Health Care Battle Lines

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is the health care debate really Obama's Waterloo? Ben Smith of Politico discusses the battle lines being drawn in Washington. Then, Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI), discusses what centrist Democrats want from health care legislation, and why he voted against the bill last Friday.


Ron Kind and Ben Smith

Comments [117]

Eugenia Renskoff from Williamsburgh, brooklyn

Hello, Brian, I find it hard to believe that a politician, whether Republican, Democrat or whatever would be against people getting the health care they need when they are sick. To me, that is very cold and politically unwise. I myself have no health insurance because of a mortgage fraud and foreclosure event that wiped out my savings and for over a year have had to suffer horrible lower back aches. I believe that everyone is entitled to health care. Those opposing it, have either never been sick or think that it will never happen to them. Eugenia Renskoff

Jul. 21 2009 04:22 PM
j.pike from NYC

I was appalled by the comment of a call-in listener this morning when she said that basically 'healthier people should pay less for insurance and people with health issues should pay more'. The ignorance and greed that this comment represents is Frightening! Obviously, she has never had illness in her life and doesn't realize that the physical, emotional, and financial challenges faced by people who are in 'less than perfect health' are enormous! The utter disregard for people floored me! Just wait, sweetie, your turn will come and when ill health hits you or your loved ones, I hope you have lots of cash at hand and a Health Care System that will not consider you disposable! Shame On You!

Jul. 21 2009 03:19 PM

This letter appeared in the Times today, I think more people should investigate what Dr. Ornish is doing.

Regardless of what happens with health care reform.

Here's the text of the letter:

To the Editor:

David Leonhardt’s “prostate cancer test” is a good but incomplete one for health care reform.

In addition to removing financial incentives for high-tech intervention, we need to educate clinicians in the impartial, critical analysis of all therapeutic options, and in supporting their patients as they act on the choices they make.

We need to realize that expensive, draconian treatment and “watchful waiting” are not our only choices. There is — as Dean Ornish is showing in peer-reviewed studies on prostate cancer, and a number of us are doing with heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder — a far more promising third way. It is grounded in proven techniques of self-care, including dietary modification, physical exercise and mind-body approaches like meditation and yoga, and in group education and support.

This approach holds great promise for treating and preventing chronic illness of all kinds and for saving large sums of money. It should be central to health care reform. James S. Gordon

Washington, July 13, 2009

The writer, a psychiatrist, is the founder and director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and the author of “Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression.”

Jul. 21 2009 02:20 PM
HMI from Brooklyn

hjs @109 notes, "wasn't there an election?? didn't obama WIN??..i think the people knew who they were voting for and they were very clear."

There was and they did. But of "the people," 60M voted for McCain nationally (v. about 69M for Obama). Of the 53% who voted for Obama, not one of them had seen the healthcare plan now being proposed. So, clarity on what they were voting for in re healthcare is not readily available.

Jul. 21 2009 02:09 PM
HMI from Brooklyn

to jawbone @96: As i said, "coincides." It may well be the case that the rise of for-profit health insurers is also directly related to the rise of billable, bureaucratic 3rd parties.

Jul. 21 2009 02:01 PM
joe e from brooklyn

I'm glad so many people are as revolted by "Christine" and her pea-brained outlook as I am. My friend, who as a health nut and never smoked a single cigarette in her life, died at age 30 from lung cancer.

However, I do wish either Brian or his guest challenged her more, or even just a little. I don't get it.

Jul. 21 2009 01:38 PM
Neal from Brooklyn

To the 42-year-old woman who's never going to get sick because she eats organic food and therefore has no health insurance, one day you're going to slip on an organic banana peel and then you'll be sorry. Are you actually saying that when people get sick, it's THEIR fault? If yes, then you should see a doctor immediately about your lack of a heart! BTW, auto insurance is mandatory, if you have a car (which in much of the country you have to), so that part of your argument does not work at all.

Jul. 21 2009 12:53 PM

I support single payer absolutely.

And a VERY aggressive preventive care program, which would ostensibly involve the following:

1) intensive phys ed from K-12. This physical education would necessarily involve:

a) 30-60 minutes of cardio daily (30 up to grade six, 60 from grade six onward),
b) an introduction to yoga to prevent joint damage,
c) an introduction to meditation, which has been shown to reduce a surplus production of cortisol and adrenaline - two big factors in inflammatory diseases such as heart disease and arthritis.

2) intensive nutrition classes (can serve a dual purposes to get kids familiar with basic chemistry)

3) serious reform of the processed "food" industry

Is that so much to ask?

I also recommend Bill Moyers' interview with Wendell Potter, who was head of PR for Cigna, and has left to become a whistleblower. Brilliant guy.

Jul. 21 2009 12:37 PM
hjs from 11211

wasn't there an election?? didn't obama WIN??
i think the people knew who they were voting for and they were very clear.

Jul. 21 2009 12:32 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Evidence based medicine, outcomes does have a problem. Medicine is called a practice for good reason--it is part art, part science. Yes, statistically giving one form of a medicine or a pill for an ailment may work well, even best, on a high number of patients; but some patients will not react well or experience help from those self-same medications or treatments. They need something else.

When doctors are told they will be penalized in some way for not using the "approved" approach, people will suffer, as will the doctors who choose to practice medicine not bookkeeping.

But, costs will be kept down, along with, perhaps, culling the herd.

The savings in single payer permit real medicine to be practiced, with patients chosing doctors and doctors choosing treatments.

Jul. 21 2009 12:08 PM
Joe the Actor

Christina @44: I have looked into this Catasphrophe Insurance and have found nothing under $200 and what happens when injuries incurred in an accident leave problems that lead to a whole host of other problems? Also, just being healthy doesn't exempt you from getting sick. It doesn't.

I an healthy, young, and fit (I teach fitness classes). I eat fairly well and take care of myself. I NEED INSURANCE TOO! I don't need my whole quality of life to plummet because I get sick or in an accident. No one living in America should go without basic healthcare or live in fear of getting sick. It can't be this hard. We're the richest nation in the world.

Jul. 21 2009 12:04 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

#55--Very good question; Just what coverage do our Congress Critters get? I believe there are various plans, and they can opt for upgrades. Since they need coverage everywhere and travel widely within the country, they surely need to have actual covearge outside their residential area.

My parasite does not have a "presence" in the area I visit to see my family; when I got sick out there, I could only go to an ER -- IF it were an actual emergency. Otherwise it was out of pocket. Nice, huh? With the Dems suggesting these localized health co-ops, guess what will happen to people from, say, NY, who get sick in TX or CA or WI?

Another good question would be to Obama, other pols, and pundits who talk about "super," "gold plated," and "Cadillac" insurance plans: Exactly what do they mean by these terms? Obama used those words on his NewsHour interview with Jim Lehrer last night.

