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May 11th, 2009
05:16 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Healing Health Care?

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Are you one of the millions of Americans fed up with health care costs? Today at the White House President Obama met with leaders from the health care industry vowing to change the system.

The "coalition" of doctors, drug makers, health insurance executives and others say they will lower costs.

"What's brought us all together today is a recognition that we can't continue down the same dangerous road we've been traveling for so many years. The costs are out of control and that reform is not a luxury that can be postponed, but a necessity that cannot wait," said Pres. Obama.

Their pledge: Save $2 trillion on health care over the next 10 years. (CLICK HERE for more details)

Some of the changes the coalition is working on, include:

· Reducing drug prices.

· Improving care after hospitalizations and reduce hospital readmission rates

· Expanding the Hospital Quality Improvement Program

· Improving Medicare and Medicaid payment accuracy

Pres. Obama says this is just the beginning and more proposals are in the works. He says he knows the pain of worrying over medical bills.

"My mother passed away from ovarian cancer a little over a decade ago. And in the last weeks of her life, when she was coming to grips with her own mortality and showing extraordinary courage just to get through each day, she was spending too much time worrying about whether her health insurance would cover her bills. So I know what it's like to see a loved one who is suffering, but also having to deal with a broken healthcare system," he said.

But is it easier to talk about reform than actually get it done? Remember, 15 years ago the Clinton Administration couldn't get health care reform approved in Congress.

And, this $2 trillion dollar commitment to cut costs is voluntary. Not enforceable. The medical organizations don't want Congress to make any laws determining medical prices. So, they're hoping that by promising to cut costs themselves, they'll stop the government from doing it.

What do you think of today's meeting? A good first step? Sound off below.

Tonight we'll also have the latest on the U.S. soldier accused of killing five of his comrades in Iraq. Is post-traumatic stress disorder connected to the killings?

Join us for these stories are more starting at 10pm ET.
See you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. marco

    we keep talking about the high cost of health care, but why is going up so much? 2000.00 dollars for a visit to the emergency room for 2 hour wait and 10 minutes consultation???? why is so expensive

    May 11, 2009 at 11:51 pm |
  2. Brogan

    This is absolutely rediculous. Government medicaid and medicare are going bankrupt, and we want to add another entitlement to the list? Have you people completely lost your minds? A single payer system??! Really?! Hey lady with cancer-go to britain and their single payer system and see if you get anything for cancer–hint: NO CANCER TREATMENTS, I REPEAT, NONE! They just brought up cancer treatments for debate about a month ago, and even then it was being debated for people under a certain age, which I'm sure you dont fit into and you want to subject us to this kind of cherry picking winners and losers based on who the government deems worthy for what? And for all those who think republicans cant come up with ideas here's just a few: 1)Border control–since noone is turned away from the ER Illegal immigrants continue to crowd hospitals and never pay their bills (that is if they ever leave) whos left to pay for this??2) The level of malpractice insurance needed now days is absurd, you wanna know why doctors have to run 20183 obsolete and expensive tests before making a diagnosis they could logically make after 5 minutes??? Because government implemented regulations require it and because its not enough that doctors chose to devote their lives to saving others, if they lose one despite valiant efforts, they have to cover their asses. 3)The 'healthy' young workers who are offered insurance but dont take it because thats extra beer money in their pockets then get in accidents or get hurt and the employer has to pick up the cost of that too, even though the worker opted out of said coverage. Now THATS selfishness and greed if I've ever heard it.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  3. Clark

    everytime the federal government tweaks the healthcare system it costs more ....

    the road we have been on for decades is ever growing government meddling in health care provision.

    I say let's get off that road .... and try some other remedy that keeps government out of healthcare.

    the Constitution does not grant the power to the federal government to do anything in healthcare .... and therefor their mucking around in health care is unConstitutional and lacks all moral support from any moral foundation.

    You and I can take care of each other far better, with better decisions made, and lower costs than if we let individuals in government make the decisions for us and tell us what we can have and what we can't have. You think having an insurance employee decide is bad ... and they want your business ... wait until you have a government employee making the decisions for you when he/she thinks of you as a number ... and will simply try to impress his/her boss by saving money so that he/she can get promoted to a GS12 – GS15 position .....

