Is a public health insurance option essential?

By Reuters Staff
August 17, 2009

The debate over healthcare reform heated up this weekend when a top U.S. health official called into question the government-run health insurance option favored by President Barack Obama.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
said on Sunday a public option was “not the essential element” of any overhaul, and that non-profit cooperatives being considered by a Senate panel could also fulfill the White House goal of creating more competition on insurance.

Democratic dissenters of this view come out in full force.

“You can’t have reform without a public option,” Howard Dean, a former Democratic National Committee chairman and a vocal supporter of an overhaul, said on CBS’s “Early Show.”

“I don’t think it can pass without the public option,” Dean said. “There are too many people who understand, including the president himself, the public option is absolutely linked to reform.”

Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner of New York, who backs a public option, said in a statement “leaving private insurance companies the job of controlling the costs of healthcare is like making a pyromaniac the fire chief.”

Reuters.com asked a panel of experts to weigh in on the debate. Here are their responses:
(Updated at 8:15 pm ET)
ted-okonTed A. Okon is the executive director of the Community Oncology Alliance, a professional organization representing community oncologists. The views expressed are his own.

A government-run insurance program — the public plan option — is not essential to health care reform and could even be detrimental. The government should focus first on creating a consumer-friendly insurance exchange that provides transparency and easy comparison of private health care options. This combined with regulatory reform at the federal level will foster greater competition within the private insurance sector.

Proponents of a public plan want a low-cost, government-run insurance option that will force private payers to reduce premiums to compete. This would be achieved in large part by basing provider reimbursement on Medicare, or a nominal percentage above Medicare. Thus, between Medicare and the public plan, the government would have the leverage to virtually control provider payments.

Greater government control over provider payments would force practitioners to close their practices because in many cases Medicare rates are not realistic. For example, Medicare already pays for approximately 45 percent of cancer care at rates that are forcing community cancer clinics, which treat over 80 percent of Americans with cancer, to cut staff and close facilities. In 2010, Medicare is planning further payment cuts for the administration of life-saving cancer drugs by over 20 percent.

Extending the influence of Medicare pricing through a public plan offering would have catastrophic consequences on the cancer care delivery system in this country.

steffie-himmelstein-comboDr. Steffie Woolhandler and Dr. David Himmelstein are both associate professors of medicine at Harvard Medical School and primary care doctors at Cambridge Hospital. They co-founded Physicians for a National Health Program. The views expressed are their own.

Even with a strong public option the president’s plan for health reform was far too timid, falling well short of the single payer reform that would resolve the health care crisis.  Dropping the public option assures that reform will merely pump more money into private insurers’ coffers and reinforce their stranglehold on America’s health care system. The measure the president appears ready to accept would do little or nothing to help patients, and much to help the corporate interests who profit from care.

Wendell PotterWendell Potter is the senior fellow on healthcare for the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wisconsin. The views expressed are his own.

I’m hoping the comments from the White House over the past few days are part of a trial balloon to gauge the reaction to the possibility of throwing the public option overboard–and that the reaction from the president’s core supporters has been swift and clear.

There can be no meaningful reform without the public option. The suggestion that nonprofit co-ops can be created as an effective alternative to the public option is fantasy. The insurance industry would love to see the idea of co-ops included in the bill that reaches the president because insurance executives know co-ops would have no chance of ramping up to be competitive in any market.

Sen. Conrad should spend more time learning about what has happened to the insurance industry in recent years before championing an idea that would ensure the continued profitability of insurers at the expense of his constituents and millions of other Americans.

For full Reuters coverage on the healthcare reform debate, click here.

37 comments

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Obama health care is an idealistic dream.

Posted by greyfox | Report as abusive

As a hospice nurse, I see the suffering of Americans who are left with no payment source when stricken with catastrophic illness. We need a public option. When I voted for Obama, I was supporting a public health care option. If this is dropped from the legislation, I will feel cheated of my vote. The conservative “backlash” have not participated in the democratic process, but have been mannerless and offensive naysayers and instead disrupted public forums and used mis-information to hinder the public debate. I oppose “giving in” to that kind of tactic on principle. I also fear that the “emotion” over this legislation is simply a release of racial prejudice and disdain for the working poor. This behavior is not acceptable to the majority of Americans, but stepping back from the intent of health care change would be even less acceptable.

