August 5th, 2009
08:02 PM ET

The Healthcare Hostage Crisis: Health insurance by the numbers

Editor's Note: This article continues our 8-part series excerpted from the "Healthcare Hostage Crisis" chapter of AC360 contributor David Gewirtz's upcoming book, How To Save Jobs, which will be available in October. To learn more about the book, follow David on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/DavidGewirtz. Last week we learned employer-provided healthcare began as a marketing gimick. This week, we see the astonishing scope of the problem.

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David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing

As has been my trend in this book, I'm pulling facts and figures from the entities that are likely to provide the most favorable perspective for their particular points of view. This gives us the most conservative, least controversial numbers (they're bad enough, anyway).

So, for health insurance related numbers, I'm using statistics provided by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), which "provides healthcare coverage for more than 100 million people or one-in-three Americans."

Want to know how many people in the U.S. don't have health insurance? The population of our 44 largest cities - combined.

By using numbers from their Healthcare Trends in America 2009 Edition, we're likely to get the most conservative, least radical analysis of the situation - basically the best-case scenario. Throughout How To Save Jobs, I've done my best to make sure the numbers are unimpeachable. So let's look at what one of the nation's largest health insurance providers says about health insurance.

America's uninsured

According to Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, citing the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of the U.S. population covered by health insurance has stayed relatively constant, at about 85 percent. The means, of course, that 15 percent - 46 million people, give or take the population of San Francisco - don't have health insurance.

If you're like me, I'll bet you find it hard to picture just how many people 46 million people are. So try this.

If you combined the populations of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Dallas, San Diego, San Jose, Detroit, San Francisco, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Austin, Columbus, Fort Worth, Charlotte, Memphis, Baltimore, El Paso, Boston, Milwaukee, Denver, Seattle, Nashville, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Portland, Louisville, Oklahoma City, Tucson, Atlanta, Albuquerque, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, Mesa, Kansas City, Omaha, Cleveland, Virginia Beach, Miami, Oakland, and Raleigh, you'd still have less people than the number of people in America who don't have health insurance.

That's a lot of people who are completely f@#cked if they get sick.

Can you see, now, how healthcare becomes a critical national security issue? We're talking the population of the top 45 cities in the United States, all who can't get healthcare. Imagine (worst case scenario) that all those cities shut down. America, as a civilization, would come to a screaming halt.

And this is the best-case scenario coming directly from the health insurance industry! Clearly, the health insurance model isn't working. A more probable scenario comes from the AFL-CIO, who references a report a report entitled Americans at Risk, from the healthcare advocacy group Families USA.

According to Americans at Risk, one in three Americans went without health insurance some time in 2007 or 2008. Their study shows 86.7 million individuals were uninsured, and:

Three in five (60.2 percent) were uninsured for nine months or more. Nearly three-quarters (74.5 percent) were uninsured for six months or more.

If you wanted to try to picture 86.7 million Americans, just imagine you combined all of the people living in the top 273 cities in the United States.

So, in addition to everyone in cities from New York City to Raleigh being without health insurance for at least some time in the last two years, add every resident of Tulsa, Minneapolis, Colorado Springs, Honolulu, Arlington, Wichita, St. Louis, Tampa, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Cincinnati, Bakersfield, Aurora, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Riverside, Toledo, Stockton, Corpus Christi, Lexington, St. Paul, Anchorage, Newark, Buffalo, Plano, Henderson, Lincoln, Fort Wayne, Glendale, Greensboro, Chandler, St. Petersburg, and Jersey City.

Add every resident from Scottsdale, Norfolk, Madison, Orlando, Birmingham, Baton Rouge, Durham, Laredo, Lubbock, Chesapeake, Chula Vista, Garland, Winston-Salem, North Las Vegas, Reno, Gilbert, Hialeah, Arlington, Akron, Irvine, Rochester, Boise City, Modesto, Fremont, Montgomery, Spokane, Richmond, Yonkers, Irving, Shreveport, San Bernardino, Tacoma, Glendale, Des Moines, Augusta, Grand Rapids, Huntington Beach, Mobile, Moreno Valley, Little Rock, Amarillo, Columbus, Oxnard, Fontana, Knoxville, Fort Lauderdale, Salt Lake City, Newport News, Huntsville, Tempe, Brownsville, Worcester, Fayetteville, Jackson, and Tallahassee.