    May 11, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  4. Rob

    I think it's a great idea! We won't even need a doctor when the this administration finished telling the medical community what tests to run, meds to prescribe, when one should and shouldn't go to the hospital. I'm really encouraged. I've been on the same job for 30 years and have been happy with my health insurance that's paid for by my employer. Of course I've made less money than lots, no, most people I khow. We have military insurance which picks up what Blue Cross doesn't. I'd like to say it's free but after 20 something years in the military and 3 tours in Vietnam, I believe we paid for that.

    It's sort of like the mortgage bailout. I live within my means and pay my house payment but now my tax dollars are bailing out those who bit off more than they could chew.

    I'm so happy to know my insurance will now be taxed so someone who lives in a better house than me and drives a better car than me can have free insurance.

    I wonder if all this so called reform will pay for me to jet over to Duke like Senator Kennedy, if I decide that's the best facility for me?

    It'll all be ok though. We won't need a doctor anyway, just a democrat!

    May 11, 2009 at 11:44 pm |
  5. b

    I was reading the comment of Mary Hawes. I don't know anything about her health or financial condition. Not sure if you could provide her some information such as Cancer Care Assist, an institution that helps uninsured cancer patients. Cancer treatment centers of America, could talk to them. They could direct her and/or provide with resources maybe. Like I said, I don't her condition or her prognosis, just can't imagine that she would be turned away from all care unless she has terminal cancer and no treatment would be benificial...

    May 11, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  6. Dawn McCurdy

    I have been in the emergency room twice in one week; once for me and once for someone else. Medical care in this country is becoming a joke, as if it weren't one already. And what are the two common denominators that seem to be to blame for a broken system? Health insurance and an abundance of medical malpractice lawsuits! The insurance agencies want to pay as little as possible for anything, resulting in a horrible rush to push patients through with as little care as possible. And constantly rising malpractice insurance rates are forcing doctors to abandon all real "care" for their patients – they are too busy trying to be sure that they aren't making a decision that could get them sued. Of course, if a doctor is unscrupulous or just plain negligent, they should be held accountable for their actions. But some of these lawsuits go to ridiculous extents. And don't get me started on the insurance agencies. In fact, don't get ANY of us started on that subject. Because almost no one gets the care that they pay for with increasingly rising premiums for health insurance. How can second and third world nations get better and more reliable health care than one of the wealthiest nations on the earth? How can anyone sick get well with all the concerns of cost and coverage hanging over their heads? It is indeed a tragedy that one of the most horrendous difficulties is not simply overcoming one's condition or disease, but finding a way to get treated, and to pay for that treatment without being forced to file for bankruptcy. Nowhere does it explicitly say that health shall be one of the rights afforded to us as Americans. But you would think that this is something that we could get right. To me, health is one basic thing that the United States has no excuse for not being able to supply. Ask anyone who has suffered for years with some affliction on their health, or anyone close to them; it is a commodity most important to have. And, it is entirely within reach if we could just push the b.s. out of the way.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  7. larry

    We've got a choice folks, we can cover everyone (universal coverage), or we (the government) can cover them on our terms, which is providing access to all American citizens regardless of of financial means too pay.
    My own view is that the universal care approach is not only more humane, it makes sense from an economic point of view in that, even assuming ALL doctors saints and wouldn't dream of over charging, they will put their interest ahead of that of that of their patient(s)...IT IS HUMAN NATURE. This doesn't mean they are evil, it means they are human. We can save them from themselves by making the payment occur between a practice/hospital and an entity established for that purpose.
    Pardon the pun, but this kills two birds with one stone: It allows doctors /hospitals do what the do best, save lives and and treat the ill, and let's the bean counters and regulators cross the T's and dot the I's. JMHO

    May 11, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  8. Vitor

    I believe that Obama is on the right track to fix the Health Care System. And only those who are paying the high medical bills or have lost a loved one because they did not have insurance knows the real pain of not having a good and affordable health care. The logistics of having a good and affordable helath care are difficult but we have to start some where, doing nothing or little will not solve the problem.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  9. KM

