Streams

The President's Pitch on Health Care Reform

Thursday, September 10, 2009

David Leonhardt, New York Times economics columnist and staff writer for the magazine, reviews President Obama's speech on health care reform.

Guests:

David Leonhardt

Comments [119]

clare from norwalk ct

I supposedly have a very high level of employer sponsored coverage. However, there are no details of what is covered, only generalities, and never any guarantee of covereage for specific procedures beforehand. There is no way ahead of time to compare which plans pay my doctors more (or less and less as appears to be the case from my EOBs) - that is "confidential" information, yet I have to decide which plan I have to pay for and at what level I am paying. Every year these plans costs my employer and me more and more, for less and less benefit, limits on lifetime benefits, and no portability between jobs. Why are insurance companies allowed to get away with providing so little information to the customer? This is a huge broken part of the existing system that must be changed.

Sep. 10 2009 05:26 PM
JC Owens from South Carolina

Advise to Joe WIlson:

It's one thing to lie about an affair in Argentina, but to strike out at the Highest Office in the World as a Congressman is inexcusable. You will be another reason why South Carolinians will go to the polls and vote out every Incumbent imbecile in the Republican Party. Thank you for demonstrating your lack of integrity and honor for the world to see. As a South Carolinian and a one time Republican, you have finally shown me how little the South Carolinian Republican Delegation understands and that the Party of NO is willing to demonize healthcare reform to stop progress from being made for Americans needing it most. You disgust me and I will support anyone who opposes you.

Sep. 10 2009 04:16 PM
hjs from 11211

calls
stop making things up. his mother died in 1995!

anyway he doesn't have problems and doesn't need your "sympathy."
i hope soon u and others will see through the pro corporate lies and leave him to fix the mess created by 30 years of reagan gingrich bush and cheney, but if they don't they deserve what they get and the rich will be laughing all the way to their summer homes

by the way do u like medicare?

Sep. 10 2009 02:06 PM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

JP - thanks for the discussion. I would post less if Brian would do more to be fair like he used to. Thanks for defending my free speech, I respect and defend yours, too.

I want everyone to have good health care. I just know that if this or any other Gov’t gets its hands on this sector it will mean more bad then good.

HJS - I don't hate Obama, I feel sorry for him. He grew up without a father or a mother and had problems as a kid which affects him to this day. He is the wrong man at the wrong time to advance liberal causes, some of which I actually share. But, I am a realist, too. All true and meaningful progress in this country has come by incremental compromise. That's why Hillary failed and that's way Obama will fail, too.

Sep. 10 2009 01:51 PM
hjs from 11211

calls
Medicaid doesn't work that way!
it's not for the unemployed

Sep. 10 2009 01:49 PM
Jennifer from Queens

It's really disturbing to hear this issue debated on the merits of older medicare recipients' claims and younger, uninsured Americans' needs. I for one want our nation's elderly to receive the best care possible. Let's face it, if you have an essentially healthy lifestyle, you're not going to need major healthcare until you're elderly. This is not a zero sum game, but we will not be a society I'd respect if we condemn our seniors to less than optimal and comprehensive care. Btw: I'm a working American in my 40s with employer's insurance. It's not about me; it's about us.

Sep. 10 2009 01:45 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Hi, Norman [92]--I'm a freelancer myself (& actually, I think I know you) & I lost my health insurance ~2 years ago. I found new insurance that I like better--& it even costs less!--but I wasn't notified of the termination of my previous insurance until nearly 2 months after it took effect (leaving me 1 business day to find new insurance w/out losing "continuity of coverage"!). If it had existed then, I wonder if my eligibility for the public option would have been retroactive to the date of termination? But I wouldn't have wanted to wait that long--I'd've been happy to ditch that insurance for a public option if I'd had the choice. W/my current coverage, I probably wouldn't...but I want the choice, for me & all of us.

For those who think it would mean unfair competition for private insurers: the competition that supposedly exists among them now isn't keeping premiums (or copays or coinsurance) down or leading them to cover all the treatment people need, is it?

Sep. 10 2009 01:42 PM
JP from The Garden State

Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Actually it was the republicans that made it much more difficult to declare bankruptcy, even for medical expenses. Its very likely you would not be able to declare bankruptcy and will be responsible for all of your medical dept. As for your emergency room visit, nothing is for free. It’s a big misconception that if you don’t have money, the hospital can’t get it from you. Pay taxes? The’ll find you… Soon as you get a job and start making money, they will start to garnish your wages and you will have no say on it. This isn’t the government with their hands in your wallet, it’s the hospital. Oh and by the way, you’d be the 15% “problem”, costing me money to pay for your cancer. And one more thing, even if you get a new job, in most states (NJ excluded), you’ll never get health insurance again at any cost because you have a pre existing condition. You’ll be in that 15% for the rest of your life.

Lower interest rates on credit card? Spending beyond your means? Why do you or anyone need lower interest rates? To go into more debt? It was not to long ago the cheapest rate you could get was 19% and not so many people were caught up in dept (more over the last 8 years then ever before). But the one thing Bush gave us was plenty of free money with low interest rates thanks to all your friends on wall street and your biggest friend, China.

What the hell is Pilates class and why would you want to join?

enough said, I'll stop bothering you and I just have this to say, I disagree with about 99% of the things you say even though I’m not a democrat. But I applaud you exercising your freedom of speech even if so many would rather have you censored off this sound board.