Add every resident from Aurora, Ontario, Providence, Overland Park, Rancho Cucamonga, Chattanooga, Oceanside, Santa Clarita, Garden Grove, Vancouver, Grand Prairie, Peoria, Rockford, Cape Coral, Springfield, Santa Rosa, Sioux Falls, Port St. Lucie, Dayton, Salem, Pomona, Springfield, Eugene, Corona, Pasadena, Joliet, Pembroke Pines, Paterson, Hampton, Lancaster, Alexandria, Salinas, Palmdale, Naperville, Pasadena, Kansas City, Hayward, Hollywood, Lakewood, Torrance, and Syracuse.

Add every resident from Escondido, Fort Collins, Bridgeport, Orange, Warren, Elk Grove, Savannah, Mesquite, Sunnyvale, Fullerton, McAllen, Cary, Cedar Rapids, Sterling Heights, Columbia, Coral Springs, Carrollton, Elizabeth, Hartford, Waco, Bellevue, New Haven, West Valley City, Topeka, Thousand Oaks, El Monte, McKinney, Concord, Visalia, Simi Valley, Olathe, Clarksville, Denton, Stamford, Provo, Springfield, Killeen, Abilene, Evansville, Gainesville, Vallejo, Ann Arbor, and Peoria.

Add every resident from Lansing, Lafayette, Thornton, Athens, Flint, Inglewood, Roseville, Charleston, Beaumont, Independence, Victorville, Santa Clara, Costa Mesa, Miami Gardens, Manchester, Miramar, Downey, Arvada, Allentown, Westminster, Waterbury, Norman, Midland, Elgin, West Covina, Clearwater, Cambridge, and Pueblo.

Add every resident from West Jordan, Round Rock, Billings, Erie, South Bend, San Buenaventura, Fairfield, Lowell, Norwalk, Burbank, Richmond, Pompano Beach, High Point, Murfreesboro, Lewisville, Richardson, Daly City, Berkeley, Gresham, Wichita Falls, Green Bay, Davenport, my own Palm Bay, Columbia, Portsmouth, Rochester, Antioch, and Wilmington.

Those are America's top 273 cities and that listing vividly showcases just how many Americans went without healthcare for at least some time in the last two years, 75 percent of whom were without coverage for six months or more.

Pushing reset on pre-existing conditions

This gap is particularly troubling, because if any of these people went without insurance coverage for even a short time, many insurance policies that covered illnesses and existing health conditions would reset, making conditions that were once covered into so-called "pre-existing conditions," and no longer covered.

One in three Americans.

If you were to hear a news report that a pandemic had struck America, and citizens in the United States' top 273 cities were struck down with disease, it would be the horror story of the century.

But here we have one in three Americans losing critical healthcare coverage (and possibly losing the chance for future care due to newly-minted pre-existing conditions), and instead of jumping to help, institutions like the AMA are fighting against fixing the system. More on that later.

Follow David on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/DavidGewirtz.

Editor’s note: David Gewirtz is Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Magazines, including OutlookPower Magazine. He is a leading Presidential scholar specializing in White House email. He is a member of FBI InfraGard, the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals, a columnist for The Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, and has been a guest commentator for the Nieman Watchdog of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He is a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley extension, a recipient of the Sigma Xi Research Award in Engineering and was a candidate for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Letters.

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Lenny

    30% of Americans representing the oldest (65 years and above), the poorest and the disabled use Medicare and Medicaid. These are by far the most expensive segment of society to take care of in terms of health care. 55% have private insurance (mostly from employers) and 15% have no insurance.

    The health care cost for the 55% that have insurance and (treating the 15% that do not have insurance) cost the economy $1.8 TRILLION in 2007 while Medicare/Medicaid for the most needy 30% cost $682 billion the next year.

    What all these nujmber mean is you are being ripped off by health insurance companies. They are taking in billions in revenue to cover the younger, healthier segment of the population AT A HIGHER COST than Medicare/Medicaid.

    August 6, 2009 at 2:34 am |
  2. lupe

    I think any business that want to have employees should be forced to provide health insurance. Have your own family members experience the torture of no insurance in your private company. Otherwise you shouldnt be in business. Lets not let corporate america control our country, I rather have government in my life than some greedy conservative.

