July 22nd, 2009
09:58 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Fixing Health Care?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/21/health.reform/art.obama1.gi.jpg caption= "President Obama is urging Congress to move quickly to pass comprehensive health care reform."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Did you see Pres. Obama's news conference tonight? The big focus was on his health care push. There's a lot of concern from Republicans and some Democrats over the price tag. Pres. Obama stressed again tonight that the plan will "not add to our deficit."

Mr. Obama also addressed why he's hoping to get a bill passed on Capitol Hill sooner rather than later.  "This debate is about the letters I read when I sit in the Oval Office every day, and the stories I hear at town hall meetings," he said. "This is about every family, every business, and every taxpayer who continues to shoulder the burden of a problem that Washington has failed to solve for decades."

Here's Pres. Obama's pledge to you: "We will pass reform that lowers cost, promotes choice, and provides coverage that every American can count on. And we will do it this year." And, he says it's important to get it right. The President says he won't sign a bill that adds to the deficit or a bill that won't save you money.

We'll have the highlights from the news conference and we're keeping them honest. Do the numbers add up? Will this plan not add to the deficit? And can everyone truly get health coverage? Tom Foreman separates the hype from the facts.

If you got a chance to watch the news conference tonight what do you think of the presidential pitch? Are you now sold on the plan or do you still have questions. We'll be playing extended portions of his message tonight to help you decide.

Our coverage starts at 11pm ET following CNN's special report "Black in America 2: America's Leaders." And we'll continue part of that conversation tonight with new details on the arrest of Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates. He spoke out for the first time only on CNN tonight. Hear what he has to say about the actions of a Cambridge police officer. Will Gates be taking legal action claiming racial profiling? We'll have that angle for you tonight. Gates was charged with disorderly conduct after breaking into his own home, but the charges have been dropped. And, the city has called the case "regrettable." Is that enough or should the city and police department say more?

Also tonight, some lighter fare for you. If you think politics can get ugly here in the U.S. wait until you see the big fight in the South Korean parliament. The WWE may have met its match. The video is priceless. It shows lawmakers on the attack, going for choke holds and throwing punches. Even women got into the melee. It's tonight's shot.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at a later time - 11pm ET. We hope you'll stay up and join us.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. M Smithfield

    Get the facts straight CNN and how about reporting them WITHOUT BIAS ! Gates was arrested for disorderly conduct, the officer was a Sargeant and did exactly what he should have, he was being verbally abused by Gates and there had been a dozen robberies in that neighborhood recently, by a group of African American men. So, who acted "stupidly?"

    July 23, 2009 at 7:47 am |
  2. SavetheDollar

    Obama's doing a fantastic job????! Who are you people? Do you even live in the U.S? This economy is based on a borrowed dollar, "with interest"...! 10 yrs from Now you'll be lucky to see half your paycheck after Obama gets ahold of it... But don't worry, he'll give you another reassuring lie that will make you feel better for another couple weeks...

    July 23, 2009 at 7:09 am |
  3. Steve

    Your statement....
    Lets remember President Obama has been in office for just about six months and inherited this huge deficit.
    Yes, Bush did a pretty good job of running that up in his eight years. Get your calculator out and do the math on how much Obama has added to that deficit in six short months. Keep in mind his own budget that went through will double in five and triple in ten. And don't say he had to spend all this money because of what Bush created, that's bs.
    Let's take some more time, make sure we get it right. The republicans have some good options as well. As always the best solution is probably somewhere in the middle, but the democrats will not listen and then say they are sitting on the sidelines. Come on.

    July 23, 2009 at 7:03 am |
  4. Gerry

    SO I spelled OBAMA'S name wrong .. I"m 83 What can you expect !!! No matter how you spell it H e's still not good for our country...