    We are the most advanced care delivery and innovation in the world because people make money at it. Remove that motivator and we'll all have malaria and monkey pox in a few years. Or have joints replaced with carved wooden ones installed by fugitives from a foreign land. Extreme but kind of true. Look how ell the post office runs. very efficient ..... and oh so innovative

    May 11, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  10. Bruce

    Eliminate insurance companies and move to a single payer system like Canada. Alberta, Canada has just eliminated all Health Care premiums for residents making medical essentially free for citizens. The medical ripoff system here in the US doesn't want you to know about universal health care in Canada and how we are getting exploited by all medical providers.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  11. Dan

    We need reform now. Not in ten years.. How many more people will die in ten years.America's health care is a joke. We need universal health care. Why are we the only country who does not have it?

    May 11, 2009 at 11:28 pm |
  12. Al

    All excellent ideas but i think we should do more to try to convince the insurance companys to reduce there prices a bit, even if it was the most basic policy, would drastically stop people from using medicade and medicare. I know that we maybe in a recission and the stock market isnt doing to well but if the insurance companys had lower prices than more people could buy a wide assortment of policys which would stimulate the economy.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  13. Joel

    As a physician, all I can say is "be careful what you wish for." A government dominated system will lead to rationed care. At first, the rations will seem reasonable (ie, no chemo for the 90 year old with dementia); however, over time, cost constraints will lead to rationing you won't want:
    If you are 70 years old and retired (and thus no longer a "productive" citizen) and living with constant pain due to arthritis in your knees, forget an expensive joint replacement, here is a cane and some pain medications.
    75 years old with unexplained renal failure: forget dialysis, get your will in order, and don't worry, because toxic uremia is a relatively peaceful way to pass.
    Healthcare is outrageously expensive, and reform is needed; however, who can really believe that the government is the answer? Does anyone really trust the government to be responsible with 16% of the annual GDP of this country? If we end up with a single payor system, I fully expect to see layers of bureaucracy, billions diverted to fund other entitlement programs, and the complete dismantling of what was once the world's leading medical system.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  14. SHARON

    One big pool that insures everyone is the best way. For those that are healthy and think it is unfair, life can change on a dime and you may find yourself on the other side. Being young doesn't insure good health either. If you ever saw a large hospital bill, you would be enraged. They nickel and dime you for everything, at extraordinary rates. I understand it costs a lot of money to become a doctor but to be charged exhorbitant rates for an office visit where one is rarely seen on time and the visit is less than an hour is insane. Drugs shouldn't cost a week's salary for one month's supply and my insurance company should not be able to determine what treatment I need and where I should go to have it done. The only people that accept all this are the ones who have great insurance that they don't have to pay for. Having health care should not be a privilege and should not be a profit business. I consider health care in the same category as police and firemen. They should all service the general public.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:23 pm |
  15. Jrq

    Very few people know that you pay for Medicare out of your Social Security check.

    And if you can't afford the cost to the State then Medical will help.

    BUT, they will take your estate when you die.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
  16. CJ

    The goverment doesn't provide food, clothing or housing why should it provide healthcare. People should know how much procedures really cost and be involved in the economics of their own healthcare. If you notice many procedures that are not covered by insurance such as cosemetic procedures and corrective vision surgery have actually decreased in cost over time. Costs such as annual physicals are known and should not be included in insurance. Neither should expensive non-llife threatening conditions such as infertility. If we truly were purchasing castrophic illness insurance coverage and paying for it over a lifetime the cost per person would be much less than current coverage. Most of us can pay for everyday healthcare, but it is the big ticket items like cancer that can bankrupt a family. I live in MA where health insurance is required, but it must meet the states terms which means that an Insurance company must cover anyone regardless of condition. And there are 2 pages of state mandated items such as infertility that must be covered. It sounds good but none of the big Insurance companies sell individual products in the state because it is impossable to underwrite. In simple terms the insurance company cannot charge enough in premiums to cover the state mandated expenses. For insurance to work we must all share the risk and put money into the pot to share. If the only people that are putting money in are the same ones that are taking money out and they are using more than they contribute it doesn't work.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:20 pm |
  17. judy

    As long as we have these humungus corporations running health care, we'll never see change.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  18. Marc

