August 14th, 2009
10:29 PM ET

Health care reform is making my head hurt

Author’s note: This blog contains more metaphors than considered healthy.

Dave Schechter
CNN Senior National Editor

I confess to not having read the entire 1,000 pages-plus that make up the bill at the base of the current debate, a proposal being torn apart and rebuilt by three committees in the House and two in the Senate in a time-honored and time-consuming process often derisively referred to as “sausage-making.”

Not to mention the debate ongoing in often raucous online and public forums.

As Dr. Bernadine Healey cautioned in U.S. News & World Report, “Reading H.R. 3200 is not like curling up with Harry Potter. “ It certainly is not, though for some people the current debate seems to pit good vs. evil (which is left to the individual). If you’ve never read a piece of legislation, take a gander at this heavyweight.

The length and complexity of this bill apparently is taxing the hired help in Washington, D.C., as well.

I receive dozens of pieces of mail on health care daily from think tanks, newspapers, blogs and groups with a variety of interests and perspectives on the subject. I read as many of these as I can but, you know, there is other news of import (the economy, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the prospects for peace in the Middle East, education and a return of the flu).

I’ll pass on metaphoric reference to the legislative process resembling a meat grinder in favor of what one author called “the dance of legislation.” In this case, the dance resembles the mosh pit at a head-banging hardcore rock concert more than the slow, precise movements of a waltz.

Eventually – perhaps – the House and Senate each will produce a bill.

Then comes the slam dance known as a conference committee, where the heavyweights from the two sides of Capitol Hill attempt to produce a single measure to be taken back to the full House and Senate and – if approved – sent to the President.

Little happens on Capitol Hill without a dollar tag attached and if money is the mother’s milk of politics when it comes to health care issues the flow is unending and quite rich.

A former colleague with a wicked sense of humor offered this thought: “I still like the idea of making Congressmen wear suits with the names of all of their commercial contributors on them. NASCAR democracy!!” Considering all of the money from all of the sources to all of the members of Congress, especially those writing the legislation – and we’re talking about millions of dollars here – that’s not a bad idea.

If you want to read up on all of this lobbying largesse, let me recommend two sources: The Sunlight Foundation and OpenSecrets.org, the Center for Responsive Politics.

Continuing with the theme of comparisons, trying to keep up with minutia in the health care story leaves me feeling like Bogie dragging “The African Queen” through the high water and marsh.

Okay, that may be a bit beyond exaggeration but my bar for a complicated story is the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Keeping track of the religious and ethnic factions and the geography they occupied as that patchwork nation broke apart became my standard for a story that required effort to comprehend.

Then came Iraq and shifting alliances among the Shi’a, Sunnis and Kurds as the U.S. and allied forces struggled to meet a mission of bringing some semblance of democratic government to a land fractured along religious, ethnic and tribal lines.

Well, the devilish details in health care reform makes Yugoslavia and Iraq resemble a child’s jig-saw puzzle.

The House and Senate are in recess.

That gives the Congressmen and Senators the better part of a month to put their feet up on the sofa or dig them into the sand and read the 1,000 or so pages . . . when they’re not spending quality time in quiet conversation with their constituents.

Or taking a long flight out of the country. The 1,000 pages are just the thing to pass a long plane flight to another country.

Yes, it’s pretty thick stuff but – and here we go again – the sausage being made will be served to all of us so it’s best we know what’s on our plate . . . and how it got there.

Filed under: 360° Radar • David Schechter • Health Care • Raw Politics
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    What PRESIDENT (lets give him the respect where its due. Whether you like it or not, he is President. Reffering to him as just "Obama" is disrespectful) Obama is proposing is not actually public health care (if anyone actually bothers to look), its publicly regulated but privately paid so as to be self sustaining through premiums.

    Kind of like Alberta Health Care was before 2008 in Canada.

    Perfect idea.

    August 17, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  2. pat

    Haven't been following all the health reform discussions so my comment may sound off base. Are people still outraged at the idea of "socialized" medical care? If so, why is this the case, isn't Medicare, Medicaid etc., socialized medicine? Why is it okay for the poor, disabled and underprivileged to have "socialized" medicine but not the rest of us.
    I receive medical insurance through my employer, it's okay but we still pay out of pocket. Can't afford to keep my spouse on the insurance plan so he hasn't seen a doctor in 5 years
    I have relatives who receive medical coupons and they get better care than I do and don't have any out of pocket expenses. Really, I'm not exaggerating.

    August 17, 2009 at 7:24 am |
  3. Peter from Canada

    Okay I realize we all have a bunch of nutbags running around our countries.

    This debate as seen outside of the United States (not America which actually includes Canada and Mexico and those in the southern hemisphere as well, we are all Americans) just goes to perpetuate the image of US citizens as largely unknowledgeable of things outside of the United States.

    Unfortunately your media is too closely tied to politics as is ours. Yours largely right wing conservative and ours lift wing liberals.

    However, the media's blatant continuation of 'reporting' (a term I use loosely) of misinformation about other countries medical systems; makes them not only irresponsible but gives them the image of 'Inquirer type' publications.

