Working from Home: Rep. Garrett

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ 5th) talks about healthcare reform and what he's hearing from his constituents, now that Congress is in recess.


Congressman Scott Garrett

Comments [108]

Nancy from Tenafly, New Jersey

I'm so relieved to read the comments about Brian's interview with Scott Garrett. It made me sick to listen to his nonsense. Although I'm in his district, he doesn't represent me and never did. I've emailed his office on several occassions and when you send it they ask for your telephone number and other information. I believe it's to intimidate people and discourage them from communicating. I called his office today and told them that I was a constituent in his district. I urged him to vote for healthcare reform. I told her that I don't know where in this district he "consults with his constituents" but that where I live the majority want healthcare reform. I also told her that I would do everything in my power to make sure he is voted out of office, even if I have to rum against him myself. I also told her that he underestimates people and insults their intelligence. (I felt a little better but I'm sure they don't care.) I will be sure to contact anyone in New Jersey and focus on unseating this poor excuse for a Congressman.

Aug. 06 2009 10:19 PM
Karen from NYC

And work finally concludes, at 11:30 p.m. . . . so, Shlomo, challenging someone's objectivity based on the fact that he takes megabucks from the people whom he's defending is an attack ad hominem? Not in my playbook.

Garrett didn't make good points. Brian may not have let anyone read the contribution numbers, but he challenged what the guy said, all of which was right out of the insurer/pharma script (and factually inaccurate).

People with relatives and friends in the Blue Dog states need to e-mail and tell them to contact their congresspeople in support of the public option. Sen. Nelson (Nebraska) freaked out when one of his constituents posted a video on YouTube criticizing Nelson's health care postion -- and the video went viral -- Nelson called the guy to defend his position and, according to the voter/poster, seemed "nervous."

Good that they are "nervous." Now let's make them anxious.

Aug. 04 2009 11:30 PM
Richard Johnston from Upper West Side

It's always helpful to hear from a representative of the pharmaceutical industry.

Aug. 04 2009 08:17 PM
Shlomo from Brooklyn

You're all too predictable.
This happens almost every time I read the comments to a segment from Brian Lehrer's show.
Lots of ad hominem points, few that address the arguments the conservative guest was saying.
Why can't more of Brian's guests be thoughtful and understanding liberals, like Brian is?

Did more than half a handful of you say anything along the lines of "I hear what he's saying, but it's not correct." Or "I disagree, but he makes this and this good point." And Heaven forbid we would expect to hear: "He's right; he's convinced me."

Shouldn't the point of these shows be to listen and to hear the other side--somthing Brian strives mightily to present? A Republican congressman makes some points about health care (and truth be told, is logical and articulate about them) but too bad. You've all already got your mind made up. I thought only the minds of die-hard conservatives were too closed to consider another pov.

Phooey to the lot of you. I hope this thread (and many many of the others I've seen) aren't representative of Brian's listeners in general, or liberals for that matter.

Aug. 04 2009 01:52 PM
david ores md from New York City

Brian, please!!! Word choice!

"Insurance" or "coverage" is NOT the same as health services or health care.

This spills into "not for profit" (public) versus "for profit" reality.

"Insurance" or "coverage": They collect money for medical events which MIGHT or COULD happen. If nothing happens over 10 years.... you still PAID every month. You don't get that money back. It is theirs. Gone. They also make profit with no upper limit.
Cost: Billions and billions more.

Health care: only pays out money when a medical event ACTUALLY happens. There is no profit.
Cost: billions and billions less.

Please stop using these terms and phrases as if they are inter changeable.

All the media mixes up these phrases. It is inaccurate and unfair.

thank you.

Aug. 04 2009 12:15 PM
Karen from NYC

Although I must say that I was just itching to cross Garrett. OMG, as my son would say, could I have reamed the little wiener. (Not Anthony, of course!)

Aug. 04 2009 11:58 AM
Karen from NYC

Veena -- That's because he's reading talking points, not presenting facts and making arguments based on those facts. Indeed, there are no "facts" behind his arguments. The key is not to take the bait.

Now I have to work. I'm closing the screen before I'm tempted again.

Aug. 04 2009 11:56 AM
Karen from NYC

Politics and literature are alot more interesting than the highly technical, procedural and evidentiary questions governing who gets to depose whom, about what, and when. But we must pay our bills . . . . or the young college student will have to put down the headphones and find a real job.

Aug. 04 2009 11:54 AM
Veena from New York

Congressman Garrett did not seem to actually have a grasp of the issues, whereas Brian was able to navigate all of the complexities of healthcare reform. He went as far to say that doctors are going to leave medicine if we go to a single payer system. He was unable to articulate a meaningful and logical solution and failed to respond to the concerns of his own constituents. He also kept talking about cost-shifting, but again failed to explain why it happens and blamed medicare/medicaid for the high costs that are billed to privately and uninsured Americans. However, he never even considered that people might be being overcharged and would not concede that healthcare companies were out for profit.

Very disappointing from an elected official, who claims to be representing Americans.