    Slowing the rate of increase is more wordplay than reality; it is an intangible sound bite. Health Insurance (not to be confused with Health Care) has become an incredible cash cow for those insurance companies that have re-branded themselves as an HMO but are really just an insurance company and do provide any medical services whatsoever.
    Compare the cost structure of a real HMO like the not-for-profit Kaiser group to the pseudo-HMO's where only thirty-five cents of every dollar in premiums actually goes to pay health care bills. Look at the market capitalization of these "HMO" s and the dividends paid per share and you can see precisely why health insurance in America is becoming so expensive.
    Perhaps one quick solution would be to legislate a standard for the term HMO and let the actuarial insurance companies show their true colors.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  19. Heartlight3, Maui, HI

    Gee, Henry Miller, I never heard anyone mention that in places like France and Canada and the UK and Australia only the rich people pay for all the health care for the less rich. I wonder why no one ever complains about that? I think probably everyone pays a bit more, but everyone apparently gets a lot more than we do in the US. Where do we stand in the quality of care? 37th?

    The mis-information is rampant in this discussion. I have asked all my doctors what their preference would be as physicians, and all of them said they want single payer government run health insurance. Why would they say that unless they really think it would be best for them and their patients?

    May 11, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  20. J Jeter

    What we really need is a single-payer system for all.

    The big medical & insurance companies hate the idea because of the loss of profits, which is making them millions right now

    May 11, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  21. Kathy

    It is time for health care reform! Costs are ridiculous when youa re sick. I know. I was sick for a long period of time. This needs to be really discussed on AC360. I was disappointed to find that of all the issues tonight the US was focused on what our ex Vice President had to say. Certainly not a surprise ..is it?!

    May 11, 2009 at 11:10 pm |
  22. Mike - Chicago

    I don't want single payer system, it will encourage waste. I want a high deductible policy because I never get sick, have a decent income, and am only worried about the slight chance of a catastrophic illness.
    Insurance shouldn't be covering regular checkups, that should be out-of-pocket, but if people want that, let them pay a higher premium. Thus, we need multiple policies with competition. I'm practically forced to take an employer policy, although several years ago, I did opt out and get a Golden Rule high-deductible, which was cheaper for me even counting that my employer was subsidizing the company plan.
    1. Require standardized billing at hospitals. Anything not covered by insurance is out-of-pocket. Private payers should not be subsidizing insurance companies who don't pay enough to cover costs.
    2. Pass Tort Reform. Limiting lawsuits will lower malpractice insurance, which will lower healthcare costs.
    3. Allow employers to contribute to any insurance company an employee chooses. I don't change other accounts when I switch employers, why should I switch insurance? Currently, you're lucky if you get a choice of HMO vs PPO.
    4. Require doctors to bill through hospitals, so I don't get 6 bills for doctor, hospital, radiologist, anethesiologist, janitor.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  23. Merry Foxworth

    What the insurance companies said today is a complete joke. Does a leopard change its spots????? Nooooo, I think not. Of course they want to protect their profits, so they are playing nice. They are saying what they know we want them to say.

    There is no plan how this is supposed to work (has the governmentt learned NOTHING from the bank bailouts???!!!!! Nothing about the CEOs forgoing their humongous bonuses???!!! Has any of the insurance CEOs volunteered to forgo them???) and no accountability. See how much they have cut costs in six months or a year. Things will be back to the status quo, and we will have blown our opportunity to enact TRUE health care reform.

    As several above have said, and as many, many people have posted to the whitehouse.gov site (Pres. Obama, can't you read???) we need SINGLE PAYER. The clowns like Baucus and Pelosi are arrogantly, stubbornly refusing to entertain it. Time for this to change. The American people are not going to stand for it. Baucus and Pelosi can no longer use the excuse that the American people do not want it.