    Health insurance systems around the world that are government funded are not perfect and are continually being improved. However, they are a damn site better than a US system that basically excludes a whole population the size of Canada from any coverage. Are a lot of you people devoid of any moral compass at all. If you charge all your citizens (yes even the illegal ones) a premium they can afford then they can all have basic health care coverage. You would be able to keep track of the illegals as well.

    Not every thing in the United States is better, a heresey I know, you could all do more research on other healthcare systems yourself as most of you have internet, taking the best from each; stop the yelling like little children, and make informed decisions like the adults we all know you to be. Tell your senators to do the same. You are making yourselves an even greater laughing stock around the world. This concerns your neighbors to the North as it continues to embrazen your enemies.

    Hey I expect to be told to mind my own business, that is your right. Just be a little bit smarter after that and figure out the United States cannot afford to continue the system you are presently on.

    August 17, 2009 at 12:54 am |
  4. alex lyrics

    I love you idiots who hear one thing and take the ball and run with it the wrong way on the football field like "Forrest Gump".

    Stupid people set at home and hear that no one has readthe bill thats been thats dished out in Washington. To the people who think no one has read the bill, you guys are idiots.
    As much kickbacks and pay offs and bribes from corporations for that bill it makes ou guys look just plain dumb. Those in our government have to side with those who slide them the cash and they have all read it.

    How about you guys who don’t want healthcare nationalized or reformed read the bill. I bet not one of you have a copy, or have read it.
    Well I just down loaded a copy, and I would be willing to debate anyone who apposes passing the first stages of this bill.

    If your gong to talk the talk then walk the walk and stop being so stupid you republican idiots.

    August 17, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  5. alex lyrics

    I love you idiots who hear one thing and take the ball and run with it the wrong way on the football field like "Forrest Gump".

    Stupid people set at home and hear that no one has read that are dished out in Washington. People who think no one has read the bill, you guys are idiots.
    As much kickbacks and pay offs and bribes from corporations the bill are just plain dumb. Those in our government have to side with those who slide them the cash and they have all read it.

    How about you guys who don’t want healthcare nationalized or reformed read the bill. I bet not one of you have a copy, or have read it.
    Well I just down loaded a copy, and I would be willing to debate anyone who apposes passing the first stages of this bill.

    If your gong to talk the talk then walk the walk and stop being so stupid you republican idiots.

    August 16, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  6. rich

    35 states already have high risk pools. I don't understand why no one is talking about this. In these 35 states everyone qualifies for coverage if they cannot obtain coverage in the private sector. Pre existing conditions do not apply in most state pools. 2/3rds of America has access to affordable coverage. Those who live in one of the other 15 states should be calling their state representatives to get it done. We shouldn’t build a massive federal bureaucracy when most of the states have already accomplished health care reform.


    August 16, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  7. Joey - NY, NY

    This plan is going to cost over 1 Trillion dollars, and it will be a huge government bureaucracy. New taxes will be enacted to pay for some of it, but it will still add to the deficit. This alone makes me passionately against it. We need to find a way to help low income people buy insurance, that's all. I support helping those who need it. This current plan is WAY over-engineered.

    We don't want new tax after new tax for one program after another. The anger comes from the Democrats who are taxing and spending, and turning us into a country where the earners and contributors are forced to support the non-earners and the unproductive.

    August 16, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  8. lampe

    You all really need to STOP with this mess, well GWB did this and GWB did that. So because they did, you are willing to let Obama do what he wants? Well that is not what he ran on. And TWO WRONGS, don't make a RIGHT.

    August 16, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  9. Apoh

    It is common knowledge that legal suits have added immense burden to US health care cost. This is a key difference from other developed countries. No one is perfect and there always will be few errant health care providers. However, ultimately it is the common population footing the bill. Life is priceless but surely our claims and legal costs have become senseless. Why are we not willing to cap these ridiculous compensations? Let me guess. Since majority of the politicians are lawyers by background, they lack the political will to go against their fraternity (??)

    August 16, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  10. Scot

    Obama fooled everyone. He has taken over right where Bush left off, and after we hate Obama we will have another corrupt socialist in office. Everyone wanted "change" well we got it! Democracy is a thing of the past. Obama is creating a 1 million man miltia that only reports to the president, we will merge with the EU, govornment take over of health care, redistribution of wealth, "Czars that only report to Obama", resigning the patriot act, Still in Iraq, Still in Afganhastan, still plotting wars, Increasing govornment spending, federalizing private industries, breaking down the independence of the states, cash for clunkers, WOW KEEP THE LIST GOING! Let's not forget that the internet and free speech is now monitored. Why stop at even that let's have "cash for Guns" a law that gives you money for your gun and makes you sign a waiver that says you never buy another. 1 freedom after another in order to be "Free and Safe". WHAT IS THE TRUE COST OF WHAT WE ARE DOING!

    August 16, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  11. Alex

    Pres. Obama is highly critical of opponents to his plan when they make false statements or spread unsubstantiated rumors. However, he apparently thinks there is nothing wrong with such tactics as long as it is him making the misleading comments.

    In Portsmouth, HN, last week, he stated that if a patient gets a foot amputated, "that's $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 - immediately that the surgeon is reimbursed." His assertion is totally false.

    Medicare reimbursement for a foot amputation is approximately $700 to $1200, and this includes caring for the patient for 90 days after the surgery.

