    August 24, 2009 at 1:32 am |
  298. jay Waggoner

    The reasdon there are many questions adn few answeres is because nobody is asking the right or intelllegent uewstions. How can you caange a system that diesn;t exixt, If you thin it does describe it, .

    August 24, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  299. Daniel

    I am a social worker and I can understand the need for better health care however who is going to take care of everybody? The number of doctors are around 800,000 and that has not changed for quite some time so what is the government going to do about that? With no more doctors and nurses being trained I don't see how you can't get away from rationing. No one seems to be talking about how is our health care system going to address the real issue which is the more need for doctors and nurses.

    August 24, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  300. david colon

    I have two questions: Why is it that the democrats want to make themselves exempt from this great health care bill they want to pass on us? and how come Pharma and Tort Lawyers are supporting this?

    August 24, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  301. Bruce from Laguna Beach, CA

    Why isn't Obama making the public option the centerpiece of healthcare reform? The public option would force private insurers to end their abuses or risk losing customers to the NEW competition.

    August 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  302. Greg

    The only effective long-term solution to health care reform is preventative health care. We must take our health into our own hands. Luckily, there are several online tools, such as, that can help you get in shape, stay in shape, and lead a healthy lifestyle.

    August 24, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  303. DeltaBrane

    The problem is that CNN is neither asking or looking for the answers regarding this debate. Currently the CNN website offers three right-wing blogs (only) as examples of what people are saying about the health insurance debate. That's like asking Klan members to inform us about civil rights. Meanwhile we pay twice what people in other countries pay for healthcare, millions have no insurance, and our retirees would all be broke if it weren't for Medicare. Why do we keep letting Wallstreet s**** us? Answer us that question.

    August 24, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  304. Margie Summers

    Watching CNN today... I was stunned at the congressman's answer to the woman whose husband has a traumatic brain injury and was sent home from a care facility with a feeding tube when their insurance ran out. He admonished the weeping woman that she should not look to the government to help her by reforming the health care system; she should seek health care assistance from her neighbors. My suggestion is that the good congressman cancel his own health insurance and when he has a coronary, he can simply call in his neighbors to do CPR.

    August 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  305. rich sottilaro

    If you haven't spent the time to read the bill then you shouldn't have the chance to waste valuable time at these town hall meetings with constant questions about grandma death panels illegals and everything else the republicans can come up with!! Also if the republicans don't want to recognize that the system is broke and present viable solutions to it then shut up!!! This is not a democracy if people walk into these meetings with signs of obama dressed up like hiter!!! I think Barnie Frank said it best. I would not argue with my dinning room table either. {...} Pass this bill NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1


    August 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  306. James of Houston

    This comment is for Cecil Jones, Cecil, President Obama says he wants to cut Medicare Advantage to save $16 Billion a year. Who created Medicare to begin with? – answer, the Federal Government. Who created Medicare Advantage? – answer, the Federal Government.

    Since he wants to kill the latter because it costs too much, it should make sense to all of us that the “Public Option” he is now proposing will have the same high-cost problems a few years down the road, after it is enacted into law and becomes effective in 2013.

    Oh yeah, by that time he’ll be out of office, but meanwhile, he will have gotten his agenda through, much to the detriment of all of us!

    Also, did you see the coverage last night of the state-run universal health care system that the state legislature enacted in Hawaii? They had to cancel it after seven months because it was much too expensive! … They learned when a state service is offered for free, people use it much more frequently. … What a new revelation for our legislators to recognize!

    August 24, 2009 at 7:44 pm |
  307. Don D. Brock

    Abortion paid by the tax payers the nurse suggested is not expensive maybe not in monitory means but it has Manny psychological and moral reasons why it should be discouraged. only homosexuals and lesbians can have 100 percent pregnant free sex as for safe sex thats another story, I cannot imagine how they will have sex in the future with all the new sickness's created by all the new drugs and weakened immune systems.

    I take no drugs not even headache drugs because they either do not work or they make things worse, I have epilepsy and cannot find a doctor who has not cheated his way through medical school or maybe they have something wrong that made them lose there smarts because all they will do is bring me up to a theraputic level so I will star having siezures so untill I can trust a so called doctor I cannot work because I will not have healthcare because I cannot trust so called doctors.