Sep. 10 2009 01:40 PM
hjs from 11211

calls
well that's interesting if true. you must feel awful voting for him now, u seem to have come to hate this man.

Sep. 10 2009 01:22 PM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Hjs -- the last Dem I voted for was Barrack Hussein Obama in the primary against Hillary. Of course, I voted for my old friend Senator McCain in the fall election. There was a brief period of time, last spring when I actually liked Obama, but then too much personal stuff came out against him and he was saying way too little about important policy issues and lying about other issues such as courting the gay vote while being against gay marriage or courting gun owners while having a strong anti-gun record in the US and Ill. Senates. Then came Ayers, Wright, Rezko, Michelle's disbarment and a few other items, including credible sources that raise a reasonable doubt on where he was born.

JP -- if I were broke and uninsured I would apply for Medicaid and walk into any hospital in America and the treatment would begin. It's not perfect, it wouldn't be the best, but it would be better and faster care then most people get in England, Canada, etc.
Yes, I might go broke with co-pays, and then I would declare bankruptcy, that's why those laws were there. I don't see the Dems passing legislation to help make personal bankruptcy easier, do you? I also didn't see the Obama admin push for lower interest rates for credit cards, did you? Think about whom the Dems and Obama are really helping --they are helping the banks on the backs of the poor, working and middle class. It is the beginning of a corporate state.

O - how much to join your Pilates class?

Sep. 10 2009 12:54 PM
JP from The Garden State

Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA,

Another fact not cut and pasted from a blog, number one reason people declare bankruptcy today is for medical costs, not run up debt caused by buying big flat TV’s made in China that your former leaders encouraged us all to do… How patriotic…

Sep. 10 2009 12:10 PM
hjs from 11211

JP
maybe he would just take the money from his trust fund!
survival of the fittest. right

Sep. 10 2009 12:10 PM
hjs from 11211

calls'em
what about what bush and your friends at the CIA did to this country.

doing a great job brownie....

Sep. 10 2009 12:03 PM
hjs from 11211

calls
if u haven't voted for a dem since the 60's you're no democrat! dixiecrats are now called republicans. i think u should at least be honest about that, if not who u are working for.

Sep. 10 2009 12:01 PM
kathryn murphy from Kinnelon, NJ

This morning I sent an email to Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) suggesting that he take Rep. Joe Wilson to the woodshed and reiterate the rules of decorum and decency expected from representatives of the US Congress while attending a speech by the President at a joint session of Congress. Wilson is an embarrassment to his state and should be censured for his "performance." The problem here is not only egregious behavior, but the lack of swift consequence and punishment from the leadership of the GOP.

Sep. 10 2009 11:48 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Amy 88, that is exactly what the president said. If you have anything that can be construed as insurance, you are banned from using the exchange and the so called public option on it.

Sep. 10 2009 11:46 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Hjs - I'm not a Republican. I'm a very dissatisfied Humphrey/Jackson (Scoop not Jessie or Michael) type old-school liberal Democrat who is conservative on fiscal policy (balanced budget fan) and foreign affairs (be good to our friends and destroy our enemies). This current group of Democrats has, as did Bill Clinton, quickly destroyed a historic opportunity for real reform because they want to do more then what is possible and advance issues beyond what the American people are willing or able to do.

That being said, I believe Obama is a fraud and is actually using the liberals and these controversies (Cap & Trade, HC, ACORN running the Census, nationalization of banking, auto manufacturing, etc.) for another agenda that wants to grab power to destroy America one way or another. Just one person's opinion -- you don’t have to agree.

Have a nice day and enjoy the sunshine before the Dems tax your use of such. lol.

Sep. 10 2009 11:45 AM
JP from The Garden State

DEATH SENTANCE TODAY IN AMERICA, PART I

Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA,

I have a question for you (although I don't expect you to answer it since you have never directly answered any of my or anyones questions). What would happen to you today if Obama takes away your job (seeing how he seems to be taking everything else from you) and you loose your health insurance from your job and you were diagnosed with cancer a week before or even worse, one of your young kids was diagnosed with cancer? Are your heroes at FOX news going to save you? IS the GOP going to save you? No, of course not. Hope you have all your affairs in order because there is no one to save you. That 15% uninsured does not look so small now does it?

Sep. 10 2009 11:40 AM
Donna Swensen from Riverdale (Bronx) NY

Obama gave a stirring speech--but the obvious way to
have universal coverage is Single Payer. Medicare for all. Freedom to go to any doctor or hospital.

The insurance companies made a mess of health insurance. Denying care for people who most need it is close to being a crime. It doesn't make sense to me to keep coddling these same companies. If they can not compete with at least a public option they deserve to be put out of business.

Employer based health plans are not fair to business.

Alternative holistic health practices should be encouraged. A lot of illness could be prevented and
that would save a lot of money.

Sep. 10 2009 11:37 AM
hjs from 11211

i never bought this tort reform nonsense. i wish BL would do a show on tort reform. doctors order tests because they bill for reading tests. my doc does. does yours?

