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July 21st, 2009
01:39 PM ET

Democrats messing up on health care

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/21/obama.health.care/art.obama.afp.gi.jpg caption="President Obama says there is no time to delay on health care reform."]
Gloria Borger
CNN Senior Political Analyst

It's always hard to be optimistic about the passage of any kind of health care reform.

After all, history shows that for much of the past century, most attempts to reform the system have failed. There have been some exceptions - such as Medicare in 1965. But, for the most part, the political will has been insufficient to move anything. Just ask Hillary Clinton.

Here's where you have to give President Obama credit: He promised health care reform during the campaign, and he's trying to do what he said he would do. (He's also trying to do almost everything else he promised in the campaign at the same time, but that's another story.)

He has held health care symposiums and town halls, met with recalcitrant conservatives and moderates, and kept tabs with congressional leaders on their progress. And Wednesday night, he'll take the issue to the country in a prime-time press conference.

Keep reading...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care • Raw Politics
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Valerie Emerson

    Reform must come from inside the system, the DR.s need to lower their over whelming prices, they need to be shamed into affordable health care for every one the same way wall street EX. where shamed for their huge bonuses, all the sweet talk in the world wont change a thing. Hospital prices to need to come in line, and drug company's also need to come in to line, reality check for real causes of over priced medical care! And Priv. practice needs to be called out on the carpet holding refills hostage for an office visit. Office visits are now close to and over 200 bucks. Lets get it straight, all the frills and skirting around isnt going to fix the over pricing.

    July 21, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  2. angellight

    When one is on the Battlefield for positive change, one cannot pause to worry and fret about "allegdely" sinking poll numbers.... that is a "trojan horse", For One cannot worry about the Separated Self, when they have the People's business to do!

    In regards to the current debate, Healthcare costs are one of the culprits Directly related to our collapsing economic condition. We are drowning in this quicksand which calls for urgent and immediate address and attention. This time is Urgent, the time is Now!

    It is hard to Change old habits of greed and selfish power to one of cooperation and a public good for all. Pres. Obama is going up against a Monster of Greed and Corruption that does not want to give up its power. This monster will Lie, Steal and Deceive. We the people must not allow this Monster of Corruption to continue to have its way, which will only continue to bankrupt the United States. We must stand firm with Pres. Obama who truly represents the Change the people need and have voted for.

    If we in our own lives can do more than One thing at a time, so can Congress, and it is their duty and business to do so. If those in Congress want to continue to be a Do Nothing Congress, than we must elect leaders who can do Something for the whole of humanity and not just the separated self or special interest party.

    Members of Congress have great insurance coverage, and a cushy salary. They do not live under the fear of unemployment and no insurance coverage. They are there to work on Behalf of the People, so they too, do not have to live in that fear... Yet, while in the care and leadership of the GOP, Congress has done a miserable job on taking care of the people and now the GOP want to obstruct the Democrats from putting into laws that which will benefit the people and grow the economy, not bankrupt it. But people are turning a deaf ear to the deceitful “Wizards of Oz” for they want us to continue to travel their yellow brick road of deception. We must become immune to their lies and vigilant to their deception if we are to make progress towards sanity again.

    I call on those of goodwill to work, speak-up and Stand firm for Change and for transformation - towards a more just and equitable government for all.

    July 21, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  3. Randy Leigh

    I really would like to know what congress can do for Americans on health insurance. Some in Congress seem to be telling us what we can’t afford to have a national health care system. I thought that was why we the people sent them to the Congress, was to provide solutions to we the people problems on something like health care. But they seem to make more arguments to what they will not do for we the people and what we need to do for us the business.
    Please write to your Congress person and tell them that on the next election that you will remember what solutions they provided for a national health care bill not what they could do.
    Help provide solutions to Americas problems, not what waterloo they can make happen.
    Remember business needs reform on health care cost also, they can not keep providing 30% increases forever. It also hurts the americans business in that other countries have national health care and compete in business for less cost.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  4. Givonnag