"What's being talked about now, I understand, is the ***possibility of penalizing insurance companies who are offering super, gold-plated, Cadillac plans.*** I haven't seen the details of this yet, but it may be an approach that doesn't put additional burdens on middle-class families. My whole goal is not to add burdens to folks who are already having tough times affording insurance, but actually to relieve it. And so I've got to look at the details of that before I make any kind of final determination."

Penalize the insurance companies offering these plans, so far undefined but spoken about by so many? Huh?

Transparency also requires clarity, I would suggest, Mr. Prez. I realize being concrete may tie a pol down, but, darn it, it's not fair to just blow smoke and vague assetions.

Jul. 21 2009 11:59 AM
Joe the Actor

#44 - Christina: I have looked into Catastrophe Insurance. It's kinda a misnomer. It's not "hundreds of dollars a year". Any insurance company's plan is going to cost you at least $200 a month. If, IF IF you get hit by a car you have NO IDEA what kind of life long and lasting damage that could cause. A cheap insurance plan would do very little to cover you. I am a pilates instructor and looked into a group insurance under an agency for people in the Mind Body industry. It was under $100 and covered nothing! Maybe a couple of days in a hospital.

I was shocked by the caller who seemed to thing the way things were re: health insurance was just fine and didn't see why, basically, she should have to pay for someone's unhealthy lifestyle. Now, granted, I do agree that media almost makes it seem as if it's "WHEN you get cancer" and not "IF", I think we should all have access to the remarkable healthcare that people living in OTHER COUNTRIES come to America to enjoy (if they can afford it). I am healthy too, I teach fitness, I don't drink much, I stay away from sugar and Mickey Dee's. But one day I will be older! Lifestyle is only a control factor not an insurance policy. I don't have an affordable option that would be worth it to me. I pay out of pocket

Jul. 21 2009 11:54 AM
thedra from New York

How come nobody on the show mentioned the Congressional Budget Office's assessment of the bill as it's currently structured? The CBO says the bill will increase costs and not everyone will be covered. People on the left focusing on DeMint's comments are missing the point -- ie, that both sides "strategize" -- just listen to Rahm Emanuel. (And why not try to stop Obama? The left did a good job of stopping Bush. Obama isnt the end all be all; Obama's on a huge winning streak; he's treated like a god by media and his flock. But he is fallible and this is "about him" contrary to what he says).This bill is just to much too soon. Why not slow it down? The stimulus was rushed and looked what that has delivered - zippo. I think most republicans and many democrats just want to slow it up a bit and make sure it's the most effective legislation it can be. And I know many of you want to "do away with the middlemen," or CEO's of these companies hc companies; but what happens to the thousands who work in the sector once it goes away? Or wont you care once you have healthcare for free?

Jul. 21 2009 11:48 AM
John from Oakland, NJ


You and other commentators do the same thing. You let someone like Congressman Kind refer to many studies proving his points, but you don't make him state the source and details of these studies. That is not an objective discourse. People need to know the actual study so they can interpret it themselves. I would be reluctant to take medical interpretations from a Congressman. Would you take medical advice from a used car salesman? Secondly, Congressman Kind is knocking the health care legislation because it's not "perfect" in his mind. President Obama has said that if we try to get a "perfect" health care plan we will get nothing because we can't satisfy everyone. We have to make a significant change and improve it as we go along.

Jul. 21 2009 11:44 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Brian @ 85 -- I hope you live in an area with no air pollution since that's something which no amount of "good" health practices can quite manage to avoid. Well, I suppose oxygen tanks and masks could be used outdoors, with air purifiers for the house.

People who live in areas receiving pollution via the prevailing winds from coal powered plants in the Midwest may well suffer adverse health effects...simply by living. Some of that does come thesaway....

The cruelest cancers and illnesses are those which happen to the people who did everything they could to avoid the carcinogens. But, as been famously said with another word, stuff happens.

The problem with insurance through employers is that the pool of insurees is simply too small usually to statistically even out even one or two serious and expensive health care incidents. That's yet another reason why single payer universal coverage would benefit everyone. You wouldn't have to fret about the family eating at McDonald's while you serve healthy salads; it all evens out over the huge numbers being covered. And, there are economies of scale, lack of myriad insurance rules and regulations and gotchas to deal with, no denial of care bureaucracy (if we do it right), and more of the country's health care dollars go to CARE, not profits, marketing, overhead, exec humongous compensation, etc.

But...Obama does not want single payer on the table. Or even talked about, only talked down.
Too "disruptive" to the profitability of the pampered parasites.... Must not disrupt the business plan to which they have grown accustomed. Must feed the parasites....feed the parasites.

Jul. 21 2009 11:39 AM
Karen from NYC

I am in my fifties. I eat local and exercise regularly, too; I'm in great shape. High fructose corn syrup and unrefined flour do not cross my threshhold, let alone my lips. Yet I have a genetic cardiac arrhythmia that was aggravated by a bad case of the measles that I contracted pre-vaccine. My husband, who is equallly careful and fit, skidded on black ice last year, while driving below the speed limit, and was treated for an injury that was caused, believe it or not, by his seat belt.

Not only should our health not be traded as though we were hog futures on a commodity market, but the "future" is never certain, and our genes don't care what we eat.

Jul. 21 2009 11:27 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

My #89 was not clear: My doctor told me that his reimbursement rate from HMOs has gone down every year for years now.

My HMO is not cheap to me (they wanted over $20K/year beginning in April, until I found I go with higher copays and deductibles for somewhat less--but I better not need hospitalization...), but it is stingy with my GP. He tells me they're pretty stingy with the specialists as well, which is why mamy in an area I need specialists are not in my parasite's plan. And it's one of the biggest HMOs.

Jul. 21 2009 11:24 AM
Laura from Staten Island

I am so proud to read all of the comments about Christina from the Flatiron area. I keep thinking about how offended I am by her words, and it's nice to see that I am not the only one who disagrees. I believe in living a healthy life, and eating well, etc. But, I have had thyroid disease since I was 19 years old. My healthy life style didn't prevent that, and now, part of my, "healthy living," is to get regular check ups with my endocrinologist. Under her plan, I would "deserve" to pay higher rates, even though I eat an organic diet, and work out every day. No matter how hard we try to be healthy, our bodies are not perfect, and we all will face health issues at some time.

Jul. 21 2009 11:24 AM
Jerry from Washington Heights

Re: comment #15 - This refers to plans currently in existence that do not want to become "qualified plans". They will be allowed to remain in existence but NOT to enroll new people. After the bill becomes law ONLY qualified health plans will be allowed. This means all plans must meet basic minimum standards and treat ALL people the same. Not a bad idea.

Jul. 21 2009 11:22 AM
Walter Naegle from Manhattan

I'm happy that the young lady with no health insurance is doing well. She is eating right, exercising, keeping her weight down, and hasn't been sick "for years." So, she doesn't feel she needs health insurance. Why did no one ask her how she would pay for her care if she was hit by a car, or in some other accident requiring hospitalization?