This short piece is typical and shows why many people are leery of turning healthcare over to the governement.

For example, the Harvard doctors make bold statements like, “The measure the president appears ready to accept would do little or nothing to help patients, and much to help the corporate interests who profit from care.”, but offer no solid reasons why this should be so.

The other side, besides observing that the government seldom runs anything efficiently, are vague about exactly how they would improve the system.

The President is believer in big government; his simple sales pitch is full of obfuscation and disengenous assertions like: “We’re not gonna pull the plug on Grandma”. Well, not literally, but rationing of healthcare is part and parcel of any single payer system. It has to be.

No wonder we’re confused.

Posted by Tom Melanson | Report as abusive

Tom – what you fail to recognize is that health care is already “rationed” by the current profit only system which leaves our parents to die in pain because they are no longer profitable to treat.

Posted by Alan | Report as abusive

I have personal example:

I have healthcare insurance through my employer. I pay only $200 per moth, which is really generous, considering other people pay $500 out of a $700 paycheck, even when the employer pays half of the premium. Is this a competition, or affordability?

Anyway, I have relatively simple problem – running nose. I battle already two years to get to specialist and meanwhile my health problem worsens. Do the health providers have incentive to provide care? Based on my experience – NO. However, my personal data was recorded every time when I go to consultation, and I got blood pressure measurement. And of course I pay co-payments for those “services”.

I lived in Europe till 5 years ago. The American health insurance system, because this is not “care”, is absolutely pathetic and laughable when compared to the rest of the world. It does make a lot of money for the insurers though.

Posted by Ananke | Report as abusive

Actually, there are an assortment of naysayers of the public option who indeed have alternate ideas. House commitees need to take a look at some alternate ideas and perhaps draft a proposal.

Tort law reform: California has passed some reform of the personal injury litigation process, including a cap – $250,000 – on noneconomic losses. Many technical papers have demonstrated the effects of the reform on bringing lawyer fees and subsquently insurance costs down to realistic size. The honest truth is that the country pays tort lawyers an insane amount of money to secure individuals with insane amounts of money for an insane amount of personal damages cases. This is a great burden on our healthcare system.

Posted by Ernesto | Report as abusive

@Tom Melanson: At least the conservative side gives facts and examples. The liberal side only responds with emotional pleas and no logical explanation.
Take, for example, the agument presented by Drs. Woolhandler and Himmelstein above. They are from Harvard and Cambridge. They are the co-founders of “Physicians for a National Health Program”. Yet, the best they can come up with is a one-paragraph statement of: “Insurance companies bad.”
Yes, we are loud at town halls. Yes, we are angry. But it is only a direct result of our elected representatives refusal to listen.
The health care reform bill is a bad plan.

Posted by Robert Galan | Report as abusive

[...] Link: The Great Debate » Debate Archive » Is a public health insurance … [...]

We (as in me and my children) need insurence which can cross state lines and be truly transportable. We also need insurance which addresses our needs. Right now my (grown) children have nothing and I have insurence which is good only in a limited area of one state – everywhere else I go it is no good – We are not talking cancer care here, just “small” life events: (rip out a shoulder in the South west – travel back to the mid west to get it looked at and repaired or pay over $5000 out of pocket and STILL have to travel back “home” to get care!) Try driving a 5 speed truck with your right biceps tendon ripped out! Does a lot more dammage.

Yes private insurence companies (with their 40% overhead) would LOVE an unregulate “national” pass for themselves but with a government option as well they couldn’t lobby to gut all the state insurence protections we now have and we would be able to be US citizens not just tied to local communities (where there are no jobs!)

Posted by sue | Report as abusive

Something is terribly wrong with the current health care insurance. For Medicare, Part “B” I pay $96.40/month and it pays 80% of whatever Medicare approves. For a Medigap policy I pay $248/month and it pays only the 20% that Medicare, Part “B” does not pay. We need a Government option in order to get a reasonable medigap policy price. Am I afraid of a government run system?……….no!!, I already have Social Security, Medicare and VA coverage all Government systems and have absolutely no problem with them.