    July 23, 2009 at 6:34 am |
  5. Gerry

    Michael Jackson is still dead ... I'm sorry he was a good entertainer and I enjoyed him very much....However, During all the time you were reporting on him, much was going on in Washington that was not being reported... There is still much going on that is being over looked by CNN

    July 23, 2009 at 6:24 am |
  6. Jerry

    What is so intimidating about improving health care for our citizens?
    My mother died of cancer March 10, 2009. Prior to her death, in 2001 cancer was discovered, a portion of her lower colon was removed. Until recently, we were all under the impression she was in remission. When the cancer reappeared Mom was rushed to Mercy Hospital in Chicago complaining of excruciating pain.
    Chemotherapy was started, she was released as soon as she showed some semblance of improvement because she was on Medicaid. This happen again and again until finally, because she could not be monitored at home by professionals, she soon passed. Had she spent a more extensive period hospitalized, she would have endured more than six (6) weeks. WHY?

    July 23, 2009 at 5:58 am |
  7. Joyce Mitchell

    I agree with the President and I understood all the things he talked about. 61 years is a long time for this reform. I understand how hard it is for our legislature to go against those that put money in their coffers, when you love that money coming in heavily from the insurance companies it would be hard to vote against them for the middle class.

    Insurance premiums cost for 2 is $!010 a month this year.
    Told it will increase this next year 30%
    wages reduced by furloughs 20%
    Ins.said it was an old injury , won't cover treatment.
    Gee, it hurts to walk.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:54 am |
  8. Jerry

    What is so intimidating about improving health care for our citizens?
    My mother died of cancer March 10, 2009. Prior to her death, in 2001 cancer was discovered, a portion of her lower colon was removed. Until recently, we were all under the impression she was still in remission. When the cancer reappeared Mom was rushed to Mercy Hospital in Chicago complaining of excruciating pain.
    Chemotherapy was started, she was released as soon as she showed some semblance improvement she was sent home because she was on Medicaid. This happen again until finally because her vitals could not be monitored at home as professionally as at the hospital, she eventually died. Had she spent a more extensive period hospitalized she would have endured more than six (6) weeks.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:39 am |
  9. Linda

    The President is still making press! He is so determined to be RIGHT that he can not see he is just going to make the debt in this country more and more horrible.

    He needs to stop talking and stop trying to have his face in the camera and look at that staff he is using to do all these changes. I suspect he never wil do the right thing for the American people on health care or anything else he has promised.

    Shame on you Mr President for trying to confuse people with all your dancing words!

    July 23, 2009 at 5:19 am |
  10. chuck hoyle

    Obama showed courage and insight in his press conference. I'm not sure what the right wing is wanting by carping at any program that might change health care for millions of Americans for the better. I think the senator from South Carolina and Bill Crystal summed up the right wing side by coming right out and saying outright that they want to kill any health care bill.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:19 am |
  11. R. Livingston

    I agree with President Obama Health Care Plan.
    If we can bail out all the rich car and banks companies, we should be able to give the americans a health care plan. I feel that some Americans treat
    this great man unfair. I have never heard of so much
    negative comments. Preseident Obama is doing a great job.

    July 23, 2009 at 3:27 am |
  12. B.T.

    I grew up on government health care...as a military dependent. I remember few if any actual doctor appointments, as my mother could never obtain an actual doctor's appointment. They were always fully booked, all the time. My father retired after 25 years in the Air Force, with the promise of care for his family and himself in return for risking life and limb in Vietnam and anywhere else they chose to send him. That promise was unfufilled, as the base hosptials then informed our family that they gave preference to active duty personnel. That meant that every illness or injury was treated at the military base emergency room, and only after waiting for hours on end to be seen. Imagine that on a national scale today, that's exactly what it would be like. If you think people use emergency rooms as their primary care providers today, just wait until Obama's plan goes through. The emergency rooms will be full of people who can no longer obtain doctor's appointments, just as they were all those years ago on base. Now how does that save money, eliminate waste and improve care again?

    July 23, 2009 at 3:25 am |
  13. Ken Z

    Reading these comments, it's easy to see that as Americans, we can't seem to identify empty rhetoric ("socialism" "government coming between you and your doctor" "huge cost") and separate it from ideas that are grounded in fact and science. We have been duped by "conservative" politicians with this phony reasoning, empty rhetoric, and just plain lying. We should grow impatient with these wreckers, these tearers-down, these obstructionists, and yank them off the stage. They are bad actors and have brought our country to the brink of economic disaster, and have made us the laughingstock of world politics. Why can't we see what is wrong with attacking the man instead of his argument? Ad hominem attacks are illogical, invalid, and, most of the time, unpatriotic. And, lying is just plain lying. Get off the stage, bad actors.