Jul. 21 2009 11:19 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

HMI @ 94--Temporal relationships MAY also be causal relationships, but that is not a proven correlation.

Indeed, since health insurers became profit centers also correlates, perhaps more strongly?, with the rising costs of health CARE.

Jul. 21 2009 11:19 AM
Marco Ambrosio, 24 from NJ

Did anyone else find Congressman Kind's stance and views completely refreshing?! Finally someone in Congress publicly takes a pragmatic approach to cost savings through collaborative efforts (like patient centered care and medical home centers) and quality outcomes.

He was correct to vote no - to think these days voting against your party is perhaps the best measure of integrity. Fundamental reform is needed not a rushed makeshift effort that doesn't address root problems (like pay-per service reimbursement that stresses tests and not outcomes).

Hopefully Kind moves up in the ranks and gets his opinions heard because the entrenched powers within the Republicrats favors status quo over real reform. Obama is going to have difficultly getting the house to produce a bill he will actually sign.


Jul. 21 2009 11:14 AM
HMI from Brooklyn

Ms. Rothman of Staten Island says, "Going another 50 years in this nation without a federal healthcare solution will break all our budgets.." Maybe. But I can't help but notice that the vast run-up in medical costs in this country coincides with the widespread availability of health insurance (along with development of class-action lawsuits and lottery-like malpractice awards). This gives me little hope that a new, largely government-run, insurance scheme will solve our problems. IMO, healthcare needs to be re-thought, not merely re-financed.

Jul. 21 2009 11:02 AM
JT from Long Island

@[44] Christina from Manhattan,

Where did you get the stat that "at least 80% of chronic illness is 'environmental', meaning preventable by lifestyle choices." If that's a statistic from an extensive study then you might have something. Assuming this is true (I doubt it) there are still issues beyond the stats. Of those 80%, how many are poor and would not be able to afford to cover their expensive insurance? How many don't have access to adequate healthcare that would help prevent these 'environmental' issues? Would you have the 20% whose illness is not environmental go broke trying to care for their condition?

This 'every person for themselves' attitude is not good for society. If we applied it to everything mass transit in NYC would cost $10 per ride because it would not be subsidized by the millions that do not use it. That would lead to riots so no one would suggest it, but doing that to healthcare coverage is not a big deal.

Jul. 21 2009 11:01 AM
Rochelle from White Plains

More than just getting everyone "insurance" coverage needs to be addressed in the health care reform.

Our family has a very expensive plan -- currently $1700 per month for a family of four. Nonetheless, in 2008 we spent over $120,000 out of pocket for the medical care of our autistic child.

Everyone is afraid of "rationing," but no one seems to get that it is happening already. It's just that we are letting the insurance companies decide what should be paid for and what should not. And their interests are completely contrary to those of the patients. In our case, that means that the insurance company has decided that treatments for autism are not covered.

Today, this is my family's problem. In 10 years when our son and the 1 in 150 others with autism reach adulthood, it will be your problem too.

Jul. 21 2009 10:56 AM
Bonnie Rothman from Staten Island

Those who are healthy and without insurance while young are simply going with the statistics: most young people are healthy because they are young! Live to 50 or 55 and you begin to see your friends get cancer, blood and cardio problems etc. Everyone dies, and most of us die of some ailment.

Insurance is NECESSARY AND BETTER FOR THE COMMUNITY -- NOT JUST THE INDIVIDUAL -- and everyone should have it. Just like car insurance.

Going another 50 years in this nation without a federal healthcare solution will break all our budgets. Remember that those without insurance still get healthcare, except that it's way more expensive (emergency room care usually late in the disease process) and all taxpayers pick up the tab or their local hospital goes out of business (from trying to cover these costs), in which case those voters/citizens are still paying and now have no local hospital: Short sighted, selfish, "me-firsters" and long term, economically dumb.

I have yet to hear a single Congressman who is against the healthcare bill propose any solution at all to what they posit as the "problem." These people are awash in lobbying money from insurance companies and utterly without credability as far as this voter is concerned.

Jul. 21 2009 10:53 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Susanne @ 14 -- I think you've hit on something. Jared Diamond in his book "Collapse" said that one of the markers of societies which fail in the face of crises is that the leadership, the powerful are so far removed from the vast majority of people that they are so unaffected by hardship that they do not see the real problems.

I think we meet that criteria.

Jul. 21 2009 10:53 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Please inform Rep. Kind that, per my doctor with whom I discussed the proposed public plan yesterday during my office visit, he has been hit with **reimbursement rates from HMO's every year for several years now**. The only way he can make money is to limit any office visit to one issue.

He doesn't do that as it's bad medicine. So the Big Insurance parasites feed off not only the insuree but the care providers.

With single payer, per the PNPH (Physicians for a Natioal Health Plan), the savings of $350B/year, now closer to $400B/year, would mean everyone would be covered on Day One, from dollar one. No copays, no deductibles, no hassle. Doctors could hire people in their offices to help patients, not to be on hold with insurance company telephone reps, trying to fight their way through the thickets and jungles of all the varying Big Insurance regulations, rules, gotchas. Within each company there are so many different rules and plans that it is impossible to keep everything straight.

Example: I had to make many calls to my parasite, over several days, each time asking for a supervisor as the answers varied from each different rep! Finally I got three different conclusions from three different supervisors, just to confirm that I did not need a referral for an ultrasound my doctor prescribed. I asked to speak to someone above the supervisors' grade and eventually was told that since I lived north of their dividing line in NJ, yes, I did not need a referral...for my current the current time. But I should always check back as rules change without notice....

Give me a break!!!

And the doc's office people, even the docs themselves, go through this day after day after day. Hospitals in the US have billing wings, so many people are needed to deal with the bureaucracy created by Big Insurance parasites; now the Dems want to put more layers of bureaucracy on top of all that exists already!

Jul. 21 2009 10:50 AM
kai from NJ-NYC

What DeMint desires is the continuance of the status quo, where major industries, like insurance/big pharm., make gobs of money from Federal largesse (corporate welfare).

By the way, the first caller is correct ONLY in that other American industries, like the big ag./food and health, promote unhealthiness, but if she thinks "her" American society will be productive without state-mandated health insurance, she is foolhardy.

Jul. 21 2009 10:47 AM
J.C. from Minneapolis

Re: Comment #15

You should go back and read the comments to that episode again. I responded to the post you refer to in comment #29.

The section you're referring to is probably Section 102, which is a grandfather clause, meaning that old insurance can continue on, but any new plans have to meet the new requirements (e.g. no denying people for pre-existing conditions, etc. etc.). Private health insurance is not banned.

Meanwhile, everyone should email Investor's Business Daily for writing a misleading editorial on this topic last week, because that's where this myth is probably coming from.