Posted by George Gambel | Report as abusive

While I am sure our politics are quite different as a whole, I’m developing a man crush on Wendell Potter. Who is he!?

Posted by Ronnie Culpepper | Report as abusive

I do not believe we need a public option. The bill the way it is written now has us seniors very concerned. With an estimated 500 billion cut to Seniors it doesn’t make me want to support it. And the fact that illegal aliens get treated with no charge to them is totally unacceptable. Why can’t their country treat them? Because they know we have the best healthcare system in the World. So you take from the Handicapped and the Seniors to pay for Health care for illegals and for people who refuse to work. And on pg. 425 of the bill mandatory counseling for seniors, by a government board to determine what care you get and do not get. And offer you options for end of life care, that includes the option for Euthanasia is not something I care for. You may be young now but you will get old someday. You have parents and grandparents, do yo want this for them? We do need to make changes but his is not the way to go.

Posted by Mary Stevens | Report as abusive

The previous commenter states that a national plan would ration healthcare. As nobody would want the government to agree to a plan without limits, the statement is obvious to the point of being irrelevant. A better point would be to discuss the ways in which health care would be rationed. Currently healthcare is rationed depending on the ability of employers or individuals to pay for health care. Some people are served very well by this system. In a national plan, governmental support for health care would be rationed according to an agreed set of standards. There are several public health care provision systems in the US already, so a generally agreed set of principles already exist. Similar sets of guidelines can be seen in many other countries that provide universal health care. It is possible to have a system that combines fundamental health care to all citizens with private health insurance for those who wish to have private doctors, private rooms, rapid elective surgery and other things that would likely not be part of a government plan.

I currently live overseas in a country with universal public health as well as private coverage. It works very well. My previous experience with the US system was much less satisfactory. Why should we tolerate having to plan pregnancies around job moves because insurance companies view pregnancy as a “pre-existing medical condition”? What does one do in the US if they get laid off from work while they or their wife is pregnant? That is a very arbitrary way to ration health care.

Are people that don’t want universal coverage simply selfish? It is strange that a country like the US, that is populated by patriotic and generous people would choose to be so self-centered and unconcerned about its citizens.

There is also a common sense element to universal health care – and I am not only referring to the fact that it is less expensive and leads to better health outcomes than the current norm in the US. Is a catastrophic epidemic more likely in a country with universal coverage and good preventative medicine, or a country in which a significant portion of the population does not have adequate access to health care?

If there is a new model that provides universal coverage that is less expensive than a public system. Great! Implement it. The US has led the world with novel ideas before. Do it again. Accepting the status quo through either lack of vision or selfishness is simply stupid.

Posted by Paul Ebert | Report as abusive

Let people buy into medicare.

Posted by J Sullivan | Report as abusive

The real and only way to reduce healthcare costs is to reduce bureaucracy. Having a government department that oversees the private insurace company bureaucracies is just plain crazy.
The best answer is for all working Americans (on private insurance) to have Health Savings Accounts, funded with their own pre-tax earnings, and a hopstializtion insurance policy. You go to a doctor for a routine matter, and pay the doctor’s office directly from your HSA. No insurance company bureaucracy, no government oversight needed.
If you want transparency and competition, make it mandatory that all health care providers (doctor offices, hopsitals, labs) post their prices, like a fast-food menu board. Everybody pays the same price, and the consumers can shop and go where they please. If Americans are anything, it is shoppers!
Savings guaranteed. People will not go to a doctor frivolously, as they are paying with their own money. No one is going to pay $100 for a tylenol tablet, guaranteed.
Of course, neither government types nor insurance company employees like this idea. It cuts them out of the meat of the health care market!

Posted by Abe | Report as abusive

@ Robert Galan
A simple Google search reveals a tremendous amount of information from the organization founded by Drs. Woolhandler and Himmelstein that backs up the brief quote provided by Reuters. I have quoted the first 2 sentences on the site:

“The U.S. spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on health care, $7,129 per capita. Yet our system performs poorly in comparison and still leaves 45.7 million without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered.”

There is much more information on the site as well.

Tort reform will probably help the situation, but additional direct action will probably be required to address the needs of the other 45.7 million citizens. It may be that if tort reform is implemented people will be more generous as the health system will seem to be less of a bottomless pit that consumes money.