Sep. 10 2009 11:29 AM
Norman from Manhattan

This is from Paul Krugman's column Tuesday, "Why the public option matters":

What worries me is not so much that the backlash would stop reform from passing, as that it would store up trouble for the not-too-distant future. Imagine that reform passes, but that premiums shoot up (or even keep rising at the rates of the past decade.) Then you could all too easily have many people blaming Obama et al for forcing them into this increasingly unaffordable system. A trigger might fix this — but the funny thing about such triggers is that they almost never get pulled.

Sep. 10 2009 11:20 AM
hjs from 11211

Calls'em

funny now u want to work on it. did the republicats work on it 1995-2006 when they held the congress? there was an election and now the dems get to work on it. if right wins in 2010 then they get the ball again, we'll see if they have any motives other than profits.

Sep. 10 2009 11:19 AM
Sandra from Astoria, Queens

"I supposedly live in Langley, Virginia, and I am a birther." - Calls'em as I Sees'em

Sep. 10 2009 11:19 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

And finally -- we need "tort reform." Even the annointed one made reference to it last night. This alone would save 10 - 15% of HC costs across the board. That money could be used to help the truly needy.

Sep. 10 2009 11:18 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Lessons learned:

Bipartisanship doesn't work.

Sep. 10 2009 11:12 AM
Norman from Manhattan

As Barney Frank says:

It is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of nonsense is so freely propagated.

Sep. 10 2009 11:11 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Agree totally with #92 Where is the moderator when a troll tries to hijack the discussion.

Sep. 10 2009 11:09 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Amy,

I was watching the speech with a freelancer who was wondering the same thing.

It sounded to us like you wouldn't be eligible for the public option if you currently had insurance.

What happens if you have insurance, but your insurer raises your premium so high that you can't afford it any more. Would you then be able to go on the public option after a waiting period?

Sep. 10 2009 11:06 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

"O" [64] -- there needs to be a plan for uninsured people like you who want insurance. But don't destroy what works for 85% of the country while helping the other 15%. That's just stupid, so there has to be something else behind the complex plan that will ultimately socialize and ration all medical care except for the super rich. Also, many people in your situation don't want to pay for insurance. Obama proposal to tax them will be held to be unconstitutional.

hjs - as per above, let's work on alternatives for ER visits, even for illegal aliens - set up low cost clinics for the poor and uninsured.

Again -- cover those without coverage. Leave the rest of us (85% of the country) the hell alone!

-- to all you anti-capitalists -- the profit flows back to citizens’ just like you, as well as to union and government pension plans and charitable organizations that own stock. It then flows into the economy by those individuals and organizations. You young people and people without money don’t understand how capitalism works.

That being said -- I personally believe that all life, health, disability and fire & casualty insurance companies should be private "mutual" companies. This keeps the government out of your private medical and financial information (something that Obama & the Dems want access to) and the premiums flow back to the policy holders.

Many insurance companies were mutual. Some of the best insurance companies still in existence are still "mutual." Most companies became stock companies. All Congress has to do is create tax incentives for the creation of mutual companies and the dissolution of stock companies. Then the profit motive goes away and the costs of health care go down 10 - 15% or more.

Sep. 10 2009 11:04 AM
Norman from Manhattan

I just searched the NYT for Leonhardt's columns.

He seems to think that the ideal would be a voucher system that would give everyone "choice."

And he "suggested" that the reformers not propose a bill that was too liberal or too conservative.

Can we get another economist?

Sep. 10 2009 11:01 AM
hjs from 11211

steve
just look at it as entertainment:)

Sep. 10 2009 11:00 AM
Steve

Moderator : Alert ...

Please scrub out all the posts from this unsavory character from Langley Virginia (Calls'em As I Sees'em ) ... This is misinformation campaign by a political operative.

Sep. 10 2009 10:55 AM
Amy from Manhattan

From cnn.com's transcript of the speech, on the not-for-profit public option:

"Let me be clear, it would only be an option for those who don't have insurance. No one would be forced to choose it and it would not impact those of you who already have insurance."

Does that mean if you have insurance that's denying you care that you need, you can't get the public option? That's how it sounds. But many people w/inadequate insurance would need it. Can we get this clarified?

Sep. 10 2009 10:54 AM
O. from Manhattan

@85 WELL SAID!!!!

Sep. 10 2009 10:51 AM
tom from ny

oops (re comment on "illegals") - meant to say wilson, not smith. knew it was some kind of anglo name and guy who's ancestors, like mine, were not exactly boy scouts upon their arrival here in north america.

Sep. 10 2009 10:50 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Saying that only 15% of the people are uninsured is like saying that a tire is only flat on the bottom.

Sep. 10 2009 10:49 AM
O. from Manhattan

@81 hjs! YES! 100% well said.

Sep. 10 2009 10:48 AM
O. from Manhattan

@73 YES agree!

Sep. 10 2009 10:47 AM
the truth from bkny

@ Call'em: please stop continuing to perpetrate these untruths!

You can't convince me to see it your way with long pasted paragraphs!

Do us a favor and just go to www.foxnews.com with this regurgetated nonsense.

Sep. 10 2009 10:46 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Nadler said on this program that he'd vote against a bill that didn't have the public option.

I think Weiner said that too, didn't he?