Jul. 21 2009 10:43 AM
HMI from Brooklyn

I wish someone would seriously propose a "supply side" solution. How about the Federal government increasing the supply of physicians and physician assistants by funding more/larger medical schools, providing free tuition and insuring federally for malpractice [reform of punitive damage laws wouldn't hurt, either]? The increase in supply should finally break the AMA's guild monopoly and make medical care widely available at lower prices. It would certainly be a start, and wouldn't require the invention of yet another huge bureaucracy.

Jul. 21 2009 10:43 AM
Brian from NJ

The caller about people in poor health is correct. If I speed recklessly in my car, I pay more car insurance. However, if I smoke and am obese, and making my kids obese, I pay the same as everyone else. These people should be offered free nutritionists, free smoking cessation counseling and drugs. If they choose not to enroll in these free programs, they should pay a surcharge- say $1000/year. Lastly, we have to change "family" coverage to a per person structure. I excercise 5 times per week and have one child and pay the same as someone who smokes, is obese, and has 6 kids. Great system...

Jul. 21 2009 10:42 AM
Greg Dorsainville from Astoria

on the issue of evidence based medicine, yes, agree with the comments here, but there is a myth here and that is of the rational patient. Sometimes, the placebo effect and administering a useless test is more powerful than telling a patient that their bodies will heal and be fine on their own. The patient doctor relationship is increasingly more adversarial, and the argument that the "evidence doesnt show you need this procedure" is something that many patients will not like.

Reducing costs means helping the doctor do their job right through evidence based medicine and freedom from frivolous lawsuits. It also means that when the doctor does use EBM to make a decision, it will make them much less likely to be sued for malpractice.

Jul. 21 2009 10:42 AM
JT from Long Island

Another thing regarding the caller, Christine. Under her plan women between 12-50 would pay a lot more then men because pregnancy can have a lot of expensive complications. If they only charge women that are actually pregnant you'd have to take out a mortgage to have a kid. Kids themselves would bankrupt a family.

Jul. 21 2009 10:41 AM
Adam Payne from Inwood NY

I found the comments of Christene from the Flatiron district to be unfortunate and ill informed. I suffer from a rare neurological disease named Ataxia. Ataxia is a genetic and somewhat hereditary disease. The fact that I am healthy and a non smoker doesn't enter into the fact that I have this disease. There is nothing that I could have done to not get this disease. Christene's comment that I expect to take a pill to get better is just wrong. There is no pill that I can take.
The disabled population in this country is often marginalized. This means that under Christene's plan the people who are least able to pay are the one's being required to pay the most. This will force dsabled people to go on Medicare and SSD. These programs hae a salary cap which means that a person who can work can't work full time without losing their benefits.

Jul. 21 2009 10:39 AM
Cathy from Scotch Plains, NJ

If you can keep the health coverage you have, and there is a public option, what will prevent the provider of private health coverage (your employer) from insisting that you elect the public option first, and then your employer will pick up the rest? Won't this overtax the public option?

Jul. 21 2009 10:39 AM

One hting I never hear in this discussion when talking about European health care is their nearly 20% VAT on just about everything you pay for!

Jul. 21 2009 10:38 AM
Greg from Bronx

I'm not buying the viewpoint of Congressman Kind. He sounds a bit like he's in the pocket of K Street's pharma and other med industry lobbies. For one, where is he getting those stats on unnecessary treatments--hip replacements, etc?

While I do feel that this is an issue that needs to be addressed, his reasoning doesn't stand up to the urgency to pass a healthcare solution now. I'm not convinced by conservatives' reasoning and I stand with the president.

Jul. 21 2009 10:38 AM
Greg Dorsainville from Astoria

Once again, someone claims the false narrative that the reason doctors do so many tests is that it makes them more money. Nothing is mentioned about the CYA (cover your ass) nature of many tests that doctors order. There are many practices that are fueled by the need to make more money, but there is also an arguably equal or greater fear of being sued. Tort reform and tuition reimbursement needs to be brought up in these conversations brian. You need more doctors on your show.

Jul. 21 2009 10:37 AM
Amy from Manhattan

What are "freedom solutions" anyway? Did deMint give any specifics about what this rather Orwellian term actually means?

On the other hand, didn't Obama take Hillary Clinton to task during the primaries because her proposed plan would have required all citizens (not just children, like his) to have health insurance? Now his bill requires the same thing.

Jul. 21 2009 10:35 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

In #54, that was "HMO," as in the Helen Hunt rant in As Good As It Gets.

BTW, CorrenteWire has several people who are well-versed in the health care debate. Strong single payer bent at the site. While there, browse around. Oh, and it's "boldly shrill," so be forewarned!

Jul. 21 2009 10:35 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

How many decisions does the patient really make with the doctor? Who selects medical devices, the doctors and hospitals who are far from objective through heavy marketing, the under informed patient being marketed to through commercials and magazine ads, or the HMOs, PPOs, and other insurers who actually dole out the dollars?
The system the caller, Giovanni, is under… the current government system, appears to be ideal. The public plan covers general health and wellness, for anything above that, possibly including catastrophic care, there are private insurers.
Subsudies only keep prices artificially high are a joke and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Jul. 21 2009 10:35 AM
Marylou from Manhattan

I am on medicare. My doctors don't accept it. I MUST pay them out of pocket. Why can't I have the SAME HEALTH INSURANCE AS THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS? I am extremely healthy and just go for annual checkups, However, I must pay for these visits in addition to what I pay to medicare and my supplemental insurance company. Who are these doctors that insist upon unnecessary treatments? Let's take the profit out of health care.

Jul. 21 2009 10:35 AM
Alice Lee from Manhattan

Don't Jim DeMint and all of the Senators and Representatives HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE? Why not take their heath insurance away and see how long it takes before they vote for universal heath care coverage for Americans?

Also, I would like to comment on the first woman who called in. Yes, we should take responsibilities for our own health, but what about inherited heath problems that you have no control over? I did everything I could to take care of myself, but still had to have my gallbladder removed. And because of complications (pancreatitis, septic shock) my final hospital bill was over 50 thousand dollars. This was in 1990. As a graduate student, if my husband and I would have had to have paid for my medical bills, I would have had to have dropped out of school and do nothing but pay off this bill for years and years. Sometimes, you can do everything right and still have health problems that you have no control over.

Jul. 21 2009 10:35 AM

Nothing gets done because Republicans scream "big government" and "higher taxes", without allowing that we get both anyway when we do nothing to reform health care.