Aug. 04 2009 11:54 AM
Karen from NYC

I know, Norman, and I agree to a point, but I think that letting a listener say to Garrett, "More than 60% of your contributions come from the insurance industry; why should we believe anything you have to say against a public plan?" would not have violated the professional norms of journalism.

Also, criminal convictions for tort negligence are hard to obtain -- one such prosecution against execs of W.R. Grace, for asbestos pollution that sickened an entire town, just failed out west.

The disease that you are thinking of is mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused solely by asbestos exposure. Manville got hit with punitive damages and was in Chapter 11 twice. AND the recent GM asset sale left asbestos victims -- present and future -- in the lurch, sharing only in the limited assets left with the old, liquidating company. My hero, President Obama, really screwed the trial bar and claimants on that one. There are also due process issues as to future claimants -- to be litigated later, I'm betting.

Now I have to get to work. I've spent too much time this a.m. posting and not enough writing my brief.

Aug. 04 2009 11:50 AM
Norman from Manhattan


You can't judge a journalist by the same standards you would use to judge a litigator.

That's like comparing little league to professional baseball.

I would send Brian a copy of Wellman's The Art of Cross-Examination, if I thought he would read it.

But he's not going to go in for the kill anyway. There are just institutional limitations on public radio. And there are professional norms of journalism that usually work to the advantage of powerful interests.

Aug. 04 2009 11:41 AM
Norman from Manhattan


I saw memos that Johns Mansville executives wrote saying that asbestos caused illness and they should make sure that people didn't find out about it.

Tort damages wasn't enough. They should have been prosecuted for criminal offenses. The WSJ had a story about parents who were being prosecuted for criminal negligence when their children die. The asbestos industry executives were guilty of a greater degree of deliberate negligence.

The NEJM had a case history a few months ago about a 36-year-old man who died in a particularly painful way because of asbestos exposure 20 years ago. The asbestos industry killed more Americans than 9/11 and Iraq.

Aug. 04 2009 11:31 AM
A. Nonymous from randolph

More than 60% of Scott Garret’s disclosed contributions come from the insurance industry according to

Aug. 04 2009 11:30 AM
Karen from NYC

I meant Garrett, not Jarrett - of course.

Aug. 04 2009 11:25 AM
hjs from 11211

isn't true bad doctors are almost never removed

Aug. 04 2009 11:22 AM
Karen from NYC

I agree with you, Norman, and so do most malpractice attorneys. The bad actors ruin the system, and tightening evidendiary rules to screen out bogus claims would not disadvantage those with good claims. I don't do malpractice -- my firm does workouts on behalf of the claimants when companies are under water due to tort liabililites -- but the top guys in the trial bar are totally ethical, and the claims are real.

The insurance companies clean up on malpractice insurance. It's a scandal -- but what involving those companies is not?

Aug. 04 2009 11:21 AM
Karen from NYC

For example -- and this is common knowledge in the legal and political communities -- a few years ago, the trial bar united to defeat the FAIR act, legislation proposed by Arlen Specter that would have created a worker's comp program to process and pay claims for asbestos exposure. The bill was essentially a give-away to the defendants (big companies that manufactured asbestos) and the insurance industry, which would have been off the hook for subsequent payments to claimants, because the plan was grossly underfunded.

The campaign aginst FAIR -- not a conspiracy, a campaign -- was organized, employed public relations firms, involved direct appeals to sympathetic members of Congress, and finally sank the plan with the cooperation of the Unions, who were convinced by the trial attorney's statistical data -- all good data, by the way -- that there was not enough money in FAIR to satisfy members' claims and that the FAIR provisions re smokers would disadvantage blue-collar workers.

I saw this happen. I know how it works. It's happening right now, and Jarrett is part of it.

That's why I became so upset when Brian didn't go after him.

Aug. 04 2009 11:17 AM
Norman from Manhattan


The real answer to malpractice reform is that in most (72%) of malpractice judgments, the doctor did make a mistake and the patient was injured.

See Claims, Errors, and Compensation Payments in Medical Malpractice Litigation, New England Journal of Medicine, 354:2024, May 11, 2006.

Of course that leaves 28% unfairly resolved, but if I were injured I wouldn't trade the tort system for the worker's compensation system.

Having said that, malpractice costs are only 2-3% of the health care dollar (compared to 30% for insurance company administrative costs and profits).

I wonder what the administrative costs and profits are for medical malpractice insurers?

Aug. 04 2009 11:16 AM
Karen from NYC

Hi, Martin:

The list is a list of the top contributors to Scott Jarrett, as per -- I copied their chart. Jarrett apparently does not accept contributions solely from "miscreants" -- hence the pro-Israel PAC -- but there are sure a whole lot of "miscreants" on his list.

And Hi, Norman -- I love Brian, but I disagree with his strategy in handling Jarrett. Someone had to point out that Jarrett was -- um -- on the take. We have only a few weeks to knock the knees out from under the health industry's strategy. As an attorney whose clients include representatives of the trial bar, I know about strategies -- lobbies -- because I was present at a couple of them myself. We don't have much time and we have to hit these guys very hard on the real issuess, not the smokescreens that they have been rehearsed to create.