Sep. 10 2009 10:45 AM
O. from Manhattan

ALSO doing the math aside, just because 85% may have some heath insurance policy doesn't make people adequately covered. I could have bought into a plan for mind body instructors as I teach Pilates. It covered nothing! Barely a couple of nights in the hospital. I could pay for that myself if it came down to it. What I need is a plan that covers me should I go out and get rammed by a bus, or shot in the street (that's a possibility in this city/country now isn't it? God forbid we take your precious guns away too)so my life doesn't come to an end. So I can have resources to live my life. AMERICAN CONSERVATISM NEEDS TO END!!! it's regressive, not modern, OVER!

Sep. 10 2009 10:44 AM
the truth from bkny

People you can't be force to buy what you can't afford, when will you all see what the real fear here is??

If health insurance company guru's were smart, they would start lowering their premiums NOW, before we all bail!!

We have renewal coming up at work and humana is planning another increase!!

Sep. 10 2009 10:42 AM
hjs from 11211

Calls'em
u need to do the math.

the uninsured show up at the emergency room. who pays?
the uninsured have an untreated illness when they turn 65 and go on Medicare. who pays?

where is the culture of life the right talks about? the uninsured die without see a doctor. what is the value of that life?

why is this about dollars? it's a moral issue. be your brother's keeper!

Sep. 10 2009 10:42 AM
antonio from park slope

whoa, I thought the opposite of what Brian and David had to say about the public option..

Didn't the President say that the public option was what was going to cover the uninsured?

Sep. 10 2009 10:41 AM
jtt from jackson heights

aren't there any radio stations in virginia?

Sep. 10 2009 10:40 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

SENTENCED TO DEATH ON THE [British] NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
Text here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6127514/Sentenced-to-death-on-the-NHS.html

[[Moderator note: Rather than repost an entire article in three different huge posts, might be best to simply include the link. Thanks in advance.]]

Sep. 10 2009 10:40 AM
Steve

@Seems ..

Mind sharing with us - how much are you getting paid to cut & paste all your talking points... and masquerading as public radio listener...

Here is a brownie from me ( for trying ) to go with your bone that your masters threw at its lapdog.

Sep. 10 2009 10:40 AM
the truth from bkny

Well, well, well where do I start with this one...Joe Wilson is typical, he and rush limbaugh, glenn beck make perfect front men for the current republican party!

Here is what was going on in his mind:

Constitution be damned!! i am too emotional to control myself!!

Poor people be damned!! why should they have affordable healthcare?

Unfreakin' believable!!

Sep. 10 2009 10:40 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Calls'em As I Sees'em, I would appreciate it if you didn't spam this comments page by pasting entire pages from other web sites.

I like reading thoughtful ideas, even those I disagree with.

Ctrl-V is not a thoughtful idea.

Sep. 10 2009 10:39 AM
tom from ny

Fascinating that this Smith guy from SC made his “you lie!” comment on the question of providing for “illegals.” God forbid, should we help those in need - even those who are, for the most part, a benefit to our economy and society in general. Anyone b__tching about illegal immigrants who’s not a North American native should think about going back where they came from.

Sep. 10 2009 10:38 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

I’d give the President’s speech a C, C+ at best…. A gentleman’s C.
Some common sense measures were mentioned in the form of regulations on the insurance and care industry; however, a universal mandate based on subsidies (taxpayer handouts) to private companies for the poor not on Medicaid; forcing the unemployed to purchase insurance on the open market since healthcare will still be tied to employment; exempting “95%” of small businesses because they simply can’t afford it; having a public option as part of an exchange competing with for profits and closing it to all but 30 million uninsured (<10% the population); comparing potential single payer to Canada instead of gold standard systems like France and Germany (economies many times larger than those of Great Britain and Canada with intact private insurance industries); calling out federally funded abortion as something against the “federal conscience” while we support foreign militias, UN denounced weapons, displacing citizens, torture, outsourced torture, civilian massacres, private profit/public risk, and funding faith based organizations and organizations promoting hate/bigotry; and the fact that this will take 4 long years to take effect are just a few of the reasons last night’s speech leads me to the feeling that any NY representative who votes for whatever is produced will not receive my vote when they are up for reelection and Mr. Obama will most likely not receive my vote in 2012 if he signs a bill accepting what’s above.

Sep. 10 2009 10:38 AM
Laura from Manhattan

About Medicare and rationing. When I broke my arm, Medicare only allocated a standard number of physical therapy sessions. Ideally, I would have liked one or two more sessions. The physical therapist said that if the standard allocation turned out to be truly insufficient, she could apply for another round for me. Not an absolute. Why do you allow people to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the absence of facts? And why not compare government healthcare and health insurance with the private sector? You want to see rationing that leads to premature death? Plenty of examples in private medical insurance, workers' compensation insurance, etc. where there is no public input on their process of allocating care.....with tragic results.

Sep. 10 2009 10:36 AM
hjs from 11211

plp
czar is a media imposed title. no one has an official title of czar

Sep. 10 2009 10:35 AM
Norman from Manhattan

To expand on Erwin's comment, under the Obama plan you will be required to buy health insurance from the insurance companies.

There will be exemptions for people who can't afford it. That means people who can't afford it won't get health care.

Sep. 10 2009 10:34 AM
Norman from Manhattan

To expand on Erwin's comment, under the Obama plan we will be required to buy health insurance from the insurance companies.

There will be exemptions for people who can't afford it. That means people who can't afford it won't get health care.