    July 23, 2009 at 3:20 am |
  14. Miss taylor

    I think the press has been unfair to the President since he took office. All they do is criticize him. The bigger message that they are sending is that a Black man as President is not as good as a white man. Bush and the Republicans ran this country in the ground and the media and many racist people blame Obama. For all who want the healthcare plan to fail when what you mean is you want Obama to fail, you may get what you want and we all will fail. What you hatre shows is that this country is still the most racist country in the world.

    July 23, 2009 at 3:07 am |
  15. sylviam

    I agree with Mr Obama I have a sick person in my family and I feel the heath care system failing her because she has no heath ins. I think the peolpe or org. who are againt his plan work for the insursance company as lobbyist.

    July 23, 2009 at 2:56 am |
  16. BGH

    Does anyone think Congress should stay in in Washingtion working on this important Bill?

    July 22, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  17. Keith

    Cindy...my first question to you would be were was your concern for OUR budget when George W. Bush was in charge. Lets remember President Obama has been in office for just about six months and inherited this huge deficit.

    You stated:
    "On rationing health care he said we don’t need some treatments that we can do away with a lot of them well..HELLO..different treatments work for different people so how will they do that? Which people aren’t fit to be treated? That’s what it amounts to"

    How is this any different than a hospital deciding what level of coverage an individual receives based on an insurance policy.

    Luke DeMyers from Wesson, MS. THANK YOU !!!

    Couldnt have said it better

    July 22, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  18. Thad Kelly

    The target for reform is doing away with medicare and medicade as we know it. Since older people vote that can't be said but there is no doubt that the two of these are the targets. What is is answer to end of life health care?

    July 22, 2009 at 11:36 pm |
  19. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Bravo Morebrite! Well said! Me, I'm waiting around for the WWE fight! Should be interesting!

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    July 22, 2009 at 11:35 pm |
  20. Nijole

    I fully support the President's plan, I think he is a very honorable man trying hard to keep to his promises. He has everything he needs and could simply enjoy being the President, but he cares about American people, their basic needs and the future of the country. A big "YES" to this very intelligent PRESIDENT!

    July 22, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  21. jpd

    the day you have to walk your child out of the doctors office when they REALLY NEED to see the doctor because you cant afford the visit, when three years after an injury you are still crippled by the bill that is the day you can say health care reform can wait my story is the same for millions one fall one sickness and the house of cards all comes down.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  22. Claudia Hye

    I don't think that President Obama is getting a fair analysis of his health care proposal. For one thing, he's only been in office for 6 months and he's being criticized by almost every proposal that he has made. Given the chance, I think that the President is true to his word and if he had the support that he needs from congress just perhaps these changes can be made to strengthen healthcare reform. Maybe if someone offers a better proposal for this issue there would be something else to look into. Besides, what he is proposing is working fine in Canada. I HOPE THIS PROPOSAL GOES THROUGH ... We need a better plan.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:31 pm |
  23. elliot

    Why are so many people afraid of the tax payer cost for this government health care plan? People Listen close. Obama never said it would be free health care, just the opposite. People are not taking into account this health care program is not free, and making a big deal out of nothing. We the people and our employers will have to pay for it just like we do now for Blue Cross, United and all other's. With Obama's plan we won't have to pay as much out of our pockets every month, and it will force the other companies to lower what they are charging now.
    Obama has said right along his health care program would be much cheaper then public companies. So that a lone mean it would be free.
    I have followed his plan daily from the start, and think he is right on, and it's about time. I just wish the politicians would keep there personal political gains out of what is best for WE THE PEOPLE.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  24. Marcelle

    The comment from Peter Bergen that health care reform is essential in order to control costs and keep it possible for employers to continue offering coverage is well made. Case in point, if one looks at the main reason the American automotive industry failed it was its' ever increasing health care funding burden for its' employees and particularly its' retirees. Only two years ago Detroit made it clear that health care funding was by far the "Big Three's" greatest expenditure and would eventually take them to the brink of bankruptcy.