    August 6, 2009 at 1:36 am |
  3. Stan Johnson

    We need to get this done.

    August 6, 2009 at 12:24 am |
  4. P R REDDY

    I am for universal healthcare coverage. However, it is incumbent on us to spend responsibly and not increase the national debt by another trillion dollars.

    I personally feel let us start by making mandatory health coverage for all children up to the age of 21. As we work out the nut and bolts of how we make this program work in an efficient manner and as the economy improves the coverage can be extended to all citizens or in a further phased manner with women followed by men.

    Whether it is individuals or nations it is wise to live within your means.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:56 pm |
  5. tom

    Hospitals tack on to every bill costs that seem excessive. $15 for a BIC razor to shave an area that is going to be operated on. They do this to cover all the costs for the patients that don't pay.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  6. Ks

    The media hasn't covered this question about healthcare.
    Will illegal immigrants be covered? If so, I believe they need
    to be held accountable to pay any uncovered bills just like american citizens. If a person gives a fake address or ss number they should be deported.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:41 pm |
  7. tom

    How can people be in favor of a Health Care bill without even reading it? I have great coverage that I don't want affected by a single payer plan. Why do people think they have to get everything for FREE? People make choices as to what they want to buy and if they choose no health care that's their decision. If anything make evryone who does not have health insurance pay something, maybe as much as the cable bill or the cell phone.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:40 pm |
  8. HC Bueck

    Lets see now. The complainers about the Kroean mission today are the Bush diplomatic core that were so successfull in the past 8 years. How can you give them any air time spouting their same old line. Bolten and the othe guy that said he had been to North Korea sounded silly compared to the reasoned comments by Gurgen. I am glad when CNN gives equal time but to listen to air heads like Bolten and his ilk is sad. He soulde be relegated to the Lou Dobbs show, not a respesctable news show like AC 360

    August 5, 2009 at 11:28 pm |
  9. righter

    Dr. Joe,

    Your work at the free clinic is certainly appreciated. However, you need to check your facts. The latest data from the CIA (yes, that CIA)
    lists the US at #50 in life expectancy and #45 ininfant mortality. Almost third world #'s.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
  10. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    @JohnO. Medicare will go bust in the near future without massive tax increases or benefit reductions or both. Hardly a success. The VA system is regarded as a disgrace by anyone who bothers to look at it. Your examples of 'successes' make the point very well that this health bill should never pass. Obama claims that there are billions in savings to be had. OK so before creating one penny of new spending, prove it by implementing the savings. After you prove that the funding is there, then increase benefits.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  11. Krista Shaw

    The so-called Bluedog Democrats that are chipping away at this bill for polical gain should be called Yellowdog Democrats.

    August 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  12. Kim

    How about getting a healthcare tax on fast food and soft drinks to fuel healthcare reform!

    August 5, 2009 at 11:08 pm |
  13. Helen Wheelock

    I want to know why Senators, Congressmen, and our Presidents
    have healthcare after serving one term for the rest of their life and spose? we work for an average of 30 years or longer and do not have the same benefits. I read that they can not change that law., that is a bunch of bull....they can sure change a lot of other things that are of no
    help to them...Please will some one explain that....
    Wil our President change his coverage along with the common people?

    August 5, 2009 at 11:02 pm |
  14. Martha, Arkansas

    USA citizens should be able (allowed, legalized, loyal) to pick if they want health insurance for THEIR 'own' life. If they can afford it and want life insurance, citizens can pick THEIR own insurance company, how much insurance that person wants and for what health problems THAT PERSON has. I don't want to pay for 'John Jacob Jingle Himmer Smiths' if that person won't pay for their own or can't. But, if I cause someones health problem (car wreck, hurt someone, accident or deliberatly) and they need health care by law must pay for that other persons health to be helped by doctors as any insurance would pay for, if it cost anything for the rest of my life if that's what it would cost to pay for someones problem that "I caused".