Posted by Paul Ebert | Report as abusive

As usual I find it telling that the Professors and “Senior Fellow” think a Public Option is a good idea, while the man who represents the Oncologists does not.
When Someone who isn’t protected by tenure, etc. comes out in favor of this, then I might consider thier opinion valid. When People in academia try to demonize the Insurance industry as self serving, thier Hypocrasy is showing.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

I believe the majority of the public backlash (and by the way “that kind of tactic” is as American as apple pie) can be traced to Obamacare’s Trillion dollar price tag. This, in the wake of having already spent a Trillion dollars on a stimulus package that so far has shown tepid results is causing people to lose faith in this administration’s fiscal judgment. Bottom line, if unemployment was under control Obamacare would’ve been much easier to sell.

Posted by GLK | Report as abusive

I think most citizens who oppose a public option do so because they are comfortable with the coverage they currently have at their job.

But this is short sighted and binds them to a job they might not otherwise tolerate.

We’re all taxed 30-50 percent between federal and state taxes. I doubt they would be able to tax us much more, percentage wise. Thus, more of our tax money would be directed toward health insurance and diverted from the military, pork, and other places our tax money goes.

I would rather my tax money go to a public option that beats the price of Blue Cross and Kaiser-Permanente so that my main reason for taking a job is not just to get coverage for my family.

That way I am actually seeing value for my tax money, as opposed to a lot of it going to the military which is already bigger than necessary.

If I’m disappointed with the care I get, I can pay extra to get private insurance. Just as if I don’t trust the post office, I can pay Fed Ex to deliver my package.

Posted by Andrew Jackson | Report as abusive

Here’s a link to facts from the WHO; US is 37th , France is number 1; http://www.who.int/healthinfo/paper30.pd f. Charts are on pages 18 – 21.
Currently there is no effective competition between insurers because of removal of anti-trust restrictions and favorable insurance co. legislation and judicial decisions, so the only real chance the public has for true competition is a public insurance option. Of course, if government and big insurance collude against us to weaken the public option, then there won’t be competition.
What is so bad about us as citizens having the chance to sign up for the same kind of health insurance as a public employee? Finally, we would get something to show for our taxes other than wars and run down Interstates.
Without the public health insurance option, I agree, let the legislation fail – otherwise it is just a mandate to pay premiums to further enrich the health insurance companies like in Massachusetts.
Sooner or later, we have to get health care costs down to a level that will save Medicare, and if we want to be prosperous in the new global economy – make our countries’ businesses cost competitive against other countries’ businesses not saddled with these high costs, but supported by their governments, and with more efficient health care for their citizens.
Passing health insurance reform without a public health insurance option will just mean a slow bleeding of America. Faster is better, whether it is fixing the problem now or letting it go until it fails so the only option is a single payer government system.

Posted by Steve Chapman | Report as abusive

Barack Obama is far behind Ned in the first reader when it comes to helping anyone with anything. The best thing he could have done when he took office is to have taken a vacation. He is a blank slate when it comes to governmental finance, and blanker still on the founding principles of this great country. The economy is turning itself around in spite of Obama’s incompetence. He certainly will take credit for it, you can bet. We need to get the Federal government out of our faces and our wallets, and above all, we need pompous, arrogant elected officials to stop tormenting us with their stupid ideas!

Posted by RightStuff | Report as abusive

I do not understand the fear of having a public option. I think must people opposed to it have been brainwashed with the fear mongering of the Health Care Companies lobby. What they do not know or love to ignore is that Health Care companies wants to drain your wallet even further deny most of your health care. I fear the Health Care Companies that exploit us with their continual denial of health care and fleecing of my wallet. I rather trust a public option than Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente or the rest of the Health Care thieves. In my own opinion, health care companies in this country should be run as non-profit companies. Their fat profits should provide great health care for the rest of us.

