August Recess Day One: Anthony Weiner

Monday, August 03, 2009

Congressman Anthony Weiner and the rest of the House of Representatives are back in their home districts for the month of August. What does he expect to hear from constituents, and how will those conversations shape the health care debate once everyone returns to Washington?


Congressman Anthony Weiner

Comments [82]


You mean, how can we pay for health care if we are the only nation that chooses to fight a war for no good reason and no one else was allowed to help pay for it because the Bushies thought Iraq would be paying us for infinity for reconstruction contracts with their oil. Only we ended up paying for those contracts, until we couldn't anymore. And now we have no money left for America.

Aug. 03 2009 04:21 PM
Trusty from 10021

how can we pay for healthcare if we are the only nation that has to fight wars around the world that no one else will fight....

Aug. 03 2009 04:02 PM
Karen from NYC

The health care industry will spend the next month lying to the public so as to provide cover for those Democrats who wish to vote against health care reform. The blue dogs, e.g., can't simply defy the will of their constituents so, in addition to buying members of Congress with campaign contributions, the industy is keeping it's end of the bargain (in return for the bought members' votes) by turning the public against reform. That's where the Liberty group and other front organizations come into play.

Go to Bill Moyer's website and listen to the two interviews with Wendell Potter, a former Cigna exec turned whistleblower, and you'll se what's going on.

Thank you, Rep. Weiner. The rest of the industrialized world has national health insurance, including virtually all of the EU nations, and their economies are not going to hell in a handbasket, nor our their citizens lacking in health care -- they're outliving us, as a matter of fact.

The anti-health care propaganda (see above) cannot be allowed center stage. Watch the Potter interview, and e-mail your friends and relatives in Blue Dog states. I did this yesterday, and am sending follow-ups. Maybe they'll get "sick" of me -- but better that than getting sick, with no health coverage.

Aug. 03 2009 03:26 PM
Susan Ellils from Tennessee

The congressman expressed my views beautifully and articulately. We need to get the insurance companies and their need to give profit to their share holders out of the health care business. I think that single payer is the only way to go so that we can provide good health care to every one and control the cost.

Aug. 03 2009 01:51 PM
Bill Armbruster from Jersey City

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler all have big operations in Canada because Canada has a single-payer system. GM and Chrysler probably would not have gone into bankruptcy if we had a single-payer system. For cars made in the U.S., GM spends more on healthcare than on steel.
Likewise, GM, Ford and Chrysler are at a disadvantage against foreign automakers such as Honda and Toyota that make a lot of cars in the U.S. but that have lower healthcare costs for current employees and their families. Moreover, the foreign automakers do not have the huge cost of providing healthcare for millions of retirees and their spouses.

Aug. 03 2009 11:38 AM
Barbara from Nassau County

I've worked in healthcare as an RN since 1966. I believe the only chance we have to solve our monumental health care issues in this country is to go to a single payer system as soon as possible. MEDICARE FOR EVERYONE!

Aug. 03 2009 11:37 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Bill [75]

We also need bankruptcy reform. People sometimes need a fresh start. Our founders knew that. Notice that the Bama admin has done little to help the average person. Credit card rates went higher with the Bama's "reforms." Bankruptcy was made harder in 2005, but the Dems have not even mentioned changing the rules back. The Dems have also not mentioned giving more tax breaks to people with high medical bills, because they need the tax revenue to fund their power grabbing socialist agenda.

Aug. 03 2009 11:33 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA


I grow most of my own veggies and some fruits. We need a plan for seasonal workers that make some illegals legal. The system is flawed and needs to be improved for the sake of all including illegals, others overseas who have waited patiently to come to America and the citizens already here.

Aug. 03 2009 11:23 AM
Bill Armbruster from Jersey City

Single-payer is the only logical, cost-effective and moral solution to our healthcare crisis. All other industrialized countries have some form of single-payer system. We pay almost twice as much per capita as other developed countries, yet we have 50 million people with no insurance and tens of millions more with woefully inadequate coverage. Moreover, we rank 37th in the world in terms of health outcomes, according to the World Health Organization. If single-payer works for other countries, why can't we do it?
Health insurance companies are responsible for about 30% of total healthcare costs when you factor in their costs for overhead, administrative, marketing, lobbying, profits and bloated executive salaries. That also includes the huge bookkeeping and administrative costs for doctors and hospitals. Most doctors have at least one person who just handles billing for the insurance companies.
According to a recent study, 62 percent of all bankruptcies are medically related. Of those 62 percent, three quarters are people who had insurance. The study was published in the American Journal of Medicine. It is available at
Healthcare costs have a depressing effect on wages and salaries. That's because companies spend so much of their compensation costs on health insurance, leaving little room for pay increases. Many companies have been forced to drop insurance for their employees because of the excessive costs.
Healthcare insurance is responsible for "job lock." That's when people stay with their current employer simply because they cannot afford to lose their insurance. Likewise, companies often cannot hire good workers simply because they can't offer competitive health insurance.
Productivity suffers because employees waste millions of hours each year calling insurance companies, waiting on hold, and arguing about what's covered and what's not covered.

