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August 19th, 2009
03:42 PM ET

Tonight: Text 360°

AC360°

Tonight we will be taking your questions on health care.

We're cutting through the political rhetoric and answering your questions about substantive change to the country's health care system.

Now the Obama administration is looking hard at pushing through a health care reform bill without Republican backing, top Democrats close to the White House told CNN.

How will this impact the plans for reform? What does this mean for your medical care and your bottom line? We'll be looking into this tonight. Do you have a question? Let us know!

Send us a text message with your question. Text AC360 (or 22360), and you might hear it on air!


Filed under: T1 • Text 360
soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. wayne Tomlinson

    People have been suffering for too long with these so called healthcare system we have, its time for a change Obama im with you
    YES WE CAN !

    August 20, 2009 at 2:00 am |
  2. Cathy

    Why can we have public parks, public libraries, public postal service, public police, public fireman, public prisons, public transportation, public schools, public health care for elderly, public health care for the very poor, and not public health care for everyone? I guess we wouldn't want to be called socialists.

    August 20, 2009 at 1:50 am |
  3. John smith

    why do we need obamacare its going to bankcrupt our country we need to go back to how the founding fathers wanted things and thats that. down with the socialist nazies.

    August 20, 2009 at 1:33 am |
  4. Jeanne in NC

    I spent 14 years living in Norway because my Norwegian husband was diabetic with complications. Our choice was a simple one...live in Norway with socialized medical and live a reasonably good life, or live in my parents basement with the cats, uninsured.

    After his passing, my children and I moved back to the USA, and we've managed through a local low cost/free clinic program, but I don't have the safety net I had for myself and my children that I had in that system.

    Almost every other country has some form of socialized medical system, yet here, the ignorance abounds and you mention socialized medical and the ignorant assume we are talking about becoming a socialist/communist state! Norway is a social democracy, being a hybrid between socialism and democracy. No one pure system is perfect, not ours and not Norway's, but their standard of living is so much higher than here in the USA.

    Stop letting ignorance and fear lead and realize that We the People also means taking care of the the People!

    August 20, 2009 at 1:20 am |
  5. Kathy Emmert

    Why is it when a family member has a DNR another family member can override it. Even if it is a persons last wishes. This wastes money on unwanted healthcare. If a person has a DNR/DNI they should have their wishes honored.

    August 20, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  6. Jim

    I guess my question would be will anyone seeking medical care wether a legal resident or not be given care.

    August 20, 2009 at 1:17 am |
  7. JOE

    My concern is that Mr. Obama is rushing into the healthcare issue and not thinking about what is good for all of us. It has been years and years that the United States has struggled with healthcare reform and now he wants to fix the problem over night! Please don't rush into something we will regret, its ok if you fix it on your second, third or even your last year in office, think about i! Secondly I really don't support a plan that limits healthcare for the elderly "Pull the plug on grandma or take the pill instead is not the answer". He did mention in an interview that we should consider taking the pill instead of a costly transplant. Life is precious and should be fought for regardless if you are 10 years of age or 115 years of age!!!!!! THINK ABOUT IT!!!! Its about the people not about democrats or republicans remember we are the United States of America! Not the democrat states of America or the republican states of America!!

    August 20, 2009 at 1:16 am |
  8. Jim

    The next time your on line at the post office or drivers license bureau, look around real good! The scene will be very simliar to a government run healthcare system that will service illegal aliens too! AND yes, illegals, now or under a blanket immunity in the future!!

    August 20, 2009 at 1:15 am |
  9. Mary

    I'm a registered Democrat, and I would gladly support insuring the uninsured. Those left democrats insist there's not a bill without a government option. How soon they drop all concern of insuring the uninsured! What a joke. I would like a list of every democrat up for re-election in 2010. We need more of a balance in Congress, because their wasteful spending is outrageous. Why didn't they use all the ear marks in the stimulas to pay for insurance for the uninsured?? Or all the bonus money they allowed to the companies, we the taxpayers own. The democrats need to be voted out in 2010....we need more of a balance in congress, so there's some common sense!

    August 20, 2009 at 1:13 am |
  10. Jack

    If we would propose a health care system to the american people that would
    – rank 37th in the world for quality of care
    – result in our life expectancy at 50th in the world
    – be the most expensive in the world
    – and would cover only part of the population
    Would we vote for it? Would we be proud of it as Americans?
    Then why are we afraid of change, because this is what we have. The only upside of the current system is providing billions of dollars in profit to private insurance companies. Unless this changes, we can look forward to giving all our retirement savings to these companies as we age.

