August 19th, 2009
03:42 PM ET

Tonight: Text 360°

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Tonight we will be taking your questions on health care.

We're cutting through the political rhetoric and answering your questions about substantive change to the country's health care system.

Now the Obama administration is looking hard at pushing through a health care reform bill without Republican backing, top Democrats close to the White House told CNN.

How will this impact the plans for reform? What does this mean for your medical care and your bottom line? We'll be looking into this tonight. Do you have a question? Let us know!

Send us a text message with your question. Text AC360 (or 22360), and you might hear it on air!

Filed under: T1 • Text 360
soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. kathy land

    dear anderson: i have been a nurse (RN) for 32 years; i recently
    quit my full time job, and am trying to enjoy life with a part-time job.
    But, i am unable to qualify/afford health care coverage due to being
    on an antidepressant, and very mild high blood-pressure medication.
    Health insurers consider me to fall in the "high risk pool"... I consider myself to be extremely healthy, and being in the medical field for this many years, my judgement should be considered fairly accurate.
    I don't trust the goverment, but i also feel the medical insurance world is fleecing the middle man.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:33 pm |
  2. Todd Stevens

    Please answer 1 simple question for me, In general why should healthcare be run by for profit companies. Why should any of the public expendures on health insurance go towards generating profits for anyone.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:33 pm |
  3. grace

    I would trust MY government with health care reform long before I would trust Big Business. At least I can vote them in and out.

    i dont believe in socialism but i do think the time for heal;th care is now and I do believe in the private option to keep things competative. I know I have been laid off of three positions due to downsizing and sending out work over seas and with two children to raise i took jobs that offered health care for my children even though pay was awful and no chance for advancement because i was afraid to go without healthcare with two active children involved in sports they were my first priority as a single mom.

    Please dont let the lies keep what the majority of people know we need.

    Wake up everyone think for yourselves, do not let a bunch of politicians who had the government for the last eight years and didnt do any thing for the middle class stop us from getting the health care. God willing it will happen!!!!

    August 19, 2009 at 9:32 pm |
  4. John Fontana

    Will members of Congress and all other govenment employees be enrolled in the govenmental option?

    August 19, 2009 at 9:29 pm |
  5. Frank222

    If the current health care bill passes, then under that bill, will there be a free health care plan that I can choose from the government that gives me health care for free, no matter what my employer does or how much I make?

    That's what I want. My income taxes could double and that would cost me less than my current health insurance premium payments (not even including my employers payments), and there is lots I am not covered for. Like the biggest best local 'non-profit' university hospital...that's not covered under my plan.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  6. Bob, SC

    I couldn't have said it better! We can CUT 30% of the overhead of health care by eliminating the insurance companies profits. They add NO VALUE to health care and take 30% of the costs for their effort. They are the kind of business that adds NOTHING except to line their own pockets.
    If it weren't for their "negotiating" lower payouts to hospitals and doctors, then all costs would be lower.
    For example, my doctor receives $53 whenever I visit him (my $15 co-pay and the $38 the insurance company pays him. However, when my daughter, with NO health insurance sees him (the SAME Dr.), she pays $95 for the same services. She tried to negotiate it to the same amount that I and my insurance co. pay, but the doctor refused, saying that he has to increase his rate to make up for the short fall he receives from the insurance company.
    Those without insurance are subsidizing the insurance companies!!!
    We need reform NOW!

    August 19, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  7. John

    Alice – did the insurance companies help Americans choose their lifestyles? Did they cause Americans to have high blood pressure, diabetes...be obese or have heart ailments? Did they encourage Americans to smoke, eat poorly, not exercise? Please...wake up and admit that the cost of care, abuse of health insurance plans, and the poor health choices of Americans is what has caused skyrocketing insurance premiums. Simple math – Cost of Care + abuse of insurance plans by plan participants + unhealthy choices of Americans = amount insurance company needs to charge to cover your claims.