Sep. 10 2009 10:34 AM
Erwin Krasnow from Bronx NY

without the public option health care reform will be a windfall for the insurance industry.

Sep. 10 2009 10:34 AM
O. from Manhattan

@55 Call's Em: It's not about changing the whole system. Otherwise Obama would create a single payer system, which he has acknowledged would bring down the whole sytem. This is about options isn't it?? I don't have insurance, I can't afford it. I am amazingly healthy because I workout and teach workout classes and run, and do Pilates, and eat organic and don't buy junk food. I still need insurance. I am healthy. Today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. It's always those who are most scared of being screwed over who end up wanting to screw over everyone else.

Health Insurance shouldn't be the corporate, for profit mess that it is.

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

LAND OF THE FEE -- Part I

For text: http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=505683 For more on Health Issues: http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=16

[[Moderator writes: Again, please use this comment page for expressing constructive opinion. If you want to refer to an article, a link is a great way to do so. But please don't copy and paste the entire thing into multiple posts, as it just clogs up the board. Thanks!]]

Sep. 10 2009 10:31 AM
Michelle from Bronx

Employer based health insurance is a hostage situation for anyone with a preexsiting condition. My aunt wanted to leave her current job for a new job opportunity, but the policy of the new employer was to wait 6 months before offering insurance to their employees. Her husband has MS and can not afford to be without him medicine, but they can not afford it without insurance. That is a catch 22 no one should have to deal with. In a single payer system we would all be free to actually follow our dreams without compromising our health.

Sep. 10 2009 10:31 AM
Laura from Manhattan

STOP that "crushing tax" lie that David Leonhardt is spreading. Please! Here is what is REALLY crushing: housing costs, ururous rates charged by banks and credit cards, exploitation in the workplace......Didn't you just cover the story about bosses cheating their low wage workers out of an average of 20% of their income? We live in a democracy--taxes are not extracted from us by all-powerful rulers. Plus, if you are going to talk about what we get for our tax money PLEASE look at the total picture including the Pentagon and its waste, fraud, and abuse.

Sep. 10 2009 10:30 AM
Erwin Krasnow from Bronx NY

Without the public option health care reform will be nothing more then a windfall for the insurance industry.

Sep. 10 2009 10:30 AM
Norman from Manhattan

If you are frustrated, as I am, by Brian's coverage of health care, you can go to DemocracyNow.org.

Today they interviewed Quentin Young, who was Obama's personal doctor, and Martin Luther King's personal doctor, and a founder of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Young didn't think health care could be affordable as long as we have the insurance companies in the system.

Sep. 10 2009 10:28 AM
William from Manhattanhttp://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/episodes/2009/09/10/segments/140330

A proposal to House leadership re Representative Wilson - Excuse him from his committees for a probationary period, while he takes a remedial class and writes a research paper on the duties and responsibilities of legislators in the American system of representative democracy.

Sep. 10 2009 10:26 AM
Carey from Brooklyn

I was hoping to have a better idea of what I will be expected to pay as a freelancer who works for the kinds of small businesses that will be exempt from providing healthcare to their employees. As a young twenty-something who earns a modest income, I am very concerned about the additional cost I will now be required to cover myself.

Sep. 10 2009 10:25 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

To those listeners who can't do math:

If 45 million people don't have health insurance then 260 million people do. That means, even accepting the high end number, 85% of the country has health insurance.

The current system is not perfect, so let's fix what's broken, and not break what works.

There is no justification for the expense and dislocations of changing the whole system.

Sep. 10 2009 10:23 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Question:

How much are the premiums we have to pay?

(If you require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, they're just going to charge more money.)

Sep. 10 2009 10:22 AM
plp from bkn

From what I've heard on other stations, and some being less liberally biased than nyc and this show in particular (yes I know you try and do a good job at it but it's obvious), the illegal immigrant issue has holes in it and is actually up to that particular Czar to decide.

What's the dealio with all these Czars anyway, I thought this was the land of the free??

Sep. 10 2009 10:21 AM
Karin from Manhattan

The insurance companies have reduced the Medical Profession to one of Risk Avoidance-based Care, rather than Diagnosis-Appropriate Care

Sep. 10 2009 10:20 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Question:

Robert Kuttner said that the mandate was a regressive tax. True?

Sep. 10 2009 10:18 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

"Getting out what you put in" is right wing claptrap.

Rich people put more in through taxes, do they deserve more out?

The ESSENCE of insurance of any kind -- public or private -- is the averaging of risk. Some people OUR BOUND to put in more than they get out -- in raw dollars. BUT THEY ALSO GET OUT the insurance, the assurance of care if they need it.

IS THIS SO HARD FOR LEONHARDT TO UNDERSTAND?

Sep. 10 2009 10:18 AM
Carolyn from Queens

One of the points the Republicans make to rally the nation against health care is regarding the illegal immigrant issue and their participation in health care, which is ridiculous as they are already participating in the our current health care system/debacle. Mostly women and children are covered by Medicaid. The mothers being illegal and most likely their children are legal US citizens. It is harder for men to get coverage under Medicaid so if they do get sick they go to a local Emergency Room give false information and get treatment. And in all fairness we are talking about such a small percentage of the population if you exclude the children of the illegal parentsm, as they are US citizens, I would not care if they were covered under the new health plan.