    August 20, 2009 at 1:07 am |
  11. Jackie V.

    What everyone seems to be forgetting is President Ombama is trying to implement healthcare "reform". While everyone is scraming and yelling about what they (think) is in this bill, who's out there, besides the President, talking about what we need and how to come about getting it. What do the Republicans want in a reform bill?Or are they saying they only support the insurance companies and that's why they're against reform?
    As I said, everyone is yelling about what they don't want, well screamers, what is it you do want?

    August 20, 2009 at 12:58 am |
  12. Jon S

    Given the incredible rise in the deficit, don't you think that some one should explain how we are going to pay for this prior to rushing through a bill. I have heard that we can pay for it by repealling the bush tax cuts, but wait, they also have said that is how we will decrease the deficit, pay back the stimulus money, pay back the bail out money and pay back the cash for clunkers.

    Obama has stated in a town hall meeting that he will take a little from here and a little from there to pay for this, but it is apparent that there is no actual plan or even apparent need for a plan to pay for this other than taxes and no, just taxes for incomes over $250k will not get us there. There will be a tax on every one. If this is the case, why not just give tax credits for this amount and let each individual buy there own polilcy.

    Additionally, taxing incomes over $250k will kill small business and kill jobs. And this is before you even consider the added costs that will come with Cap and Trade. The price of every thing we buy will go up as the businesses that are left pass the price onto consumers.

    This nation is going through a housing crisis because people bought houses that they couldn't afford or refinanced into loans that they could not afford. Now our country is doing the same thing with the endless spending spree.

    Additionally, how can we trust our government to run anything. as Obama has pointed out the postal service is running a deficit in the billions, Medicare is bleeding money and Social Security is on the verge of a collapse with in two years. Oh, and lets not forget the cash for clunkers program that was set up to last four months and ran out of money in only six days. Sure, lets give the govt more to run, into the ground that is.

    There are problems with health care, but if your washer goes out, you don't bull doze the house, you fix the washer. However, we may want to bulldoze the current congress and start over.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:55 am |
  13. Andrew Schorr

    I say, go for it! Dems. The Republicans seem to be against everything. Health care reform is needed now and, I believe, a "public option" is needed to make real affordable change possible and to insure the millions who don't have it now. If the Republicans have to sit on the sidelines they brought it on themselves during the last election and now once again.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:50 am |
  14. Arafin

    I have been watching the healthcare debate in the US since the beginning and it seemed to me that most people on the right are tying to downplay the healthcare system in Canada and some other countries in the world that provide universal health care to its citizens and residents.

    As a permanent resident of Canada and watching how the healthcare system here took constant and state-of-the-art care of my wife during her pregnancy and delivery, and how my five month old baby is getting the best possible care since the time he is born (all at no cost) , I can only say that please do not take the extreme cases and use them as examples where so many millions of your people do not even dream about seeing a doctor or going to the hospital.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:48 am |
  15. Rickie Brant

    Please help me understand why Americans would vote against giving basic health care to all citizens like we do here in Canada. Yes – we sometimes have to wait for surgery BUT we don't go bankrupt when it finally gets done. YES we get to pick our own doctors. YES I feel incredibly blessed NOT to have had to pay exhoribant medical bills when I had 2 C-sections, Kidney surgery, numerous skin cancer surgerys plus other medical issues. COST of all of them – maybe $500 TOTAL. The cost of ur monthly premiums are about a cup of coffee a day and a doctor's visit is FREE . We are middle income.

    THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK IN PASSING THIS BILL!!!

    August 20, 2009 at 12:45 am |
  16. surfdog

    I should add... as a 20% service-connected veteran, I get all my health care through the VA. That's totally government run, and is the best healthcare in the country.

    Besides all that, why are we reinventing the wheel? We should be studying all those other nations, from Singapore to Germany, from France and Italy to Japan, and the UK and Canada – their systems work very well, despite all the lies to keep health care as a business so Bill Frist and his cronies can be billionaires on our backs.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:41 am |
  17. Marshall Streams

    True healthcare reform must address the pain that doctors have experienced under the failed mandates of "managed care." The government empowered the private sector with controls over many aspects of the medical system and expected lowered costs for healthcare and instead, costs have continued to skyrocket while private insurers profited and doctors were burdened more and more with paperwork, increasing overhead and decreasing reimbursements.

