March 10th, 2009
01:16 PM ET

Jumping in head first to health care policy

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more on health care from Dr. Sanjay Gupta on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Chief Medical Correspondent

All this week, we are going to jump into something that is hardly ever covered on television. There is no question that health policy, full of its obscure terms and wonkish numbers, may have a better home in newspapers or long-form magazine pieces. But over the last few months, I have been thinking about this non-stop.

Health policy has been debated over and over again since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, and most recently in the mid ’90s, under the leadership of then first lady, Hillary Clinton.

As you may know, I worked as a White House fellow during President Clinton’s second term and I most recently was considered for the post of surgeon general. While I chose to continue my neurosurgical practice at the local county hospital and help my wife prepare for the birth of our third child, I did have a unique chance to independently evaluate some of the Obama health care plan components.


Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta • Health Care • Medical News
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    We all need to be able to get the same health insurance our Congress people get. If we are stuck footing the bill for them I don't see why we can't get it ourselves at an affordable cost – after all most health plans set their premium prices by how many are in the group – if the whole country is in the same group then the cost ought to be pretty low.

    March 10, 2009 at 8:58 pm |
  2. Lloyd Myers

    This is more of a quistion than a comment.. Do you think students should be allowed to carry concealed guns on campus.. I just heard Lou Dobbs say that this is a sencond amendment right.. I wonder if it is even suggested that 6 graders should have that right too? Class rooms could be a battle field. Or better yet. If you dont like the grade you got blast away..I am real old and maybe I am missing something.

    March 10, 2009 at 8:50 pm |
  3. Lloyd Myers

    In reply to a poster. Health Care would be to expensive. I just woder what he or she thinks a life is worth. I bet the person that posted this has health insurance ? I just wonder how war is not to costly and yet saveing lives is not? I have insurance and willing to pay for others to have the same benifit.. In fact I think God would want this.

    March 10, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  4. jamilla grant

    We need President Obama to correct the over charging Doctors for patient care at the office visit which costs anywhere from $60.00-210.00,depending on the medical problems. It's extremely discouraging and causes a person to cancel their appointments and not get their RX's filled. All these things he needs to address and let the medical institutions know it's unacceptable for the poor even those on Medicare can't afford these prices. Next, we should be in control of who we want to be out Doctor's not the Government. What is this medical plan all about? Will it cover these issues?

    March 10, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  5. Tomasz

    Salam and greetings Dr.Gupta;

    You have to get profit seeking out of Medicine.

    Too many things are businesses or made to be businesses.
    "I have it. You want it? It's going to cost you everything you've got."

    If you get sick, you become 'ripe' for the money makers to extract all they can get from you. They don't care whether they put you in the poor house or on the street. Money is what rules them.

    People in the Government are incapable of making decisions on Healthcare, they are there just to be accountants.
    You need people with knowledge, who know about medicine and whether it's needed or not. People who know whether the latest CT scanner really is needed or is bought just to play with the balance sheet.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  6. Charlene Melchior

    Here's a thought regarding a "broken Healthcare system" in this country. And perhaps a challenge.........survey physicians across America and discover how many refuse to treat Medicare patients!

    The Medicare reimbursement for services provided is much lower than private insurances. Hence, you can be hard pressed to find a primary care physician in many cities/towns who will accept a Medicare patient. This is a real problem in Prescott, Arizona where many Medicare participants drive two hours to Phoenix to receive care.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  7. Barbara in Boston

    I concur with Stacy. Kudos to AC360 and Dr. Gupta for making this a week-long effort. Something as complex and vital as our healthcare crisis deserves this kind of emphasis.

    I will just put in a request: Please address mental health issues as well.

    March 10, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  8. Patrick

    As the administrator of two mental health clinics, I am painfully aware of the limitations of our health care system. This morning, i had the opportunity to sit with a psychiatrist and two administrators of a behavioral health payor network. I was so encouraged that they are actually as frustrated as we end providers are. Together, we are working collegially and collaboratively to ensure care for our mutual clients. I have been just as guilty of complaining about the problem and doing absolutely nothing to change it. I think the time is now and am so glad CNN and Anderson Cooper is covering this issue in such depth. Thanks!

    Las Vegas, Nevada

    March 10, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  9. JR Miami, FL

    @ jim – free prevention programs would be great and could be done so easily in community health clinics. Pres Obama has given funding for more of these.

    You are so right about prevention and early detection. Time and again this proves true. I have seen it in my practice. Health maintenance, wellness, prevention, and early detection/ treatment (with regular followup) are the keys to saving lives and money.

    @kishen – PA and NP assistance in rural and all areas is ideal – physician extenders must be a larger part of primary care. Many are just as knowledgeable if not more than physicians.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  10. b.

    Hmmm... put more physician assistants and nurse practitioners to rural practice... wonder what would happen to a person that have never lived in rural area!!! I need to watch that movie, I can't think of its name, I don't think I know the name of the movie...

    March 10, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  11. Stacy

    Hi Sanjay,

    I'm really glad you guys are taking this on. It's an extremely important topic that deserves a thorough public debate. The story last night was well done and I look forward to the rest of the series.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  12. Dr. Abbas

    I think the best option would be to develop a parallel system such as government employed physicians for uninsured patients along with privately owned hospitals and indepandent practitioners for insured patients.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  13. Rachel, FL

    I feel like as a country we are late in giving health care to all our citizens. I think all citizens have a right to a healthy life. We are behind Britain and Canada in this, and all other industrial countries throughout the world. Hopefully, under our President, we will have a National Health Care system in place. That is what this country needs to help people struck by the downturn of the economy.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  14. Ben from Utah

    Hey Anderson,

    I am not happy with, what I hearing from Obama and his policy on the Education system. I don't agree with longer school years. I am educator here in Utah. I am reconsidering my vote for Obama the next term. Its bad enough that a lot of private schools are trying to take public tax money, yet they don't have standardized test, to become a teacher...they are not held to certain degrees of merit in regards to education. They don't provide clear cut methods.

    In utah, The local govertnemet are redirecting our stimulus money elswhere...they don't want to give what is warranted to us (educators). Yet they have $415 million of rain day funds.

    Teachers in my state including myself will not vote for Obama...the next term...lies and more lies.

    March 10, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  15. Melissa

    Health should NOT be a legal business. Being healthy is a human right, not a money making scheme. Profitting from health care the way these insurance companies are doing should be illegal.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm |

    Universal health care would be too expensive and complicated. If our socialist president Barack Hussein Obama wants health care reform, he should start first with a free preventative health care program. As you know, early diagnosis will prevent many serious illnesses and save money in the long run. I am not certain but I think Oregon has a program like that in place.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  17. kishen c.rao

    these insurance companies are legal robbers...just watch and cut these CEO's salaries....Put more Physician Assistants and NPs into rural practice to cost cutting...I think it will solve and reduce the healthcare costs...and importing foreign doctors without immigrations...We need to wake up. If healthcare is not fixed now, it will never be fixed....it is the right time...to fix....

    March 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  18. JR Miami, FL

    What are some of the health care plan components? After the health summit last week, I thought we would have heard more about health reform plans by now,

    March 10, 2009 at 1:55 pm |