    The problem is that our elected officials are still trying to play the same games of sticking things into bills that should not be there. They are hurting the president. I think it is possible to provide care, and keep the costs down. I think now they should slow down, let the economy get on its feet and then go back to it.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  5. Avis Stringer

    I agree with the gentleman that stated 'our representatives should have the same coverage as unemployed Americans'.(Paraphrased). If they and their families had to pay for coverage & God forbid any of them have 'pre-existing' illnesses, they will get a sense of what we have to deal with! Maybe if they had to walk in somebody else's shoes they will be able to understand how it is in the real world!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  6. RLWellman

    You actually think the Government is smart enough to run Nationalized Health Care? I not saying we don't need something, however it's definately not anything else that is run by them. They need to get their hands out of health care, this would make it cheaper for all of us.

    If they want to help, they could help cut the cost of drugs. The Canadians may come to the USA to have procedures done, but lots of Americans buy their prescriptions from Canada.

    They could limit the amount of money you can sue a doctor for, this too would help lower the cost to us who pay the bills. They could also help with the cost of insurance.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  7. penny fron S.C

    "Cantor, AND the GOP are such classless acts, that is why the HEALTH REFORM BILL is now a class issue because the wealthy say they need a health reform bill. It also says that the GOP have no class. They have gone crazy over money. I have to ask what did they do before they got a little money because you can tell they are not wealthy because they do not understand that compassion will TRUMP their conservative ideology."

    July 21, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  8. Janet Wolfbauer

    Insurance companies are the alltimet ant eaters. They pray on everyone and actually make people think they are a good thing. It appears that some people still believe that they have good health care insurers, when in fact they are being taking to the bank. Big business and big corporations are the governments of tomorrow!

    July 21, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  9. Anais

    I am disappointed by CNN's coverage on health care. It's vague, and opens with sympathies for the administration. That is irrelevant! I want my news to be full of facts, to dig deeper. This yellow belly pandering is embarassing for CNN. I'm no Obama basher, but I don't think I need to give our President credit for doing his job. If so, I would like an applause everytime I send a work-related e-mail, and perhaps even a cookie with macadamia nuts.

    If the healthcare reform is susccessful, or perhaps places the nation in a better position for healthcare in the administrations to come, then we can give Obama all the applause and macadamia nuts we have to offer! In the mean time, stick to the facts, dig deeper, and please, hold your applause until the very end.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  10. penny fron S.C

    "Health Reform has become a class issue. The rich are are saying "NO". The wealthy are saying it is a good thing. That is saying the rich are classless"

    July 21, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  11. dave

    70 percent of all illnesses are caused by lifestyle (smoking, overweight, lack of exercise.) How many times does one drive past a fast food drive up and notice several cars sitting in line. Secondly, I know of someone who is not eating right and does not exercise and has been diagnosed with diabetes. I spoke to a nurse and she said sometimes there is not anything they can do to change patients’ behavior. At least 10 percent of all patients with diabetes over 65 years old will experience a stroke.
    It does not matter if all health insurances are kept the way it is like the Republicans want it. Or if there is a public insurance option like President Obama want it. Either choice will not lower the health care costs if patients do not take care of themselves.
    I believe the one way to help pay the costs of health care reform should include a tax for those diseases that are truly the patients’ fault (the 70 percent.) Perhaps as part of the so call tax for the rich, there should be a tax credit for those business owners who can show they attempted to promote wellness at their place of business (such as added showers and some fitness equipment to a conference room.)
    People and business owners, should not be penalized for the fault of some patients’ poor lifestyle. There should not be a tax for people who have followed doctor’s orders. These are some thoughts concerning health care reform.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  12. c,ca

    If there were some reasonably priced alternative health insurance available, many older people would consider retirement . That would open a lot of jobs for younger people. It could also save companies money, since they could pay a new person a lower salary. A person who has been in a job for 25 years has accumulated a lot of annual increases, and is probably making a lot more than the entry-level salary range.

    I know a lot of people who are in their late fifties and early sixties who could afford to retire but they have to stay working just to keep the employee health benefits. They can't retire early because they have to wait until they are eligible for medi-care. Cobra, or any kind of private insurance, is ridiculously expensive.