    Let doctors be doctors and restore their joy at helping people feel and get better. The debacle of "managed care" has run its course and it is, in fact, "time for a change!"

    August 20, 2009 at 12:39 am |
  18. Christian

    The US healthcare system is ranked 37 in the world by the WHO.
    Why do you consider that the actual system is better than the ones in Canada, UK, Germany, and France....?
    The above health care systems are more or less public, not private ones. Everybody is insured.
    Christian, Montreal, Canada

    August 20, 2009 at 12:37 am |
  19. surfdog

    The entire hysteria by people who have been lied to and told these horror stories reminds me of...

    ...a three year old boy getting his first haircut. It's all a lot of hysteria about nothing. Afterwards they'll have their lollipop and their much cheaper, better health care, and they'll wonder what all the fuss was about.

    Universal health care
    works great in every other industrialized nation, despite republican lies.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:36 am |
  20. Marianne

    Also I don't understand how an insurance company is allowed to dictate if they will pay for a medication that a physcian has ordered. I have SLE my physcian ordered a medication a person from my insurance company denied it saying that there might be another alternative. They gave me a generic I had an allergic reaction and ended up in the hospital. How did that save them any money? I have a tendency to have reactions to generic meds, the doctor knew that. The insurance company didn't care, I asked the person who denied the med what background in healthcare and what degree this person possessed. I didn't get an answer. Another example, I ended up on a life support machine (a ventilator this is my specialty) the insurance company denied payment. I called and was told this was not a life threatening situation. I laughed and asked the claims person to repeat that statement. I asked her if she knew what a ventilator was. She at least was honest and said "No." I took the opportunity to educate her. The claim was paid in full. When I asked what her education was, she said "Business." How dangerous is that? I was lucky that I knew what I was talking about. It is scary that others might have had to pay. Our representatives have allowed this to happen, They have given the insurance companies power over your physcians. How is this possible in America?

    August 20, 2009 at 12:36 am |
  21. Sharon L. Girard, Senior Citizen

    When I was a child, a doctor sat at my father's bedside all night at our house while he had pneumonia. We paid our own medical bills. Nobody that we knew had insurance. What would happen if everybody scrapped all health insurance? Wouldn't market prices adjust to an amount that most people could pay themselves? Just wondering because some things were better in the "old" days.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:36 am |
  22. Josephine Ford

    USA already has a government backed health program, Medicare. We keep being told it is broke, so why not save billions going to a new plan and fund Medicare. Bringing all US citizens under the plan. Government has gotten too big and from all news is going to produce another department, This costs billions that could be better spent. The public can't really tell what is true or not. Of course a new Medicare will have to be updated to include all the new citizens coming into the program. All of the monies spent to convince everyone Obama knows what everyone needs could be put into Medicare.
    At some point the large companies that already provide medical insurense can't wait until the Government insurances goes into effect. They will gladly drop the employee health insurances and save billions. What about the health plans that politican's have, are they going to be required to be in the same plan as everyone else.. Are you kidding, they already believe they are better than the average person. No one wants to talk about that. You can bet your bottom dollar if they thought for one minute they would have to be in the new plan, they would spend more time making sure this new plan will be as great as what they have always had. But just knowing they will never be required to do this they are not reading the thousands of pages telling what the plan will and will not cover. It seems to me most politican's forget they are in DC to make sure the average person that voted them into office gets treated fairly. The monies spent on lunches, transportation, parties, and so many other things could be put to better use. Stop spending tax money on all the extra's, especially taking trips using company jets and take regular flights just like everyone else. Just because you are mixing with the big boys/girls is no reason to forget where the money comes from.
    It is easy to make decisions that effect others when you know you will never see or hear these people. When bad decisions are made there is no one in DC going to give you a bad evaluation because of it. There doesn't seem to be any checks and balances, and there should be.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:27 am |
  23. Troy

    Though physicians might argue they are practicing "defensive" medicine, what changes are being proposed to change incentives from a fee for service to something freeing up physicians to actually practice medicine instead of managing a business? I understand the complications of a strictly patient outcome-based system but would like to know if anyone is talking about this.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:26 am |
  24. Steve, OR

    The private sector is stimulated to provide high quality care and they are equally stimulated as to how best to maximize profits and lifestyle. The exhorbinant cost of advanced schooling plays a leading role in healthcare compensation and thus our healthcare costs. The system seems to have fed itself into a profit driven frenzy while the disadvantaged as well as the average hard working citizen gets further marginalized.