Posted by Fedorov Cadmius | Report as abusive

There can be no meaningful reform without the public option. Unchecked the insurance industry will continue to raise premiums, deduct coverage and make more money. It is unfortunate that the focus of attention is on soundbites that inflame and polarize individuals. Health care reform, insurance reform and understanding the moral imperative that we should all work to the betterment of all humans. Health care can continue to be “priced based” and those who have the money can continue to get the care that they can pay for. This select group of people will always be able to pay for what they want. Reform is about those who use insurance companies, earn an income and support families on salaries or wages. It is for those who have not received wage increases or bonuses in recent and in some cases over ten years. The wage and salary increases have all gone into paying for insurance. It is estimated by some that insurance cost per employee is $12,000 for a family plan. Where will we be when this is $24,000? Ten years ago the average insurance cost per family was $6,000.
Blame it on what you would like, but it is something we should be addressing.

Posted by Rosemary Duggan | Report as abusive

Without the public option health care reform is a waste of time. An alternative is necessary to bring the health insurance industry to heel – or else market conditions will return to those most favorable to them, as they are now.

Posted by Ron Reed | Report as abusive

People who are against this reform are either profiting from this broken healthcare system or not paying for healthcare.

Posted by limnu | Report as abusive

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of medical administrators has increased twenty-six times since 1970! In that same time, the number of doctors and nurses hasn’t even doubled. That is the primary source of rising costs along with 15% of all medical costs coming from billing fraud according to the Government Accountability Office. In comparison, medical malpractice insurance amounts to less than one percent of all costs.

Minnesota already has Obama’s vaunted non-profit, insurance co-ops, yet it hasn’t lowered our costs much at all. We’re still suffering from prices skyrocketing at three times the rate of inflation and 40% of our state’s budget goes to medical care even after years of cuts.

America already has the most socialist health care system on Earth. We pay more than everyone else, even only counting government dollars, yet most industrialized nations cover everyone with less rationing than American insurance companies use. If America becomes more Socialist, it won’t be because of a public plan. It will be because Congress passes a plan which guarantees more tax dollars to subsidize the insurance, drug, and medical industries which are lobbying them at an expense of millions of dollars of your premiums and medical costs every day.

Posted by Colin | Report as abusive

Dear Editors,
All your sayings on this subject are worth for debates and for final conclusions.
After reading,writing,debates and comments from various sections of American society,Mr.Obama!s new health care insurance proposals will be accepted.
Generally speaking,America always follows capitalist system in larger ways.
Thats why,many Americans are having second thoughts to this new proposal
The concerned authorities also find very difficult to convince Americans to accept it for future national interests.
The best way is,this new health care policy can be optional to them
Let both government and private agencies participate to it.
To sum up,since so many days, the above topic became prominence to entire media networks.

Greyfox, apparently most countries in the world follow that particular idealistic dream and their citizens are very proud of it – that is what taxes are all about.
There is hardly any idealism behind it; it is strict pragmatism to consider the well being of ALL citizens to keep a country stable without the use of crushing military might. Think about it.
Many countries also rely on their government-run and volunteer fire departments that work hand in hand with both private and public hospitals. Private practices co-exist with public and everybody gets what they want.

There are many public hospitals in the USA that are the best at some specialization or another, same as with private. The best schools and universities where a particular student wishes to specialize are, for the most part, public. All medical doctors must be licensed to practice, as so must be nurses.
In MANY private insurance deals today, the patient/customer has no choice in the doctor they wish to have: it HAS to be a company doctor/hospital/clinic.
The death squads exist based on the monetary capabilities of the patient or his family. They’ll easily deny treatment and pull the plug on who isn’t deemed profitable. While they sense dollars, they’ll keep you alive and add as many irrelevant tests and treatments as they possibly can.

I find it offensive and reminescent of national-socialist party tactics for takeover [of democratic systems like in Europe 80 years ago] what certain groups are doing at local levels of government:

Were a certain white mayor who got a very serious death threat in the shape of a dummy hung by a rope black instead, the outcry against such tactics would be far greater. Why isn’t it now? It’s anti-democratic and disrespectful to everybody to have it happen over a critical issue of national interest, not to mention to the man and his family. No good citizen should do this. No good citizen is doing this. There are people in jail over less than has been done.

There is extensive literature providing enough evidence of graffiti, violent manifestations, interruptions and subversion of town hall meetings, posters, use of violent gangs and vigilantes in post-WWI Germany.
I wonder if the nazi symbol they use to brand elected officials isn’t instead a gang tag.