    Don D. Brock

    August 24, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  308. MR.AL

    Ive got a few questions about Health Care
    #1 Why is it taking so long?
    # 2 Why didn't it take this long for bail outs?
    #3 I suspect insurence companies and special intrest groups are lobbying to stop health care from going through?
    #4 If G.H BUSH AND DICK CHENEY didn't leave America in such a mess would we be at this point in history?
    #5 Why didn't Lawmakers stop Bush and Cheney from spending all those trillions,Did America know what Bush and Cheney were spending?
    #6 Will medicare ever have adequate coverage along with disability and retirement paying a living wage at present time it's at poverty level?


    August 25, 2009 at 12:47 am |
  309. Gene

    When congressmen/women and senators plus Obama and his family drops their health care plan and joins the rest of us on this plan I promise I will join it. Until then they can stick it!!!

    August 25, 2009 at 4:26 am |
  310. Gene Lucas

    It looks like there will be no health care bill for now, which is good. If we were to add millions more people to the patient pool, many of them with chronic conditions, our present medical infrastructure would simply be overwhelmed. Before we do universal health care, we need to, at least, double the number of doctors and nurses, and build lots more facilities. That will take several years, and we should start now!

    August 25, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  311. Robert Elston

    To James from Houston;
    Medicare Advantage was indeed created by the Federal gov't as a compromise to the insurance companies who wanted "in on the action" . The insurance industry also wanted to have the Feds subsidize the private insurance industry to be sure that they would not lose money by selling Medicare Advantage. As it turns out the private insurance companies are not losing money on the program (before the subsidies) , so the 16 billion in subsidies goes right to their profit line. What Obama is saying in "ending the subsidies for Medicare Advantage" is that the private carriers would have to forgo that windfall profit provided by the Fed.

    August 25, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  312. Bobby S. From Maine

    Health care reform:
    – free health care were soca run for gov' t they get no taxes and supplies provided via gov't addition to the no taxes for these doctors they receive benifets from the US gov't
    – private health care the coverage u want doctors u want etc. Paid for via you and etc.

    This is planned by a minor whom is republican plz reffer if able 🙂

    August 25, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  313. James of Houston

    A Great Article, CNN! ... Subject: Good luck recruiting primary care specialists when we are projected to be short 39,000 by 2020, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians!

    "Health policy experts agree that any reform in our health care system must include a well-educated, caring primary care doctor who is able to manage the health of his or her patients with an eye to using resources optimally to keep costs down. That's a tall order and it seems that few policy makers realize the value of primary care physicians.

    People are making a huge assumption in this reform effort that as we extend coverage to millions who don't have health insurance, there will be doctors there to actually provide the health care. Fewer and fewer medical students are choosing primary care and many primary care doctors are leaving the field.

    Let me share with you why we are losing so many primary care doctors. What follows are a few examples I experience each week.

    How many dozens of chest pain patients have I seen in the last month for whom I didn't order an EKG, get a consult, set up nuclear imaging or send for a catheterization? Only I have the advantage of knowing how anxious some are and that they have had similar symptoms over the last 20 years. After a history and exam, I am willing to make the call that this is not heart disease. In doing so, I save the system tens of thousands of dollars.

    Most of these patients are worked into a busy day, pushing me even deeper into that mire of tardiness for which I will be chastised by at least six patients before the end of the day. ... My reward for working these people in and making the call is at most $75.

    How many times has an anxious patient come in demanding an endoscopy who I examined and then decided to treat less invasively for three to four weeks first? This delay in referral has led to many tense moments in the last 20 years. The cost savings to the system is thousands of dollars each and every time I am willing to make the call and go with the treatment. ...My reward is about $55 from Medicare and private health insurers.

    How many low back pain patients have come to the office in agony knowing that there has to be something serious to cause this kind of pain? A good history and exam allows me to reassure the patient that there is nothing we need to operate on and that the risk of missing anything is low.

    This takes a lot of time to explain as I teach them why they don't need an MRI. If someone else ordered the MRI, guess who gets to explain the significance of bulging disks to an alarmed patient? Setting realistic expectations on recovery and avoiding needless imaging helps saves the system thousands of dollars. ... My reward is another $55.

    I am in my 22nd year in practice, now caring for 3,600 patients. Having me in the system has resulted in savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars each and every year. My financial incentive to hang in there and work harder is that I now make less than half what I did 20 years ago. This year I will make even less.

    These are the reasons so many physicians have left medicine entirely and most of us who are left wonder how long can we continue to work like this? I have been richly rewarded by my patients over the decades as they have appreciated my judgment and skills. Isn't it a shame that after all this time and with skills honed by decades of experience, many of us can no longer afford to work as a physician?