Aug. 03 2009 11:22 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Corrected version:

Web nanny -- please ignore the fascist calls [ex. #66 - Deletes 'em as I sees 'em] for deleting my posts. Why do liberals always want to suppress other voices? This has been a “tenet” of liberalism since the days of Woodrow Wilson. All modern dictatorships have started this way. Bully and suppress any opposition. Please note that I have contributed in the low 5 figures to WNYC over the years. Though in 2008 most of public radio money went to John McCain.

Aug. 03 2009 11:14 AM
hjs from 11211


who will pick ur lettuce?
your lifestyle is possible because of the immigrants

Aug. 03 2009 11:12 AM
Joyce Gavin from Palisades, New York

I wholeheartedly support a single payer option. It is not only the most straightforward plan but the one which has the best chance, if not the only chance out of the current plans, of controlling costs. Insurance companies already have earned their reputation for saying one thing and doing another.

The difficulty may be with the number of jobs lost in the health insurance industry. Perhaps the plan will need to be phased in.

Aug. 03 2009 11:11 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Web nanny -- please ignore the fascist calls for deleting my posts. [ex. #66 - Deletes 'em as I sees 'em]

Why do liberals always want to suppress other voices? This has been a tenant of liberalism since the days of Woodrow Wilson. All modern dictatorships have started this way... bully and suppress any opposition.

Please note that I have contributed in the low 5 figures to WNYC over the years. I doubt that many others are this board can match my efforts for this station. Though in 2008 most of my public radio money went to John McCain.

Aug. 03 2009 11:11 AM

Do you seriously believe that one in every ten people in this country is an illegal immigrant? It's simply not true.

Aug. 03 2009 11:04 AM

Why do people think that a national health care plan would stop them from buying their own insurance?

Aug. 03 2009 10:58 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

To Mike [61] -- estimates of illegal aliens range from 14 million to 30 million people. This is approx. 5% to 10% of the population, not 1/100. You must work for the Dems where facts and figures are made up daily by their communist masters at the Apollo Alliance. Illegals' use of ERs, the most costly service point in the HCS is a big drain on the economy. Of course while I'm sure many of the illegals are nice folk, as a group they are all felons and hurt the economy... taxes not paid by them and the criminals that hire them, police and jail costs, other social service costs and jobs taken from citizens.

Aug. 03 2009 10:58 AM
Edward Valis

Experiment: push eligibility for Medicare, a single payer system, down to 55 year olds. See how it goes. If it goes well, continue until 45 year olds are covered, etc. My bet is it will go well and those who wouldn't be covered for a while would clamor for it. Let the capitalist system operate with some decent competition.

Insurance companies will fight like crazy. Their profits and their very survival would be in jeopardy but you know what, who would care once it was started?

Aug. 03 2009 10:50 AM
David G. Herrmann from Manhattan

I strongly advise Congressman Wiener to EMPHASIZE THE PARALLEL WITH THE MILITARY AND THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION. This hits the opposition right at home:

1. Our military and veterans are AN IMMENSE CONSTITUENCY that rightly receives very solid, free health care. They also vote overwhelmingly to the right of center.

2. The military enjoys its most absolute popularity with REPUBLICANS AND THEIR ALLIES IN THE CENTER.

3. THESE ARE TYPICALLY THE STAUNCHEST OPPONENTS of a single-payer system. They would have a hard time making the argument against government benefits if the military programs were at the center of debate.

4. These plans overwhelmingly help WORKING-CLASS AMERICANS. Military personnel serve for low pay and absolutely depend on insurance for themselves and their families. They seldom retire rich either. More help for other working- and middle class citizens is not only good for everyone, it is just.

Aug. 03 2009 10:46 AM

Why was it OK to pay trillions to invade Iraq (and at one point, we were going to fix it too) and it's not OK to put any money into fixing our own country?

My feelings about people like Call Em are that, if their ideas were so great, they wouldn't have to create statistics and make up phony stories to back them up.

Aug. 03 2009 10:46 AM
the truth from bkny

I agree with two comments above: Medicare for ALL and tax the rich...Until I become one of the rich of course!

Aug. 03 2009 10:39 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Jeff @ #28--OMG yes!

I had a deep cut on my face and went to the ER on a Saturday night (a glass pitcher fell from an upper cupboard shelf as I was trying to get some serving dishes--uneven cut, etc.).