    States Regulate insurers. Most of the time, they require them to charge more to cover potential claim risk. Insurers can't just charge whatever they would like. Just because you have made poor choices doesn't mean my family should pay for it.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:25 pm |
  8. Joanne

    I just want to know whether a person has private insurance OR government health insurance will the doctor be able to treat the patient or will the insurance companies and or government dictate which doctors/specialist you can see. Right now our private insurance decided during the interim of the one year contract that they are going to implement a Behavorial Health Policy...meaning that if you are currently being treated for alcohol or drug addiction. Or, if someone is seeing a therapist that the facility you are being treated at or the therapist you are seeing are in their network. If they're not you have to pay the full amount. If they are the co-pay will be the same as originally stated in the contract. The other question I have can an insurance companies especially private change their policy mid-stream. I realize that the purpose of "reform" is to help regulate the costs but at what cost? I currently pay 127.00 a WEEK for health care for a two person policy and to be perfectly honest I can't afford it especially if the insurance companies are allowed to change their policy after the company as well as the employees have signed the contract. I also believe that pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, banks, etc keep their names off of ballpark statdium, arena's etc. They may call it advertising...I call it a slap in the face when the banks are being bailed out and my health care is going up double digits every year. I don't have "restless leg syndrome" I have "restless corporate greed syndrome". I'm really sick of having to bail everyone one out. Who the hell is helping me? Absolutely no one. I truly believe that if federal, state, county and the union workers had to pay what I have to pay...reform would have come a long time ago. Perhaps mandating that they pay, lets just say 30 percent of their health care that would ease the burden on the government, state, counties and companies with unions. I'm very angry that the doctors no longer treat the patients and the insurance companies do. I hope the governement plans to stay out of my doctors office. How my doctor treats me SHOULD be between me and my doctor.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:25 pm |
  9. wonetha

    Alice had the best comment ever. I totally agree and there is nothing else to say about that.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
  10. Jeff

    Wow. In response to that last comment, I think you need to think this over a bit more. In response to your first sentence: Senior citizens receive health care theoretically from money that they paid to medicare taxes when they were younger, so it's not a gift from the government. And the poor receive health care from the government for the same reason that we have welfare.

    Your second sentence: There are many healthcare options available in the private sector, and there would likely be far better ones if the government took a step BACK from regulating them. Also, if you are so convinced that there is a better way for private health insurance companies to be run, you should start your own! That's the whole point of this country.

    Your third sentence: it would be the responsibility of the government to protect people from discrimination from health care companies, but I am not convinced this discrimination occurs (ie there are no healthcare companies that won't cover you because you are black, or asian, or whatever). If

    Your fourth sentence: no right wingers argue that the private sector is trying to do what's best for you or 'us.' What the right wingers argue is that having the option to choose for yourself is better than having something mandated to you, and naturally the best companies will prevail and business models will fit more with what people want. The reason's that the system is so far from perfect is because of TOO MUCH government involvement, rather than not enough. The rest of your second paragraph may be true but it is not related to your argument. You are excused.

    And for your last paragraph: Yes you can vote your government in and out....but if you don't like it and everyone else votes for it, then you're in trouble. However, if there is competition between many companies, you can ALWAYS choose which one you want. I would edit that second to last sentence to read "I would trust MY own decisions about my health care long before I would trust Big Brother."

    August 19, 2009 at 9:24 pm |
  11. Aaron

    Can't we all agree that health insurance is the cause of high health care costs? I firmly believe that when the consumer isn't footing the bill, prices go up. My pregnant wife goes to her doctor every two weeks because it is basically free. Would she be o.k. if she didn't attend one doctor visit prior to giving birth.....99.9% of the time the answer is 'yes.' That being said, wouldn't more insurance lead to higher overall costs? Having the government foot the bill for anything is like giving a 5 year old a credit card. Agree?

    August 19, 2009 at 9:23 pm |
  12. Thomas Robb

    Why is it that the republicans complain the healthcare bill will cost too much but were willing to spend whatever it cost to win the war in IRAQ (which is an imorral and illegal war in the first place)?

    August 19, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  13. craig hobbs

    The insurance industry has already prevailed in this argument by way of the mandated insurance requirements mentioned in the House bills .It is a win win situation for them, if this passes or not because of the numbers of new insurance subscribers.The big pharma has gotten a dream come true by the possibility of preventing the importation of cheaper drugs from outside the US.I think it is easy to determine at this point of the legislative process the average citizen will not have any great rewards from this reform.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  14. Ralphie in Oregon

    Dick Armey on Meet the Press last Sunday stated the goal of Republicans to not only stop the medical insurance reform, and then work on eliminating Medicare and Social Security. I would expect that they will also go after veteren's medical insurance and Medicaid.