    The writing was on the wall and it has been a very expensive lesson in what will happen to all American companies and their employees if the cost of health care is not harnessed and tamed.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:28 pm |
  25. Robert J. Kreutzmann, M.D.

    – Money could be saved by getting highly paid people who give no value added to the healthcare mission out of the industry such as insurance executives and middle layer functionaries and others who rely on unfunded rules.

    – Defensive medicine is expensive that is driven by "rule school trained thieves" who encourage inappropriate litigation.

    – The billing system is not only silly, but highly unfair to those who cannot afford insurance.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  26. muka sodeke

    Doing nothing on health care is not an option now. I am in support of health care reform now because we need to stop the act of business as actual of all insurance industries.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  27. Jacob B

    I am glad Americans are finally getting close to getting health care for everyone. I am from Canada, we have both systems and it works fine. It does have its disadvantages but it works. Everything has pros and cons! Also 100% coverage should not be a priority, here in Canada we do not cover illegals or non-residents.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:23 pm |
  28. Darla Carter

    We as a Country need to rid our fears, when you panic it only creates havoc! President Obama was trying to get Americans to look at what we have come from, and in just a few months time, to be patient nothing happens over night! It took us years to creat ths probem, and will take time to get out of. We need to stop runnung around like chickens with our heads cut off, if all of the people pointing fingers and passing the buck knew a better way, why didn't they do soething long ago?

    July 22, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  29. Angela Fort Wayne, In.

    I think the President did an awesome job of explaning and breaking down the particulars of the health care reform. He used real examples of how this will effect individual Americans. He also made it quite clear as to how it will help us personally and financially. We stand to gain alot by accepting his health care reform bill. Sure, there may still be some issues that need to be criteeked but that is what he is hoping he will get from the Republicans and the Democrats. This is not politics for the President. He wants to reform health care for the benefits of all Americans without putting the financial burden on the middle class Americans. This isn't about him this is about us. I will do everything I can to help the President pass this bill.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  30. Jewel Baumgartner Indiana

    I watched tonight President Obama. I thought he did a fantastic job, he is a great man and one of the best Presidents ever. My heart goes out to him he has to make a lot of hard choices. The health care issue would be great. President Obama tells the truth we need a change in health care. The prices of health care keeps rising. I would like to pat him on the back or give him a hug. He is a good man he cares about us. I would vote for him again. I was listening and he had my devoted attention. God bless him and hope this passes soon. Please give him credit for caring and wanting to change this bad health care system. President Obama you make proud to to be an American. Let's quit blaming him for everything and help him change this. Thank you

    July 22, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
  31. Stan

    Our Health Reform Plan: If people have been really looking at our past Medical System, it's clear to see it doesn't work very good for all of the Americans. If the President and his Cabinet can help us lower our Health cost, I'am all for it. With Insurance Company raising the cost when ever they feel the need, it's time, actually past time for Health reform. I hope the people do not make this a issue about President Obama, it's about our Health choices and services.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
  32. Chip

    Obama keeps spending more and more money I want to be supportive of him but I am beginning to believe he is trying to bankrupt our wonderful country. I for one have seen enough of his change.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
  33. Larry Kirkman

    I live on social security and in the medicare donut hole paying retail for

    July 22, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
  34. BGH

    Healthcare for all American's begins when the Congress and Senate can pass a bill for the President to sign. Mr. Obama can not do anything with the Congress. It is up to American's to push our elected officials to create a Healthcare plan as good as congress for all Americans.

    Our representatives need to say in sesson until they can create a Healthcare Reform plan for the all Americans.

    Is anyone willing to contact our elected Representatives to voice that they need to cancel their vacacation and stay in Washington to work.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:20 pm |
  35. Dominick, Dover, DE

    Why does it have to be so hard? I spent 22 years in the Army, and I still have to pay.. That's not what I was told 22 years ago. So can I trust this plan?

    July 22, 2009 at 11:18 pm |
  36. morebrite

    Am I more bright than most? I understood the President. We need reform of health insurance and healthcare delivery. Don't underestimate the effect of eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. Also, the President focused on AMERICAN coverage. How burdoned is our system by illegals? Stop being a part of the problem!