    Why should the Administration think that there is a double standard when it comes to who should tell the truth. This does not seem like the change anyone in American should believe in!

    August 16, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  12. Mary

    The Republican party does not want Americans to have good affordable
    government health care. It's wrong for them to stop American from getting the care they deserve. Tax payers should stop paying for Senators
    Government Health Care system so they can get a clue. The Republican Party does not want Americans to be Healthy and cared for.

    August 16, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  13. dan


    Can you tell us what the Health insurance companies or their CEO's earned last year?

    August 16, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  14. dan

    What is really behind all the noise at the town halls. If the public plan will save the public money and provide better coverage – are the insurance companies manufacturing it thru the right wing extremists?

    August 16, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  15. Pam

    Can the media start showing the other side please. I know everyone likes to watch the crazies screaming their misinformed comments but if we are to begin to understand the facts let's hear the people who can testify to what this great debate is really about. It's about healthcare and how it costs too much for all of us, it's about regular people being denied or dropped for a serious illness, it's about a current system that in the end will take us all down. When I see people on TV shouting about none of these points and it becomes about "I want my country back", it has become a circus act. I'm an american, born and raised american, have had relatives die for this country so to see people out there protesting for how they want THEIR country back GIVE ME A BREAK. We had an election and my vote was for change and that is what i expect to get. I watched the town hall in Colorado yesterday. The gentleman who was telling his story was not heard at least on the 2 channels i tried. Instead it was the news guests putting their 2 cents in. I wanted to hear the REAL story from real people not someone's opinion on all this other crap. So please show the crazies but also show the real people with real facts on why we need reform. I am a registered nurse and this issue is very real for the many patients i have cared for. In memory of those who have died because they didn't get the tx they needed or dx in a timely fashion that could have given them a better chance, I encourage the media to report but keep it on the real issue. thank you.

    August 16, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  16. dan

    Currently my health insurance company is making decisions about my health care based on their profit.

    Why is that better than a public plan ?

    When I turned 50 they hiked my premiums and reduced the medical procedures that are covered.

    Should they be able to do that ?

    August 16, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  17. dan

    It seems to me that a strong public plan is the only thing that will bring down healthcare costs for Americans – because it will encourage private companies to compete. Otherwise it's just more of the same.

    August 16, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  18. george voss

    health care reform, is it a really about the people of America or is it about the bussiness of America. This is what has gone wrong in this country. I'm old enough to know that in the years passed people lives did matter. But today we seem to pertend that a person life is important. If we were about what we say; " All men are created equal". The health care reform would not needed, because we would all have whats needed and not one would have more or less. Do we really want to ensure that all are equally cared for here in America? Well, it has to start with those whom call themselves Republican and Democrat. Those that confess to be God fearing people, for we are all a people of the one God, one faith, the one name Jesus. Let us began to truely put people before bussiness and you will endeed see this great country make a great leap in every area in which have we seen a down fall.

    August 16, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  19. Sridhar

    I am not an american but would like to comment as a bystander.Fiscal imbalance caused by health care can be fixed by putting caps on doctor/hospital fees. How simple is that ? Of course , the doctors won t like it but you can save a college student from declaring a medical bankruptcy just because he broke his knee .

    August 16, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  20. Sarah Grim

    The problem Obama is having is due to several things, the first being he chose to work exclusively with all the big groups – insurers, hospitals, physicians, drug companies, on crafting the bill and then leaving it to Congress to pull it together. Both of those mistakes are evident now and I honestly do not feel sorry for the way this is going. I have suspected and talked about this being the downfall since day one. I have talked about the need to involve the American public and not the "deal makers" on health care reform. Well, he is finally getting to the American public and finding out that those of us left out of the backroom discussions have no idea what is going on, why we are being asked our opinion now, and what we need to do to keep it moving. Honestly I have no energy for this stupid debate. The longer it lasts (and it will last because there is one thing to keep it going – political donations flow fast and furious when the topic is hot and heated, if it cools no one gets money for next year's campaigns and it means they have to go back to calling people for campaign donations).

    The other problem is not taking on drug companies for best pricing like they give to every country except ours, for not taking health care fraud seriously, for not cutting stupid programs like the QIO program which costs $1 billion and all it does is give that money to medical associations to watch over their own doctors and hospitals and "encourage them to work to reduce infections, give aspirins to chest pain patients within an hour of showing up in an ER, etc." – something that these groups have been paid billions for since 1985 to no change in process or improvement, and for not realizing that medicine is a parts business with no penalties for errors. Everyone gets paid more for errors than for no errors. Hospitals host screenings and health fairs to get credit for "community activity" for tax-exemption purposes rather than providing "free care" under Hill-Burton (the IRS allowed them to exchange health fairs and screenings for free care in the 1980s so you see less and less free care provided by nonprofit hospitals, instead they do frivolous stuff rather than write off free care) – no other nonprofit would be allowed this luxury trust me, and they pay their executives millions of dollars "because they are running companies and should be compensated so".

