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August 20th, 2009
07:18 AM ET

Sound Off: Your comments 8/19/09

Editor's Note: Many of you continued to talk about health care reform with questions about health care in V.A. hospitals, comments about exclusion of autism by current private health care companies, and more questions on issues that continue to be a source of confusion for many. Read below some of what we heard and let us know your thoughts:
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We already have government health care. It's called the V.A. hospital. Ask any of our injured soldiers who laid it all on the line for their country if they are happy with the lack of treatment or run down facilities they had to endure. If we think (government funded) health care is going to be better, think again...

Thirty-six states allow health insurance providers to specifically exclude treatment for children with Autism which violates their fundamental human rights. They only approve treatment for restoring functions to the disabled, including self-inflicted diseases caused by drinking, smoking, drugs and controllable obesity but deny essential treatment for establishing functions for these innocent children who will never reach their potential or learn to communicate. Autistic children suffer irreversible damage to their health and development without early intervention. This discrimination is shameful! Is it not illegal? One in 150 children are diagnosed with Autism, which is considerably more than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.

Some facts for you - I am an anesthesiologist with 30 years experience, in Southfield Michigan. Medicare now pays me 30% less than private insurance pays for anesthesia care. Obviously the elderly are harder to manage and carry more risk, for anesthesiologists because of their fragility and concomitant disease. We are paid less, however, to take care of them. I am though paid well in the aggregate so it is worth it to me to work a 60 hour week and take night calls 5 times a month, where I stay up all night many times without a break. If a public option takes hold and pays the Medicare rate I cannot do this. That epidural at 3AM on 15 minutes notice will not happen. No medical student in their right mind with $200,000 worth of debt will pick the anesthesia field if they feel the compensation is not worth the extra 5 years of training and the complex challenge and stress which goes with the job. Other high stress and complex specialties will dry up also. Ask Dr. Gupta how many Neurosurgeons will work for low wages. In the end medicine is no different than anything else. You do get just what you pay for. There is no free lunch in America.

I am hearing so many different stories and rumors about how the elderly will be treated under the health care reform. Can someone provide the actual facts?


Filed under: Behind The Scenes
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Elizabeth

    Cash for Clunkers. Never again

    When did the government promise to reimburse dealerships within seven days!!!!!!!! Most businesses run on a 30 day payment schedule. These dealerships have been screaming for help. They get it, again with taxpayer money, and all they do is complain. I no longer have any sympathy for the auto industry. They get what they earned.

    August 20, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  2. RLWellman

    If you have a Government committee made up of non-medical personnel whose job it is to decide if, how, and when you get health care or not, what do you call them?

    If you have a student who goes to medical school to become a doctor "because" the Government pays for his or her tuition, this is definately not a doctor I would go see!

    August 20, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  3. Joanne P.

    I am all for giving medical school students 100% scholarships. I know this does not address all the very fine points you make in your article, but it is a start.

    August 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  4. Richard Palmeri

    Hello,
    I just wanted to let you know my insights on this program. Myself, I have been in the automobile business for over 30 years. I have never seen in over 30 yrs the rush to purchase a new car.

    I personally work for Atlantic Hyundai, We are the largest Hyundai dealer in the USA. Normally we sell between 350 – 450 cars per month even during the recession. Since the Cash for clunkers program began, We now have delivered over 715 cars already this month Aug. 18th, We will probably sell over 1,000 new Hyundai's this month alone.

    The only one problem I can see is all the extra paper work for the clunker program (Approx. 2 1/2 hrs. extra paper work per car). This has slowed down the delivery process and some customers are waiting over 6 hrs to have their car delivered. The last 4 weekends we have had over 80 pizza's delivered to our dealership along with outdoor barbecues, cotton candy, soda, ice cream, radio stations and give away's, Just to keep the customers happy. We have a waiting list every day of at least 10-15 people just waiting to speak to a sales person.

    What I am saying is: The program is working well for the American people, tow truck drivers, junk yards, extra bucks in the consumers pockets, dealers doing great, sale people are doing great, pizza place is doing great. If the consumers have more money in their pockets, they have more to spend elsewhere. It's a win, win, win, situation. And to top it all off, we have removed over gas hogs from the road for cleaner air and less gas use and creat new jobs.

    Thank You,
    Rich Palmeri,
    Atlantic Hyundai
    West Islip, NY
    631-587-0700

    August 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  5. joe

    In my opinion this bill should not pass – if a bill has such vague language that it could be left up to so much interpretation then it was not well crafted and no matter what is promised the administration could always go back on their word because of the ambiguity of the bill itself. This is another example of him trying to rush things to approval because of the Dem's super majority, but we see how that strategy failed America in the Stimulus.

    In addition; I think its about time we talk about the reality behind the bleeding heart argument of how horrible it is that the health profession makes a profit off "the suffering of others". Those that make that argument and stand with Obama must not understand the true dynamics of profit motivation. The incentive of profit breeds innovation, it leads companies to provide top quality of care, innovative products, remarkable drugs. Without that we will fall into a sub standard medical system where we don't have blockbuster AIDs or cancer drugs. I beg America to not be naive, we can't have top quality care with profit potential.