The ER wanted to call in a plastic surgeon to do the stitching, since it was a facial wound. The HMO kept arguing with the doctors, saying no--finally, 4 1/2 hours later, as a deadline for getting a good result was nearing (that's what the docs told me), the ER decided to use a resident who had done a plastic surgery residency but who was also doing ER work and just begun her shift.

It worked out well enough; I have bumpy scar tissue inside my nostril which I might well have had in any case and a little scar slightly visible. But it was kind of scary to sit there for hours while highly trained doctors tried to argue with...telephone reps.

What if it had been a life or death matter? Loss of vision? A friend had that experience with her HMO: ER eye specialist said certain treatment was absolutely necessary to be done ASAP; HMO said no, she could go for an office visit the next day. Doc finally just went ahead and did what in his best judgement he saw as necessary for the well-being of his patient. Didn't write it up for billing.

Guess the HMO achieved its objective: saved money from being used for care, so it could go to profit, the better to please Wall Street.

Aug. 03 2009 10:38 AM

I love these statistics that Call Em as he Sees Them whips up.

How in Hell do illegal immigrants, which make up less that 1/100 of a percent of the population, make up 10-15% of our health care costs? It's ridiculous. But it plays on the immigrant hate that the Right Wing is so desperate to cling on to.

Most uninsured people are Americans. Americans are the ones who cannot afford health insurance.

Aug. 03 2009 10:37 AM
Elsie from Brooklyn

I would like to direct everyone to watch Bill Moyer's interview with former Signa executive Wendell Potter. It appears that the insurance industry is dictating not only how this will go down, but exactly how our representatives should be discussing the issue in order to steer the American public into the idea that a single payer system would be catastrophic. It seems utterly ridiculous for us to think that the insurance industry has the public good in mind. They are desperate to hold onto their profits and they will do anything to that end. The question is, how do Americans fight the millions of dollars the industry is paying our representatives to skew the debate so that we all vote against our own best interests. It would be helpful if Americans were educated enough to be critical thinkers, and not just about this issue.

Aug. 03 2009 10:36 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

EVERYONE CAN GET CARE IN THIS COUNTRY including illegal aliens, drug addicts, criminals... they just have to walk into the ER of any hospital. Everyone else has access to Medicare or Medicaid when they need it. At a minimum, let's have a 5 year pilot program starting ONLY with Congress and all Federal workers to see how it works.

THE PROPOSED NAZI HEALTH PROGRAM IS ALSO A VILE ASSAULT ON PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES. Where are the liberals on this? Let’s put all of their private info into a computer, first for all to see. Of course this would include producing and inputting valid birth certificates (something that the President Barry Soetoro a/k/a Barack Hussein Obama can’t produce). The Democrat Congress should put its money where its mouth is before it puts our money there.


Aug. 03 2009 10:35 AM
Burtnor from Manhattan

Gary -- You are beyond naive. WITH health insurance and savings, members of my family cannot keep up with the medical co-payments (hospital, doctor visits, medications) for the past six months alone. And I hope when you lose your job and health insurance, you can keep up with those $1,000-3,000 per month (depending on age, medical need, and family size) expenses for the insurance policy itself to say nothing of the $10,000-150,000 or more per hospitalization. Health costs have exceeded national growth and income percentages by huge factors for the past 20 years. They cannot continue this way because they are bankrupting businesses, individuals, and the country. And we get much WORSE health care and worse outcomes than most industrialized countries on a long list of indicators. The cheapest, most efficient, and most effective systems out there are government run Medicare, Medicaid, VA health care, and government employee health insurance, which virtually ALL legislators elect to take over private plans. The present system cannot continue. It is over -- if not now then soon.

Aug. 03 2009 10:34 AM
Chicago Listener

[[33] Gary from UWS August 03, 2009 - 10:21AM Here's an idea--how about people paying for their own health insurance? I know it sounds crazy, people "actually" paying for stuff--just like car insurance.]]

yep, and just like auto insurance, you'll have a significant number of people who won't buy it, which will have the eventual effect of driving up YOUR costs. no basic care for high blood pressure eventually leads to a visit to the ER for a stroke or heart attack. the patient can't pay and the expense gets passed on to you.

Aug. 03 2009 10:34 AM
Joyce Gavin from Palisades, New York

Yeah - finally someone asked us to weigh in! My vote is for single payer. It is not only the most straightforward plan but is the only one which can control costs.

The only difficulty may be in what to do with all those people who are currently employed by the health insurance companies.

Aug. 03 2009 10:33 AM
RJ from brooklyn

I'm curious: Why is Rep. Weiner introducing a new bill when Rep. John Conyers has a long-standing single-payer bill?