    No one is talking about this on the national level. If they don't address these issues, then good luck having physician assistants provide the safety net with two years of training. Good luck getting newly trained physicians once they see our salaries. Good luck finding internists in your community with only 1 percent of medical students going into internal medicine.

    Good luck recruiting primary care specialists when we are projected to be short 39,000 by 2020, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. And nearly half of all doctors surveyed by the Physicians' Foundation have said that over the next three years they plan to reduce the number of patients they see or stop practicing entirely."

    August 25, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  314. Khris

    Health care?? When my sister's healthcare coverage from her work doesn't cover accidents or illness, I don't believe this nation has a clue at what healthcare is or should be. If it did, it wouldn't allow such an obvious gross injustice continue.

    August 25, 2009 at 9:25 pm |
  315. MR.AL

    I know health care is a mess and lawmakers are making a bigger mess.I know lobbist and the Wealthy are also involved. But what disturbs me more is SSI AND SSI DISABILITY are not going to get a raise this year.Do lawmakers think we are suppose to live on nothing?What if we took away their raise 6 figure raise? I don't think Lawmakers could live on SSI OR SSI DISABILITY.i CALL IT POVERTY WAGES. Lawmakers system is different million dollar retirements and Zero cost HEALTH CARE and they say SSI COST TOO MUTCH. What a bunch of BULL.


    August 25, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  316. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    Despite the town halls across the country, there are still more questions than answers. We must remember that this exercise is being run by senators and the Media has run away from the conversation or maybe has being pushed out. The fact is that although Health Care still on the priorities for citizens, the political agendas has moved the Health Care topic out the picture. What is it needed to get the attention? Do we need drama or to shame the whole country with the topic?

    August 25, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  317. James of Houston

    This response is for MR. AL.

    MR.AL, I agree with you completely. 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 11:34 am |
  318. Michele

    News concerning the inability of Social Security to provide increases to citizens has justifiably caused our seniors to be fearful.

    Physicians providing nephrology care received a 1% increase last year from Medicare which was better than the 5% decrease the year before.

    Physicians depend on their staff to keep their practices compliant. It takes years of experience to understand the complexity of Medicare billing regulations. How can physicians continue to provide job security for experienced employees when reimbursement is continually cut? Dedicated health care administrators deserve annual raises, as well as, the physicians who care for extremely ill patients.

    Why do we think a single payor system will be any different from SSI or Medicare?

    August 26, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  319. Max

    My question is ....Whre are the answers to all these questions..????

    August 26, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  320. MR.AL

    I worry about health care! Is medicare going to get any worse or increase in price? I heard some discouraging news SSI AND SSI DISABILITY is not going to get a raise this year. Is this true? If it is I know Lawmakers don't give a crap about the retired the disabled and the poor. Ive seen this in their actions toward health care they haven't impressed me. But what makes me mad is they let Bush and Cheney spend America to where we are at the present time. It seems like LAWMAKERS are for the wealthy and corperate America that includes themselves. Their health plan is free and their retirement dwarfs ssi and ssi disability. Isn't that amazeing!!!!!!!!!


    August 27, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  321. Ed Perez

    Please explain the conflict I see between the following extracts from "CNN Truth Squad" stories:

    On the fact check on the number of uninsured (48 million or 8 million):
    "Nearly 6 million were what Blue Cross called 'short-term uninsured,' meaning people who are either between jobs or are just entering the work force. Many of the remainder were low-wage workers in firms with fewer than 10 workers, who could obtain coverage if the government offered tax credits for small businesses or grants to states, while others are illegal immigrants, it said." CNN concludes, however, that while the 46 million number is in dispute, "most researchers who study health care issues rely on the Census Bureau's figures" (8/20).

    And then the fact check on the question "Will health bill pay for illegal immigrants? An update": "False. A new report finds the bill could require illegal immigrants to buy coverage, but it clearly restricts subsidies to U.S. citizens and legal residents."

    If illegal immigrants are prohibited from receiving coverage by the health care reform initiatives being proposed, then why are they included in the number of uninsured (47 or 48 million) that is quoted by the president and other proponents of these bills? Are they lying when they say they won't receive coverage, but clearly intend to get coverage for them if they are included in the uninsured? Or are they being deliberately misleading by adding them in to make the number of uninsured in this nation seem bigger?