    I'm not in favor of pushing people out of jobs, but the option to retire early and still get medical insurance would be nice.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  13. Ida

    health care period. nothing done in haste can be a good thing. need to do the numbers and create database that can handle first. diagram then implement..

    July 21, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  14. tnecvolfan2001

    "He’s also trying to do almost everything else he promised in the campaign"

    i wonder how much praise ms. borger gave president BUSH for trying to do everything HE promised during his campaign, i.e. social security reform, lowering taxes, triggering economic prosperity, etc. etc.?

    July 21, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  15. Jeff

    Has anyone noticed the shift in the way the president is now referring to "Health Care Reform." If you check his recent comments you will find he has made a subtle to "Health Insurance Reform." Is this a shift in the administration's strategy (to capitalize on the public's current distain for insurance companies) or just a Freudian slip? I think he and his team are too smart for me to believe it was a slip.

    No one is debating whether or not we need to reform the health care system, but this shift appears to expose his real goal – Blame it all on the insurance industry. Why? Because without private insurance to pay the bills there is only one other possible payer – The federal government. It's the insurance companies that are standing in his way. Every thing else is small potatoes.

    In his heart of hearts, the president wants a single payor plan, but doesn't have the guts to go for it. He should just be honest with the American people and say what he wants and let the chips fall where they may. Chairman Senator Chris Dodd said several times in the Senate mark-up sessions that "the president said he is willing to use ALL of his political capital to get health care reform passed." Well go for it Mr. President. Then maybe we'll see how many Americans are really behind you Mr. President and how many want what you claim they want. All together now, "YES WE CAN." Maybe we'lll see how many of the 100 million Americans currently covered and happy are ready to throw caution to the wind. All while deep in recession. Everybody now, "YES WE CAN."

    Nothing new here, just politics as usual except at an enormous price this time.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  16. JC- Los Angeles

    The biggest problem President Obama has, regardless of issue or initiative, is his continued inability to frame what he's doing, articulate why he's doing it and then explain what it means to the general public.

    When pressed on universal healthcare, he discusses hospice; how about discussing the benefits of good healthcare so citizens can enjoy a healthy, productive and long life?

    It's becoming increasing clear that Barack Obama is great at selling himself and lousy at selling everything else.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  17. Jeff

    Republican using the health care plan as a way to try to stop Obama is Wrong and un-American.
    We are still a nation that needs to be united. We are still fighting wars that Bush got us into. This is a bad time to act divided. If democrats did anything like this the past 8 years, it would have been considered un-American.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  18. Jeff

    We need heath care reform. Everybody knows it.
    Obama's proposal for allowing people on main street to buy into the federal program that our elected officials use is a great start.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  19. Julius Simon

    Instead of giving me the same healthcare coverage as congress has as President Obama suggests why don't they just give congress the same coverage as I have, maybe then there would be some REAL change.

    Julius Simon Trenton, NJ

    July 21, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  20. stephen flood

    Further to my last comment, my 2 1/2 year old had a heart murmer, United Health Care would not cover him......

    Money money money....................

    July 21, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  21. stephen flood

    My mom passed away last year after a 2 year battle against cancer. She recieved the very best in health care including being picked up and dropped off at her home by the health service providers. She was given every opportunity to survive this sad disease but as I say she passed away.
    The health caare she recieved was of course NOT in the USA. She was born...and died in the UK. The NHS did everything for her that they could, the cost I would estimate would ahve been over a million dollars here. There were no bills coming through the door. She was not left to die because she could not afford coverage.

    I was laid off in May, COBRA wanted $950 approximatly to cover my 3 sons and I. I tried to get coverage through United Health Care.......

    They WOULD NOT cover my 2 1/2 year old son becasue of his condition at birth.

    Under the OBAMA stimulas plan my COBRA was reduced by 65%, I now pay $291 a month to cover my 3 sons and myself.

    Private health care in this Country is nothing short of a profit making machine that employs people just to stop coverage wherever possible.