    August 5, 2009 at 11:01 pm |
  15. Bouvette

    I have been here for more than 25 years. This is a "me me and only me society". Nobody wants to be legally asked to pay for something that will benefit everybody and improve our society. I have very little hope that this country will ever recover from its abysmal debt which was originated during the Bush administration If we cannot solve our health insurance problem. The happiest people in the world are the Dutch who have a very high level of socialization (They are not socialist, but have a very high social consciousness) including a very good health insurance system. But very few drive an suv or have a big fridge. They are not big spenders like us. And their unemployment rate today is 3% which is much lower than ours.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:58 pm |
  16. N. Manetavat

    Insurance company acts as middle man, collect your premium set aside the profit by pay providers less and less. All CEOs make 1/4 billion dollars a year. If the Govt. runs healthcare, the Sec. Health and Education make less than 200,000/yr.
    Peoples who oppose healthcare because some one pay for their premium. I wonder what who they do if they have to pay by themself.
    Health and education should be provided by the Govt.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  17. marquin

    I have been work all my life,and sometime things don't always fall your way.We all need help sometime,besides I have an lot of money into the Healthcare System and have not used half of what I have put into it.Let me used what I rightfully earned.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  18. Roger

    America is no longer able to compete because our health care is very expensive. Ford can not sell a car in Europe that is manufactured in the US. It cost to much and competes with cars made in countries that have public health care. We pride our self's on being the tech leaders of the world but we would not be able to do this w/out public education. Our public education system, as flawed as it is, works and so will a public health system. What wont work is the continuing escalation in health care costs.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  19. JohnO, Atlanta

    Healthcare is a big business. People, as is the case in most republican orchestrated attacks, are inconsequential. Business is what matters to republicans. So distortions and lies are OK. Even though none of the bills before congress creates a socialist healthcare system, it would not serve their evil agenda against Americans to lie about this issue. Wake up America. The insurance industry stands between you and your doctor. Wake up America, Medicare is a government run system that by any measure is one of the most efficient and comprhensive program in the world. Wake up America, the VA healthsystem admirably serves our most preciuous Americans and , yes, it's government run. Have you forgotten the fact that the private insurance industry won't cover you or your family if you have any history of ilness? Let;s all focus on the facts not the distortions or the Karl Rove tactics that are self serving to those who will gain financially and that's not the majority of American citizens.

    August 5, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  20. Benigna Marko

    Our health care needs help. Not sure this proposal is the right way to go. But we do all agree we need health care.

    August 5, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  21. Faith C.

    AC Question 1: Is critical thinking dead in the USA? The polls show how angry we Americans are, yet we cannot manage to parse fact from fiction. What role does the media play in perpetuating this stubborn critical thinking gap? No single poll question could ever adequately frame my concern or anger. If I am unhappy with the Healthcare bill, it is for reasons that are completely different from the next person who is polled.

    AC Question 2: Why doesn't the mainstream press have the skill to explain how consent is manufactured and how we might parse the noise around the anger surrounding the HC bill– as well as the birthright of our President? Does the media have the knowlege to report on the substantial changes that are necessary for Americans to compete economically and socially in a very competitive 21st millennium? Why do they continue to report on the rancid and tired arguments framed by Polemics with ancient agendas?

    AC Question 3: Are the Democrats and Progressives so weak that they will allow the GOP to re-frame the healthcare debate, the citizenship of the President and the horrible Bush economy? Are we headed for another Clinton administration battling with disloyal Democrats unable to legislate and unable to launch a response to the right-wing radio broadcasting, cable and publishing empires?

    AC Question 4: Are Reporters capable of reporting on the legislative process that is underway? Do they have the skill or knowledge to report the facts about how this bill is moved through Committee and who is participating? So many GOP and DFL legislators have contributed to this bill, and no one is discussing the parts under discussion….emphasizing the choices being evaluated and tested.

    Faith C.

    August 5, 2009 at 9:27 pm |
  22. Annie Kate

    I believe we need to have free medical insurance for all American citizens (not illegals). However, in reading all the other comments on this post I think we probably won't get it. Its a shame that a country who calls itself the greatest on earth has citizens that are so uncaring about their fellow citizens – if compassion was a measure of greatness then this country would be at the bottom of the list.

    August 5, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  23. RLWellman

    Why aren't we fighting for heailth care reform that isn't ran by our Government. Both the Left and the Right want reform, but the Right just doesn't want our Government running it. What's wrong with this?

    The Left wants everthing paid for and ran by the Government. They don't even care how much freedom they lose.

    On the other hand, the Right wants reform, but doesn't trust the Government running it. Neither do I.

    How about the Government having a Health Care Reform that they don't run themselves?

    August 5, 2009 at 9:13 pm |
  24. lampe

    The Government has failed at running Welfare, The Post Office, Medicare and Medicaid. Not to mention the bad shape that the V.A. Hospitals are in. So with all this mess, you all want the Government to now step in and take over Healthcare? Can some of you possibly explain to me, just how you think they are going to be successful at this program, when they have failed so with all the others?

    August 5, 2009 at 8:40 pm |
  25. Peg H., Tillsonburg, ON, Can.

    When Canadians are surveyed, we overwhelmingly agree that it is our healthcare that makes us distinctly Canadian. We definitely are our 'brother's keeper'. Can American's say the same? I hear a lot of criticism of our system but just so you know – we are very proud of it!
    Its shortcomings are hugely exaggerated by your naysayers. We recognise that it is not perfect but even if it were perfect, we would continually work to improve it.

    August 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm |
  26. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Since we're throwing numbers around let's do the real math:
    46 million uninsured.
    Minus 12 million illegal aliens.
    Minus 16 million who can afford health insurance but don't buy it (mostly 20-30 somethings who think they'll never need it)
    Minus 10 million who qualify for Medicare but haven't registered
    So we have 46-12-16-10=8 million who are truly uninsured. This out of a population of 310 million. How is this a 'crisis' when under 3% of the population is uninsured who want to be?

    August 5, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  27. ronvan

    Personally I am just fed up with our entire system! Rights, Rights, Rights. It is going to be our downfall. The current system is, and has been, riddled with problems, and no one had done anything about it.
    Now that President Obama has a plan, EVERYONE, comes out of their holes, with their plans. Give me a break. It has been, and continues to be, all about the $$$$$$$$. Let the government take over the whole thing, it couldn't be any worse or corrupt.

    August 5, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  28. jackie Q brea CA

    Disneyland in Anaheim does not pay MOST employees medical or dental.....no one talks about that child who cries at night with a cavity or cracked tooth. And yet they have to go to school?

    August 5, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  29. Sian Parker

    When President Obama visited Bristol, Va, the special interest groups came in by the bus loads. It was totally outrageous at the rhetoric they were spewing about Health Care in this country. No one can deny that cost controls need to be put in place. Just look at the numbers that attended the RAM in southwest Virginia. These are NOT just people that are trying to get something for free. They are hard working American citizens that just can not afford health care. We all pay for those that are uninsured as it is with higher premiums through our insurance. It the government offers a health insurance program, it should not be totally free to anyone. It should be based on a sliding scale of income.

    August 5, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  30. Mary

    If you compare the cities that are "Santuary Cities" and the cities included in this data, you will be amazed at the similarities. These cities have chosen to be mecas for illegial aliens and therefore have created a larger porportion of uninsured people within their populations!

    At first blush it seems kind to want everyone to have health insurance. The problem is that too many "good doers" are not looking beyond their first glance to see all of the problems that are inherrent in the plan. These people need to do their homework and understand what is a stake in this bill.

    August 5, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  31. Mari

    Considering that 33% of Americans declare bankruptcy each year due to the high costs of healthcare.

    And 99% of Americans are one medical disaster away from losing everything they own.

    Considering that United Healthcare posted a ONE BILLION profit for this quarter. While turning away people who are ill; denying claims; excluding people who have preexisting conditions.

    Those who oppose healthcare reform, need to know first hand what it its like to watch your child sick and not be able to take them to the doctor.

    In our hometown, our Free Clinics are drowning with new patients, because many people are unemployed and have no healthcare!

    FYI: We actually ALREADY have Government run healthcare its the Veterans Hospitals; its Medicare and SCHIP!

    Oh and let's not forget the Healthcare Congress & U.S. Government employees enjoy!

    Please America do your own thinking and research, don't fall for the GOP lies or their fear mongering!

    August 5, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  32. Ron San Bruno, Ca

    I feel the anti reformist's will whip out the Big Gun's when they activate thier "Solent Green" town hall slogun's of disruptions.Where is moses when we really need him ?

    August 5, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  33. Melissa

    Oh for gods sakes, I'd rather have the feds run my health care than the greedy corporations.