Sep. 10 2009 10:17 AM
Norman from Manhattan

My question:

Wouldn't we be better off is we had a single payer system?

Sep. 10 2009 10:17 AM
Norman from Manhattan

That's not true. Medicare does evaluate medical services and doesn't pay for some of them.

Sep. 10 2009 10:17 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

There is another locus of waste. The Health Insurers. They are the middle-men who bleed hundreds of billions from all of us and return NOTHING.

Sep. 10 2009 10:15 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

RATIONING OBAMA-STYLE -- Part II

Medicaid (for the poor) could be pressured in the same way as Medicare (for the elderly and disabled). But what about private health plans?

Under ObamaCare, everyone who does not get health care from an employer will be required to obtain it in a health insurance exchange.
The plans will be free to set their own premiums, but they will have to charge all enrollees the same price -- regardless of health status.
Because some plans will attract a greater percentage of sick enrollees than others, a government administrator will have the power to "tax" plans with healthier enrollees in order to subsidize plans with sicker enrollees in a process called "risk adjustment."
And it is precisely through such adjustments that the government will have enormous power to influence what is done for the sick.
For example, suppose a plan attracts an above-average number of people whose doctors say they need hip replacements and ask the government risk adjustor for an extra payment to cover the cost. The risk adjustor may decide these hip replacements constitute "unnecessary care" or "futile care" and deny the request. In this way, the risk adjustor will have the power to indirectly force health plans to deny people care, explains Goodman.

The government risk adjustor will be aided in this effort by a national health board which will be doing "comparative effectiveness" analyses. If the health board decides that a certain type of hip replacement in certain circumstances is "unnecessary" or "futile," this will be prima facie cover for the risk adjustor to deny payments and for the health plan to deny care, says Goodman.

Source: John C. Goodman, National Center for Policy Analysis, September 9, 2009.

For text:

http://www.john-goodman-blog.com/the-r-word/#more-5051

For more on Health Issues:

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=16

Sep. 10 2009 10:15 AM
Mary Henderson from Riverside, CT

The one aspect of this issue that President Obama neglected to fully emphasize in his speech is that access to health care is a basic human right. We are mistaken in thinking that we are working toward a day when health care 'becomes'a right, it already is a right and it's time we uphold that right in this country.

Sep. 10 2009 10:15 AM
O. from Manhattan

@32 But if there's an OPTION that is cheaper then the other premiums will have to drop. It's currently a FOR PROFIT business. They care about their bottom dollar, not protecting the sick

Sep. 10 2009 10:15 AM
Karin from Manhattan

As a practicing physician who works with a patient population that depends upon the Medicaid and Medicare system to ensure its health and well-being, I am grateful for the assistance that government can provide for individuals who cannot always provide for themselves.

I am equally appalled by my fellow physicians who can look at the people they care for and feel that the President is over-stepping his bounds in trying to help all that need this assistance. Remember your Hippocratic Oath.

Kudos to President Obama and his speech. We need to join other "civilized" countries and realize that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

Sep. 10 2009 10:14 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

RATIONING OBAMA-STYLE -- Part I

Barack Obama really does want to come between you and your doctor. More precisely, he wants to change the way your doctor practices medicine, says John C. Goodman, President, CEO and the Kellye Wright Fellow of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Rationing Obama-style will be done indirectly, explains Goodman. It will be the result of administrative decisions -- all ostensibly made for the best of reasons: to eliminate futile and unnecessary care. Here's how it will work:

Under Medicare, the Administration is seeking the authority to make decisions on reimbursing providers through an independent commission.
The federal government will use the power of the purse to force doctors to change the way they practice medicine.
There will be fewer CAT scans, fewer MRI scans, fewer blood tests and fewer operations for the simple reason that Medicare will quit paying for procedures it considers questionable.
But how do we know that the scan or the test not ordered isn't in reality life-saving? We don't, says Goodman. In the very act of trying to change how doctors practice medicine from the payer side of the market, we run the real risk that quality of care will be sacrificed. And remember: the rule makers in Washington -- far away from practicing doctors and real patients -- will be under constant pressure to keep spending down.

Sep. 10 2009 10:14 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Waste is insurance company administrative costs.

Sep. 10 2009 10:14 AM
charles harris md from ISLAND HEIGHTS NJ

THE PUBLIC OPTION IS AVAILABLE IN PRIMARY CARE CENTERS OF AMERICA .FOR DETAILS SEE
www.the-public-option.com
www.primary-care-medicine.net

it provides primary care to everybody insured or not

the numbers are there check it out--if you like it tell yourfriends

Sep. 10 2009 10:13 AM
O. from Manhattan

Calls Em - you're only on here to rile up 'thinking people' and try and dirty the term Liberal to mean something other than Educated and Free Thinking. American Conservatism must end! It's an old philosophy. Amusing that Conservatives in Europe support protecting the environment and a government that provides Healthcare for its citizens!

Sep. 10 2009 10:13 AM
Norman from Manhattan

The best idea we have for saving money on health insurance is single payer, which will eliminate 30% of the costs of insurance administration and profit.

Sep. 10 2009 10:12 AM
Chuck from Brooklyn

Joe Wilson, showing that once more that Republicans have no class and no respect for government, our President and Americans.