Aug. 04 2009 11:11 AM
Ann Hall Every, CCP from Forest Hills

Representative Garrett's website has a link to email him but ONLY if you live in his I sent an email to the office that schedules his appearances to let him know that 99% of the listeners to his interview today did not fool us!!

Here's the email:

Aug. 04 2009 11:07 AM



Aug. 04 2009 11:06 AM
hjs from 11211

you could help run him out of his NJ district. we are all here, on the planet together!

Aug. 04 2009 11:05 AM
Norman from Manhattan

I sympathize with all those people who are complaining that Brian let Garrett off the hook on so many issues.

But if you've ever had to interview somebody like that in real time, you'd understand how difficult it is.

The issues are very complicated, Congressmen are very good at evading issues, and you can't cover everything.

The best you can do in one show is to draw out the interviewee on one or two good issues that he hasn't been nailed on before, and put him on the record with his lame answer.

I thought it was useful to hear the ridiculous objections to single payer that Garrett was using.

I think Brian did a pretty good job today, considering that he's a liberal and believes in common ground and compromise.

Of course if you really want to get the kind of answers you want you have to go to Amy Goodman on

Aug. 04 2009 11:05 AM
Karen from NYC

Re tort reform:

I'm an attorney who works with the trial bar. Yet I know that malpractice premiums are too high. That said, tort actions help to police the system in ways that professional organizations cannot (look at how well the S.E.C. policed Madoff and the hedge fund managers).

Also, despite what the Republicans tell you, malpractice costs constitute a minute portion of our health care costs. The solution, I think, is to impose controls in the tort system -- for example, more stringent evidentiary standards (no "junk" science)-- to eliminate bogus or opportunistic claims. Wwe also need, as part of the public health care plan, a national, non-profit fund to permit doctors to buy inexpensive malpractice insurance, and do so at even lower costs if they have "good" records.

Aug. 04 2009 11:02 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Maria from Harlem,
You want tort reform. What would you suggest we do when doctors or hospitals ARE responsible for irreparable harm or do something just plain indefensible? Caps have been suggested, but many of those caps would barely cover medical bills for recovery or therapy, so what would you suggest we do when doctors: Leave devices or gauze in a body cavity? Remove the wrong limb? Turn your new baby boy into a new baby girl because they’ve seared his penis off? Perform surgery on conscious but paralyzed patient because of an anesthesia snafu? Carve their initials into their handiwork? Plays fast and loose with healthcare or uses patients as guinea pigs? Caveat emptor? Hope none of this ever happens to you.

Aug. 04 2009 10:53 AM
Karen from NYC

Look, people, the game is to raise alot of phony issues so that people shoot at those and not the speaker. We are not statisticians and will only get into quibbles that no one can resolve and are essentially ideological. What Garrett and other industry shills are doing by raising such false issues is muddying the waters and changing the subject. They have talking points. They have a strategy.

Brian, by letting this guy reel off this stuff you essentially played the industry's game. He needed to be confronted, and not with an X-ray bill. His own record speaks against him.

Aug. 04 2009 10:51 AM
Norman from Manhattan

If you cut rates too low, doctors would leave the profession? He's saying that doctors will follow Ayn Rand and "Go Galt." It hasn't happened.

How many professions can they go into that would make >$120,000 a year (or $200,000 a year or more for specialists)?

There are enough highly qualified doctors in the world who consider it an honor and a service to treat patients, and are happy to get even $100,000 a year to do it.

They can easily get highly qualified doctors from England, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austrlia, etc.

Even if doctors only made $100,000 a year, there would be enough college students in the top 1% of their classes who would be happy to work as doctors. We could fill the profession with dedicated doctors who are motivated by public service (and a comfortable income) rather than pure greed.

If worse came to worse, we could even educate all the smart black and hispanic students, and the smart white working-class students, who can't afford to go to college today, and let them become doctors. But of course the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats would never allow that.

Aug. 04 2009 10:50 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Maria from Harlem -- Yes, the Big Insurance Parasites are hungry, and they're facing a situation where their high charges have caused some smaller and even mid-sized businesses to not offer health insurance. They have the Republicans, but the Repubs lost Congress. So, now they're buying Democrats as well. Big time. Check out Baucus, for example.

They need to increase their available pool of suckees to victimize (pararsites who suck on their victims cannot be called suckers, right? And victim having his or her financial life blood sucked out must have insurance, so his hardly a metaphorical sucker. So, suckee sorta scans....), the Big Insurance Parasites must find a way to force more people to purchase their offer to suck their financial life blood out of them.

Whoohoo! Mandates. But **only with a WEAK, or preferably, NO government run alternative.**

The BIPs are "on board" with "reform" this time around because the parasite has begun to kill the hosts. So they need to enlarge to victim pool, get more in, cut costs a tad --for awhile-- then suck up their financial life blood until there is no more.

I say do away with Parasites now.

Medicare for All.

Aug. 04 2009 10:50 AM
Peter C from Paramus

I live in Congressman Garrett's district and I can tell you all that he has had a history of voting against the interests of his own constituency. I'm certain that there are people from his base in rural Sussex and Warren County who can benefit from health care reform. Where is the outrage from these people?