    August 27, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  322. Susan

    To put things into perspective, this year Congress will get 2.8% raises, federal workers will get 3.9%, social security recipients get 5.8% plus 250$ stimulus check. This was the biggest social security raise since 1982. Social security raises are supposedly linked to inflation. According to whatever method they use there is now 0 inflation, so that means 0 % raises next year. Congress and federal workers do not get free health insurance. They choose from a list . It is not cheap and is made up of plans similar to what other workers have. They are average at best. Obama said that when he was a senator, they were on his wife's health plan from her job. He didn't say why, but most likely it was cheaper and better. Barney Frank is on Medicare. Janitors and Congress get to choose from the same list of plans.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  323. Robert Elston

    I have a question about availability of physicians that accept medicare patients.
    I watched the Senator from Alaska town hall meeting a couple of days ago. She made the point that while medicare coverage is available to seniors in Alaska, there are very few physicians who will take medicare patients (in Alaska). She went on to identify that this is a big problem in Washington (state), Oregon, Nevada, Arizona.
    What I wonder about is why is this a regional problem. Is there some reason that this problem is particular to western states?
    Any information would be appreciated.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  324. James of Houston

    This commen is for Michellle.

    Michelle, I agree with you completely! ... My suggestion is, let's all agree to throw the current health bill (HR 2500) out and draft a new one that is written in plain English that we all can understand!

    Let’s include things in the new bill like (1) no denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions, (2) ability to buy health insurance policies across state lines, and (3) an income tax credit for persons who buy insurance policies on their own and not through a small business or a larger company.

    No wonder the Dems wanted to pass this bill in the heat of the moment - no one (not even they!) can understand it or knows actually knows what is in it!

    August 27, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  325. James of Houston

    This response is for Max.

    Max, President Obama recently said in a Montana town hall meeting that he'd pay for health-care reform by "eliminating about $177 billion over 10 years" for "what's called Medicare Advantage." And it was two days before when he told a Colorado town hall he'd cover "two-thirds" of the "roughly $900 billion" of his plan's cost by "eliminating waste," again citing Medicare Advantage.

    But what is “Medicare Advantage"? Medicare Advantage was enacted in 2003 to allow seniors to use Medicare funds to buy private insurance plans that fit their needs and their budgets. They get better care and better value for their money.

    Medicare Advantage also has built-in incentives to encourage insurers to offer lower costs and better benefits. It's a program that puts patients in charge, not the government, which is why seniors like it and probably why the administration hates it.

    Already, an estimated 10.2 million seniors—one out of five in America—have enrolled in Medicare Advantage. Mr. Obama is proposing to cut the program by nearly 20% and thus reduce the amount of money each will have to buy insurance. This action will likely force most of them to lose the insurance they have now. Yet Mr. Obama promised in late July in New Hampshire that, "if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan."... Now what are we really to believe?

    August 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  326. Constance

    My husband and I own an independent pharmacy in a small community and witness daily the present crisis in health insurance. Those fortunate enough to have any health care coverage either are struggling to pay their own premiums or their employers are struggling to cover them as their employees.
    Throughout the health care debates and congressional meetings, we have all been introduced to the problems created by the "big insurance companies" but as owners of a pharmacy we would like to introduce you to another culprit who has slipped under the radar of the public eye. This group is called " pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs. PBMs are third party administrators hired by insurance companies to manage the insurance plans. They are responsible for prosessing and paying drug claims and are responsible for developing and maintaining the formulary, contracting with pharmacies, and negotiating drug discounts and rebates with the drug manufacturers. As a pharmacy dealing with pbms on a daily basis (with each and every claim) we view them as the "culprits" in the rising cost of prescription drugs. PBMs earn billions pumping orders between drugstores, manufacturers, and health care providers. Who are these middlemen? They are such companies as Medco, Health Solutions, Express Scripts and the list goes on. These "go betweens" MANAGE THE PRICES OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS! PBMs have the ability to weaken competetion and are responsible for millions of dollars being spent on prescription drugs. PBMs can tweak price lists if rebates don't justify a drug's expense. An example: Express Scripts removed the cholesterol drug Lipitor from a list of preferred treatments in 2006, prompting the Lipitor retail price to surge. But when the patient switched to the generic substitute Zocor, treatment costs fell by hundreds of millions of dollars. PBMs claim they are disclosing all information to congress and the public but much transparency is still lacking. How can congress remedy this situation? PBMs must agree to invoice their clients for every drug dispensed using the actual price the PBM pays for the drug. They must pass through their clients all financial benefits that they receive from all third parties including rebates, discounts, credits and administrative fees and lastly, they must agree to provide the
    documents and data necessary for their clients to verify that the contractual terms are being satisfied. Almost no PBMs will execute contracts that contain such terms. As a pharmacy dealing with these managers everyday, I can assure you pharmacy benefit managers are not disclosing anything of this nature.
    As a longtime proponent of free enterprise and low federal envolvement in the marketplace, I hesitatingly have realized that these health insurance entities are the expensive middlemen (the hired guns) between providers and patients. I have come to know through experience that those terrible socialism twins, Medicare and Medicaid, are administered more efficiently than the attractive private plans that rush to market their superiority over one another and are crumbling (on us) due to their own weight. Should we Americans foolishly decide not even to try a 'public (federal) option' that would compare by competetion the actual cost basis of 'insurance' expenses and would allow 'the least among us' a chance to buy a health care plan, let us at least demand through legislation the 'reform' of total transparency (just healthy honesty) from health insurance companies and their benefits manager associates.
    Thank you,