    If people want private coverage...enjoy and pay.

    For 90% of the Country we need the Government to help us. I was born in th eUK, lived their for 33 years, two of my 4 sons where born in the UK, I did not recieve a bill for thier births, and they recieved every care during their birth.

    Private health care is there for those who want it.

    But they have no motivation to cover "the sick".
    I can only hope that OBAMA wins through..............regardless of cost.
    Base the "National Insurance Contribution" on income.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  22. Mel

    The USA government and the insured and uninsured consumer in need of medicine could save billions of dollars per year on the cost of prescription medications by permitting the “parallel” importation of name brand medicines produced in the USA by the largest pharmaceutical companies. These companies are selling these USA-produced medications in foreign countries for 10% – 25% of the sales price in the USA. I fully understand the argument of the pharmaceutical companies that they need these large profits to do further research. I also understand the impact on Congress of the vast amount of lobbying dollars involved. For example, our company has recently purchased an inventory of the one of the largest selling diabetes medicines produced in the USA for a cost of $13.00 per 30 tablets which we offer for sale at $22.00. These exact same tablets can be bought in major USA pharmacies for $132.00. If our company would be allowed to re-import these medicines to the USA, the consumer-taxpayer would save $1,320.00 on a one year supply of this one medicine.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  23. Melissa

    When I first saw the title of your report, I was prepared to slam it. It seems that all CNN reporters have done recently is criticize President Obama while releasing biased material thats actually in support of the Republicans or just plain doesn't address the other side of the issue.

    Then I read your report. I have to say that I agree.

    From what I see, President Obama is trying very hard to fulfill the promises he made during his campaign. The problem is that Congress is cutting him off at the knees with insane ideas.

    It frankly pains me to say that because I'm very much a Liberal and always have been.

    Its like the Democrats in Congress are being children stamping their feet and pointing fingers going "nah nah nah nah" at the Republicans. Granted, the Republicans are actually behaving worse than the Democrats at the moment as they continually release videos like the one parodying Lady Gaga, and get caught spending tax payers money to go to a foreign country and have an adulterous affair.

    Keep in mind one thing, the Democrats may be very bad with money, but its the Republicans who are morally reprehensible, bad with money, and make the whole world hate the US. Even when they are both acting childish.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  24. Mark from Saint Louis

    Do you know why most health care reform fails? Because those in government keep screwing it up. It isn't true reform, they lie about what the benefits will be, they lie about the costs, no wonder the American people are suspicious of government run anything.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  25. Hman

    I saw a discussion between Michael Moore and Dr. Sanjay Gupta where Dr. Gupta said that Canadian health care is not free: it is funded by tax revenue which is true. It is also funded in Ontario by a yearly fee, collected at tax time, the maximum being $900 for those making more than $200,600 a year.

    However for those making less than $20,00.01 there is no fee. And for those who are unemployed or unemployable there are no fees whatsoever. Add to that no possibilty of a cancelled policy, and none of that "pre-existing condition" nonsense we are pretty well covered in Canada.

    * all numbers for tax year 2008

    July 21, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  26. lysa ochoa

    It's very sad that we call ourselves the "United" States of America when in reality, children know how to get along better than we as adults. It's time to STOP dividing our nation and start Uniting. Focusing on solutions rather than pointing fingers, it's childish!

    July 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  27. Enough

    What don't they mess up?? Obama promised us a lot of things that he can't deliver. He promised us all we could sign up on his plan, I want that one, not the socialized medicine plan. Is Obama and company going to join the plan being crammed down our throats? I think not, and we are paying for their health care.

    July 21, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  28. Waiting for 2010

    Geez, Not another press conference. Every time he doesn't get his way he goes and has a press conference. He is so arrogant that he thinks his smooth words still work. We want reform, but not socialized medicine. Democrats don't get it, they pander to those who want everything for free. It would succeed if there was an ounce of commons sense to it. Affordable and available health care for every american who wants it to purchase. This providing it free for some while others pay for themselves and others is wrong.

    July 21, 2009 at 1:46 pm |