Jul. 21 2009 10:34 AM
Barbara from Greenlawn, NY

Ron Kind is so correct about unnecessary surgery -- especially with orthopedics. ALL older people have deterioration of their knees, but this doesn't mean knee surgery is necessary. Usually what is needed is proper exercises to stregthen the muscles around the knees. This happened to me at age 60. An MRI showed a torn meniscus. I was lucky enough to have a rheumatologist warn me NOT to have surgery (because I also have osteo-arthritis) and instead do specific exercises prepared by a Physical Therapist. There should be financial incentives and penalties for people to take care of themselves and not have unnecessary surgery (surgery, that in the end, doesn't even solve the problem). I'm 62 and still doing these exercises and my knees are in good shape despite the original diagnosis of "torn meniscus" supposedly requiring surgery.

Jul. 21 2009 10:34 AM
Charles Harris from Island Heights NJ

You can't fix Health Care by diddling costs before understanding medical pracdtice. Primary Care is its hub and Primary care fails to fulfill its need. see

Jul. 21 2009 10:34 AM
doctor david from Lower East Side

Health insurance is not at all related to health care.

If we stopped paying hundreds and hundreds of billions to private for profit corporations who "administrate" health resources to their own advantage, we would have plenty of money to provide actual health care for ALL Americans.

These pirate self serving companies dump the very sick and the very old and the very poor and the unemployed onto medicaid anyway! They are literally killing America.

We have to decide if we want FOR PROFIT health care for some citizens or NOT FOR PROFIT health care for ALL citizens (like every other nation in the world).

We have national health care right's called the emergency room.

With "insurance" you pay for things that might happen. With health care you only pay for things that actually happen. It's 1000's of times less expensive. Let's wake up America and stop the fiscal insanity of do called insurance companies. We don't need them any more.

dr dave in nyc

Jul. 21 2009 10:34 AM
Eric Johnson-DeBaufre from Madison, NJ

The caller's suggestion that healthier people should pay less for health care than sick people would prove disastrous if implemented. What the caller fails to recognize is the robust correlation between socio-economic status and health. Those lower down the socio-economic ladder tend to have more health problems than those higher up. One couldn't imagine a more regressive approach to health care than the one the caller proposed.

Jul. 21 2009 10:32 AM
Michael from Long Island

I agree that our current health care system has problems, but the President's plan is somewhat frightening to me in both its size and also the speed at which Mr. Obama is trying to get it passed. Why must this bill be done so fast? I don't understand what the rush is all about the plan as I understand it would not go into effect for at least 2-3 years after its passage anyway. I fear that this program may create unintended consequences that may be worse than our current woes.

Jul. 21 2009 10:32 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

With out a bill we’ll soon have millions more who will have no health care as companies no longer will offer health plans to their employs. This will break public and private hospitals ability to deliver care since the cost of emergency room visits will sky rock. This country will then have no health care for a majority of Americans and some for others.

Jul. 21 2009 10:32 AM
Suzanne from Deep River, Ct. from Deep River, Ct

The American people are passive spectators re: the health care reform. We watch representatives of both parties who represent big business and big medicine and big insurance make decisions of life and death for us.

As long as we do not put forward a massive show of force for health insurance in OUR interests, this administration and this congress will put these big interests before us.

Where are the doctors, Nurses and other unions. Why are they not in the streets?

Jul. 21 2009 10:30 AM
Martha Armes from Manhattan

Why do we accept that every citizen has the right to a public education? Shouldn't these same people, Christine, have the right to health care facilities.

Brian, she walked all over you.

Jul. 21 2009 10:29 AM
EM from out there

If we want action - take all the pols and government employees off their current healthcare system and tell them they get what reform brings. You will see action then.

While I would most like to see a single payer system, I am concerned about the cost. We can't afford Medicare as it now exists and we are already shifting a huge burden onto future generations who will be expected to pay for it.

Jul. 21 2009 10:29 AM
Marianne from Staten Island

Not onl the super-rich should pay a surtax but we middle class also can chip in a bit for affordable universal health care for all.
Only a fool belives that you get something for nothing.
When it comes to health care, why can't the US operate like every civilized country in Europe.
If the health care bill fails the Blue Dog Demorats and Republicans should pay a price.

Jul. 21 2009 10:29 AM
BrettG from Astoria NY

The Congressman has it right. We have to switch to WELL CARE + evidence-based practices.

Reproductive, vision, mental health & rehabilitation must be part of the New System.

As in my post @ #29

Jul. 21 2009 10:29 AM
Susan from nj

Callers like Christine act like all can be cured if we eat well and exercise. Although it is true that many chronic diseases could be avoided this way (diabetes, heart disease) others can not. I have MS and I wish it could have been avoided by eating and exercising. I was very fit when I was diagnosed. This issue is not simple, but I hope that I live in a country that cares about all of its people, not just the lucky ones.

Jul. 21 2009 10:29 AM
Shana from Clinton Hill/Fort Greene, Brooklyn

I hope the caller that does not have insurance and thinks sick people should be charged more is never faced with cancer, stroke, or some other accident that is no fault of her own.

Yes, Americans do need to take some responsibility and take better care of themselves, but that does not mean healthcare should cost more. Currently I am pregnant and am having to jump through hoops with the insurance company. I am perfectly healthy and take very good care of myself. Yet everthing that is supposedly covered I get a bill for and then have to call the insurance company to make sure they pay for the basic care they previously agreed to pay for.

Jul. 21 2009 10:28 AM
Roman from Brooklyn

The Democrats have learned nothing from the last eight years of Republican rule. They have to stand up for their convictions and when need be, ram what they believe in, down the Republican's throat, just like Bush did, with a much smaller mandate. So far I am very disappointed in the present administration. I'm afraid that nothing substantive is going to be done and that there will be very little actual "change". There has to be a limit to compromise. Obama has to get tough!

Jul. 21 2009 10:28 AM
kathy kohlman from maplewood nj

In response to the woman that is so healthy in cooking school without insurance: I also was very consientious about my diet, eating local, seasonal, organic, I excersised, and was healthy my whole life. Until now. I am 57 and was diagnosed with breast cancer last fall. I pay over $10,000/yr for health ins and it is still costing me $30,000 this year for treatment. If and when that woman gets sick I and all the other insurance-paying and tax-paying citizens will end up paying for her health care. How is that fair?

Jul. 21 2009 10:27 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

The first caller, Christine, was a jumble of nonsense. She wants the private sector to stay in place, but she wants them to be more efficient, competitive, and focus on promoting wellness. How does she suppose these things happen? Through the kindness of their hearts? The purpose of the public plan (which I happen to feel should be the primary plan with supplementary private insurance for elective, vanity, and enhanced service procedures) is to promote efficiency, competitiveness, and promote wellness over end of life money bleeds.
I’m glad she’s made it into her 40s in good health not needing nor wanting insurance, but healthy eating won’t stop a hereditary diseases or defect or a city bus.

Jul. 21 2009 10:27 AM
jay from Harlem

Does anyone out there actually know what the senators and congressmen get in the way of health care. Just recently Senator Kennedy said he would like all Americans to have what he has as a senator yet no journalist or commentator ever addresses the issue with the legislators. We hear all kinds of objections to particular aspects, most of which I think are red herrings, but no one including the legislators ever address what they have and how it gets paid for. Brian why don't you ever ask the question?