    You folks are in Congress to SERVE us, the people, not your lobbyist and corporate cronies. We hired you, and we can and will fire you. We want the health plan YOU have. Yes, it is paid by private health companies, but at the direction of the government, which is what you are NOT putting into place for the rest of us, the hoi polloi.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:08 pm |
  24. terri howard

    I'm so sorry Mary, it's a sad state of affairs when someone like you can't get basic health care. If you live near NYC, try Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital. They do treat people that can't pay. So what's wrong with a flat tax to take care of healthcare? What's wrong with legalizing marijuana and taxing the heck out of it to pay for health care? There go the drug dealers and the gateway to more serious drugs. Everyone talks about that "ugly" word socialism but they don't realize education is socialism as is social security and unemployment etc. In Europe if you buy an expensive car you pay the flat tax for that car. If you buy an inexpensive car you pay less tax for that car. It's not a perfect system but no one like Mary will have to write that kind of letter. Let's universalize health care, we're a very rich country. Take some money out of the rich guy's pockets if he/she wants to buy something expensive. Give the rest of that tax to health care. There are many ways to universalize health care. I agree with those that say why would the insurance companies or anyone who makes a great deal of money off of someone's misfortune voluntarily knock down their prices?. Get off your butts Congress!!!! Let's get going. It's more than time.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:07 pm |
  25. sikanappikiisseli

    If you think that universal health care is a good idea, visit scandinavia, for example. I spent most of my life there and I can tell that it is expensive and inefficient (just like everything that is government run). You have to wait long times to see a doctor (for example, heart bypass operation lines shorten only because the patients die while waiting for the operation), you cannot choose your doctor (you are stuck with what you have), the government run plan does not work and then you end up paying both private and government plans, etc. This leads to extremely high level of taxes (sales tax over 20%, income tax 30-50%, etc.) I am totally outraged to see Obama try to route US along the same path. Getting a reasonable heathcare plan is not that expensive, if one bothers to see what is available.

    May 11, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  26. Ann Lehwal

    For profit insurance companies are not going to voluntarily regulate themselves. They make money by denying care.
    I am a psychotherapist who unlike many of my colleagues still participates on many insurance panels. I am treating an increased number of patients who cut back on their care because of high deductibles or high co-pays. It is not the providers (therapists, primary care doctors, etc) who are getting rich. I have not received a raise in fees for 8 years even though my administrative costs have risen. IAt best we need a single payer system, but at the least there needs to be government option.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  27. Ketul

    I am a physician....Obama has no clue how to fix health care...he is not even addressing real problem!!
    1. Stop unnecessary litigation...this will stop physician overt testing and admissions. Physician will actually practice true art of medicine.
    2. Rationalize end of life care.....30% of medicare money fund last 1 month of care of patient (no quality and no extention of life)
    3. Plavix in India cost $4 for 1 month...in US $200 for 1 month....drug cost can be controlled if pharmacutical greed can be controlled.
    4. Agree with reducing administrative cost...too much clutter every espect of health care.
    5. Make insurance afordable...either thru govt saving, employee, or increasing competition. Increase govt spending is NOT the answer!

    May 11, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  28. Alicia

    The cost of healthcare starts with the companies who sell products, equipments & supplies for "healthcare" purposes. Their products are all too expensive to begin with. Anything from needles & syringes, blood pressure cuffs, linens & beds for hospitals, doctor's offices and clinics are overprized. Diagnostic machines such as CT scanners & MRI machines, or dental chairs and can be produced & sold at lower prizes if the companies choose to. The cost of these equipments & supplies drive the cost of healthcare. Shouldn't they be involved in lowering the cost of healthcare? Is the government asking them to cut their cost as well?

    May 11, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  29. Poorchurchmouse

    I lost my husband to cancer, we spent every dime we ever saved on cancer related health care cost. We worked hard,saved every penny for 28 yrs and lost it all on medical expences.The system has to change for the better for everyone. I never want anyone to go through what we went through. I told my kids, if I ever got cancer I would shoot myself to spare them the misery of what I dealt with in fighitng insurance companies, Dr's,hospital care. What got me the most was seeing those who'd never worked a day in their life ( they were able) get it all handed to them on a silver platter. It hurts to even write about this subject to this day. I'll be working 16 hr days the rest of my life to catch up paying our medical bills,,, what a shame.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  30. Ginny