    So sorry about the soapbox. I have written my Congressional Delegation and the White House every week about the health care reform effort. I have heard back from Rep. Luekemeyer who tells me thanks for supporting his position (I didn't). I have heard nothing from the White House other than the form emails that come out daily to tell me to write my legislators, and nothing from my Senators. I cannot do any more. They don't want to "hear me". They want me to "speak for them". Hard to do when (1) I have not read the 1,000 page bill and (2) no one is paying me to do this for them.


    August 16, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  21. Jim from Hamilton Ontario

    On CNN yesterday, I listened to Senator Coburn make a statement that In Canada, patients with breast cancer have to wait for 6 months for treatment. This is a gross exageration and part of the Republican's scare tactics. There have been other scare tactic ads about Canada's health care system. My wife had breast and ovarian cancer for 7 years and passed on in December 2006. She received radiation treatment
    in Buffalo N.Y. – paid in full by Canada's health care system. We thought that she would have to wait for one week to have a brain scan. Instead, we waited for one (1) hour to have an MRI, and we had our results on the same day, and radiation treatment started on the following Monday. I have many other examples showing that Canada's health care system is not as bad as being portrayed by the Repubican scare tactics.

    August 16, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  22. John Lucas

    To make things more fair about the heath care issues. We can save money by having congress give up the raise they gave their selves this year. I'm a retired IUE GM employee and a democrat. We have to give up our dental and eye care plus catastrophe care. The catastrophe care is where the big medical expenses are and can break you if you do not have this coverage. We pay congress for their service. I would say they should also have to give up the same things that we are giving up.. Also they should have an increase in the amount of their co-payments for hospitals, doctors, and medication like the rest of us. This could help in lowering the cost of a new health program. Also there are some of the retired GM IUE employees that are going to lose all of their health care benefits. What is congress doing to help out these middle class retired employees. I believe that the only way to get change is to vote out all of the incumbents that have been there over 4 years. We do need some new fresh ideas and thinking in congress. John

    August 16, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  23. Joe A

    Mr. Obama is starting to show that his lack of experience for the office he holds and people are waking up to the realization that he is in fact trying to pull the wool over our eyes and provide us with socialized/rationed health care. The document clearly states that the government will decide end of life care, will assist doctors in making decisions and will • Page 30, line 23 — There will be a government committee that decides what treatments you get. This bill is all about control and this President has shown he wants to control EVERYTHING; Auto's Wall Street, Pay, everything. The language of this bill is certainly ambiguous and given it is open to interpretation, once we let the government in, they will do what they want because the language of the bill will allow them to define it how they want – regardless of what Mr. Obama is trying to sell us in his road trips!

    August 16, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  24. www.hediyeler.org

    Between a document that was very good. thanks

    August 16, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  25. Daniel in Thailand

    I think Obama, the US Congress and the American people need to forget about Health care reform and change their focus to tort reform.

    If you have tort reform first, then you can fix the health care system.

    Too many lawyers, ridiculous rewards/awards given out by the courts/juries in the US. Instead of going to court, you get to "roll dice and maybe hit the lottery!" that is not a real legal system .... If you take away ridiculous legal awards then liabliities decreases, then doctors won't CYA by being overly precautious, then costs go down, and health care becomes more affordable.

    Another observation, having lived outside the US for a few years, Americans should do a little introspection ..... it is simple, just go to the mirror and take your shirt off and look at yourself- if you are fat and overweight, you will have health care issues. Ask yourself, do you exercise more than you watch tv or play computer games or wii etc ....., if not, then you will have health care issues. ..... if the government regulates health care reform, are they then going to regulate and mandate that people should also exercise and eat healthy or will our liberal friends cry foul as an infriegnment of my privacy. .... maybe the the governemnt will ban ""super sizing" or going large at your favorite fast food restaruant ...... hmmmmm maybe they will simply ban Coke, Pepsi, McDonalds, Burger King, IHOP etc ....

    its time for the american people to get off their butts if not to debate the issue, to at least to get some exercise so they will be healthier and maybe then they would not have to worry about needing healthcare!

    something to ponder .... where is it written that healthcare is a right? it is not in the constitution or in the declaration of independence ..... Health care is a privilege and if people abuse that privilege by failing some basic things such as exercising, excessive eating, drinking etc, then maybe some should have to lose their privilege. i learned in kindergarten, that if you don't follow some basic rules, you may lose some basic privileges ..... evidently Obama and Pelosi skipped that class ...... so, should we now talk about the failing education system in America .....

    August 16, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  26. Elaine

    Health care is not about democrat or republican. It is about the ideals of the American Way before greed became the mantra. I am amazed at the number of seniors who are shouting out against "socialism" and a government run program. Do they not realize that they are under a govt run program? Socialism is not new to America, it has just gone by other names – subsidies, welfare, medicare, medicaid, corporate "incentives", etc. The president did invite doctors and other health care practitioners into the debate. A big problem is that too many believe the mis-information that is intentionally put forth and never bother to fact check or do their own homework. The pundits who throw out the "scare" messages don't need any health care reform and are not really concerned about it since they make enough money they can "buy" their own doctor. An administration wants to institute health care for all Americans and people paint swastikas! How do you make a leap in that direction?