Aug. 03 2009 10:32 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Everyone who has studied these issues know that there are much cheaper and better ways to improve health care, cover more people and lower costs without racing to a system that is hastily thrown together.

We can significantly reduce health care costs by (1) tort reform that reduces exposure to law suits. A reasonable verdict ceiling would reduce insurance and defensive medicine costs and would bring at least a 10-15% reduction in overall health care costs; (2) address the issue of giving benefits to illegal aliens. This could reduce costs by another 10-15%. The use of expensive ERs for primary care can be corrected in many ways including deportation ala the mass deportations in the 20th century to creating incentives for the creation of “Doc in the Box” clinics for poor people of all backgrounds. (3) Extend patent life to allow drug and medical equipment companies to lower prices because they will recover their development costs over a longer period of time. This probably saves 5-10%. (4) Create incentives to create/have “mutual” not-for profit insurance companies instead of “stock” for profit companies. This would save at least another 10-15%. (5) More incentives for preventative medicine. (6) Do more to fight fraud. Medicare and Medicaid (as with Fannie and Freddie) are Democrat creations that are the biggest repositories of fraud by both patients and medical providers. This would yield another 5-10%. Finally, to help people who don’t have insurance give them a bigger tax return by lowering the threshold strike point for taking medical deductions from 7 ½% down to zero depending on the income level. Perhaps, also let a family member or even designated friend assume medical payments for critical care and get a deduction, too.

Aug. 03 2009 10:31 AM

The reason that people don't pay for health insurance is because it's so expensive. When people don't have health insurance, then the health care itself is too expensive.

By the way, the Government is already paying for most of this stuff. This is a way to get control of it.

As for paying for food, the Government pays for that too. It pays for food stamps. It pays for corn and other farm subsidies to huge conglomerates that makes our food cheaper.

Aug. 03 2009 10:30 AM
Office Worker from Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Gary, my understanding is that people who live in the Upper West Side are quite well-to-do, to say the least.

I am poor.

If I paid for my entire insurance without, say, my benefit plan through my employer, I would be homeless and starving. What world do you live in.

Also, your previous sarcastic comment about food and shelter is uncalled for, hostile, anti-intellectual and class-baiting nonsense. It is clear that you are uninterested in serious discussion, only ridiuculing those who aren't as lavishly wealthy as you undoubtedly are.

Aug. 03 2009 10:29 AM
Chicago Listener

The Congressman alluded to "problems" with Medicare. I assume he was talking about the hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent claims by doctors. What new procedures or punishments would be put in place in order to prevent this in future?

Aug. 03 2009 10:29 AM
hjs from 11211

the caller is not a doctor. He said "insurance companies take care of people" LIE

i want to know how much insurance company executives take home. my death and illness is their profit.
they add nothing to my health

Aug. 03 2009 10:29 AM
marilyn from Montclair, NJ

How can an insurance industry responsible to investors for showing a profit effectively work for patients? It makes no sense to me. Patients and stockholders are at cross purposes.

Aug. 03 2009 10:28 AM
Peg Kennedy from Willseyville NY

Single Payer - Absolutely!!! Your phone lines are flooded - tried 12 times and couldn't get through.
Besides the already mentioned government programs like Medicaid - care, military etc. We taxpayers put out for all sorts of other socialized programs - Like local and state and federal taxes that pay for expensive private plans for teachers, legislators, firefighters, police, local highway departments - You name it. As these for profit insurers increase their fees guess who pays? We do and yes your taxes will go up. Why pay for this 30% for profit overhead. If some people want to pay for Drug and Insurance CEO's - Let them! I'd prefer the 3% for a simple payer program that covers everyone. How does every other advanced country in the world cover everyone? Because they have some form of Single Payer! I think it was Churchill who said something like tis - "We can count on Americans to make the right decisions - but only after they've exhausted all the alternatives first."

Aug. 03 2009 10:28 AM
Marjorie Grayson from Montclair, NJ

Single payer is the way to go. Insurance companies can offer medi-gap to cover what isn't covered. Dealing with insurance companies can be insane--and we're healthy. Wouldn't people be willing to pay a bit more for Medicare and not have to pay the fortunes they do for private insurance? And then not have to deal with all the zillions of forms and claims and approval processes?

Aug. 03 2009 10:28 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

What a bunch of lies! What planet are these Dems living on? The people can trust a bureaucrat? LOL? We need to vote them ALL out of office, now.

Here’s the bottom line -- THE GREATEST GOOD FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER IS ALREADY IN PLACE. You need to fix the few things that are broken like portability. Don’t destroy the greatest health care system in the world for political reasons. Now, the Dems say they are going to tax the middle-class to pay for their idiocy.