Sep. 10 2009 10:11 AM
Ben E from BK

http://www.joewilsonisyourpreexistingcondition.com/

Sep. 10 2009 10:11 AM
anna

I wasn't surprised by that behavior, given the way people have been behaving regarding the political climate.

That act of rudeness will be seen as rebellion that egomaniacs like Limbaugh and Beck who will likely herald that outburst as heroism to their listeners.

In Joe Wilson, the lack of civility, the classlessness... I think we are looking at the GOP's 2012 presidential candidate.

Sep. 10 2009 10:10 AM
Jason from Midtown

does anyone honestly think that calls em was actually shocked at how bad obamas speech was? obama couldve announced a cure for hiv and calls em would be complaining about not finding a cure for cancer.

anyways, the real question is, when will south carolina stop embarassing itself?

Sep. 10 2009 10:10 AM
Norman from Manhattan

Here's the catch:

There's no limit on the premiums insurance companies can charge for insurance.

The public plan will have to support itself, with no government subsidies. That's like the state assigned-risk pools we have today, which don't work -- the premiums are too expensive, and the states can't afford them.

Sep. 10 2009 10:09 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Actually I thought the timing of his speech was right. If he'd given it at the beginning of the debate it would have been picked apart and reduced to nothing. Weighing in after Congress has floated many trial balloons, he can shape a bill that might have a chance of passing. Now is when we need inspiration -- given earlier it would have dissapated in ther intervening months. I hopeful but not certain that Congress will summon the will to do what needs to be done.

Sep. 10 2009 10:09 AM
O. from Manhattan

@15 What exactly in your Calls it As you Sees it view works? What?

Sep. 10 2009 10:09 AM
antonio from park slope

Did the secret service get joe wilson in a headlock after that stunt?

Sep. 10 2009 10:08 AM
jeanne Brooks from milan italy

I am an American citizen living in Milan, Italy and listened to President Obama's speech on the NY Times website.
His call for universal health coverage in the USA, the only democratic country that does not offer that to its people, by appealing to our American ideals was key for me. Living in Europe where even I can take advantage of free health services, everyone asks me why in America this is not the case. I know personally some Americans with health issues who remain here where they are treated without cost rather than return to the USA where they would be denied coverage.
Let's support Obama's efforts.

Sep. 10 2009 10:08 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Oh no, Obama is going to make yet another speech. He does like the sound of his voice. Four years from now I am sure he will have a nice career doing voice-overs for commercials and cartoons. I guess his internal polling showed what a "bomb" his speech was. This despite the "phony" poll results being flogged on MSNBC and CNN; wherein the percentages of Dems and Reps were biased and unrepresentative of reality, i.e., too many Dems polled and too few Republicans. He is becoming a parody of himself. It will not be too long when even SNL has to start spoofing him instead of Sarah Palin.

Sep. 10 2009 10:08 AM
Robert from NYC

Seems like our friend here from Va is blind!!!

Sep. 10 2009 10:08 AM
Suki from Williamsburg

@ Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA: 85% of the country? Typical rightwingnut denigration of the facts. Sit back and shut up; we've had eight years of your BS and look where that's gotten us.

Sep. 10 2009 10:08 AM
Robert from NYC

How do I put it, let's see... BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, Mr Obama. This is what I call one of those Oh Bummer! situations where the promised change has fizzled down or out. The screaming mimis have got what they want, a wounded president who will not give us that for which we voted him into office. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Sep. 10 2009 10:06 AM
O. from Manhattan

Stuart - I was under the impression you'd have to have a business of some kind. Your nanny is not an employee at your for-profit business.

Sep. 10 2009 10:06 AM
Matt from Upstate

Just what's the backlash again illegal immigrants. No matter how you phrase it, calling them illegal, or immigrant, or aliens or whatever, they're still people. I was really hoping Obama would be stronger and more welcoming on immigration, but he's dissapointed twice on this. The first time being when he said nothing was going to change in U.S. policy for awhile.

Sep. 10 2009 10:05 AM
capper from ny

We need universal healthcare.
I support a public option.
Behavior by some congressman during Obama's speech was an embarrassment to our country. They are what is wrong with the USA.

Sep. 10 2009 10:05 AM
Maria from Harlem

It was a Historic Speech that I will carry with me forever. I feel so privileged to have heard it live and will be able to tell my children, and god willing that the health reform bill passes, my children's children.

Sep. 10 2009 10:04 AM
hjs from 11211

17 great quotes but if only reagan and bush didn't expanded government and deficit spending you'd have a leg to stand on

Sep. 10 2009 10:03 AM
Rob Lowenthal from Westchester, NY

If all those senators and congressman had to pay for there own health care and there family's they would reform this system quicker. They have the best coverage in the world.

Here is an idea. Set a deadline for congress to pass health care legislation. If they don't get it passed by the deadline. they lose their own coverage. I bet the congress would move allot faster with this claus

Sep. 10 2009 09:59 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

"I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts." -- President Ronald Reagan

Sep. 10 2009 09:58 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I'm from the government and I'm here to help." -- President Ronald Reagan

Sep. 10 2009 09:57 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

A swing and a miss, strike three, three out... and the game is over (after 29 speeches) for the liberal Dems and President Obama. I listened closely to the entire speech and was shocked at how bad it was - more empty rhetoric to keep the liberals and radicals in line and obfuscation and contradictions to try and confuse the vast majority of Americans who are, one by one rallying against this plan and other disastrous policies being forced on them by this administration and Congress. Even the Dem run Congressional Budget Office shows that the Dems will wreck health care for everyone and the economy of this country. Why? Why the rush? Let's fixed what's broken, not break what works for 85% of the country. The Obama plans make no sense, except as a naked grab for power by taking control of 1/6 of the economy.