Aug. 04 2009 10:44 AM
Karen from NYC

I would like someone at WNYC to explain why Brian did not let anyone confront Garrett with his record of accepting huge contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Yes, the point was to let him state his point of view -- but if he is compromised, then listeners hear that. If he'd been accused of taking bribes, you'd have let someone confront him. Was I (a New Yorker, not a New Jerseyite) the only person on the phone with numbers?

According to Wendell Potter, the former Cigna director of PR, turned whistleblower, who testified before Congress and has been interviewed twice by Bill Moyers and, this past Sunday, on Bob Edwards Weekend (broadcast on WNYC-FM), the insurance industry is mounting a massive campaign over the next weeks to turn the public against the public plan, an effort meant to provide "cover" -- a fig leaf -- for congressional reps and Senators who have, essentially, been paid-off to reject the public option.

People need to hear the numbers right now, before the propaganda ball starts rolling. I am very upset that this shill was not confronted with his contribution record -- I don't care who confronted him, but someone should have.

Aug. 04 2009 10:44 AM
LILGOR from Manhattan - upper east side

Congressman's Garret response to the caller who told of a $15,000 bill (he was insured) for two x-rays of his child was that the hospital was "cost shifting." Reason: Medicare was reimbursed at such a low rate that the hospital in order to sustain itself had to shift costs to others - i.e., Medicare reason for others being billed at a higher rate. NONSENSE: All the developed countries with a single payer system are NOT cost shifting. Their health care GDP is 1/2 of ours - with all citizens (and in some countries, visitors to) covered. Brian, why did you let him get away with this?

Aug. 04 2009 10:39 AM
jacob somers from brooklyn

i wish this man was in my district so i could help run him out of office!

i had to turn off my radio because i couldn't stand to hear any more lies and misrepresentations. i don't know how that man sleeps at night.

Aug. 04 2009 10:36 AM
Don from New York City

Wow. Is Garret just real slippery or is Brian being too kind. Let's see, Medicare is the problem. It drives costs up by not paying enough. So Mr. Garret, why not make medicare folks pay the difference? Seems real simple and I'd bet wildly popular among all those socialists--o and citizens/voters. Ok and his other suggestion that Medicare is underfunded. But is he not one of those who says we need to keep government expenses down? Sorry but I did not hear any real plan from this guy, just the same old same old anti-government or is it just anti-democrat drone.

Aug. 04 2009 10:35 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Re; my 44 -- I must not type without my glasses, I must not type without my glasses....

Aug. 04 2009 10:34 AM
Ann Hall Every, CCP from Forest Hills

Someone needs to ask the hospital in question where the callers' baby had the $14,000 X-rays WHY they are charging so much for that procedure.

Why are hospitals profit making entities? Maybe their profit margin is WHY the X-ray cost so much and the hospital knows that the patients'insurance company only covers $5,000 and that the patient will be stuck having to pay the difference.

Under "single payer" the hospitals would have to charge reasonable rates instead of inflated rates and wouldn't be "for profit" - but try getting the executives at these hospitals to agree to that!!!

Aug. 04 2009 10:33 AM
John from NYC

What nonsense? And Brian you are not challenging his assertions.
His contention is that doctors cannot live on the medicare reimbursements - is there a level of affluence that he is talking about? Medicare make careful, collaborative and periodical cost analysis to determine reimbursement rates.

Secondly, the assertion that that the public option which would be a non-profit organization that would not be paying billions dollars compensation packages to their executives will not be able to keep the costs down while paying competitive reimbursements is patent nonsense.

Aug. 04 2009 10:32 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson


Aug. 04 2009 10:32 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Karen, thanks for I couldn't remember their name.

Aug. 04 2009 10:32 AM
kai from NJ-NYC

@ James 51 - Your scare tactics may work with some, but euthanizing seniors is wacky and your march to socialism is incorrect.

You're misinformed and frankly wrong.

Every second of every day, Private insurance companies are rationing healthcare through prohibitively high costs, disallowing certain procedures when necessary, disallowing insurance to people with preconditions, and asking for costly premiums, medicine, and co-pays.

Please admit that Private insurance rations every day.

Aug. 04 2009 10:32 AM
Dark Symbolist from NYC

To #51

WHAAAAAA...??? That was a joke, right?

Step away from the FOX's clouded your judgement.

Aug. 04 2009 10:31 AM
Joel from Brooklyn

I'll skip over Garrett's infuriating logical gaps and just point out an issue of framing:

Garrett refers to doctor's "getting out of the business".

As far as I understand it, the Hippocratic oath does not include a profitability cause. The only function of health care should be to keep people healthy.

This is NOT and will never be compatible with a pure free market system.

Our problem is to align the interests of the market with those of the people.

Aug. 04 2009 10:30 AM
Mike from Inwood

Garrett claimed that doctors would leave the field if there was single payer. Doctors haven't done this in other countries. I'm as worried that doctors will leave the field as I am the CEOs will decide to work in McDonald's instead of run companies if there's a little regulation.