    That said, the two main culprits to the excessive cost of health care are malpractice lawsuits and the burden the smoking population puts on the system. If Obama is serious about improving care; he should start there – then there will be enough of money for a broader system (which by the way already subsidizes the non insured).

    If Obama does not do something about malpractice costs and the smoker burden, costs will only increase, regardless of his overhaul.

    August 20, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  6. Joseph Avery

    How the heck is the federal government going to run a Trillion Dollar Healthcare system when they cannot even manage a $3 Billion dollar Cash for Clunkers program that is so poorly managed by the Administration that Car Dealers have only been reimbursed for 2% of their Clunker Sales, and hundreds of dealers have dropped out of the program for non-payment by the federal government. No wonder the Administration wants to pull the plug on the program - what an embarrassment.

    August 20, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  7. Richard Blankenburg

    Today it is very difficult to prove to Republicans that you are a true Democrat; you have to agree to have your grandmother killed and prove that you were never born, instead your mother knitted you while she was in Kenya.

    August 20, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  8. Mary Ann

    Why doesn't your news agency play the video in which Obama said a govt or public option is the first step towards a single payer system? That proves all those in support of this option are more interested in a takeover rather than real reform. If the govt has sole control of the health industry, who will compete to control costs? What's even scarier, who will keep the govt honest? Let the drs., hospitals, and insurance companies work things out...I took care of my mom, dealing with the govt was a nightmare. Got more help from drs. and drug companies.
    Why do you only have a site to add names in support of a public option? Seems really biased to me...I have just as much distrust for most of the media as I do politicians.

    August 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  9. Sharon Hughes

    In regards to any GOP members who are rallying thier constituants to fight against any government funded health insurance programs, I say then you must give up your government funded health care that you and your loved ones receive. I am the wife of a retired army Sgt1stClass and I have some health issues, that would make it impossible for me to get health insurance though a private insurance program. But thanks to the government insurance that we receive as a benefit of my husbands service I receive the health care that I need. By the way this is also the same insurance that GOP members of our government have and tell thier constituants to rally against. If it is so terrible and they don't want any government health insurance maybe they should be required to forfit thier government health care!! Find a private insurance company (that will give them insurance) at thier age, state of health or possile future state of health that (I) not (they) can afford. It is rediculous to say there shouldn't be a government insurance plan for who ever might want it, any insurance is better then none and thats the case for many Americans! And doctors that say they would be able to care for people with this insurance because they won't make enough money from them should really ask themselves why they became doctors in the first place and remember that there are doctors out there that will except it. The true reason that this is truely an issue at all is that we as Americans have become greedy and selfserving and don't feel the need to do whats best for ALL only whats best for ME, MYSELF AND MINE !!! And we all need to be reminded that no matter how good are health care is NO ONE LIVES FOREVER and we should except that!!

    August 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  10. B. Passalacqua, MD

    I am a family physician in Reno, Nevada. Where do I sign to be on one of the so-called "Death Squads"?

    The ignorance of much of the public boggles my mind, and I am apalled by the irresponsibility of many of our politicians who actually start such fictional "truths". Why are we 37th in health care rankings in the world? Why do we pay so much for health care and why do so many people have no health coverage? Are we proud of this?

    August 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  11. Gary Corn

    As a 68 year old Senior Citizen I have a question. Throughout my life I have always heard our country's leader referred to as president, i.e. President Eisenhower, President Nixon, President Clinton. I always depend on CNN for current news now and I'm noticing a change in how we address the current President. On CNN it is almost always as "Mr. Obama". I would like to know the cause of this apparent change and hope that it isn't an indication of less respectability for our leader. GC

    August 20, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  12. lester

    So the Scottish authorities decided to free the Lockerbie bomber...I remember the tragedy well...My girlfriend Lorraine was friends with a guy named Scott..I don't emember his last name...at Ohio Weslyan in Delaware, Ohio...he flew to scotland to see relatives, kiss the Blarney Stone & all that over Christmas vay-kay (I think the flight was a Christmas gift from his parents) that was all he talked about..he was excited & looking forward to the trip...I still remember Lorraine sobbing uncontrolably & asking me WHY?...Why would anyone want to do this to people? WHY?...I couldn't console her..she cried for days...then I wake up 20 years later & the bomber is being released under the 'guise of compassion because he's dying? He obviously had no compassion for the 270 people onboard...or thier families..In closing I would like to say to the Scottish authorities...Stupidity Strikes Again..& they wonder why the people have no faith in thier decision making abilities..... Lester

    August 20, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  13. Joshua Weikel

    Last Night Toby Cosgrove was on the show and he said that he doesn't know of anyone who would argue that health care shouldn't be readily available. It's definitely an arguement that I would make, I think one of the big reasons why healthcare costs have gotten so out of control is because so many people run to their doctor when there's the slightest hint of illness, or with the slightest injury. This is mainly poeple who have good health care that will allow them to do this, but the insurance companies have to pay for those unnecissary visits and the costs get passed onto customers via higher premiums. Yes, insurance should be available to all who are willing to pay for it, but there should be a limit to the amount of doctor visits a person can make.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:54 am |