    August 31, 2009 at 8:27 pm |
  327. Richard Olson

    The President keeps saying that if there is a public health plan ,people can keep their current plan and doctor. Question. If the majority of people are currently covererd by their employer and the employer decides to switch to a more than likey public health plan, then how can people keep their doctor and health plan?

    September 1, 2009 at 8:08 pm |
  328. Robert Elston

    Re Richard Olsen's question;
    You need to know what options are open to an employer and when those options are available.
    As I understand it the options available today (before any legislation is passed) are:
    1) continue to offer a healthcare plan with the same private insurer
    2) continue to offer a healthcare plan with a different insurer – wherein the employee may have to change doctors or not depending on the plan
    3) modify the deductibles and co-pays for the employee (mostly these considerations are not in employees contracts)
    4) modify the employers contribution to the healthcare plan (with the risk of resignations and or law suits for those under contract)
    5) drop healthcare benefits altogether (again at the peril of losing employees, lawsuits, AND also losing current tax credits for the employers contribution)
    Among all these options the employee has the option to keep "his" doctor, however excercising that option may cost the employee more than he is currently paying.
    So, even today, there is no assurance that an employee can "keep his plan" or "his doctor" (at the same cost).

    It's my understanding that the "plan" will impose significant penalites (in the form of tax surcharges) on employers who drop their plans. The thing to keep in mind is that this "plan" is still a work in progress. Obama's promises are nothing much more than statements of the principles he'd like to see in the final legislation.
    What eventually comes out of the senate-house conference committee is anyone's quess.

    September 2, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  329. Michele


    This is the best question so far!! The President argues that his plan promotes choice. Employees do not have a choice in choosing their own health care plans. Are we so ignorant to believe a government plan will promote freedom of choice?

    September 2, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  330. Lori C.

    I feel health care reform is needed very badly and I was impressed when Obama was a candidate that he was brave enough to promise to fix it. However it's so complicated, when I hear about this issue being discussed on the news half the time I don't understand what the heck they are talking about!!! Why can't they come up with a health care plan that is simple and too the point instead of some complex impossible to understand financial monster where the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. And people resorting to violence at some of the town hall meetings, intelligent people don't have to beat someone up that they disagree with!!! And shame on some of the politicians who make up untrue statements to fan the flames and scare people regarding this issue.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  331. S Rose

    Thre are many who don't believe in taking vaccinations or feel it is more harmful than helpful. I refer you to to resources where there is a great discussion offered against vaccinating adainst H1N1.


    1) Dr. Mercola, Neurologist – 'How Vaccines Can Cause so Much Harm'. – GBS disease.
    Those vulnerable, children, pregnant mothers, and elderly.

    2) From "Quintessential HealingNewsletter""One of the greatest risks from having a flu shot is a brain disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which could be triggered by the vaccine. GBS attacks the lining of the nerves, causing paralysis and inability to breathe, and can be fatal". Ann Barouch, author of 'Healing Multiple Sclerosis' is a naturopath practitioner and certified nutritional consultant. writes in her newsletter.
    Also, She refers to Tim O'Shea, author of 'The Sanctity of Human Blood' to get further education on the truth about vaccinations. Thank you for your time.

    September 5, 2009 at 4:19 pm |