    August 16, 2009 at 1:33 am |
  27. sally m

    Since when does the government have to get a majority approval
    of the people to pass laws. Did GW Bush ask our approval for
    anything? Did he have town hall meetings re: anything? His policies
    changed many lives, and those of us who disagreed were branded as unpatriotic. Where were all these people who are now clamoring
    for participatory democracy. Now the pendulum swings, everyone
    wants a say into what goes into the health care bill. All from the
    perspective of their own self interests. If the civil rights bill depended
    on town hall meetings held in Mississippi, Ala, Ark. etc. I shudder to
    think. That bill was a result of a mass movement by Black people
    and their supporters. The movement to elect President Obama
    is the movement for Healthcare reform. We elected him to lead now
    let him lead, and not let the republican party and right wingers
    try to politically assassinate him.

    August 16, 2009 at 1:04 am |
  28. J

    Simplify billing for all policies. Should be step #1. About 10 years ago we had a major overhaul of the way we bill all insurance. The grouping of certain procedures in the ICD9 book is very good. The practice of using a seperate form for each company instead of one form for everyone is killing our system. The practice of telling the doctors that a patient can only have 2 or 3 ear infections in a year is bad for a child. We have a responsibility to the people of this nation to provide good, quality health care. It is available. We have the people willing to do the work. We just need the help to move forward without all of the red tape. We have programs in place. Simplify them and allow the rules to cover the people that need help. How simple is that?

    August 16, 2009 at 12:59 am |
  29. Joseph Barrow

    First let me say, i believe every American deserves health care. I had a hmo that was fine and I'm a gulf war vet and I have disability from that so i can go to the va as well. so since having both let me clarify some things,...
    One, I may be seen and treated at the va but my pills, if I have no money they are taken out of my va check because of new policies based on a income that I dont make anymore,....
    when I was on layoff, my state unemployment was around 600 a month and whatever I owe in child support is taken out all of it up to half of that 600 a month now that I can't live anywhere and feed myself on 300 a month now i have to somehow stay healthy while living in a shelter and find a job thats not out there any more....because cobra wants 600 plus to keep my hmo that i have not to mention I have to provide coverage for my child by law. that is the worse case senario I had to live with. I'm not alone....
    TWO,...I was fortunate to get a job in CANADA and got health coverage on the spot ..I found out this year I had type 2 diabetes and because i was able to go for preventative medicene (annual and regular checkups and blood tests at no charge) I got taken care of thru my doctor, a specialist, and a clinic specializing in diabetes my diabetes is under control...with my jobs percription benefit my metformin pills are 9 dollars bottle my percription for lipitor on the VA's was dime was 60 dollars and remember, they take it out of my va check! the Canadian system has its flaws but if used right ie,.go to the doc for preventative mediciene, I believe they would get a better result out of it .but a least it's there. Also, They're in a shortage of medical staff here because some get their education and run for america to make more money in the exchange to keep up with living great here, it being expensive, because they know they got medical benefits here thats not gonna pillage their wallets
    THREE,...lets say for the sake of argument the government simply sets rules on the insurance companies to simply provide insurance and perscriptions on a NET income if under say 50,000, ( As everyone knows 50 only brings you home 35) based on and lets say 14% of a net check.... make it cover everybody, then people living high on the hog can stop griping theyre getting there precious doctor taken from them and the suffering middle class can finally GET PREVENTATIVE HELP , lessen the chances of suffering from disease and go to sleep at night without wanting to kill themselves...

    August 16, 2009 at 12:12 am |
  30. Clark

    80% of Americans like their health care.

    20% are made up of people that don't have insurance, don't want insurance or are simply waiting for somebody else to buy some insurance for them.

    America has the best quality health care in the world. But 20% too little of it to spread around .... although every state has indigent health care, children's health care and medicare available to those in the 20%.

    so why would somebody want to change 100% of the health care in the US to fix the 20%? At an increase in cost to the entire system while decreasing the quality that each patient will have access to ?

    Can't imagine why .... except for one possible reason .... they want to go down in history with their name attached to a big change ... they want immortality at least in name.

    August 15, 2009 at 11:41 pm |
  31. Steve Ferzacca

    Apology (Ferzacca)

    Sorry that we lead you on this way.
    The vote for change looks more like shadow play.
    It’s clear to all your time is nowhere near.
    It’s clear to all you’re a target of desperate fear.
    Prophecies of hope melt into air.
    Signifying a world beyond repair.
    Forgive us for our dreams and misplaced faith.
    Your words and skin compel an ugly hate.
    Revenge is the link in a deadly chain.
    To hang you with from limb again and again.
    This orgy of violence thrills the hearts.
    Holocaustly images charge this martial art.
    All the rabid hounds unleashed on you.
    We dared to believe that we were ready for something new.
    So please forgive us we meant no harm.
    Our deepest regrets for sending you off to a prison farm.
    We sanction lies as merely play.
    Truth is subject to parody, it’s the post-modern way.
    Reap this rot from the seeds that we sowed.
    Claiming the debt we felt certain we were owed.
    And now I turn to tell you face to face.
    To say that I’m sorry to have imagined such a place.
    Where love is all we need to get by.
    Not sure it was worth it having faith in this lie.