The loss of composure in public meetings shows how little those people know about their democratic responsibilities and about exercising their democratic rights. What do they have to fear in the great American democracy to resort to this?

Why should they have a say and why should they be listened to regarding a public health care option?

Barack Obama has turned out to be a little coward. At the end of his term he won’t be re-elected if the Bill isn’t appropriate to the betterment of the lives of American society.

Posted by SG | Report as abusive

Why can’t just those why pay taxes get health benefits…how b’out that Obama and the rest of the health care reform starters??? NO seriously, this I could be in favor of, but not just letting any old person that comes to America, even the illegal’s to get health care and our taxes go up the roof???? No, sure, I will cont. to fight this…

I think it’s critical for insurance companies to pay some of the highest health care costs in the world. That is what smart insurance companies do. I also think that old people are a burden to the insurance system and should not be insured once they start making claims. Only people who do not need insurance should be insured. The average person without insurance should borrow heavily to pay for their medical bills and then simply declare bankruptcy.

See, our objective is to send thousand of soldiers to die for no good reason in distant countries. Because we like having dead people. It’s wonderful when parents are proud when they send their children to die for oil. To think we would actually use public funds for free health care is truly American. As soon as our kids our born, there isn’t really any point waiting for them to grow up. Kill them off right away. Save the state the expense of education and health care. Children and indeed all people are a liability. The world is kind of overpopulated.

So I personally believe that we shouldn’t have any kind of public health care. It was a dumb idea from the start. When people get sick, they should sell their organs. When people are hungry, they should eat their kids. That’s what it means to be a great nation. Public health care can’t work. Look at all those other people around the world with public health care. Their economies are falling apart. Meanwhile the United States is a total economic juggernaut. Shock and awe. Look at us. We smart. They dumb.

Posted by Don | Report as abusive

Healthcare is a supply and demand issue.

Costs will remain high while demand surpasses supply.

To increase supply of health care we need to:
1. Create multiple competing Master Healthcare Indexes so medical devices and software can communicate seamlessly. Today its complete tower of babel. HL7 is almost worthless.

2. Stop worshiping doctors. Most medical procedures can be done by people with two year degrees. We should make at least three competing Medical Procedure Certification authorities for regulating how these new medical procedure specialists are injected into the healthcare industry. AMA has had a monopoly long enough.

3. Reduce monopoly on patents for all new drugs. Encourage pharma to become more efficient and not focus purely on the next 50 dollar pill.

-Eric

Posted by ERic | Report as abusive

1. Utopia.
We know that current health care doesn’t work. (It is no.1 in price while number 37 in overall ranking).
So people decide to come up with something new. Old health care system must compete or die.

2. Facts

a. Every single procedure must be approved by doctor and insurer. After every visit doctor sends papers to insurer seeking approval. Serious procedures must be pre-approved.

b. Current insurance only work while you are employed. If you lose your job while sick you ultimately end-up paying out of your packet. That may reason why medical cost bankrupt families. People losing insurance while they need it most and go bankrupt.

c. Individuals pay 1.5-3 times more than than insurance companies for the same service.

d. States/boards/insurers mandate minimum charges for medical procedures.

Posted by Sergey | Report as abusive

All the proposals being thrown around do not go to far. In my opinion healthcare should not be a for profit enterprise, it should not be a drain or a money sinkhole either, but people making fat cash off the current healthcare system while people are going bankrupt from needing operations or other services at the same time is not a pretty picture.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

As a registered nurse who has practiced within the Oncology specialty, I can only add that outpatient chemotherapy will be “gone with the wind” and that even the simplest 5 minute chemo infusions will have to be administered in the hospital. The patient will have to undergo the hospital admission process in addition to the travel time to the hospital and the additional time expediture that the patient will have to endure. Many cancer patients are fatigued from their disease.Requiring that they travel to the hospital for their treatments when they could have had their therapy administered across the hallway from the exam room is couterproductive. How will this avenue of treatment save the system any money at all? I think we will only see more deficits and fewer staff.