This country can’t fully run or fund social security, Medicare, Medicaid or the VA, how is it going to impose authoritarian health care system that makes people SWITCH doctors, WAIT for critical tests and care and DENY treatment to elderly people? It is discriminatory and disgusting. The poor, minorities and the elderly will be worse off, not better. WE WILL ALL BE WORSE OFF. This health care bill will wreck the economy as well as health care. There is no money for it. The Dems must stop printing money - it is destroying the economy. This is treason. This bill will wreck private insurance for the 80 - 85% of the country that has it on any given day. All that has to be done is modify the safety net for those citizens or legal residents who need help.


Aug. 03 2009 10:28 AM
david from New York City

I look at it this way... a tax increase? Wouldn't there be a bit of a switch in this case. Families are paying over $2,000.00 a month for 'health insurance' for insurance that may not cover their healthcare issues afterall. Perhaps that $2,000.00 going to a healthcare system that, we as a community and a nation better deserve, with better citizen input and response than we currently have with HMOs. Their $2,000.00 would be going towards a system that would be more responsive to their healthcare needs than what we currently have with HMOs. ... and, thus, no tax increase. Is that possible?

Aug. 03 2009 10:28 AM
Chicago Listener

Please get a response to the statistic that it will cost $40,000 PER DOCTOR to digitize their records. Is that accurate? And will it actually result in savings in the long run?

Aug. 03 2009 10:27 AM
Tom from Williamsburg

And tax the rich!

Aug. 03 2009 10:27 AM
Mary Arnold from NYC, Queens

Bravo! Health insurance is not the same as healthcare. Delivering all Americans to the insurance companies on a silver platter is not healthcare reform!

Today without government intervention consumers would be at the total mercy of for-profit insurance companies who are evaluated more favorably by Wall St. if they spend less on healthcare. Making the health of Americans into a commodity that corporations use to fatten their bottom line is inhumane and short-sighted. The insurance companies take the profits and fob off the costs on taxpayers. Other developed nations with nonprofit systems spend far less and get better outcomes. See this clip from Bill Moyers' interview with a retired insurance company VP to see how this works:

A vote on single payer is great because the healthcare debate has been getting watered down to the point where it is nothing more than reasonable consumer protections, controls on the insurance companies that we already should have had. Single payer is real health care reform because it is nonprofit and offers lower costs and possibly even the shoring up of Medicare as younger and healthier Americans. Very happy to have voted for you. Thank you!


Aug. 03 2009 10:27 AM
Pat from Maplewood

Thank you, Rep. Weiner! I'd like to add that you should make sure that you include strong, salaried compensation for our highly trained and dedicated physicians in the single payer system. (And I'm NOT a physician!) You will therefore get their buy-in...

Aug. 03 2009 10:27 AM
Tom from Williamsburg

Access to health care should NOT be controlled by the bottom line! Single Payer System Now!

Aug. 03 2009 10:26 AM
the truth from bkny

The current system does me absolultely no good. Whomever my employer chooses that's who my coverage is with. We have a person with no training for choosing the insurer, so we have ridiculous deductibles and co-pays. I think $1500 hosp deductible is ridiculous!

Aug. 03 2009 10:26 AM
Hugh from Brewster NY

I vote Yea on Single Payer.

"MEDICARE FOR ALL" as suggested by an earlier poster is a great idea.

Aug. 03 2009 10:26 AM
tlp from Brooklyn

I do favor single-payer, but I have one major concern: coverage of treatment regarding sexual health, specifically contraception, abortion, and treatments for LGBT citizens.

Many private insurers do cover contraception and abortion, as well as treatments for transgender people, and fertility treatments for single women and gay and lesbian couples.

I don't trust that such coverage won't be negotiated away by members of Congress seeking to avoid controversy, or stripped away in the future by a hostile executive through the regulatory process.

So: is there any way such coverage can be guaranteed?

Aug. 03 2009 10:26 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

According to Dr. David Himmelstein of Harvard and PNHP, single payer (CALL it MEDICARE FOR ALL) would save $350-400 Billion per year over the costs of private for-profit insurance companeies (whose fidcuciary responsibility is to keep as many of the premium dollars as possible away from caring for people's health in order to maximize profits for the the shareholders, plus those expenses already noted including high exec compensation).

This means everyone could be covered, from day one, dollar one, no deductions, no co-pays. That is is much more comprehensive than current Medicare, so it would seem Medicare for All would be cheaper for the government, but cost each user more than absolutely necessary.

BUT, as a start, MEDICARE FOR ALL is so much better.

Aug. 03 2009 10:25 AM
jtt from jackson heights

so how young and healthy was that guy who had a log fall on his head in central park?

people who say they don't want to pay for"more health care than they need", because they'll "never use it" just aren't thinking (maybe on purpose?).