Aug. 04 2009 10:29 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Garrett hinted he would like to get rid of Medicare -- too bad Brian couldn't get him to anwer the actual question.

Well, he'd never say it outright -- he'd lose the senior vote...except for the mega rich who can afford to self-insure.

Aug. 04 2009 10:29 AM
ceolaf from brooklyn

Rep. Garrett cannot be that stupid.

There is not currently effective competition in most states. Small and low population states tend to have a single dominant insurer. The public option provides competition.

How does it help lower insurance rates, even if reimbursement rates are not lower than average for the area? It squeezes out profit margins. Not needing to generate a profit, it doesn't need to charge premiums that extra amount to customers.

Now, if private companies are so much better and more efficient, they can use that efficiency to preserve their profits. But if they are not, then they should lose in the market.

Thus, the goal of this sector will be providing health care, not generating profits for insurance companies.

Aug. 04 2009 10:29 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Given the individual private market in NJ, Garrett wants people to have to pay around $20,000 for one person. That's what on Big Insurance Parasite charges. That's under the state individual plan, which is community rated; otherwise it would be cheaper for the young and usually using services less, but massively higher for anyone older or with ailments requiring care to, like, live.

Aug. 04 2009 10:28 AM
E. Bingo Wyer from Manhattan

The caller who related the cost for a child's (14 month old) xray at $15,000 gave me such pause.

$15,000 for a child's xray--was this a special type of xray or test?

It reminds me of Humana formerly charging patients $75 for each aspirin pill.

Is the average cost in Europe for a child's xray $15,000?

How are any average Americans able to buy/receive affordable care with these stratospheric costs?

Aug. 04 2009 10:28 AM
Susan from Bronx

I'm not from NJ, but this is ridiculous. I'm a physician, and honestly, $18 for reading a chest x-ray (takes a MAXIMUM of 5 minutes- so $162 for 45 minutes) is a whole lot better than what primary care doctors make (about $40 for 45 minutes). Oh, and by the way, we don't make more with private insurance because half the time they deny the claim, so we have to spend money employing people to fight with the multiple insurance companies. Also, the private insurance companies change their formularies all the time, so that's another chunk of unreimbursed time talking to them and the pharmacies on the phone.

What's the answer? Restructure the entire system. Less unnecessary procedures (half of the imaging studies done in the ER are unnecessary), more money for primary care. Unfortunately for the specialists who are raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly (on the backs of Americans), that will substantially decrease their income.

We need single payer.

Aug. 04 2009 10:28 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@James: Euthanize seniors? You've been watching too much Fox news. This is proven BS being rolled out to get the intellectually-deprived (i.e. those who think Palin would be a good president) to vote against their own interests. I suppose you think BHO was born in Kenya too?

Aug. 04 2009 10:27 AM
Aaron Whitby from Brooklyn

So your guest is saying we should all buy our own insurance? And he thinks that companies will up wages to give their workers the money previously paid to medical insurance?
He keeps spewing,ludicrous and venal arguments.
Brian you have to be tougher, check out Paxman or even better John Humphreys on the BBC for how to grill a politician and call him on his bs.

Aug. 04 2009 10:27 AM
Susan Burger from Upper West Side

Listening to this show is incredibly frustrating. I work as a lactation consultant and I have to say that the pediatricians are so frustrated with the health insurance industry that they simply don't take insurance anymore. My husband is a psychologist and he has the same problem. The insurance industry is so bad that he constantly has to fight them over such bureaucracy as insisting on the extra four digits of a zip code. I have given up trying to help my clients get coverage. United Health Care sends back most of the forms I provide for my clients demanding information ON THE FORMS.

My husband and I are self-employed and pay a ridiculous $20,000 a year for less and less coverage. We are trapped. This is more than any other cost we have. I WANT a public plan. Why is he against CHOICE? Give the public a choice.

Susan E. Burger, MHS, PhD, IBCLC

Aug. 04 2009 10:26 AM
Maria from Harlem

The insurance companies are under threat and they are going to go to any extent to save their business. Including purchasing the Republican Party.

Aug. 04 2009 10:26 AM
Milton from Manhattan

About the $14,000 X-Rays:

Being generous and assuming that there are 9 medicare cases for every private insurance payment, is Scott Garret saying that two X-Rays cost $14,000 divided by 10 equals $1400.

And what was glossed over is that the insurance company put the insured person in the position of doing the insurance company's job: the insured person should not have to write a letter to the hospital; the hospital can still sue the individual for the money and destroy their credit score.

Aug. 04 2009 10:26 AM
Peg Kennedy from Willseyville NY

Congressman Garret - But if everyone is covered under the same umbrella, then the plan can afford to pay out more for doctors and hospitals. As it is now, all the really sick who the private plans will not cover have to be covered by our current public options. Why can the rest of the industrialized countries in the world manage to cover all their citizens for 1/2 to 1/3 the cost and have better medical outcomes?

Aug. 04 2009 10:25 AM
Maria from Harlem

Who likes their insurance company and would choose to stay?

Give me a break!