Jul. 21 2009 10:27 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Brian, please ask the "public plan" supporters what they think the public plan is, what it will do, etc.

Kip Sullivan wrote a devastating piece on the public plan being used as a massive bait-and-switch, with what's being drawn up in the legislation being far from what the originators of the idea proposed and what the public thinks it is.

Can you say "NMO, 1980's style, boys and girls?" Well, you might have to with the program being cooked up in Congress -- and overseen behind the scenes by the WH and Obama. Believe me, the committees are not doing anything Obama does not want. (Well, one committee did vote to permit states to implement their own single payer plans, but only one committee so far....).

Hope the link works--last time it was truncated so was useless.

Jul. 21 2009 10:26 AM
bernard joseph from brooklyn

single payer, not for profit health care system is the ONLY way to go. BUT there also must be an incentive for healthy living worked into this somehow.

Jul. 21 2009 10:26 AM
Christine from Staten Island

I'd say that our (almost) brand new President should use every ounce of political capital he has to make universal health care happen. No More Equivacating! Anything less is unacceptable and perpetuates the debacle we currently have. Health care is a right. Morality should rule the day. Previsous caller cited the LBJ model of wheeling&dealing. Sounds good to me!

Jul. 21 2009 10:26 AM
Clif from Manhattan (work)

We're in a sad state America. We're so divided along political and social lines that issues such as this fan the flames of division when what we really need to do is to come together on some basic human issues. We can send probes to Mars but we can't agree on health care? Come on people we can do better than this.

People are making very important decisions based on political motivations. Just look at Albany. Our level of dysfunction is growing out of control.

The fact is, everyone needs health care and everyone should have it at a reasonable cost. Shame on all involved with this current system of neglect and greed!

I'm so tired of partisan politics. Let's get it together people!

Jul. 21 2009 10:26 AM
john matthes from amityville,ny

Just sick and tired of these republicans.They could care less about people having health coverage.Its obvious all they want to do is bring Obama down and if that hurts the country,too bad.Its the same thing they did to Clinton,pit bulls going for the throat,its pathetic.

Jul. 21 2009 10:25 AM
Accra Shepp from Queens

Too bad Christine does not realize that health care insurance is not auto insurance. Your health does not bear a direct correlation to how you live. Yes, regular check-ups and healthy living make a great difference. But unfortunately cancer happens. And then there is old age, to which no one is immune. No amount of healthy living can protect people from age related dementia or the increasing frailty that is just a part of aging. Christine's stance would appear to blame the sick for their illnesses.

Jul. 21 2009 10:25 AM
Blair MacInnes from Morristown, New Jersey

It is all well (excuse the pun) and good for your earlier caller to forego insurance because she takes good care of her body. But what about when her appendix bursts.... then we all pay big time.

Jul. 21 2009 10:25 AM
David from Brooklyn

To the chef-in-training who thinks she's never going to get sick: I hope you're also very careful when you're out on the street- all it takes is one drunk driver to put you in the hospital with bills higher than your life-time earnings. If that happens, you'd better hope that your fellow humans are kinder to you than you were to them.

Jul. 21 2009 10:25 AM
William from Washington Heights

I found that caller, Christine, so annoying. Eating right, exercising, and being young helps, but you can still get sick. And then somebody has to pay. It will be either your insurance company or the rest of us.

I have six friends and relatives that developed cancer before they reached 40. They were all fit, ate right, and exercised.

Jul. 21 2009 10:24 AM
pilkington from Brooklyn

The cooking school/Flatiron district caller seems to forget people who develop serious or chronic illnesses or conditions, etc., regardless of "healthy living". The unexpected can happen, and it can be no one's 'fault'. A relative had sudden kidney failure as a child and has had a lifetime of dealing with kidney disease, which has included a transplant and a thousands of dollars of necessary medications. Another developed and died from severe multiple sclerosis. Both hardworking people who never expected any sort of free ride, but were financially broken by the current insurance and health care model.

Jul. 21 2009 10:24 AM
Christina from Manhattan

Don't equate 'sick' people with 'getting hit by a car'. Accidents are a tiny percentage of health care costs and could be covered with catastrophic insurance that would cost, according to the risk, only hundreds of dollars a year.

OTOH, at least 80% of chronic illness is 'environmental', meaning preventable by lifestyle choices. Those are the people who should pay more or take better care of themselves.

Jul. 21 2009 10:24 AM
Sue from Manhattan

I don't understand how Wall-Mart has mastered the skill of forcing suppliers down to bottom-barrel prices, while our own government is apparently impotent against big health care companies.

Jul. 21 2009 10:24 AM
Amy Wright from Bronx, NY

I hope Christine does not get hit by a car, or get into some other accident. All the healthy living in the world won't help her then.

Jul. 21 2009 10:24 AM
Aaron Whitby from Brooklyn

Further please stop referring to 'Blue Dog' Democrats as moderate. They are not moderate, they are fierce defenders of the status quo and the people who fund their campaigns. Moderate is a word that suggests someone is reasonable and flexible. It's of the utmost importance that intelligent hosts such as yourself develop a more accurate language when discussing politics, one that refuses to use misleading language.

Jul. 21 2009 10:24 AM
Sheldon from Crown Heights

That caller Christine is so naive. She is 42, has no health insurace, and is proud of it. Eating healthy and exercise is good but it's not a guarantee against getting sick. What would happen if she gets in an accident? Would she consider herself a "free-loader" then?

Jul. 21 2009 10:24 AM
JT from Long Island

The caller Christine from the flatiron district is crazy. Having never been sick she has no idea how much it can cost. And she's blaming people for gettin sick. Under her plan, people with cancer would be screwed and well, it's their own fault for not taking care of themselves. And don't get her started on old people. Why are they sick all the time? Again, it's their own fault and they should pay for it themselves. Accident victims-what were they doing getting in the way of a drunk driver? Their fault so it's their problem.

People like her need to stop projecting their experience onto everyone else.

Jul. 21 2009 10:23 AM
David H from New York, NY

To that 42-yr old woman who just phoned in, who doesn't have health inssurance and doesn't believe in affordable health coverabge for everyone, if she were to be hit by a cab or had some unplanned but catastrophic health situation, she would be sh-t out of luck.

Our current health insurance system would declare her a high risk and she would most likely be unable to afford any coverage. She would be dependent on publicly-funded health care. And she would probably be forced to declare bankruptcy, due to all of her medical debt.