Aug. 03 2009 10:23 AM
Maureen Donohue from Staten Island NYC

I like Anthony Weiner and am for single payer but he is wrong when he says people can now contribute to a "higher end" program.

I am a disable senior 65 and I first of all pay $96 per month to Medicare. To keep my doctors I have to have a supplemental program to AARP which costs me $226 per month (that's not the highest end one offered.) Then I pay $39 per month for Medicare part D for prescriptions which does not cover co-payments as high as $63 for one month scripts and which runs out as early as October. I just got EPIC which covers more of my drugs but still leaves me pay $20 per month. All I have is SSI which is $1600 per month. My apartment now costs me $971 per month (bankrupt co-op). I have too much SSI to qualify for Medicaid which most of my doctors won't take. What we need is a REAL single payer program. Everyone talks about Medicare as if it really covers your doctor visits and treatments. It does not and the fees to doctors have been cut to the bone so a lot of them won't take it.

Aug. 03 2009 10:22 AM
Gary from UWS

Here's an idea--how about people paying for their own health insurance? I know it sounds crazy, people "actually" paying for stuff--just like car insurance.

Aug. 03 2009 10:21 AM

Call it the Health Care Patriot Act and accuse anyone who is against it as being unAmerican. There needs to be a War on insurance companies.

Aug. 03 2009 10:21 AM
Burtnor from Manhattan

Although I am a lifelong loyal Dem, I mostly agree with Steinberg from Columbia University (post #1). This is my line in the sand. If the Dems can't can't REAL health care reform done this time, I will not send another dime to the national party for anything. I will support individual candidates, but the party will have lost me. It is chewing off its own leg. FIGURE OUT how to get past the blue dogs and the conservative Repubs and the outright crazies and GET IT DONE!

Aug. 03 2009 10:21 AM
Kathie Jones from Kew Gardens

What about the possibility of cost saving health incentives for keeping weight, cholesterol levels down, etc?

Aug. 03 2009 10:21 AM

Hey,Congressman Weiner why are so supportive of American Taxpayer money being funnelled abroad??Namely the more than $10 million per day to Israel,a country that economically should be able to take care of itself.
If we spend it there we certainly will not be able to spend it on such thig as healthcare.

According to the Christian Science Monitor,the cost of Israel to the American TAXpayer has been over $1.6 TRILLION since 1973.

Suki,Brian will not touch this!!!

Aug. 03 2009 10:21 AM

During my wife's medical internship, she observed that medicaid was the best health insurance plan for patients in her hospital, they were always able to get the treatment they needed right away without the medical staff having to argue with insurance company bureaucracies, delaying treatment.

Aug. 03 2009 10:19 AM
michael howton from Florida

We need Single Payer today more than ever. If Medicare is OK, then Single Payer should be also..

Aug. 03 2009 10:19 AM
Sally Kohn from Brooklyn, NY

Of course, I would prefer single payer. But the reality is, that's not where the debate is today --- Obama and advocacy groups chose a different path, and now we're having a hard enough time keeping any public plan option in the mix. Does Congressman Weiner think he's carrying the torch for progressives who wish single payer were still alive, or trying to give cover to the more "moderate" public plan option? It's either a brilliant tactic or a horrible distraction...

Aug. 03 2009 10:19 AM
Sanjiv Sharma from Morristown, NJ

Hats off to Anthony Weiner for being the voice of the truth. Basics of all Insureances should be not for profit. I even go further that all Insureances should be not for profit. Now who manages it should not matter if it is not for profit.

I am for single payer program.

Aug. 03 2009 10:19 AM
Nancy from NYC


I'm sick of the insurance companies being in charge of my medical care.

Aug. 03 2009 10:18 AM
Tom from Williamsburg

Absolutely! Let's get rid of the "health insurance" idea and get real "health care" for everyone instead. The rich will be able to get what they want anyway.

Aug. 03 2009 10:18 AM
Gary from UWS

Why don't we have government as a single-payor for food? Eating is even more important than healthcare. I think government should pay for all of my food, damnit! Moreover, government should pay for my rent. Shelter is more important than healthcare. We should have single-payor for all housing in full--even better than the deal Charlie Rangle has.

I think the socialists that listen to WNYC would agree with the aforementioned.

Aug. 03 2009 10:16 AM
tlp from Brooklyn

I'm a bit concerned about even a bluff bill introduced to overturn Medicare---given what happened with the 1964 Civil Rights Act:

Congressman Howard Smith, who was opposed to the Act, added 'sex' to Title VII (dealing with employment discrimination) as an effort to doom its passage.