    Where are the churches? They seem so vocal over such issues as marriage and death but seemed to have lost their voice when it comes to health. Have they too lost their compassion and drive to help?

    August 20, 2009 at 12:22 am |
  25. Marianne Mullane

    I have worked in healthcare for twenty years now. Has anyone bothered to find out how much Medicare and Medicaid reimburse the hospitals for these patients. Pennies on the dollar, your representatives that are supposed to represent all Americans, sit up there and vote for decreases all the time. Our healthcare is broken because of government intervention. The hospitals and doctors have to bill for more money just to get the money to cover their own costs. Nobody is telling the truth in this matter. CNN needs to investigate this more. We have something called DRG's and every patient is entered into this and the hospitals are reimbursed just according to this diagnosis. If a patient develops something new in the hospital, even if it is not hospital acquired there is no reimbursement. Example a patient comes in with an appendectomy they have surgery and because they waited so long develop sepsis no reimbursement. People better start demanding the same as what our Representatives have voted for themselves. They get the best why don't we?

    August 20, 2009 at 12:21 am |
  26. David- Milwaukee Wisconsin

    Here is my question for everyone who thinks that a public option is a bad idea to buy into. You say you do not have the government making your health choices, and you do not want a socialist health plan. When you are told by United Health Care, Cigna, BCBS, Aetna and etc what you can have done, isn't that the same thing? So what is the problem if a PUBLIC option, that YOU do not have to buy into tells people what they can and can not have done? If you don't like that public option, keep your health insurance that you already have. Why is this is difficult to understand? YOU as an individual have a right to keep your group or individual insurance, so tell me WHY this matters to anyone?

    August 20, 2009 at 12:20 am |
  27. Troy

    Everyone does have the right to basic health care but they also have the responsibility to pay for it. I am talking about a fair income-determined public subsidized mechanism to purchase quality health insurance. If the American people share the costs of care it will curb overuse of the system. Alice- I don't recall seeing a government takeover of health care cause in the constitution and the welfare cause does not apply. What needs to happen is a new incentive system where physicians are paid a portion of their income on salary (75% for example but negotiable) with incentives to improve patient outcomes for the remaining 25%. Physicians can be physicians and practice medicine for their patients, not for a fee for service. As for the health insurance companies, I don't think they are the evil corporations that some say but we can all agree they are definitely self-interested. Remember they are businesses...they are in it for the money. Health care, however, is not a commodity. Either real free market principles must reign, unlike the current pseudo-free market of health care, or we need to implement a public option. The current status quo is not doing it. Lets go for a Massachusetts plan or a Germany-stylized plan because the current one does not cut it.

    And by the way...the Nazi, facism, socialism, death panel, etc accusations are embarrassing. Gain some education and manners so we can discuss this issue. That means both Democrats AND Republicans!

    August 20, 2009 at 12:14 am |
  28. KT

    I agree with the comment by Alice. We are afraid of becoming socialize and left the people in charge, and look what happened? Greed took over and the moral value have been lost a long time ago. These private sectors hunt us down for every penny, and when health care problems occur, they try to hunt down all our medical history to refuse us of any coverage. This is just for the people who have insurance. What about those who do not, or do not qualify for government benefits? Basically just sit there and waiting for our death to come. Those people on top need to be brought down to our level and experience the pain and anxiety of waiting for a medical diagnostic and hoping that our pocket change would be able to get us through each day. Again, this current system fails, and the government needs to be more active with the health care reform.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:12 am |
  29. richard causey

    how will it affect doctors malpracts insurence and the ability to sue when needed?

    Are there enough doctors for everybody?

    If everyone is required to have insurence isn't that hte same as a tax?

    My company now pays about $900.00 per month for my medical. How are the minium wage to $15.00 per hour to pay for this? They keep saying cheaper but not how much cheaper. Too many people already on the verge of loseing there homes.