    August 5, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  34. dee

    Do you know what is ironic? That the far right cares more about not having their guns taken away then people having their healthcare being taken away. And they have the nerve to call themselves Christian. Instead of condemning everyone else they should really check their own souls. I would love to hear them "spin" their denial of healthcare to Jesus. Man, now that is a reality show I would watch.

    And, the manufactured crowd is a bunch of poor actors. They should be given one warning, then get the boot. Interesting, when liberals interupted McCain, they were labeled unpatriotic Americans by the right. But, not when they do the same; they are true patriots. I'm an independent voter and just a note to Republicans; you lost any potential for my vote. Keep supporting the loons in your party and you will be out of power for the next century.

    August 5, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  35. Tony in Largo, Fl

    The word is out. It’s the Health Insurance Lobbyist who are trying to derail the Health Care Reform and they’re in bed with the Republicans. I wouldn’t put it past them to be organizing the opposition groups at the Town Hall Meetings. At least we do know who they are and what they are doing. They are spreading fear and lies about the Health Care Reform. I’m hopeful that Congress will act in favor of the constituency that voted for them. I’m also hopeful that people will read and see thru the tactics of the Health Insurance Companies. People need to support this reform; it’s for the good of the nation as a whole. Slavery, women’s right to vote, banking reform, desegregation, environmental regulation, occupational safety & health, all faced challenges and stiff opposition from the “conservatives du-jour”, but they were instituted and made our society better. Let’s not fall prey to the big lie and fear mongering. That would be a tragedy and a travesty in the land of the freedom of speech. A freedom whose ultimate goal is the truth; and the truth will set you free!!
    And as a matter of a suggestion for anyone willing to listen, a semi-public health option would be to issue loans to students in medical, technological, pharmacy and nursing schools and have them pay back with one year of service for every year of study that they receive aid. They would be paid as stipulated by the government during their service That would allow for a gradual structuring of the program to de-bug it and it would assure a limited size. Hospitals currently receiving Federal Funds would be required to provide space and services and would be also be paid for the same at monitored rates. VA Hospitals could also provide facilities and services with some additional funding.

    August 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  36. Philly Adeola

    i think everybody should just have free health insurance and theres alot of people that cant afford health insurance

    August 5, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  37. joe

    Much of this is very hard to digest – first, as a physician I work for a large hospital which holds a free clinic every Monday night and everything is covered. I think many large hospitals subsidize those without insurance, so every does get care – no one is every turned away, at least not at the hospital in which I practice. Second, I would suggest that insurance is more like the auto industry and if you are a smoker than insurance should cost you more, this will lessen the drain on the system – we should be thinking outside the box of socialism. In addition, without profit incentives the US will lose its lead on drug development, which is one of the reasons we are a nation that lives longer than most.

    August 5, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  38. Sherry

    There has been nothing said regarding the costs of litigation that are questionable, force doctors to over-order some tests to prevent a liability situation, and keep the price of their professional liability insurance extremely high. Is everyone afraid of dealing with this?

    This has to be a large chunk of cuttable costs if considered for alternative methods.

    August 5, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  39. pansy

    "The BirtherMOVEment should make themselves into another race and BE CALLED "BLUE HAIRS"and just have their civil rights movement, After all they are different because they have very white blue hair. And they seem to say PRES. Obama is not a citizen of the U.S. SECRET SERVICE should check them out". And they seem to be trying to sabotage Pres. Obama's agenda as far as HEALTH CARE. Afterall, compassion will trump their conservative ideology."

    August 5, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  40. Lisa in CA

    The feds can't run Medi-Care efficiently ... you support them doing this a national basis? Not.

    They need to prove they can oversee Medi-Care properly (eliminate waste/fraud, reimburse in a timely fashion, etc.) before entering the overall national stage. Haven't done that yet.

    And frankly, I don't trust them with my money - we've seen what they do with it and I can no longer afford government interference.

    August 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  41. RLWellman

    They keep coming up with 50 million Americans without insurance. This is 18 million who make over $50,000 a year and don't want insurance. There is 14 million who can sign up for Medicare but haven't yet. There is another 10-12 million who are illegal aliens and I can't figure why they continue to put illegal alien numbers in with Americans. We surely don't need to pay for another countries citizens.