It passed anyway.

Aug. 03 2009 10:15 AM
Burtnor from Manhattan

Absolutely I want single payer! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Anthony Weiner!!! There is HUGE support for single payer in the U.S., and the only reason it hasn't been part of the discussion is that so many legislators take large contributions from the insurance/drug lobby. Let's finally discuss ALL the options.

Aug. 03 2009 10:14 AM
Ed Helmrich from Larchmont, NY

Admittedly, this group is against it for life issue reasons also, but they point what it says.

Aug. 03 2009 10:14 AM
Alexandra Self from NYC

Jawbone has it right--don't call it single payer or like Canada, call it Medicare for all and compare it with what seniors now have!!!!!!

Aug. 03 2009 10:14 AM

YES! My aunt is currently getting treated for cancer in England through the NHS (single-payer) and her care is above and beyond anything I've seen here. She has seven specialists consulting regularly about her care.

Aug. 03 2009 10:11 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Rep. Weiner, I can't afford long distance calls, being on hold forever at the station, but---

PLEASE call the bill MEDICARE FOR ALL--people know what MEDICARE is--many of can't wait to get on Medicare so we can at long last really choose our doctors!

Aug. 03 2009 10:10 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Ed @ #13-- All I can find at the site is coveage of HR 3200, the 1000 plus page bill.

Rep. Weiner supports HR 676, Medicare for All.

Also the title of the site's paper seems to be kind a scare tactic in itself--The Takeover...?

Medicare is government paid, privately supplied health care.

Aug. 03 2009 10:08 AM

I'm constantly amazed by the ability of the Republicans to put out misinformation about health care (and a lot of other issues) in every available outlet, including this comments page. It really is astounding.

The worst is when someone I know spouts off this crap at dinner. Something like, immigrants are the reason that health care costs are so high. Or that people don't pay that much in health care now, and we're all happy. Then you know that they have no idea what they are talking about and are getting their news from right wing think tank wackos.

Aug. 03 2009 10:08 AM
CBrown from Brooklyn

That link opened for me just fine. But google the source - The Liberty Counsel - and the document is pretty much what you'd expect. Selected quotes:

"The government will develop 'Healthy People & National Public Health Performance Standards.' They will tell us what to eat?"

"Government will identify specific goals and objectives for prevention and wellness activities. More control of your life."

"Establishes PAYMENTS for graduate medical education. The government will now control your doctor's education."

"Nurse Home Visit Services - Service #1: 'Improving maternal or child health and pregnancy outcomes or increasing birth intervals between pregnancies.' Compulsory ABORTIONS?"

"HC will be provided to ALL NON-US citizens."

"Government will establish school-based 'health' clinics. Your children will be indoctrinated and your grandchildren may be aborted!"

"The government will establish a National Medical Device Registry. Will you be tracked?"

so on and so on, for 10 pages.

Aug. 03 2009 09:58 AM
James from Brooklyn

The aforementioned bulleted points (explaining health care reform) are posted by the Liberty Counsel. The LC has been in the news recently:,0,1068230.column

Liberty Counsel is a non-profit public interest law firm and ministry that provides free legal assistance in defense of "Christian religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, and the traditional family." A close partnership exists between Liberty University and Liberty Counsel. Liberty University was founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

Aug. 03 2009 09:58 AM
RIchard from Clinton Hill

Ed, these are not bullet points summarizing the bill; these are opposition talking points attacking the bill.

Aug. 03 2009 09:53 AM
Ed Helmrich from Larchmont, NY

You're right again, it looks like a site problem, probably the Obama people. Here's another site:,+revised+and+adapted+on+July+29,+2009&hl=en&gl=us

It sounds like Dr. Zhivago to me: governemnt has all your medical and financial records, they can electronically take funds out of your accounts, they tell doctors what residencies to take, they decide what they're taught in medical school, etc.

Aug. 03 2009 09:42 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

I have been unable to find any reference to Pelosi's promised House vote on single payer or to Rep. Weiner in either the NYTimes or the WaPost. And the NYTimes is Rep. Weiner's hometown paper! The NY Daily News did have both a charming vignette and an informative article.

Please ask Rep. Weiner how to correctly spell "bupkis." Daily News reporter says he's not sure....

I've been tracking coverage on Google (time consuming, but revealing as to how our vaunted free press allows coverage of some topics and not of others), found tons of smaller blogs covering it, videos of Rep. Weiner making the rounds. But informative articles? LATimes put it in Paragraph 24 in an article about committee passage of HR 3200, but made a mistake and said Medicare for All was like the British system!! Yikes! Misinformation alert should go out to that reporter ASAP.

So, little in print. Broadcast? Well, on Sunday I found no mention of this promised vote.