Aug. 04 2009 10:25 AM
Dark Symbolist from NYC

Garret speaks as if the private system going away would be a bad thing. Considering the abominable mess of a system we have with the private insurance companies, I find his whole argument to be moot.

I want single payer.

Aug. 04 2009 10:25 AM
Wilson from Connecticut

I believe your guest is spinning, thank you for keeping him under control. Your producers should have another guest advocating another position when you bring these pseudo insurance company lobbyists on.

Aug. 04 2009 10:24 AM
Karen from NYC

Scott Garrett is an insurance company shill. Is someone going to challenge him with his contributor's record? Please, please, please will someone from NJ call with the numbers -- the web site is

Aug. 04 2009 10:24 AM
James from ridgewood NJ

Go Scott these people are crazy the whole reason health care is a mess is because of too much goverment intervention! I mean look at the mess with Pascack Valley Hospital , a willing invester has to beg to reopen it. The state of New Jersey is already rationing health care as it is with all the over regulation. check out

with this bill the goverment is going to be able to euthanize seniors and special ed people to save money and all of you will be waiting in line for months for the simplest things as well as taxes will being going through the roof .This is socialism at its uglest

Aug. 04 2009 10:24 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Congressman Scott Garrett sadly has convinced himself and his constituency that it is Ok to have rapacious private health insurance in America. What will be his rewards for this? Is he on the take?

Aug. 04 2009 10:24 AM
Zach from UWS

This is where this guy's argument falls apart. All of the doctors, who have spent years in Med school, will just leave the profession because they're making a low six-figure salary rather than a high six-figure salary? They'll leave the United States? Certainly not to Europe, where single-payer plans are the norm. This is all about greed. Perhaps we can cut Rep. Garrett's pay so that he will kindly leave the business of Government.

Aug. 04 2009 10:23 AM

What is the Republican alternative? We cannot keep the status quo.

Aug. 04 2009 10:23 AM
Brian from Brooklyn

This is more of the same Republican misinformation. They still won't admit that Medicare is a public single payer system.

Aug. 04 2009 10:23 AM
Maggie from new york

"A hospital is a business, that's the bottom line" there's your problem in a nutshell. It's about profit. Thank you for encapsulating it. Human life and health is not a commodity and we need to stop thinking of it in those terms. Profit models devalue health and ultimately humanity.

Aug. 04 2009 10:23 AM
Overdosed from NYC

Shortage of doctors??? RIGHT??? So I suppose they'll give up their medical profession to try a career on Wall Street now that the formerly well-to-do bankers are squeezing their ways into med schools. Shortage??? Right

Aug. 04 2009 10:23 AM
kai from NJ-NYC

Yeah, let's talk about.

Rep. Garrett is off base; no system is perfect, but to say that most people are NOT happy to receive good, state sponsored medical care, which they have paid a small fraction of their income over life, is disingenuous.

Having a government option does not preclude that STRONG insurance companies WILL succeed in the competitive arena.

Again: Disingenuous about the SOLE reason for high charges is because of Medicare.

Expensive charges are due to tech costs, unnecessary and duplicative procedures, inflation, insurance, people using emergency rooms as their only health care service.


Aug. 04 2009 10:22 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

BYian! You let Garreet get away without answering whether or not he would haved noted to do away with Medicare!!!

He immediately went to the upcoming single payer vote.

We know he doesn't want Mediczre for All--he's happy with bankrupting individuals, drivinn businesses out of covering their employees due to high health care costs, And people being unable to afford any insurance.

Now he's saying Meecicare is causing the high health care costs? Riiiiiiight. What about care for all those who show up at ER's very ill and with no coverage? And can't pay?

Well, he's goood, I grant you. He's getting away with not responding. It's how they do it.

HOW would he vote on the "double dare" Do Away w/ Medicare amendment Weiner tried to offer?

Aug. 04 2009 10:22 AM
KS from Brooklyn

The country will NOT have a doctor shortage. If physicians are guaranteed a reasonable salary, like the Mayo Clinic, physicians who are interested in HEALING will still be physicians. What a bunch of garbage. "Oh, we'll lose all our doctors! You'll pay $14k for an x-ray!" I am so sick of hearing conservative, self-interested, self-entitled crap like this.

Aug. 04 2009 10:22 AM

The logic is completely wrong. If the hospitals get paid too little for Medicare and then they go and "get even" by charging ridiculously high amounts to other people, the answer is not to blame Medicare: the rates of any service should be regulated and not exceed X amount and it should be about the same disregarding who is going to pay for it.

Aug. 04 2009 10:22 AM
Maria from Harlem

So because one cannot afford insurance, they should continue to be uninsured and use the emergency room and continue to bring up the price of insurance even more?

This does not make sense!

Aug. 04 2009 10:22 AM
Phoebe from NJ

If there will be a doctor shortage, I'm sure issuance of H1B visas will attract new doctors from overseas. Afterall, this has been happening in the tech and pharma sectors for years.

This fool is an industry shill.

Aug. 04 2009 10:22 AM
Karen from NYC

Norman, I looked it up -- -- Brian is only taking calls from NJ (maybe I should have lied and said I was from Newark) -- somebody from Jersey PLEASE CALL WITH THE NUMBERS, ABOVE.