    Why do the Democrats keep giving ground on the insurance to the Republicans in light of this?

    August 19, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  15. Daphne

    I agree with you Alice. I want this health care plan to pass. Because I have spent years. I mean 10 or more years without proper health care. WE DESERVE TO MAKE A CHOICE. I am behind our President all the way.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:21 pm |
  16. Glenn P.

    I have been fortunate to be employed for 27 years with Healthcare benefits from my various employers. I worked hard in school and every day for my employer. Why should I have to pay additional taxes on my Healthcarebenefit when I am obligated by my employment to do whatever it takes for my clients. Some days that includes going in at midnight and working 36 hours straight to get service restored. I've paid plenty over the years in uncompensated overtime and holidays worked and I pay a good portion of it out of pocket because companies have cut back a lot since I started work.

    I saw an article just now where the President is telling faith based groups that people are lying about what he is doing and that illegal aliens will not get healthcare. How can he say that when they do it today. Any County run hospital in Texas can tell you that. What about the wealthy people from counties like India and China that have children that came here and established legal citizenship to have their parents sign over all their possessions and come here as indigent green card holders and get on Medicare when they never paid a cent. There are articles in the Asian Community News papers on how to play the system so the kids can get huge homes and drive Mercedes while we Tax payers foot the bill for there folks medical bills. Congress is puzzled why Medicare is going bankrupt? Its basic Math.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:20 pm |
  17. Lax Sawkar

    I understand Sen Grassley said that even if he liked a healthcare plan he may not in favor and vote if others in his party do not like the plan.
    Is Sen. Grassley lost his balls and bearings or what?

    August 19, 2009 at 9:20 pm |
  18. Keli

    What does it matter? We'll only be fed a line of bull for an answer. One thing these town hall meetings have proved is that we have a true bunch of idiots running our Country. They are such an embarrassment. No wonder we are no longer the world leaders any longer!

    August 19, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  19. Chris R.

    why are the politico's allowed to flat out lie about what is in the actual bill or versions of the bill about health care reform? i heard a republican against the reform bill claim that the it would restrict care for the elderly who are on medicare. but when i read the specific sight in the bill that she was referring to, it talked about providing seniors with counseling (AN ADDED BENEFIT) on end of life decisions (i.e. power of attorney, living will, etc.). why we allow our politicians to go on with these lies to create fear and garner votes is beyond me? let's see some more of that transparency that Obama was talking about. i want to see these people called out for their lies!!

    August 19, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  20. Tim

    First, please excuse my ignorance.

    Are we not at a disadvantage either way. If we leave things alone we move to unsustainable insurance premiums mainly due to the taxpayer picking up the tab on the uninsured. Or we adopt the public option which picks up 45 million new medicare members or more in a system that will double the unfunded trillions already in place ?

    Boise, Idaho

    August 19, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  21. Max

    What measures are being pursued to control the costs of healthcare?

    The insurance industry is a pool of money; the money supply is great therefore prices/costs go unchecked....

    This parallels what we learned from the Housing Bust, mortgages being given out too easily, this in turn allowed house prices to go too high, until the industry reached it's limit....some what like maxing out on credit.

    The insurance industry should be eliminated, this would force prices to come down, there is no reason why a hospital should charge $5200 for 1 IV of antibiotic. If every American could keep their premiums, and the companies could keep their premiums, this would help the economy out greatly.

    Hospitals would have to learn and price services similar to the retail industry. Doctors and the time spent at the doctors office and/or hospitals have a lot of NON-VALUED activity, why should a doctor visit cost in excess of $100 and you normally just wait an hour, the doctor may see you for 5 minutes and you walk away with a prescription.

    Price controls are the answer, the basic problem to understand is EASY, everything in healthcare is just way too overpriced....insurance is only helping these prices to escalate by enabling the hospital to be paid......without some form of guaranteed payment, these prices would have to come down.....

    August 19, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  22. Deb, SC

    Some people who like their private insurance don't realize that if they have a catastrophic illness or injury they could lose their insurance. If you can no longer work you become unemployed after your sick time and vacation time runs out. If you are unemployed you can still keep your insurance if you pay the full price for it – often more three times what it costs as an employee benefit. It's kind of hard to pay more for insurance when yu have no income, and it often runs out anyway after less than a year. Once you lose your insurance you have to pay the full price of your medical care – again, often three times what your insurance has negotiated to pay for it. If you can't pay your bills you have to liquidate all your assets and give the money to your creditors. So now...you have no money, no insurance, mountains of bills, and you are still critically ill. Still like your insurance?
    We hear all the time that 60% of bankruptcies are from medical bills but we never seem to hear how that happens; why not, it's kind of a big deal.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  23. cheryl hebert

    We are considered lower middle class,salary is 39,000 a year.Our portion we pay insurance is 550. amonth .Our co pays for 2 people are 400. a month .what will health care reform do for people like us?

    August 19, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  24. Dave LJ

    How much do we spend on any one person? Should there be a limit?

    August 19, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  25. Wayne

    With all that is wrong with our healthcare system, why in the name of sanity is there so much argument, faulse rumors & inappropreate posturing? The republicans had 8 years to do something & did nothing. Once again the democrates are trying to dead off this monster & are being accused of everything but the truth!!! Have IQ's dropped sharply while I was in Baghdad?

    August 19, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  26. Carmen

    Is the president taking into account that we have a very large number of undocumeted families that are not included or counted in health care budgetss, however use the emergrency rooms as their health care because it is usually the only way they can be medically served?

    This surely has a tremendous impact on the cost of health care. These individuals need to be counted in the 2010 census. I don't hear any of this being addressed.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:13 pm |
  27. Doug, Mpls Mn

    I want to know why I must continualy pay for people who refuse to work!
    My wife and I made choices in jobs to make sure we had health insurance, our choices were painful, but now I should have to pay for those who made bad choices their whole life? NO!
    I will note people who are disabled should be covered, and I will gladly pay for them, but the people who refuse to work, who think we owe them, those people should not have coverage, they made the choice!

    August 19, 2009 at 9:13 pm |
  28. Shawn Dougherty

    How will the Health Care reform bill affect Health Care Insurance (TriCare) for retired military personnel who are not eligible for medicare?

    August 19, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  29. Laura

    I work for the government and already have a choice of multiple health insurances. I don't believe that the reform will take that away from us.
    Also, I work for the Veterans Hospital, and am proud to say that they get one of the best health care providers.
    I did work also with Indian Health Services and also witnessed one of the best health care systems, run by the government.
    My point is , why are people so afraid and let the media, and the uninformed and mislead them? Why don't they check facts before jumping to assumptions? Nobody is saying that private insurance is not going to be an option.
    What is so wrong about having a more affordable health care for all?
    I think the people that don't want a public option, should not benefit from medicare/medicaid.
    And why are even democrats not supporting public option?
    Why can't people have civil debates? Why can't people be respectful when they talk in town hall meetings? Why are they not even willing to listen to the answer to the questions they ask?
    It is a shame what this country has come to.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  30. Damali

    OBAMA: "HEALTH CARE REFORM WILL CREATE NEW JOBS!!!"... what happened to that message? Do you think this is "catch phrase" that the administration needs to get citizens on board?

    August 19, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  31. Hugh

    We realize that many Americans are in the same predicament as we, but we see no way out. I am 63 and my wife is 55. We have two children, ages 8 and 9, and the 9 year old has Aspergers. I lost my job 1 1/2 years ago due to cut backs and had to start my SS benefits to avoid losing our house and going completely under. We cannot afford any kind of health care coverage, but do not qualify for Medicaid, CHPS, or any other assistance. I still can’t find employment that would pay enough to help our situation, and probably won’t in the future because of my age and health. If I could find a low paying job with some benefits, it would disqualify us for SS. This is a real trap with no escape, and I’m sure there are many others in the same fix, however we see no discussion being conducted about our type of problem regarding some kind of health care coverage that we could realistically acquire. We are just 1 serious medical problem away from total disaster, and no real hope of a better situation, no matter what the future legislation brings. Why are problems like ours not being recognized on the national stage?

    August 19, 2009 at 9:09 pm |
  32. Jim, Fl

    Oh Alice, where does one even begin with you? Private enterprise isn't free in this country to compete for your insurance business. For example, an insurance company based in Florida isn't allowed to offer health insurance to people living in Arkansas and so forth. Each state has its rules and regulations, its "mandates." Let's level the playing field, get rid of expensive mandates – coverage insurance companies are required to offer – and let insurance companies compete for our business. Further, let's offer the tax breaks given to businesses to provide medical coverage to the individual.
    As for trusting your government, please. You "trust" the government now because you like those running the show. But did you "trust" your government when President Bush was running the show? Somehow I doubt it. You don't base your decisions about what power the government has over you during times when you are happy with the government; you base your decisions on the premise of "what will I do if a government I DON'T like has control?"

    August 19, 2009 at 9:09 pm |
  33. Bob

    Seems to me that a lot of the fears about and arguments being made against government involvement in health care already happen with the insurance companies. i.e. only getting to choose from a select group of doctors, getting approval for certain procedures, etc. Plus the added benefits of getting booted from your insurance policy if you get too sick and individuals who are self-employed or work for small organizations paying loads more money for worse coverage than those working for large organizations. How can anyone not be for reform?

    August 19, 2009 at 9:08 pm |
  34. Frank

    I'd like to hear more discussion on who will set the rates, and who will make the determination of what is and what is not covered. What's basically is missing from all this noise is any talk of malpractice insurance reform, preventative care and wellness programs, the whole fee based system – what exactly does health care mean? Go to the doctor and get a pill? or is it something else. Without a full discussion all we're doing is moving huge piles of money around, lining the same pockets and nothing changes except the name. It's really sad.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:08 pm |
  35. TERRI A,

    Why doesn't the President have a forum similar to the presidential debates. This would allow fhe country to make an informed choice. Now all people speak about is what they heard. He is not controlling the message.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:03 pm |
  36. S Callahan

    I am a person who suffers a disablity that would bring the question of end to life to the forefront...yet, I don't feel that the rumors are true about the death panel, at least based on the way it's presented in the writing. What concerns me most, and the question is, 'what is the cost' that is being projected for each citizen and can I maintain the same quality I have now (which is good)? Right now, it's expensive maintaining a health care plan (cost factor goes up when you throw in the co pays, medicine, etc). My hope that it comes out costing less yet I don't hear anyone talking about this or the media writing on it.

    I'm also confused about the public option. To me..to maintain control I think co ops offer the best opportunity..but again. I feel this way ..primarly because it's unclear what the real ideas are.

    August 19, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  37. Ken

    Instead of arguing and debating on where the costs are why hasnt someone put together a simple powerpoint to show the overall picture. I will provide an example:

    1) Lawsuits ( Yearly cost are: $ % of health costs are: )
    Lawyers ( Profits are: $ % profit is )
    2) Medicare fraud ( Yearly cost are: $ % of health costs are: )
    3) Pharm costs ( Yearly cost are: $ % of health costs are: )
    Pharm ( Profits are: $ % profit is )
    4) Health Ins. Companies ( Yearly cost are: $ % of health costs are: )
    Health Ins. companies ( Profits are: $ % profit is )

    In this way the country will see the real story and what should be tackled first. I believe all areas need to be reviewed for savings, etc.

    Additionally: I understand that Medicare fraud is $60 billion per year. Why is our government not smart enough to contract out to a company to give them 10% off all savings they return to the government. If they reduce the fraud by $50 billion a year they get $5 billion. Heck, you could give them 20% for that matter. Its better to give away $10 billion to get $40 billion and still lose $10 billion then to continue to lose $60 billion. Simple math. Hmmm! thats why Congress does not get it.

    August 19, 2009 at 8:59 pm |
  38. Sue

    How about some visuals showing just what health care menu Representatives and Senators have to choose from each year. Let's see what real options could look like. Let's see what it is that has the insurance companies so scared and the Repubilcans so afraid to cross them. Let Americans see what could be if Congress decided to serve ALL Americans.

    August 19, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  39. Steve , NY

    England's health care plan is universal. The politicians and the public have the same health care plan. The politicians in this country including Pres Obama don't want us to have their plan. How come nobody asks Obama or the Congressmen how much they pay for their health plan. News media should expose the politician's health plan. Why are the Congressmen writing a plan for us but keeping theirs. Obviously their plan and all the federal employees have a superior plan.
    To solve all this bickering going on, why can't we have the same plan that the Congressmen have. If I can have their plan I would trust them. Otherwise I would not trust them as far as I can throw them.
    I can't believe the media is not jumping in on this. Nobody wants to pursue this. Bottom line is we either join their plan or they join the proposed plan. Working together means "one for all and all for one."