The public is not well served when the MCM* acts as gatekeepers to information of importance to the public. This reminds we, scarily, of how the MCM handled the run up to the Iraq Invasion. Some information boycotted or almost hidden; the info the WH approved of readily available....

*MCM--Mainstream Corporate Media

Aug. 03 2009 09:41 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Ed @ #7--Still can't access; get msg for web developer:
:File not found: /media/9980/attachments/index.cfm:

Aug. 03 2009 09:15 AM
Ed Helmrich from Larchmont, NY

You're right, sorry about that. It's:

It gives the highlights of the bill in bullets.

Aug. 03 2009 08:46 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Another beautiful thing about Medicare for All is that people KNOW what Medicare is, they know people currently on Medicare, they know how it works, they know it DOES work.

It's not as scary as health care exchanges (currently non-existent) or health care cooperatives, of which there are only two large ones in the US, according to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, those being Mayo Clinic (I think) and one in OR or WA. Less than a 100 much smaller co-ops are operative, and those have not been studied nor are they licensed. And Sen. Conrad wants to make those the basis or our national health care?

And what about out-of-area care?

A problem for small, state-wide, even regional health care cooperatives or insurance limited to regions is that our nation is highly mobile. When I got sick in WI, my Big Insurer, which was making me pay over $15000 a year, did not have a "presence" in WI or nothern IL or Minnesota and told me I had to go to an ER -- with a very high co-pay. And no one could tell me if lab work and tests would be covered! Since my insurance costs to much, I just toughed it out until I got back after my visit.

That's called self-denial of care, right?

A friend's son, a grad student in NY, blew our his knee over Christmas vacation. His insurance did cover the ER "stabilizing" the knee, but would not cover any additional work necessary for him to have full recovery and use of his knee. That could only be done in NY. My friends had to drive his car and one of their own out to his university, so he could get the necessary care as soon as possible. They had to miss work and had the cost of the drive; their son's knee turned out OK, but it was not optimal to even take the time to drive for his additional care, he was told.

Aug. 03 2009 08:44 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

The beauty of Medicare for All is that everyone who is employed is currently "signed up" for Medicare in that they have money taken out for the Medicare fund. The mechanics are already there.

LBJ signed his landmark Medicare legislation on July 30, 1965; Medicare was up and running 10 months later (I've found 9, 10, or 11 months later, settled on 10)-- at a time without computers!

We have computers, we have people already signed up for Medicare--this should implementable in short order. HR 676 calls for taking effect "on the first day of the first year that begins more than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act."

So, if signed before the end of the year, HR 676 would go into effect 1/1/2011?

Please ask Rep. Weiner if that could be moved up. People die because they don't have health care or early enough care.

This is a life and death matter. Really.

Aug. 03 2009 08:33 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Brian, I hope you will ask exactly which bill Rep. Weiner will get a vote on.

When he was here earlier I understood he was going to substitute the 30 page HR676 for the 1000 plus pages in HR 3200, but I may have been wrong.

What will be voted on? And where can we read it? (I have HR 676 already printed out.)

I want to call, to urge others to call, but I need to know what it is I'm promoting.

I can't get behind the amorphous "Obama plan" bcz there is no actual plan. I was insulted at the OFA meeting where we were asked to call asking others to support Obama's Plan, and no one from OFA could tell us what it was! That's just wrong.

At this OFA meeting, btw, conservatively 80-85% wanted Medicare for All. A few said they would support whatever Obama wanted. The rest asked for information and details. Also, there were no people below 35 except for the OFA workers!

I love that Rep. Weiner has been explicit -- and damn fine charts!

And, boy, can I get behind Medicare for All!

Aug. 03 2009 08:25 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

#2--Your link seems to go to an email? Then access denied.

Aug. 03 2009 08:18 AM
Ed Helmrich

We all agree that we need health care reform, but please look into the details of this bill. There's a summary at:

This is very radical and not what we want.

Aug. 03 2009 08:07 AM
J. Steinberg from Columbia University

I know I'm posting before the show, but regardless of what Anthony Weiner may say, I have something to say to him.
As one who has recently become politically conscious, I think I want to be a democratic supporter, for they generally represent my beliefs. But with the way democrats are handling healthcare reform, I am disgusted.
The democratic party is showing itself to be utterly pathetic, weak beyond words. While they should be pushing through a universal system given their numbers, if they can't even get a lousy public option in, which it looks like they won't, what good are they?
I don't know that much about politics, but I imagine if Republicans held the advantage that the democrats now do, this would have been signed, sealed and done a week ago.
Depending on how this turns out, I may become non-democrat simply because I can't support such ineptitude and general inefficacy in politics.

Aug. 02 2009 09:28 PM

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