Aug. 04 2009 10:22 AM
Trusty from 10021

ask Garrett who pays for the xray when someone goes into the ER with no insurance.

Aug. 04 2009 10:21 AM
Stacy R from NJ

Isn't the cost shifting at hospitals etc. more due to having to take care of uninsured people rather than taking Medicare?

Aug. 04 2009 10:21 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

The congressman is being dishonest on cost shifting…. Yes, it does happen, but not because of Medicare and Medicaid, it’s because of all of the uninsured they have to treat in the emergency room. I haven’t been charged $14,000 for an x-ray, but the 1000% markup on a bandage and Neosporin and about $200 a suture was helping to cover someone who was uninsured.

Aug. 04 2009 10:21 AM
ADSF from NJ



Aug. 04 2009 10:21 AM
Aaron Whitby from Brooklyn

The New Yorker article about McCellan TX showed how the lawsuit argument is completely bogus.

Aug. 04 2009 10:20 AM
Karen from NYC

He's a shill, Brian -- okay, I'm not from NJ and you won't take the call -- but challenge the s.o.b. -- his rap is part of the Repub strategy -- didn't you hear Potter on Bill Moyers?

Top 20 Industries contributing to Campaign Cmte and Leadership PAC
Industry Total Indivs PACs
Securities & Investment $110,150 $79,150 $31,000
Retired $82,975 $82,975 $0
Insurance $78,700 $21,200 $57,500
Business Services $77,100 $77,100 $0
Republican/Conservative $65,325 $49,725 $15,600
Leadership PACs $64,320 $0 $64,320
Lawyers/Law Firms $59,329 $56,329 $3,000
Real Estate $58,450 $23,950 $34,500
Commercial Banks $45,250 $12,250 $33,000
Oil & Gas $34,700 $13,700 $21,000
Accountants $29,350 $9,350 $20,000
Pro-Israel $28,400 $20,400 $8,000
Lobbyists $26,495 $20,995 $5,500
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $23,850 $14,600 $9,250
Misc Business $20,900 $20,900 $0
Misc Finance $20,750 $8,750 $12,000
Computers/Internet $20,550 $17,550 $3,000
Candidate Committees $20,500 $0 $20,500
Health Professionals $17,000 $13,000 $4,000
Finance/Credit Companies $16,500 $500 $16,000

Aug. 04 2009 10:20 AM
moses from harlem

"We will have a doctor shortage" what a joke

Aug. 04 2009 10:20 AM
Maria from Harlem

Can't live on what Medicare Medicaid pay? Because their practice insurance is so high. Once again it's an insurance problem demonstrating tort reform is necessary.

Aug. 04 2009 10:20 AM
Aaron Whitby from Brooklyn

Brian, please ask the congressman why the US spends twice the amount per person on healthcare than France (as one of many instances and has a worse outcome?

Aug. 04 2009 10:19 AM
Jeff Putterman from Queens

With all due respect, this congressman sounds like he is bought and owned by the insurance industry.

He is lying about the economics of the business, and about what insurance companies do.

He needs to lose his job, and try to find health insurance for his family. That would wipe that smugness off his face.

Aug. 04 2009 10:19 AM
Phoebe from NJ

Insurance companies should be forced from the table. All the arguments that the Republicans use against a government-sponsored scheme are currently true of private insurance:

- Someone else decides your care for you (Insurance companies currently do this).
- You can choose the doctor of your choice (no I can't - he's not on any of the plans my employer offers)
- Costs will increase (my premiums have risen 400% since 1999 and will continue at this rate as healthcare costs increase)

Add in the fact that you will ALWAYS fight to have an insurance company pay the bills that you are covered for, and you have a system that is currently designed to deny healthcare.

Leaving healthcare to the market is a farce. You cannot choose on price/service unless you are independently wealthy and your situation allows time to assess the various options.

As with so many other issues, Republicans are out-of-touch and reactionary.

Aug. 04 2009 10:19 AM
Sarah from Ridgewood, NJ

What can Mr. Garrett say to the legions of 20-somethings who forgo healthcare now because it's just too expensive? Many of us, who do, in fact, live in the 5th district (really!), find ourselves graduated from college without full-time jobs and benefits. It's not just seniors who are suffering here.

Aug. 04 2009 10:18 AM
Karen from NYC

You need to impeach him -- insurance is #2 on his list of contributors -- they are not in his office because he is a shill.

2007-2008 Campaign Committee Contributions.
Securities & Investment $104,850 $73,850 $31,000
Insurance $78,700 $21,200 $57,500
Retired $77,975 $77,975 $0
Business Services $72,100 $72,100 $0
Republican/Conservative $65,325 $49,725 $15,600

Aug. 04 2009 10:18 AM
John Lobell from Manhattan

WOW !!!
A private company seeks to give the least service for the highest price, to make the biggest profit --
By that logic we would be better off getting our computers, clothes, food, homes, etc. etc. from the GOVERNMENT. -- Oooops -- some people do get their homes form the government, it is called public housing -- ooops not so much any more -- in many cities around the country they are DYNAMITING public housing!