    August 19, 2009 at 8:57 pm |
  40. Ann Delea

    Alice, you said it well. I agree with you.

    August 19, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  41. American Medical Student

    As a medical student, I am very concerned that the government is assuming a larger role in the regulation of healthcare. The idea that President Obama and other politicians/attorneys truly understand healthcare is very far from the truth. In fact, some of Obama’s comments show that he is either terribly misinformed about the practice of medicine or that he is intentionally misleading the American public about the current state of medicine in order to push his agenda. My favorite example is a comment I watched come out of his mouth at a town hall meeting on July 22nd 2009:

    "Right now, doctors, a lot of times, are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that's out there. So if they're looking and - and you come in and you've got a bad sore throat, or your child has a bad sore throat, or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, "You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid's tonsils out."
    Now, that may be the right thing to do. But I'd rather have that doctor making those decisions just based on whether you really need your kid's tonsils out or whether it might make more sense just to change - maybe they have allergies. Maybe they have something else that would make a difference."

    It is apparent that Obama does not know the difference between a pediatrician and a surgeon. One basic and major difference is that pediatricians do not perform surgery of any kind! It shows that Obama does not understand that a referral to a surgeon must be made after the child has been evaluated by a pediatrician. Furthermore, the referral would in no way benefit the pediatrician financially and therefore, would be recommended if he or she legitimately thought that the best option (based on evidence based medicine) was a tonsillectomy. If this is just one example of Obama’s lack of knowledge, please explain to me why we should have faith that he knows what is best for medicine?

    August 19, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  42. Jake

    There has been talk of making our health care resemble Canada's. We winter in Arizona, last winter a Canada man wrote an article in the local paper thanking the Doctors for saving his life. He said that if he would have been in Canada he would have to draw a number and when that came up the Doctor would have seen him. He then said he would have been dead as it would have taken to long to see him. This is wrong for the U.S. Check out how many Canadians come to the U.S. for medical care.

    August 19, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  43. Enrique Ruiz

    Health Care, Wealth Care, Personal Care

    Oh, how I cherish my health,
    to live and work, and build my good name.
    My taxes I cut with charitable donations of my wealth,
    to live and work, and build my good name.
    Through my health care system I expect cures to maintain my health,
    to live and work, and build my good name.

    Health care reform seeks to improve everyone's health,
    so others can live and work, and build their good name.
    Not with my dollar, I proclaim, for you steal my wealth,
    so all can live and work, and build their good name.
    The children, infirmed, injured and pregnant of status untold... their health,
    is of no concern for they have no right to live and work, and build a good name.

    It is our faith, our politics and degree of kindness that decide other people's access to health,
    for them to live and work, and build a good name.
    I believe that others plight and health does not contribute to my wealth,
    so that I may live and work, and leave a good name.
    At birthday parties we toast to my good health,
    so I may live many comfortable years and leave a good name.

    I know that viruses, broken bones and advancing age all affect my health,
    interfering with my ability to live, work and leave a good name.
    All along though, I buy goods, dinners, cars and homes to display my wealth
    so others may know how I lived and worked, and tried to leave a good name.
    Yet hypocrisy reigns when it comes to my health,
    I cared for me only and in the process... I tarnished my good name.

    Enrique Ruiz

    August 19, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  44. John

    Everything the government touches goes horribly wrong. As Reagan said, the sixt scariest words are: "I'm from the government to help". Social security and welfare are 2 shining examples of the "Government knows best" ideas that have failed. To be clear, I'm not a fan of the current health care system either, but giving it into the hands of what is a clearly inept entity is simply repeating the same errors of the past. Healthcare is NOT a right! If you want something in this country you have to earn it. In a free society I cannot be held responsible for other people – especially those that are obese, smoke, or take drugs.

    August 19, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  45. Donna Burden

    I think if you go back and read the Bill of Rights, keeping a dictionary onhand, people may find that health care, free or otherwise is not a right at all....

    Our country is already operating under a huge deficit, so why does this make any sense? Look at Tennessee and the Tenncare system. It almost bankrupted the state, and when it was changed, mostly done away with, the people who really needed it and were citizens were taken off of it, while illegals and drug addicts who sold their meds, stayed on.