    August 15, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  32. Tony In Largo, FL

    The President said:
    1- Government will not run Health Care.
    2- Stop the arbitrary practices of dropping
    someone’s Health Insurance in the middle of
    illness by law enactment.
    3- Disallow the practice of the Health
    Insurance companies to
    "cherry pick the clients"
    4- Disallow the practice of negating insurance
    for pre-existing conditions
    5- pay for funding by
    a. using funding currently paid by
    Medicare & Medicaid to Hospitals &
    doctors for doing nothing
    ($177,000,000,000 over 10 years)
    b. Eliminating some credits on Income Tax
    for those making more than $250,000 a
    6- Pay hospitals and doctors one time for a
    condition until they are successful on
    a patient and not pay over and over again
    for the same condition. (just so they could
    pay junior's education over a period of 20
    years with repeated treatment for a small
    bean stuck in the patients ear)

    Come on Republicans, you, who call yourselves conservatives and say that this administration is socialist and everything else you can think of, where's the Socialism here???

    It isn't there. Or is it that you have resorted to that name calling because it's now against the law to call him other names from the days of exclusion?

    Only others, as stupid as Sarah Palin herself, would say that he's failed in the first 200 days. He's done more positive things already than Bush did in 8 years.

    Only you, who barely eek out a living in your jobs, could be so full of hate and ignorance that you prefer to oppose help from the President who's willing to work to give you a better lifestyle.

    The good news is that despite your ill conceived tantrums and intent to obstruct, Health Care Reform is going to get done.

    Oh, and by the way that doctor that you go to belongs to an association that maybe you've heard of before, it's called the AMA. They're backing the Health care Reform AND so is Big PHARMA!!!!!

    It seems to me you're out on the leaves on this discussion. Good Night!

    August 15, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  33. Rhoda Ubaechu

    Well, healthcare for everybody would be wonderful but is it a reality? Just like "American dream" that is everybody can own a home led to world economic crisis. I'd love to own a big house, they reality is right now I cannot afford it. I dont think insurance just like the senators would work for everybody., lets face reality.

    August 15, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  34. darren

    This comment is for Paul. You say veterans receive the best health care, well my father is a WWII vet and has had many visits to the VA in Milwaukee. Try visiting a VA hospital Paul then make your comments because you are completely off base. The VA hospital in Milwaukee is run down, falling apart, it seriously looks like a building from a third world country. Its pathetic the way we treat our veterans. But whats more pathetic is people like PAUL who make erroneous claims just to sound intelligent. Please Paul...visit a VA Hospital and then go to the Mayo clinic and get then have the courage to revisit your statement

    August 15, 2009 at 9:58 pm |
  35. Peter Cronig

    HAVE A NATIONAL LOTTERY GAME LIKE MEGA MILLIONS OR POWER BALL TO HELP PAY FOR NATIONAL HEALTH CARE. People love to play the lottery. Especially the Mega Millions & the Powerball. Money from these lotteries help the States fund education, etc.. It is now time to have a National Lottery Game w/the proceeds going exclusively to the needs of the people for such services as HEALTH CARE, MEDICARE, & MEDICAID. Make each ticket ($5.00) Five Dollars. Play the game once a week. Let the jackpot keep rolling over each week if not won on the previous week. It could be the biggest lottery ever. It is a win win situation for everyone. Could you imagine fully paying for National Health Care & the possibility of a person winning 1 billion dollars if the National Lottery gets large enough. Why not use a National Lottery Game as a way of solving these problems. You can run the lottery through each post office or any other place where you buy a computerized lottery ticket. Give it a try.

    August 15, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  36. ted in portland

    I heard Don Lemon question one of his guests when she suggested that many ordinary citizens "don't trust our government". Mr. Lemon acted as if she had desecrated our Flag. My frustration with the conventional wisdom in this country has reached the point where I barely have the energy to post yet another observation of fact in the face of our blind allegiance to "talking point journalism and government". We have a Congress which has abrogated it's obligation to formally authorize and limit the indebtedness of the United States. We have institutionally accepted the premise that the government no longer has an obligation to legislate the use of tax revenues via debate and compromise. Instead, it funds the cost of government either by deeply camouflaged resolutions increasing the debt ceiling, or simply counting on Mr. Bernenke to create funds out of thin air periodically in the name of "managing the money supply".

    I am a lifelong Republican who abandoned our party's nominee in order to support a man I thought to be the most talented and capable politician I had seen in my lifetime, and who appeared to be not only a visionary, but an honest man as well. I spent hours every day (on-line) arguing in favor of giving this man a chance to fix what was wrong with this country, and salvage a future for us and succeeding generations. He said he was going to end the budget busting practices of the Bush administration, and he was going to dismantle the undue influence of lobbyists and wealthy corporations over government policy.

    Six months into his administration, I find that his government will report a deficit in excess of $1-Trillion in this fiscal year, and that does not include the trillions of "faux US Dollars" created by the Federal Reserve in order to offset borrowing by the Treasury, and the assumption (by governmental fiat) of trillions in unfunded obligations for so-called toxic assets of private financial institutions. By any measure I can find, the special interests who influence government policy are not only still in business, they have been strengthened by a President who believes that assembling all the thieves at the same table and ironing out a consensus defines 'leadership' and 'making hard choices'. When these ad-hoc cabals of influential persons emerge into the public light, we find that Mr. Obama has succeeded not by forcing them to compromise, or give concessions, but by justifying more borrowing and/or "printing" of US Dollars. His claims of cost-cutting and making hard choices continue, while we silently watch the last shreds of this country's credit slip away.