Jul. 21 2009 10:23 AM
Jessica from queens

I am thoroughly offended at the previous caller's statements -- who are all these people who don't want to work? I am a student who has worked my way through undergraduate and graduate education and haven't had health care in nearly ten years -- constantly terrified I break a bone or catch an illness. I eat well, exercise, take vitamins, etc., but I have never been so relieved as when I qualified for medicaid a few months ago. If I hadn't I would owe thousands in medical bills for being hospitalized back in March. Illness and accidents happen and I'm sure I'm not the only hardworking, healthy American who could benefit from the peace of mind to know we will be cared for if the worst happens. National health care would not enable laziness.

Jul. 21 2009 10:23 AM
marie from manhattan

it's like the roads, like the police department, like the department of defense, like the faa. it's kind of like schools. I don't have children but I do understand the need to contribute to the education of my neighbor's children. Similarly I understand the need to ensure quality health care to them and their parents and grand parents.
Your 42 year old caller without health insurance is bound to end up in the urgent care at some point in her life and it will be paid for, one way or the other.
Indeed we are all in this together

Jul. 21 2009 10:22 AM
Isabel Heine from Harlem

For the lady who came on to say that the least healthy Americans should not be covered under her model of insurance, she probably does not know any child that has been born with some sort of congenital anomaly. She also is extremely lucky that she hasn't become sick. Does she live her life wrapped in bubble wrap? Injuries and accidents happen no matter how vegan or how low your BP is. I suffered a terrible accident at 21 from a fire that nobody could have controlled. The total cost in the end was over $350k. Insurance saved my life and my family from enormous debt.
I hope that she never experiences one of those pesky little things called cancer (I work at MSKCC and see that cancer has no discretion when choosing victime.)
Lady, keep knocking on wood. You're going to need it!

Jul. 21 2009 10:22 AM
sophie from manhattan

Regarding the woman, on the phone eating healthy... I too am a big fan of eating healthy organic often raw, preventative, very outside the mainstream etc..and while it's good to take responsibility of your health, I hope she never has an accident, car or otherwise, requiring mountains of doctor bills. How will she pay for that?

Jul. 21 2009 10:22 AM
Neal from Manhattan

Anybody remember when the heads of the Big Three automakers testified before Congress - I believe it was during the Clinton administration - that the only way they could be competitive would be if they no longer had to provide health coverage for employees and retirees? Essentially saying our big corporations cannot be competitive against corporations from countries with single payer systems.
Sometime during your discussions please talk about potential benefits of this legislation to businesses.

Thanks you.

Jul. 21 2009 10:22 AM
Mical Moser from Park Slope

The caller who thinks she doesn't need insurance because she eats local and exercises regularly is also gambling that she won't get hit by a car or be impacted by any other event that she has no control over. If it should happen, is she okay with receiving no medical care -- i.e. being left to die? Or would she prefer government involvement at that point?

Jul. 21 2009 10:22 AM
Nancy from NYC

Wow, I guess your caller Christine (who I'd wager didn't grow up in NY) can't conceive of accidental injuries... No matter how careful someone is about what they eat and how they care for their body, they're going to need serious, expensive medical care if they're, say, crossing the street and get hit by a car. Not all illness results from not taking care of oneself! Let's not punish sick people.

Jul. 21 2009 10:21 AM
the truth from bkny

Alan really, regulation and oversight?? yeah right that will work.

Jul. 21 2009 10:21 AM
BrettG from Astoria NY

We don't have a healthcare "system." We have spotty insurance which stops as soon as you get ill.

After working (not as health pro), I know that what we need is Universal Single Payer Health Care (aka - Medicare/Medicaid For All).

The BBC visited a clinic in Philadelphia that is a template for consistent primary care for patients. It was a FRI Business Daily/Weekly item.

The "free market" caller sets aside such problems as true Public Health.

The current risk of epidemics can only be monitored if the drs have enough info to fight it. Now, any real virulent epidemic can overload local, regional & national resources quite quickly.

Let's get Campaign Finance Reform for Real.

Jul. 21 2009 10:20 AM
Sue from brooklyn

to respond to the speaker Christine..all I have to say SHE"S LUCKY. My husband ahs done all the right things and he's sick...he has heart disease,with several severe heart attacks! And he should not be penalized becasue his risk is genetic...She's blaming people for their health,. In some cases its true, but to take such a position (Balzac - your sins manifest themselevs into physical deterioration)
very selfish and moralistic!!!~

Jul. 21 2009 10:20 AM
Mike Treder from Brooklyn

Brian, why did you let that woman off the hook who claimed that sick people should pay more for insurance than healthy people?

Your response should have been than what she's describing is NOT an insurance program! The whole meaning of insurance is to spread risk over a wide range of participants. That's how it works.

Jul. 21 2009 10:20 AM
Patel from NY

Why doesn't anyone mention the money all the companies, cities and other institutions will be saving if health reform is ever passed. If the insurance companies want to stay in business they will get their act together and maybe compete with the federal program

Jul. 21 2009 10:20 AM
Aaron Whitby from Brooklyn

Brian, will you please start asking why France, Canada, the UK etc. can provide more successful and universal health care for half the cost of our current system? Without this information it is a spurious debate.

Jul. 21 2009 10:20 AM

Why can't big business get behind a national health care plan? Wouldn't it get that expense off their books? Sure, you have to raise taxes, but you have to raise taxes no matter what you do. That's how the Gov't pays for things!!!!

Jul. 21 2009 10:20 AM
ludemill from westchester, ny

why doesn't the caller (christine - healthy 42 yr old w/o ins) address the situation where health insurance is needed to cover costs associated with an accident outside of the uninsured's control. she seems to believe that one's health is SOLELY a result of one's action and doesn't take into account the possibility of any exterior elements...

Jul. 21 2009 10:19 AM
Zak from Washington Heights

I'm sorry, but making "the private system more competitive" does not work for health insurance. It is in the interest of for-profit insurance companies to let people die; it would never be in the interests of the US government. Not all problems have market solutions.

Jul. 21 2009 10:19 AM

Your last caller who says she does not need insurance because she is "healthy" my question is what if she got hit by a car? Or is genetically predisposed to some other disease. What then? You can't control illness or injury, but you CAN learn to be a more responsible driver.

Jul. 21 2009 10:19 AM
Charles Harris from Island Heights NJ

The Congress is diddling and shifting costs of HC whereas the crus is tom underswtand the practice of medicine. It starts with Primary Care. Today Primary Care is is the crux of the medical system. Primary Care should be taken away from HMOs. (leave high tech medicine with HMOs)

Give primary care to the Primary Care Centers of America: these are granting programs from HRSA; the doctors are salaried thus protgected to some exgtent from litigation.

The Centers are entrepreneurial, see for free, or tgake insurance or cash. Staffed by a pediatricion, primary care specialist, internistd, gynecologist and dentist. This will ASSURE everybody of primary care.Primary care is thus expanded in scope rather than being just a referring and prescrtiption agency. Think about this.