Aug. 04 2009 10:18 AM
Mark from Qns.

I'm also in favor of single payor. Don't let him off the hook with the baby x-rays. With single payor, the costs would be spread across the population.

Aug. 04 2009 10:18 AM
Trusty from 10021

if I still lived in NJ I'd ask this guy why NJ taxpayers get so little back from the taxes sent to the federal government

Aug. 04 2009 10:17 AM
Aaron Whitby from Brooklyn

Of course more seniors call in complaining about Medicare than about insurers, they are ALL on Medicare and only a handful have private insurance on top.

Brian, don't let a guest get away with such simple trickery.

Aug. 04 2009 10:17 AM
Jack from New Jersey

Garrett is talking about people who fear health care reform.

But when the GOP is putting out so many misconceptions about what will happen if health care goes through, how can people NOT be afraid?

Aug. 04 2009 10:16 AM
Robert from NYC

Ask him how much he gets from the healthcare insurers or pharmacos or nursing homes. Did you see Olbermann last night? Finally someone on the media listed these sleazebags and the money they receive from the healthcare people.

Aug. 04 2009 10:16 AM
Maria from Harlem

Scott Garrett $13,850

Aug. 04 2009 10:15 AM

i can talk to all the nurses i want, but my insurance company WILL pay for $3 grand in tooth replacements and WILL NOT pay for $500 tooth guard , ie tooth replacement PREVENTION.

The government, incentivized fiscally and socially unlike AETNA, WILL choose PREVENTION.

Give me the government so I can call this guy and complain about my health insurance instead of some cud chewer in a call center!!!

Aug. 04 2009 10:14 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Here’s a question for the congressman about all of the rancor surrounding single-payer and the watered down “public option”:
The government is being cast as an omnipresent bogyman waiting to sink it’s claws into healthcare so it can apparently kick your grandmother down Clint Eastwood style and ask her if she’s feeling lucky. What possible motive does the government have for WANTING to be involved in health insurance? Since the system is supposedly working and commoditized insurance and health has created the best possible and most efficient system, why does government want to be involved? Is it a conspiracy? Government eugenics sponsored culling of the population? Hitler making a comeback? What is government’s evil motive?

Aug. 04 2009 10:14 AM
moses from harlem

Is this guys serious, "Seniors don't call my office complaining about private insurance" Of course, because for the most part seniors are mostly covered by medicare, duh

Aug. 04 2009 10:14 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Did anybody look up how much money Garrett got in contributions from the health care industry?

Aug. 04 2009 10:13 AM
Maria from Harlem

Aug. 04 2009 10:13 AM
Jonathan from Brooklyn

Ask him about the private health plans that treat a C section as a pre-existing condition and denies coverage for pregnant woman. BlueCross has done this, as has HealthNet

Aug. 04 2009 10:13 AM
Maggie from new york

Did he just say it's not politicians role to look for villains??? Explains Bush's view of the "Justice" department don't it. Similar also to the "just close your eyes" mentality toward torture. Interesting pattern...

Aug. 04 2009 10:12 AM
Maria from Harlem

Aug. 04 2009 10:12 AM
Maria from Harlem

Thomas J. Mr. Fagan
Energex Systems, Inc. Updated

Emerson NJ Donation to Scott Garrett For Congress

Aug. 04 2009 10:11 AM
Maria from Harlem

I want single payer.

Aug. 04 2009 10:10 AM
Norman from Manhattan

The insurance industry gets 30 cents of every dollar of health care.

Why does Congressman Garrett want his constituents to pay $10,000 a year for health insurance, when we could pay $7,000 a year?

Aug. 04 2009 10:10 AM
Tom from Upper West Side

Just about all of the anti-reformers are scripted to speak of the huge cost of a revised approach to health insurance/care. Why do they not also speak honestly of the huge savings on the other side of the equation?

Aug. 04 2009 10:06 AM

why not have our elected officials (all 535 congressmen and senators, as well as the Pres, VP, and their staffs) drop their current coverage and opt into this new fangled government sponsored coverage, and then decide it's worthy for all Americans...

Aug. 04 2009 10:01 AM
Melissa from Ridgewood, NJ

Garrett is a former insurance company attorney. I wonder how that informs his position?

Aug. 04 2009 09:35 AM
Jacqueline Haley from Vernon, NJ

I am extremely frustrated with the Republicans' misleading characterization of the problems with our health care system and the various solutions proposed.
For example, Congressman Garrett has a "survey" out that asks:
Would you rather- continue to pay the costs you pay today for the quality of care you currently receive, (or)pay less, but potentially have to wait longer for tests and treatment?
How can Congressman Garrett deny that this type of simplification is deliberately misleading (at best)? Why not have an informed discussion and debate instead of just trying to scare people?

Aug. 04 2009 08:42 AM
Ed Helmrich


Aug. 04 2009 08:19 AM
Ed Helmrich

A bullet summary of the bill as it is now can be found at:

Aug. 04 2009 08:18 AM

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