    He just said: "If we could just get our health care spending under control, our long-term deficit problems would go away." At the same time, he tells us that insurance companies who will not write insurance policies on medical conditions which are already extant are "discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions". He tells us the new law will "not allow insurance companies to cancel coverage on people who's lifetime benefit limitation has run out". He also tells us he opposes changing the rules of a medical malpractice industry which siphons off hundreds of billions each year and puts it in the pockets of attorneys in order to manage the predictable stream of bad medical outcomes which are inevitable in a field of science which is inexact, and riddled with uncertainties because it aspires to help the most unreliable and predictably self-serving species on earth: human beings.

    We are a country founded on the principles of free-enterprise and fair competition. The well-modulated practice of free-enterprise appears to be the only systematic way to offset the intrinsically selfish nature of human beings. The idea that we can provided unlimited free health services to everyone is as despicable a lie as any in history. The idea that we can continue to fund our government, and an economy which has not turned a profit in 35 years by taking more cash advances is equally corrupt.

    So I would say to Mr. Lemon: yes, I do trust my government. I trust them to continue to dissipate our country's credit in order to funnel those funds into their own pockets, and those of their preferred constituencies. I trust them to justify their own profligacy and greed by lying about what they have done, and about what they intend to do in the future, as long as we in the electorate are willing to allow their hegemony over our government to continue. But I also know that as long as media pundits and journalists such as yourself are willing to turn a blind eye on the reality of their practices, and the malignant consequences of continuing them, the time horizon of a stable and hopeful future for this country will continue to recede. I can't predict for sure how many more years we have before we reach the edge of the abyss, but I would guess that number is down to a single digit: perhaps an 8, or maybe a 5? It could even be sooner than that.

    They may pass Mr. Obama's health care plan, but it will only accelerate our demise. Until we face the simple truth that we are living well beyond our means, and consuming far more than we produce, this country will continue it's headlong rush towards mediocrity and ultimate failure. And with it may go the last chance our civilization had to devise a stable future for succeeding generations on this planet. That will be the price of "leadership by talking points", and measuring success by opinion polls of those too lazy to think critically about reality.

    August 15, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  37. alex lyrics

    "We have nothing to fear but fear iself "
    We have a system of governmet that can change bills, make bills, and we can vote in or out of offcie those who don't fallow our wishes. So why are these people acting crazy over a heathcare bill?????????
    These people are acting rediculous. If something doesn't work, we change it, we have the power do do so. This bill will be changed and modified for years to come. Lets get this bill out there and begin that process, and stop using all this fear, and yelling and crazy madness.
    Let our system of government work and stop crying.
    These two wars tha have lasted ten years have gotten all these people who don't even get out of their homes to vote, and those who don't even know who represents their states to go off the deep end.
    Funny how everyone now has a comment or say so in this topic. Where were these people when Bush and Cheney were running our country in to the ground??????????????????

    August 15, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  38. Imsadd

    80% of physicians DO NOT belong to the AMA. wonder if you are aware of this.

    August 15, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  39. Alice

    Paul, good comments!! There really are people out there with some common sense. The American people are being sold a bill of goods when they are told that the private sector has all the answers for us. They are the ones that made a mess out of our Health Care System. They are also the ones that destroyed our financial system.

    Did you read where 7 of the ten highest paid CEO's last year worked for the oil companies? The highest one was paid $710,000,000.00. This while the American people were paying $4.00 a gallon for gasoline. We couldn't even afford to feel our gas tanks. This is the private sector that the right wing groups want us to trust? Sorry, but I would trust my life with MY government more than the private sector. At least I can vote them in and out.

    Thank GOD for CNN!!! It is the only channel I can get any truth from. FOX News is just a bunch of white males that want to hang on to the status quo. They can't stand the fact that Obama won the white house and they are doing everything they can to undermind him. To them I say, "President Obama won for a reason. Get over it."

    August 15, 2009 at 5:56 pm |

    Does anyone have real nightmare experiences like: pre-existing conditions denial of health care insurance; getting thrown out of the hospital before you're stitches are healed (remember "drive by births"?); mental health insurance nightmares (getting kicked out of the hospital before the patient gains sanity); having to refuse pre-discharge from the hospital for a terminally ill cancer patient (my father); taking 3 (three) years to get rid of the bills for a single hospital birth (I fought until I didn't pay a single dime that I wasn't responsible for....); nightmare deductibles; incompetent doctors; dangerous doctors, etc. because I have experienced all these nightmares with my family members so I could write a book on everything else I've gone through for the last 20 years with health care insurance. So I say to you who have not experienced the broken health care system we are in: shut the hell up and stop interferring in which you know nothing.... and for the love of God, please stop mentioning the Constitution and your "rights" - health care is about life and death and those of us who are the soldiers out there battling the insurance companies.