Sep. 10 2009 09:52 AM
hjs from 11211

president obama needed to calm the blue dogs and the independents across the nation and he did. he called the liars out and separated fact from the myths. the republicans showed just how intolerant and out of touch they are and I'd like to thank them for that.

the left still has a lot of work to do. elections matter and the left has to get the truth out across the nation. I hope once this bill passes we get to work on the next bill. the bill WE want!

Sep. 10 2009 09:50 AM
MS from Long Island

Loved the speech. The GOP attitude during the speech and remarks afterwards just boils my blood. When will they wake up? Why are they out to destroy the goal of universal health care? ARGH!!!!!

Sep. 10 2009 09:49 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

"Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have." President Gerald Ford

Sep. 10 2009 09:47 AM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

"The America Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." -- Alexis de Tocqueville

Sep. 10 2009 09:46 AM
J. Kaye from Conn.

As Max Smart used to say, "missed it by THAT much."

He came close to nailing it. The president needed to make a more emphatic point that Americans deserve at least a shadow of the health insurance option each and every taxpayer bestows upon every federal employee -- especially members of congress.

And of course, he needed to make the speech earlier...MUCH earlier. Allowing the GOP to steer, smear and obfuscate the issue was just naive and reminiscent of Clinton's first time gays in the military debacle.

Sep. 10 2009 09:32 AM
Jason from NJ

Stuart, you won't be required to offer health insurance unless your payroll is over 250K.

Sep. 10 2009 09:26 AM
Jason from NJ

When can we remind Republicans and "conservatives" that they had their way for 8-15 years and they led the way to our current economic and social situations. Their opinions hold little to no value, especially when a lot of them are admitting they will fight anything Obama does with doing any research. Which means they don't respect public opinion, and the public, in turn, shouldn't respect them.
They can regain value when they begin crossing the isle and valuing the country over their politics.
Until then, you are a joke.

Sep. 10 2009 09:24 AM
stuart from nyc

We pay our nanny (a single mom with a son entering college) on the books (i.e. we withhold federal state and city taxes) to watch our 2 pre-schoolers while we work during the day, and are required by the state to have unemployment and workers comp insurance policies. Will we now be required to offer her health insurance too, and be fined if we don't?

Sep. 10 2009 09:24 AM
hjs from 11211

Louis
where are the votes to support your plans?

Sep. 10 2009 09:17 AM
Louis E. Perego Moreno from USA

U.S. health care reform, which is a matter of life and death is making me sick and Obama's prescription yesterday did not relieve my nausea when undocumented immigrants -- including their children, will be denied basic health care and that there will be no federal funding for abortion that impacts low-income women mostly. And lastly, there will be no dismantling and detaching of the insurance industry from this arena that will just mean more of the same under a different name. Hope springs eternal, but not enough to bank on under the banner of real "change."

Sep. 10 2009 09:02 AM
Anderson from Richmond Hill, NY

President Obama is a great orator, and his passion showed for this issue last night.

I do want more detail on the public option, as well as more specifics on insurers being able not to cover you for pre-existing conditions. There are so many rules that providers use to deny coverage to participants. There needs to be more information on this issue for me.

Sep. 10 2009 08:53 AM
The Feinstein 1200

I love David Leonhardt's work in support of the public option.

Please tell David that here in California, we found a former Senior Economic Advisor to President Bush who supports "Healthy San Francisco" as a viable public option. (Man Bites Dog Story!) And on Monday he will speak at a seminar we put together that combines award-winning UCSF physicians and UCB economists to discuss the costs, and more importantly the savings, of the public option and single payer systems. More seminar info here:

http://feinstein1200.blogspot.com/2009/09/physician-economist-seminar-details.html

FYI - "The Feinstein 1200" is a group of 1,200 citizens who "occupied" the lobby of Senator Feinstein's office in the McKesson Building in SF over the course of a week to support the public option and/or single payer. We named ourselves in ironic salute to our senator - who had counted a VERY large number of our pro-health care reform letters as anti-health-care reform letters due to a "computer error" and who has not sufficiently supported reform.

Sep. 10 2009 04:01 AM
seth

Obama's speech was OK, but I wish he had delivered it sooner. The lack of civility shown by Repubs was disgraceful. Some Repubs held copies of a repub bill in the air as Obama spoke. This was childish and silly. Rep Joe Wilson should be censured and forced to apologize on the House floor for heckling Obama. Obama has gone the extra mile to reach out to Repubs. It's clear from their behavior last night and their conduct since Jan 20th that the only goal for Repubs is to destroy Obama's presidency

Sep. 10 2009 03:28 AM
Chuck from Brooklyn

“Republicans do not believe there is an urgent need for a comprehensive change of the health care system.”

Of course they don’t, they have government provided heath care already. Hypocrites.

Mitch McConnell and John A. Boehner should go stuff themselves.

They have nothing useful to offer. Time to forget about them. Why even listen to them anymore.

Sep. 10 2009 01:04 AM

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