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August 14th, 2009
10:06 AM ET

Morning Buzz: More than just health care?

Luo Shou Luan (left) is comforted as she looks at what is left of her home village, Shiao Lin, in Taiwan.

Luo Shou Luan (left) is comforted as she looks at what is left of her home village, Shiao Lin, in Taiwan.

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

The ramped up debate over health care reform may be about more than just health care. What’s fueling the intensity behind the protests? Is it only the health care system or are protesters using this issue as a way of expressing their concern about the administration? We’re looking at the arguments of the protesters – both those who oppose the proposed reform and those who support it – and digging deeper on their real concerns.

President Obama is headed to Montana today to try to calm this rising tide of contention. He’ll be speaking at a town hall to about his plan to overhaul the country’s health care system. Montana Senator Max Baucus is a key figure in this issue, as he’s one of the lawmakers trying to draft a bipartisan plan. The proposals seem like pie-in-the-sky to some in big sky country and protesters definitely want his attention.

In all of the health care rhetoric, we’ve heard a lot about so-called “death panels” and “care rationing.” While these two fears may be unfounded, we talk to the people at the heart of this debate – senior citizens. We meet three sisters – all of them close to 80 – who have had their share of various hip and knee operations. They talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about their experience and why they think their surgery was so worthwhile.

As Congress debates health care reform, millions of Americans are suffering without the most basic of medical services. A national organization is trying to help these people by getting hundreds of doctors, dentists and nurses to volunteer their time and set up shop in the former home of the Los Angeles Lakers for a few days. Tens of thousands of people are flooding the arena for basic medical care. The organization was initially organized to bring medical services to remote parts of third world nations, but in recent years it has expanded to include stops in the U.S. as well. More from Ted Rowlands tonight.

And in Taiwan, rescuers are attempting to reach thousands of people still trapped in mountain villages. More than 50,000 troops were struggling to cross raging rivers and fallen bridges to reach victims of the Typhoon Morakot. Many of these stranded people have been without food and water since the typhoon struck last weekend and more than 31,000 people have been pulled from inundated villages. More than 30 countries have offered money, helicopters, medication and other supplies. More on the situation from John Vause tonight.

What else are you following? Let us know and see you tonight at 10 p.m. ET!


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Lisa in CA

    The federal government has yet to prove they can run/manage ANYTHING efficiently and cost-effectively. While I doubt there is any dispute as to the need for some kind of reform regarding health insurance, we, as a country, cannot afford to have the feds intervene at this time.

    We have much more pressing matters ... the economy is still sliding, jobs (if there any) are paying less yet banks won't budge on debt due them so people continue to fall behind. It really won't matter that we have national healthcare if we're unemployed and can't afford coverage.

    Healthcare can wait until Obama's second term or the final year of his current term. He needs to concentrate on getting the economy on the upswing and not further increasing the deficit. He needs to get money back in people's pockets - not take more out of it.

    Obama needs to LISTEN to the people, not his spin doctors/advisors. Contrary to what these "experts" would like to believe, they do NOT have a pulse on America and what we want/need.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  2. Michael C. McHugh

    The public option is being badly misrepresented, and I have seen no one even trying to correct this.

    It is not a single payer system or national health insurance. It has a federal means test like Medicaid, and no one over 300-400% of the poverty level will even be eligible for it.

    I want to emphasize that: with a federal means test, many people will not even be able to get on it.

    Why is no one talking about this fact?

    August 14, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  3. Isabel • Brazil

    Good afternoon, Eliza!

    We aren't naive to ignore that much more at stake than just the restructuring of the health system. In 6 months in power, a president super-popular is able to show people that the health system in the US today spends inordinately, generates injury and doesn't care the patient as well as in some other countries where health is successful.

    These heated debates should not scare. Because of this discussion may result in better health conditions for all, a health system more homogeneous.

    See you.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  4. dave

    I think the american people are sick of the deceptive speech and lack of specific details to any bill the administration tries to push through. We don;t want to hear anymore political jargon or generic speeches. We want specific answers to specific questions.
    Mr Obama seems to miss the fact that he works for us – the american people, as do the senate and the house.
    No one is going to support a bill that no one gets a chance to read. He's never run a business, a state, a city or even a town. He did nothing as a senator for the year and half he was there. Now he wants to run the banks, the auto industry and healthcare. Name one success he has had beside promoting himself. He wrote 2 or 3 books about himself BEFORE he became president. You watch the economy will have small spikes here and there, but the unemployment will rise, which means foreclosures will rise. The stimulus that had to be RUSHED through has still not created any jobs. If the liberal agenda of this poorly written bills goes through, you will see even more decline morally which will negatively effect the american way of life and the freedoms we have.

    August 14, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  5. Joanne R. Pacicca

    It is also the 40th anniversary of Woodstock! Groovy!

    August 14, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  6. Michelle D. Fonthill,Ontario

    Good Afternoon Eliza

    The protesters are agrivated and who did not vote for Obama and now are making a fuss .The health insurance companies need to reivew thier rates and stop ripping off customers everyone deserves health care but the government should not be in charge of it . The world is in a troubled times economy wise ,healthcare i hope they can sort though thier anger and really focus on the issues .

    Thanks :Michelle D.

    August 14, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  7. Paul

    It’s funny we hear Republicans say that they do not want “faceless bureaucrats” making medical decisions but they have no problem with “private sector” “faceless bureaucrats” daily declining medical coverage and financially ruining good hard working people (honestly where can they go with a pre-condition). And who says that the “private sector” is always right, do we forget failures like Long-Term Capital, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Enron, Tyco, AIG and Lehman Brothers. Of course the federal government will destroy heathcare by getting involved, Oh but wait, Medicare and Medicaid and our military men and women and the Senate and Congress get the best heathcare in the world, and oh, that’s right, its run by our federal government. I can understand why some may think that the federal government will fail, if you look at the past eight years as a current history, with failures like the financial meltdown and Katrina but the facts is they can and if we support them they will succeed.

    How does shouting down to stop the conversation of the healthcare debate at town hall meetings, endears them to anyone. Especially when the organizations that are telling them where to go and what to do and say are Republicans political operatives, not real grassroots. How does shouting someone down or chasing them out like a “lynch mob” advanced the debate, it does not. So I think the American people will see through all of this and know, like the teabagger, the birthers, these lynch mobs types AKA “screamers” are just the same, people who have to resort to these tactics because they have no leadership to articulate what they real want. It’s easy to pickup a bus load of people who hate, and that’s all I been seeing, they hate and can’t debate. Too bad.

    August 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  8. YD

    I believe that this "debate" has nothing to do with health care at all. I think that America is showing it's true colors!! We still have issues with race and I think this is the "PC" way for people to attack Obama! This is clearily a 2009 lynching of Obama. The fact that people are threatening his family over THIS DEBATE makes no sense. The two things don't go together!! I am reminded of lynchings and public beatings where someone claimed that a black man whistled at a white woman. There was never a crime just a reason to let surface what white America feels about this administration & specifically Obama.

    August 14, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  9. Deborah J. Boyd

    Dear Eliza,
    You have a good post here. Any time anyone calls for a change to the status quo, the status quo declare war by spreading lies and/or distortions to defend their $billions bilked from the citizens via Insurance Companies, some HMOs, most Pharmaceutical Companies, and many businesses that bill the Federal Government for way more than should be allowed and in some cases for products and services to people who are dead!
    Neither the President or any responsible member of Congress wants to see people go without basic medical care. It will be much cheaper to provide health care clinics instead of having the poor and uncovered flood the emergency rooms of hospitals.

    August 14, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  10. carolyn thorley

    I am concerned about the areas dealing with us older adults. All the e-mails flying around are un-nerving. When I voice this to some they give me that ("oh no you don't believe that crap do you?') I would like some honest answeres. Why not go through the bill line by line and aleviate some of my fears instead of making me out as some anti-Obama kook. I would love health care reform if it 's a good plan.

    August 14, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  11. Liz Whitney

    Town Hall Meetings: The noise is a terrible distraction perpetuated by raging conservatives who are manipulating the subject of health care reform to envoke their own agenda in a slippery effort to create a greater political divide to regain control.

    Just listen to any so-called conservative leader speak out on this issue... the script is the same and no real guidance or leadership at all.

    I am ashamed to call myself a Republican and do not wish to be a part of such nonsense. What a bunch of crybabies spreading lies to get attention.

    I understand there are real concerns with health care reform but if that were the ONLY issue conservatives would promote a healthy dialogue instead of inducing panic, fear and rage,

    I smell a new form of white supremacy emerging. Just listen to what they are NOT saying... which I find far more disturbing.

    August 14, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  12. Sharon,Daniel Island, South Carolina

    I hear racial under current in the debate. Those non-Obama supporters,those that simply hate the man because of his skin color have found a platform that wll get them airtime. An all they needed was a crazy comment from Palin the sound bite queen

    August 14, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  13. joe

    It is amazing how much time and energy this President is spending on trying to convince America that they should believe in him when we are still waiting for the economy to turn around as Europe has already done (without the trillions we have spent); he promised jobs-there are none, he promised a new green industry-where is it? Foreclosures are increasing , retail sales are faltering and he is not listening to the fact that the majority of American's are happy with their coverage. In addition, the document is 1000 pages and he tried to bully congress into passing it without truly reading it. My fear is this President has a way of selling a rotten fish as the catch of the day and we will all pay for it in the end. Many news channels have posted straight from the document that the Government will decide what care is best, will "help" guide doctors in their decisions and the Government will decide on end-of-life care. Those are basic freedoms this administration is trying to take away from us, yet they will keep their superior health coverage. Does anyone really want the Government making life decisions for them? Does anyone want the Government to tell you when you should give up a fight against a disease? I think the President should worry about how we have spent trillions and are behind in our recovery plans. I don't know how much it costs him to travel all over like a candidate, but maybe he should sit in his office, do his job and put those funds into a health care kitty instead of blanketing the US as if he was still campaigning – we need a President, not a continual candidate.

    August 14, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  14. Ed Garren

    The so called "Death Panels" already exist in the insurance industry, they are called "Care Management" committees. People don't realize how much the insurance industry already decides who lives and who dies. These folks should talk to some of the people interviewed in "Sicko."

    August 14, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  15. John K.

    I'm completely dumbfounded by the reactions of people on this issue. I'm an epidemiologist and work at a county health dept. in Kansas and see everyday the need for health care reform. In grad school we would analyze other health care systems that worked well and guess what, Cuba has a better health care system than ours! When people say, yes we need health care reform, but no we don't want the govt. to do it. I ask them, who's going to do it then? Is Blue Cross or Cigna or Kaiser, out of the goodness of their hearts, provide cheap, comprehensive health coverage to those who cannot afford it? The answer is NO! I think the group of people who are radically against this proposed legislation need to (1) turn off Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, (2) read the Bills, (3) pick up a history book (Germany's national health plan was inacted in 1871 long before Hitler), and (4) truly educate themselves on this issue. Only then will there be there be rational and intellegent debate on this. Knowledge is power...Rush Limbaugh is not knowledge!!!

    August 14, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  16. richsottilaro

    these town halls prove this is not the United States but the divided states of american. Are these people un American??? You bet!! Because they are for the health care companies that has brought the present administration to make this historical decision to DO IT NOW!! They don't care about the 47 million that don't have it because they have it and see something wrong with you if you don't!! Canada is model example of a system that WORKS!! They have their people here in the US to try and counter these right wing nut liars about their system. They are insulted and justifiably so!! I am ashamed by all this yelling not debate. I attended a town hall in nj and while it was mostly orderly we still had our screamers and nobody can tell me they are there to debate anything except to disrupt everything and a very important issue!! They ARE UN AMERICAN FOR THAT REASON!!

    RICH

    August 14, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  17. Stu Sugarman

    Dumb question: Now that Sarah Palin has resigned from her day job, what is the Palen family going to do about health insurance? As an unemployed mother with a special needs child, shouldn't she be worried about her insurance options?

    August 14, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  18. Louie

    Hi, I just watched your 8/11 podcast with Ron Regan. What a hoot! It's folks like Ron Regan that us common folks are screaming about. He was nothing but a talking head for the President and the mean legislators that are trying to force this health care reform on us. I just loved how he kept bringing up some gun story into the debate to paint those that oppose this reform in a bad light. CNN 360 is obviously party to this farce, and is behind in learning that this method of scaremongering doesn't work on the majority of Americans anymore.

    August 14, 2009 at 10:29 am |