    The only way the insurance companies are going to cut costs is if they are forced to compete with national healthcare. As it is now they are constantly cutting services and denying claims so exactly how do they propose to cut even more services. When President Obama was campaigning for office he stated that he wanted a national healthcare policy that would provide the same type of coverage that members of Congress get. Now all we hear is gee if we can just cut a few costs here and there everything will fall into place and everyone will have insurance and we will all live happily ever after. Some times it takes many tests to found out what is actually happening to a patient. What's it going to be now with the insurance companies, one test and if the problem can't be found from that one test the patient is out of luck? This is not the way to go about healthcare reform.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  31. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Obama's notion of "health care reform" seems to consist trying to convince the gullible that he can make all those nasty rich people pay for the medical care of good, honest, hard-working, deserving Americans, and make all those nasty, profiteering, doctors and drug companies work for nothing.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  32. Linda

    I need help today not over the next 10 years. I am 63 1/2. I had a hip replacement and knee replacement in 2001. My Bills were over 100,000. By 2003 my premiums jumped to 1600 per month. I had to drop the insurance. Now I am pre-existing illness and not insurable. I have osteo-arthritis. My right knee is bone on bone. My right shoulder is the same. I draw social security but I am not eligible for Medicare for another year and a half. I live in Pain with every step. I need the Medicare eligibility age lowered NOW to keep from suffering 24 hours a day.
    Linda

    May 11, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  33. Jenn

    Patients need to take more responsibility in their own healthcare experience. If you cannot do it for yourself, you need an advocate. It is always better to bring another pair of eyes and ears with you to any healthcare visit. Ask questions, be prepared. Know what medicines you are taking, and make sure that the tests you are given are not repeated by other providers. Medical errors are a leading cause of death and unnecessary costs. Consideration of litigation after a preventable adverse outcome should never be considered, as prevention of all preventable adverse outcomes must be priority. Make sure that your caregivers and visitors always was their hands, infections are a huge problem. Lastly, Patients, communicate honestly with all clinicians, never assume that they talk to eachother about you. And most important, all clinicians, please take the time to listen to your patients, this will prevent a world of pain for all involved.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  34. Mary Hawes

    I have Cancer. I cannot afford ANY care. I will die without chemotherapy, etc. I WILL DIE because I do not have insurance. I have been turned away from all care. Thanks America. Seriously. Thank you for placing me on my deathbed before my grandchild turns 4.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  35. JD

    Only comprehensive, single-payer reform will fix our broken system. Chasing payments from 1,000 for-proft insurers, whose interest is collecting premiums and paying nothing out, is a crushing burden for medical practices like my own. Private-insurances are profitable, while the employers trying to provide for their employees are declning (GM? Chrysler? Starbucks?) Today's announcement is PURELY the action of the "stakeholders" which we used to call "special interests" aiming to distract us from the one meaningful reform we need: Single Payer - already in front of the House as HR 676!

    May 11, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  36. Kohlbee

    Eliminate insurance companies and pay healthcare premiums directly to hospitals for full coverage. DUH!! Cut prescription prices to what Canada pays, and again, $$$ saved. Ridiculous that this fiasco has taken the U.S. healthcare system to below quality levels found in 36 other countries.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  37. politchick

    This plan is virtually worthless. For the wealthy doctors, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies to gather and promise they will cut costs over 10 years is pitiful. We're the only industrialized country in the world without a universal health care program. The fear-mongering about socialism is crap. A single-payer, non-profit program run by the government (as are Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Veterans health care) is the only affordable way to guarantee everyone health care. The transition could be gradual, but it needs to start happening very soon. People are dying and foregoing treatment for cancer.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  38. Lori

    I know that we already have socialized medicine right now. It is called Medicare. I pay for Medicare AND monthly premiums for BCBS health insurance. On top of that I have to pay a percentage of my treatments as well as every time I see anyone I pay $20. We need to make the whole system more efficient so I am going to keep an open mind for a while. This is a huge issue that will take some time to unfold.
    I wish that we would first concentrate on offering free health care for everyone who is under the age of 18 and really push preventative care. Then if you are over 18 then you need to start paying some kind of premium. Also, I think that that if you are in your target weight and regularly workout, etc.. than you should pay reduced rates. If you are unhealthy then you should pay more. Just like car insurance. Bad drivers pay more.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  39. curtnoel