    This leaves 8 million Americans who can't afford insurance. Why do all 292 million Americans need their insurance changed because only 8 million need help? Why can't the Government help these 8 million and leave our insurance alone.

    Why? Because they want power to control all 300 million, that's why!

    August 5, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  42. Brad

    Fed up – Insurance is, by definition, a social system where the burden of the sick is born by the healthy. By your logic the chronically ill ought to quit sucking the life out of the system.

    It's never been about the conservative nonsensical arguement of paying your own way. When you get sick, you cease to pay your own way ANYWAY.

    Its about our combined national resources covering all of our people.

    August 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  43. Sharon S

    It is called getting a job and working and aquiring Insurance, or you can buy it on your own!!
    It is NOT up to the Gov to provide it to people!!
    I worked for years before I got insurance and when I had to go to the doctor I paid them with my own money, so I don't quite understand WHY these people feel they should be GIVEN healthcare?

    Yes it is called Taking responsibility for your own life and your own actions, that is the problem with welfare it is a very abused system and I don't see Obama trying to fix that?
    No he is trying to contribute to it!!!

    I feel the same way most tax paying, working Americans do that the Medicaide and Social Security systems are a good indication of what this Gov will do to Healthcare in our country, DESTROY IT!!!

    They can't control the Welfare system it is out of control and has been for years, along with all these illegals who are sucking our systems dry and NOT paying one dime into it!

    Why doesn't the House try to fix the problems they already have instead of creating more of them?

    August 5, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  44. Robert Lamar

    So, based on the previous comment, the more money one has the better health care one can attain. For a country that erroneously touts itself as a "Christian" nation – of which it is not, and was not founded as such – that is not a very "Christian-like" position.

    What about those that cannot – and probably never can – afford health care? What about those who get screwed by their insurance provider when they deny to pay or provide coverage for an illness/disease/condition that crops up unexpectedly? What about those that lose their jobs, and hence any coverage they may have had? What about those that have to declare bankruptcy because a child or loved one develops an unfortunate illness/disease/condition or is involved in an horrific accident? I just hope none of the above happens to you, let alone any American citizen.

    A country as wealthy as yours, having 47,000,000 of its people uninsured, add to this the needless death of 18,000 each year because of the fact that they lack any health care coverage, should be considered by all citizens as unacceptable. It is a disgrace. Plain and simple, when profit is put before people I think the values of a nation have to be reevaluated. Again, I just hope none of the above happens to you, a loved one or a good friend.

    To your health...

    August 5, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  45. Wayne Middlebrook

    I have a solution to Nation wide Health Care. Since Washington can't solve the problem due to all the bickering they do against each other, why don't we put them on the same Health care system that the rest of us are on, the ones of us who have insurance. I bet within a week they would sit down and solve the problem. They just don't understand how good they have it, and our tax dollars pay for it!!!

    Wake up Politicians, and do your job, or go home and get a real job!!!

    August 5, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  46. dina212

    Can the cost just be taken out of tax? Keep the same insurance but have the cost come out of tax. Take that burden off of the employer? No gov't involvement.

    August 5, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  47. Anthony Steele from Wichita

    Who regulates the prices of health care and medicine? Who determines what is actually going to be the cost, exactly, of the work done? Until these questions are answered and dealt with, health care will continue out of control.

    August 5, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  48. jen

    The US spends 41% of annual Medicaid expenditures on health care services for adults with disabilities. Seniors over age 65 fear placement in a nursing home and loss of independence more than death. 80% of seniors have at least one chronic health condition and 50% have at least two. By 2030, the number of people age 65 and older will double. The number of disabled veterans has increased 25% since 2001. These populations and addressing long term care cannot be overlooked in health care reform. (http://medical.wesrch.com/pdfME1MS1SKBHQWF)

    August 5, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  49. Michael C. McHugh

    We have a class system in this country, and that applies to health care as much as anything else. Some people simply do not have the money to afford good housing, health care or education, which is why the government steps in. Every other country in the Western world does this, and even many that are not in the Western world.

    August 5, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  50. Fed Up

    Governments job is to make sure healthcare is available and affordable for people who want/need it to purchase it.........like auto insurance. It is not up to the government to provide it for you. People need to take personal responsibilty to support themselves and quit sucking the life out of the system.

    August 5, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
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