    I think more options should be investigated before undergoing the health care revision.

    August 19, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  46. Jamie T

    I've worked in healthcare in operations and in information technology for over a decade, both in the United States under what is called 'private' healthcare, and in Scotland, under the NHS or 'public' healthcare. I have a unique view and insight, and have not found anyone who is able to answer MY questions.

    The crisis is more than just what Alice (or anyone in the news) is bringing up right now. There's more than just insurers as part of the whole issue. When you look at healthcare as a whole, it's actually a four sided issue - Patients, Providers, Payers, and Employers. So, when tackling just the 'public option,' you will NEVER fix the problems inherent in the system.

    When talking about payoes, or insurers, I believe it is vital to ensure they once again TAKE RISK. That's their job, after all, and they haven't done it in years. By bringing a public option to the table, it is hoped to change the balance of power against the private insurers. But, what I would say, is there are already two 'public' (albeit closed) options, or options in which the government are involved with the care of patients.

    One is called Medicare. The other is called the VA. Medicare still adheres to the standard insurance call of 'Pay for Procedure.' However, there is somethings that could tip this balance - it's called "PQRI" or "Pay for Performance," depending on who you are talking to. These pieces would allow for payers / insurers to pay NOT on the amount of procedures performed, but instead on their ability to report their OUTCOMES. This important move is being held back, and it is vital that it be allowed to move forward. Why? Because right now, the more procedures a physician performs and is able to prove medical necessity for, they receive compensation. One of the things that I noticed as a difference between the US model and the UK model is that the UK model can't afford for you to be sick, and the US model NEEDS for you to be sick. Without changing this simple fact of operations to a more reasonable payment model, the public option won't do any good, and efficiency and efficacy of healthcare will continue to spiral.

    Additionally, I believe it is time for the people footing the bill (patients, employers, the government) to call everyone to task, and to come to the table to learn some of the real problems facing this system today. Apathy, as always, works against us.

    August 19, 2009 at 8:52 pm |
  47. Heber Saravia

    I have not heard anyone talk about increasing the number of doctors to lower health care cost. Currently, doctors control how many new doctors are licensed to work in the profession. Isn't this a conflict of interest?
    If we really want to make the health care market competitive, we need to have more doctors competing for the patient's or insurance dollars.
    Is anyone doing anything in this regard?

    August 19, 2009 at 8:51 pm |
  48. Sean, PA

    How does the government feel they can fund such a health initiative. The government already can not sustain medicare, medicade, social security, and the postal service. These big four federal programs are already near insolvency and have been managed poorly for decades. Now when the government wants to take another 16% of GDP how does the government plan to now do better than they did before and not run yet another program into the ground where in the past they have failed. When the government fails in one of these initiatives the tax payer is the bailout group and no one who made these decisions is held accountable for mismanagement.

    How does the government propose to succeed where they have previously failed the american people? What will be different?

    August 19, 2009 at 8:48 pm |
  49. Sean

    "We have given the private sector decades to come up with accessible and affordable health care for ALL our citizens and they have failed."
    Are you kidding me with this? Since when in history has the health care system not been heavily regulated. Why do you think costs are so high? We're not reforming any market-failure here. This would be another regulative attempt at a government failure stemming from the New Deal. You madam are sadly misinformed

    August 19, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  50. April

    As one of the "poor" who this person says thinks they deserve health care, all I can say is try to deal with all the red tape that goes with trying to get an approval for a medication, to see a doctor, to get a test, and you also have to "work" for what you get. I am not sitting on my butt watching soap operas at home. I go to a volunteer job, I take 10 hours of classes via computer, to earn my medicaid. I am no different than any one of you, I fact I have it harder as I have to answer to everybody. I have to answer to the government, to the taxpayers, and to dumbpeople who know zero about the system. I do not want to be here, I would rather be working. I do not have a choice as I suffered a brain injury and i cannot find a job due to memory issues. I cannot find a doctor where I live, I cannot get vocational rehab, (heck- try getting the rehab person to actually show up!!!) So, before you make blanket statements, you need to stop and ask yourself: what would you do if it happened to you. No one plans or dreams to be on assistance or on welfare. It is not a lifestyle. It is help on a temporary basis.

    August 19, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
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