    August 20, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  30. Lynda

    Right on!! I'm 60 and have 5 more years before I can get into a gov't plan where pre-existing health issues are not a problem and deductibles and exorbitant medical costs don't wipe me out! Why are gov't plans good for seniors, disabled, and Congressmen, not to mention all Fed employees, but too "scary" for me and the rest of Americans??

    August 20, 2009 at 12:04 am |
  31. carly

    Why do we need healthcare reform? I thought that Hillary fixed the healthcare mess during the first 100 days that Bill was in office. She spent millions of dollars going around the country holding townhall meetings and lobbying the legislature. Now Obama is spending millions on an advertising campaign to push his ideas. How many times are the Democrats planning to fix healthcare in my lifetime?

    August 20, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  32. Rebecca, Houston, TX

    Okay, let's look at the facts: yes, healthcare costs are out of control ... BUT...
    Congress is now spending 185% of what it takes in
    Our deficit is a post WWII record of 13% of GDP
    Our debt is growing by 1% a month
    We are borrowing $1.8 trillion a year

    Medicaid and Medicare are bankrupting the country. The actual cost of these programs cost 10x more than originally thought. So to say this program will be deficit neutral is quite a stretch. (my number could be slightly off on this one, but you get the point).

    To put 50M people into a medical system already strapped for doctors ... is quite insane. If you think it wont' lead to rationing, you are lying to yourself.

    The elderly are the ones going to suffer the most. Part of the plan to pay for this program is to cut reimbursements for Medicare ... meaning, doctors will quit taking it or doctors will limit procedures knowing they aren't going to get paid. The other part of the plan taxes people ... especially the wealthy and probably, the middle class. Why should anyone be forced to pay for everyone else's health insurance? I know some people need help and need a leg up .... but my family works very hard for what we have, and we save quite a bit so we won't have to depend on anyone else. Healthcare needs reform, but this bill is by no means the answer. The USA was founded on individual power, small gov't .... we broke away from the European mentality. And on a final note: people need to educate themselves on the issues with Universal healthcare ... the lack of choice, the wait-times, the fact that it's very big gov't. I took the time to read the bill (or attempt to) and it's almost impossible to understand, but what Obama says the bill means and what is actually says are 2 different things.

    I am very worried about this country, more than I have been in my entire life.

    August 19, 2009 at 11:58 pm |
  33. Steve in Bama

    Alice,
    (1) Senior citizens and poor don't have a RIGHT to basic health care nor should they have a RIGHT.
    (2) The private sector and the government have worked together to stymie an open and competitive marketplace. The basic problem in our healthcare system is the COSTS, and it's primary cause is the lack of a free market.
    (3) The government should be fulfilling it's duty to assure that insurance, drug companies and lawyers aren't creating unfair and illegal advantages in the market, but they haven't and WON'T.
    (4) YOUR government has already created the majority of the problems by mandating healthcare for the poor and illegals (via mandated "emergency" care), by forcing employers to pay employees' insurance, by advantaging certain businesses to pay employees' insurance, by refusing to update the laws regarding malpractice, by refusing to take big pharma to task for unfair business practices against the American people, by pushing the artificial costs of Medicare and Medicaid onto full-paying customers.

    OUR government is the culprit for ALLOWING these special interests to buy special legislation that advantages themselves.

    YES to reform. NO to the changes being considered by Congress (both the Democrat and Republican offerings don't address freeing the market, and, therefore, don't address the root problem: SPIRALLING COSTS!

    August 19, 2009 at 11:58 pm |
  34. Kevin

    How much is this bill supposed to cost America annually? How is the federal government justifying the cost of this program when other social programs face certain bankruptcy? Social security will start running a deficit within the decade and soon there after the cost will be a great burden on our annual budget leaving us with one of the following choices; raise taxes, cut benefits, or both. If we do not take action to save our current social programs, what is to say programs like this health care program won’t also be neglected?

    August 19, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  35. Kristine

    I was born with a very serious pre-exsisting condition. Insurance companies don't want me without a hefty monthly payment I can't possibly afford. So I live rather healthy without medical insurance. I hear the health-care reform is that nobody will be denied due to a pre-exisisting condition. But they say nothing about what it would cost. If the public-option happens – will it be a reasonable price for those who have serious pre-existing conditions that are ususally denied? What is the penalty fee going to be for those who don't have the mandatory medical coverage? I'm most likely going to have to be stuck paying that penalty fee.

    August 19, 2009 at 11:55 pm |
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