Jul. 21 2009 10:19 AM

What a rancid woman, christine seems to think her little insignificant world represents the entire country. We've all just heard one of the most self centered people in the world.

Jul. 21 2009 10:19 AM
Lorraine Gagliardotto Garry from Jersey City

Why can't we the citizens, have the access to health plans that our Senators and Congress people and government employees have?

We are paying for them to have terrific health plans while so many American go without health insurance.

Jul. 21 2009 10:19 AM
steve m from jersey city

i don't see it the way the republicans are spinning/playing it.
if they shoot this down or stop it from happening, the dems are going to explicitly blame the republicans for shutting it down and the republicans are going to face even greater losses in 2010.
this opposition for the sake of it is starting to look like mere petulance at this point.
and demint, sorry to say something so rude, sounds like an idiot when he talks about this as a freedom issue and how market solutions can solve all the problems.
that approach hasn't worked up til now and it isn't going to suddenly start working.
i honestly feel sorry for the person on the air right now who thinks that people shouldn't expect handouts. healthcare isn't a handout, it's a basic right. why are so many people in this country so selfish? and the other question is this: why does this minority of people (about 40 percent, according to most polling data) ALWAYS seem to get to speak loud and clear whenever this debate takes place? i don't personally know anybody who thinks that way. and some of my friends are conservatives.

Jul. 21 2009 10:19 AM
Christina from Manhattan

Obama and his administration pay lip service to 'prevention' as a means of saving money on health care costs, but haven't explained any details at all. The current health 'care' system doesn't even know how to prevent illness, or promote health.

Jul. 21 2009 10:19 AM
Michael from Long Island

Yesterday I read on the comments page about "Limitation on New Enrollment" section of the bill and I became concerned. Line ten of page 16 states that:

"IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in
this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1."

After reading it myself it does seem that
this means that if you don't have health insurance when this national plan becomes available you will not be permitted to enroll in any private plan. Furthermore, even if you already have a private plan when the national plan becomes available if you drop that plan for any reason you will be prohibited from enrolling in any plan other than the national plan.

I am afraid that if this section of the bill is not removed before the health care bill passes it will mean the eventual death of private health insurance and the elimination of all competition in this field, with the government the only game left in town. Because if private insurance companies cannot enroll new clients how can they possibly compete with the government?

President Obama made a promise that if you like your current insurance you will be able to keep it. But if the government passes a bill that will make it impossible for private insurance companies to stay in business, this promise will last for only a short time.

Jul. 21 2009 10:18 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

We are living in the era of disfunctional government -- not just in Washington but in many states. It seems that we're incapable of dealing with the serious problems confronting us. The country has changed but our elected officials haven't. So if Obama doesn't get health care in his first 12 months in office his entire 4 year term will be a failure? So the discussion focuses on the horse race once again.

Jul. 21 2009 10:17 AM
Michael Mark from Rockland County

What Obama is most right about here is that inertia is a prime operator in Washington. The important thing about this effort to provide health reform is to do SOMETHING. Maybe the first attempt won't be the solution, but no attempt maintains the satus quo of nothing getting done. Result: still no health care for those without, still too much a profit-driven industry.

Jul. 21 2009 10:16 AM
Cynthia Kerns from Jackson Heights

If a health bill does not pass I wouldn't consider it President Obama's failure. It would be a failure on the part of Republicans and conservative Democrats for putting the needs of the health insurance agency before the needs of the American public.

Jul. 21 2009 10:15 AM
Alan Katz from Manhattan

President Obama has, thus far, offered a totally inadequate justification for why the so-called "public option," a massive federal entitlement, needs to be created. Keeping health insurers "honest" and extending health coverage are noble goals -- but the president needs to offer a far more substantive explanation for why the federal government cannot accomplish this through regulation, oversight, and, if necessary, new legislation. When all he has to offer in support of such a sweeping and costly measure is broad platitudes instead of concrete specifics, it understandably arouses suspicion and skepticism.

Jul. 21 2009 10:15 AM
Karinne from waterloo bridge

waterloo sunset as seen from the waterloo bridge. so only napoleonic in the ways city names contain (but obscure with new use) the past.

but seriously, if this wasn't seen as a battle, reform might be more possible to achieve.

Jul. 21 2009 10:15 AM
RLewis from The Bowery

Shouldn't all healthcare be Not-for-Profit? I doubt that dying responds to the invisible hand of supply & demand, because there is no limit that people will pay to stay alive.

Do people really want their 401k to have investments to make money based on hoping that people will die?

Jul. 21 2009 10:15 AM

Republicans demand all sorts of compromises on these bills, then they vote against them anyway.

Jul. 21 2009 10:14 AM
the truth from bkny

The Senator does not care if the health care bill fails an "we the people" suffer, his health care is free!

Jul. 21 2009 10:13 AM
Peg Kennedy from Willseyville NY

As more and more of us are losing our jobs – we are confronted with the unaffordable cost of health insurance. If all Americans lost employer covered insurance today and had to purchase their own – most would opt for a Single Payer Plan.

Why do we need to pay for the exorbitant salaries of insurance CEO’s and stockholders in this for profit system? If we cut them out of the picture, we will immediately save 15 – 20% of health care costs. That’s an easy saving. The rest of the modern world seems to be able to supply better health care than we and at a much lower cost. They must be laughing at how stupid Americans are to support our dysfunctional system. Why do we unfairly handicap our businesses by expecting them to cover their employees? It’s like an extra business tax. Why do businesses put up with this?

Americans need affordable Health Care. We do not need expensive, For Profit Health Insurance! American citizens are the most important stakeholders in this debate about fixing the system! Give them a seat at the congressional debate tables – they’ve been left out so far.

Do not cut the health care providers salaries. Cut out all the middlemen taking a rake on the doctor-patient relationship. We could save a bundle by getting rid of them.

Jul. 21 2009 10:13 AM
RLewis from The Bowery

Ya hear that Healthcare is costing us more and more, but Reform is said to cost $1 trillion. So, where is the savings? Why are we reforming something so that we can pay more? Shouldn't we be reforming to save money? Where is it?

Jul. 21 2009 10:12 AM
Peter from Crown Heights

Can you comment on the second half of Sen. DeMint's comment about "...freedom solutions that work in all areas of society". What on earth does that mean, and is the Republican response to continue the seemingly increasingly unworkable status quo?

Jul. 21 2009 10:10 AM

The song "Waterloo Sunset" refers not to the Napoleanic battlefield, but rather to Waterloo Station, a big train station in London.

Jul. 21 2009 10:09 AM
the truth from bkny

"We will break him" spewing with well known South Carolina hatred, Man some people have still not gotten over this win!

Jul. 21 2009 10:08 AM
Bistko from NYC

Nothing will change until insurance companies stop making money off of peoples health. Aetna, Cigna, etc. And why to wealthy congress deserve healthcare but we the people do not?

Jul. 21 2009 10:06 AM

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