    Single payer healthcare is what we the people want.
    And we will have it. Only real question is how long it will take to circumvent the special interests and their lobbyists. This is only the beginning. And this fight will not go away quietly with half measures. Our current medical system is immoral and no matter how much the press refuses to cover this issue it WILL change. You can bet on that.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  40. janet

    Still the most important part will be that everyone old, young, healthy wealthy ,sick ,well will be able to get insurance and that it will be affordable. Not thousands of dollars a month. There should not be clauses that make coverage a joke. Everyone needs to be treated with respect something that many who have the $$$$$ don't want to do. Thank you to those that are serious about taking care of business and who want to make America the great place to live not die. The greediness of some have taken a toll on all.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  41. V Srinivasan

    The drug companies have been ripping off the people of this country for decades now! The hospitals (PPOs and HMOs) and doctors have added to our misery in their own ways! The insurance companies have had their own selfish ends pursued for a long time! COBRA coverage that Congress enacted a few years ago has become a joke!

    It is time that medical coverage is extended to everyone, without fear or favor, whether someone leaves his or her job, has pre-existing or no pre-existing conditions! The reform in medical insurance coverage has been thrust upon this Government and Administration and is most timely!

    May 11, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  42. donald tallent

    hell no, they know they cant compete against the gvt....lets finally end this and give every "American citizen" universal health care coverage.

    My doctor charges 269.usd just to visit him, and if I dont have the money, "tough luck", they don't care about my health, just money.
    If he request a certain test, and I say I cant afford it, you know what he does, his nurse told me, "not to come back until i have this test", I was floored....

    My medication is so expensive that I have to cut it in half, just to make it go as long as I can....

    Remember American, there in it for the "money", and could care less about you and your health.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  43. Tim

    I have a choice, sell the house and get a operation or live in total pain... or move to anywhere in the world, have an operation and live like a king....

    May 11, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  44. Orlando Manta

    This is a good start, but only within the larger framework of a comprehensive reform which provides universality, affordability and
    CHOICE, the latter being consumer choice between a public plan
    and private insurance. We should harbor no illusions about the
    health care industry's real motivation: they are offering a finger hoping that they won't have to have their arm amputated.. Is Obama too smart to fall for it ? Let's hope so - I would hate to think that after
    outsmarting the Clintons in the primary, and the republicans in the
    general election, he would be so obtuse as to believe that real reform
    could possibly come via "voluntary cooperation" and without a plan that would compete with the private insurers.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  45. murry

    I think it's a good idea and a good start. But, I hope that they seriously consider a single-payer system.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  46. Jon

    I am a doctor. I do not remember giving the American Medical Association or any other entity the power to negotiate on my behalf. Doctors' practices are being ripped apart by crushing medicare payment cuts leading to the layoff of nurses and support staff. Why would I sign up to limit my reimbursement even more? If reimbursement cuts continue, I will opt out of medicare or ultimately close up shop. Thanks Barack!

    May 11, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  47. Curt

    Anyone that would vote for this money soaking program is absolutely out of there mind. Obama has already with HIS 9 Trillion dollor money hole that he put us in will raise INFLATION over 10% in two years.

    Now your saying they want to suck mor money out of the hardest working Americans?

    This is NOT the change I voted for!!!!!!! I voted to get us out of ressesion and he is making it WORSE!

    May 11, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  48. Carol King

    I've been a nurse for over 30 years, and have watched the steady deterioration of our health care delivery system. I have watched providers order myriads of unnecessary tests/x-rays/MRI's, etc, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, to confirm without a shadow of a doubt a patient's diagnosis simply to cover his or her fanny in case of a malpractice suit.

    In our overly litigious society, we have brought much of this on ourselves.

    Of course there are multiple factors, but this one is larger than most people think.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:08 pm |
  49. Louie

    I'm fed up with lots of other costs in my daily life, but I don't want the government involved in it either.

    May 11, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  50. Annie Kate

    Cuts in 10 years? We need the cuts and health coverage now....not in ten years. Also if it is voluntary I doubt all these big interest groups will pony up in the end – why should they? They are making billions off the lack of a system we have now....to them its not broken so why fix it?

    May 11, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
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