    July 22, 2009 at 11:18 pm |
  37. Jean Lukert

    This was another campaign style press conference with the press fawning over him and he knew what the questions were coming. It is pretty bad when the President can't articulate what he is trying to sell us. Also the last time I looked he doesn't need the Republicans to pass this bill so stop using them as a crutch for your inability to get your own party to buy into this boondoggle. He is turning out to be one giant disappointment. How much longer will the liberal media allow themselves to be used. They should be asking the tough questions Americans want to know. Wake up and do your job!!!

    July 22, 2009 at 11:18 pm |
  38. Frank Ng

    His argument for the health care bill is unfocused, unmotivated, and unconvincing. Since this is his biggest initiative, if this bill fails, the rest of his presidency may be doomed. That will be the fastest fading president in history...

    Frank from Ohio

    July 22, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  39. Reed

    How come we had to save the US auto industry that has been dying for the last 30 + years BUT the healthcare system, that for the most part runs pretty good except for those few people, we have to reform? I am just glad that there will be national healthcare when I get laid off and can not find work then I can be saty at home bum like the rest of the country!

    July 22, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  40. Patty

    People complain about a government employee getting between you and your doctor. Don't people know that currently it's an employee from the insurance company getting between you and your doctor? At least the government employee isnt' trying to make a profit off of you.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  41. David Garrigan

    No healthcare reform unless congress has to adopt it for themselves

    July 22, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  42. fernando

    We are the richest most powerful nation in the world. Universal health care impossible but dropping bombs and spending millions of dollars on a stupid war...makes sense guys.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  43. Alesha

    I saw the speech and must say that I am more sold on the health care plan now than I was previously. I think he did a very good job for speaking on what he could assure rather than the things he was unsure of. I understand the concerns and still have some, but when thinking about the majority and the middle class, having a nationalize health care is what will continue to move America forward.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  44. Milene Moses

    I like what he said about the Insurance co making decisions for the patients vs. doctors. I have seen and know personally people that have died because their insurance company would not pay for a procedure. I also know doctors ( the actual ones who went to medical school) being paid ie $100 or so for major surgeries but did them inspite of what "the insurance" adjuster sitting behind a desk with no education, never seeing the patient and being rewarded for "denying" claims.

    Politics as usual. WHY......

    July 22, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  45. Luke DeMyers

    On National Health Care

    Our tax dollars support an Army that kills and cripple to protect the rich and the poor. What wrong with our tax dollars supporting an Army of doctors to heal the sick and maim? We are all in this together. If we all suffer in times of adversities, than we should all benefit in times of prosperity.

    Luke DeMyers
    Wesson, MS.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:07 pm |
  46. Rachel

    I'd be interested to know what kind of health insurance Cindy from Ga. has. Health care reform is needed and needed now. Thank you President Obama for standing up to the naysayers and trying to do what's best for 97% of our U.S. population...and shame on us for not doing something sooner...France, England, Sweden, Canada are so laughing at us for being so stupid. Even China is beginning to implement health reform for it's people.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:02 pm |
  47. David

    Instead of talking about black in America- Can you investigate the UHI redirecting patients in Chicago? This is real black in America (dumping black practices)

    July 22, 2009 at 10:57 pm |
  48. Isabel • Brazil •

    Hi, Maureen!

    Shame on the South Korean parliament! The Parliament should set an example of order and did exactly the opposite.

    Oh, an hour later! For me it will be midnight ... this is proof of my loyalty, huh! Just because you all are the best!

    July 22, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  49. Larry

    When candidate Obama promised that those americans who could not afford a health care plan would receive the same health care plan that he was receiving as a U.S. Senator. If he is going to criticize the gop for making this into a political issue, then what was he doing campaigning on it?

    Mr. President where is that same health care plan you received, and when does it begin?

    July 22, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  50. Cindy

    I saw Obama's press conference..I wasn't sold before on health care reform and I sure am not sold afterward. His ways to pay for health care are nothing but lies. There is NO WAY we can pay for this. Our deficit will explode!!

    On rationing health care he said we don't need some treatments that we can do away with a lot of them well..HELLO..different treatments work for different people so how will they do that? Which people aren't fit to be treated? That's what it amounts to.

    This will be the most disastrous thing that this country has ever done!!


    July 22, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
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