    August 15, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  41. Moayyad Khoshnaw

    Dear Anderson:

    It was very interesting for me to see CIGNA's former CEO talking about insurance companies, from my own experience I found that not only the insurance company is trying to take the most with very little to offer, but perhaps employers also part of the deal with them, Example: I worked for Dyne Corp that have multibillion contracts with the government, mostly with DOD, this employer do not provide any options for health insurance except CIGNA, and they tell their employees that they offer insurance, but in reality they make employees pay for it, and CIGNA has a huge amount of deductible , $3000, which employees do not benefit from this insurance at all, paying monthly from $400 to $800 and $3000 deductible in a year, if you have no major medical problems which they know because all their employees has to go through extensive medical checkups, then they offer you the job and insurance, now who makes money here, the insurance compnay and the employer.

    August 15, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  42. judy Columbus

    I worked in health care for 25 years. It doesn't matter how much education diabetics receive, they will still do what they please. I believe education is important, but it is already available.
    Just ask Pres. Obama how smoking cessation works. Do you realize how much money is currently spent on health care education?
    What has happened to personal responsibility?
    I also worked the first 2 years of my nursing career in a VA hospital and I know what government does to health care. I have never even had an HMO because I want to manage my own care. I do not want some else, especially the government making my health decisions.

    August 15, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  43. Mary Pat RN California

    The Veteran who commentd above would not need to wait for a token to get to his Health Care... he could and should be able to get it anywhere in America!

    August 15, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  44. Mary Pat RN California

    Don't jump out of your chair, but why in the world keep a costly system like the VA Health system in place, when we have the Universal Health Care in place possibly modeled like the VA? Of course not! The VA has become an out of control cost that I have seen how they keep their budgets for October. If there is a Universal Health Care all Veterans would be covered in the system, and Veterans should have coverage at any hospital, by any doctor, in America for their lifetime. Issue every Veteran a card that allows them a priority in health care triage. To have two systems would be not only uncalled for, but foolish. This plan would save lots of money in the projected cost.
    The VAMC cost is uncontrolled by Unit managers that are determined to keep their budget up there if it even means buying hula hoops and microwaves before October to keep the figure up there! I have seen it. Shame, shame, shame.
    Phasing out the VA and accommodate the Veterans in the new Health System would probably cut the cost of the new Health Care considerably and allow workers in that system an opportunity to move into the new system and allow a review of what does not work, what does, and what is too costly. A much needed overhaul. I have never seen a situation where the inpatient census lowers and construction abounds. Inside and all around the grounds. Makes absolutely no sense. Every Friday around noon one can observe a mass exodus out the back doors to the parking lots. I certainly hope the new health system has no one overseeing the operation like the VA Centers.
    Think about the saving to support the Universal System before you jump to conclusions!

    August 15, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  45. Joe A

    There has been so much talk about different clauses in this bill and the Dem's come out saying that; "no, we don't mean it that way – no we will not ration, no we will not make decision, no we will not tap your bank account", but if there is so much ambiguity then this bill should NOT pass because it leave too much open to re-definition which could lead to total control of our freedom to choose. How could we believe that this super majority will not turn around and say; "well this clause allows us to tell you when to give up a fight against cancer." Once we let the Government in, we will never get rid of them and they will do what they do best; micromanage a system to death until we are left with the worst of the worst – if so many people are arguing about the clauses, then it is too ambiguous. Mr. Obama tried to rush it through as he did the stimulus and we see the failure of that bill. Now that he was not able to bully congress into passing it, the lack of cohesion in the document is coming to light. It should not pass if so much of the document is unclear!

    August 15, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  46. che

    everyone please note ... the legislation under consideration is "health care INSURANCE reform"... not "health care reform" .. the latter is a much bigger and complicated subject ... please try to differentiate .. and that includes the announcers on CNN ..

    August 15, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  47. Vern Taylor

    Without going into detail of an already too long comment, these are the basic reforms I believe we need:

    A. make health care available to all U.S. citizens (no exceptions – everyone)
    B. eliminate waste in the health system (many ways this can be done)
    C. create legal reform to reinforce the health care reforms (especially regarding malpractice lawsuits)
    D. make sure all decisions regarding health care, including choice of doctor, hospital, drugs, etc… are exclusive to doctor and patient (not in the hands of insurance companies or government)

    Let the experts figure out how to pay for it and make it work. If we can provide these reforms, it will be well worth the price.

    August 15, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  48. al

    The people fighting against Healthcare reform have been duped and are just shooting themselves in the foot.

    A Universal healthcare system seems like a WIN WIN for the average American.

    Bottom line, I think we need to shake things up by passing strong healthcare reform, preferably a single payer system with optional private plans. It will encourage insurance companies to compete – then and only then will we see an improvement in quality and cost.

    When competition increases everybody will benefit.

    August 15, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  49. William Clements

    Have just read an article on the BBC web site comparing four health systems: US, UK, France and Singapore.

    It compares:
    Expenditures for health % of GDP
    Life expectancy at birth
    Out of pocket spending as % of private expenditure on health
    Expenditure on health per capita
    Infant mortality per 1,000 live births

    Also a brief description of each system. Interesting

    Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8201711.stm

    August 15, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  50. Cecelia

    I think Congress should pass several smaller bills. That way there is more transparency and it's easier to dismiss what is unwanted. Also, it will allow for at least something to get passed as opposed to nothing.

    August 15, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
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