Posted by Pamela | Report as abusive

I have private healthcare that is rising my cost again for the third time in 7 years and it was already high when I first got it through my job. I can’t even afford to take my kids nor myself to a primary doctor which is $25.00 a visit through UnitedHealthcare, much less a specialist who is 45.00 dollars a visit. In the past I received medicaid because I only made below $20,000 a year while going to school with my girl who where under 5 years old back in the early 90′s. They are young adults with the same insurance problem while going to school and work. It’s harder for them because they don’t have kid’s of their own. The system make it easier for teen mothers and single mothers to get help while making it harder for my daughters to make ends meet. Why is the insurance company allowed to raise our premuim when ever they want and drop us at any given date even after paying for years. I’ve worked in nursing for nearly 18 years and know the greed of the hospital, insurance, doctor and pharmactical companies. They DO NOT look out for us. You my not realize it, but you already have a socialist Healthcare system in place. And their paying for those fear factor commericals your seeing on TV everyday. Why else does it seems like Obama is still running a campaign that should have ended November 4th. Come on everyone. Get over the angry. Obama is in office.Okay. And before listening to another Hannity, Rush, and Beck, find out what their motives for telling you what’s what. Find out if it’s true. You already know they hate Obama from the beginning and that’s okay under a normal debate. We are talking about the issue of REAL peoples health. And as I last recall, you only get one body to take care of, so get the facts and stop this hating.

Posted by eliza holmes | Report as abusive

Doctor or no better. My specialist was/is a drug pusher. One of many who works for the phamacial companies and not for your best interest. From the beginning I told my specialist the problem I had and she still wanted me to use a prescription drug that the insurance paid $148.00 for and I paid $40.00. Not a lot of money for some, but two meals too me. I was filled with rage when I read the details of the medication. Turn out it was a new none tropical drug for the scalp the pharmacial company was having the specialist to push on patients. (The pharmacist told me it was new)I went back to this specialist without an appointment two days after getting the medication and asked to speak with the doctor. She took 30 minutes to see me. Which was odd because it only took her half that the first visit and there were no other visitors present. The first thing I asked her was “Why didn’t you listen to me when I gave my complaint?” Then I told her I did not appricate how unimportaintly I was treated. Also, that I was tried of running into doctors who treated the patients like cash flow and not as human beings. She apologized to me and actually looked at me directly while we talked. She wasn’t looking at a note pad or writing down a prescription. I told her I need an antibotic. (I don’t like taking them) After a second examation she still saw nothing on my scalp other then and old head injury I got almost a year ago. I had scalp ploblems since that injury. As before, I told her I was going insane from itching and I was not leaving without a FREE treatment with the antibotic. She told me I had to have an infection for one and she can get the other now. I told her while pointing and touching behind my left ear lobe at a swollen spot, “This is an infection.” I remain claim while she look through and probe my whole head again. After she finished she apologized again and wrote me a new prscription. NOW I am finally, finally happy. She even called me this past friday to ask how I was doing. I haven’t had a doctor do that since I left from back home in Arkansas. I know there or good doctors out there that look out for us, but they few and far apart. They are a small part of a big problem.And directly link to the big ones now. Doctor or being made to be puppets to the Health insurances and the big untouchable REAL socialist drug companies.

Posted by eh35 | Report as abusive

Requiring Americans to purchase health insurance is not the same thing as vehicle accident insurance, where you can elect not to drive and therefore not have to buy the insurance. Forcing people to buy health insurance would amount to requiring payment for U.S. citizenship, and could be challenged on constitutional grounds. The only way to get truly universal health coverage for everyone in the U.S. is to offer a free (public) health care option. I don’t understand why health insurance is being touted as the ‘cure’ for the health care crisis in this country — people need health CARE, not health INSURANCE. I, personally, would be happy to pay higher taxes if I got a free non-profit health care system in exchange.

Posted by LVehko | Report as abusive

We all know that some countries have coverage for all and they do not have a Government run public option.

I’d like to see us start with removing the barriers that are in place to competition. We keep using Medicare as an example of a program that could be modeled on. Why then do we not let insurance companies compete on a national level and get rid of the state boundaries. Medicare does not face these restricitions and we should begin to adopt that for all insurance.

Next lets set caps on pain and suffering. Run away jury awards have done nothing but drive up rates and force some physicians to leave areas where malpractice insurance is too high.

Thank you

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive