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Is the President's Health Bill Worth Supporting?

(Photos by Robin Holland)

In January, when Republican Scott Brown won the special election for the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy, Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority and the fate of their health reform legislation plunged into uncertainty.

After weeks of strategizing and negotiation, President Obama made headlines Wednesday by encouraging Democratic members of Congress to pass the Senate's version of the health bill through the controversial tactic known as reconciliation. Originally intended for budget bills rather than more complicated legislation, reconciliation would bypass potential filibusters in the Senate and require only a simple majority of votes in both chambers for passage. Democratic leaders are now working to amass enough support among Democratic Senators and Congressmen, many of whom disagree with aspects of the legislation, to pass the bill despite polls suggesting that a plurality of the public opposes it.

In this week's JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with two prominent advocates of health reform with very different perspectives on the President's health bill.

Wendell Potter, a former health insurance executive who has become an outspoken critic of the industry, said that the legislation is flawed but good enough that it should become law:

"We need to look at this as a win for consumers as well. Yes, it'll be a win for the insurance companies, but I don't think we're gonna wind up with the insurance companies walking away [and] winning the whole ball game. If we don't do anything right now, that's what will happen. They'll win everything... I was distraught when I saw what happened, what I saw the Senate voting on. But then I realized - you know, I studied a lot of these efforts over the past many years to get reform - [that] often we've come short because we've tried to get the perfect, and we've never been able to get anything as a consequence... We need to have a foundation, and this may seem to be not an adequate foundation for a lot of people, but there are more than 50 million people in this country who don't have insurance... Wouldn't you rather, and I think wouldn't most Americans rather, that we have something to start from rather than starting from scratch the next time? It's very hard to build up to doing this in the first place... I'm frankly pretty amazed that we're getting this close to passing something."

Dr. Marcia Angell, a Harvard medical lecturer and former editor-in-chief of the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, has advocated for single-payer reform, in which the federal government would provide a national health insurance program for everyone. Angell argued that the current bill would make a bad situation worse and sour the public on further reforms, so Democrats should regroup and push for better legislation in the future:

"What this bill does is not only permit the commercial insurance industry to remain in place, but it actually expands and cements their position as the linchpin of health care reform... Not only does it keep them in place, but it pours about $500 billion of public money into these companies over 10 years... and it mandates that people buy these companies' products for whatever they charge. Now that's a recipe for the growth in health care costs not only to continue but to skyrocket, to grow even faster... The President's absolutely right that the status quo is awful. If we do nothing, costs will continue to go up. People will continue to lose their coverage... Things will get very bad. The issue is, will this bill make them better or worse? I believe it will make them worse... Let's say [the bill] is passed. It will begin to unravel almost immediately, and then what will people do? Well, they'll say 'We tried health reform, and it didn't work. Better not try that anymore'... Whereas if the bill dies now, people can say 'This bill died because it was a bad bill,' and the problem is still on the front burner."

What do you think?

  • Do you think the President's health bill is worth supporting? Why or why not?

  • What do you think should be the goals of health reform, and how are you working to get there?


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    Comments

    "Wendell Potter, a former health insurance executive who has become an outspoken critic of the industry, said that the legislation is flawed but good enough that it should become law...."

    Here we go - there's a gold rush a-happening - Ivy Leaguers coming up with so many new "business models" to service the NEW health care industries that it makes you wish for a real life "pop up blocker"

    Marcia,
    This has been repeated over and over,
    The conservatives wanted Obama to fail, even though most Americans in the poor and middle class have no health insurance, they don't seem to understand the Capitalist system. Now that the liberals have a footing, they can go on to adjust and provide care for all those who suffer and declare brankruptsy in their daily lives because of medical bills.

    Aside from intra- and interstate competition (for insurance, etc.) to hold down costs, there's also some questions about international free trade (e.g. importing pharmaceuticals and biologics from Canada, Britain, Israel, etc.; medical tourism, and so forth).

    I agree with Laura. I would love to hear about how we could set up an independent, non-profit, national insurer to provide some alternative to paying through the nose to for-profit companies. How many people do you need to join to make it viable? I'm ready to recruit!

    It seems like we could work toward non-profit insurance groups and sure them up so they could really start taking customers away from the for-profit insurance companies that gouge the American people. Health care is necessary for healthy lives, and should not be a for profit sort of thing. I am not sure why this is not more strongly considered. I have heard various commentators mention this, but no one focuses on it. My question is: why is this not our main focus? We could cut out the problem for-profit companies, stop the flow of money from the lobbyists, and have health care that collects and pays out only enough to keep itself going from year to year. This one idea (alone) seems like enough to fix the entire problem. Am I being too idealistic? I would love to be educated about the pros and cons but can only find superficial information. I wish you would do an entire show on this one idea.

    There are many types of health care systems (and combinations thereof); each has advantages and disadvantages (along with varying likelihoods of implementation). Since the show has focused on a single-payer system, it may be useful to look at what this means. Most favoring a true single-payer system do so on the basis of cost containment (and perhaps equity). Different proposals have varying means of rationing (vouchers, panels, waiting lines, or what not -- in place of rationing by price which includes some, excludes others). Cost containment is essentially transferred from the economic to the political sphere, the government being expected to set the percentage (free of "undue" influence, and without simply increasing debt) of GDP devoted o health care to some "rational" level. There's a question about the overall level of taxation of economic output (which has historically been around 20% at the federal level in modern times) that people want (bearing in mind that the majority of health care funding is already funneled through government programs, and is likely to significantly increase under the current system). People can differ over whether alternative approaches should exist above some baisc level of service provided by a single-payer system.

    I agree with Dr. Angell. I would rather take the risk of delaying reform for a couple years if necessary, than to further cement the insurance industry's role in health care. The latter is a significant part of the problem (though by no means the only one...our misguided Ag / food policies also contributing to cost escalation for chronic disease). Furthermore, "doing something" is NOT a good strategy if accompanied by risks that we will actually make real reform even more difficult in the long run; as the current legislative process/proposal makes likely.

    After watching Mr. Potter and Dr. Angel I am very depressed. Mr. Potter's comments about the President's health care bill eliminating preexisting conditions and covering everyone were very persuasive. Dr. Angel's comments about the insurance companies still being able to charge whatever they want made me think again about getting any health care bill at any price.

    I believe that when President Obama negotiated with the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies he failed as a leader. I believed, wrongly as it turned out, that his message of hope and change meant that he would spearhead a movement for real reform, including a strong public option. He did not do that.

    This latest plan and the comments surrounding it seems to be just more fear mongering. If we don't take what we can get now, we won't get another chance for a long time.

    I am on Medicare and believe it is a great system. I assumed that the cuts to Medicare would be to the wasteful Medicare Advantage Plans but I'm fearful now about what my government is going to do to me.

    Expanding the Medicare system to cover all Americans is what we should fight for. We could pay for it by simply eliminating the waste, fraud and corruption in the other parts of the Federal budget, especially the Defense Department.

    It's way past time for government to do the right thing.

    House may try to pass Senate health-care bill without voting on it

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...031503742.html

    Instead, Pelosi (D-Calif.) would rely on a procedural sleight of hand: The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers "deem" the health-care bill to be passed.
    The tactic -- known as a "self-executing rule" or a "deem and pass" -- has been commonly used, although never to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill.

    House may try to pass Senate health-care bill without voting on it

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...031503742.html

    Instead, Pelosi (D-Calif.) would rely on a procedural sleight of hand: The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers "deem" the health-care bill to be passed.
    The tactic -- known as a "self-executing rule" or a "deem and pass" -- has been commonly used, although never to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill.

    Even though Kucinich was crucified by MSNBC last week, here is what he predicted and said back in Sept.:

    The Private Mandate Sausage Machine

    ...

    6. The bill will pass, not with a "public option" but with a private mandate requiring 30 million uninsured to buy private health insurance (if one doesn't already have it). If you are broke, you may get a subsidy. If you are not broke, you will get a fine if you do not purchase insurance.

    This legislative sausage will be celebrated as a new breakthrough and will be packaged as health insurance reform. However, the bill may require a Surgeon General's warning label: Your Money or Your Life!

    The bill that Congress passes may pale in comparison to the bill that millions of Americans get every month for having or not having private health insurance.

    It will take four years for the new legislation to go into effect. During that time we are going to build a constituency of millions in support of real health care, a constituency which will be recognized and a cause which is right and just: Health Care as a Civil Right.

    http://kucinich.us/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2816

    Here is a link to the ObamaCare bill 2,309 pages

    http://www.tickerforum.org/cgi-ticker/akcs-www?post=131379

    The U.S. might have written a different type of constitution in the late 1700s, more people could have have bought real estate in 2005 and 2006, and so on -- if "the wisdom of the crowd" is enough justification. Universal health care may be a common goal desired by most, but this may belie the wide variety of national health delivery structures.

    Health care within the U.S. military is essentially a socialist system (and some HMOs have similar characteristics). Single-payer systems like Medicare and Medicaid (the latter being more of a dual-payer system) exist in some areas, though private options often exist alongside them. There are also free markets that deliver generic pharmaceuticals like aspirin, etc. As with finance, some argue that adequate compensation and/or profits must be provided to attract talent and foster innovation. Others claim that one doesn't always get what one pays for (which is why AMADEUS and Dilbert cartoons may resonate); barriers to competition or the wrong incentives can frequntly attract or motivate the wrong people.

    A media report seemed to indicate that CBO estimates, like Supreme Court deliberations, are kept private to protect the integrity of the process. However, there are well-known academic and other estimates that are public, done by colleagues of those working at places like the CBO, and likely to arrive at roughly parallel results. As with many examples over the past decade (and beyond), attention given to accounting assumptions can sometimes be more useful than the daily maneuvering or publicity.

    The teabaggers are concerned about a government takeover, but they don't see that the alternative is a corperate takeover....
    Hmmm...
    Thank you for your probing questions!If more people checked out YOUR presontation of the issues, we would have a much higher level of discussion.

    I am 60 years old and retired. I am still able to participate in the insurance plan from my former employer by paying part of the premium costs. However, when I start collecting social security, the insurance plan mandates that my primary insurance becomes Medicare, and the company insurace plan becomes secondary. This insures that once I reach the age range when I am most likely to require medical care, the insurance company that received premiums for my entire working life (and paid out very little) will not have to pay the major share of the increasing medical bills. Rather those bills will be paid by the taxpayer through Medicare. I presume this is the policy of most insurance plans - force people to move to Medicare when the costs go up.

    So we pay huge sums of money to the insurace companies while they pay out little, and when they would have to pay out more, the payment burden is switched to the taxpayer! What a scam! The only way this is different from universal single-payer insurance is that the insurance company makes a killing in the early years. Why not just switch to a full universal single-payer system from the start, so that Medicare can take in some money to cover payouts, instead of the insurance companies? Then Medicare would be funded, and everyone would be covered.

    Yes the Presidents version of health reform is worth supporting provided he can do what he says after the summit of getting rid of the Nebraska and other pork, and incorporating the ideas he mentined that were basically Republican ideas.
    Personally I believe much stronger cost reduction would have come from a public option being in the bills, but seems to me that is somehow against the psyche of the vast majority of Americans.
    It should pass because 31m Uninsured become insured and " starting over" the republican stance is to me untenable, politically for Democrats, blue dog or not, and morally if you are real Republican with the usual strong religious convictions of 90 % of Republicans!?
    The goal is Medical insurance cover for all at a reasonable cost, and frankly the parts devoted to abortion and Illegal immigrants, are not needed in health care legislation. (Abortion is covered by the Hyde amendement and Roe vs Wade which if needed become federal law SEPARATELY. Immigration is the same, it needs separate legislation in which bans apply to all medical care unless you are paying for it yourself privately and receiving no government aid /subsidy of any kind; except in the case of Life threatening (within next 3 months) health issues = go back home if you have a life threatening disease/ problem where treatment can be commenced. Meantime we rely on the Doctors hypocratic oath.
    Then I believe you have a plan the 60+% of Americans would vote for in a referendum.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    Dr. Marcia Angell makes the better argument. The foundation for Public Health CARE in America must NOT be based on a for-profit industry model. A uniquely American Single Payer or Medicare for all system is the only long term viable solution.

    My primary motivation and goal as a candidate for a house seat in the Oregon legislature is to promote a Single Payer solution at the state level presuming this will not happen at the federal level.

    My opponent opposes Single Payer. She was part of the Democratic majority in the Oregon legislature that passed a BILLION dollar health care bill by denying access to the legislative debate to anyone and everyone who wanted to express facts and opinions in favor of a Single Payer solution.

    The myriad of unions and other organizations that passed resolutions in favor of Single Payer do NOT appear to be supporting candidates for state legislatures and congress based on their support for Single Payer. Candidate interviews and questionnaires from organizations endorsing Single Payer that I receive indicate special interest business as usual with nary a mention of Single Payer. This leads me to conclude that many if not most union and other organizations voting in favor of Single Payer resolutions have done so more for public relations value than a serious commitment to the policy.

    I would encourage Bill Moyers Journal to find out just how many candidates for state legislatures and congress unions and other purported supporters of Single Payer actually supported in their campaigns. I will do my best to investigate and report on how this played out in Oregon.

    http://www.ellmyer4staterep.com

    I would like to offer the following arguments in favor of the public option:

    THE PUBLIC OPTION in EDUCATION and HEALTH CARE

    US citizens believe that all citizens should have access to a quality education.
    At the K-12 level, “no child left behind” mandates that we pour billions of dollars into our public education system through property taxes and other means to make sure that every child has access to a quality education. This provides a “public option” for education.

    Even at the college level we strive to make education accessible to all. Students can receive assistance with tuition. In Texas, money from the state lottery and from the Permanent University Fund (oil) goes into public education. Corporations contribute through donations or support for research. Government grants provide all types of funding as well. Alumni donate millions. As a result of our national values on access to education, almost everyone wanting to pursue an education, even through the graduate level, can do so.

    Have the public school systems or options in higher education resulted in a government takeover of the education system? Not really. We have the Ivy League, many other private colleges both large and small, numerous Catholic universities, Protestant universities like Baylor and SMU. We have Christian schools at the elementary and high school level. We have for-profit schools like the University of Phoenix. We also have home schooling for those that choose “none of the above“.

    Houston Community College has not put Rice University out of business. In Houston, we also have the Houston Baptist University, the University of St. Thomas, Texas Southern University, the University of Houston, the Lone Star College System and others. They all do well because they all serve a purpose. The same diversity should exist in the delivery of health care.

    With the exception of schools like the University of Phoenix, you cannot buy stock in any of the public or private schools mentioned above. They do not exist to make a profit for their shareholders. There are no shareholders. There are also no executives in distant cities expecting to make million-dollar bonuses. The teachers and administrators that work in these schools deserve to make a comfortable living, and yet, many do not. But few of them expect to get rich. They do what they do to fill a great need in society.

    The health care crisis started when people and corporations hijacked it as a way to make profits. Not long ago, hospitals ran much like our school systems. Community hospitals operated at the local level, possibly with some state support. Many hospitals with a religious affiliation received church funding. University hospitals and other specialty hospitals also filled a niche. None of these existed to make a profit for their shareholders, because they did not have shareholders. These hospitals operated, like our schools, to fill a great need in society.


    Then, for a variety of complicated reasons, national hospital chains came into being, such as HCA and Tenet Health Care. Now, hospitals had shareholders wanting a profit. Thousands of executives in Nashville or some other corporate offices needed to make big salaries and bonuses from what they could squeeze out of some hospital in a place like Defiance, Ohio. The profit game was on. Insurance companies could now exploit the situation since the hospitals did not have to answer to the local community anymore. This symbiotic and parasitic relationship between hospitals and insurance companies has caused the breakdown in our health care system.

    What we have now is a situation where we won’t leave any child behind when it comes to education, but if that child has a serious illness, he will be left alone at the mercy of our broken health care system.

    What we need is a health care system that offers the same diversity of options to everyone that our school system does. People should have access to health care in the same ways they have access to education. That does not mean free medical care for everyone. It means affordable access for everyone through a variety of options, including the public option.

    That implies that the health of our citizens matters as much to our society as their education. Apparently not everyone would agree with that idea.

    In my opinion, until we place the same priorities on health care that we do on education, we have failed as a society.


    Are Canada, UK, Japan, France, Germany, etc., socialist countries? So, what was Obama afraid of when he gave up on a single-payer idea? Or maybe I should rather ask WHO he was afraid of?..

    The current discussion seems to be about insurance reform (though there are some cost control measures). Without minimizing or distracting from this discussion, there are background issues that may have to be addressed in the future.

    There has been popular reporting of studies that seem to show that Academy Award winners (in categories like acting -- but not for things like writing) have longer average life expectancies (controlled for other factors) than those who lose. Some psychological problems like stress as well as some social diseases are part of most health care discussions, but there is a question about how broadly (or narrowly) health care should be defined. Currently (and without getting personal), people engaged in consumerist behaviors (with respect to food, legal drugs, etc.) can sometimes exacerabate diseases. They may be transported in a high-priced ambulance, receive highly invasive and expensive care, and so forth. All of this is counted as economic output, while prevention often results in relative GDP declines. It's not always clear how the various winners and losers in any sort of cost reform will be managed.

    Though a single-payer system isn't currently at issue, it's useful to examine nonetheless. In many cases, it may be confused with a single-buyer monopsony that would benefit consumers (if not medical providers). However, a system that "preserves individual choice" and "the doctor-patient relationship" is really more of a single-payer/mulitiple-buyer system. If there's any monopoly, it may be with the authority and information possessed by the doctor. Though it's understandable why patients with busy lives would prefer a system that lets others pay the bills, handles the paperwork, and leaves technical oversight to a cost-plus doctor who is (often) less likely to impose limits, this is a description of a "tragedy of the commons" problem. No person of any party seriously thinks such a situation is sustainable indefinitely. There's the familiar saying about unsustainable things ending -- the common concern being whether it ends smoothly or (to take an extreme case) one goes the way of Easter Island.

    Though legal and not automatically bad, a large component of current single-payer systems are technically "Ponzi schemes" where the returns (adjusted for interest) to users are above what was paid in for some age cohorts, below for others. Municipalities have their own section of the bankruptcy code, and legislatures can simply pass new legislation (they aren't legally bound by previous sessions, though there are certainly political constraints). If single-payer systems go bankrupt or insolvent, reform will have to come. Pushing decisions off can have it's own set of winners and losers.

    Bill,

    First of all, let me thank you for enriching my life by stimulating my intellect over the past two decades.

    This health care bill, because it mandates yet another huge transfer of wealth to corporations, provides excellent coverage for corporate "citizens" while deforming health care coverage for the rest of us. I guess the Congress, save a few like Dennis Kucinich, is all tuckered out and too tired to fight for those who elected them.

    This is a noxious bill, and it will pass. As the Citizen's United case proves, the Roberts Court courts robber barons who will soon own our democracy.

    Posted by: Reg Chitsey: "If lending money and charging interest is usury, then what is extracting profit from a poor soul’s health ?"

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Your behind the times some Reg. the gov changed the laws and allow almost any % rates to be charged by corporations.

    The banks get money at 0% from the gov then loan it back to us for 25% to 30% on our credit cards...and what do we get on our investments...1/20th of 1%.

    Many of you seem to think the gov is working in your best interest.

    1) The gov (politicians) are working in their own best interest to retain power.

    2) They are working in the best interest of the rich and big business that keeps the bribes heading their way.

    Voting for a new politician that 'says anything' to get elected doesn't mean a thing. Isn't that what we have always done? And don't we get fudged every time?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpAyan1fXCE&feature=related

    Now some of you are setting your sites on electing Palin or Romney or whomever you deify as your next queen bee. But no doubt you will be getting another reamout with whomever you elect.

    The only way the citizens could change this mess is to strike the system every time the corrupt politicians starts to fudge you.

    But the politicians are not worried about this happening. For they learned a long time ago that the 'Domesticated American' is impotent when it comes to controlling political policy.

    For such strikes would take a measure of self-sufficiency that 99.9% of the modern day people lack. They can't miss one paycheck or will be behind on their mortgage or If they are unable to go to market for a few days they will starve.

    Uncles you can develop self sufficiency and organize the citizens into a union to boycott the corrupt system...I'm afraid that your only option is to complain and bicker about how bad the politicians are while they continue to rape you.

    Bill,

    Thanks for asking the tough questions. Nobody else does, at least not on TV. It is really scary that the idea of "a government of the people, by the people and for the people" has gone by the wayside to replaced by "a government of the money, by the money and for the money". Our "leaders" need to be reminded who they represent. Abolish lobbying. Make every public official in Washington appear on a show like yours to defend their actions. These people are answerable to the public, well, let's hear their answers.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work.

    - AB

    It seems that as long as we have insurance companies and investors who stand to gain or lose money on the backs of the sick, we're going to continue to marginalize the care given to our sick.

    Take the "profit" and stock trading out of health care; non-profit doesn't have to mean no one gets paid, right.

    Sadly, I believe that any bill that placates the health insurance companies and allows them to keep raising rates like here in California, will fail.

    Great work, Bill. Thank you.

    How quickly will the needed revisions come once this bill passes? Or will the lobbyists convince incumbents (or challengers) that no changes need to be made "just yet."
    Single Payer universal care supported through taxes makes so much sense. I'm torn and frustrated and livid with President Obama's deals with big pharma and his readiness to cave in to the leeches of the insurance industry. This didn't need a year's debate. Somebody who doesn't like me owns my government.

    To whom it may concern,
    The best way to solve the health care problem and a lot of the other present problems is to set the minimum wage at the cost of living. There is no reason for poverty when we have the technology and the resources to provide quality lifestyles for all of our people. The failure of the demand side of economics is always followed by the failure of the supply side of economics. Economic systems are intended to support the society not cause the society to suffer from "insufficient funds".
    Economics is not intended to be a game designed to provide a winner and everyone else becomes a loser. It is a system intended to support a quality society.
    Conservatism is a state of mind that creates greed and materialism not love and compassion.


    Wendell Potter, while sincere in his concern, was wrong in several respects. He said that we have fallen short in past reform efforts because we have tried to get to the “perfect. “ Nonsense. We have NEVER tried to get anywhere near the “perfect.: Every serious effort at reform for the past 50 years has been co-opted by swarms of lobbyists with pockets full of cash and a briefcase full of plans that make health care in America skimpier, and its money trail more complicated and opaque.

    Potter said it’s “better to have something to start from than starting from scratch.” But there is no reason to be starting from scratch. We already have a good framework to build on, Medicare, our well-established public plan.

    Potter applauded the President’s plan for not permitting insurance to be denied because of pre-existing conditions. But you can deny insurance simply by jacking rates up so high that they are unaffordable. Dr. Angell points out that there’s nothing in the bill to prevent companies from tripling the premiums because of pre-existing conditions- like for instance the pre-existing condition of old age.

    Whatever savings achieved by this bill are achieved largely by cutting back on Medicare reimbursements and community health programs. Most egregious of all is establishing a legal mandate to purchase private insurance, an mmoral idea and a boondoggle for the industry.

    Potter is right, though, that doing nothing is not an option. And doing nothing will not happen. People are desperate for secure and comprehensive health care. This is an enormous American crisis on every level-- economic, social, and political, and it won’t go away. It seems to me that in any industrial society, where the sources of disease are often untrackable and the result of many corporate and govcrnment decisions, health care must be a human right.

    Hurrying through a bad plan only prolongs our national agony. The only reason for a 2,700 page bill is obfuscation. Single payer is easy to understand and easy to explain. The Canadian health plan was established in a bill that is 14 pages long, 7 of which is in French. It’s the dancing around the issue of corporate profit that creates the complications that lead to a 2,700 page long plan, and has led to the network of lies we’ve been trapped in.

    The failure of this bill could actually lead bring us closer to real reform. President Obama could honestly explain then that he had tried bipartisanship and it didn’t work, and frankly say that the present economic times mandates that every health care dollar be spent on health care, and that the way to do that is with a single payer system. He could point to Medicare as a successful Americansingle payer system already in place. It wouldn't be hard to use the bully pulpit to demonstrate, ala Ross Perot, that single payer would rapidly save money both for individuals and for the nation, while providing high quality health care for everyone. Were he to have the courage to face and speak these truths, he would lose Rahm Emanuel (whose famous “f*** retards” remarks was in fact referring to single payer advocates). But a tremendous army of advocates would rise up to help him.

    If he can muster this amount of courage and this amount of imagination, he will be a great president. If he can’t, he will be a mediocre president, very likely a mediocre one term president, unfit for the urgent tasks the American people elected and need him to do.

    If a person cannot afford commercial insurance then they should be covered by medicare. If at another time you can afford or get health care from an employer then medicare drops. What is the big deal? A bunch of old stingy men/women saying they talk for the people? Oh right the Corporate people...NOT me or you? These people have health insurance that we the people thru taxes pay for them? Why then can't they understand that some people just cannot afford commercial insurance??? These people that so called talk for us are just waiting for their cash hand outs...lets remove everyone from the senate and congress and put people in there that really want to make a difference...of for and by the people...not corporations...oh well. I guess we live in Nazi Germany...even they care about people ( now ) more than these money mongers in Washington. I'd like to know for whom these people are speaking for? Not me..I've been unemployed now for going on 2 yrs and cannot afford to purchase insurance on unemployment. My company has filed for bankruptcy, and no longer offers me Cobra.
    $Iit or get off the pot! These good old boys who have been in D.C. for more than 2 terms should get out!! As they never did anything good for anyone during their terms other than lining their pockets with corporate monies.
    The people of this country who think ... need to get up and start yelling very loud. Quit wasting tax payers money and do the right thing....unfortunate thing is they don't know what that is.
    Give those who cannot afford health care...the minimum health care....Medicare!!! One last thing...This is NOT the president's Health Care package..it's the dimwits in Congress and the senate! I'm sure if he were doing the right thing...he would have done better then these rotten stingy no goods in congress and the senate.

    An average Joe...

    I agree with Dr. Angell in the matters that it will not cap any costs for insurance companies, but I think President Obama should reintroduce the public option as an arguing point to not only curb the costs, like he tried (not hard enough) to do in the beginning, but to also provide jobs for some of the millions of Americans who need jobs and to analyze how much it does cost to run health care facilities realistically through continual audits to eventually set standards on which the insurance companies should be regulated! wow that was a nice long run-on sentence.

    You say the public doesn’t want a public option; I say let the president gather up the documented evidence and spell it out, as Joe Friday use to say; “Just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts.”

    I have a story to tell you. The insurance lobbyists are greasing all Congress up and we are the ones screwed. President Obama said something like the single payer plan is off the table because it is not viable in this environment and something is better than nothing is. Besides, it is impossible to get any kind of public option to pass in congress in this current climate. Not true, let Obama campaign as strong as the insurance companies to tell the people what is really happening. If necessary, let the people vote anyone out of office that do not support some kind of public option and get someone in who will.

    If lending money and charging interest is usury, then what is extracting profit from a poor soul’s health ? I may lose my health and with trouble regain it. But I cannot buy and sell my health like a pork belly on the open market. Republican worship of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand of the marketplace” is mere humbug to inject a faux god, intelligent design, or creationism dogma into economics so the powerful can pretend to obey the “invisible hand’s” law while slyly taking what they want. He who steals my purse steals trash. But he that filches from me my good health robs me of that which enriches him not, and makes me poor indeed.

    How long can a sickly nation endure ? Who will defend it ? Will the “masters of the universe” sacrifice their $400 coiffures, Gucci loafers, Brooks Brothers suits, $500 silk ties or their oh so fine Prada, Chanel, or Donna Karan couture to defend the nation and what they clutch so dear ?

    Financiers got their pound of flesh, now insurance companies want theirs. A quote attributed to the financier J.P. Morgan makes it clear what financiers and for profit health insurers want. “Capital must protect itself in every way... Debts must be collected and loans and mortgages foreclosed as soon as possible. When through a process of law the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and more easily governed by the strong arm of the law applied by the central power of leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. This is well known among our principle men now engaged in forming an imperialism of capitalism to govern the world. By dividing the people we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us except as teachers of the common herd.”

    In 1870 Benjamin Disraeli said, “The world is weary of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into politicians.” Where have all the statesmen gone ? The hacks in office make so-called debate as tedious as twice-told film-flam vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man. Our so-called elected representatives govern like cranky two-year olds concerned only with themselves. Voters should act like responsible parents and spank their cranky two-year olds not indulge the latest child rearing fashion espoused by faux child experts. Maybe The SuperNanny should be called into Congress.

    Must politics be a theater of the absurd with strutting idiots full of uffish sound and fury wielding vorpal swords against manxome foes to signifying nothing ? The Dictionary of Occupational Titles, published by the U.S. Department of Labor, lists job descriptions and duties of thousands of jobs, but has no entry for politician. Apparently even the U.S. government cannot fathom what politicians do.

    How can sincere discussion of issues of public interest be conducted when so many people act like a man who has been talking to himself for one hundred years and is satisfied with his mind regardless of how ridiculous it appears to others ?

    Why does not President Obama use Eminent Domain to create a single payer, non-profit, public health insurance system ? The purpose of Eminent Domain is to prevent private interest from blocking projects that benefit the community. Mayors across the country have tried to use Eminent Domain to take real estate and give it to private developers for sports arenas, resort hotel and casino projects. Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, even tried to use Eminent Domain to take a swath of land from the Rio Grande River to Dallas to create a Trans-Texas transportation corridor and probably benefit his cronies. Why not use Eminent Domain to do something to benefit all the people ?

    Why do people object to a single payer public health insurance option ? When the events of 11 Sept 2001 occurred and natural catastrophe such as Hurricane Katrina occurred people cried where is the government ? Why does not the government help us ? Who among us has his own private government, army, navy, police, fire department, court of law, jail, or monetary system ? Government builds and maintains all National Parks and almost all roads both open to all users. Most municipal water and some electric supplies are owned and operated by city government. Most schools are public schools. When someone loses his job the government administers unemployment insurance and retraining services. Many people would be destitute after their working days are over if not for government administered Social Security and Medicare. Why object to government administering a single payer public health insurance plan that covers all citizens ? Some people answer: We enjoy being sickly. We gladly pay bodacious premiums for stingy, vaporous health insurance. We are giddy with merriment at being mocked by health insurance companies that do fed upon us. Appealing claims through the Office of Circumlocution helps fill up our days. We depend upon the kindness of health insurers. We reject health insurance reform.

    Former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s first heart attack was at 37; he is now 69 with a total of five heart attacks as of March 2010. Were he a regular Joe long ago he would have been assigned an undertaker with only the god he prays to, family, and a few friends noting his passing. Instead he has fleeced the public to pay for his poor health. Is Republican stonewalling trying to save us from more Dick Cheney or protect Congressional perks and benefits ?

    Why should Senators and Congressmen who object to the cost of reforming health insurance get to keep the platinum rice bowls (government jobs, benefits, and perks that endure till retirement and pay a hansom pension and other retire benefits till death) they voted themselves ? If they hate Social Security, Medicare, and other plans that benefit common persons they should start by repealing all the pay increases, health insurance plans, and other perks Congress has voted itself at public expense.

    Do Congressional health insurance plans prohibit abortions ? The money for Congressional health insurance and salaries, that Congress awards itself, comes from public money, taxes paid by the citizens of America. Senators and Congressmen who object to public money funding abortion should give up their Congressional health insurance plans and salaries. Health insurance the common person has includes abortion, so Senators and Congressmen who object to public funding of abortion and buy their insurance on the open market should give up their salaries to keep public money from funding abortion.

    Health insurance, health care, sick care ... call it what you will. To date, it all smacks of insurance company and stockholder care.

    Of course I meant seize the opportunity, not cease. Doh!

    Potter has it right. We need to pass the bill that exists even though it is far from perfect.

    Failure to pass the current bill will not lead to a single payer system. That is politically naive thinking.

    This congress will Not write and pass a bill for a single payer system. That's reality. We need to stop dreaming about the impossible and cease the opportunity to pass the bill that exists in reality.


    Healthcare is often decribed as a "right for all" or a "right, not a privilege." Egalitarian concerns probably underlie these statements, but it's not always clear what the conclusions should be. Older people might be expected to pay more for private insurance since they may be wealthier as a group. Or they may be expected to pay more individually based on means testing. Or those concerned about generational equity may expect them to redistribute funds to make up for other social inequities. Others pursuing egalitarian goals may argue that everyone (regardless of age) should pay equal amounts. On the other hand, those stressing individual merit might want people using more health care to pay for what they use: some people show off scars and see health care procedures as status products, and others (often well into old age) somehow conduct their lives so that they use few, if any, prescriptions or other treatments. Others arguing for more of a merit approach might question why people of higher age should pay more in premiums (as long as as they're using the future value of what they paid in -- similar to the case for privitization). Most people probably support some differntial pricing based on things like behavior, and some amount of welfare (and possibly means testing, even if that divides some of the support for the larger program). In short, there are different possible assumptions that can be applied in different ways. Finding one (of often many) possible compromise(s) may involve some "magic," but it also helps if the varied concerns of different people are initially known. Debates are often of limited use if people are only talking to themselves (or are, as one observer notes, like a person at a bar hitting on the idea that, if he or she only repeats something for the thirteenth time, the audience will finally be convinced).

    Many young dentists start out accepting insurance plans (which provide them some marketing advantages), but then drop them once they establish their own practice with a long enough client list. There's an argument that (non-group-practice) insurance companies (which can't compel doctors to join) don't have enough negotiating power to control costs. Since government currently controls 50%-70% (depending on accounting assumptions and whether tax expenditures are included) of health care spending, a single-payer system might have a better chance of success. This may be true, but it's dependent on having the political will to seek regulatory authority or use existing taxing powers to control costs. If it's a public-private partnership where the government provides the funding and private entities reap excess compensation, the result may be less than optimal. Average compensation in the banking sector is reported to be ~$140,000/yr. Many governmental and medical sectors have higher average compensation levels (though the variance and other characteristics may differ from those in finance) -- and a similar culture may capture those in government, medicine, and finance. Normative mediocrity often determines expectations (legally, ethically, etc.), not a culture of higher standards. A single-payer system may have potential, but there may also be non-trivial problems.

    Obama's bill should be withdrawn and reissued as what it should have been-Universal Coverage Single Payer health care. People are staring at long term unemployment, health care that is so expensive that it is worthless, a real chance of being homeless and a loss of hope. That would be fertile ground for a "Kingfish" akin to Huey P. Long to give it to them. The social consequences of giving the store to Big Insurance and Big Pharma would be severe.

    The 'No-brain er'
    The American PEOPLE (this means humans NOT corporations) need and deserve 100% universal/single payer health CARE.

    Medicare receipents pay premiums & 20% deductable.
    Medicade receipants pay how much?
    Take money from those that pay & 'give' to those that do NOT pay!
    Those that pay must pay more--right?

    Take money from earners & 'give' it to Financial "Institutions" that gambled away earners money, so they can collect BIG money for WHAT? Loosing earners money!!?!!

    What is the Federal Govt. Doing?!! Screwing earners--that's what!

    Vote OUT ALL (except for Connie Mack who stood against the bailout)this election & the next!
    We cannot do any worse!

    Mighty Mad,
    Billy Bob Florida

    The smart thing for the Health Insurance lobby to do is to quietly generate support for single payer policy. No way? Yes but they know this is one of way to kill the HCR Bill. Playing to both left and right and they get both calling for START OVER ... how smart!

    single payer would be preferable in my opinion. but, if there are going to be private insurance companies, then they need to be not-for-profit, as I believe the Swiss do it. the current legislation as far as I can tell just hands the for profit businesses captive customers, and profits, nearly without limit, subsidized by public funds. First we bailed out the banks, now we're transferring more public funds to private companies for very little benefit to the public, to the individuals who are actually footing the bill... and paying enormous and completely unwarranted bonuses to insurance company executives.

    Jack Kanodo's post about the "reasonable" insurance company profit margins is misleading. Insurance company profit margins are after expenses (like exhorbitant executive pay and bonuses, massive lobbying expenditures, and immoral campaign contributions. The real measure should be the percentage of premiums paid out in benefits.

    I believe health care reform should focus on increasing competition in the health insurance industry. It should also make it possible for lawsuits to be brought against insurance companies that deny needed care (which could be defined) and also bring lawsuits against doctors who prescribe treatments that are not needed.

    Instead of putting bigger and bigger government in place, let the existing bodies work as they were originally intended. Let new firms open their doors to compete. Let injured parties get proper compensation through the courts. Remove the laws protecting insurance companies from monopoly prosecution.

    In short, go back to true free market rather the pretend middle ground we are stuck in now.

    I agree with Dr. Angell that Obama's proposed plan will not help.

    The only way for the Congress to enact health legislation that's truly in the public interest is to require federal funding for all elections--no exceptions.

    The following piece, which supports federal funding, I just sent to the editors of the Seattle Times.

    ==================
    Will the Last Ones to Leave Seattle Turn out the Lights?

    If you lived in Seattle in the 1970s, this may sound familiar because business in the Seattle area was so bad that many were saying "will the last one to leave Seattle turn out the lights?".

    Now business is bad not only in Seattle, but around the country--and even the world. That's because for decades corporate America, through its massive campaign contributions, has been pressuring the Congress to strengthen laws favoring business, weaken or eliminate laws regulating business practices, and remove protections afforded workers and consumers.

    Because of the corporate stranglehold on Congress, the United States is dying--slowly yet inexorably--from the influence of money. And, if we don't do something about it now, by the end of the next Congressional election--or sooner--the United States may cease to exist as our founding fathers envisioned it.

    Our only hope for rescuing this country from certain disaster is to establish federal funding for all elections--no exceptions. No longer can personal (private) money be used, no longer can contributions from special interest groups be allowed, and no longer can contributions from business and corporations be permitted--despite the recent Supreme Court decision.

    Do you hear a chorus of angry voices--a chorus shrieking about losing our freedoms. If so, listen carefully. Though some in the chorus may be individuals like you and me, the majority of the chorus comes from Wall street and corporate America. Why? Because if such reforms come about, big business will lose its grip on Congress and its legislative agenda--allowing your voices and mine to be heard again.

    From federal funding for all elections, not only will the people benefit, but their legislators will benefit as well. That's because they will no longer feel encumbered by the burden of raising money for campaigns, and will no longer feel obligated to follow the wishes of campaign contributors. (And, we can make a system of federal funding more attractive by guaranteeing a multi-year severance package to those who lose elections.)

    Once federal funding is in place, we must pressure the Congress to enact other equally important reforms. Among these are revoking the corporation's legal status as a person, revoking a corporation's right to donate unlimited amounts of money to campaigns, and revoking a business's right to claim your family home--if the business is willing to pay more in taxes to your local government.

    We have no time to lose. As soon as you can, go to your phone, call your elected representatives, and demand federal funding for all elections. And, continue to call so that their phones right off the hook. Do it every day: do it for yourself, do it for your children, and do it for the future of all Americans.

    --
    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
    ---- Martin Luther King
    ===========

    Both very interesting interviews. I'd like to see single payer legislation passed. However, I would also benefit from the legislation presently before Congress. I think we're kind of between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Most people want single payer, but maybe in my position, know this legislation could save their lives, and there's no telling how soon single payer could be achieved. We're just not in a position with our present "coverage" or lack thereof to take that kind of gamble. Our Congress is so completely, however, so sold out to the insurance industry, I am not seeing "the light at the end of the tunnel" if the legislation doesn't go through. They'll never pass single payer, and we won't get campaign finance reform for the same reasons. Not to be a complete party pooper, but it seems to me we should plug ahead with the bill even it entrenches us more in this disaster of a system, and then keeping working towards single payer or a better version, closer to the "Swiss" model. Again, though, I would most like to see a Canadian-like or U.K. system in place.

    One area I'd like to see addressed by both speakers:

    (1) How long would it take for this present system to collapse on its own without any reform? For the companies to go out of business? How many people would have to dump their insurance policies? The numbers are so high, it just seems impossible. And these health insurance companies must be masters at the "numbers game."

    Bill, I believe that you mentioned that health insurance companies made a total after tax profit of $10 billion last year. This represented a 4 or 5 percent margin on average. In the context of the total cost of health care $10 billion is of little consequence. Even if these insurance company profits were returned it would hardly make a dent in the overall cost of insurance premiums which continue to rise.

    The crux of the problem is the actual cost of the health services being provided and the typical American's belief that he or she is entitled to every manner of health care procedure from birth up to and even after the point of clinical death regardless of cost.

    Yes, a single payer system would result in administrativce efficiencies and I support that. However, without a reduction in the provision of unnecessary procedures, particularly end of life procedures, and without a reform in the salary/fee structure of health care providers, health care reform is at a dead end.

    Although I feel very strongly that single-payer is the only real solution, I believe that Dr. Angell is very naive to think that if this bill doesn't get passed, "Medicare for all" will be instituted in the near future.

    The fact is that if we don't get some health care legislation now, the Republicans will be emboldened by a great victory, and if they regain power the only thing they'll do is pass legislation that makes the insurance companies even stronger.

    We MUST get this bill passed, despite its many flaws, and then the issue will remain in the public eye and can be improved once it goes into effect.

    The insurance companies are going to continue their horrible practices with or without this bill. At least if we pass this one, we've got our foot in the door.

    Dr. Angell does have it right.

    When I lived in japan, I had health care. Here, I pay the same amount or somewhat more every month in case I end up in the hospital, but that leaves me with no money to actually visit doctors. I have not seen one now for five years. As a statistic, I am among the insured. In reality, I might as well be living in the Stone Age.

    And, let me add that the idea that we should waste all our time shipping around for this or that deal with health care, or, for that matter credit cards, only makes sense to people who have no creative work to do. I look forward to the day I can return to a civilized nation where the market does not force me to waste my time.

    The President needs to lead not follow. He needs to convince not compromise. Had he tried and failed a Health Bill such as what he has now might make sense, but, damn it, he never did.

    Some leaders may choose to fight an enemy bigger than themselves, but it may be more common to choose an opponent that is more manageable and isolated (relatively speaking). It's easy to complain about insurance companies (along with the post office, etc.), but it may be useful to examine what insurance companies do well and what they do poorly.

    Some may be for-profit, other non-profit. Some may be well managed, others not. The core functions are price negotiation and hedging (i.e., the classic insurance function of smoothing customer costs). An individual who is bleeding doesn't have much negotiating power. Because medicine (along with insurance, education, corporations, etc.) are generally left to be governed by states rather than as commerce under the federal government, health care providers can often threaten elected officials with moving service to another state: history (so far) has had the federal government ratchet up compensation to induce service. Insurance companies (in an ideal world) serve a socially beneficial purpose as a consumer association advocating for better prices and better quality. Unions and other associations also advocate for their members, but may not always have consumer interests foremost. Some insurance companies may have excessive overhead and be mismanaged, but these are separate (and valid) issues.

    Ideal hedging or insurance companies don't create any new value or savings, but simply lower volatility; an individual trades paying out X dollars over an uncertain schedule in exchange for a predictable series of premium payments (also totaling the same X dollars). People used to rely on neighbors (for the proverbial barn raising) or savings (which were usually redeployed by banks -- so it wasn't "dead capital"). In a modern, mobile society where people "bowl alone," insurance fills the gap. Such hedging can also be arbitrarily divided into routine and catastophic care. In a perfect market (with knowledgeable consumers), self-insuring or saving for routine (non-chronic) care would cut insurance overhead margins to 0% (even lower than Medicare) and eliminate denial of service complaints (when not constrained by price).

    As with any human interactions, there are always "prisoner dilemma" type of situations. Co-payements and other devices try to prevent individuals from gaming things, and regulatory bodies try to prevent insurance companies from doing so as well. It's sort of a philosphical question as to whether (at a given point in time under particular circumstances) one should rely on more government regulation (there being many compromises under this heading) or more free market competition (across state lines for insurance and the licensing of medical practioners, etc.). This is a question as old as the hills; if governning was less an art than a deterministic science, legislatures and councils could all be replaced with a personal computer.

    As pointed out in books like IN SEARCH OF EXCESS and THE BLACK SWAN, many financial companies are non-profits: returns to shareholder and creditors are often redirected towards labor compensation. Here in California, the state hasn't really demonstrated any broad fiscal responsibility. There are reasonable arguments on both sides as to whether or not taking away profits will benefit consumers.

    While some malpractice lawsuits may be frivolous, many presumably happen because of actual quality problems. It would be helpful if there were better measurements of quality and value delivered by all aspects of the health system (insurance companies, individual consumers, doctors, etc.). Most medical costs are driven by labor prices (not insurance overhead). This may be justified if these costs are determined by supply and demand and meet some quality standard. They may not be justified if these labor markets are highly inefficient (with resulting harm to consumers).

    Most people accept having an individual pay more for insurance if they smoke, drink, ride a motorcyle, and juggle chainsaws -- a cautious person should not be expected to subsidize the riskier person's behavior. Unless one gives up the idea of free will, many health outcomes are under the control of the individual, and some discrimination in pricing is justified. Most (but not all) also accept discriminatory pricing with regard to age (at a time when most assets are held by older demographics), family size, and geography.
    Because the etiology of many disease is uncertain (along with liability for various accidents, etc.), distinguishing between randomness and human causation isn't always clear. Some subjects are controversial (e.g., a promiscuous person and an ascetic may differ over paying for sexual health needs). There will always be gray areas, but some discrimination (on a merit basis) may not be a bad thing.

    I agree with Dr. Angell about the horrors of this bill. Wendell Potter is just a shill for the insurance companies he used to work for. The Democrats and Republicans are just playing their usual good cop, bad cop game to trick liberals into supporting a bill that would shovel vast sums of money into the insurance companies pockets. The Democrats and Republicans are merely two branches of the same party that is wholly owned by the capitalists. The power of capital in this country will grow by leaps and bounds if this bill is passed, and the power of labor will shrivel up and die. I say go beyond single payer and make the entire medical establishment a branch of the federal government. Completely eliminate all profit and place all branches of health care directly under the control of the people. There should be no such thing as a doctor bill, a hospital bill, or a pharmacy bill. Socialize medicine!

    I agree that it is insurance reform NOT health care reform which is needed.

    First let me say how much I enjoyed this show. As is so often the case, more can be learned in 20 minutes of watching Bill Moyers and his guests than in spending 6 months ingesting the garbage fed to us by CBS, NBC, and all the rest.

    Second let me say that Dr. Angell stands nearly alone as a beacon of intergrity and intellegence in the swampy ground of the health care debate. Three cheers for her honest, well informed, and carefully substantiated comments on this show and others. It's always good to see a member of America's medical establishment clearly concerned with the important issues currently besetting all aspects of health care in this country.

    As to Mr. Potter, while I certainly admire his courage in taking a stand against the corrupt and increadablly inept insurance industry of which he was once a part, I will have to respectfully disgree with his assertion that the current Obama mish/mash is at least a step in the right direction.

    As I told my personal physician when he voiced a similar opinion, "If you think that the current opposition of the insurance industry is something just you wait until after we deliver another 200 million rate payers into their clutches! With that much money behind them they won't just own the members of Congress, they will probably buy the whole city of Washington lock, stock, and barrel!"

    In short, once insurance becomes manditory there will be no looking back as the die will have been cast and all that will remain is for unprecedented greed and short sightedness to run its inevitable course.

    Last, but perhaps not least, while I did enjoy and benefit from the show I would have to say that in many respects it still missed the mark by a bit. For just as Obama's ridiculous notion that all that's at stake here is finding a way to Pay For Health Care takes us down a dead end street to nowhere, the show's notion that what's at issue is of a purely financial and political nature is pure nonsense.

    Simply put the health care fiasco is above all else a Moral Issue. Seldom in all of history has more suffering and death been caused by shortsighted greed and out and out dishonnesty! For while I suspect that the 45,000 deaths each year attributed to a lack of access to health care grossly underestimates the real impact 45,000 dead is more than enough to cause all Americans to hang their heads in shame.
    Add to that the millions and millions of "underserved" Americans and you have a situation nearly unprecidented in American history.

    The richest country in the history of the world is letting 45,000 people a year suffer and die because of a lack of access to decent health care? While at the same time dumping millions into Hollywood nonsense and additional billions on country clubs, health spas, and lavish homes for people who do little more than cash in stock benefits earned for them by millions of hard working and often underpaid workers.

    As that Senator said long ago to our old Buddy McCarthy, "Have you no shame Senator, have you no shame?" Just subsitute the name of your own US senator and representatives for that of McCarthy and you are all set!

    I am astonished that Dr. Angell would make the claim that single payer is the only way to achieve the three goals of universal, effective, and affordable healthcare. While a public-payer private-provider system like Canada or US Medicare is one way to do it, a look around the developed world shows that most nations use one of two other approaches. One is national care systems with public-payer public-provider like the UK or US Veterans Administration. The other is the Bismarck systems with regulated private-payer private-provider like Germany. The current senate HRC bill is of this type. All three of these work to provide good health care at per-capita costs below our country’s current approach. What is necessary to make them work is a strong government commitment to necessary regulation. Faith-based reasoning like Dr. Angell’s should be ignored in favor of looking at the data.

    One commonly hears that uninsured individuals relying on emergency rooms are costing other families an extra $1,000/yr. Public leaders initially using this number claimed to have based it on a Families USA report (easily found for free through the internet, along with related reports such as 2003's "Who Pays and How Much? The Cost of Caring for the Uninsured") that built off an earlier Kaiser Family Foundation report (later summarized in HEALTH AFFAIRS) by Hadley and Holahan (of the Urban Institute). The Hadley/Holahan report seemed a sincere effort to account for "uncompensated care," and arrived at a static figure of around $35 billion/yr. (as measured several years ago), or ~$350/yr. for every taxpayer. The Families USA report (while not exactly "advocacy research") then multiplied this figure by a multiple to account for family size, even though children usually don't work and not all spouses are employed. This is sort of an 8th grade complaint, but the Families USA report probably should have used something like a per capita (and not per taxpayer) figure before adjusting for family size: the $1,000/yr./family figure appears to be significantly overstated. While everyone (myself included) is fallible, it does not appear that there has been much verification of numbers and statements used in these debates.

    Possibly inflated figures may have helped turn health discussions into welfare debates, rather than looking at how to contain cost-push/demand-pull inflation factors. Small-business medical practices, unions, etc., are vocal constituencies of both parties, and shifting the public debate may have made sense over the short-term (many politicians are probably expert at crafting effective sales messages), but speaking in terms of welfare and charity as elections grow nearer potentially risks alienating popular support. People who are paying the newsstand price may utilize fewer magazines, but, in a sense, they're subsidizing subscription readers. If a public option is seen as encouraging consumers of private plans to dump patients, it's unclear why supposedly free emergency care hasn't already done so, if there really are all these vast numbers of people lining up for treatment the way many did a year ago for free lunches at Denny's.



    To briefly venture into the weeds, the hospital data used by Hadley/Holahan apparently attribute "uncompensated care" figures primarily to Medicare underpayments, not people walking into emergency rooms for routine care; Hadley and Holahan reclassify the hospitals' accounting as care for the uninsured to reconcile with other data sources. Government MEPS data are probably the most reliable around (given current health information systems), but it's not entirely clear if the process fully accounts for possibly inflated prices paid by the uninsured with little negotiating power (i.e., they're paying the "newsstand" or bussiness class price). The MEPS is contracted out, and dependent on patients being familiar with their insurance information (or have an insurance booklet to provide to the survey worker) so that patients can detect overcharges (relative to prevailing average rates negotiated by insurance companies) after-the-fact and then willingly admit their mistakes to the survey taker. The idea of "uncompensated care" also rests on Pareto efficiency, which, as one observer (a Brit who grew up in the aftermath of WWII) notes, is like not putting anyone in a worse off position -- even Hitler.

    Posted by: Trace "Dr. Angell is wrong, ignorant of the medical reform history in this country and living in a political fantasy land. The President didn't campaign on single-payer, (he may have liked it at one point) he campaigned on the reforms we have in the present bills passed by Congress...."

    AW: 100% wrong. O'Reilly show played what Obama had said...Obama was for universal healthcare and he would not seek to pass healthcare by a vote of 51. Both which Obama has long since abandoned.

    Here is just one clip...tons more if you search.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpAyan1fXCE&feature=related

    Posted by: Trace "If Pres. Obama would have put single-payer on the table can you imagine the outcry from the right or from stakeholders like doctors, hospitals and insurers?"

    AW: Yes, I agree with this. I can't help that it takes guts, ethics and virtue to not be corrupted in this day and age. This is why the prez needs to put such plan to a national vote to the citizens. Let the citizens say yes or no for socialized healthcare apple and take it out of the hands of the corrupt politicians. After all, it would be a plan for citizens and not pelicans they already have a gold plated healthcare plan so no need for them to grovel for healthcare crumbs.

    Posted by: Trace "And for everyone who is complaining about the reforms you need to ask yourself am I insured? If yes then shut-up, because there are 31 million who are not and up to 40,000 a year who die because they don't have it."

    AW: No, just because people have health insurance today means nothing. It can disappear or change dramatically in coverage overnight. People should not shut up...If anything they should be much more vocal...and the death toll will just keep rising, the longer socialized healthcare is not put into place. Then again, we are over populated. so maybe the denial of basic healthcare is the gov ways of pop control without having to address that distasteful topic?

    Posted by: Trace "So Dr. Angell logic is to get all or nothing." "It's cliché but so true: don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."


    AW: As I posted earlier, the ObamaCare glass is half full...of poison. The good you refer to is good for the insurance companies and bad for the citizens. Read the comments here to get schooled on the subject Trace.


    I am astonished that Dr. Angell would make the claim that single payer is the only way to achieve the three goals of universal, effective, and affordable healthcare. While a public-payer private-provider system like Canada or US Medicare is one way to do it, a look around the developed world shows that most nations use one of two other approaches. One is national care systems with public-payer public-provider like the UK or US Veterans Administration. The other is the Bismarck systems with regulated private-payer private-provider like Germany. The current senate HRC bill is of this type. All three of these work to provide good health care at per-capita costs below our country’s current approach. What is necessary to make them work is a strong government commitment to necessary regulation. Faith-based reasoning like Dr. Angell’s should be ignored in favor of looking at the data.

    This show was informative.

    Posted by: Albert T. Armstrong "As we now know, the Democrats also never really supported a vague "public option" that would in theory ensure some level of competition with the private insurance industry and help to drive down the cost of premiums."

    --------------------------------------

    Reason no politician will support a public option is It would take the profits out of health insurance and somewhat lower the cost of premiums.

    As such, people would transfer their biz out of the high priced insurance companies into the lower priced public option. This may put the health insurance companies out of biz, or at least cut way back on their profits. Their CEO's wont go for that.

    But as I posted earlier, the cost of health insurance, even without profit, is unaffordable for most of us as well.

    So, in order to keep the bribe money coming from the lobbyists, the public option is a no-no for politicians...even if it will not fix the problem buy only slightly improve upon it.

    Probably the same issue with socialized healthcare. Anything that takes a dime from health insurance companies profit is taboo.

    I couldn't agree more with Dr. Angell. The windfall that will come to the insurance companies' profits from the mandatory insurance purchase if President Obama's bill is passed, is intolerable. We have absolutely no need for insurance companies. What we do need is single payer and we need it now. Thank you, Bill Moyers, for your insightful and informative program (as always), but you should know it was the most depressing event of my week.
    Jean Berlowitz
    Corvallis, Oregon

    Like other boomer age folks, I am very concerned about the costs and, especially who will ultimately bear those costs. I am extremely concerned that the ultimate costs of the current health reform plan will be placed upon our children ... as the costs of like Social Security and Medicare will be. That is an unfair burden that NONE of us want to wish upon our children and grandchildren.

    I completely agree with Marcia Angell that the President should scrap the current effort and start over.

    You and I are old enough to remember the concept of regulated monopolies and the benefits that were extracted for the public at large. For example, the cost of doing business for the Phone Company was that they HAD to provide cheap or affordable local phone service. On the flip side, they could charge as much as they wanted to for all other services such as long distance calling. I'm sure that you can remember and cite other examples.

    I propose that all insurance companies (health and life) be placed under the regulated monopoly umbrella. Their cost of doing business will be to provide BASIC or MINIMUM health (and life insurance) coverage at an affordable cost to be determined by the government. The type and level of basic or minimum coverage will be determined by the government. The amount of profit or no profit margin would be determined by the government. The public and/or employers would be required to purchase basic or minimum health coverage. In this manner there would be no need for government funded public option coverage plan. The insurance companies would be free to charge market rates on all other plans that provide coverage above and beyond this basic or minimum standard. In this manner, the American public will be given reasonable affordable choices. Insurance companies can meet their social responsibilities in a regulated and fair manner and continue to make reasonable profits.

    Again, this not a new idea. And it works.

    This concept is already used in Europe. Switzerland switched to a system that separates insurance from employment. Each individual or family is required to buy coverage, and insurers must offer a basic package of benefits to all applicants. The insurance companies cannot profit from selling basic coverage, but they can from supplemental plans. Premiums are deducted from paychecks; the unemployed and poor are subsidized. Despite opposition from insurers, drugmakers, and business, the plan passed and went into effect in 1996. Switzerland now spends 11% of its gross domestic product on health care, just as it did before. But everyone is covered, insurers are more profitable than ever, and its high-quality health care has been maintained.
    (Ref: The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care, by T.R. Reid)

    I agree with Dr. Angel. The President’s health bill is not worth supporting because it subsidizes and further strengthens the existing dysfunctional and costly profit-driven "health care" system. The weak market-based health care reform being proposed by Obama and the Democrats is unpopular precisely because it doesn’t go far enough. They took single-payer off the table from the very beginning despite the fact that polls have consistently shown that the vast majority of Americans support it: 59 percent believe the U.S. should have a single-payer national health insurance system according to a January 2009 CBS/New York Times poll. The Democrats have almost entirely excluded single-payer advocates from the phony debate over health care reform. Despite his rhetoric about supposedly being open to ideas from everyone, Obama refused to allow single-payer advocates to participate in the seven-hour long televised health care summit on February 25th.

    As we now know, the Democrats also never really supported a vague "public option" that would in theory ensure some level of competition with the private insurance industry and help to drive down the cost of premiums. This idea of a public plan was also overwhelmingly popular. According to a September 2009 CBS/New York Times poll, 65 percent of Americans respond affirmatively to the following question: “Would you favor the government offering everyone a government-administered health insurance plan like Medicare that would compete with private health insurance plans?” Of course, when the Democrats were talking about a “public option” (as a bargaining chip to be quickly cast aside) they never said it would be available to “everyone.” That would simply be too radical for the corporate-vetted "liberal" Democrats. The public plan would have been available only to a relatively small number of uninsured poor people. Other low-income people deemed eligible for subsidies in the new health insurance marketplace would have been excluded. Nevertheless, this scaled-back “public option” half measure was widely viewed by progressives as the best possible outcome for reform given the Democratic Party's staunch opposition to even considering the possibility of creating a high quality universal single-payer national health service like the ones in Canada, France and the UK that put America’s pathetic profit-driven system to shame. Not surprisingly, Obama and the Democrats now say the "public option" is no longer an option because it lacks "political support" (i.e., support from the private health insurance industry).

    By the time the Obama-led neoliberal corporate Democrats are done gutting their own “historic” health care reform, what will be left of it besides a massive gift in public subsidies (corporate welfare) to the insurance industry and a mandate that requires everyone to buy private health insurance? Maybe health insurance companies won’t be allowed to deny health care to people anymore because of “pre-existing conditions,” a practice that results in the preventable deaths of tens of thousands of Americans annually. The Democrats say they want the federal government to regulate the insurance industry in order to guarantee minimum national standards for health coverage and cost reduction, but I wouldn’t count on anything substantive. The politicians who have been leading the health care reform initiative, such as Senator Baucus, are so corrupted by insurance industry money that it’s like asking the industry to regulate itself. By the time the Democrats finish their unnecessary bipartisan negotiations/collaboration with the Republicans on this market-based reform, any proposed regulation of the industry will most likely either be completely hollowed out (e.g., made voluntary) or dropped altogether just like the “public option.” The only real solution to the problems of escalating cost and the lack of universal health care is to address their root cause, which is the profit-driven "health care" system itself. In other words, we must stop treating health care as a commodity and eliminate profit from the equation altogether. Health care is a human right and ought to be guaranteed to all via a single-payer national health service.

    The Democratic Party is well to the right of where the vast majority of the people stand on practically every major issue of public concern, from the highly unpopular escalation of the U.S. imperial Afghan-Pakistan war and occupation to the massive bailout of Wall Street and the monumental failure of Obama's economic recovery programs to aggressively intervene in the markets to stop the steady rise in home foreclosures and unemployment. It's no wonder that the Democrats lost their Senate seat in Massachusetts formerly held by Ted Kennedy—their base didn't feel inspired to turn out to vote for another lame conservative corporate Democrat: the insipid establishment candidate Marcia Coakley. This is an ominous sign of things to come. The inability of the Democrats to address the needs of the middle class and working majority is feeding into a successful Republican-led counter-offensive and a growing right-wing populist movement (e.g., the Teabaggers). The abysmal failure of the Democrats to bring about any substantive progressive change will most likely lead to a sweeping victory for the Republicans in the Congressional elections this year not unlike the Gingrich-Republican victory in 1994. Unfortunately, it seems this pattern of failure by the Democrats has now become institutionalized: failure due to a spineless centrist or center-right Republican-appeasing "bipartisan" strategy, followed by political loss to the Republicans, and then a further misguided and self-defeating shift to the right.

    I too was enlightened by Dr. Angel making the crucial point that health insurance is NOT health care. What we need is insurance reform, not health care reform. As an individual policy holder I was charged as much as 3x more than group plan members for for a mamogram. My individual policy rate increased so much over the last years that I finally took a position as an employee - to obtain group coverage - with the same provider.

    Dr. Angell is wrong, ignorant of the medical reform history in this country and living in a political fantasy land. The President didn't campaign on single-payer, (he may have liked it at one point) he campaigned on the reforms we have in the present bills passed by Congress. If Pres. Obama would have put single-payer on the table can you imagine the outcry from the right or from stakeholders like doctors, hospitals and insurers? Single-payer is even more radical than the Clinton's health care plan and it went down in flames, bringing us to this point nearly seventeen years later and causing the Democrats to lose control of Congress; in effect ushering in the Conservative movement. So Dr. Angell logic is to get all or nothing. This is the same mindset that sunk Sen. Kennedy’s reform efforts during the Nixon administration and Clinton’s compromise with Republicans. Does she really think the stakeholders would have supported a government takeover single-payer health care? This bill is moderate and it's being slammed for being too liberal and socialism.
    Pres. Obama did what the Clinton’s didn't do and that’s bringing all the stakeholders to the table. He did what was politically possible in our country at this time. And for everyone who is complaining about the reforms you need to ask yourself am I insured? If yes then shut-up, because there are 31 million who are not and up to 40,000 a year who die because they don't have it. This bill is a progressive bill; it stops the worst practices of insurers and helps to bring down costs over the long run. It’s an unprecedented step in the right direction and as with all legislation it will get tweaked and improved over time. We don’t need to eliminate the insurers to reform the system.
    If single-payer is what the left wants then it should have mobilized like the Tea Party and made their voices heard. The election is not the end of the road, if you volunteered for Obama you need to keep pushing. If voices are silent then they don't get heard. And the only voices independent/moderates heard was from a small group of angry people who demonized all efforts of health reform.
    It's cliché but so true: don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Should We Focus on Health Care Industry Profits?

    While corporate profits in the health care industry are actually increasing as more and more Americans are losing their health coverage or becoming underinsured, focusing on profits directs people away from the much bigger problem. Even if the for-profit health care industry’s profits were minimal and executive compensation less, the major problems remain. Our fragmented for-profit health care system’s excessive administrative costs account for more than 25 cents of every dollar paid into health care. Each health insurance company has its own actuaries, own people who negotiate with doctors and hospitals, own advertising budgets, own claims review staff, and own administration. Every doctor and hospital has to negotiate with these companies and bill them. In other words, the profits and obscene compensation packages going to CEOs and others is a pittance compared to the overall excessive administrative costs created in order to make the profits.

    When I was a kid, my family physician worked with one or two specialists in each discipline. I didn’t have to go the one he suggested; but if I did, I knew that they worked together. Nowadays, your family physician has to check which specialist is approved by which plan. No way can they have the same level of cooperation and continuity of care. Doctors waste hours per week dealing with the various insurance companies. Yet, there is no credible evidence these private health insurance companies add any value to our health care system. Though, to some extent, they have different provider networks, depending on whether one chooses their HMO, PPO, or Point of Service Plan, on the whole, most doctors and hospitals are covered, regardless of which plan one has. In the original movie “Mash” there is a scene where someone asks if the patient is an officer or enlisted man. When told enlisted, the response is, “make the stitches bigger.” Does anyone really believe that, for instance, when getting a coronary artery bypass at a major hospital the surgeon’s level of care depends on whether one has Cigna or Anthem Blue Cross as their provider? Or if covered by one plan rather than another the risk of a hospital-based infection is less at the same hospital?

    Currently, we “choose” our health insurance plan, if not employer provided, or if we can afford private coverage. We don’t choose our doctors and hospitals. In a single-payer plan, an expanded improved version of Medicare (no separate drug coverage and no need for supplemental policies), administrative costs savings will return the over 25 cents on the dollar wasted to paying for actual medical coverage. People will be able to choose their doctors and hospitals without the intermediary of a health insurance company.

    But won’t that put government bureaucrats between us and our health care? Won’t government ration health care? Won’t we end up killing our senior citizens? Unfortunately, peoples’ emotions have been stirred up ending in them directing their fears and angers in the wrong direction. Let’s just go through a couple of points:

    I’m sure everyone agrees that the individual should be able to decide on what level of health care they want to receive. If seriously ill or injured, each person should be able to decide if they want to risk extreme pain and disability for, say, a one percent chance of living a few more months or, would prefer hospice care, or any level of care in between. But what happens if we are incapacitated or unconscious? Don’t we still want to have the final say-so on the care we receive? That is what advanced directives and living wills are all about. In addition, we designate someone we trust to ensure that our wishes as expressed in them are carried out. The Republican Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 included calling for living wills. The Democratic Bill that the so-called “Deathers” reacted to had a section devoted to living wills. Anyone who read it clearly would see that it did not limit what level of care one could choose. However, it did allow for physician payment at least once every five years for discussing living wills. Nowadays doctors are being squeezed for time and insurance companies are paying less and less. Should we really expect our family physician to sit down with us for a half hour just to discuss living will options without being paid? Medicine is making advances almost daily, so newer treatments might lead to our changing our choices, so reviewing our living wills every five years seems reasonable. The Bill did call for physicians to encourage their patients to have living wills. What is wrong with that? I certainly would want my doctor to remind me to have one so that in the event I am incapacitated it will be my decisions that will control the care I get.

    Opponents also criticized panels of government bureaucrats who will decide what is and what is not covered. Briefly, in the 1990s, 42,000 women with disseminated breast cancer had bone marrow transplants. Three large clinical trials and one smaller one conclusively found that these expensive (at the time between $50 and $100,000) actually shortened life expectancy and/or significantly reduced quality of life without lengthening it. I’m sure that somewhere out there is someone who still would opt for a bone marrow transplant; but should health insurance pay for it? If we paid for every medical intervention that is either experimental or shown not to confer benefit not only would we contribute to additional suffering; but would bankrupt the system. It is not rationing to not pay for ineffective and/or harmful care. The Bill called for more funding of clinical trials. In fact, credible studies estimate that at least 1/3 of all medical interventions either confer no benefit and/or cause more harm than good (e.g. Shannon Brownlee’s “Overtreated”).

    Clinical trials are expensive and take years to carry out. In the meantime, panels of experts often review the research currently available leading to evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. These panels are usually composed of medical specialists, nurses, epidemiologists (like myself), and members from the public. Using comprehensive search strategies they try to find every published study and conference presentation on a particular topic, evaluate the methodological strengths of each respective study, and summarize the results. In some cases, the results are so overwhelming that nothing more is needed. In other cases, the results give impetus to funding one or more clinical trials. These evidence-based reviews are published in their entirety on the web (including all members of the panel, search strategies, reference list, extensive tables, etc). Most can be found at www.ahrq.gov. In other words, they are public and transparent. Are these reviews always “right?” No; but being public and transparent allows for critique and revision. On the other hand, private insurance companies also use clinical guidelines to decide what to and what not to cover; but their guidelines are proprietary. There is absolutely no way to know how they were developed. I prefer public, transparent guidelines to private for-profit proprietary ones.

    I don’t support any of the versions of health care bills currently being proposed. All are designed to keep our current health insurance industry in business. In fact, most will actually increase their profits, evident from their stocks going up when the individual mandate was included. Some of the provisions are good and will benefit some people; but as Dr. Angell pointed out recently on PBS’s Bill Moyer’s Journal “having insurance is not the same as getting health care.” Companies will still try to delay and deny care. Many will still be underinsured and our fragmented system will continue. It reminds me of someone standing by a river bank jumping in to save someone; but while saving the one, many more float by. Nobody focuses on why so many people are falling into the river. The current bills will help some; but keeping our private for-profit system will hurt far more. It is truly unfortunate that our form of government allows powerful corporations to “influence” legislation to their benefit at the expense of the public, both by direct funding of political candidates and in misdirected and often dishonest fear tactics. Every other advanced modern industrialized democracy has some form of universal non-profit health care and despite the propaganda, many have actually better access and equal to superior outcomes.

    One last point. Our health care system not only delays and denies care to many, gives substandard care to others; but its excessive cost reduces are international competitiveness and takes monies out of our own system that could go into research, infrastructure, schools, etc. In other words, not only do we often get substandard care; but the cost of our healthcare system also impinges on other aspects of our economy reducing our overall quality of life.

    Dr. Angell is right.

    Wendell Potter, while sincere in his concern, was wrong in several respects. He said that we have fallen short in past reform efforts because we have tried to get the perfect. Nonsense. We have NEVER tried to get the perfect. Every serious effort at reform for the past 50 years has been co-opted by swarms of lobbyists with pockets full of cash and a briefcase full of plans that make health care in America skimpier, and its money trail more complicated and opaque.

    Potter said it’s “better to have something to start from than starting from scratch.” But there is no reason to be starting from scratch. We already have a good framework to build on, Medicare, our well-established public plan.

    Potter applauded the President’s plan for not permitting insurance to be denied because of pre-existing conditions. But this industry has never been an honest player. You can deny insurance simply by jacking rates up so high that they are unaffordable. Dr. Angell points out that there’s nothing in the bill to prevent companies from tripling the premiums because of pre-existing conditions- like for instance the pre-existing condition of old age.

    Potter is right, though, that doing nothing is not an option. And doing nothing will not happen.
    People are desperate, desperate for secure and comprehensive health care. This is an enormous American crisis on every level-- economic, social, and political.

    Hurrying through a bad plan only prolongs our national agony. The only reason for a 2,700 page bill is obfuscation. Single payer is easy to understand and easy to explain. The Canadian health plan was established in a bill that is 14 pages long, 7 of which is in French. It’s the dancing around the issue of corporate profit that creates the complications that lead to a 2,700 page long plan, and has led to the network of lies we’ve been trapped in.

    It seems to me that in any industrial society, where the sources of disease are often untrackable and the result of many corporate and govcrnment decisions, health care must be a human right.

    The failure of this bill could actually lead to true success. President Obama could then explain then that he had tried bipartisanship and it didn’t work, and frankly say that the present economic times mandates that every health care dollar be spent on health care, and that the way to do that is a single payer system, like an improved and expanded Medicare for All. He could easily show, by means of straightforward figures, that Single Payer would rapidly save money both for individuals and for the nation, while providing high quality health care for everyone. Were he to have the courage to face and speak these truths, he would lose Rahm Emanuel (whose famous “f*** retards” remarks was in fact referring to single payer advocates). But a tremendous armyof advocates would rise up to help him.

    If he can muster this amount of courage and this amount of imagination, he will be a great president. If he can’t, he will be a mediocre president, very likely a mediocre one term president, unfit for the urgent tasks the American people elected him, and need him, to do.

    I believe it is time for some radical action.
    We should federalize the largest health insurance company (probably the Blues) and run it as our public option. Force the other companies to compete. If the new public option does not work the company could be returned to a private company.
    We need the public option some way or other. My wish is that something worthwhile gets done.
    Jim Dana

    I worked for the healthcare companies for more than 10 years. Single Payer health care is the only Real Solution. I worked for President Obama's election campaign. I joined OFA. But I do not support President's current healt care bill.

    I was thrilled to hear Dr. Angel make the crucial point that I always raise when I discuss this issue with friends and family: health insurance is NOT health care. They are two different, often antithetical things. Michael Moore showed, in his film "Sicko" that those with health insurance do not necessarily get the care they need, and they can die as a result.

    I agree with Dr. Angel for many reasons, not least that I think she is right about both the politics and the policy of this bill. As it stands, the bill will disappoint most citizens, and raise premiums for those of us over 50. If the Senate would pass a public option, as 37 senators now want to do, that would be a real improvement. Absent that, or the option for over-50's to buy into Medicate, I say, kill the bill and start over.

    It's too bad that President Obama, whom I do support, is so open to the ideas of his opponents, and so adamantly opposed to the ideas of his supporters. And it's too bad the "mainstream media" ignore the polling that shows Americans want more comprehensive reform, not tinkering with a truly broken "system."

    To a foreigner who has lived in the United States for almost twenty years, the health care reform debacle is almost incomprehensible. It becomes simple to understand once one reminds himself of the fact that Americans have been brainwashed to think of themselves as Number One, in every field of human endeavor, no matter all evidence to the contrary.

    As everybody who has ever been the best at something knows, being Number One at anything requires not just confidence in one's strengths, but awareness of one's limits, something that most Americans are completely oblivious to.

    That is how, in the midst of the health care reform fiasco, most Americans are shamefully blind to the fact that no other advanced country treats health care as a commodity, and that there are plenty of successful examples around the world of countries that have tamed the health care beast with better outcomes and at lower costs. Imagine how surprised most Amercans would be to find out that, contrary to Republican fearmongering, many of those countries have thriving health insurance sectors.

    You can't fix health care until you fix stupid.

    I would like to suggest two additions to the healthcare legislation to control healthcare costs:

    (1) Offer non-profit tax status to any health provider (hospital etc) that keeps its average, per patient health delivery costs within a reasonable, government-set rate of healthcare inflation. Such cost-efficient health providers would also be placed on a national cost-effective health provider list (NCHPL).

    (2) Offer patients a government rebate (that could arrive in the mail) that will cover their copayment if they choose to seek care at a lower cost health facility on the national health provider list (NCHPL). This list could include cost-effective health providers like Mayo Clinc, Cleveland Clinic, and Kaiser Permanente.

    Patients would love the idea that their copayment would be paid for by the government. Many patients would consider it a minor inconvenience to choose a health provider on the NCHPL if the copayment was reimbursed.

    All hospitals would love the idea that they receive not-for-profit status and be placed on a national list. This would both save them substantial tax expenses and increase demand for their services as an increasing number of patients would choose their services. Thus, hospitals and other health providers would compete to be on the government list by holding down their healthcare costs. All of this would reduce waste in the healthcare system and incentivize hospitals to make health delivery more cost effective.

    As an increasing number of customers choose providers on the NCHPL, insurance company reimbursements would effectively decrease as health costs attenuated. This would lower premium payments for all insurance beneficiaries.

    To pay for this, fees would be levied against insurance companies and high cost health providers. The logic behind this is that such fees would be tied to health costs. As health costs rise, so would be funding obtained from such fees. Further, it would provide a disincentive for health providers to waste health dollars.

    Republicans would love this because it doesn't impose anything on healthcare providers or patients. It simply incentivizes them to make cost-saving choices.

    Many democrats would also love this because it puts substantial market-based limits on healthcare inflation over the long-term without imposing a regressive tax on the middle class.

    Whether this could entice any Republicans to vote for the legislation is doubtful, but I do believe it would be something that Blue Dog democrats would strongly favor.

    How do we pay for health care? There is said to be many ways, but going into debt has been the dominant way. What seems to be completely missed is that there is a huge amount of money being paid by employers and taken from our pay checks because employers can no longer afford the increasing insurance cost. If medicare was phased in, all that money that is paid by the employers and employees would be more that enough to provide for higher wages, more profit for companies, pay down the debt and pay for medicare and its expansion. I know of not one government employee that makes 24 million a year. How did we as a rich country go from believing that because we can build more expensive medical machines, to believing that the incredibly inefficient insurance companies did it? It is very easy to see if people like medicare over private insurance by listing all that are not very rich that have refused it when they were able to get it at 65 and that they can surely do. I will be 65 in a month and my mama didn't raise a fool. I have already signed up.

    It is clear to me that Dr. Angell's assessment of the President's health care bill is correct. The net result of the current proposal would be the enrichment of the health care industry, giving them even more power to disrupt honest debate and progress in the future. President Obama and his staff have clearly determined that they need to get any health care bill passes, whatever may be in it. A win is a win, however bad it may be for America. Retaining power is what it's all about. The 2012 election will be an interesting one in which their are four parties: The ultra-conservative tea-party crowd, the corporate lackeys (who call themselves Republican), the other Republican party (who call themselves democrats) and the progressives (who, by the million, won't bother to show up at the polls). Thanks, Obama. What lovely change you've brought us.

    Single Payer is the only thing that will work, and it's the only humane choice. France has the #1 health care system and they pay half per capita of what the US pays. maybe we should hire France to manage our health care system.

    We will not get meaningful healthcare reform. We all know that there is such a thing as a greedy politician who will accept bribes for his own personal financial gain. We also know that there are politicians who won't. Unfortunately, the difference between these two types of politician is meaningless. Campaign costs are so high that everyone in the House and Senate (and many in our executive and judicial branches -- not to mention state legislators) requires these bribes just to get elected/reelected. Our government is broken. We will not get meaningful reform of any kind -- whether it be healthcare, banking, taxation, the environment, jobs, education, or anything else -- until we get meaningful campaign finance reform. Our government is BROKEN.

    I agree with Dr. Angell at every point except her conclusion. She said that the current health-care bill should die, because it cannot work and will poison the prospects for genuine reform for years longer. But I believe that once Congress passes this bill, it announces itself as determined to fix the health-care system.

    Acting now on the impulse to reform -- even if tentative or counterproductive -- puts every stakeholder on notice that the status quo of rising costs, withheld medical care, less access and scandalous price gouging is unacceptable and will be fired in the forge of repeated legislation until its impurities burn away and we all get equal health-care protection under the law.

    Dear PBS: I watch the TV specials on healthcare and the American system versus those of other modern industrial countries and fail to see why it is we are clinging to a broken system. I have written to my Congress person and both Senators stating that we need a public option for true reform. I voted for Obama because he campaigned on a "single-payer" system, which I beleive is the only real answer. Other countries have recently gone through the pains of making this change and I see no reason that the USA cannot do it, except two: lack of leadership by Obama administration from the start, and the insurance companies "own" Congress. How else do you explain the horrible Health Bill we are facing now? I agree with Dr Angell that it would be a bonus for the insurance companies, which will be able to charge me, an older individual, 3 times what they charge a younger person. How is that equitable? Obama should either find his principles, which he seems to have lost after gaining the presidency and fight for a public option he so loudly cried for back then, or drop the illusion of reform, which is only another bonus for wall street and the insurance companies. Give the American people healthcare and freedom from fear and constant worry. Give us what we want, need, and deserve, or give us death (via the current system) to paraphrase Patrick Henry. Drop this bad bill, bring back the public option, please.

    I would like to send a message to Wendell Potter - he and people like him could fix the health care bill as private citizens. I have an idea for an alternative to the public option for health care that does not require congress to create it. It is similar in spirit to the Indian resistance movement led by Gandhi --- one of the keys to success was that the Indian resistance movement created a shadow government of their own, and encouraged capable Indian citizens to quite their jobs in the Colonial government and work for the people's shadow government. With the effect that the British government had less and less actual power.

    Here's my idea:
    1. Find a core of decent people like Wendell Potter - insurance professionals who have the skills to lead a large health insurance company and an ethical commitment to the public good. I am sure those people can be found from within the industry.
    2. Create a start-up health insurance company that is non-profit, and offers insurance to anybody who will pay the premiums with no exclusions for pre-existing conditions etc. Create the plan but don't start writing policies yet. Have the core leadership team pledge reasonable compensation limits (lower than standards in the for-profit industry but respectably good) and write those limits into the corporate by-laws. Make the organization a cooperative "owned" by the policy holders so it cannot be taken over in a hostile takeover by a for-profit comany.
    3. Market the company to progressive organizations and individuals to obtain agreement that they will join the plan when a critical mass of pledges is obtained (however many people it takes in the pool to make the company competitive).
    4. Once the threshold is reached and the policies are issued, compete against the for-profit industry as a non-profit, until the for-profit companies are dead and buried, and the non-profit company is the only one left standing.
    5. Since the company makes no profit, it has no motive to oppose nationalization, and in the end it is only our non-profit insurance company and Medicare. So merge with Medicare. Single payer achieved.

    I am convinced that all the talk about a "public option" is overlooking the very real potential that, at least in this case, the concerned citizenry can take matters into their own hands and sidestep the corrupt congress.

    I sent this letter to the White House and got a call back from the Stupak/Waxman committee to appear as a witness against Anthem Blue Cross. At the end of the day, the three people that were called had higher rates than I did, so I didn't go to DC, but because of your show and Howard Zinn, I planned to be brave and tell my story if called. Re: Specifically about Blue Cross Anthem and me, breast cancer survivor and decent person, Cassandra M. Bellantoni

    I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer 8/11/2004. I received one week later a letter from Blue Cross that my policy was being put in review due to the suspicion I had a pre-existing condition. What followed was a nightmarish two years of cancer treatments, surgery, chemo, radiation, etc., that was made much worse because I had to fight with Blue Cross to prove I deserved coverage. While I was paying for chemo in cash, Blue Cross was scouring my medical records. At one point they accused me of lying on my application about being in Alcoholics Anonymous, which would somehow mean I was hiding my pre-existing breast cancer? I didn't see the relevance, but in fact I had never been in AA. As they were looking at years of medical records, one of my doctors had made the notation "AA" which actually stood for “Auto Accident.” They are a truly evil company. I had the resources to hire an attorney referred by my surgeon. Two years and one bankruptcy later, I was reinstated. My attorney knew the laws were about to be changed in late 2005 so, recommended I file bankruptcy, because at this point my policy was canceled and I had $150K in medical bills. Fast forward to today and I am cancer free. In fact I just had my 5-year mammogram come up clean, so when I received a letter from Blue Cross, (the same day) raising my monthly premium another $140/month, to be honest, I wasn't really shocked. Their timing has been impeccable all along. But I had just received an increase on my 50th birthday in September. Nobody else will cover me so I'm stuck with Blue Cross. I do have some residual health problems caused by chemotherapy and I'm sure I cost them some money and they don’t like that. I was thrilled to hear that somebody was finally going to at least ask them to explain. I have a horrible plan but must keep it thanks to the current system. By the way, they did offer me a new plan that would keep my monthly costs the same. But I'm positive there is language in the 20-page explanation that would benefit them, not me, so I'm not going to change. With my monthly co-pays and drug costs, my insurance is $1000 per month and over 25% of my just achieved salary. I've been unemployed / self employed quite creatively, for almost two years. So please do something to change this ridiculous system! I've written letters before, but here we are, still talking about keeping the insurance companies happy. I'm a fan of President Obama even now, but was very disappointed to hear him say "Everyone has the right to health coverage" and that is a real disconnect from reality because "health care" and "health coverage" are two very different things as I can tell you. Best, Cassandra M. Bellantoni

    I'm sharing this letter for two reasons. One, letters do get through to the highest levels and I would encourage your viewers to write and two, the idea that we will now mandate these evil companies stay in the game is truly a heinous concept to me. Why is there such a disconnect between the need for health care and health coverage. When I hear people talk about the free market and business I'm annoyed. Just because these people are making money doesn't mean they deserve to continue to. People used to make money selling slaves too, what if we had that philosophy back then? We must have a public option or they should start over...period.

    Most of my adult life I had no health insurance. I never went for checkups or any kind of regular care. If I had a pain or illness, I just did my best to push through it. I consider myself fortunate now to have coverage, but my reluctance to go to the doctor continues. Now there are other concerns that keep me from going- "Can I afford the co-pay", "If they find that I have something more serious, am I covered?", and "If I end up having something serious, is this going to cost everyone else at the small business where I work more in increased premiums next year?" I wonder how many people are like me, and how many of them might have preventable, potentially costly illnesses lurking, but just can't make that $20 co-pay because they need gas money, or just have to put off that surgery because they can't meet the deductible till next year, maybe.
    I was so hopeful when President Obama insisted on health care reform. I was excited to hear "all options are on the table". This meant that our new President really understood that insurance is NOT health care. He seemed to understand that insurance companies do precisely what they are designed to do- make profits for shareholders; and that this was ultimately in direct opposition to the goals at hand- providing health care to all Americans, keeping the cost low. Single-payer seemed to be the obvious answer to this, especially when you factor in other costs of the health care system, such as the cost SAVINGS of a preventative medicine approach.
    My heart sank when I found out that single payer was not even being considered. When a public option was suggested, I thought that might have a chance to address some of my concerns, even though I thought it brought problems of its own. Of course, single payer brought its own problems, such as what to do with all the insurance people who’s industry would now be obsolete, but I thought that would have been the point of debating it in the first place.
    I think that Dr. Angell is correct. The current bill addresses some problems, but ultimately could make matters much worse- just by handing over so many more customers and thus more power to the industry. I think the President failed to show leadership on this issue, and most of Congress has failed to even consider us average Americans the whole way through. I am so heartbroken and disillusioned at this point, that I frankly don’t care if the bill passes or not. Hopefully, if it does, at least some people (who can afford coverage) who were otherwise turned down before will be able to get coverage. We certainly aren’t going to appeal to the insurance industry’s sense of humanity or shame… they have nothing to be ashamed of. Again, they are doing what they are supposed to- make profits, and again, they have NOTHING to do with HEALTH CARE, other than determining who has access to it.
    So, what should we do? Put some emergency regulations out there, increasing Medicaid, stop denials of coverage, maybe put caps on premium or deductible increases- because American people and small businesses need relief NOW, and I think we can do those things quickly… But then go back to the table- AND PUT SINGLE-PAYER ON IT!!!

    Dr. Angell is an angel. I've heard many good voices in this debate,thoughtful, intelligent, and wise. The cost of Health Care is stymieing the USA in many different dimensions,including the one most important to long term economic growth, new business start-ups. The health insurance industry is hurting both doctors and patients alike. The industry is inefficient, wasteful, cumbersome, bloated, and expensive. And contrary to what is being reported, most people I know are not happy with their insurance companies options or the way they are treated by them. It is telling that we are the only developed nation that cannot provide its people with the security and peace of mind of guaranteed, quality Health Care. Without it we have no hope of combating the serious problems of obesity, diabetes, and possible infectious pandemics. We need a system based on the existing, working models of France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Canada, and any others that may apply. This can only help our society and our economy. Thank you Bill Moyers for your decency, integrity, intelligence, fairness, reasonableness, and concern for the well-being of our nation.

    In response to Bill Moyers’ question put to us viewers:
    I say we take the second option. Let’s declare this bill a bad bill and start over with something that meets our country’s needs, i.e., a single-payer plan. A big part of the problem is the health insurance industry and profit-making’s top priority. Instead of addressing this issue, the current bill cements in the problem with mandates and subsidies for the insurance industry. Our president and representatives need to start representing us, the people, instead of big business all the time. Unfortunately, that will probably require sweeping reform and replacement of our government representation. John Edwards had it exactly right when he told Charlie Rose during the primary that nothing major (like this) can be done until we fix the financing of elected officials by big business.

    (Please see comment by J. Gabriele – I totally agree!)


    I am one of Wellpoint’s (Anthem Blue Cross) millions of customers. I have not had a permanent job with benefits since a layoff in 1994. Over the years, as I have gotten older, I have been forced to pare down my insurance. Now, at age 51, after 10 years of no health care, I have one of those policies that “fits my budget”. I struggle to pay for a plan that covers only hospital and surgery: no doctor visits or medications. At the recent congressional hearings a subscriber described her plan, which requires thousands of dollars in deductible and out-of-pocket expenses. My plan is far worse.

    The testimony of Wellpoint’s CEO demonstrated that the current system is not workable and not sustainable. Increasing premiums and economic troubles have forced healthy people out of the insurance system, leaving a greater number of unhealthy people in the pool to drive up the prices even more. Meanwhile, millions are spent on top salaries and actions to satisfy the shareholders. Delivery of health care should be based on need, not ability to pay. And with so many decades of talk and no action, I’m now left to wonder if I will live long enough to see people like me get health care. I must confess that watching the Olympics last month even made me wonder if I should move up to Canada.

    This bill is not what Americans want or need. But, arguing over whether it should pass or whether we should start over, does not address the underlying problems of our current governmental system. As long as politicians rely on private donations for their individual campaigns, for the two major parties, and for the costs of the conventions, the major corporations will continue to exert power over our electoral system. A major change in our electoral system that requires public funding with a provision for an allotted use of public air waves, plus limits on the use of politicians' private funds, would not only lead to more time to our representatives having more time to actually be in Washington working, but also result in more equitable representation.
    Then, we would have no problem in passing a single payer health care system,regulating Wall Street, cleaning up the environment, and passing the Employee Free Choice Act.

    If the subject legislation dies under the present hail of distractions, name-calling, false characterizations, and confusions, what political reality would risk bringing health care reform back into the American political debate? That is, other than actual fiscal collapse? If the legislation passes, much of the celebrated 2,000 pages in it enable numerous pilot programs that bring new perspectives and data to the conversation in another 3 or 4 years. It is also important that we learn from the successes, and failures, of the health care systems in other nations and of our own Medicare and Veterans Administration.

    Given the choices available, I think passage of the legislation is the better option because it starts a sustainable and credible process to more substantially consider the future of health care in these United States.

    I am torn over supporting the current health care reform and I empathize with the arguments made by both Dr. Angell and Mr. Potter.

    I am dismayed that we cannot draw from successful programs in other countries.

    Dr. Angell's description of this legislation as a Rube Goldberg creation strikes home, and the insurance industry does sit between a choice of win big or win bigger. Unfortunately, I think her response to what happens if the bill fails is a mistake.

    The question has been framed in the public as opposition to the bill is opposition to a government take over of health care, and the opponents of real reform would declare victory from every roof top. They might say this bill died because it was a bad bill, but it would also be seen as an argument for saying government can't fix it and the market can. This is the problem with our current governance. Big business owns too much of the political system and the media and can ensure that any result is viewed by a significant portion of the population, in their terms.

    I believe in a public system for health care. Health care delivery does not lend itself to what the market should contribute to a society. I don't believe that we are better served by 'new and innovative insurance products'. There is no such thing. What we need is universal coverage, and the benefits and increased social freedom of having that is something we can see in other countries.

    We aren't going to really socialize medicine yet. Our only poltically realistic options are regulation and a public option. Either can be manipulated by big business. Just as government subsidies of the existing proposal can be manipulated (or are constructed) to shift the burden of unprofitable patients to tax payers, a public option could be manipulated to do the same thing.

    No matter what happens to this bill, the battle for health care reform is far from over. I think it needs to pass, and we need to keep fighting to reform the reforms.

    i hope this bill does not pass, for if it does we will probably not visit this subject for a very long time if ever, and without a public option there is nothing in this bill to get insurance corperations to reduce there outrageous prices. this reminds me of a football player so focused on the goal line as he gets close he losses track of the fact he is no longer carrying the ball!

    I agree with Dr. Angell that a single payer system would be the best and that the current health care bill leaves a lot to be desired. I also think that she is probably more expert in health care and health care issues than I am. However, I question her expertise in politics. She seems to think that if the current health care bill is defeated, Congress will immediately start working on a better bill. My feeling is that this Congress is tired of health care and the next Congress, which seems likely to include more Republicans and fewer Democrats, is even less likely to pass a health care bill. It is my expectation that if this bill does not pass, the next time there is a serious try to pass a health care bill will be some time after 2020. But I am not an expert in politics either. I would like to hear what Bill Moyers and/or other political experts have to say about this.

    It's appalling that the United States does not have better health care for its citizens. That we can send billions of dollars overseas to help other countries and not our own is depressing to say the least. This Senate, House and Administration need to step up and pass health reform now. Let the Republican party of "No" be exposed for what they truly are. As far back as I can remember, the Democratic Party was the party to help the working man.

    I listened to both speakers on the current bill. I agree with Mr Potter. There is no likelihood Congress could start over and be more successful with the Public Option. More likely nothing would happen for quite a while. However, if this bill is passed Congress will have something to work with and changes can be made.
    Listen to Professors Morone and Oberlander on the News Hour today, Monday. They say people are very nervous about their health care - and the President and government needs to inform the public about the plan, not ask for their opinion. The majority are well and don't use their insurance much. The polls should sort out who they are asking and what questions. But forget the polls and just pass the bill and get us on the way.
    Thank you, Bill, for not trashing the Democrats on the show this week.

    I listened to both speakers on the current bill. I agree with Mr Potter. There is no likelihood Congress could start over and be more successful with the Public Option. More likely nothing would happen for quite a while. However, if this bill is passed Congress will have something to work with and changes can be made.
    Listen to Professors Morone and Oberlander on the News Hour today, Monday. They say people are very nervous about their health care - and the President and government needs to inform the public about the plan, not ask for their opinion. The majority are well and don't use their insurance much. The polls should sort out who they are asking and what questions. But forget the polls and just pass the bill and get us on the way.
    Thank you, Bill, for not trashing the Democrats on the show this week.

    Dear Mr President: I voted for you and I am not giving up on you now. You are the closest that we have come to begin the process that is long over due; so don't give up now. I have closed my eyes and ears to all the rhetoric and I am going with my gut and still believe that you have our backs. I am counting on you because I can no longer go to work everyday and see all these good, hard working American people in our communities suffer and lose all they have worked so hard for because they get sick. No one can say this doesn't happen because it does and I have seen it first hand. These people are suffering physically and financially and it is wrong. This could happen to anyone of us and there is no protection against it. No one will ever know it's true wrath until they witness it first hand or if it happens to you. There is an epidemic in our country now that has been brought on by years of greed and corruption and has put insurance companies in control. All they care about are profits NOT YOUR HEALTH. Please pass reform and make more reforms to make it a sustainable system that will guarantee American's will not lose their American dream from illness. What is going on now is barbaric and needs to stop. ·

    I agree with Marcia Angell, the health reform up/down vote should be denied and then start over, whenever it can happen, with medicare for all in some form, such as, hr676 and, if people want to keep private ins., that would be okay. The proof has already been made of how insurance companies treat the majority in this country, no more testing needs to be done. This reform will take away the little money people have to perhaps get hearing aids or eyeglasses, and force them to pay insurance companies for nothing. Many people now forego true medical care, better to die than lose your home, if you can help it, so that is already that way and will not change. The only change will be that we will be held hostage to insurance companies, forced to pay for no care if this reform passes. The USA government has not protected a living wage since 1969 and now have the nerve for people to be allowed to make millions of dollars more than another human being in the working arena. No human other than the owner of the business should make that much when this country has allowed people to make less than 20,000 dollars a year. That is called slavery. Then to top it off take the slaves money because the millionaire just can't get enough. Talk about sick. Has humanity left the planet or has humanity left the USA government for the last 30 years to date?????

    I listened to both Potter and Angell. Both made solid points, and both articulated different perspectives.

    I am in accord with Dr Angell in that this is a gigantic give away, and that Obama gave up the farm in his early deal PHARMA, however, I believe that the system is in danger of rapid decay at this point.

    To do nothing will cause distress to many.

    It is my opinion that Republican hardball should be played by the Dems. Immediately upon passage, they shoud begin further strengthening their plan, and try to insert the public option at every turn.

    One bill that may be of use, is to propose that any insurer that receives subsidies from the Federal Government may not use any funds for lobbying or to support trade groups such as the Chamber of Commerce.

    To state the obvious, this website seems to be really slow and frustrating. I realize the show is probably going away soon --but it's not over yet.

    Respondents may not have much faith that messages are getting through (apparently they are, but viewers on the opposite end are initially blind to this). Previewing messages seems a gamble. Some sort of "SpellCheck" would be useful, since viewers' eyes get bleary and may not pick up obvious mistakes. Other than that, I think everyone wishes Mr. Moyers and the staff well as the show comes to an end.

    I couldn't agree more with Dr. Angell. The windfall that will come to the insurance companies' profits from the mandatory insurance purchase if President Obama's bill is passed, is intolerable. We have absolutely no need for insurance companies. What we do need is single payer and we need it now. Thank you, Bill Moyers, for your insightful and informative program (as always), but you should know it was the most depressing event of my week.
    Jean Berlowitz
    Corvallis, Oregon

    The President/Congress should kill current Health plan and substitute a Govt. Medicare type plan for all who want to join.

    Correction: the Hadley/Holahan estimate for annual uncompensated care (as of a few years ago) was ~$35 billion (not $350 million, as mistakenly typed). ~100 million taxpayers x ~$350/taxpayer = ~$35 billion. But what's a few orders of magnitude among friends?

    It's possible (but unlikely) that inherently different people work for companies with group plans as opposed to those in individual insurance markets. It's entirely possible that individuals might tend to drop coverage when times are tough more easily than those in group plans. It would be interesting to see what the data shows (government MEPS data usually has a lag). Many suspect that insurance companies are raising rates (in part) simply because they can.

    I am torn over supporting the current health care reform and I empathize with the arguments made by both Dr. Angell and Mr. Potter.

    I am dismayed that we cannot draw from successful programs in other countries.

    Dr. Angell's description of this legislation as a Rube Goldberg creation strikes home, and the insurance industry does sit between a choice of win big or win bigger. Unfortunately, I think her response to what happens if the bill fails is a mistake.

    The question has been framed in the public as opposition to the bill is opposition to a government take over of health care, and the opponents of real reform would declare victory from every roof top. They might say this bill died because it was a bad bill, but it would also be seen as an argument for saying government can't fix it and the market can. This is the problem with our current governance. Big business owns too much of the political system and the media and can ensure that any result is viewed by a significant portion of the population, in their terms.

    I believe in a public system for health care. Health care delivery does not lend itself to what the market should contribute to a society. I don't believe that we are better served by "new and innovative insurance products." There is no such thing. What we need is universal coverage, and the benefits and increased social freedom of having that is something we can see in other countries.

    We aren't going to really socialize medicine yet. Our only plotically realistic options are regulation and a public option. Either can be manipulated by big business. Just as government subsidies of the existing proposal can be manipulated (or are constructed) to shift the burden of unprofitable patients to tax payers, a public option could be manipulated to do the same thing.

    No matter what happens to this bill, the battle for health care reform is far from over. I think it needs to pass, and we need to keep fighting to reform the reforms.

    On health care, if the Republicans are against it, I'm for it.

    I look at the problems of health care access and delivery as, perhaps, a doctor may look at a diseased patient. After examination, the doctor tells the patient what to do and may prescribe some medication in the hope that what is done will result in a complete cure, or, given what the options are, will result in a better, if not disaease-free, life.

    Health care delivery and its access can be made better by the Congressional proposed changes, What remains to be done to completely cure the health care delivery and access problem should be a continuing top priority for our elected officials, just as each year the auto industry, or any other well-loved industry, offers new versions of its vehicles, hopefully to incorporate what would improve the quality of the vehicles while continuing to perfect the improvements for future vehicle editions.

    Respectfully,

    Robert D. Burdick

    We need the regulation of the health insurance companies now. While I think ‘Medicare For ll is what we need to actually contain cost, make our businesses globally comprehensive and provide individuals with full choice it will require a paradigm shift to get there. We would need to see that health care should not be a for profit activity (if fire fighting were for profit fire departments would hire arsonists) and that health care is separate from health insurance.

    We are not at the place where we see the common good in providing health care to all. We 'get it' regarding contagion. If my neighbor has H1N1 I want it treated quickly and effectively but he has a ruptured appendix, a broken leg, or cancer I don't see why I should care. The common good in keeping everyone healthy is more subtle than when we needed all our efforts to put food by for the winter to survive and when the lost of one persons efforts cost us all.

    This bill is a disaster waiting to happen. It's nothing but a giveaway to the corporate/private health insurance companies who run our health care system. Simply put I would rather start at 0 then at -5. We need to start from sratch.


    Allen

    Los Angeles

    I have to agree with Dr. Angell on this one. This is not a good bill and will have many unintended consequences. We need Medicare for everyone and everyone paying premiums with the same qualifications for subsidized premiums we now have in medicaid and CHIPS. This will create great savings in administrative costs alone.

    While I don't belive universal health care is a right, I believe it is the right thing to do. Especially in the richest country in the world.

    I am a 50 year veteran of the field life and health insurance delivery system and receive a retirement check from Cigna – the same Cigna as your guest author Wendell Potter. The industry has lost focus on their premium paying customers and in the process is corrupt. We are our brother’s keeper when push comes to shove. Our Congress has lost their way. Check out Wellpoint’s website and other related sites.

    http://wellpoint.com/business/company_history.asp
    o http://www.aetna.com/about-aetna-insurance/aetna-corporate-profile/aetna-history/index.html
    o http://www.hcahealthcare.com/CustomPage.asp?guidCustomContentID={2BA34880-F69E-433A-96E7-69DCD3A0EBE6}

    A Mr. Wydick has written about this and would be a good potential guest: http://www.usfca.edu/artsci/fac_staff/W/wydick_bruce.html.

    The 39% premium increase by Anthem Blue Cross (Wellpoint) on 800,000 of the California insured is a wake-up call that healthcare and the free market don’t work and a major sign of weakness. They are fighting a major meltdown. Both of your guests were right in that change must take place. The crisis in the healthcare delivery system is simple. Wall Street greed along with CEO’s of the big five and their close associates borderlines on fraud. They are in the same position as tobacco company executive denying a link between their product and cancer. It took close to 25 years to reign in the industry. Will it take 25 years to get regulations back in place to keep the unregulated banks and the health industry to act in the interest of their customers? It can’t wait. The insured and bank depositors should come first in any business paradigm.

    There is little doubt health industry took their business plan forward from deregulation of banks and insurance companies back in 1997. Wellpoint was organized to buy up the non-profit Blue Cross operations all across the country to eliminate competition and turn it into a Wall Street honey; and in the process increasing their margins up to 30% from as low as 10%. They are operating as a monopoly. Their business plan is not working. Their business plan slowly took over 35 million premium payers at 30% margins and 24 million Medicare policy holders administratively for 4% margins. Medicare for all would eliminate their Wall Street connection. They are fighting hard. Wall Street is the problem, not the medical delivery system.

    If the public was tuned into how we got to this emergency that started 20 years ago and took a giant leap forward when Wellpoint eliminated competition with buyouts over several years of Blue Shield/Cross nationwide; a real current solution today might be possible.

    Eventually, the public option and/or Medicare for all is the solution. The next step is how to deal with huge public companies like Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) that own several hundred for-profit hospitals. Ex-Senator Frist is a major shareholder.

    James Hall, CLU
    Monte Sereno, CA

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    Do I think the President’s health bill is worth supporting? If I was a health insurance CEO my answer would be yes. If I was a consumer, my answer would be no.

    What should be the goals of health reform? If I was a health insurance CEO my answer would be to protect the companies profit margin and the investors interest. If I was a consumer, my answer would be to protect my heath and finances by expanding Medicare to everyone who wants it.

    The analysis of seven fascist regimes by political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt revealed fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. The stranglehold that the health insurance industry has on Americans would be a good example of point nine, protecting the powers of corporations. When you peal back the red, white, and blue label it still spells FASCISM.

    "Washington has a lot of money. It has trillions for war, but no money for housing. Money for war, but no money for health care. Money for war, but no money for education. Money for war - no money to rebuild our cities. No money to create jobs, but money for war." - Dennis Kucinich

    Fascism Anyone?

    1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

    2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

    3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

    4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

    5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

    6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.

    7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

    8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

    9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

    10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

    11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.

    12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. “Normal” and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

    13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

    14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

    Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.

    http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/britt_23_2.htm

    Dr. Marcia Angell made me mad opposing this Health bill.
    She drastically waffled telling us the bill is bad but then turned 180 and told us what was good.
    Her statement the insurance is allowed to charge 3 times more for elderly,(is part of a give and take necessary to keep the insurance industry complete and intact as it is now.)
    Her statement the premiums will rise, with the mandate is false.
    I contend health premiums will mimic car insurance which is also mandatory and quite affordable and it too has a 3 times clause for high risk or young drivers.
    Dr. Marcia Angell depth of knowledge and comparison
    was non existent on your show (please don't host her again she only confuses a difficult issue with muddy or skewed info).

    If the President mandates insurance then I will be fined. I do not have insurance because it would cost me over $600 a month. I am 25 and healthy and I despise the industry. I'm also a student, with over $80,000 in debt.

    I agree with Dr. Angell.

    I hope people, and eventually Congress, can make the connection between health care (e.g., living sedentary lives and eating poorly), climate change (consumerism), and unemployment. Nothing less than a fundamental change in society is acceptable. We need at least 25% of our population involved with food cultivation ASAP or hundreds of millions are going to be suffering very soon.

    I couldn't agree more with Dr. Angell. The windfall that will come to the insurance companies' profits from the mandatory insurance purchase if President Obama's bill is passed, is intolerable. We have absolutely no need for insurance companies. What we do need is single payer and we need it now. Thank you, Bill Moyers, for your insightful and informative program (as always), but you should know it was the most depressing event of my week.
    Jean Berlowitz
    Corvallis, Oregon

    Reading your viewer comments was almost as aggravating as having to scroll through 1,300 of them to opine. America needs to wake up to what is really at stake with this charade playing out in Washington and the media masquerading as health care reform. What's really happening is a well orchestrated campaign to defeat, not only this legislation but this President and any progressive agenda. By silently invoking America's fear of anything black and powerful, Republicans have added another chapter to their tome on maintaining the perogatives and preferences of power they have fraudulently amassed over the past fifty years, and the advantages of whiteness over the past 400. It's time for Americans to wake up to the real game being played out before their unseeing eyes, not just health care reform, but the health and future of this nation.

    Free-market competition? Double-digit price increases during a deep recession? The healthcare market is “fixed”.

    I have to agree with Dr. Angell. The bill in Congress is simply an industry written profiteering kluge. Obama and the Democrats should dump it. Then they should dust off HR676 (couple of pages), Expanding Medicare for all, and push that.

    If Obama and the Democrats would just educate and keep it simple, “actual understanding” of Medicare would sell it. We are a busy people. Medicare, how it works and what it costs, over and over. Repeating a fact cuts thru miss info.

    I’m an old conservative from Texas. After a year of watching, listening, and learning, even I am starting to get it.

    I'm inclined to go with Mr. Potter here. The problem with trying to seek healthcare as non-profit service (rather than a market with each participant seeking the fattest revenue stream for himself) that we idealists want (and believe is best system) is that we have a Congress which involves campaign finance as we now have it. If we could get public campaign finance, and allow a Congressperson to see citizens' interests as important as a lobbyist's, then we could go for the big reward. Until then, let us try to get something "get-able", i.e. something that doesn't upset the industries which lobby Congress most vigorously (insurance and pharma being two of the largest).

    It was the May 22, 2009 episode of the Journal that made the case for single payer health insurance so glaringly clear. Dr. David Himmelstein and Dr. Sidney Wolfe's explanations and arguments were informed and compelling. Coupled with the footage of the march on Washington, calling for single payer, the show was devastating. It was then that I realized that a government run, single payer health insurance system was the only thing that would get us out of this mess, and I also knew then, that it would not happen. Turns out the Obama presidency is going to be the one that really pushes me, and others like me, out of the political system for good. If he can't stand up to big business and lobbyists, with all the support he had at the start of his presidency, and a super majority in congress, then there really IS no hope for this nation. We will continue to suffocate in the grip of the corporate elite. It is such a shame.

    I don't know if I think the current plan should pass, or be scrapped. All I know is that a wonderful opportunity for meaningful change in this country was lost, when Obama caved, and reached for so much less than he wanted, and so much less than he promised us. I can't even think about it without shedding a few tears.

    Thank you for your good work. It sustains me. Truly.

    I am a "bread winner" for a family of four. For the past 5 years more than half my income has gone to health care (we are healthy - no one has cancer, etc.). This year I dropped my own insurance. Part of my anger comes from the feeling that my opinion counts for nothing in this debate.

    What encourages me, as Dr. Angell noted, is the system is coming apart at the seams. I can only hope that civil disobedience is right around the corner. If a mandate to purchase for-profit insurance passes, get my cell ready. Hell will freeze over before a "free" government forces me to buy private health care or I pay a fine to said government.

    Perhaps I am missing something, but I've yet to hear why mandating a purchase from a private corporation is remotely constitutional.

    Lastly and with all respect to Mr. Potter, please do not refer to me or anyone else as a "consumer". I am a human being and a citizen!

    I think that the biggest problem with the health care overhaul is its complexity. Just like with the Clinton plan of the ‘90’s, most people don’t understand it, which allows the Medical Industrial Complex and its conservative supporters to misinform and confuse the public about the details.

    Here’s a much more basic reform plan:
    • Let everyone who wants to either buy into Medicare or the same plan that federal workers (including members of Congress) enjoy.
    • I think it’s the mandatory aspect of the proposals now before Congress (with too little subsidy and no public plan) that has a lot of people scared. Therefore, make the plan voluntary, with steep costs to those who wait until they’re older or get sick before joining. So, if you join this program (or have private insurance) your entire adult life, you’re guaranteed the lowest rate through age 65 when traditional Medicare kicks in. But, for every year that you are uninsured, the cost will go up so that you end up paying the same total amount as the lifelong group.
    • Should you wait until you’re really sick to get insurance, your deductible will be huge, depending on your age. If you then have to sell your house or car, deplete your retirement savings or declare bankruptcy - too bad. Those who were responsible should not have to subsidize you.
    • Subsidies would be available for those who can’t afford the premiums, to be paid for by a tax on benefits only for those earning more than $250,000 (this amount would be indexed for inflation) and a special millionaire’s tax. Also, businesses with over 50 employees would pay a fee, which would be canceled if they provided insurance benefits.
    • Small businesses could buy into these programs. Larger companies would also, but at rates comparable to what they pay for private plans (so there won’t be a mass exodus from private to public insurance).

    And that’s it. Nobody would have to change the insurance that they currently have and nobody really has to buy into any plan, though they would be wise to do so. All the other proposals would be left for later. Otherwise, it gets too bloated and way over the heads of most voters.

    Republicans will still holler and scream, so this would have to be passed in the Senate by reconciliation (51 votes).

    We must distinguish!
    I agree with your guest, Dr. Angell. We would make a mistake with the implementation of this present plan. But we are missing a very important distinction.
    We must clarify our thinking and differentiate between the freedom and rights of the health insurance companies and our national interest in wanting to provide health care for all Americans. These are two very different issues.
    The health insurance companies operate a very successful business. These companies are meeting their obligations and taking excellent care of the interest of their share holders. We should all be as successful as they are. We should afford them the same freedoms as we do to any successful business in our country. Our government may minimally regulate them to the same degree we regulate other industries. (auto, air travel, iron production, etc.). They should not be forced to insure all Americans. They should not be forced to accept clients with pre-existing conditions and they should be allowed to pay their executives whatever they feel to be appropriate. This is their company and the primary goal of these companies is to make money for their investors and they are totally successful at doing exactly that. They could be found legally negligent if they did not safeguard the interest of their share- holders. Very recently, we were made aware of the number of large companies that were completely reckless about their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders.

    The confusion is that we Americans want to provide available health care all Americans. Health care, not health insurance! And we can! It is not the responsibility of the insurance industry to insure all Americans. We already have in place a very successful, efficient, well functioning government financed health care system. This system is called MEDICARE. As a senior American, I have been fortunate to have Medicare and I am completely satisfied with the medical care that I have been afforded through Medicare. So, if we truly want to guarantee all Americans health care, we should establish our own healthcare system and provide our fellow Americans an opportunity to make use of this health care system. We should offer Medicare to all Americans. Arguments about the trillion dollar cost and budgets constraints are confusing and used to politicize the discussion. What Americans can understand and can relate to is “what would be the out of pocket expenses” for each American. If they are paying $14,000 for family health insurance, would their out of pocket expenses be the same or less? Would the health care system provide reasonable and better coverage then their present plan? I know that the answer to both the questions would be definitively yes! Funding for this system would be through similar monthly payments by all insured by this program. Amount of payment would be determined by the use of a sliding scale according to each person’s income and a ceiling or cap would also be established. Americans who could not afford payments would not be required to contribute. Eventually, we could do away with Medicaid and Veteran Services People would have an option and would be free to choose this program or stay with the insurance plan of their choice. The resourceful insurance industry can creatively decide how they want to respond to our extended Medicare plan. For instance, they can develop “Cadillac Plans” offering concierge doctor services, or their own private hospitals. They could establish the own pool of practitioners who would service only those insured by their policy.

    Subsidize health care not insurance companies. We need a graph showing profit under (government-run) health care and (private-for profit) insurance companies. I think it would show 5% vs. 20-30%. We also need to be sure Medicare is solvent and let the people KNOW it is solvent! We need to be sure the tax cuts on the wealthiest ($250,000 or more) expire. I have heard that they may be extended!! Please find a valid graph showing the profit margin under Medicare and private insurance.

    If you cannot afford commercial insurance then you should be able to be covered by medicare. If at another time you can afford or get health care from an employer then medicare drops. What is the big deal? A bunch of old stingy men/women saying they talk for the people? Oh right the Corporate people...NOT me or you? These people have health insurance that we the people thru taxes pay for them? Why then can't they understand that some people just cannot afford commercial insurance??? These people that so called talk for us are just waiting for their cash hand outs...lets remove everyone from the senate and congress and put people in there that really want to make a difference...of for and by the people...not corporations...oh well. I guess we live in Nazi Germany...even they care about people ( now ) more than these money mongers in Washington. I'd like to know for whom these people are speaking for? Not me..I've been unemployed now for going on 2 yrs and cannot afford to purchase insurance on unemployment. My company has filed for bankruptcy, and no longer offers me Cobra.
    $Iit or get off the pot! These good old boys who have been in D.C. for more than 2 terms should get out!! As they never did anything good for anyone during their terms other than lining their pockets with corporate monies.
    The people of this country who think ... need to get up and start yelling very loud. Quit wasting tax pay money and do the right thing....unfortunate thing is they don't know what that is.
    Give those who cannot afford health care...the minimum health care....Medicare!!! One last thing...This is NOT the president's Health Care package..it's the dimwits in Congress and the senate! I'm sure if he were doing the right thing...he would have done better then these rotten stingy no goods in congress and the senate.

    No public option, then no support from me. I am waiting patiently for our President to something in this corporate environment that isn't in favor of Wall Street Profiteers. Why should we give the insurance companies more power than they already have?

    A few responders mention how the public option would fix all our woes. You guys must not read all the comments or that delusion would have been busted long ago.

    Even if the dreaded communist 'public option' went through it would not have helped. Have you ever noticed the politicians never talked numbers they just talked in generalities? Like we are going to insure tens of millions of uninsured citizens...but they failed to give the costs the uninsured people must pay? It is the same with the public option. Just a pipe dream.

    For instance lets say they took all the profit out of the low end Blue Cross $15,000 a year annual premium plan for me and my wife. So with a non profit - public option the annual premium may come down to $13,000 or $12,000 or $10,000...So What! We still can't afford it with all the profit taken out!

    And as healthcare cost continue to skyrocket the public option would just skyrocket as well to keep up with healthcare inflation.

    Get the 'public option' out of your vocab. It is garbage and wont fix healthcare.

    Learn to say the words 'socialized healthcare'...that is the only fix for America.

    If you don't know what to ask for, what chance do you have of ever getting it?

    Is the glass half full or half empty with ObamaCare?

    It is half full...with poison!

    Posted by: Natalie Rosen: "I am 61 years old. I was a liberal in the heady days of the late 1960's. I have been waiting for an Obama presidency or one like it ALL my adult life. It's not fair to me. "A Democrat who really is on the side of the people despite the impossibility to govern a country that is so huge and SO difficult to get agreement and majorities together!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not fair to you Natalie dear?

    Well, better toughen up, for life in America is going to get a lot tougher on you than some broken, hippy fantasy dream.

    Positive change could only (theoretically) come about through a complete exchange of the corrupt gov currently in power...and I mean a 100% up and down change.

    Even if you only exchanged 75%, the remaining 25% would stir up so much hatred and lies that the public would go against the do-gooders. Remember the 'death panels' for an example?

    But do you think that it is reasonable to find replacements for ALL the lying rhetoricians with people that are not going to be influenced by the lobbyists bribes?

    You have to realize Natalie, that ANYONE that aspires to go into politics is power hungry and has a sick desire to control others. They do not do it for public service and to help others. That is the cover excuse for satisfying their own greedy egos.

    Let's look at brain dead Kennedy for instance. He is all gung-ho with renewable wind power, but when it comes to walking the walk, he kills the renewables plan because he doesn't want to have to look at those eyesores.

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    You remember when senile McCain as running for prez? He was talking the individual mandate to force people to buy health insurance as part of his plan. It was not just Obama's idea. These guys were even trying to pass law to jail those that refuse to buy the insurance companies bloated healthcare plans.

    So Dem or Rep, they are nothing lying, corrupt thieves...all cut from the same cloth.

    I'd suggest you and others that are living a life stuck in wishful thinking and dreamland to keep up with what is really going on. Here are a few sources for your perusal. In this day and age, one can't afford to be uninformed as the politicians are dismantling America.

    Here are some news sites for keeping track with what is going on...

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    Thanks for such high minded and intelligent discussion.

    Most all other advanced nations spend one-half the money per person and cover most every person with considerably better results. Our great country deserves no less. In fact, with less, we will loose our international competitiveness and become considerably less great.

    Citizens, write your congressman and your senator each month, "We need Medicare for all". Such a tactic should do the job, and we don't even have to take to the streets as we used to in our youth for civil rights and to get out of Vietnam.

    Good luck, fellow citizen!

    The Republicans claim that this bill will increase costs for seniors and then ultimately destroy Medicare. With this mandate, is this possible? I wonder what Angell and Potter think about this claim.

    Bill Moyers,

    Your attempts at an evenhanded presentation between Wendell Potter and Dr. Marcia Angell have helped me realize we owe it to ourselves to act. Because we are reaching a crisis point, let us make whatever incremental progress we can. We can improve the percentage of covered individuals and families with the bill passed by the Senate. Let us take this negotiated step between the two houses.

    We will have a new Congress next year. At that point we can then begin to take another step in this challenging process.

    Steve Kilmer in California

    The present health care bill is a monstrosity as Dr. Marcia Angell explained. Wendell Potter is obviously merely a shill for the insurance industry he worked for. Health care is a right, and one should no more have to pay for it than one should have to pay a poll tax in order to vote. There should be no such thing as a doctor bill. There should be no such thing as a hospital bill. There should be no such thing as a pharmacy bill.

    This is an evolving legislation, just as Social Security and Civil Rights were. This is our foot in the door to a more just society. DON’T shake our resolve now by the distractions of ignorance. Pass it! Way to go Wendell!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu9uRaPBKK4

    Dr. Angell and Robert Reich are correct. We need to take the lead from European democracies that have produced health care systems that are universal and fair. It worries me that President Obama promised hope of change but on health care and finance reform he appears to be caving to politics as usual and large corporate interests much like Clinton did. This will create a deep seated cynicism among young people. He needs to scrap the current Senate version and come back with whatever it takes to get a single payer system in place. The U.S. should look a lot more like Europe at the end of his term than it does now. We need the same spirit in finance reform. The market does not work and in health care and the rich keep getting richer and the middle class and poor keep getting poorer. He should have appointed Reich, Angell, and Stiglitz and others of their POV to his cabinet from the get go. Now it looks like compromise chaos.

    I think the watered-down, much modified current health care proposal is a joke. I agree that a single-payer system is the best option, but I don't see how we can ever get past the "payoffs" by the rich insurance companies of our congressmen and women.

    I agree with some of the points that your first guest raised but overall I felt Dr. Angell's assessment of the entire system was correct.
    The insurance companies and hospitals need an overhall. The hospitals short change nurses to make a profit and the insurance companies short change doctors for profit leaving the quality of healthcare and patients to suffer. Unlike what your first guest stated, doctors have no input into what their reimbursement is from insurance companies for procedures and office visits. Insurance companies have used mandated medicare reimbursement costs as a guide to pay physicians.
    Politicians have made healthcare into big business and it will never be what it once was. One will only know where healthcare has gone, until that person becomes a victim of the system.
    In the meantime, the executives of hospital systems and insurance companies are dancing all the way to the bank with our goverments permission.
    Passing the bill is a mistake because we are not correcting the ills of the system as it stands today.

    Our only real hope is the Public Option. It was a relief to hear someone like Dr. Angell state this unequivocally. I felt very disappointed in Obama when he caved on this vital issue. And now it seems as if he is trying to sabotage the efforts made to resurrect it. I think we are much better off if any bill lacking the public option is voted down as inadequate, because if it gets voted in, that will make it seem as if we approve of it.

    Here is a link to a worksheet that regular people can use to compare their current costs against costs in a single-payer system as described in h.r. 676: http://unionsforsinglepayer.org/files/other/2010-03/Modified_Cost_Sheet-12-13-09.doc.

    The worksheet is the first and only document I've seen which clearly presents the bottom line for regular people. Last summer I figured out that I could use my own paystub to compare my insurance premiums and Medicare deductions with an increased Medicare rate of 4.75% that would cover everything (no deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance, or lifetime limits) and I was shocked by how simple it could be. I could not understand why Obama would not ask Americans to examine their paystubs and perform a few basic calculations to see for ourselves what we're dealing with now versus what can happen under genuine health reform.

    In contrast, I had to use the "Subsidy Calculator" over at the Kaiser Foundation site to decipher the complex verbage of the House & Senate bills in order to estimate a premium payment in the open market: http://healthreform.kff.org/SubsidyCalculator.aspx. I was shocked to learn that my estimated price for a premium AFTER REFORM would be more than twice the cost of my car payment.

    Message to the Single-Payer Movement: this simple math is your killer application. Ask Americans to perform arithmetic using their own payroll data. Yes, the challenge here is the ability of Americans to do math. But the worksheet is easy to understand. Everything else in the healthcare debate is a shell game designed to spin you right round, where she lands nobody knows. Do the math.


    To whom it may concern,

    It is hard to tell if the "glass" is half full or half empty.
    So far; it seems our government is bought and paid for by the Pill Corporations and the Insurance companies.
    President Obama is fiddling will Rome burns.
    Is it a cover up to continue the Bush administrations agenda?
    There are so many questions and so few answers.

    I was pleased to catch a repeat of your Friday, March 5th broadcast. It was doubly rewarding to hear Dr. Angell speak specifically to "mandates that people buy these companies’ products for whatever they charge." This element of control by the insurance companies will cripple many US citizens. Furthermore, to hear her speak of fines that would be incurred upon members of our citizenry for not maintaining a health care option is egregious. I say we start from scratch, and dismantle the profit motive that buoys health-care, and seek a Universal care that benefits US citizenry, not bottom-line margins for key stakeholders/share holders.

    We do not need to scrap the plan but we do need to add a public option.

    I highly value Dr. Angell's opinion.
    I believe, after she was editor of NEJM, I remember her stating that too many college research doctors had monetary ties to big Pharma. I rarely, if ever, remember anyone from organized allopathic medicine coming out with an indictment of the cozy relationship between the mega-billions of the pharmaceutical industry and the doctors who just might validate their proposed new drugs. Therefore, I think that Dr. Angell is right to say she thinks the present bill is a bad bill and should be abandoned and the fight for healthcare reform put off until a bill that isn't a handmaiden of the healthcare insurance industry is, hopefully, proposed, debated and passed. Incidentally,
    my Cobra healthcare insurance ran out 16 months after I retired at 62. I then applied for a high deductible catastrophic health insurance plan and was turned down because the last doctor I saw before my Cobra lapsed, told me I should start taking Lipitor because I had high cholesterol and I told him I thought the whole issue of cholesterol was a scam and I wasn't going to take Lipitor. I now set aside the amount I was paying for my Cobra every month until I turn 65 in August of next year and go on Medicare.

    Hi Bill,

    With all these comments from your viewers, one wonders what they can actually do about the various horrific situations that you highlight during your programs.

    I noticed that there is a New Rules Project, in partnership with the Huffington Post's “Move Your Money” campaign, for a Community Banking Initiative to get out the word that banking locally can put the power back in the hands of individuals and communities, rather than Wall Street's CEOs.

    At least they are suggesting something concrete for people to do, which I think you should always ask your guests. You should even ask Michael Moore for some good ideas. You, Bill Mayer and Michael Moore could probably suggest how we can start withholding our money from companies that are gouging us or ruining the planet.

    When Angela Braly, the CEO of WellPoint, the parent company of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, says: ‘We continue to get more efficient as a company and as a business, and we are working hard to reduce health care costs and improve access to high quality affordable health care. So it is important, to be a business that sustains, that we have an appropriate profit.’ she really means that she wants more profit for herself.
    If Angela Braly really wants to reduce the cost of business then she should start reducing her on own $9M salary. How is it possible for people to believe her hypocrisy?

    It is obvious that the CEOs of the Health Care System are corrupt and greedy. But so are the executives of tobacco companies, oil & gas companies, banks, cell phone companies, etc. etc. They all want to rip us off. Even cell phone companies charge 1000% more than it costs them for texting so they can pay themselves big bonuses too.

    The government should take over the following services completely:

    Public Defence
    Public Education
    Public Health
    Public Justice
    Public Transportation
    Public Parks
    I was also thinking of Public Banking, if the Bankers don’t smarten up.

    As far as I am concerned, people like Angela Braly create corruption and greed. Labelling her a capitalist, a female, a Methodist, a republican, or a CEO has nothing to do with whether or not she is a good or evil person. When I see it, I know what it is. Even the best PR spin can’t hide it.

    As, always an excellent discussion. My concern centers on whether we are going to have the physician work force to meet the needs of our citizens. I recently left my primary care office after only six years. With the economic down turn, a proposed pay cut from Medicare, outstanding student loans and 40 K in uncompensated care; it was simply unsustainable. I am the 4th doctor to leave in as many years. A recent CNN poll found nearly ½ of primary care doctors had considered leaving medicine. An article in the Lancet suggested physician burn out is driven by the struggles of working in a broken and unjust system of health care. In the future, I would like to see an open dialogue with physicians about some of these issues.

    Add my voice to those supporting the point of view of Dr. Angell.

    Given such opposing views on this week's program, I can't help but think of the common ground. We need to get the profit out of health care delivery.

    Where is the discussion about not-for-profits? Kaiser, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts? Perhaps legislation could phase out the for-profit health care, (was it Dr. Angell who suggested this on an earlier program?), so that we could move towards a system similar to Germany, with employer sponsored insurance, provided by non-profit insurance companies.

    I would like to pass this bill, if only as a starting point from which to improve.

    On a personal note, in December, I needed to look for insurance for myself, a cancer survivor. How nice it was not to answer questions about previous hospitalizations, etc.! Just send in the check! Yeah for the Mass. Healthcare Reform. It's time for this country to get out from under this heavy burden imposed by the insurance companies.

    I'm for the bill. But let's work on the future.

    Gosh, I wish either of my US Senators or my congressional representative would ask me that question! Ha-ha! :)

    My family is one of the ones that is currently falling through the cracks, being shoved out of health-care by Anthem Blue Cross in CA. We have individual coverage, and intentionally chose catastrophic-only 15 years ago, because my husband and I felt strongly that it was an essential part of responsible consumerism for us to be able to support those health-care providers/companies with the best service at the best price. Ha-ha again! And the last laugh's on Anthem.

    We sat by helplessly during the decade 2000-2009 while our premiums soared 397% (not a typo) while what little coverage we DID have was taken away. Then, in late Nov. 2009, we were slapped with a 37% premium increase (on top of the 397%) that went into effect Jan. 1, 2010. The current brouhaha over Anthem's "threat" to raise premiums up to 39% on its individual policyholders is a big, fat joke, folks, because they've ALREADY raised our rates so much that an additional 39% is meaningless.

    The current bill will make my family's situation even worse, unless there is an affordable public option in the mix which I will gladly be the first American to sign up for. We cannot afford the premiums we are paying now. They are coming out of our retirement funds and our daughter's college fund. We are, like a couple of shmucks, waiting for real health-care reform to get passed and provide us with some relief. Ha-ha again!

    We will likely be forced to drop our coverage this year and try to sign up for our local public health clinic. Seriously. I don't know what else to do. We can't generate any morte income than we already are generating, and even if we could in this horrid economy, I'm sure the insurance companies would be right behind our new customers making sure we turn any additional revenues over to them. Seems this is what they did to us all during the last decade.

    Let's start all over again and get a bill that includes single-payer in the discussion, since that is truly the only way our society can provide health care for all in a way that's affordable. Everyone in, no one out. For those who want to buy private insurance on top of that, let them! No problemo!

    I strongly respect Wendell Potter, and consider his change of conscience to be divinely inspired. However, on this point I will differ with him. Dr. Angell is spot-on. Her courage is phenomenal.

    I would like agree with Mr. Potter's assessment that the current health bill - flaws and all - is better than no health care bill at all. I would like to believe that future congressmen would improve upon such a bill if it were to become a law. However, history suggests that that is not the case. Congressmen are opportunists. They respond only when their political capital relies upon it. As a result of this fact, future congressmen will likely gut any health care law to meet their ideological and political needs. A quick look at the sorry state of Social Security and what conservatives have done to impair it, for instance, supports my assertion.

    Dr. Angell's assessment is spot on. By losing the battle now, the issue will remain on the forefront and the liklihood that a better bill will evolve become possible again. The "Just Say No" Republican legislators will then be left to explain why they blocked any legislation and left millions of Americans exposed. Hopefully the president - whether he be Obama or someone else - will be emboldened to make a stand and truly fight for what is best for all Americans. Is this path a shameless measure that places politics over people? Yes, it is, and I rationalize it by stating the obvious: such is already the case.

    I applaud Mr. Potter's practical approach, but America does not need a practical approach to this issue. They need a meaningful, long term solution. It seems that we need to let a broken system reach a toxic level of repugnance before people really tire of it and demand the reform they need (i.e. a single payer option). At the expense of many people's lives, only Dr. Angell's approach will make this possible. It's unfortunate that we will have to venture down that path in order to make possible the system we so desperately need.

    Thank you Bill for an excellent show regarding health care reform. I agree with Dr. Angell that single payer (Medicare for all) is the best proposal for health care reform. The only thing that I would change about HR 676 is the proposed financing of the bill. I think that the Medicare tax should not be increased to 4.75% for both the employer and employees. I would rather see it financed by the weathiest families in America. A national wealth tax based on total net worth for the top say 20% would only slightly narrow the gap between the poorest and wealthiest Americans. Without the burden of providing health insurance for employees, businesses would be able to hire more people and lower the unemployment rate. Also, those close to retirement may decide to retire without having to worry about health insurance. This too would help reduce unemployment as employers would need to replace workers who retire

    ALL of the western democracies - with the lone exception of the United States - long ago recognized that a wealthy society should under no circumstances allow even its humblest citizen to shrivel and die for lack of health care. Via one government-overseen scheme or another, they have instituted frameworks to provide everyone with basic coverage, and have done so at a cost far below that in the US. The plans in France, the UK, Germany, Canada and a number of other countries have operated successfully for decades, but for some reason their experience is deemed irrelevant to the current discussion here. (Except for the endless stream of lies and misrepresentations about those systems.)
    President Obama has not been crafty enough. Had he begun with a single-payer system to cover every American citizen, the forces of "Nay, nay" would have been back on their heels and surely would have been forced to accept something ultimately of benefit to the nation. By seeking to be too accomodating, he has played into the hands of the opposition.
    To meet the cynics on their own turf, the President could have said something like this: "I want every American to have access to decent health care without some demeaning means-test process. Toward that end, I am backing legislation which will provide health care as a right for every child in this country under the age of eighteen, effective January 1, 2012."
    (Even the coldest-hearted Republican would be hard-pressed to rail against that- although some certainly would.)
    "Further, effective on that date, any family or individual who wishes may join Medicare. Those between 18 years of age and the current eligibility age for Medicare will be charged for this service at rates 80% of those charged by insurance companies for persons in their locality and age group; such fees to be reviewed annually to reflect changing conditions and to ensure a competitive marketplace."
    The absence of a coherent plan to provide coverage to all is costing the nation dearly in term of both the health of its citizens and its national treasure.

    I agree with Dr. Angell. You get the same bad stew going that was had with bailing out Wall Street, only this time we're investing billions into the same system that screwed us, partly because they screwed us so hard. If the banks just paid the bailout to the execs as bonuses when it looked as if they were going broke, it should scare the heck out of anyone to imagine what the top insurance companies are going to do if they get govenment backing.

    I vote for "Medicare for All".
    That's the only way to meat all the president's health care goals, period.

    It's time for the American people to take back our government. Increase the number of dependents on your payroll withholding to slow the financing of what is arguably the most ineffective federal government in US history. Perhaps that is a message Congress will understand. We want comprehensive, affordable national health care NOW.

    Sorry for the duplicate, the site was not functioning properly.
    Loretta

    I'm sorry for posting the same comments multiple times yesterday; the computer was jamming up and I assumed the message had been "eaten" by the computer system. My apologies to wasting the time of other readers and to assuming the worst of the "HAL 9000" website.


    One commonly hears that uninsured individuals relying on emergency rooms are costing other families an extra $1,000/yr. Public speakers initially using this number claimed to have based it on a Families USA report that built off an earlier Kaiser Family Foundation report (and later summarized in HEALTH AFFAIRS) by Hadley and Holahan (at the Urban Institute). The Hadley/Holahan report seemed a sincere effort to account for "uncompensated care," and arrived at a static figure of around $350 million/yr. (as measured several years ago), or ~$350/yr. for every taxpayer. The Families USA report (while not exactly "advocay research") then multiplied this figure to account for family size, even though children usually don't work and not all spouses are employed. This is sort of an 8th grade complaint, but the Families USA report probably should have used something like a per capita (and not per taxpayer) figure before adjusting for family size; the $1,000/yr./family figure appears to be significantly overstated. While everyone (myself included) is fallible, it does not appear that there has been much verification of numbers and statements used in these debates.

    The hospital data used by Hadley/Holahan apparently attributes uncompensated figures primarily to Medicare underpayments and such, not people walking into emergency rooms for routine care; Hadley and Holhan assume that the hospitals accounting should be reclassified to reconcile with other data sources. Governemnt MEPS survey data is probably the most reliable around (given current health information systems), but it's not entirely clear if the process fully accounts for
    possibly inflated prices paid by the uninsured with little negotiating power (i.e., they're paying the "newsstand" or business class price). MEPS surveys are contracted out, and dependent on patients being familiar with their insurance information (or have an insurance booklet to provide to the survey worker) so that patients can detect overcharges (above rates negotiated by insurance companies) after-the-fact and then willingly admit their mistakes to the survey taker. The idea of "uncompensated care" also rests on Pareto efficiency, which, as the economics writer Paul Ormerod observes, is like not putting anyone in a worse off position -- even Hitler
    (Ormerod is British and grew up in the wake of WWII).

    The point of this is that possibly inflated figures may have helped turn health discussions into welfare debates rather than looking at how to contain cost-push/demand-pull inflation factors. Small-business medical practices, unions, etc., are vocal constituencies of both parties, and perhaps shifting the public debate made sense over the short-term (politician are probably expert at crafting sales messages), but speaking in terms of welfare and charity as elections grow nearer potentially risks alienating popular support. People who are paying the newsstand price may utilize fewer magazines, but, in a sense, they're subsidizing subscription readers. If a public option is seen as encouraging the private plans to dump patients, it's unclear why supposedly free emergency care hasn't already done so, if there really are all these vast numbers of people lining up for treatment the way they did a year ago for free lunches at Denny's.

    I would support the bill, if the public option were included. I currently have health insurance, paid for by my employer, but I am in favor of single-payer. I think health care for all is the right thing to do, the moral thing to do, the American thing to do. If we call ourselves a Christian nation, then why don't we act like it? I think having the public option is a step in the right direction, and then single-payer could come about in the future, once it's seen how the public option works. I am currently very disappointed with the President and Congress for not fighting for what they know is the right thing to do.

    Bill, I wish you a happy retirement but I am very sad that the show will be ending. I think your show is one of the most important on television today. Perhaps you would consider allowing someone else to continue with it? I think the issues you discuss are far too important to not be aired.

    The current bill should not be supported. President Obama if he wants to be re-elected will change course and go single payer. Why you ask?

    As was stated on the show today by Mr. Potter health care - insurance is a product of Wall Street. Wall Street is behind NAFTA, China MFN, etc., and these policies have caused the loss of 7.057 million manufacturing jobs since 1980. The wage income lost for these production jobs was over 252 billion dollars. Taxes and Health care benefits were also lost, and this is only manufacturing. Offshoring is hitting telemarketing, help desk, customer service, administrative, etc., and adding that all up it probably totals a trillion in lost income plus benefits.

    The Investment Banks took down the economy, but they had been systematically waging a war on the union movement since Reagan went after the Air Traffic Controllers. However, as this all went down over the last thirty years the health care - insurance industry sat back and watched their customer base be decimated and all they did was raise prices and premiums, when they could have used their collective power to put an end to the corrupt free trade agreements our country has entered into for private profit at public expense.

    Also, we spend over 7000 per person per year on health care and we only live 4 years longer than the Chinese that spend $200 annually. That's almost more comedic than the U.S. spending 3 trillion on Iraq and Afghanistan, while the 9/11 terrorists spent maybe 10 million on their caper. They and the world have got to be laughing at us the taxpayers of the U.S. and calling us a bunch of dumb chumps!

    Letter I mailed to Congress and our President in regards to Health Reform,


    Dear President Obama and Congress of the United/Divided States of America,

    Once again, our leaders in Government have compromised too much. Without a Public Option, there is No Competition for the Insurance Companies. It is essential to have a more balanced menu of Government and the "Private Powerful Insurance Giants". They will only prosper further with a mandated Client Base and Government Subsidies. It is a serious mistake to continue to solely base Health Care on the "Capitalistic Business Model". Profits only create Big Business not true "Health Care". We are very disappointed that we don't have the "Single Payer System" and now no Public Option. Most of us still don't understand this entire Complex Bill. I'd strongly suggest to vote incrementally on Key Segments of the bill, so that we are all more clear and informed each step of the way.

    Ultimately, Preventative Health begins with a Healthy Planet. We are deeply frustrated and outraged with allocating more funds towards "Dirty Fossil Fuels and Lethal Toxic Uranium development. We haven't even dealt with millions of gallons of the deadly Toxic waste that is leaching into ground water and into our Bio-Rich Water System. It is extremely irresponsible to put our Lives and Health at RISK especially when we have a tremendous source of knowledge and evidence of where this path takes us. This is true "Terrorism", at it's worse.

    Perhaps, our leaders can take a field trip here in our own country and witness directly how our One and Only Planet of Life is being turned into "Waste Land" all for the sake of "Subsidized" Short Sighted Energy Demands and PROFITS. Watching the DVD "HOME" by Yann Arthus-Bertrand will also give you a broader view of how this Industrial Complex Corporate Model is destroying the entire planet.

    We suggest you start with the Hanford Nuclear Waste dump, and then put yourself in the midst of what was Once Upon a Time diverse complex Mountains, Oceans and other Ecosystems that are now bulldozed, scraped, gouged, shattered and turned into "dead zones," that destroys permanently the home of many life forms.

    Simply stated, "Toxins and Poisons equal Death and Bankruptcy".

    Please look at the Entire Costs, The Entire Risks, of Energy Choice that affects All Health or "Life" on this living Planet.
    And Take a Moment to ask,

    "Does this Support Life, Health or Put Life at further Risk? And What are the True Costs of our Choices?

    Please direct Corporate dollars first and then wisely direct our Hard Earned Dollars urgently towards Cleaning up the Toxins and Weaning ourselves off Dirty Fossil Fuels towards Clean, Safe, and Renewable Energy, if we are to Survive into the 21st Century.

    We do have Healthy Solutions ready to be launced. We have so much Potential to make "Wise Decisions", but We only have a very narrow Window to make "Appropriate Transition". The Urgency of Now is critical during this very dynamic "Paradigm Shift".

    Thank You for listening and hopefully Speaking for the "Common Good" of All Life on this intricately Connected Planet of Life.

    We as People support Pro Life, Pro Wise Choice, we have been patiently waiting for our Leaders to Stand Firm to make "Appropriate Change". Those of us who value "Life over Money" are your support system.

    Frustrated yet marginally Hopeful,
    We are informed and very concerned.

    Loretta Huston

    Health care insurance companies should never have been for-profit---Why can't we mandate that the only health insurance we can buy come from not-for-profit companies? Is that just too easy a solution? Good-bye stock-holders and all the others who have no business profiting from health care...lobbyists and all!

    I agree with Wendell Potter. He knows what he is talking about. So does the good doctor from Harvard. She is brilliant BUT if we do what she says we lose the health bill AND the presidency plus the Congress. I am 61
    I am 61 years old. I was a liberal in the heady days of the late 1960's. I have been waiting for an Obama presidency or one like it ALL my adult life. It's not fair to me. To all those of the anti-Vietnam war generation. We are on bended knee NOT to be catapulted yet again into Republican, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II years. Please we/I simply cannot do that again. I will kill myself. We need to pass something and it will help as the doctor admitted in certain areas. Later, maybe we can reform. But please please please no more Republican stranglehold on our country until AFTER I die. Give me twenty more years give or take a few of an advanced western nation with someone smart in power -- A Democrat who really is on the side of the people despite the impossibility to govern a country that is so huge and SO difficult to get agreement and majorities together!

    I agree with Dr. Angell. The proposed sell-out to the insurance companies, AKA "Heath Care Reform" will not cure the ills of a for-profit and for-profit only medical system in the U.S. The goal of a health care system should be to provide universal health care to all citizens, NOT provide profits to any industry or business.

    All of us remember certain chilling historical turning points during our lifetimes; in mine, the Kennedy assasination (I was in 9th grade), the Nixon resignation (I was a recent college grad), the Challenger explosion and death of the astronauts (watching T.V. with my co-workers in stunned shock).

    Another event I can remember: when it was announced by the mid-80's Reagan Administration that the U.S. was going to "improve" our health care system, bring in "efficiencies" and "lower costs" with HMO's and other new "systems". How? The formerly non-profit, relatively low cost health insurance companies were going to change to for -profit corporate status. Over night, their boards were awarded with millions in bonuses. It was just the beginning. At that moment, I was a 30 something health care analyst working for a medium sized county in California. We KNEW what this meant. It was like a funeral the next day at the office. The medical director said that it was time to begin closure of the county hospital, as all costs were now going to be controlled by "faceless bureaucrats" in the private sector, and not by the medical establishment, private or public. Costs were going to spiral and care diminish. He was right.

    Public option is the only "cure" for what ails our system, but I don't think we will see this happen in my hopefully long lifetime unless the system collapses.

    Obama's so-called reform will just extend the pain.

    Dr. Angell was great! The first sane discussion I've heard about the current health reform bill.

    Like Dr. Angell, I would rather see President Obama “go down fighting for something coherent and practical that the public could mobilize behind, than go down fighting for this amorphous plan that tries to keep the private insurance industry in place.” And like others who have responded here, “I am for a single payer system.” And like Samuel, I think the “real issue for achieving universal care is for the American people to change their values. The fear of government involvement, the fear of giving your money to "free loader" and other undesirables drives the debate. The inability to distinguish self-interest (Executive compensation at insurance Health insurance industry) as opposed to the national interest.”
    The current bill’s inclusion of mandatory coverage and fines for lack of coverage, either way, equates to increased out-of-pocket costs for the already over-burdened, low-income, unemployed, and Baby Boomers. The current bill should be tossed and the President should immediately go for broke and propose a bill that creates a do-able single payer system that provides real health for ALL Americans.

    A good interview here. I've had similar thoughts since the beginning of the health care reform. Both insurance and health care have to be either completely deregulated or completely regulated. The middle road of cherry picking corrupt regulations is the worst one. I'm sure all parties involved will reject complete deregulation... that leaves us with only one choice - single payer funded by taxes or strictly regulated non-profit insurance.

    Given that, the current bill is a complete failure.

    A good interview here. I've had similar thoughts since the beginning of the health care reform. Both insurance and health care have to be either completely deregulated or completely regulated. The middle road of cherry picking corrupt regulations is the worst one. I'm sure all parties involved will reject complete deregulation... that leaves us with only one choice - single payer funded by taxes or strictly regulated non-profit insurance.

    Given that, the current bill is a complete failure.

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies!" If you agree please make a difference by placing your vote here: http://pol.moveon.org/block/?r_by=-17594052-tHPkRLx&rc=mailto

    My best friend is 61 years old and has multiple health problems. Anthem Blue Cross sent her a letter stating her insurance would go up by 39%. She already pays $800.00 per month on her insurance premiums and spent over $30,000 last year out of pocket on her healthcare costs. She is about to go into bankrutpcy because she is on a fixed income. We need Medicare for all. People need to know when they get sick they can be treated and not loose everything they own in the process.

    Thank you again for your informative forums on Health Care. One consistent “bi-partisan agreement” aspect of the confusing on-going political rhetoric for a proposed final Health Care legislation, to me, is reprehensible and biased against almost-poverty level seniors, individuals, and homeless persons who don’t qualify for “Social Security” medical benefits.

    “Single-payer” is somehow redefined as a proposed mandate that all citizens must purchase health insurance from the “private” marketplace or be fined/jailed. There is no discussed mandate about: 1) what that insurance must cover; 2) reasonable deductibles/co-pays; 3) mandated times for rules, benefits and rate changes, and 4) allowable costs to all citizens. What proportion of disposable income must we hand over, in addition to food, clothes, electricity, heat, rent, transportation, city, state and federal taxes, etc.? What life-necessities do such citizens have to give up to purchase such “insurance”? There are no discussed amounts of the “fines” to be leveled or the jail terms dished out for citizens who do not or cannot comply. How many years in prison will 1960-70’s “Hell No, I Won’t Go” protesters endure regarding this “mandate”?

    To me, citizens are intentionally kept ignorant to avoid rebellion, until whatever is enacted and foisted on them, with no re-dress.

    There is that un-defined placation that the government will subsidize those who cannot afford insurance. That is where “big government” bureaucracy comes between our health care and us. How many have called or written to state, federal or “Social Security” offices with a simple question, only to be given conflicting advise or reams of photocopy manuscripts that do not answer or that avoid answering that simple question? How many injured veterans are denied entitled coverage, without having to hire lawyers to get their rights? What bureaucrat-hired call-center employee decides and rules on the definitions for subsidization, paper work required to apply, length of time to receive a judgment, and appeals for special circumstances or denials? What higher authority will be mandated to receive and answer referred calls? What are the dollar amounts can citizens expect?

    Give us a national single-payer, defined, comprehensive government health plan. Deduct its costs from every citizen’s paycheck, based on pro-rated income as done with our taxes. Allow no exceptions for alternative plans, unlike current payments to “Social Security”, based on employer non-deduction/non-payment agreement options with State, University, and Federal plans.

    I feel Congress and the President should stop their “smoke and mirrors” tactics to keep citizens ignorant. These are marketplace ploys, similar to advice and recommendations for variable rate mortgages and introductory low interest credit card rates that get us to buy whatever based on “faith” in the future. For many of us, the future is now.

    I am loosing my future voter “faith”. If I live so long, I won’t vote again for a President or Congressperson who will not do what was promised that got my vote. I mean promises to limit Lobbyists and to advocate for universal government run health care. I hope others will rally and vote similarly in November and in 3 years.

    Posted by: Bernie Saks MD "Republicans don't like the single payer public option because they equate it with government running health care"

    ---------------------------------------------------------


    A Rep at the presidential healthcare summit said the "Reps don't what the gov in control of healthcare, they want people in control."

    OK, that is exactly what we have now... PEOPLE IN CONTROL OF HEALTHCARE!

    So...if nothing changes, lying Reps, then nothing changes. (well, not really, we can guarantee that healthcare costs will continue to skyrocket.)

    There is ONLY one solution to the healthcare mess in the US of A. (and the solution does not is not with the drunken with power, corrupt Dems either.)

    The solution is this...We need a SOCIALIZED HEALTHCARE plan for the poor (people making under $150,000 a year) as well as a 'FEE FOR SERVICE' plan for the rich. (current healthcare plan in the US.)

    But the insurance companies that own the politicians wont go for socialized medicine even as an adjunct. Capitalism and greed block social ethics at every turn.

    And if per chance a politicians leans in a direction of social ethics. The lobbyists funded by the rich tell him or her we will back your opponent and take you out of office come next election. But if you play ball we will fund your campaign.

    So human nature what it is, they go where the money flows.

    We already have a socialized education system. We all pay for educating the kids through taxes. And some of us use this system and others don't, but we all pay. The people that don't want to use the public education system go the private education route.

    So it should be with healthcare.

    Most important, put this plan to a NATIONAL VOTE....Let the people decide what they want.

    Oh ... there is one fly in the ointment with my suggestion. The problem is getting a bunch of greedy, lying, power hungry rhetoricians in DC to oversee socialized medicine in a way that is not corrupt and money squandering like Medicare is. As one of my mentors said....'You can't regulate integrity.'

    I favor single-payer national health insurance. Why do the health insurance companies, health care conglomerates and pharmaceutical companies even have a seat at the table in discussions on health care reform? They are the source of the problem. If they want to make obscene profits and collect excessive executive pay, they should be in a different business. Technology would be a good choice for them – computers, hand-held devices, entertainment. When profit comes before the delivery of quality health care, everyone loses. Neither the House nor the Senate bill actually addresses this issue. Forcing everyone to have health insurance will not fix the problem. You will still have excessive costs for drugs, services and health insurance plus this tangled web of a multitude of health insurance companies all offering different benefits at different prices using a different set of providers. It will cost the government billions to oversee such an effort and to provide financial assistance to those who cannot afford health insurance.
    The best solution is single-payer health insurance. Government can negotiate costs with providers and drug companies, government doesn’t advertise, government doesn’t hire lobbyists, government doesn’t offer high executive salaries, government doesn’t turn a profit. With everyone in the country in one big pool, costs would go down and there would be no need to exclude people based on pre-existing conditions and no need for high deductibles. Everyone would be covered and our health insurance premiums would be based on ability to pay. All providers in the U.S. – hospitals, clinics, physicians – would be part of this plan. It would be paid for just as Social Security and Medicare are paid for now – with the employee and employer both contributing a percentage. If a person loses their job, they will still have health insurance. And government does not need to make it complicated like the Senate and House bills now under consideration. It should be as easy as applying for Social Security. All U.S. Citizens would be issued a medical card to use when going to the doctor. No more exclusions, no more deductibles, no more worrying about what is or is not covered.

    I favor single-payer national health insurance. Why do the health insurance companies, health care conglomerates and pharmaceutical companies even have a seat at the table in discussions on health care reform? They are the source of the problem. If they want to make obscene profits and collect excessive executive pay, they should be in a different business. Technology would be a good choice for them – computers, hand-held devices, entertainment. When profit comes before the delivery of quality health care, everyone loses. Neither the House nor the Senate bill actually addresses this issue. Forcing everyone to have health insurance will not fix the problem. You will still have excessive costs for drugs, services and health insurance plus this tangled web of a multitude of health insurance companies all offering different benefits at different prices using a different set of providers. It will cost the government billions to oversee such an effort and to provide financial assistance to those who cannot afford health insurance.
    The best solution is single-payer health insurance. Government can negotiate costs with providers and drug companies, government doesn’t advertise, government doesn’t hire lobbyists, government doesn’t offer high executive salaries, government doesn’t turn a profit. With everyone in the country in one big pool, costs would go down and there would be no need to exclude people based on pre-existing conditions and no need for high deductibles. Everyone would be covered and our health insurance premiums would be based on ability to pay. All providers in the U.S. – hospitals, clinics, physicians – would be part of this plan. It would be paid for just as Social Security and Medicare are paid for now – with the employee and employer both contributing a percentage. If a person loses their job, they will still have health insurance. And government does not need to make it complicated like the Senate and House bills now under consideration. It should be as easy as applying for Social Security. All U.S. Citizens would be issued a medical card to use when going to the doctor. No more exclusions, no more deductibles, no more worrying about what is or is not covered.

    Posted by: David L. Beno "The only way to make health care coverage fair is to have medicare for all. Take health care out of the hands of private for profit insurers. Private insurers want to insure only those that make small or no claims so that there is greater profit. The individuals with pre-existing conditions or advanced age people will be charged astronomical rates. Scrap the bill and start all over. As a side note: I voted for Obama. Revolt against lobyist and special interest influence in congress."

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is fine. Sure mandate socialized healthcare for all...by taxing people 1% to 6% on their income taxes. Or start 1% sales tax or whatever.

    But to mandate the forced buying unaffordable healthcare insurance from the private sector that will only keep increasing in cost into the stratosphere is not realistic Neither was it realistic for the politicians to suggest jail time for those that reuse to buy into their scheme to enrich the insurance companies.

    Go to BCBS.

    http://www.bcbs.com/

    What so they say at the site?

    "Support health reform."

    Would they encourage you to support ObamaCare if it would cut the profits by one cent? They are just waiting to get their meat hooks into all that mandated new biz...just drooling over it. And once they have it...POW every year the premiums skyrocket...a capitalist dream come true. Forced biz you can't lose and no limits on how much you can charge!

    The problem it this. We have the rich trying to regulate the poor, telling the poor how to spend their meager incomes...just wont work. The lying knuckleheads in Washington just don't have a clue.

    Now, don't get rid of the fee for service healthcare we have in the US, keep that for the rich. But add the socialized healthcare as a backup for those that can't afford the rich system that we have in place now.

    But here is the problem with socialized healthcare you can't ever get the bickering politicians to get toter for the benefit of the US citizens. Also, when money is involved, they make a grab to insert pork so they can get reelected and keep rape party going.

    Socialized healthcare would only work if the overseers really wanted it to work and worked for the people instead of ego, corruption and greed.

    I THINK THAT THEY SHOULD SCRAP THE BILL AND I AGREE WITH THE DOCTER FROM HARVARD.( DR.ANGELL )

    There is one version of a public option that was not explored to a great extent in this shouting match over health care and it cuts to the chase of who really matters to the US Congress.
    Its simply this: the only means for congressional and the entire federal workforce to receive any health care is when the people get the exact health coverage the people must pay to Uncle Sam and his "employees" for their bloated coverage that only entertainers and politicians can afford.
    What this situation illustrates is that the house of representatives has ceased to serve it's intended purpose and has become our lords of the manor while being vassels of Wall Street and their arsenal against democracy which is nothing more than bribery.
    This is bibical in the sense that Jesus stated that a slave cannot honor two masters. We the people employ representatives who rather serve Wall Street which believes they are doing God's work. If this is so, would God bless their mess?

    This whole prolonged debate about health care almost literally makes us sick. Fortunately, we are covered by Medicare! The ONLY way to significantly cut costs is to go to some form of single-payer system OR, as in Switzerland but cutting cost less significantly, by tightly regulating insurance companies like utilities. In any case, our health care should NOT be a for-profit industry paying high salaries to executives and dividends to shareholders. What makes us even sicker is the misinformation regarding systems like those in Canada, Britain and France. We have lived in Canada and in France and have often been in England. We have friends in all three countries. They all have complaints about their medical systems, which obviously are not perfect; but the OVERWHELMING majority of citizens in all 3 countries prefer keeping their systems rather than moving in the direction of anything remotely like what we have now or are even looking at in our "reforms." Even Margaret Thatcher (hardly a left-wing radical!) never made any attempt whatever to turn medical care over to for-profit insurance companies.

    As for Canada, one of our Canadian friends noted that they do have lots of people unhappy about long waits for ELECTIVE surgery and therefore there are many middle class, upper middle class and rich people in that situation who prefer to come to the U. S. and pay for surgery here. But they are free to go to ANY doctor and ANY hospital of their choice in Canada and get immediate care when that is required. She pointed out one case of a Canadian woman who outright lied to the American media about having to save her life by coming to get surgery in America at her own expense. That claim was invistigated and proven false. It involved ELECTIVE surgery. Her life was NEVER in danger. Our Canadian friend adds that most Canadians shake their heads and wonder how we Americans can be so blind! WAKE UP, AMERICA! All other developed countries with non-profit systems get better health results for their people at far less cost. May God help us to see the obvious facts and filter out the deliberate misinformation and worse.

    As for Obama's proposals now, we are undecided as to whether it might be worse than nothing at this point. Thank you, Bill Moyers, for getting all this out on your Journal! -- Dave and Carol Butler

    Posted by: J Cuddihy "Wow there you go again Moyers ..... your wrecked another Sunday morning for me. I supported the president with time and $$ but now I must agree with your guest from Harvard. Let this bad bill go down and let the whole system crash and burn and then maybe .... just maybe we can have what they have in Canada (just a couple miles from where I live)or France or England. What we have now is simple theft."

    -------------------------------------------

    ...you left out Cuba.

    Thanks for the great piece on health care, which I just watched. Here is my common sense solution: expand Medicare to age 55 and implement abuse controls. Expand Medicaid as proposed. Let others buy into an exchange, voluntary. No messing with abortion, which is necessary for women's health. Regulate the insurance cos. to stop abuses. What would this cost? How many more would this cover? Do more stories on this issue!

    Posted by: RN from PA :It is definitely disappointing that public option has been eliminated from this bill; however, I believe that this bill must be passed anyway without delay"

    ------------------------------------------------------

    RN, you are deluded twofold.

    #1 about the public option being a lifesaver

    #2 that ObamaCare is going to help citizens when it was designed to only help the rich insurance companies by giving them a captive audience to rape.

    Even if the dreaded communist plotted 'public option' went through it would not have helped.

    Have you ever noticed the politicians never talked numbers they just talked in generalities? Like we are going to insure tens of millions of uninsured citizens...but they failed to give the costs the uninsured people must pay?

    For instance, lets say they took ALL the profit out of the Blue Cross $15,000 a year annual premium for a cheap health plan for me and my wife. So with a non profit - public option the annual premium may come down to $12,000 or $11,000 or even if it came down to $9000...so what! We still can't afford it with all the profit taken out!

    And with the $3800 ObamaCare fine we would to pay for not being able to afford healthcare, we would have been in much worse shape trying to get by. The little bit of money we budget for medicine or doctor visits each year would not even touch the cost of paying that $3800 fine.

    Let me tell you how ObamaCare would have affected our family with our budget.

    When the original proposal to jail those without healthcare proved too unpopular and was dropped. The new proposed fine of $3800 they mandate on the uninsured would make it a decision of whether to pay my $345 a month house payment or pay Obama's fine of $316.66 per month (pro-tated)

    If I pay the fine, the bank takes back the house. And if I refuse to pay his fine, I'll still lose my house to the IRS? Either way we are out in the street.

    But, a socialized health plan was never really on the table. Well, it made good fodder to distract the public over the threat of turning America red.

    The 'real plan' all along, may have been to enrich the HMO's with new 'forced' business and ram the latest scam, the 'Individual Mandate,' down the publics throats. I was told that the lobbyists for HMO's have thrown more money at DC over this issue (healthcare related or not) than any other issue in history.

    Lets take a look at how it all went down. After all, it is quite a change from what Obama promised.

    From...

    "Lets Spread the Wealth. Lets set up a Socialized Healthcare System for All Americans paid for by taxing the rich 5%."

    To...

    "All uninsured Americans MUST buy healthcare insurance. And you must submit such evidence of coverage on your tax returns to the IRS or you will be FINED a penalty up to $3800."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/21/AR2009072103410.html

    Employers are decreasing ins coverage to keep their bills down. Companies are letting go of full timers to replace them with part timers to cutout benefits offered. It used to be companies stayed with a medical insurance plan for years, Now the trend is to change plans yearly shopping around for the lowest cost plan which translates into lower coverage for the employees.

    The trend with healthcare benefits has been steadily declining. A friend told me 2 years ago their jobs med insurance went from no ded with a $10 co pay to $20 co pay and $750 ded. This year it was $20 co pay and $2000 ded...plus a $600 a year raise in premiums for privilege of less coverage.

    Next year they are talking about only covering the actual worker and not covering the family members and / or a $5000 ded.

    I just spoke with a lady in OH, she said their company was talking a $20,000 deductible. Can you believe that! No law against it? why not make it a $50,000 deductible guess it may come tot hat when hospital stays are in the half million dollar range.

    I've told you all before. If there is no law against raping the public...you will all get raped on a continual basis...it is a law of capitalism.

    The only way for this country to get control of the health care industry is through a single payer plan. That was what Obama peddled as his health care reform to get elected. Once in office he did what he always has done and sold out that idea to the money interests. He and Emanuel were planning from day one to provide the insurance industry with 40 million new customers and put the cost of that gift to the money interests on the backs of the tax payers in the same manner as he has been doing with every other program since the day he was sworn in. Americans voted for change and all they have received is another ploitician who is taking care of the wealthy so they will take care of him. Just take a minute to think about how he obtained that million and one half dollar home in Chicago with the help of his wealthy friend who is now in prison. That must have been the type of change he was talking about when he was campaigning and which he continues to do now as president.

    It is definitely disappointing that public option has been eliminated from this bill; however, I believe that this bill must be passed anyway without delay. I strongly agree with Mr. Potter; and, Dr. Angell provided some excellent points and presented Americans with facts, that exposes the greed of insurance companies and the need for public option in healthcare. However, I don’t agree with her about Not getting this bill passed. Media brainwashing has induced fear of public option and has portrayed healthcare reform as being a socialist government take over that would abolish American freedoms. This is what contributed to avoiding getting this bill passed in the first place when in fact Americans were misinformed. I believe what the president intended, knowing this would not pass, was to try to establish bipartisanship by removing public option from the bill that Repub’s were against, in order to get some sort of a bill passed rather than nothing at all. Unfortunately the attempt failed. None of this has been in vain because what has occurred is that people are finally getting properly educated and enlightened on how corrupt insurance companies are and that free market, profit making insurance companies should be eliminated from healthcare reform. If this bill passes it will be the first step America has to get closer to universal healthcare.

    The only way to get control of the health care industry in this country is through a single payer plan. That was what Obama peddled as his health care reform to get elected. Once in office he did what he always has done and sold out that idea to the money interests. He and Emanuel were planning from day one to provide the insurance industry with 40 million new customers and put the cost of that gift on the backs of the tax payers in the same manner as he has been doing with every other program since the day he was sworn in. Americans voted for change and all they have received is another politician who is taking care of the wealthy so they will in turn take care of him. Just take a minute to think about how he obtained that million and one half doller home in Chicago with the help of his wealthy friend who is now in prison. That must have been the type of change he was talking about when he was campaigning and which he continues to do now as president.

    Where is it written that the providing of health insurance should be a profit making enterprise? The pols (especially the Repubs.) love saying that it is 1/6 of our economy; well, if we had Medicare for all, it wouldn't be, and everyone would be covered. On what basis is it morally justified for health insurance companies to make obscene profits off of the suffering of our citizens, the ones who can actually qualify for health insurance, that is? How is it acceptable that so many people DIE every year for lack of health care? What kind of a society do we live in where we find any of the above OK? Let's have a more just society where no one goes without health care, and let those in the insurance industry find something else more worthwhile to do do with their time and energy; we don't owe them anything after how horribly we have been treated by them for decades.

    I think that the biggest problem with the health care overhaul is its complexity. Just like with the Clinton plan of the ‘90’s, most people don’t understand it, which allows the Medical Industrial Complex and its conservative supporters to misinform and confuse the public about the details.

    Here’s a much more basic reform plan:
    • Let everyone who wants to either buy into Medicare or the same plan that federal workers (including members of Congress) enjoy.
    • I think it’s the mandatory aspect of the proposals now before Congress (with too little subsidy and no public plan) that has a lot of people scared. Therefore, make the plan voluntary, with steep costs to those who wait until they’re older or get sick before joining. So, if you join this program (or have private insurance) your entire adult life, you’re guaranteed the lowest rate through age 65 when traditional Medicare kicks in. But, for every year that you are uninsured, the cost will go up so that you end up paying the same total amount as the lifelong group.
    • Should you wait until you’re really sick to get insurance, your deductible will be huge, depending on your age. If you then have to sell your house or car, deplete your retirement savings or declare bankruptcy - too bad. Those who were responsible should not have to subsidize you.
    • Subsidies would be available for those who can’t afford the premiums, to be paid for by a tax on benefits only for those earning more than $250,000 (this amount would be indexed for inflation) and a special millionaire’s tax. Also, businesses with over 50 employees would pay a fee, which would be canceled if they provided insurance benefits.
    • Small businesses could buy into these programs. Larger companies would also, but at rates comparable to what they pay for private plans (so there won’t be a mass exodus from private to public insurance).

    And that’s it. Nobody would have to change the insurance that they currently have and nobody really has to buy into any plan, though they would be wise to do so. All the other proposals would be left for later. Otherwise, it gets too bloated and way over the heads of most voters.

    Republicans will still holler and scream, so this would have to be passed in the Senate by reconciliation (51 votes).

    Wow there you go again Moyers ..... your wrecked another Sunday morning for me. I supported the president with time and $$ but now I must agree with your guest from Harvard. Let this bad bill go down and let the whole system crash and burn and then maybe .... just maybe we can have what they have in Canada (just a couple miles from where I live)or France or England. What we have now is simple theft.

    I think they are both right about certain aspects, but the reality of the situation is more akin to Potter's view. For some reason it seems that health care is viewed as a business issue in America rather than a moral issue.

    In some ways an analogy might be a future where we are living on the moon and the health insurance companies are oxygen companies. Now say families who migrated brought oxygen with them, but realize later that they will need to have some oxygen at some point because they could not take enough for their life with everything else on their trip. So they buy a policy to provide it for them that they have to pay or risk death. Now the government of the moon sees a moral problem with this as says that if you are NEAR death, the companies has to give you oxygen, but they can charge you whatever they need to charge you to recoop costs. Additionally, the companies see that they can stratify what percentage of oxygen you get to keep you alive based on the how much you are willing to buy coverage for so you can have different plans.

    The companies who are making and bringing oxygen start to see that they can make more money out of this so they start charging more money to the other company, which get passed on to the people. The more that is passed on, the more is charged for different plans until the bottom levels of oxygen are diluted just enough to keep you functioning and the price becomes limitless. In some ways that is similar.

    Potter is right about the political reality and the need to make starting stepping points, but Angell is right in that the argument is MORAL. It is smart for business to reform it, but morally abhorring to hold such a low view of human worth.

    Realistically, the bigger picture should be the failure of government on a BROAD range of social contracts which is playing out in many ways as companies gouge consumers across the board for increases in profit. The collusion of bipartisan Washington to play the emotional game of politics without focusing substantive facts, but pander to probabilities without care of the impact on Americans is just another symptom of the moral decay in our current governance.

    __4vision_/ scott c. addison /____
    9858 Rivermont Dr. – St. Louis, MO 63137
    314.869.1059 – sca@free-assembly.org

    25 January 2010

    President Barack Obama
    The White House
    Washington, DC 20250 Fax: 202-456-2461

    Real Health Care, Real Reform

    Mr. President:

    You called for universal healthcare in America, and spoke for our aspirations, but now you have not stood firm in our interest: You have waffled on our best insights, and let this debate buckle to ideological blackmail at every turn.

    I) At the outset, the White House accepted a paltry promise from the HMO's to restrain the growth of high medical costs, and the best option was taken off the table:
    Everywhere else in the world a well-run single-payer public health plan works fine, but Here the right-wingnuts screech about 'socialism', and the smear sticks.
    They had the audacity to argue that the private sector cannot compete with this, so it must not be allowed, because it's a 'Government takeover" – such that a more efficient and equitable health system is turned to political taboo, and put out of reach.
    And they got away with it... nobody laughed them out of the building.

    Once all the centrist pols & pundits bought into this illogic, the Bill had to get complicated... its devices and postures got more contorted and conditional, so as to offend no one, confusing everyone. It ducks the problems of accountability to patients in medical practices & billings, buttressing top-heavy management and the skewed incentives we now endure. We saw the "public option" devolve in conception, more vague and negotiable at each turn, and now it is gone.
    As citizens we are left with compulsory buy-ins and cranked-up revenues for the 'Medical-Insurance Complex' (as Ike would call it), on the perverse principle of government-mandated risk management – on behalf of those corporations.
    We will be compelled to subsidize an echelon of 'suits-on-salary', positioned to control and censor medical decisions – rewarding those most vested in pilferage, inflating costs and creating false scarcities in healthcare for decades to come.

    The Bill emerging from Congress is cumbersome and onerous, not a solution:
    It is a sellout of American aspirations and not worth fighting for.
    I concur fully with Governor Dean:

    Page 2 of 3

    Stop this nonsense now and start over. Best that it come from the President, duly exasperated with the process gone awry: Announce that the current Bill is damaged by compromise, evades needed reforms, cannot meet our goals, and if passed he will veto it.
    Progressives in Congress can also turn things around, standing the high ground on a straight-up principle: This Bill is just not good enough. They can boycott the vote and send back a mandate for a robust public option and rigorous controls on health costs, with porkbarrel deals, featherbedding, and ideological riders stripped out.

    II) The public sees this worthy initiative beset with foolish politics, warped around committee haggles & filibuster rules: Why gut the Bill for 60 votes, when 55 Senators will support meaningful healthcare reforms? These should not be held hostage by a few charlatans like Boehner, Nelson, and Lieberman... wear them down, let them face the rage of voters for opposing the fair health system they overwhelmingly Want.
    Repugnicans need to be reminded of the healthcare policies they abided or embraced in the last Administration: When asked how uninsured people should get treatment, George Bush said: "They can go to the emergency room..." – an inconceivably stupid answer. Upon that record and their unwavering loyalty, GOP hacks have nothing to offer now... bipartisan compromise with bad ideas only spawns non-solutions.

    Rely on the intrinsic strength of good ideas... revived controversy won't kill the Bill, it will only be made more imperative. With the necessary arm-twisting, fitting shame, and a chorus of public outrage, the naysayers will fold. Better to have real health reform on the table in a few weeks, than this albatross around our necks now.

    Déjà vu all over again, c. 1994... Bill Clinton was supposed to be a pretty smart guy too, but he couldn't figure out that "Managed Care" was an oxymoron. Also operating on the fallacy that good ideas are negotiable at all, he folded up and saddled us with the burgeoning 'HMO Oligopoly' – leading to the present debacle:
    They rode the demographic wave in medical services, as 'baby boomers' came of middle age. Payments, premiums, and public funds have been funneled through these corporations, inflating costs, limiting care, leaving millions uncovered and untreated – and giving them political power. This infrastructure is now the vested norm, and the source of resistance to any reform that might curtail its bloat and waste.

    Most at-risk is the moment to act. Many fear that it has passed; indeed the current debate is tainted and dragged-out, its momentum lost on ambivalent schemes – unless its course is radically altered now. Understanding this stalemate on mediocrity as a tough learning phase in its evolution, we can see this moment as one of opportunity:
    The current quagmire is the best reason to change the game. Make a new plan with good science, true innovation, embodying the real needs of patients and demands of public interest – and it will move. But it must be done immediately... missing this moment now, it will be lost, at great cost for generations.

    Page 3 of 3

    If the eviscerated Bill now brewing in Congress becomes Law, in fact we are faced with a final Corporate takeover of healthcare: Cornering the market with vast new subsidies, controlling 'public health policy' as-applied, its very meaning at stake.
    It will be no reprieve from Government bureaucracy if medical decisions are made by HMO & insurance business bureaucrats – far more obtuse, capricious and impenetrable in their vested interests, as the last sixteen years have shown.

    III) The mute deadlock of recent weeks is most telling: Media speculations persist on the prospects in Congress, but healthcare debate has dropped from sight, into partisan conclaves parsing and scheming behind closed doors. The twisted calculus of What Might Fly just got more complex, with the Democrats' lost Senate seat in Massachusetts.
    It could turn out to be a good thing, if they come to realize that this mutant mockery of healthcare reform is unworkable and unwanted – already subverted by lobby money, and contrived on some conjectured middle ground where nobody lives.

    The progressive bloc needs to wake up to its political strength: They are the real swing vote in both chambers, without whom the Bill goes nowhere... they can re-set the course on real reform, with support of most Americans in doing so.
    Decisive here is the principle of transparency – the true promise of the erstwhile "Public Option", where medical and management decisions are accountable to higher public interests & standards. This offers a chance for a fair and competent system of care, which can protect patients, reduce costs, and raise performance, by consensus.
    Corporate medicine cannot achieve this, by nature and proof of history.

    ------------------------

    Speaking for many... we renew the call for real healthcare and real reform. In my view, an effective public health plan is an essential part of the package:
    Make the private sector compete with better-run programs, demonstrating more efficient delivery models, cutting overhead system-wide. Such a hybrid care system may offer the best of both worlds, in a uniquely American solution.

    I have ideas, but there are studied perspectives on how to do this, what it entails, and smart, informed people to work out the pragmatics. Here the focus is the big picture, the emergent issues in real time, and the stakes for the future.

    I hope this commentary is illuminating and useful.

    Thanks for your open mind and creative leadership.
    Respects,

    __Scott C. Addison ~ St. Louis, MO___

    I am an aircraft technician by trade and have just designed a new wing. It represents the direction that we think fixes current problems with our traditional wing. You know the one that millions of people fly on every day. However we are all out of the allotted time in our research phase. So I have convinced the FAA to implement (force) aircraft manufacturing to immediately conform to this break through wing design. Don’t worry that the wing is unpopular with the customers do to its lack of engineering and that it may fail or that it cost twice as much in fuel to operate. We can fix any problems that pop up after the post crash NTSB reports have been analyzed. Come on now turn off your cell phones and buckle up!!!
    J Dunn

    The only way to make health care coverage fair is to have medicare for all. Take health care out of the hands of private for profit insurers. Private insurers want to insure only those that make small or no claims so that there is greater profit. The individuals with pre-existing conditions or advanced age people will be charged astronomical rates. Scrap the bill and start all over. As a side note: I voted for Obama. Revolt against lobyist and special interest influence in congress.

    Dr. Angell has it completely right. Mr. Potter is a nice man but not with the program (of the people) long enough to understand the long suffering of the people and their completely justified lack of belief in their leadership.

    Mr. Obama's bill is the opposite of what this nation needs at this time. What we need is a single page bill extending Medicare to all. Period. Insurance companies can stay in business selling their supplemental packages to cover costs Medicare doesn't. And put pharmacy and durable medical goods on that list too.

    If Obama continues to ignore the people and listen to Rahm, we should not support him anymore. We should seek another man for President in the next presidential election. Not a republican. A Democrat or Independent who will listen to the people. And fire Rahm.

    Actually, it's time for Howard Dean to run again.

    Dr. Angell was great! The first sane discussion I've heard about the current health reform bill.

    Like Dr. Angell, I would rather see President Obama “go down fighting for something coherent and practical that the public could mobilize behind, than go down fighting for this amorphous plan that tries to keep the private insurance industry in place.” And like others who have responded here, “I am for a single payer system.” And like Samuel, I think the “real issue for achieving universal care is for the American people to change their values. The fear of government involvement, the fear of giving your money to "free loader" and other undesirables drives the debate. The inability to distinguish self-interest (Executive compensation at insurance Health insurance industry) as opposed to the national interest.”
    The current bill’s inclusion of mandatory coverage and fines for lack of coverage, either way, equates to increased out-of-pocket costs for the already over-burdened, low-income, unemployed, and Baby Boomers. The current bill should be tossed and the President should immediately go for broke and propose a bill that creates a do-able single payer system that provides real health for ALL Americans.

    Dr. Angell has it completely right. Mr. Potter is a nice man but not with the program (of the people) long enough to understand the long suffering of the people and their completely justified lack of belief in their leadership.

    Mr. Obama's bill is the opposite of what this nation needs at this time. What we need is a single page bill extending Medicare to all. Period. Insurance companies can stay in business selling their supplemental packages to cover costs Medicare doesn't. And put pharmacy and durable medical goods on that list too.

    If Obama continues to ignore the people and listen to Rahm, we should not support him anymore. We should seek another man for President in the next presidential election. Not a republican. A Democrat or Independent who will listen to the people. And fire Rahm.

    Actually, it's time for Howard Dean to run again.

    Dr. Angell has it completely right. Mr. Potter is a nice man but not with the program (of the people) long enough to understand the long suffering of the people and their completely justified lack of belief in their leadership.

    Mr. Obama's bill is the opposite of what this nation needs at this time. What we need is a single page bill extending Medicare to all. Period. Insurance companies can stay in business selling their supplemental packages to cover costs Medicare doesn't. And put pharmacy and durable medical goods on that list too.

    If Obama continues to ignore the people and listen to Rahm, we should not support him anymore. We should seek another man for President in the next presidential election. Not a republican. A Democrat or Independent who will listen to the people. And fire Rahm.

    Actually, it's time for Howard Dean to run again.

    Dr. Angell was great! The first sane discussion I've heard about the current health reform bill.

    Like Dr. Angell, I would rather see President Obama “go down fighting for something coherent and practical that the public could mobilize behind, than go down fighting for this amorphous plan that tries to keep the private insurance industry in place.” And like others who have responded here, “I am for a single payer system.” And like Samuel, I think the “real issue for achieving universal care is for the American people to change their values. The fear of government involvement, the fear of giving your money to "free loader" and other undesirables drives the debate. The inability to distinguish self-interest (Executive compensation at insurance Health insurance industry) as opposed to the national interest.”
    The current bill’s inclusion of mandatory coverage and fines for lack of coverage, either way, equates to increased out-of-pocket costs for the already over-burdened, low-income, unemployed, and Baby Boomers. The current bill should be tossed and the President should immediately go for broke and propose a bill that creates a do-able single payer system that provides real health for ALL Americans.

    I think they are both right about certain aspects, but the reality of the situation is more akin to Potter's view. For some reason it seems that health care is viewed as a business issue in America rather than a moral issue.

    In some ways an analogy might be a future where we are living on the moon and the health insurance companies are oxygen companies. Now say families who migrated brought oxygen with them, but realize later that they will need to have some oxygen at some point because they could not take enough for their life with everything else on their trip. So they buy a policy to provide it for them that they have to pay or risk death. Now the government of the moon sees a moral problem with this as says that if you are NEAR death, the companies has to give you oxygen, but they can charge you whatever they need to charge you to recoop costs. Additionally, the companies see that they can stratify what percentage of oxygen you get to keep you alive based on the how much you are willing to buy coverage for so you can have different plans.

    The companies who are making and bringing oxygen start to see that they can make more money out of this so they start charging more money to the other company, which get passed on to the people. The more that is passed on, the more is charged for different plans until the bottom levels of oxygen are diluted just enough to keep you functioning and the price becomes limitless. In some ways that is similar.

    Potter is right about the political reality and the need to make starting stepping points, but Angell is right in that the argument is MORAL. It is smart for business to reform it, but morally abhorring to hold such a low view of human worth.

    Realistically, the bigger picture should be the failure of government on a BROAD range of social contracts which is playing out in many ways as companies gouge consumers across the board for increases in profit. The collusion of bipartisan Washington to play the emotional game of politics without focusing substantive facts, but pander to probabilities without care of the impact on Americans is just another symptom of the moral decay in our current governance.

    I believed it would be better to pass the Senate's version of the health care reform bill than to do nothing. After hearing Dr. Angell's arguments, however, I am convinced that the current bill should be scrapped and our nation's leaders should push ahead with a single-payer health system ... Medicare for all.

    I think they are both right about certain aspects, but the reality of the situation is more akin to Potter's view. For some reason it seems that health care is viewed as a business issue in America rather than a moral issue.

    In some ways an analogy might be a future where we are living on the moon and the health insurance companies are oxygen companies. Now say families who migrated brought oxygen with them, but realize later that they will need to have some oxygen at some point because they could not take enough for their life with everything else on their trip. So they buy a policy to provide it for them that they have to pay or risk death. Now the government of the moon sees a moral problem with this as says that if you are NEAR death, the companies has to give you oxygen, but they can charge you whatever they need to charge you to recoop costs. Additionally, the companies see that they can stratify what percentage of oxygen you get to keep you alive based on the how much you are willing to buy coverage for so you can have different plans.

    The companies who are making and bringing oxygen start to see that they can make more money out of this so they start charging more money to the other company, which get passed on to the people. The more that is passed on, the more is charged for different plans until the bottom levels of oxygen are diluted just enough to keep you functioning and the price becomes limitless. In some ways that is similar.

    Potter is right about the political reality and the need to make starting stepping points, but Angell is right in that the argument is MORAL. It is smart for business to reform it, but morally abhorring to hold such a low view of human worth.

    Realistically, the bigger picture should be the failure of government on a BROAD range of social contracts which is playing out in many ways as companies gouge consumers across the board for increases in profit. The collusion of bipartisan Washington to play the emotional game of politics without focusing substantive facts, but pander to probabilities without care of the impact on Americans is just another symptom of the moral decay in our current governance.

    I believed it would be better to pass the Senate's version of the health care reform bill than to do nothing. After hearing Dr. Angell's arguments, however, I am convinced that the current bill should be scrapped and our nation's leaders should push ahead with a single-payer health system ... Medicare for all.

    Theirs little left in America to make a profit on or for that mater work at. The numbers of people working in farming dwindled long ago. Industry was shipped else were. The service sector has always been dog eat dog.

    Health care is our last hope, just look at any employment section. America is now feeding on its old and sick and at some point in time their wont be enough to keep it alive. Health care is a small gorilla in a forever shrinking room. Pass your bill It will just squeeze what little free cash people have to spend right into the rich insurance mans pockets. So you thought $4.00 a gallon gas was bad for the economy.

    Get rid of the health insurance industry and nationalize health care.

    I think they are both right about certain aspects, but the reality of the situation is more akin to Potter's view. For some reason it seems that health care is viewed as a business issue in America rather than a moral issue.

    In some ways an analogy might be a future where we are living on the moon and the health insurance companies are oxygen companies. Now say families who migrated brought oxygen with them, but realize later that they will need to have some oxygen at some point because they could not take enough for their life with everything else on their trip. So they buy a policy to provide it for them that they have to pay or risk death. Now the government of the moon sees a moral problem with this as says that if you are NEAR death, the companies has to give you oxygen, but they can charge you whatever they need to charge you to recoop costs. Additionally, the companies see that they can stratify what percentage of oxygen you get to keep you alive based on the how much you are willing to buy coverage for so you can have different plans.

    The companies who are making and bringing oxygen start to see that they can make more money out of this so they start charging more money to the other company, which get passed on to the people. The more that is passed on, the more is charged for different plans until the bottom levels of oxygen are diluted just enough to keep you functioning and the price becomes limitless. In some ways that is similar.

    Potter is right about the political reality and the need to make starting stepping points, but Angell is right in that the argument is MORAL. It is smart for business to reform it, but morally abhorring to hold such a low view of human worth.

    Realistically, the bigger picture should be the failure of government on a BROAD range of social contracts which is playing out in many ways as companies gouge consumers across the board for increases in profit. The collusion of bipartisan Washington to play the emotional game of politics without focusing substantive facts, but pander to probabilities without care of the impact on Americans is just another symptom of the moral decay in our current governance.

    I believed it would be better to pass the Senate's version of the health care reform bill than to do nothing. After hearing Dr. Angell's arguments, however, I am convinced that the current bill should be scrapped and our nation's leaders should push ahead with a single-payer health system ... Medicare for all.

    I think they are both right about certain aspects, but the reality of the situation is more akin to Potter's view. For some reason it seems that health care is viewed as a business issue in America rather than a moral issue.

    In some ways an analogy might be a future where we are living on the moon and the health insurance companies are oxygen companies. Now say families who migrated brought oxygen with them, but realize later that they will need to have some oxygen at some point because they could not take enough for their life with everything else on their trip. So they buy a policy to provide it for them that they have to pay or risk death. Now the government of the moon sees a moral problem with this as says that if you are NEAR death, the companies has to give you oxygen, but they can charge you whatever they need to charge you to recoop costs. Additionally, the companies see that they can stratify what percentage of oxygen you get to keep you alive based on the how much you are willing to buy coverage for so you can have different plans.

    The companies who are making and bringing oxygen start to see that they can make more money out of this so they start charging more money to the other company, which get passed on to the people. The more that is passed on, the more is charged for different plans until the bottom levels of oxygen are diluted just enough to keep you functioning and the price becomes limitless. In some ways that is similar.

    Potter is right about the political reality and the need to make starting stepping points, but Angell is right in that the argument is MORAL. It is smart for business to reform it, but morally abhorring to hold such a low view of human worth.

    Realistically, the bigger picture should be the failure of government on a BROAD range of social contracts which is playing out in many ways as companies gouge consumers across the board for increases in profit. The collusion of bipartisan Washington to play the emotional game of politics without focusing substantive facts, but pander to probabilities without care of the impact on Americans is just another symptom of the moral decay in our current governance.

    We must distinguish!
    I agree with your guest, Dr. Angell. We would make a mistake with the implementation of this present plan. But we are missing a very important distinction.
    We must clarify our thinking and differentiate between the freedom and rights of the health insurance companies and our national interest in wanting to provide health care for all Americans. These are two very different issues.
    The health insurance companies operate a very successful business. These companies are meeting their obligations and taking excellent care of the interest of their share holders. We should all be as successful as they are. We should afford them the same freedoms as we do to any successful business in our country. Our government may minimally regulate them to the same degree we regulate other industries. (auto, air travel, iron production, etc.). They should not be forced to insure all Americans. They should not be forced to accept clients with pre-existing conditions and they should be allowed to pay their executives whatever they feel to be appropriate. This is their company and the primary goal of these companies is to make money for their investors and they are totally successful at doing exactly that. They could be found legally negligent if they did not safeguard the interest of their share- holders. Very recently, we were made aware of the number of large companies that were completely reckless about their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders.

    The confusion is that we Americans want to provide available health care all Americans. Health care, not health insurance! And we can! It is not the responsibility of the insurance industry to insure all Americans. We already have in place a very successful, efficient, well functioning government financed health care system. This system is called MEDICARE. As a senior American, I have been fortunate to have Medicare and I am completely satisfied with the medical care that I have been afforded through Medicare. So, if we truly want to guarantee all Americans health care, we should establish our own healthcare system and provide our fellow Americans an opportunity to make use of this health care system. We should offer Medicare to all Americans. Arguments about the trillion dollar cost and budgets constraints are confusing and used to politicize the discussion. What Americans can understand and can relate to is “what would be the out of pocket expenses” for each American. If they are paying $14,000 for family health insurance, would their out of pocket expenses be the same or less? Would the health care system provide reasonable and better coverage then their present plan? I know that the answer to both the questions would be definitively yes! Funding for this system would be through similar monthly payments by all insured by this program. Amount of payment would be determined by the use of a sliding scale according to each person’s income and a ceiling or cap would also be established. Americans who could not afford payments would not be required to contribute. Eventually, we could do away with Medicaid and Veteran Services People would have an option and would be free to choose this program or stay with the insurance plan of their choice. The resourceful insurance industry can creatively decide how they want to respond to our extended Medicare plan. For instance, they can develop “Cadillac Plans” offering concierge doctor services, or their own private hospitals. They could establish the own pool of practitioners who would service only those insured by their policy.

    I don't want my tax dollars used to make wealthy Americans wealthier than they already are. I don't have a problem with them being wealthy, I would aspire to do the same, but they are getting richer at the expense of the rest of us without all of us getting something out of it in return. An investment in a health care system that every American can benefit from would to me be the best use of our tax dollars. It's an investment that all of us can see a return on. We are the richest nation on earth that doesn't have a health care system that takes care of everyone. I would like to see a universal health care system that is available to everyone and not just the fortunate.

    It's now sadly obvious to me that the health care bill currently being considered by Congress is so far afield from what I anticipated that I must express my desire to see it be withdrawn. I thank Drs. Dean and Angell for their courage to state their opinions, and to help me recognize, regardless of its urgently pressing positive components, that a reintroduction of a single payer system or "Medicare for all" is the optimum solution.

    destroy the bill and keep it on the front burner. Why? i don't like the use of medicare money to subsidize and enrich the insurance industry? NO!

    and why not make social security run on an actuarial basis so that W cannot write worthless IOU to skim more money that Jimmy Hoffa ever dreamed of skimming? let's seperate F.I.C.A. payroll deductions from the general treasury slush fund.

    destroy the bill and keep it on the front burner. Why? i don't like the use of medicare money to subsidize and enrich the insurance industry? NO!

    and why not make social security run on an actuarial basis so that W cannot write worthless IOU to skim more money that Jimmy Hoffa ever dreamed of skimming? let's seperate F.I.C.A. payroll deductions from the general treasury slush fund.

    Distressing analysis. Regards Bill's thought that what if the Dems failed to pass, and offered up a single payer option and got that through - Hemingway's the Sun Also Rises .."isn't it pretty to think so..." I am in total support but there is a one in a zillion chance that would happen in my mind. That being said, I think the bill should pass. We know the insurance companies will continue their raping of our society (as so eloquently phrased by Rockefeller in the recent Forum). Then we will see all that Marcia Angell said come to pass and gradually state by state we will fix this problem with statewide initiatives. I'll continue to follow this debate but my energies are going to go to CaliforniaONE Care.org henceforth.

    I watched this program with a sense of despair - despair that Mr. Moyers finds Dr. Angell's one-note argument credible. I can concede that insurers are rapacious - if she can concede that physicians are the wealthiest occupational class in the country (don't take my word, look up the latest census information.) You want rapacious (and immoral), get a load of the demands made by Massachusetts General Hospital (a Harvard teaching facility.) They have as much to answer for, if not more. The notion that her peers would embrace a federalized system is a fantasy. Medicaid reimbursements won't make the Lexus payments. Physicians - heal thyself.

    destroy the bill and keep it on the front burner. Why? i don't like the use of medicare money to subsidize and enrich the insurance industry? NO!

    and why not make social security run on an actuarial basis so that W cannot write worthless IOU to skim more money that Jimmy Hoffa ever dreamed of skimming? let's seperate F.I.C.A. payroll deductions from the general treasury slush fund.

    Distressing analysis. Regards Bill's thought that what if the Dems failed to pass, and offered up a single payer option and got that through - Hemingway's the Sun Also Rises .."isn't it pretty to think so..." I am in total support but there is a one in a zillion chance that would happen in my mind. That being said, I think the bill should pass. We know the insurance companies will continue their raping of our society (as so eloquently phrased by Rockefeller in the recent Forum). Then we will see all that Marcia Angell said come to pass and gradually state by state we will fix this problem with statewide initiatives. I'll continue to follow this debate but my energies are going to go to CaliforniaONE Care.org henceforth.

    destroy the bill and keep it on the front burner. Why? i don't like the use of medicare money to subsidize and enrich the insurance industry? NO!

    and why not make social security run on an actuarial basis so that W cannot write worthless IOU to skim more money that Jimmy Hoffa ever dreamed of skimming? let's seperate F.I.C.A. payroll deductions from the general treasury slush fund.

    Having worked for US Healthcare and Aetna, I know with a certainty that the current proposed legislation is not a meaning solution. The healthcare situation will continued to get worse as this legislation will only delay the eventual collapse of the entire system for everyone except for the rich and our elected officials. The sooner things get worse and the people are out in the streets protesting the better. Once the people in Washington and the insurance companies look out their windows and see thousand of citizens carrying torches and pitchforks things will change. A for-profit medical system is as inappropriate as a for profit police, military or fire department.

    destroy the bill and keep it on the front burner. Why? i don't like the use of medicare money to subsidize and enrich the insurance industry? NO!

    and why not make social security run on an actuarial basis so that W cannot write worthless IOU to skim more money that Jimmy Hoffa ever dreamed of skimming? let's seperate F.I.C.A. payroll deductions from the general treasury slush fund.

    Distressing analysis. Regards Bill's thought that what if the Dems failed to pass, and offered up a single payer option and got that through- Hemingway's the Sun Also Rises .."isn't it pretty to think so..." I am in total support but there is a one in a zillion chance that would happen in my mind. I think the bill should pass. We know the insurance companies will continue their raping of our society (as so eloquently phrased by Rockefeller in the recent Forum - and why might I ask has that clip not been played over and over and over in the corporate media - well we all know the answer to that!). Then we will see all that Marcia Angels said come to pass and gradually state by state we will fix this problem with statewide initiatives. I'll continue to follow this debate but my energies are going to go CaliforniaONE Care.org henceforth.

    destroy the bill and keep it on the front burner. Why? i don't like the use of medicare money to subsidize and enrich the insurance industry? NO!

    and why not make social security run on an actuarial basis so that W cannot write worthless IOU to skim more money that Jimmy Hoffa ever dreamed of skimming? let's seperate F.I.C.A. payroll deductions from the general treasury slush fund.

    destroy the bill and keep it on the front burner. Why? i don't like the use of medicare money to subsidize and enrich the insurance industry? NO!

    and why not make social security run on an actuarial basis so that W cannot write worthless IOU to skim more money that Jimmy Hoffa ever dreamed of skimming? let's seperate F.I.C.A. payroll deductions from the general treasury slush fund.

    Your interview with Marcia Angell should be required viewing for President Obama, along with every member of the United States Congress. The American people deserve to know from the President and from each member of Congress why the commercial insurance industry continues to be protected at their expense.

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies!" If you agree please make a difference by placing your vote here: http://pol.moveon.org/block/?r_by=-17594052-tHPkRLx&rc=mailto

    Your interview with Marcia Angell should be required viewing for President Obama, along with every member of the United States Congress. The American people deserve to know from the President and from each member of Congress why the commercial insurance industry continues to be protected at their expense.

    Having worked for US Healthcare and Aetna, I know with a certainty that the current proposed legislation is not a meaning solution. The healthcare situation will continued to get worse as this legislation will only delay the eventual collapse of the entire system for everyone except for the rich and our elected officials. The sooner things get worse and the people are out in the streets protesting the better. Once the people in Washington and the insurance companies look out their windows and see thousand of citizens carrying torches and pitchforks things will change. A for-profit medical system is as inappropriate as a for profit police, military or fire department.

    I support single payer, like Medicare for all. I would be more than happy to pay into that system than to support for profit Insurance like I have now that has increased 100% in the past 8 years. This 2700 page so-called Health reform is re-inventing the wrong wheel! How about a one page bill like the bankers got?

    The current health insurance reforms being forced on us will lead to FINANCIAL DISASTER.

    Employer purchased health insurance cherrypicks the best, most profitable risks for investors, corrupting the health insurance "market" and Washington at the expense of the entire nation.

    America must end the special tax treatment given to employer purchased health insurance before any other attempts are made to reform health care in this country.

    Every individual in America must be given a line item tax deduction on his or her IRS form 1040 for the full purchase price of health insurance. This will make individually purchased policies "equal" in tax treatment to employer purchased policies. Granting everyone this tax deduction is politically feasible since it does not take anything away from anyone.

    Every health insurance policy must be "issued" individually regardless of whether it is "paid for" by an employer, an individual, or the government.

    Since it is too difficult to end employer purchased health care due to the mountain of money influencing Washington and the political risk of "taking away" people's employer purchased health insurance, then the **absolute first step** that must be taken is to grant all Americans equal tax treatment for their health insurance purchases.

    Regardless of whether we have single government payer of multiple private payer health insurance in America, we need one nationwide health insurance risk pool and one nationwide, comprehensive, standard health insurance policy.

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies!" If you agree please make a difference by placing your vote here: http://pol.moveon.org/block/?r_by=-17594052-tHPkRLx&rc=mailto

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies!" If you agree please make a difference by placing your vote here: http://pol.moveon.org/block/?r_by=-17594052-tHPkRLx&rc=mailto

    I support a single-payer system of "Health Care", like Medicare for all, and would be more than happy to pay into that system instead of being continually fleeced by my for profit "Health Insurance" company. This 2700 page bill is re-inventing the wrong wheel, and seems to be a giveaway to the for profit system.

    I support a single-payer system of "Health Care", like Medicare for all, and would be more than happy to pay into that system instead of being continually fleeced by my for profit "Health Insurance" company. This 2700 page bill is re-inventing the wrong wheel, and seems to be a giveaway to the for profit system.

    The current health insurance reforms being forced on us will lead to FINANCIAL DISASTER.

    Employer purchased health insurance cherrypicks the best, most profitable risks for investors, corrupting the health insurance "market" and Washington at the expense of the entire nation.

    America must end the special tax treatment given to employer purchased health insurance before any other attempts are made to reform health care in this country.

    Every individual in America must be given a line item tax deduction on his or her IRS form 1040 for the full purchase price of health insurance. This will make individually purchased policies "equal" in tax treatment to employer purchased policies. Granting everyone this tax deduction is politically feasible since it does not take anything away from anyone.

    Every health insurance policy must be "issued" individually regardless of whether it is "paid for" by an employer, an individual, or the government.

    Since it is too difficult to end employer purchased health care due to the mountain of money influencing Washington and the political risk of "taking away" people's employer purchased health insurance, then the **absolute first step** that must be taken is to grant all Americans equal tax treatment for their health insurance purchases.

    Regardless of whether we have single government payer of multiple private payer health insurance in America, we need one nationwide health insurance risk pool and one nationwide, comprehensive, standard health insurance policy.

    The business of America is indeed business. The business of the public and its supposedly representative government is, to borrow imagery from the Teddy Roosevelt anti-trust era, to pull up that team of horses when they decide they want to go somewhere we don’t. We can’t blame the private insurance industry for doing what it does. We can blame ourselves for not standing up to them and challenging them as they seek to expand protection for their destructive products. Did anybody ask Angela Braly what sort of health care policy she got as part of her benefit package? Did anybody ask her if she would buy the WellPoint policy that Ms. Hendrickson described (with the same cost to income ratio, of course)? Did anybody at the President’s square-table conference with the Republicans answer John Boehner when he insisted we have the best health care system in the world? Yes, we do, Mr. Boehner. Nobody’s blaming our clinicians – they’re excellent. It’s our delivery system that’s the problem, as you very well know. The fact is, the fee for service/private insurance model is basically a federally subsidized extortion scheme and we, the people, don’t seem able to stop it.
    Meanwhile, no distinction is made between the uber-profit industry and HMOs like Kaiser, who have followed a labor-friendly model of health care delivery for decades, and kept costs down and quality up. And Healthy San Francisco was created as a buy-in universal coverage model by Mayer Gavin Newsom to show how it’s done – nobody pays more than about 100 dollars a month – but -- like systems in Hawaii and Massachusetts, we can’t sustain the system without more funding -- the money's going out the back door to the wrong people. If, as the President said he wanted to do, we “built on what works and reduced or eliminated what doesn’t work”, our system would look like it does now, only it would be bigger and better-funded, with a streamlined administration system -- and that back door would be closed.
    Reward the health delivery systems that we know work, that is, our public hospital systems like the VA and academic systems, and our high-quality, low-cost HMOs like Kaiser. Instead, this current plan will hurt effective HMOs like Kaiser, hurt the public health systems, and subsidize what we know is the biggest disaster ever conceived – fee for service. Simply put, it you don’t sell health care, you shouldn’t sell health insurance. I respect the idea of “single payer”, but that moniker is misleading. I believe an effective health care system for this country would look a lot like the French or Dutch systems because they resemble the delivery systems we know work now here – a federally subsidized mixture of public and private care that the consumer can buy into at various levels. This would automatically mean a two-tier system, but with the two tiers working closely together, as, for example, Kaiser works closely with the public health systems now. The third tier would be composed of the tiny remaining consumers who want to pay for fee for service: they would be adding to their basic health subsidy out of their own pockets to pay for this type of care. The rest of us would be pleased to receive care from the subsidized private/public system. The majority wins, that team of horses is pulled up, and finally we all get to our destination.

    I couldn't agree more with Dr. Angell. The windfall to health insurance companies that will result from President Obama's health care bill is intolerable. We have absolutely no need whatsoever for health insurance companies. What we do need is single payer for all, and we need it now. Thank you for your informative (as they all are) journal episode, however it was the most depressing event of my week.

    Jean Berlowitz
    Corvallis, Oregon

    I am 61 years of age. My husband andI pay 1,500 per month for health insurance with BCBS. In addition to that we each have 2k in deductibles, and an additional 2K in co payment. We also have a prescription plan that we do not use because it is too expensive. We get our prescriptions from Canada for an additional 2K per year. Last year we paid a total of $25,000 in premium and deductibles and copay for nothing more than an achilles tendon repair!

    We had nothing left for a retirement contribution.

    I refuse to support a bill that keeps the private insurers in control. The philosophy that any plan is better than no plan is shows a lack of knowledge of history.

    The key to this problem is Congress and their to sell themselves to the highest bidder.
    Mr. Obama:
    Scrap it, get the right plan, Medicare for all, and fight for something we and you can believe in.


    While corporate profits in the health care industry are actually increasing as more and more Americans are losing their health coverage or becoming underinsured, focusing on profits directs people away from the much bigger problem. Even if the for-profit health care industry’s profits were minimal and executive compensation less, the major problems remain. Our fragmented for-profit health care system’s excessive administrative costs account for more than 25 cents of every dollar paid into health care. Each health insurance company has its own actuaries, own people who negotiate with doctors and hospitals, own advertising budgets, own claims review staff, and own administration. Every doctor and hospital has to negotiate with these companies and bill them. In other words, the profits and obscene compensation packages going to CEOs and others is a pittance compared to the overall excessive administrative costs created in order to make the profits.

    When I was a kid, my family physician worked with one or two specialists in each discipline. I didn’t have to go the one he suggested; but if I did, I knew that they worked together. Nowadays, your family physician has to check which specialist is approved by which plan. No way can they have the same level of cooperation and continuity of care. Doctors waste hours per week dealing with the various insurance companies. Yet, there is no credible evidence these private health insurance companies add any value to our health care system. Though, to some extent, they have different provider networks, depending on whether one chooses their HMO, PPO, or Point of Service Plan, on the whole, most doctors and hospitals are covered, regardless of which plan one has. In the original movie “Mash” there is a scene where someone asks if the patient is an officer or enlisted man. When told enlisted, the response is, “make the stitches bigger.” Does anyone really believe that, for instance, when getting a coronary artery bypass at a major hospital the surgeon’s level of care depends on whether one has Cigna or Anthem Blue Cross as their provider? Or that is covered by one plan rather than another the risk of a hospital-based infection is less?

    Currently, we “choose” are health insurance plan, if not employer provided, or if we can afford private coverage. We don’t choose our doctors and hospitals. In a single-payer plan, an expanded improved version of Medicare (no separate drug coverage and no need for supplemental policies), administrative costs savings will return the over 25 cents on the dollar wasted to paying for actual medical coverage. People will be able to choose their doctors and hospitals without the intermediary of a health insurance company.

    But won’t that put government bureaucrats between us and our health care? Won’t government ration health care? Won’t we end up killing our senior citizens? Unfortunately, peoples’ emotions have been stirred up ending in them directing their fears and angers in the wrong direction. Let’s just go through a couple of points:

    I’m sure everyone agrees that the individual should be able to decide on what level of health care they want to receive. If seriously ill or injured, each person should be able to decide if they want to risk extreme pain and disability for, say, a one percent chance of living a few more months or, would prefer hospice care, or any level of care in between. But what happens if we are incapacitated or unconscious? Don’t we still want to have the final say-so on the care we receive? That is what advanced directives and living wills are all about. In addition, we designate someone we trust to ensure that our wishes as expressed in them are carried out. The Republican Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 included calling for living wills. The Democratic Bill that the so-called “Deathers” reacted to had a section devoted to living wills. Anyone who read it clearly would see that it did not limit what level of care one could choose. However, it did allow for physician payment at least once every five years for discussing living wills. Nowadays doctors are being squeezed for time and insurance companies are paying less and less. Should we really expect our family physician to sit down with us for a half hour just to discuss living will options without being paid? Medicine is making advances almost daily, so newer treatments might lead to our changing our choices, so reviewing our living wills every five years seems reasonable. The Bill did call for physicians to encourage their patients to have living wills. What is wrong with that? I certainly would want my doctor to remind me to have one so that in the event I am incapacitated it will be my decisions that will control the care I get.

    Opponents also criticized panels of government bureaucrats who will decide what is and what is not covered. Briefly, in the 1990s, 42,000 women with disseminated breast cancer had bone marrow transplants. Three large clinical trials and one smaller one conclusively found that these expensive (at the time between $50 and $100,000) actually shortened life expectancy and/or significantly reduced quality of life without lengthening it. I’m sure that somewhere out there is someone who still would opt for a bone marrow transplant; but should health insurance pay for it? If we paid for every medical intervention that is either experimental or shown not to confer benefit not only would we contribute to additional suffering; but would bankrupt the system. It is not rationing to not pay for ineffective and/or harmful care. The Bill called for more funding of clinical trials. In fact, credible studies estimate that at least 1/3 of all medical interventions either confer no benefit and/or cause more harm than good (e.g. Shannon Brownlee’s “Overtreated”).

    Clinical trials are expensive and take years to carry out. In the meantime, panels of experts often review the research currently available leading to evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. These panels are usually composed of medical specialists, nurses, epidemiologists (like myself), and members from the public. Using comprehensive search strategies they try to find every published study and conference presentation on a particular topic, evaluate the methodological strengths of each respective study, and summarize the results. In some cases, the results are so overwhelming that nothing more is needed. In other cases, the results give impetus to funding one or more clinical trials. These evidence-based reviews are published in their entirety on the web (including all members of the panel, search strategies, reference list, extensive tables, etc). Most can be found at www.ahrq,gov. In other words, they are public and transparent. Are these reviews always “right?” No; but being public and transparent allows for critique and revision. On the other hand, private insurance companies also use clinical guidelines to decide what to and what not to cover; but their guidelines are proprietary. There is absolutely no way to know how they were developed. I prefer public, transparent guidelines to private for-profit proprietary ones.

    I don’t support any of the versions of health care bills currently being proposed. All are designed to keep our current health insurance industry in business. In fact, most will actually increase their profits, evident from their stocks going up when the individual mandate was included. Some of the provisions are good and will benefit some people; but as Dr. Angell pointed out “having insurance is not the same as getting health care.” Companies will still try to delay and deny care. Many will still be underinsured and our fragmented system will continue. It reminds me of someone standing by a river bank jumping in to save someone; but while saving the one, many more float by. No one focuses on why so many people are falling into the river. The current bills will help some; but keeping our private for-profit system will hurt far more. It is truly unfortunate that our form of government allows powerful corporations to “influence” legislation to their benefit at the expense of the public and the influence of these corporations in misdirected and often dishonest fear tactics. Every other advanced modern industrialized democracy has some form of universal non-profit health care and despite the propaganda, many have actually better access and equal to superior outcomes.

    One last point. Our health care system not only delays and denies care to many, gives substandard care to others; but its excessive cost reduces are competitiveness with business and corporations in other countries and takes monies out of our own system that could go into research, infrastructure, schools, etc.


    I am for a single payer system. I grew up under a single payer system in the EU and loved it.

    The real issue for achieving universal care is for the American people to change their values. The fear of government involvement, the fear of giving your money to "free loader" and other undesirables drives the debate. The inability to distinguish self-interest (Executive compensation at insurance Health insurance industry) as opposed to the national interest.

    Until these values are addressed, nothing will happen. We will dance to the same tune played by the Republicans and their health insurance owners.

    The business of America is indeed business. The business of the public and its supposedly representative government is, to borrow imagery from the Teddy Roosevelt anti-trust era, to pull up that team of horses when they decide they want to go somewhere we don’t. We can’t blame the private insurance industry for doing what they do. We can blame ourselves for not standing up to them and challenging them as they seek to expand protection for their destructive products. Did anybody ask Angela Braly what sort of health care policy she got as part of her benefit package? Did anybody ask her if she would buy the WellPoint policy that Ms. Hendrickson described? Did anybody at the President’s square-table conference with the Republicans answer John Boehner when he insisted we have the best health care system in the world? Yes, we do, Mr. Boehner. Nobody’s blaming our clinicians – they’re excellent – and we’ll need more of them. It’s our delivery system that’s the problem, as you very well know. The fact is, the fee for service/private insurance model is basically a federally subsidized extortion scheme and we the people don’t seem able to stop it.
    Meanwhile, no distinction is made between them and HMOs like Kaiser, who have followed a labor-friendly model of health care delivery for decades, and kept costs down and quality up. And Healthy San Francisco was created as a buy-in universal coverage model by Gavin Newsom to show how it’s done – nobody pays more than about 100 dollars a month – but we can’t sustain the system without more funding. If, as the President said he wanted to do, we “built on what works and reduced or eliminated what doesn’t work”, our system would look like it does now, only it would be bigger and better-funded, with a streamlined administration system.
    Reward the health delivery systems that we know work, that is, our public hospital systems like the VA and academic systems, and our high-quality, low-cost HMOs like Kaiser. Instead, this current plan will hurt effective HMOs like Kaiser, hurt the public health systems, and subsidize what we know is the biggest disaster ever conceived – fee for service. Simply put, it you don’t sell health care, you shouldn’t sell health insurance. I respect the idea of “single payer”, but that moniker is misleading. I believe an effective health care system for this country would look a lot like the French or Dutch systems because they resemble the delivery systems we know work now here – a federally subsidized mixture of public and private care that the consumer can buy into at various levels. This would automatically mean a two-tier system, but with the two tiers working closely together, as, for example, Kaiser works closely with the public health systems now. The third tier would be composed of the tiny remaining consumers who want to pay for fee for service: they would be adding to their basic health subsidy out of their own pockets to pay for this type of care. The rest of us would be pleased to receive care from the subsidized private/public system. The majority wins, that team of horses is pulled up, and finally we all get to our destination.

    For-profit health care is the problem, not the solution. How do you make money? Cutting costs or increasing use...both of which are bad for patients. Studies have shown outcomes in for-profit hospitals are worse. And if you really want to make businesses (like car companies...) more competitive, single-payer is the best way: it REDUCES THEIR COSTS, by reducing the bureaucracy (multiple insurance companies...) & increasing the "clout" of buying drugs & medical equipment (mass-production...). Yet Congress (in the pay of the insurance industry) OPPOSES it...

    Sen. Rockefeller is right, they are sharks, & the only people who DON'T agree are in Congress. The reason they're still IN Congress is because of the industry lobbyists... And the system will end up dumping the poorest & sickest onto the taxpayer, while the profitable (healthy) customers will be compelled to buy insurance... Can you say "AIG"? Can you say "Wall Street Bailout"? Can you say "Keating Five"? The thieves are running the country.

    For-profit health care is the problem, not the solution. How do you make money? Cutting costs or increasing use...both of which are bad for patients. Studies have shown outcomes in for-profit hospitals are worse.

    Sen. Rockefeller is right, they are sharks, & the only people who DON'T agree are in Congress. The reason they're still IN Congress is because of the industry lobbyists... And the system will end up dumping the poorest & sickest onto the taxpayer, while the profitable (healthy) customers will be compelled to buy insurance... Can you say "AIG"? Can you say "Wall Street Bailout"? Can you say "Keating Five"? The thieves are running the country.

    For-profit health care is the problem, not the solution. How do you make money? Cutting costs or increasing use...both of which are bad for patients. Studies have shown outcomes in for-profit hospitals are worse.

    Sen. Rockefeller is right, they are sharks, & the only people who DON'T agree are in Congress. The reason they're still IN Congress is because of the industry lobbyists... And the system will end up dumping the poorest & sickest onto the taxpayer, while the profitable (healthy) customers will be compelled to buy insurance... Can you say "AIG"? Can you say "Wall Street Bailout"? Can you say "Keating Five"? The thieves are running the country.

    Congress do NOT do SOMETHING!
    Congress do NOT do ANYTHING!

    Congress DO the RIGHT thing! That is what you were elected to do.

    Rep. say 'NO", but Obama said "NOT" to my Dem. primary, FL vote!

    Both 'parties' are DON'Ts!

    Vote 3rd party for the next election (2010,) so in 2012 the Presdential Candidates will pay attention to Mainstreet & compete for our vote rather than Against, Against, Against!

    Neither party represents The People! CHANGE is due, but it is back to REPRESENTATIVE government!

    Why should you get $12,000 in benefits and not have to declare it as income, yet, I have to pay for insurance from my income that had to be decalred as income? You are a hip-o-crat! That is a fat cat Rep. crossed with a Dem. You union Hip-o-crats!

    Billy Bob Florida

    Bring in the Single Payer option and out with the old buggy whip manufacturers, i.e. the health insurance companies.

    For-profit health insurance system does not work and is not cost effective, so lets bring in something that is, the Single Payer System.

    Bring back American captialism and let the insurance companies comptet with Single Payer.

    Americans always were the innovators of the world, so lets start acting like it again. Always go with the better idea!

    Dear Bill,
    Thank you for the information on the proposed health care reform, especially from Dr. Angell.
    I am grateful to you, your producer and staff plus your many guests who have collectively kept the American public informed. Before you step away, please pass the torch. We need a continued source for the unbiased, unvarnished and always interesting information that you make available to your audience. Thank you, Gene

    Dear Bill,
    Thank you for the information on the proposed health care reform, especially from Dr. Angell.
    I am grateful to you, your producer and staff plus your many guests who have collectively kept the American public informed. Before you step away, please pass the torch. We need a continued source for the unbiased, unvarnished and always interesting information that you make available to your audience. Thank you, Gene

    The US will never get single payer health care because greed and corruption are pre-existing conditions.

    Dr Marcia Angell is saying what I have been saying since this country finally started up the dialog once again and again and again. Single Payer Health Care for all! Stop demanding health insurance for some. Why should only 30 million get insurance, the fact is every person in this country is entitled to HEALTH CARE!!!,period. Thank You Bill, Barb Hansen

    Dr Marcia Angell is saying what I have been saying since this country finally started up the dialog once again and again and again. Single Payer Health Care for all! Stop demanding health insurance for some. Why should only 30 million get insurance, the fact is every person in this country is entitled to HEALTH CARE!!!,period. Thank You Bill, Barb Hansen

    Dr Marcia Angell is saying what I have been saying since this country finally started up the dialog once again and again and again. Single Payer Health Care for all! Stop demanding health insurance for some. Why should only 30 million get insurance, the fact is every person in this country is entitled to HEALTH CARE!!!,period. Thank You Bill, Barb Hansen

    Dear Bill,
    I just finished watching this week's Journal. After listening two both your experts I believe that President Obama should veto the proposed health care reform and come right back with Medicare for all. If that shocks the right, then implement it in stages, allowing those over 55 to join it, and every couple of years lower the age. My 91 year old father has been happy with his Medicare coverage, even though he has no supplemental health insurance. Medicare has worked well to control health care costs, except for the abomination of Part D, which capitulated to the Drug companies. The Medicare solution is already in place with its own bureaucracy to administer it, and every senior citizen loves it, even as they claim "don't let government get their hands on my Medicare".
    A simple solution, along with a few changes like government oversight of health insurance premiums, would go a long way to ending this problem. Of course the real solution is to get business out of the health care issue, just as every other developed country, except the U.S. has realized. Perhaps the only way other than the above to tackle this issue is to enact public finance of political campaigns, to keep the big money interests out of the political process.

    Dear Bill,
    I just finished watching this week's Journal. After listening two both your experts I believe that President Obama should veto the proposed health care reform and come right back with Medicare for all. If that shocks the right, then implement it in stages, allowing those over 55 to join it, and every couple of years lower the age. My 91 year old father has been happy with his Medicare coverage, even though he has no supplemental health insurance. Medicare has worked well to control health care costs, except for the abomination of Part D, which capitulated to the Drug companies. The Medicare solution is already in place with its own bureaucracy to administer it, and every senior citizen loves it, even as they claim "don't let government get their hands on my Medicare".
    A simple solution, along with a few changes like government oversight of health insurance premiums, would go a long way to ending this problem. Of course the real solution is to get business out of the health care issue, just as every other developed country, except the U.S. has realized. Perhaps the only way other than the above to tackle this issue is to enact public finance of political campaigns, to keep the big money interests out of the political process.

    Dear Bill,
    I just finished watching this week's Journal. After listening two both your experts I believe that President Obama should veto the proposed health care reform and come right back with Medicare for all. If that shocks the right, then implement it in stages, allowing those over 55 to join it, and every couple of years lower the age. My 91 year old father has been happy with his Medicare coverage, even though he has no supplemental health insurance. Medicare has worked well to control health care costs, except for the abomination of Part D, which capitulated to the Drug companies. The Medicare solution is already in place with its own bureaucracy to administer it, and every senior citizen loves it, even as they claim "don't let government get their hands on my Medicare".
    A simple solution, along with a few changes like government oversight of health insurance premiums, would go a long way to ending this problem. Of course the real solution is to get business out of the health care issue, just as every other developed country, except the U.S. has realized. Perhaps the only way other than the above to tackle this issue is to enact public finance of political campaigns, to keep the big money interests out of the political process.

    I supported President Obama and his ideas about Health Care. This Health Care bill does not have his ideas. It is there to support insurance companies. Get rid of it and do what is right for this nation. Congress members are more interested in being elected for another term. The Republicans are not good models for our children. They have made an open committment to never supporting the President of the United States. I will never vote for a Republican in my life. The Democrats better start taking leadership roles in this government.
    Obama needs to use his power to create the change he promised all of us.

    Mr. President......single payor system or our democracy goes further in the abyss.
    Risk defeat of this bill...start over, extend medicare step by step....this the american people can understand. Do not give in to special interests....they will attack you no matter what. There is no alternative to a single payor system. The private insurance
    supporters will profit at the expense of the american people. In health care this is unacceptable and reprehensible. We live in a for profit world ...do not sacrifice the citizens any longer with promises of better because in a private for profit system will not happen. Tank the current system and use your influence and power, Mr. President to get it right....a single payor system. Think of the poeople who are not as priviledged as our elected officials. Go back to your roots, Mr. President. Lose the fight but not the battle. Rally the democrats to start over....educate the american people with truth, honesty and integrity. Single payor for the masses and not a system for the few. Single payor will be a battle worth fighting. Do we survive as a democracy when all that matters in our society if wealth at the expense of all citizens, especially the least fortunate of all prevails. Please fight for single payor.
    Judy in Wauwatosa March 7, 2010

    Dr Angell thank you for some clear thinking on the Health Care matter. After over a year of political spin just glad for some clarity. All I know is that I use 2 doctors for my health care and neither support ObamaCare. My personal experience with socialized health care VA is not so high. Why will this president not listen to the people?
    Thank you again for giving me a better understanding of what really is on the table with this issue.

    The current health reform bill should be scrapped. Our health care system in unravelling so rapidly, that a crisis is coming. The current health bill will only make that crisis look like it was caused by health reform itself. Nope - I say drop it in its entirety. Within 5 years we will then have a single payer government-run system, which our societal/demographic structure requires that we have anyway.

    I would support the bill, if the public option were included. I currently have health insurance, paid for by my employer, but I am in favor of single-payer. I think health care for all is the right thing to do, the moral thing to do, the American thing to do. If we call ourselves a Christian nation, then why don't we act like it? I think having the public option is a step in the right direction, and then single-payer could come about in the future, once it's seen how the public option works out. I am currently very disappointed with the President and Congress for not fighting for what they know is the right thing to do.

    I would support the bill, if the public option were included. I currently have health insurance, paid for by my employer, but I am in favor of single-payer. I think health care for all is the right thing to do, the moral thing to do, the American thing to do. If we call ourselves a Christian nation, then why don't we act like it? I think having the public option is a step in the right direction, and then single-payer could come about in the future, once it's seen how the public option works out. I am currently very disappointed with the President and Congress for not fighting for what they know is the right thing to do.

    First of all, healthcare, as well as edeucation, are the priority services that should be provided to our country free of charge. Afterall, what are we paying our TAXES for? If they're not able to WORK for US, let's not "cut our credit cards and send them to congress," but instead simply tell them altogether "YOU'RE FIRED!" Let's not pay for the job that cannot be done right. This is the only way to take away power from them.

    I thought at first perhaps I could be convinced by Mr. Potter to be "realistic" and "practical." But Dr. Angell spoke directly to my progressive heart, and I have to say NO to the current versions of health insurance reform -- all of them. I am bitterly disappointed in President Obama, Senator Jay Rockefeller, and most of Congress for throwing away the universal single-payer option without giving it hearing or discussion in this process. The Republicans, conservatives, Chambers of Commerce, lobbyists and other vested interests have created a meaningless jumble of ineffective policy proposals that appear meant to fail because they don't solve the problems with our current health care delivery and insurance systems. I say NO to this mess. They should start over, with a universal single-payer health care plan (I call it "civilized medicine")as the only goal.

    I thought at first perhaps I could be convinced by Mr. Potter to be "realistic" and "practical." But Dr. Angell spoke directly to my progressive heart, and I have to say NO to the current versions of health insurance reform -- all of them. I am bitterly disappointed in President Obama, Senator Jay Rockefeller, and most of Congress for throwing away the universal single-payer option without giving it hearing or discussion in this process. The Republicans, conservatives, Chambers of Commerce, lobbyists and other vested interests have created a meaningless jumble of ineffective policy proposals that appear meant to fail because they don't solve the problems with our current health care delivery and insurance systems. I say NO to this mess. They should start over, with a universal single-payer health care plan (I call it "civilized medicine")as the only goal.

    Insurance Free

    Rather than insuring everyone, insurance should be removed from health care, and no one insured. The cost of health care would become affordable again by the simple process of supply and demand. The health care industry without insurance could only charge what patients can afford or they would be out of business. Without insurance perhaps even house calls would be practiced again. Imagine that!

    =
    MJA

    We must distinguish!
    I agree with your guest, Dr. Angell. We would make a mistake with the implementation of this present plan. But we are missing a very important distinction.
    We must clarify our thinking and differentiate between the freedom and rights of the health insurance companies and our national interest in wanting to provide health care for all Americans. These are two very different issues.
    The health insurance companies operate a very successful business. These companies are meeting their obligations and taking excellent care of the interest of their share holders. We should all be as successful as they are. We should afford them the same freedoms as we do to any successful business in our country. Our government may minimally regulate them to the same degree we regulate other industries. (auto, air travel, iron production, etc.). They should not be forced to insure all Americans. They should not be forced to accept clients with pre-existing conditions and they should be allowed to pay their executives whatever they feel to be appropriate. This is their company and the primary goal of these companies is to make money for their investors and they are totally successful at doing exactly that. They could be found legally negligent if they did not safeguard the interest of their share- holders. Very recently, we were made aware of the number of large companies that were completely reckless about their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders.

    The confusion is that we Americans want to provide available health care all Americans. Health care, not health insurance! And we can! It is not the responsibility of the insurance industry to insure all Americans. We already have in place a very successful, efficient, well functioning government financed health care system. This system is called MEDICARE. As a senior American, I have been fortunate to have Medicare and I am completely satisfied with the medical care that I have been afforded through Medicare. So, if we truly want to guarantee all Americans health care, we should establish our own healthcare system and provide our fellow Americans an opportunity to make use of this health care system. We should offer Medicare to all Americans. Arguments about the trillion dollar cost and budgets constraints are confusing and used to politicize the discussion. What Americans can understand and can relate to is “what would be the out of pocket expenses” for each American. If they are paying $14,000 for family health insurance, would their out of pocket expenses be the same or less? Would the health care system provide reasonable and better coverage then their present plan? I know that the answer to both the questions would be definitively yes! Funding for this system would be through similar monthly payments by all insured by this program. Amount of payment would be determined by the use of a sliding scale according to each person’s income and a ceiling or cap would also be established. Americans who could not afford payments would not be required to contribute. Eventually, we could do away with Medicaid and Veteran Services People would have an option and would be free to choose this program or stay with the insurance plan of their choice. The resourceful insurance industry can creatively decide how they want to respond to our extended Medicare plan. For instance, they can develop “Cadillac Plans” offering concierge doctor services, or their own private hospitals. They could establish the own pool of practitioners who would service only those insured by their policy.
    We as the voting public would be the owners of this plan. We would supervise the plan through our elected officials as opposed to the insurance companies deciding on the nature and conditions of the plans they offer.
    This United States Health Plan would not have any of the money making gimmicks of the insurance industries’ plans. Consider the fact that this past year the insurance industry produced 50 billion dollars in profit for their shareholders. If that that money was part of our Medicare plan, we could increase fees paid to our doctors, nurses and our hospitals or establish health centers though out the country. We would truly have the best health care system for all our fellow Americans.
    We always here the quote “Americans like their health care services they receive with their present insurance plans and they want to make sure they keep this service.” Again, the health care provided by our medical establishment is not the same as health insurance. America has the best health care system in the world. This has nothing to do with the effort of the insurance industry. In fact, the insurance industry’s practice of draining off their yearly profit (50 billion dollars) has had a constant adverse effect on our national health care system. Imagine where our health care system would be if we had these additional funds for research or developing specialized hospitals.
    Again health care for all Americans is an American responsibility and not the responsibility of the in insurance industry.
    Thanking you in advance for your important programming, as well as for considering my comments.

    I thought at first perhaps I could be convinced by Mr. Potter to be "realistic" and "practical." But Dr. Angell spoke directly to my progressive heart, and I have to say NO to the current versions of health insurance reform -- all of them. I am bitterly disappointed in President Obama, Senator Jay Rockefeller, and most of Congress for throwing away the universal single-payer option without giving it hearing or discussion in this process. The Republicans, conservatives, Chambers of Commerce, lobbyists and other vested interests have created a meaningless jumble of ineffective policy proposals that appear meant to fail because they don't solve the problems with our current health care delivery and insurance systems. I say NO to this mess. They should start over, with a universal single-payer health care plan (I call it "civilized medicine")as the only goal.

    We must distinguish!
    I agree with your guest, Dr. Angell. We would make a mistake with the implementation of this present plan. But we are missing a very important distinction.
    We must clarify our thinking and differentiate between the freedom and rights of the health insurance companies and our national interest in wanting to provide health care for all Americans. These are two very different issues.
    The health insurance companies operate a very successful business. These companies are meeting their obligations and taking excellent care of the interest of their share holders. We should all be as successful as they are. We should afford them the same freedoms as we do to any successful business in our country. Our government may minimally regulate them to the same degree we regulate other industries. (auto, air travel, iron production, etc.). They should not be forced to insure all Americans. They should not be forced to accept clients with pre-existing conditions and they should be allowed to pay their executives whatever they feel to be appropriate. This is their company and the primary goal of these companies is to make money for their investors and they are totally successful at doing exactly that. They could be found legally negligent if they did not safeguard the interest of their share- holders. Very recently, we were made aware of the number of large companies that were completely reckless about their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders.

    The confusion is that we Americans want to provide available health care all Americans. Health care, not health insurance! And we can! It is not the responsibility of the insurance industry to insure all Americans. We already have in place a very successful, efficient, well functioning government financed health care system. This system is called MEDICARE. As a senior American, I have been fortunate to have Medicare and I am completely satisfied with the medical care that I have been afforded through Medicare. So, if we truly want to guarantee all Americans health care, we should establish our own healthcare system and provide our fellow Americans an opportunity to make use of this health care system. We should offer Medicare to all Americans. Arguments about the trillion dollar cost and budgets constraints are confusing and used to politicize the discussion. What Americans can understand and can relate to is “what would be the out of pocket expenses” for each American. If they are paying $14,000 for family health insurance, would their out of pocket expenses be the same or less? Would the health care system provide reasonable and better coverage then their present plan? I know that the answer to both the questions would be definitively yes! Funding for this system would be through similar monthly payments by all insured by this program. Amount of payment would be determined by the use of a sliding scale according to each person’s income and a ceiling or cap would also be established. Americans who could not afford payments would not be required to contribute. Eventually, we could do away with Medicaid and Veteran Services People would have an option and would be free to choose this program or stay with the insurance plan of their choice. The resourceful insurance industry can creatively decide how they want to respond to our extended Medicare plan. For instance, they can develop “Cadillac Plans” offering concierge doctor services, or their own private hospitals. They could establish the own pool of practitioners who would service only those insured by their policy.
    We as the voting public would be the owners of this plan. We would supervise the plan through our elected officials as opposed to the insurance companies deciding on the nature and conditions of the plans they offer.
    This United States Health Plan would not have any of the money making gimmicks of the insurance industries’ plans. Consider the fact that this past year the insurance industry produced 50 billion dollars in profit for their shareholders. If that that money was part of our Medicare plan, we could increase fees paid to our doctors, nurses and our hospitals or establish health centers though out the country. We would truly have the best health care system for all our fellow Americans.
    We always here the quote “Americans like their health care services they receive with their present insurance plans and they want to make sure they keep this service.” Again, the health care provided by our medical establishment is not the same as health insurance. America has the best health care system in the world. This has nothing to do with the effort of the insurance industry. In fact, the insurance industry’s practice of draining off their yearly profit (50 billion dollars) has had a constant adverse effect on our national health care system. Imagine where our health care system would be if we had these additional funds for research or developing specialized hospitals.
    Again health care for all Americans is an American responsibility and not the responsibility of the in insurance industry.
    Thanking you in advance for your important programming, as well as for considering my comments.

    We must distinguish!
    I agree with your guest, Dr. Angell. We would make a mistake with the implementation of this present plan. But we are missing a very important distinction.
    We must clarify our thinking and differentiate between the freedom and rights of the health insurance companies and our national interest in wanting to provide health care for all Americans. These are two very different issues.
    The health insurance companies operate a very successful business. These companies are meeting their obligations and taking excellent care of the interest of their share holders. We should all be as successful as they are. We should afford them the same freedoms as we do to any successful business in our country. Our government may minimally regulate them to the same degree we regulate other industries. (auto, air travel, iron production, etc.). They should not be forced to insure all Americans. They should not be forced to accept clients with pre-existing conditions and they should be allowed to pay their executives whatever they feel to be appropriate. This is their company and the primary goal of these companies is to make money for their investors and they are totally successful at doing exactly that. They could be found legally negligent if they did not safeguard the interest of their share- holders. Very recently, we were made aware of the number of large companies that were completely reckless about their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders.

    The confusion is that we Americans want to provide available health care all Americans. Health care, not health insurance! And we can! It is not the responsibility of the insurance industry to insure all Americans. We already have in place a very successful, efficient, well functioning government financed health care system. This system is called MEDICARE. As a senior American, I have been fortunate to have Medicare and I am completely satisfied with the medical care that I have been afforded through Medicare. So, if we truly want to guarantee all Americans health care, we should establish our own healthcare system and provide our fellow Americans an opportunity to make use of this health care system. We should offer Medicare to all Americans. Arguments about the trillion dollar cost and budgets constraints are confusing and used to politicize the discussion. What Americans can understand and can relate to is “what would be the out of pocket expenses” for each American. If they are paying $14,000 for family health insurance, would their out of pocket expenses be the same or less? Would the health care system provide reasonable and better coverage then their present plan? I know that the answer to both the questions would be definitively yes! Funding for this system would be through similar monthly payments by all insured by this program. Amount of payment would be determined by the use of a sliding scale according to each person’s income and a ceiling or cap would also be established. Americans who could not afford payments would not be required to contribute. Eventually, we could do away with Medicaid and Veteran Services People would have an option and would be free to choose this program or stay with the insurance plan of their choice. The resourceful insurance industry can creatively decide how they want to respond to our extended Medicare plan. For instance, they can develop “Cadillac Plans” offering concierge doctor services, or their own private hospitals. They could establish the own pool of practitioners who would service only those insured by their policy.
    We as the voting public would be the owners of this plan. We would supervise the plan through our elected officials as opposed to the insurance companies deciding on the nature and conditions of the plans they offer.
    This United States Health Plan would not have any of the money making gimmicks of the insurance industries’ plans. Consider the fact that this past year the insurance industry produced 50 billion dollars in profit for their shareholders. If that that money was part of our Medicare plan, we could increase fees paid to our doctors, nurses and our hospitals or establish health centers though out the country. We would truly have the best health care system for all our fellow Americans.
    We always here the quote “Americans like their health care services they receive with their present insurance plans and they want to make sure they keep this service.” Again, the health care provided by our medical establishment is not the same as health insurance. America has the best health care system in the world. This has nothing to do with the effort of the insurance industry. In fact, the insurance industry’s practice of draining off their yearly profit (50 billion dollars) has had a constant adverse effect on our national health care system. Imagine where our health care system would be if we had these additional funds for research or developing specialized hospitals.
    Again health care for all Americans is an American responsibility and not the responsibility of the in insurance industry.
    Thanking you in advance for your important programming, as well as for considering my comments.

    The Health Care Cartel has won with this health care bill bought and paid for with the $500 Million they poured into the US Senate and Congress. I think both of your guests are right. The American people need to stop the Price Fixing for Profit by the Health Care Cartels via the monopoly they enjoy. Our economy driven by For Profit will kill the goose. If I was a young family, not being able to afford $1400 a month health insurance plus $hundreds out of pocket monthly or if I have no health care insurance at all, and see the Social Security and Medicare tax deduction on my paycheck, to pay for the old people over age 65 and disabled under ager 65, how long do you think he needs to continue to pay for the Old people when he cannot get health care for his family?
    I support passing the el stinko bill, then work to get Universal Health Care. At least we have finally defeated the Health Care Cartel and got something, BUT, we need to get the single payer option, and not rest til we do.

    William Vang, car insurance is different from what the politicians propose. I don't have to drive and don't have to buy car insurance. What they propose is, if I breath I am forced to buy their product.

    And Dave Ginter...you can't be serious with your thoughts? Do you honestly think politicians are working for our best interests? I mean come on, you are really delusional if you think so. You must also believe Jesus was born on Dec 25??


    I agree with Dr. Angell at every point except her conclusion. She said that the current health-care bill should die, because it cannot work and will poison the prospects for genuine reform for years longer. But I believe that once Congress passes this bill, it announces itself as determined to fix the health-care system.

    The difference is that acting now on the impulse to reform -- even if tentative or counterproductive -- puts every stakeholder on notice that the status quo of rising costs, withheld medical care, less access and scandalous price gouging is unacceptable and will be fired in the forge of repeated legislation until its impurities burn away and we all get equal protection under the law.

    I look at the requirement that everyone has to purchase Health Insurance or be fined as avery bad idea. We can compare this too the Auto insurance industry which pushed the states into making the same requirement that you have to buy Auto Insurance or be fined while claiming that it would result in lower cost's which as we all know was not true. Instead we got higher insurance cost's that they say are because they have more insurance claims. All this does is give them more of our income for less care and increased premiums in the near future.

    Thank You Bill Moyer!
    I too beleive that Dr. Angell is right and that we need a National Health System for ALL. Why can't the U.S. health care system have the same care for all like Canada, and U.K., and Japan, and Germany!
    My fear is that the Rep's will be having a hay day with this bill, and nothing will be done. Thank you.

    Health Care is a right not a privledge. I have health coverage that is substandard with a high deductable and a lifetime limit on benefits. The Health Care Companies are snakes and they profit from
    denying people benefits and needed care. I do not think that any company should be paying such high salaries and perks to executives by profiteering. No one should profit from a basic human right. We need single payer health care and we need to abolish profits in the health care industry. Let them earn a living wage but not a wage that profits from the death of others.

    The problem with health care in U.S. is that most of our current public servants are more interested in serving themselves than serving their constituents. There is no need to pretend to have to re-invent the wheel here. Simply model the U.S. health care system after the ones in Canada, and U.K., and Japan, and Germany! Thank you.

    Why the president and congress didn't inclue or get people like Dr. Angell to drafting the healthcare reform bill? Furthermore, since the healthcare system is for profit, why a competition is so limited to a few companies?

    What are we going to do without you Bill?
    This week's Journal brought the trouble with the President's health care bill into sharp focus. It is clear, and Dr. Angell shone a bright light on this, that health insurance doesn't equal health care, as long as the rapacious health insurers are in the drivers seat, which they are in this bill. My experience is a perfect case in point. I had health insurance for years, but ultimately, as my share of cost went higher with higher premiums and necessarily higher deductibles, I couldn't afford to use it. Finally, unable to pay out of pocket for needed and expensive diagnostic tests, I nearly died. At the last minute, after qualifying for government sponsored insurance, I got the needed tests only to find that without emergency surgery I would die. This is the problem with Obama's plan. More and more people would be forced to buy policies like I had....policies that, despite taxpayer subsidies, would become ever more expensive and that they couldn't afford to use. The word "extortion" comes to mind.
    If President Obama and the democrats really care about the American people's pain they should hire Dr. Angell to advise their next steps if the bill goes down to the defeat it deserves.

    Dr. Angell may represent a closer view to what is right and reflect more closely my view of what health care should be, but Mr. potter's logic and more realistic view of the American political system has leaned my opinion toward passing a flawed health plan bill is far better than simly "hoping" for something perfect eventually. If I were to simply base my decision on the arguments of your last to quests, I would say yes on whatever the current health care bill contains over no change at all.

    Interesting to see all the individuals asking to scrap the current health legislation. I'm sorry, but if the Democrats could remotely pass a Medicare for All plan, don't you think the President, Speaker, and Leader would have pushed for it? Do you really think they opted for this watered-down, shell of health insurance reform, if they thought they could pass a stronger reform bill? Please. Wake up and unite, Democrats! If you give away this opportunity to get a national health insurance plan passed, you can say goodbye to another shot for over seven years. Get this plan enacted, then we can improve upon it. For those who think we should allow health care to become more costly and more dire for those who are uninsured and under-insured, stop being so selfish. There are 30 million people who will have a shot at regular health care who don't currently have any. I call upon you to unite and get something passed (in light of the resistance we're getting from our own DINOs), so we can demonstrate that Democrats can pass substantial, beneficial legislation. Yes, it's not nearly adequate, but it's better than what we have. Unite, Democrats!

    I'm with Wendell. Is there anything in the bill to preclude a nonprofit insurance company competing in the marketplace?
    "Having read T.R. Reid's The Healing of America," I would like to see our country join other developed nations with universal health care. Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus posits that innovative, well-designed social businesses might be able to offer coverage to our uninsured. His book "Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism," is worth a read. When the founder of Grameen Bank offers ideas for helping our failing health care system, we have reached a tipping point.

    Your program is the best.
    But nobody seems to talk about the structural problem that is the core. California has 12% of the people in this country and two senators. Another 22 states have 12% and they have 44 votes. Plus the 60% filibuster. That enables a very small % to control this country. Health care is an example of our moral bankruptcy.

    Dr. Angell is correct, health care should be taken out of the for-profit arena. A Medicare-for-all approach really addresses the core conflicting interests of shareholders and customers. In a retail capitalist marketplace, we are allowed to directly vote with our dollars for the best value.Unfortunately, In the retail health care marketplace, we vote for legislators who are heavily influenced by PAC money to make decisions based on their need to be re-elected.
    It knocks the wind out of my soul to agree with Republicans who oppose this Bill, but Dr. Angell makes a strong point that without universal Medicare, opportunities to ever reel in overall costs may be lost.
    Politically, universal Medicare probably has as much chance of success as getting Steve Forbes to join the Progressive movement! But hope, like greed and avarice, springs eternal...

    Thank goodness for Bill Moyers Journal.

    I agree with Dr. Angell.

    Folks who fear subsidized health care should wake up to the fact that we currently paying for more than half of the U.S. health care tab. And it's the most expensive half.

    US taxpayers, are already subsidizing the private health insurance industry, because all of the public health care expenditures--DOD, VA, Medicare, Medicaid--pay for the most expensive sector of our citizenry. The private insurers reap the benefits of only covering the most profitable demographic.

    Any proposed reform that leaves private insurers in the driver's seat will continue to drag our economy down further.

    Dear Bill,

    Enjoyed your thorough and incisive interviews with Wendell Potter and Marcia Angell.

    There is a very important, perhaps the most important question about the Health Care Reform Legislation which has gone unanswered. It also did not come up in your interviews.

    In the proposed Health Care Reform bills, major benefits including pre-ex ban, subsidies and exchanges etc do not come into play until 2013 / 2014. Apparently all the tears being shed by the President and the Democratic Hill dwellers about the 45000 Americans dying every year are at best crocodile tears. I would imagine that for this tragedy which is equal to 15 911's in human toll every year, President would have declared a National Emergency to put an end to these needless deaths right away.

    How can these compassionate Democrats, accusing Republicans of being heartless, watch 200,000 more die waiting for 2013/2014? If the postponement of major benefits is a budget trick, it is a cynical political calculation to show President's fiscal awareness. Declaring a 900B limit appears sheer hypocrisy. Should he not be talking to all his Cabinet Secretaries, especially Secretary Gates with his Generals, to pony up cuts to take care of this Emergency? It is pure horse manure to claim it will take 4 years to set up. If we are committed to take much better care of the next Katrina, it makes no sense not to treat this Health Care catastrophe at the same alert level if not higher.

    I hope you can discuss this issue with your guests of this week or any other HCR experts. I hope you can also get some straight answers from the administration.

    Thank you.

    Yours Sincerely,
    Arvind Agrawal
    510-371-5153

    Bill, like many of your programs, this one rank one of your best and timely too. I agree with Dr. Marcia Angell, let this Health Care Bill die. Even if it bring down Obama and the rest of the Democrat's crooks. Let the Republican regain both Houses of Congress and the Presidency. Maybe, in 2016 elections we may see Third Party in Congress not related to Corporate America, Wall Streets and Lobbyists. So long we have tax cheaters, and ex-Wall street bankers in government, there will be no change and GREED will prevail. I believe in single-payer health care and no one should make profit from Health care and Education.

    I am sad to see you leave PBS and I hope you will pay us regular visits with eyes’ opener programs. I wish I could donate to PBS. I will be walking out my house shortly and also cancel my SS Medicare, I no longer can afford them.
    As an American, I have to find a place where my meager Social Security can sustain me.

    Due to the fact that Congress aleady has the benefit of a 'socialized medical plan,' one that is paid for by the taxpayers and that they will have forever and ever may seen to be irrevelent, but it is a definite 'conflict of interest' for them to deny the same benefits for their constituents. For them to even discuss anything else is a direct insult to all citizens of this country. For them to vote for anything but the same plan and care that they receive is a disgrace. I do not know how any one of these congressional persons can go back to their own districts and explain to the folks that they are so sorry but their hands are tied except for receiving the fabulous sums of money they are receiving from the lobbyists.

    Due to the fact that Congress aleady has the benefit of a 'socialized medical plan,' one that is paid for by the taxpayers and that they will have forever and ever may seen to be irrevelent, but it is a definite 'conflict of interest' for them to deny the same benefits for their constituents. For them to even discuss anything else is a direct insult to all citizens of this country. For them to vote for anything but the same plan and care that they receive is a disgrace. I do not know how any one of these congressional persons can go back to their own districts and explain to the folks that they are so sorry but their hands are tied except for receiving the fabulous sums of money they are receiving from the lobbyists.

    Due to the fact that Congress aleady has the benefit of a 'socialized medical plan,' one that is paid for by the taxpayers and that they will have forever and ever may seen to be irrevelent, but it is a definite 'conflict of interest' for them to deny the same benefits for their constituents. For them to even discuss anything else is a direct insult to all citizens of this country. For them to vote for anything but the same plan and care that they receive is a disgrace. I do not know how any one of these congressional persons can go back to their own districts and explain to the folks that they are so sorry but their hands are tied except for receiving the fabulous sums of money they are receiving from the lobbyists.

    Due to the fact that Congress aleady has the benefit of a 'socialized medical plan,' one that is paid for by the taxpayers and that they will have forever and ever may seen to be irrevelent, but it is a definite 'conflict of interest' for them to deny the same benefits for their constituents. For them to even discuss anything else is a direct insult to all citizens of this country. For them to vote for anything but the same plan and care that they receive is a disgrace. I do not know how any one of these congressional persons can go back to their own districts and explain to the folks that they are so sorry but their hands are tied except for receiving the fabulous sums of money they are receiving from the lobbyists.

    Liberals fail because they can’t see the forest for the trees. I want a single payer plan, or even a public option, but folks let’s face it, it’s not going to happen in this country at this time. Get real. For crying out loud we hardly have the votes for this bill. Where the hell are you going to find them for a single payer plan? Let’s follow Wendell Potter’s advise and get what we can now and work towards more in the future by helping more progressives get elected into office, especially in the senate. Let’s stayed focused on what can really happen, not what should happen in a perfect world.

    Liberals fail because they can’t see the forest for the trees. I want a single payer plan, or even a public option, but folks let’s face it, it’s not going to happen in this country at this time. Get real. For crying out loud we hardly have the votes for this bill. Where the hell are you going to find them for a single payer plan? Let’s follow Wendell Potter’s advise and get what we can now and work towards more in the future by helping more progressives get elected into office, especially in the senate. Let’s stayed focused on what can really happen, not what should happen in a perfect world.

    Mr. Potter claims the legislation provides for regulation by the HHS. With industry money continuing to pour into campaigns and lobbying, how effective will institutional oversight really be?

    Remember, the Justice Dept. has an anti-trust division? For the last 25 years or so, how well has that been working for us?

    I say, kill the "dawg that won't hunt" and start over.

    Mr. Potter claims the legislation provides for regulation by the HHS. With industry money continuing to pour into campaigns and lobbying, how effective will institutional oversight really be?

    Remember, the Justice Dept. has an anti-trust division? For the last 25 years or so, how well has that been working for us?

    I say, kill the "dawg that won't hunt" and start over.

    I don't know if there's a website glitch- but people you only need to push the post button once. Your messege will go through!. Don in Seattle and several others have their messege up here 6 or 7 times. Ping ping the PBS server seems to be slow.

    I don't know if there's a website glitch- but people you only need to push the post button once. Your messege will go through!. Don in Seattle and several others have their messege up here 6 or 7 times.

    Thank you Bill. This week's Journal brought the trouble with the President's health care bill into sharp focus. Having fought along with the progressive net roots for real reform and the public option, it is sadly very clear at this point, and Dr. Angell shone a bright light on this, that health insurance doesn't equal health care as long as the rapacious health insurers are in the drivers seat. My experience is a perfect case in point. I had health insurance for years, but ultimately, as my share of cost went higher with higher premiums and necessarily higher deductibles, I couldn't afford to use it. Finally, unable to pay out of pocket for needed and expensive diagnostic tests, I nearly died. At the last minute, after qualifying for government sponsored insurance, I got the needed tests only to find that without emergency surgery I would die. This is the problem with Obama's plan. More and more people would be forced to buy policies like I had....policies that, even with subsidies, would be ever more expensive and that they couldn't afford to use, putting their lives in jeopardy.
    President Obama and the democrats should hire Dr. Angell to advise their next steps if the bill goes down to the defeat it deserves.

    Drop the bill. I was all for the one payee system. But the money of the insurance companies have pushed their way in there. Forceing us to pay for insurance will do exactly what it did for auto owners.The rates skyrocketed and coverage is harder to get. Most companies one accident and you're dropped or your rates increase. The same will happen with health insurance. I know that on my last job I had insurance, but I couldn't afford to go to the doctor because the deductible was so high. So they had the premiums that my boss and I had paid and never had to pay out a cent. I'm on medicare now and still can't afford good care because tests are so expensive. I had tests in November and am still paying for them and need more before I can get a diagnosis. We need preventive medicine and rehab plans. That won't come as long as the insurance companies are controling things. It's going to be just as messed up as our plan D is.Just start over again and keep the bribes out.

    Dr. Angell is correct, health care should be taken out of the for-profit arena. A Medicare-for-all approach really addresses the core conflicting interests of shareholders and customers. In a retail capitalist marketplace, we are allowed to directly vote with our dollars for the best value.Unfortunately, In the retail health care marketplace, we vote for legislators who are heavily influenced by PAC money to make decisions based on their need to be re-elected.
    It knocks the wind out of my soul to agree with Republicans who oppose this Bill, but Dr. Angell makes a strong point that without universal Medicare, opportunities to ever reel in overall costs may be lost.
    Politically, universal Medicare probably has as much chance of success as getting Steve Forbes to join the Progressive movement! But hope, like greed and avarice, springs eternal...

    I agree fully with Dr. Angell: Health care reform without a Public Option is no reform and if passed, will only benefit the for profit Insurance companies. We are better oo without a bill at this time and not have the world think, we have a reform bill. My friends in Germany, Canada and the rest of Europe never worry about health insurance. For them it is a no-issue: It is just there when they need it.

    I agree fully with Dr. Angell: Health care reform without a Public Option is no reform and if passed, will only benefit the for profit Insurance companies. We are better oo without a bill at this time and not have the world think, we have a reform bill. My friends in Germany, Canada and the rest of Europe never worry about health insurance. For them it is a no-issue: It is just there when they need it.

    Before ANY desirable outcome for healthcare can be enacted (I do want a single payer system), we must have a disconnect between congresspersons and corporate bribery. It's just silly to expect desirable social legislation from corrupted legislators.

    Drilling down to discover where to respond to this issue was a chore.

    Before ANY desirable outcome for healthcare can be enacted (I do want a single payer system), we must have a disconnect between congresspersons and corporate bribery. It's just silly to expect desirable social legislation from corrupted legislators.

    Count me among the people who have been hoping and working for a good health care bill.

    Now count me, along with Dr. Angel, as one of the people working to make this current bill fail.

    Thank you, Bill, for helping me make up my mind to try and torpedo the current health care 'solution' before the congress. Even if all this results in a Democratic loss in November - somewhat well deserved, based on what they have accomplished since 2006 - I think the message that using the current private system to insure all of us is unacceptable must be sent to the President and all members of congress.

    I just viewed this week's program on the debacle we called health care reform online. To me, this is an health insurance boon and a political boondoggle. I fully agree with the good doctor. Her case was strong, her analysis accurate, and her solution appropriate. This bill should fail and we, as a nation, should insist on Medicare for All. Get profit out of health care because, if we don't, we will lose more than money. All that said, after 50 years of watching the political process in this country, it has become absolutely clear to me that our three branches have failed our founders' vision. This is not a nation by, for and of the People. It is an oligarchy by, for and of the corporatocracy. All we have to do is look at the recent SCOTUS decision on Citizens United, the funding and lobbying of Congress and the back room deals between the White House and Phrma and the health insurance industry. You'd have to be blind or a neocon to miss what's obvious.

    Dear Bill,

    Enjoyed your thorough and incisive interviews with Wendell Potter and Marcia Angell.

    There is a very important, perhaps most important question about the Health Care Reform Legislation which has gone unanswered. I have received comments of concurrence, anger and sorrow on Facebook, but I am surprised why this issue is not being raised by prominent activists and the liberal media.

    I am hoping you can discuss this issue with your guests of this week or any other HCR experts. I will just include my Facebook post on this issue after the letter.

    Hoping this question reaches you and you do the needful.

    Yours Sincerely,
    Arvind Agrawal
    510-371-5153
    ___________________________________________________

    Shall we watch 200,000 Americans die right in front of our eyes?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    There is one HCR challenge which is answered and under-reported in the media. It has been bothering me because the issue appears to be the most important of all.

    In the proposed Health Care Reform bills, subsidies and exchanges etc do not come into play until 2013 / 2014. Apparently all the tears being shed by President and the Democratic Hill dwellers about the 45000 Americans dying every year are at best crocodile tears. I would imagine that for this tragedy which is equal to 15 911's in human toll, President would have declared a National Emergency to stop these deaths immediately.

    How can these compassionate Democrats, accusing Republicans of being heartless, watch 200,000 more die waiting for 2013/2014? If this is a budget trick, it is a cynical political calculation to show President's fiscal awareness. Declaring a 900B limit appears sheer hypocrisy. Should he not be talking to all his Cabinet Secretaries, especially Secretary Gates with his Generals, to pony up cuts to take care of this Emergency? It is pure horse manure to claim it will take 4 years to set up. If we are committed to take much better care of the next Katrina, it makes no sense not to treat this Health Care catastrophe at the same alert level if not higher.

    I am also surprised that MSM is not raising hell on a daily basis. Anderson Cooper should be standing next to a few of the dying, instead of the drama of braving high winds and rain. Most surprising is that us progressive activists and bloggers have also overlooked this heart wrenching situation.

    Should we not be talking about this as issue #1 ahead of all others?

    Let's expand on Senator Rockefeller's rapacious shark analogy.

    He says, health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim below the surface of the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of the tanks.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It's a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can reach safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this.

    It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    The healthcare reform bill will stop insurance companies from raising premiums and will provide healthcare for all. As it is now, if you don't have insurance you don't get healthcare treatment unless there's a county hospital, free clinic or you are a child. Insurance companies employ thousands and a percentage of profits go for claim payments and employee wages. The insurance companies charge high premiums by age and where you live already, depending on the risk factors. There is insurance provided for health, life, auto and homeowners to pay expenses when needed, not at 100% but whatever coverage you have. People spend money on alcohol, smoking and cell phones.... but will not bargain for insurances.
    People don't go for medical, dental or preventive healthcare until the conditions are life threatening or emergency.
    There's accidental injuries happening everyday, from car wrecks to skiing and we have to have insurance companies to pay these medical bills or cash. I want the Health Reform Bill passed and very soon.

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    I would like to make a formal complaint to CIGNA HEALTH INSURANCE.
    The reason I am writing is their website asks customers to report Abuse or Fraud. They are the worst as far as Abuse due to the type of mail I received yesterday. It was a bright shiny green envelope 9.5" x 6" made from heavy stock paper. Inside was two pages on this same type paper informing us we could save money by using the 90 day medicine delivery service to save money. We have already received letters giving us this option and thrown them away because this type of service doesn't work for us. I can't imagine how much this envelope cost to have printed and mailed to every customer. WASTEFUL SPENDING that is driving our premiums up and taking away from important procedures people need and getting rejected to cut costs. A procedure is a lot more important then this mail out. To me they have their priorities out of order.
    Our School Board Switched to Cigna as of November 2009 (with no other option to choose)caused an increase of $200.00 per month for me and my wife. Our premiums are $1200.00 per month, with higher out of pocket expenses on every level.
    I retired last year after teaching 35 years at an inner city school in South Florida and we had to buy our own supplies to help the children. I was a Professional, went to college and got my Master's degree and still had to work 3 jobs to make ends meet. Now I'm too young for Social Security or Medicare and paying a high price for insurance when I will need it the most. I WANT THE SAME BENEFITS CONGRESS RECEIVES WHEN THEY RETIRE. I HAD TO LIVE UP TO A HIGH STANDARD OF ETHICS AS A TEACHER AND NEVER RECEIVED ANY PERKS.
    What I see in Washington DC is disgusting with no ethical standards and over abundance of corruption. They DO NOT DESERVE my hard earned money to do with as they please. This one piece of mail made me realize I had to speak up even though it is a little issue that no one probably cares about.
    Thank you to anyone who read this.

    Health care is complicated and expensive. Insurance only adds expense and complexity.GET RID OF 'EM!
    American Medicare for all!

    The math is simple. A large pool spreads the risk across
    all citizens, -and often overlooked-over a lifetime. I had colon cancer and after all was suffered and done...
    I paid in premiums from '92 to '02 more than the insurance had to pay for the treatment. And all the billing was so complicated-I did not figure out the bottom line until months after recovery.
    So get rid of that piece-the math works.

    Also we don't need a choice of plans. We have one human body. We need one plan that covers illness and injury. This "choice of plans" is useless, complex poppycock.

    Let the NIH and citizens attend to the real complex choices having to to with the constellation of issues of treatment for the myriad of conditions we humans are subject to.

    Take the data entry workers from the insurance companies and put them to work on longitudinal and demographic data collection for real time drug and procedure studies.

    GET THE MONEY OUT OF WASHINGTON! CHANGE CONGRESS.

    Dr. Angell's negative position is misleading. The healthcare reform bill will stop insurance companies from raising premiums and will provide healthcare for all. As it is now, if you don't have insurance you don't get healthcare treatment unless there's a county hospital, free clinic or you are a child. Insurance companies employ thousands and a percentage of profits go for claim payments and employee wages. The insurance companies charge high premiums by age and where you live already, depending on your risk factors. There is insurance provided for health, life, auto and homeowners to pay expenses when needed, not at 100% but whatever coverage you have. People spend money on alcohol, drugs, smoking, cars and cell phones.... but will not bargain for insurances.
    People will not go for medical, dental or preventive healthcare until the conditions are life threatening or emergency.
    There's accidental injuries happening, from car wrecks to skiing and we have to have insurance companies to pay these medical bills or cash. I want the Health Reform Bill passed and very soon.

    I would like to make a formal complaint to CIGNA HEALTH INSURANCE.
    The reason I am writing is their website asks customers to report Abuse or Fraud. They are the worst as far as Abuse due to the type of mail I received yesterday. It was a bright shiny green envelope 9.5" x 6" made from heavy stock paper. Inside was two pages on this same type paper informing us we could save money by using the 90 day medicine delivery service to save money. We have already received letters giving us this option and thrown them away because this type of service doesn't work for us. I can't imagine how much this envelope cost to have printed and mailed to every customer. WASTEFUL SPENDING that is driving our premiums up and taking away from important procedures people need and getting rejected to cut costs. A procedure is a lot more important then this mail out. To me they have their priorities out of order.
    Our School Board Switched to Cigna as of November 2009 (with no other option to choose)caused an increase of $200.00 per month for me and my wife. Our premiums are $1200.00 per month, with higher out of pocket expenses on every level.
    I retired last year after teaching 35 years at an inner city school in South Florida and we had to buy our own supplies to help the children. I was a Professional, went to college and got my Master's degree and still had to work 3 jobs to make ends meet. Now I'm too young for Social Security or Medicare and paying a high price for insurance when I will need it the most. I WANT THE SAME BENEFITS CONGRESS RECEIVES WHEN THEY RETIRE. I HAD TO LIVE UP TO A HIGH STANDARD OF ETHICS AS A TEACHER AND NEVER RECEIVED ANY PERKS.
    What I see in Washington DC is disgusting with no ethical standards and over abundance of corruption. They DO NOT DESERVE my hard earned money to do with as they please. This one piece of mail made me realize I had to speak up even though it is a little issue that no one probably cares about.
    Thank you to anyone who read this.

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    Health care is complicated and expensive. Insurance only adds expense and complexity.GET RID OF 'EM!
    American Medicare for all!

    The math is simple. A large pool spreads the risk across
    all citizens, -and often overlooked-over a lifetime. I had colon cancer and after all was suffered and done...
    I paid in premiums from '92 to '02 more than the insurance had to pay for the treatment. And all the billing was so complicated-I did not figure out the bottom line until months after recovery.
    So get rid of that piece-the math works.

    Also we don't need a choice of plans. We have one human body. We need one plan that covers illness and injury. This "choice of plans" is useless, complex poppycock.

    Let the NIH and citizens attend to the real complex choices having to to with the constellation of issues of treatment for the myriad of conditions we humans are subject to.

    Take the data entry workers from the insurance companies and put them to work on longitudinal and demographic data collection for real time drug and procedure studies.

    GET THE MONEY OUT OF WASHINGTON! CHANGE CONGRESS.

    I would like to make a formal complaint to CIGNA HEALTH INSURANCE.
    The reason I am writing is their website asks customers to report Abuse or Fraud. They are the worst as far as Abuse due to the type of mail I received yesterday. It was a bright shiny green envelope 9.5" x 6" made from heavy stock paper. Inside was two pages on this same type paper informing us we could save money by using the 90 day medicine delivery service to save money. We have already received letters giving us this option and thrown them away because this type of service doesn't work for us. I can't imagine how much this envelope cost to have printed and mailed to every customer. WASTEFUL SPENDING that is driving our premiums up and taking away from important procedures people need and getting rejected to cut costs. A procedure is a lot more important then this mail out. To me they have their priorities out of order.
    Our School Board Switched to Cigna as of November 2009 (with no other option to choose)caused an increase of $200.00 per month for me and my wife. Our premiums are $1200.00 per month, with higher out of pocket expenses on every level.
    I retired last year after teaching 35 years at an inner city school in South Florida and we had to buy our own supplies to help the children. I was a Professional, went to college and got my Master's degree and still had to work 3 jobs to make ends meet. Now I'm too young for Social Security or Medicare and paying a high price for insurance when I will need it the most. I WANT THE SAME BENEFITS CONGRESS RECEIVES WHEN THEY RETIRE. I HAD TO LIVE UP TO A HIGH STANDARD OF ETHICS AS A TEACHER AND NEVER RECEIVED ANY PERKS.
    What I see in Washington DC is disgusting with no ethical standards and over abundance of corruption. They DO NOT DESERVE my hard earned money to do with as they please. This one piece of mail made me realize I had to speak up even though it is a little issue that no one probably cares about.
    Thank you to anyone who read this.

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    Health care is complicated and expensive. Insurance only adds expense and complexity.GET RID OF 'EM!
    American Medicare for all!

    The math is simple. A large pool spreads the risk across
    all citizens, -and often overlooked-over a lifetime. I had colon cancer and after all was suffered and done...
    I paid in premiums from '92 to '02 more than the insurance had to pay for the treatment. And all the billing was so complicated-I did not figure out the bottom line until months after recovery.
    So get rid of that piece-the math works.

    Also we don't need a choice of plans. We have one human body. We need one plan that covers illness and injury. This "choice of plans" is useless, complex poppycock.

    Let the NIH and citizens attend to the real complex choices having to to with the constellation of issues of treatment for the myriad of conditions we humans are subject to.

    Take the data entry workers from the insurance companies and put them to work on longitudinal and demographic data collection for real time drug and procedure studies.

    GET THE MONEY OUT OF WASHINGTON! CHANGE CONGRESS.

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    Dr. Angell's negative position is misleading. The healthcare reform bill will stop insurance companies from raising premiums and will provide healthcare for all. As it is now, if you don't have insurance you don't get healthcare treatment unless there's a county hospital, free clinic or you are a child. Insurance companies employ thousands and a percentage of profits go for claim payments and employee wages. The insurance companies charge high premiums by age and where you live already, depending on the risk factors. There is insurance provided for health, life, auto and homeowners to pay expenses when needed, not at 100% but whatever coverage you have. People spend money on alcohol, drugs, smoking, cars and cell phones.... but will not bargain for insurances.
    People will not go for medical, dental or preventive healthcare until the conditions are life threatening or emergency.
    There's accidental injuries happening, from car wrecks to skiing and we have to have insurance companies to pay these medical bills or cash. I want the Health Reform Bill passed and very soon.

    I agree with Potter. Of course the bill is flawed...what bill isn't? If we wait for the perfect measure NOTHING will be done. I agree with Obama that we need to pass what we can to start reform NOW. Then we can work on the next steps. Sure, I'm for single payer, a public option, too, but it's not going to happen now. It's been presented, argued for, and dismissed several times. How many months of wrangling does it take to convince these people?
    Dr. Angell didn't answer your question about what she would propose DIFFERENT from what's already been rejected. And she was supercilious throughout. Get real.

    - How about NOT the proposed, wretched, corrupted, Kafkaesque, health care legislation?
    - How about NOT “universal”, government issued, health care, managed by the same government that cannot manage Medicare?
    - How about NOT the unsustainable status quo?

    How about a more reasonable option?

    As a RN who worked in a County Hospital for 20 plus years I know there are many ways to provide higher quality, more efficient, cost effective health care. But, it must first be made clear that our health care delivery system is interdependent on many more primarily private, profit making, businesses, industries and individuals than merely insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. It seems the debate is often deliberately over simplified to scapegoat these industries. There are many businesses and individuals, both good and bad, providing goods and services that constitute the health care delivery system, such as medical supply companies, diagnostic clinics, medical professionals, hospitals, etc.

    That being said, much like the failure of our government to provide effective oversight within our financial industry even with the necessary mechanisms, power and authority, our government has and continues to fail to provide consumer safety oversight, enforce current laws regarding fraud, or rein in general malfeasance within the health care system.

    What we ALL need is a leaner, meaner, evidence based, oversight system, NOT more ineffectual, bloated, government bureaucracies threatening to drive us deeper in debt.

    - How about NOT the proposed, wretched, corrupted, Kafkaesque, health care legislation?
    - How about NOT “universal”, government issued, health care, managed by the same government that cannot manage Medicare?
    - How about NOT the unsustainable status quo?

    How about a more reasonable option?

    As a RN who worked in a County Hospital for 20 plus years I know there are many ways to provide higher quality, more efficient, cost effective health care. But, it must first be made clear that our health care delivery system is interdependent on many more primarily private, profit making, businesses, industries and individuals than merely insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. It seems the debate is often deliberately over simplified to scapegoat these industries. There are many businesses and individuals, both good and bad, providing goods and services that constitute the health care delivery system, such as medical supply companies, diagnostic clinics, medical professionals, hospitals, etc.

    That being said, much like the failure of our government to provide effective oversight within our financial industry even with the necessary mechanisms, power and authority, our government has and continues to fail to provide consumer safety oversight, enforce current laws regarding fraud, or rein in general malfeasance within the health care system.

    What we ALL need is a leaner, meaner, evidence based, oversight system, NOT more ineffectual, bloated, government bureaucracies threatening to drive us deeper in debt.

    Both speakers Friday nigh March 4th presented very good reasons for their views pro and con passing the health bill. Then I read something that made me realize that the main objection that the Republicans have to this health bill is that they feel it would be a government takeover. If that is really what they believe then I believe that their idea of starting all over again would prove to be just a ruse to take healthcare off the table altogether.

    The worst part of this bill is the requirement that everybody get healthcare that they must pay for - and of course the government will be paying for it which means the taxpayers will be paying the outlandish sums which will only make the insurance companies richer and the country poorer. That would also mean that health care becomes more expensive. If that requirement stays in the bill, a single-payer option might balance it.

    My conclusion at this point is that we must go along with whatever is passed and if it proves to be horrible enough there will be enough of an outcry to ensure that changes will be made. I would call this making the best of an impossibly bad situation!

    Both speakers Friday nigh March 4th presented very good reasons for their views pro and con passing the health bill. Then I read something that made me realize that the main objection that the Republicans have to this health bill is that they feel it would be a government takeover. If that is really what they believe then I believe that their idea of starting all over again would prove to be just a ruse to take healthcare off the table altogether.

    The worst part of this bill is the requirement that everybody get healthcare that they must pay for - and of course the government will be paying for it which means the taxpayers will be paying the outlandish sums which will only make the insurance companies richer and the country poorer. That would also mean that health care becomes more expensive. If that requirement stays in the bill, a single-payer option might balance it.

    My conclusion at this point is that we must go along with whatever is passed and if it proves to be horrible enough there will be enough of an outcry to ensure that changes will be made. I would call this making the best of an impossibly bad situation!

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    The only program that makes sense is to get the for-profit insurance companies out of the health care business. It might be easier to get support for a single payer system if someone would tell the American people that we already have a government-run system which all of the members of Congress and others, e.g., the President, use for themselves and their families. I understand why the Republicans won't talk about this. Why are the President and the Democrats unwilling to tell the truth about this?

    I couldn't agree more with Dr. Angell. The windfall to health insurance companies that will result from President Obama's health care bill is intolerable. We have absolutely no need whatsoever for health insurance companies. What we do need is single payer for all, and we need it now. Thank you for your informative (as they all are) journal episode, however it was the most depressing event of my week.

    Jean Berlowitz
    Corvallis, Oregon

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    Dr. Angell may have it right. Single payer, national health insurance makes the most sense to me (small business people free to hire any one they want without worrying about incurring risk for that individual's health insurance, and individuals free from worry about their health insurance keeping them in jobs they would rather leave). I respect Mr. Potter but fear he still assumes top executives might be as ethical as he would be. If the legislation forces us to buy into a private system with little more protection than we had from the dismal lack of oversight of Enron, then veto it. We at least need a base system that is member owned or rigorously audited and evaluated government control. Without it, we are at greater risk from the profiteers than ever before. Without fixing it (I like single payer for the base system), we could make Enron look like a picnic.

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    I'm inclined to go with Mr. Potter here. The problem with trying to seek healthcare as non-profit service (rather than a market with each participant seeking the fattest revenue stream for himself) that we idealists want (and believe is best system) is that we have a Congress which involves campaign finance as we now have it. If we could get public campaign finance, and allow a Congressperson to see citizens' interests as important as a lobbyist's, then we could go for the big reward. Until then, let us try to get something "get-able", i.e. something that doesn't upset the industries which lobby Congress most vigorously (insurance and pharma being two of the largest).

    I'm inclined to go with Mr. Potter here. The problem with trying to seek healthcare as non-profit service (rather than a market with each participant seeking the fattest revenue stream for himself) that we idealists want (and believe is best system) is that we have a Congress which involves campaign finance as we now have it. If we could get public campaign finance, and allow a Congressperson to see citizens' interests as important as a lobbyist's, then we could go for the big reward. Until then, let us try to get something "get-able", i.e. something that doesn't upset the industries which lobby Congress most vigorously (insurance and pharma being two of the largest).

    I couldn't agree more with Dr. Angell. The windfall to health insurance companies that will result from President Obama's health care bill is intolerable. We have absolutely no need whatsoever for health insurance companies. What we do need is single payer for all, and we need it now. Thank you for your informative (as they all are) journal episode, however it was the most depressing event of my week.

    Jean Berlowitz
    Corvallis, Oregon

    I'm inclined to go with Mr. Potter here. The problem with trying to seek healthcare as non-profit service (rather than a market with each participant seeking the fattest revenue stream for himself) that we idealists want (and believe is best system) is that we have a Congress which involves campaign finance as we now have it. If we could get public campaign finance, and allow a Congressperson to see citizens' interests as important as a lobbyist's, then we could go for the big reward. Until then, let us try to get something "get-able", i.e. something that doesn't upset the industries which lobby Congress most vigorously (insurance and pharma being two of the largest).

    I couldn't agree more with Dr. Angell. The windfall to health insurance companies that will result from President Obama's health care bill is intolerable. We have absolutely no need whatsoever for health insurance companies. What we do need is single payer for all, and we need it now. Thank you for your informative (as they all are) journal episode, however it was the most depressing event of my week.

    Jean Berlowitz
    Corvallis, Oregon

    I couldn't agree more with Dr. Angell. The windfall to health insurance companies that will result from President Obama's health care bill is intolerable. We have absolutely no need whatsoever for health insurance companies. What we do need is single payer for all, and we need it now. Thank you for your informative (as they all are) journal episode, however it was the most depressing event of my week.

    Jean Berlowitz
    Corvallis, Oregon

    I'm inclined to go with Mr. Potter here. The problem with trying to seek healthcare as non-profit service (rather than a market with each participant seeking the fattest revenue stream for himself) that we idealists want (and believe is best system) is that we have a Congress which involves campaign finance as we now have it. If we could get public campaign finance, and allow a Congressperson to see citizens' interests as important as a lobbyist's, then we could go for the big reward. Until then, let us try to get something "get-able", i.e. something that doesn't upset the industries which lobby Congress most vigorously (insurance and pharma being two of the largest).

    I love what Obama says. It's just his actions that are a problem.President Obama shares with congress the main job of getting reelected. Most of the major decisions that he's made have helped lobbyists who contribute to his campaign. His decisions on health insurance, staffing,the banking industry, the military industry, the nuclear power industry and the pro-Israel occupation industry have all benefited lobbyists. It's time for serious campaign finance reform or this empire will continue to disintegrate.

    Shall we watch 200,000 Americans die right in front of our eyes?

    There is one HCR challenge which is answered and under-reported in the media. It has been bothering me because the issue appears to be the most important of all.

    In the proposed Health Care Reform bills, subsidies and exchanges etc do not come into play until 2013 / 2014. Apparently all the tears being shed by President and the Democratic Hill dwellers about the 45000 Americans dying every year are at best crocodile tears. I would imagine that for this tragedy which is equal to 15 911's in human toll, President would have declared a National Emergency to stop these deaths immediately.

    How can these compassionate Democrats, accusing Republicans of being heartless, watch 200,000 more die waiting for 2013/2014? If this is a budget trick, it is a cynical political calculation to show President's fiscal awareness. Declaring a 900B limit appears sheer hypocrisy. Should he not be talking to all his Cabinet Secretaries, especially Secretary Gates with his Generals, to pony up cuts to take care of this Emergency? It is pure horse manure to claim it will take 4 years to set up. If we are committed to take much better care of the next Katrina, it makes no sense not to treat this Health Care catastrophe at the same alert level if not higher.

    I am also surprised that MSM is not raising hell on a daily basis. Anderson Cooper should be standing next to a few of the dying, instead of the drama of braving high winds and rain. Most surprising is that us progressive activists and bloggers have also overlooked this heart wrenching situation.

    Should we not be talking about this as issue #1 ahead of all others?

    I love what Obama says. It's just his actions that are a problem.President Obama shares with congress the main job of getting reelected. Most of the major decisions that he's made have helped lobbyists who contribute to his campaign. His decisions on health insurance, staffing,the banking industry, the military industry, the nuclear power industry and the pro-Israel occupation industry have all benefited lobbyists. It's time for serious campaign finance reform or this empire will continue to disintegrate.

    I love what Obama says. It's just his actions that are a problem.President Obama shares with congress the main job of getting reelected. Most of the major decisions that he's made have helped lobbyists who contribute to his campaign. His decisions on health insurance, staffing,the banking industry, the military industry, the nuclear power industry and the pro-Israel occupation industry have all benefited lobbyists. It's time for serious campaign finance reform or this empire will continue to disintegrate.

    I think that the biggest problem with the health care overhaul is its complexity. Just like with the Clinton plan of the ‘90’s, most people don’t understand it, which allows the Medical Industrial Complex and its conservative supporters to misinform and confuse the public about the details.

    Here’s a much more basic reform plan:
    • Let everyone who wants to either buy into Medicare or the same plan that federal workers (including members of Congress) enjoy.
    • I think it’s the mandatory aspect of the proposals now before Congress (with too little subsidy and no public plan) that has a lot of people scared. Therefore, make the plan voluntary, with steep costs to those who wait until they’re older or get sick before joining. So, if you join this program (or have private insurance) your entire adult life, you’re guaranteed the lowest rate through age 65 when traditional Medicare kicks in. But, for every year that you are uninsured, the cost will go up so that you end up paying the same total amount as the lifelong group.
    • Should you wait until you’re really sick to get insurance, your deductible will be huge, depending on your age. If you then have to sell your house or car, deplete your retirement savings or declare bankruptcy - too bad. Those who were responsible should not have to subsidize you.
    • Subsidies would be available for those who can’t afford the premiums, to be paid for by a tax on benefits only for those earning more than $250,000 (this amount would be indexed for inflation) and a special millionaire’s tax. Also, businesses with over 50 employees would pay a fee, which would be canceled if they provided insurance benefits.
    • Small businesses could buy into these programs. Larger companies would also, but at rates comparable to what they pay for private plans (so there won’t be a mass exodus from private to public insurance).

    And that’s it. Nobody would have to change the insurance that they currently have and nobody really has to buy into any plan, though they would be wise to do so. All the other proposals would be left for later. Otherwise, it gets too bloated and way over the heads of most voters.

    Republicans will still holler and scream, so this would have to be passed in the Senate by reconciliation (51 votes).

    I think that the biggest problem with the health care overhaul is its complexity. Just like with the Clinton plan of the ‘90’s, most people don’t understand it, which allows the Medical Industrial Complex and its conservative supporters to misinform and confuse the public about the details.

    Here’s a much more basic reform plan:
    • Let everyone who wants to either buy into Medicare or the same plan that federal workers (including members of Congress) enjoy.
    • I think it’s the mandatory aspect of the proposals now before Congress (with too little subsidy and no public plan) that has a lot of people scared. Therefore, make the plan voluntary, with steep costs to those who wait until they’re older or get sick before joining. So, if you join this program (or have private insurance) your entire adult life, you’re guaranteed the lowest rate through age 65 when traditional Medicare kicks in. But, for every year that you are uninsured, the cost will go up so that you end up paying the same total amount as the lifelong group.
    • Should you wait until you’re really sick to get insurance, your deductible will be huge, depending on your age. If you then have to sell your house or car, deplete your retirement savings or declare bankruptcy - too bad. Those who were responsible should not have to subsidize you.
    • Subsidies would be available for those who can’t afford the premiums, to be paid for by a tax on benefits only for those earning more than $250,000 (this amount would be indexed for inflation) and a special millionaire’s tax. Also, businesses with over 50 employees would pay a fee, which would be canceled if they provided insurance benefits.
    • Small businesses could buy into these programs. Larger companies would also, but at rates comparable to what they pay for private plans (so there won’t be a mass exodus from private to public insurance).

    And that’s it. Nobody would have to change the insurance that they currently have and nobody really has to buy into any plan, though they would be wise to do so. All the other proposals would be left for later. Otherwise, it gets too bloated and way over the heads of most voters.

    Republicans will still holler and scream, so this would have to be passed in the Senate by reconciliation (51 votes).

    How on earth are we, that are already over 55 and either already on a fixed income or soon to be retired, going to be able to pay for insurance if we have to pay three times as much as now??? Good grief! My husband and I already pay almost $1200 a MONTH!! ...and the baby boomers are only just reaching retirement now! Talk about a GOld Mine for the Insurance companies if we allow THIS to pass. I'm afraid we need to do more than just blog... we need to start by joining together and getting our voices heard in as many places as we can, and if that doesn't work we need to march on Washington! Holy Moly!

    I think that the biggest problem with the health care overhaul is its complexity. Just like with the Clinton plan of the ‘90’s, most people don’t understand it, which allows the Medical Industrial Complex and its conservative supporters to misinform and confuse the public about the details.

    Here’s a much more basic reform plan:
    • Let everyone who wants to either buy into Medicare or the same plan that federal workers (including members of Congress) enjoy.
    • I think it’s the mandatory aspect of the proposals now before Congress (with too little subsidy and no public plan) that has a lot of people scared. Therefore, make the plan voluntary, with steep costs to those who wait until they’re older or get sick before joining. So, if you join this program (or have private insurance) your entire adult life, you’re guaranteed the lowest rate through age 65 when traditional Medicare kicks in. But, for every year that you are uninsured, the cost will go up so that you end up paying the same total amount as the lifelong group.
    • Should you wait until you’re really sick to get insurance, your deductible will be huge, depending on your age. If you then have to sell your house or car, deplete your retirement savings or declare bankruptcy - too bad. Those who were responsible should not have to subsidize you.
    • Subsidies would be available for those who can’t afford the premiums, to be paid for by a tax on benefits only for those earning more than $250,000 (this amount would be indexed for inflation) and a special millionaire’s tax. Also, businesses with over 50 employees would pay a fee, which would be canceled if they provided insurance benefits.
    • Small businesses could buy into these programs. Larger companies would also, but at rates comparable to what they pay for private plans (so there won’t be a mass exodus from private to public insurance).

    And that’s it. Nobody would have to change the insurance that they currently have and nobody really has to buy into any plan, though they would be wise to do so. All the other proposals would be left for later. Otherwise, it gets too bloated and way over the heads of most voters.

    Republicans will still holler and scream, so this would have to be passed in the Senate by reconciliation (51 votes).

    I think that the biggest problem with the health care overhaul is its complexity. Just like with the Clinton plan of the ‘90’s, most people don’t understand it, which allows the Medical Industrial Complex and its conservative supporters to misinform and confuse the public about the details.

    Here’s a much more basic reform plan:
    • Let everyone who wants to either buy into Medicare or the same plan that federal workers (including members of Congress) enjoy.
    • I think it’s the mandatory aspect of the proposals now before Congress (with too little subsidy and no public plan) that has a lot of people scared. Therefore, make the plan voluntary, with steep costs to those who wait until they’re older or get sick before joining. So, if you join this program (or have private insurance) your entire adult life, you’re guaranteed the lowest rate through age 65 when traditional Medicare kicks in. But, for every year that you are uninsured, the cost will go up so that you end up paying the same total amount as the lifelong group.
    • Should you wait until you’re really sick to get insurance, your deductible will be huge, depending on your age. If you then have to sell your house or car, deplete your retirement savings or declare bankruptcy - too bad. Those who were responsible should not have to subsidize you.
    • Subsidies would be available for those who can’t afford the premiums, to be paid for by a tax on benefits only for those earning more than $250,000 (this amount would be indexed for inflation) and a special millionaire’s tax. Also, businesses with over 50 employees would pay a fee, which would be canceled if they provided insurance benefits.
    • Small businesses could buy into these programs. Larger companies would also, but at rates comparable to what they pay for private plans (so there won’t be a mass exodus from private to public insurance).

    And that’s it. Nobody would have to change the insurance that they currently have and nobody really has to buy into any plan, though they would be wise to do so. All the other proposals would be left for later. Otherwise, it gets too bloated and way over the heads of most voters.

    Republicans will still holler and scream, so this would have to be passed in the Senate by reconciliation (51 votes).

    I love what Obama says. The problem is what he does. He shares with congress the main job of getting reelected. All his major decisions seem to have been made to satisfy lobbyists; the banking industry, the health insurance industry, the nuclear energy industry, the military industry and the pro-Israel occupation industry. Campaign finance reform is desperately needed or our empire will continue to disintegrate.

    Health Insurance companies aren't interested in actually delivering health care to anyone, only in making a profit. This bill gives them more customers and not enough regulation to assure that they don't continue their onerous practices. I can't believe that the CEO of Wellpoint could talk about her multi-million dollar salary and "providing affordable health care" to us. Affordable to whom, her fellow millionaires? What we need is a single payor system which also rewards healthy habits and preventive care. What we have now is a total mess which does little to actually improve our health. I'm terribly disappointed that the Democrats in general and President Obama in particular are selling out those of us who voted them into office by failing to get meaningful health-care reform. This bill does nothing to improve anything for anyone but the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

    Bill, would you consider having Van Jones on the show before you retire (and leave us to the wolves)!
    Thanks for being so full of heart,
    Justin

    Bill, would you consider having Van Jones on the show before you retire (and leave us to the wolves)!
    Thanks for being so full of heart,
    Justin

    Thank you Bill for your abilities to bring to light what some would like to keep hidden and obscure from the general public. You provide an invaluable service. Dr. Marcia Angell stated that President Obama fought for the wrong things, and too little, too late. And that he gave away the store at he very beginning by compromising. And not just compromising, but caving in to commercial insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry. I agree with her completely. He seemed to give everything away right from the beginning leaving no room to bargain later. He seemed to have created a power vaccuum by having no defined position and allowed powerful groups to fill in that power gap. I thought he was going to be an intelligent leader, a wise decision maker, moral and upright. Were his campaign promises disingenuous from the start? Did he become a victim of fear? Obama's behavior has mystified me because he seems almost schizophrenic-the Obama prior to being elected and the Obama after being elected.

    After almost 30 yrs as an independent health insur agt
    i'm convinced we need Medicare 4 All. Life, Liberty & the pursuit of happiness: which can you have w/o health? Health care is a human right & Insurers will still be able to make profits from Medicare supplements, LTC & other insurance plans. But with annual increases of 30-40% they will financially kill the public by their greed in health insur. No Executives are worth $1 million plus in bonuses on top of millions in pay. The
    45,000 Americans dying annually due to inadequate health care is genocide and makes the status quo totally unacceptable! That is why expanding the current system
    ala Potter/Obama's ideas is unconscionable; Medc4All is the only ethical, universal & cost effective way to go!

    Our health system should be non profit. The only solution that will work is a single payer system. Mr potter thinks we can change it later. Fat chance! This solution never works because the greedy health insurance companies want only one thing - EVERYTHING! Greediness doesn't willingly stop: they won't stop until we are all destitute.

    Before the past year of Congressional nonsense over healthcare reform, my idea of what should be done was to simply expand Medicare to cover everyone. But, that would have eliminated the parasitic insurance companies. And, as we have seen, the insurance companies were willing to pay any price in bribing Congress members to only pass legislation that would be a financial benefit to the insurance companies, or pass no legislation at all. The public option was our last ray of hope. But, now that is dead and buried along with anything else that remotely resembles real health care reform.

    I dislike this bill for all the reasons stated by Dr. Angell, but reality is that half of this country is die hard conservative and I fear they will rise up in arms if Universal Care is ever placed on the table. This bill will make Medicaid accessible to more people, and God knows how much need there is righ now for something to pass.The other day I spent hours debating the issue of high medical costs with a forum of mostly doctors to be at a CNN site, and the experience was sobering; most of them are just concerned about their bottom line and could not care less about the disfranchised without insurance! I am 54 with a host of health issues, and I just may die one of this days for lack of health care. Welcome to America: your wallet or your life!

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies!"

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies!" If you agree please make a difference by placing your vote here: http://pol.moveon.org/block/?r_by=-17594052-tHPkRLx&rc=mailto

    Both guests had convincing arguments, but in the end it's the plan that makes the most sense that should guide us. Universal coverage backed by the federal government is what ultimately serves the best interests of the American people, hence Dr. Angell's position. Today everyone takes Medicare for granted, that could one day be the case with a government backed health care option.

    Dr. Marcia Angell, is correct. This country is doomed if we do not get a better plan. The insurance companies will run us broke. President Obama should throw it out and get the people to vote on a plan.

    Dr. Angell hit it on the nose. There is just too much money being spent on and received by Congress to insure that nothing other than what insurance companies want will indeed happen. I fear there is nothing to talk about beyond that, which Dr. Angell intimated. As Jim Wallis said, if we do not address two primary issues, the country will fall in 20 years: 1) Corporate Malfeasance, and 2) Election Reform. All other discussions are moot.

    Single payer, national health insurance is surely the way to go. Because that seems to be politically impossible in the current political climate of name calling and scare tactics, I have been supporting President Obama's efforts to get the proposed legislation passed--until I heard Dr. Angell's scenario about a 55-year-old's premium tripling, forcing the person to cancel their policy and then be forced to pay a tax penalty. If a 55-year-old was managing to pay $500 a month for health insurance and then found that the premium was going up to $1,500--well, most people don't have $1,000 in disposable income laying around that could go to pay the new premium. That sounds intolerable to me, but I don't know if a subsidy of $1,000 would be available to enable the person to stay insured. I'm on Medicare but have secondary insurance through a state group plan. I wonder what might happen to that premium if the current proposed legislation passes. Now I'm worried about me as well as about the 14,000 people who are losing their health insurance every day.

    Dr. Angell hit it on the nose. There is just too much money being spent and received by Congress to insure that nothing other than what insurance companies want will indeed happen. I fear there is nothing to talk about beyond that, which Dr. Angell intimated. As Jim Wallis said, if we do not address two primary issues, the country will fall in 20 years: 1) Corporate Malfeasance, and 2) Election Reform. All other discussions are moot.

    Pass the bill.

    If it fails, Obama is out next term.

    Pass it then patch it.

    Posted by: John C. : "Medicare for all is the healthcare and cost solution. Corporate money to our representatives obscures that simple fact.

    As an aside, when President Obama abandoned Single Payer at the outset, he demonstrated his inability to be an effective President. I will not vote for or support him ever again."

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Would we have done any better with McCain? A lying, power grabber that can't even be honest with the citizens with how many houses he owns?

    You ever hear a politician talk like Moyers or Dr. Angel and give you the straight talk instead of the party line?

    No, whether it is a Dem or Rep, the verdict is the same...Lying Rhetorician.

    This is the delusion that gets voters every time. The hope that they have of a 50% chance of making the right decision with whom they elect. When in reality, they have a 100% chance of getting another lying rhetorician no matter who gets in.

    Remember how change was the buzzword for 2008 elections...vote for change!

    Well, lets be honest...in politics substantive change is only paid lip service. Because citizens don't run the government, the rich run the government.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw

    Remember what Obama ran on..."Let's spread the wealth!"

    Then it was "Let's tax the rich 5% to pay for universal healthcare."

    Then "Let's tax the fat cats of Wall Street to reign in some of those big bonuses."...and on and on with the lies.

    What lying rhetoricians do is to float some popular headline to appease the public into thinking they will do something to fight whatever corruption is disturbing Joe Public

    Then the ignorant public thinks something will get done. They relax, thinking their problems will be solved and lose track of the issue. And the lying rhetorician in has succeeded in fudging the public once again.

    Now, let's say the filthy scumbags in office do pass some token policy to appease the citizens. What do they do with the legislation? They wont make it effective until 2 or 3 years down the road. That gives the hypocrites time to come up with more legislation to counteract the new laws or it gives time to the industry to maneuver around it.

    And if all else fails, the corrupt politicians just wait until the next administration comes in to strike down the laws before they even take affect. It is all smoke and mirrors.

    *The president's Health Bill is not worth supporting because it is going to force tax payers to insure to private Health Insurance Companies - in other words- the government is forcing tax payers to increase the business of Private for Profit Health Insurance Companies. Imagine the equivalent if the Government says it is obligatory for all to buy a product from a For Profit Private Business - and if someone doesn't buy it - it will penalize it - or make it against the law! When in History has government acted to protect the sharks (by shark I mean the great beneficiairis- the Health Insurance Companies) What is going on? The American peoploe who are behind it are simplistic - what the Democrats do is good - therefore blindly people band behind it in spite of lack of understanding and lack of government informing honestly its people. Too much demagoguery and too little information.
    * Health Reform should search for a Public Option- the Government in charge, eliminating midlle men profiteers - who shouldn't be there squeezing both patients and doctors.

    Thank you Bill. This week's Journal brought the trouble with the President's health care bill into sharp focus. Having fought along with the progressive net roots for real reform and the public option, it is sadly very clear at this point, and Dr. Angell shone a bright light on this, that health insurance doesn't equal health care as long as the rapacious health insurers are in the drivers seat. My experience is a perfect case in point. I had health insurance for years, but ultimately, as my share of cost went higher with higher premiums and necessarily higher deductibles, I couldn't afford to use it. Finally, unable to pay out of pocket for needed and expensive diagnostic tests, I nearly died. At the last minute, after qualifying for government sponsored insurance, I got the needed tests only to find that without emergency surgery I would die. This is the problem with Obama's plan. More and more people would be forced to buy policies like I had....policies that, even with subsidies, would be ever more expensive and that they couldn't afford to use, putting their lives in jeopardy.
    President Obama and the democrats should hire Dr. Angell to advise their next steps if the bill goes down to the defeat it deserves.

    After listening to both Wendell Potter & Dr. Angell, and although both have valid points, I agree with Potter more. If this bill fails to pass, nobody willtouh HC for YEARS! My husband & I happen to be lucky that we are now on Medicare & buy a suplemental, but I really feel for everyone else. We never made a lot of $$ and thought we had good HC ins. until 3 years ago when I broke my ankle. My out of pocket costswover $3,000 and our total annual income was $26,000. There was very little disposabble income! for some idiot to have the gall to testify in front of congress and continue to support the ins. co. profits when SHE admitted to making over $1,000,000 a year is unbelievable! I sure can tell them how to continue to lease their stockholders AND CUT PREMIUMS! Cut your outragious greedy salaries!!!! Problem solved, and there's no way anyone can convince me any of them would really be haremed b a sever salary cut either!

    Pass this bill in Congress, and move on improvements in the near future!

    As a retired nurse I totally agree with Doctor Angell thought I understand why so many think it is better to vote on the compromise bill. For our goverment to pour billions of dollars into these for profit mega corporations rather then a public option is outrageous and will only lead to further problems not fix anything. Despite the few regulations this bill will impose the Insurance Industry will still be able to pay billion dollar bonuses while so many of us will get so little health care that we will find ourselves at the mercy of the industry for everything that should be a normal part of Health care coverage.
    Sadly we must go back to the beginning and have a real Health Care Reform Bill and scrap this one.

    Bill, like many of your programs, this one rank one of your best and timely too. I agree with Dr. Marcia Angell, let this Health Care Bill die. Even if it bring down Obama and the rest of the Democrat's crooks. Let the Republican regain both Houses of Congress and the presidency. Maybe, in 2016 elections we may Third Party in members in Congress not related to Corporate America, Wall Streets and Lobbyists. So long we have tax cheaters, and ex-Wall street bankers in government, there will be no change. I believe in single-payer health care and no one should make profit from Health care and Education.

    I am sad to see you leave PBS and I hope you will pay us regular visits with eyes’ opener programs. I wish I could donate to PBS. I will be walking out my house shortly and also cancel my SS Medicare, I no longer can afford them.
    As an American, I will be leaving to a place where my meager Social Security will support me including cheaper Health care.

    Bill, like many of your programs, this one rank one of your best and timely too. I agree with Dr. Marcia Angell, let this Health Care Bill die. Even if it bring down Obama and the rest of the Democrat's crooks. Let the Republican regain both Houses of Congress and the presidency. Maybe, in 2016 elections we may Third Party in members in Congress not related to Corporate America, Wall Streets and Lobbyists. So long we have tax cheaters, and ex-Wall street bankers in government, there will be no change. I believe in single-payer health care and no one should make profit from Health care and Education.

    I am sad to see you leave PBS and I hope you will pay us regular visits with eyes’ opener programs. I wish I could donate to PBS. I will be walking out my house shortly and also cancel my SS Medicare, I no longer can afford them.
    As an American, I will be leaving to a place where my meager Social Security will support me including cheaper Health care.

    Bill, I really enjoy the information you supply, and hope you continue with the important topic of healthcare reform until the right things are done.

    Having worked in the healthcare industry for over 25 years, and understanding the underpinnings of financial operations of supplying healthcare, "healthcare costs" is being mislabeled in the reform discussion. It is only looked at as "cost" to the buyer (patients) and insurer, and not at the operational cost of the provider.

    One thing that has not been mentioned in this debate is very few providers track true costs (remember cost accounting 101 - fixed, variable, short and long-term costs), because they are not reimbursed that way. Charge pricing is set to accommodate the process whereby insurance organizations create reimbursement scenarios under contract with providers. Even Medicare is setup this way to some degree, in that Medicare reimbursement is generated from annual cost reports, which is the grouping of charges by department. A hospital charge represents an arbitrary price to hopefully ensure a profit. Remember, hospitals are not reimbursed on a charge price, they are reimbursed under contract (created by charge price analysis) or percentage of charge. This inherently makes charges immaterial, and creates an inflated and artificial value to be reimbursed on.

    That said, it is one of the key elements of this debate that has been left out. The healthcare industry is not run like a normal business, therefore no matter what occurs with reform it will fail within the current operating structure.

    To make change, healthcare, first, should be looked at as a right of the US citizen, and publicly agreed upon in our government. Without that, no change will happen. When healthcare is a privilege, as it is right now, then only the current type of healthcare reform will be discussed. With healthcare as a right, then making it work would require true analysis of delivering it efficiently, without the profit factor tied in. It sounds like socialism; however it is the one element of our social being that needs to be looked at this way if we want to grow as a country.

    It was well documented early in this debate that over 30-40% of healthcare costs go to tracking and maintaining the current billing and reimbursement system that our healthcare industry works under. By eliminating this element
    and moving to a true healthcare delivery cost analysis system, along with mandated tracking of care outcomes and implementing prevention policies, delivery of healthcare would transform itself into a better delivery system than we have today, and a much cheaper system to maintain. It would also remove many of the issues that are regularly brought up, such as the burden on physicians to provide care, under and over-care by providers, redundancy in testing, delivery of treatment, malpractice, etc.

    The single payer system really has everyone tied in bun. One way to change the discussion of the "single payer system" would be to educate the public on the true operating issues of healthcare delivery, and change the label to a "single reimbursement pool system" for provider reimbursement. The discussion needs to occur about this issue so the general public understands that delivery of healthcare is not a business, it is a mandatory operation of caring for Americans. With that fresh approach to paying for healthcare we will see a reduction in what we pay for healthcare. We will also be able to care for everyone.

    Healthcare delivery is not easy - any physician or healthcare worker would agree with that. Unfortunately politics and business are part of this process. Until they are removed, working out a healthy delivery system will not occur.

    I hope you can take some of this information, research further, and discuss in the coming months with those that are close to these issues.

    Frontline had a program hosted by T.R. Reid that did a good job of looking at some of the different health care systems out there. There have been useful articles by Atul Gawande and others that have made a case for some of the proposed pilot projects. There are probably many different ways to get to the goal of quality care at an affordable price; it may be good advice to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    One of the reasons for pushing a public option (rather than simply expanding Medicare) was to promote competition in price negotiations -- sort of like letting single-payer charter schools compete against existing school districts (even though they're both funded through the same "single-payer" tax system). Having a single-payer system that's more like a traditional school district isn't necessarily bad, but the argumant would be more persuasive if (like bankers) health care compensation was at more reasonable levels. Marcia Angell wrote a good book and is surely a good person, but many doctors have a certain sense of entitlement. If competing insurance companies (which may have done an effective job of limiting medical compensation in the early 1990s before a backlash of sorts may have turned them into passive middlemen), a single-payer system, or any other structure can tame cost-push/demand-pull forces, so be it.

    There are many egregious insurance practices, but in most cases, one is better off with prices negotiated by an insurance company than going it alone as an individual. As an example, try comparing the price for a root canal with and without insurance. Even if one got rid of insurance companies and their margins, it would only be a few years before medical inflation recouped all these savings and simply redirected them towards labor costs in the form of compensation for doctors, medical device manufacturers, nurses, etc., many of whom (though not all) are well above average pay levels. The debate tends to revolve around doctors wanting a million dollars for some service and Medicare wanting to pay only $930,000; perhaps the debate should be about paying only $100,000 and using some of the savings to allow for less productivity so that doctors can spend more than a few minutes with patients. One may also need to look at the quality of school systems to ensure that one isn't replicating scenes from THE HOSPITAL.

    To borrow from Machiavelli, most programs tend to be gamed over time and need to be reformed after about a decade; it's often pointless to get too caught up with one perfect solution.

    I am not surprised by the almost unanimous support for Marcia Angel's position and the single payer approach on Bill's blog.
    Still, I am gravely disappointed. I have fought for universal coverage for 20 years; this is a close as we have ever gotten. If we fail, there will be no starting over; the issue will be dead for at least 10 years, just as it was after the Clinton experience (I worked on that).
    Some may prefer single payer (I do in part). But it is nowhere near on the table in Congress, which A cannot even muster the votes for a limp public option.
    Today 47-50 million are uninsured; millions more are underinsured; millions more have been uninsured at some point in the last year; still more are at risk of being uninsured; insurers select the healthy and dump the sick; costs are out of control (and it is not just the fault of insurers--check out the growing political power of physicians and hospitals). How can all of you hold out for something that is so unlikely to occur when it means giving no help for tens of millions of people who have limited or no access to health care today? Believe it or not, there are things in this legislation that single payer advocates can build on. For example, the exchanges to be created are government-run; states or communities can create public options and have them compete in those exchanges. Why not look to the exchanges in Ca or NY or Minn and build in some public options there. Data will be collected and distributed. If public options or public health plans do better the idea will spread.
    Please do not turn your backs on millions of needy Americans --for whom all have probably fought for decades-- because it does not get above your bar. This is as much as we are going to get.
    Walter Zelman
    Chair, Department of Health Science, California State University, Los Angeles

    Frontline had a program hosted by T.R. Reid that did a good job of looking at some of the different health care systems out there. There have been useful articles by Atul Gawande and others that have made a case for some of the proposed pilot projects. There are probably many different ways to get to the goal of quality care at an affordable price; it may be good advice to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    One of the reasons for pushing a public option (rather than simply expanding Medicare) was to promote competition in price negotiations -- sort of like letting single-payer charter schools compete against existing school districts (even though they're both funded through the same "single-payer" tax system). Having a single-payer system that's more like a traditional school district isn't necessarily bad, but the argumant would be more persuasive if (like bankers) health care compensation was at more reasonable levels. Marcia Angell wrote a good book and is surely a good person, but many doctors have a certain sense of entitlement. If competing insurance companies (which may have done an effective job of limiting medical compensation in the early 1990s before a backlash of sorts may have turned them into passive middlemen), a single-payer system, or any other structure can tame cost-push/demand-pull forces, so be it.

    There are many egregious insurance practices, but in most cases, one is better off with prices negotiated by an insurance company than going it alone as an individual. As an example, try comparing the price for a root canal with and without insurance. Even if one got rid of insurance companies and their margins, it would only be a few years before medical inflation recouped all these savings and simply redirected them towards labor costs in the form of compensation for doctors, medical device manufacturers, nurses, etc., many of whom (though not all) are well above average pay levels. The debate tends to revolve around doctors wanting a million dollars for some service and Medicare wanting to pay only $930,000; perhaps the debate should be about paying only $100,000 and using some of the savings to allow for less productivity so that doctors can spend more than a few minutes with patients. One may also need to look at the quality of school systems to ensure that one isn't replicating scenes from THE HOSPITAL.

    To borrow from Machiavelli, most programs tend to be gamed over time and need to be reformed after about a decade; it's often pointless to get too caught up with one perfect solution.

    Frontline had a program hosted by T.R. Reid that did a good job of looking at some of the different health care systems out there. There have been useful articles by Atul Gawande and others that have made a case for some of the proposed pilot projects. There are probably many different ways to get to the goal of quality care at an affordable price; it may be good advice to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    One of the reasons for pushing a public option (rather than simply expanding Medicare) was to promote competition in price negotiations -- sort of like letting single-payer charter schools compete against existing school districts (even though they're both funded through the same "single-payer" tax system). Having a single-payer system that's more like a traditional school district isn't necessarily bad, but the argumant would be more persuasive if (like bankers) health care compensation was at more reasonable levels. Marcia Angell wrote a good book and is surely a good person, but many doctors have a certain sense of entitlement. If competing insurance companies (which may have done an effective job of limiting medical compensation in the early 1990s before a backlash of sorts may have turned them into passive middlemen), a single-payer system, or any other structure can tame cost-push/demand-pull forces, so be it.

    There are many egregious insurance practices, but in most cases, one is better off with prices negotiated by an insurance company than going it alone as an individual. As an example, try comparing the price for a root canal with and without insurance. Even if one got rid of insurance companies and their margins, it would only be a few years before medical inflation recouped all these savings and simply redirected them towards labor costs in the form of compensation for doctors, medical device manufacturers, nurses, etc., many of whom (though not all) are well above average pay levels. The debate tends to revolve around doctors wanting a million dollars for some service and Medicare wanting to pay only $930,000; perhaps the debate should be about paying only $100,000 and using some of the savings to allow for less productivity so that doctors can spend more than a few minutes with patients. One may also need to look at the quality of school systems to ensure that one isn't replicating scenes from THE HOSPITAL.

    To borrow from Machiavelli, most programs tend to be gamed over time and need to be reformed after about a decade; it's often pointless to get too caught up with one perfect solution.

    I am not surprised by the almost unanimous support for Marcia Angel's position and the single payer approach on Bill's blog.
    Still, I am gravely disappointed. I have fought for universal coverage for 20 years; this is a close as we have ever gotten. If we fail, there will be no starting over; the issue will be dead for at least 10 years, just as it was after the Clinton experience (I worked on that).
    Some may prefer single payer (I do in part). But it is nowhere near on the table in Congress, which A cannot even muster the votes for a limp public option.
    Today 47-50 million are uninsured; millions more are underinsured; millions more have been uninsured at some point in the last year; still more are at risk of being uninsured; insurers select the healthy and dump the sick; costs are out of control (and it is not just the fault of insurers--check out the growing political power of physicians and hospitals). How can all of you hold out for something that is so unlikely to occur when it means giving no help for tens of millions of people who have limited or no access to health care today? Believe it or not, there are things in this legislation that single payer advocates can build on. For example, the exchanges to be created are government-run; states or communities can create public options and have them compete in those exchanges. Why not look to the exchanges in Ca or NY or Minn and build in some public options there. Data will be collected and distributed. If public options or public health plans do better the idea will spread.
    Please do not turn your backs on millions of needy Americans --for whom all have probably fought for decades-- because it does not get above your bar. This is as much as we are going to get.
    Walter Zelman
    Chair, Department of Health Science, California State University, Los Angeles

    Frontline had a program hosted by T.R. Reid that did a good job of looking at some of the different health care systems out there. There have been useful articles by Atul Gawande and others that have made a case for some of the proposed pilot projects. There are probably many different ways to get to the goal of quality care at an affordable price; it may be good advice to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    One of the reasons for pushing a public option (rather than simply expanding Medicare) was to promote competition in price negotiations -- sort of like letting single-payer charter schools compete against existing school districts (even though they're both funded through the same "single-payer" tax system). Having a single-payer system that's more like a traditional school district isn't necessarily bad, but the argumant would be more persuasive if (like bankers) health care compensation was at more reasonable levels. Marcia Angell wrote a good book and is surely a good person, but many doctors have a certain sense of entitlement. If competing insurance companies (which may have done an effective job of limiting medical compensation in the early 1990s before a backlash of sorts may have turned them into passive middlemen), a single-payer system, or any other structure can tame cost-push/demand-pull forces, so be it.

    There are many egregious insurance practices, but in most cases, one is better off with prices negotiated by an insurance company than going it alone as an individual. As an example, try comparing the price for a root canal with and without insurance. Even if one got rid of insurance companies and their margins, it would only be a few years before medical inflation recouped all these savings and simply redirected them towards labor costs in the form of compensation for doctors, medical device manufacturers, nurses, etc., many of whom (though not all) are well above average pay levels. The debate tends to revolve around doctors wanting a million dollars for some service and Medicare wanting to pay only $930,000; perhaps the debate should be about paying only $100,000 and using some of the savings to allow for less productivity so that doctors can spend more than a few minutes with patients. One may also need to look at the quality of school systems to ensure that one isn't replicating scenes from THE HOSPITAL.

    To borrow from Machiavelli, most programs tend to be gamed over time and need to be reformed after about a decade; it's often pointless to get too caught up with one perfect solution.

    Frontline had a program hosted by T.R. Reid that did a good job of looking at some of the different health care systems out there. There have been useful articles by Atul Gawande and others that have made a case for some of the proposed pilot projects. There are probably many different ways to get to the goal of quality care at an affordable price; it may be good advice to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    One of the reasons for pushing a public option (rather than simply expanding Medicare) was to promote competition in price negotiations -- sort of like letting single-payer charter schools compete against existing school districts (even though they're both funded through the same "single-payer" tax system). Having a single-payer system that's more like a traditional school district isn't necessarily bad, but the argumant would be more persuasive if (like bankers) health care compensation was at more reasonable levels. Marcia Angell wrote a good book and is surely a good person, but many doctors have a certain sense of entitlement. If competing insurance companies (which may have done an effective job of limiting medical compensation in the early 1990s before a backlash of sorts may have turned them into passive middlemen), a single-payer system, or any other structure can tame cost-push/demand-pull forces, so be it.

    There are many egregious insurance practices, but in most cases, one is better off with prices negotiated by an insurance company than going it alone as an individual. As an example, try comparing the price for a root canal with and without insurance. Even if one got rid of insurance companies and their margins, it would only be a few years before medical inflation recouped all these savings and simply redirected them towards labor costs in the form of compensation for doctors, medical device manufacturers, nurses, etc., many of whom (though not all) are well above average pay levels. The debate tends to revolve around doctors wanting a million dollars for some service and Medicare wanting to pay only $930,000; perhaps the debate should be about paying only $100,000 and using some of the savings to allow for less productivity so that doctors can spend more than a few minutes with patients. One may also need to look at the quality of school systems to ensure that one isn't replicating scenes from THE HOSPITAL.

    To borrow from Machiavelli, most programs tend to be gamed over time and need to be reformed after about a decade; it's often pointless to get too caught up with one perfect solution.

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies." My vote is for The United States National Health Care Act (HR 676) also known as the "Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act," is a bill submitted to the United States House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers... Jr. (D-MI).
    The Act calls for the creation of a universal single-payer health care system in the United States, in which the government would provide every resident health insurance. Under HR 676, healthcare would be publicly financed and privately delivered.
    If you agree please make a difference by placing your vote here:
    http://pol.moveon.org/block/?r_by=-17594052-tHPkRLx&rc=mailto

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies." My vote is for The United States National Health Care Act (HR 676) also known as the "Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act," is a bill submitted to the United States House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers... Jr. (D-MI).
    The Act calls for the creation of a universal single-payer health care system in the United States, in which the government would provide every resident health insurance. Under HR 676, healthcare would be publicly financed and privately delivered.
    If you agree please make a difference by placing your vote here:
    http://pol.moveon.org/block/?r_by=-17594052-tHPkRLx&rc=mailto

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies." My vote is for The United States National Health Care Act (HR 676) also known as the "Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act," is a bill submitted to the United States House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers... Jr. (D-MI).
    The Act calls for the creation of a universal single-payer health care system in the United States, in which the government would provide every resident health insurance. Under HR 676, healthcare would be publicly financed and privately delivered.
    If you agree please make a difference by placing your vote here:
    http://pol.moveon.org/block/?r_by=-17594052-tHPkRLx&rc=mailto

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies." My vote is for The United States National Health Care Act (HR 676) also known as the "Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act," is a bill submitted to the United States House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers... Jr. (D-MI).
    The Act calls for the creation of a universal single-payer health care system in the United States, in which the government would provide every resident health insurance. Under HR 676, healthcare would be publicly financed and privately delivered.
    If you agree please make a difference by placing your vote here:
    http://pol.moveon.org/block/?r_by=-17594052-tHPkRLx&rc=mailto

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies." My vote is for The United States National Health Care Act (HR 676) also known as the "Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act," is a bill submitted to the United States House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers... Jr. (D-MI).
    The Act calls for the creation of a universal single-payer health care system in the United States, in which the government would provide every resident health insurance. Under HR 676, healthcare would be publicly financed and privately delivered.
    If you agree please make a difference by placing your vote here:
    http://pol.moveon.org/block/?r_by=-17594052-tHPkRLx&rc=mailto

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies." My vote is for The United States National Health Care Act (HR 676) also known as the "Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act," is a bill submitted to the United States House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers... Jr. (D-MI).
    The Act calls for the creation of a universal single-payer health care system in the United States, in which the government would provide every resident health insurance. Under HR 676, healthcare would be publicly financed and privately delivered.
    If you agree please make a difference by placing your vote here:
    http://pol.moveon.org/block/?r_by=-17594052-tHPkRLx&rc=mailto

    "America needs real health care reform--not a massive giveaway to the insurance companies." My vote is for The United States National Health Care Act (HR 676) also known as the "Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act," is a bill submitted to the United States House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers... Jr. (D-MI).
    The Act calls for the creation of a universal single-payer health care system in the United States, in which the government would provide every resident health insurance. Under HR 676, healthcare would be publicly financed and privately delivered.
    If you agree please make a difference by placing your vote here:
    http://pol.moveon.org/block/?r_by=-17594052-tHPkRLx&rc=mailto

    I honestly don't know what it's going to take to get national health care in this country; nor, do I know if I'll live to see it. But, I know it will happen some day when enough of the "I've got mine crowd" hurts enough. For now, I believe our only option is to kill the current plans and go back to the drawing board. Rewarding the insurance companies is not an option. We do not need national health insurance. We need national health care. As a country that likes to think that we are ahead of the rest of the world, we should be smart enough to have a government program that works.

    I have some additional points I didn't make in my comments yesterday. These are things I believe about Healthcare and Health Care Reform in America:

    1. The only Public Option that will work is a Single Payer System. I believe a “smaller” Public Option will create a “mega high-risk pool” of only the sickest Americans
    2. Health Insurance Companies add no value to the delivery of healthcare.
    3. The Medicare/Medicaid Bureaucracy likewise contributes no added value to healthcare delivery, apart from increasing access.
    4. Doubling the size of Medicaid and opening buy-ins to Medicare for 50-64 or 55-64 year-olds are ideas that potentially could trigger wholesale provider opt-out. (There are 749 physicians in Anchorage, AK; none participate in Medicare. Only about 40% of physicians participate in Medicaid.)
    5. A government-run NHI plan will inevitably lead to rationing of expensive technology in fields such as transplant, end-stage-renal disease, oncology, and ophthalmology.
    6. A government-run program will not bring down the cost of health care, without rationing.
    7. A government-run program will not improve the quality of health care, without rationing.
    8. All the preventive health measures in the world will only minimally (or at best moderately) impact the cost of healthcare. Even under a single payer system, the great majority of healthcare dollars will continue to fund care for sick people, to improve their health, to enhance their quality of life, to relieve their suffering, to lengthen their lives, and to add comfort and dignity to their end-of-life. These endeavors must and will remain as core values in medicine, surgery, nursing, and all the disciplines of human healthcare, no-matter what form Health Care Reform may eventually take.
    9. A government-run program must be mandatory for all citizens, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, laboratories, and care providers.
    10. A non-mandatory government-run system will foster a two-tiered system – public and private – like that of Canada, England, German, and Japan. The private system will be for the wealthy and the public system will be for everyone else.
    11. Medicare and Medicaid patients currently receive some of the most costly and inefficient medical care in America and mostly in the ER.
    12. Care in the VA system is good, but not great, as evidenced by their own internal performance measures. The cost and quality also varies widely among VA medical centers.
    13. Given that healthcare accounts for 16% of GDP (14.44 trillion x .16 = 2.31 trillion dollars); given that Medicare and Medicaid are 27.8% of the Federal budget (13% for Medicare + 14.8% for Medicaid = 27.8% of 3.83 trillion (FY 2011 budget) = 1.06 trillion; thus subtracting the cost of Medicare and Medicaid from the cost of Health Care (2.31 trillion), leaves 1.25 trillion, under a single payer system, that would need to be added to the Federal Budget in 2011, bringing the new total to 5.08 trillion. The 1.25 trillion increase would require additional funding either from new taxes, graduated premiums, and/or extending the deficit.
    14. Opponents of tort reform, including Obama, say that malpractice only accounts for 3% of the cost of healthcare. They are, in essence, saying that 69 billion dollars a year (3% of 2.3 trillion dollars) is not worth fretting about.
    15. If you have insurance and/or can independently afford it, the best medical care in the world still exists in the United States. (If Princess Diana’s accident had been in a major U. S. city, I believe she would have survived. As you may know, she was taken to the prestigious and public more-distant Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital instead of the closer JCAHO-accredited American Hospital of Paris.)
    16. ANY SYSTEM THAT PERPETUATES COST-SHIFTING, IN ANY FORM, IS DESTINED TO FAIL, AS OUR CURRENT FINANCING OF HEALTHCARE HAS FAILED!!
    17. Lastly, the best and most cost-efficient care in America is provided in centers such as Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Mass General, M. D. Anderson, and UCLA, to name only a few. Contrary to common belief, these centers routinely serve not just the wealthy in America and from abroad. Most of their patients are from middle class America and Americans of the most modest means.

    The question should read:"Is the Health Bill that President Obama IS STUCK with worth supporting?" My unqualified answer is, "No!" Thus I support Dr. Angell's position and agree with main point: the bill will perpetuate and encourage the predatory nature of for-profit corporations. The medical field is a SOCIAL service, period. It should not be subjected to the temptations of profiteering. This includes doctors, hospitals, health care agencies, etc. as well as the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

    I was amazed at how casually Mr. Potter and Dr. Angell seemed to take for granted the health insurance industry's financial pressure on Congress. It was as if this were a necessity that we have to live with. Excuse me? Let's call a spade a spade and call it CORRUPTION. Are we so immune to this behavior that we accept it as a given? Is this a blatant confession that the Obama administration, in spite of all the flowery rhetoric, is in bed with the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries?
    My dream is that some time, somewhere, someone will reform, I mean REALLY reform, campaign financing.

    Meanwhile, we DON'T have to accept it. We can pressure Congress to scrap this toxic and amateurish bill and urge the President to push with all his might for a single-payer solution (or at minimum a government option.) We need to find the courage to reevaluate our sacrosanct employer-based health insurance system and to revamp our tax system accordingly. Let's demand of our President that he stiffen his spine and fight for a more just health care system for ALL the American people.

    Marcia Angell's comments were compelling.
    If I had any doubts, they were erased. This bill should not be supported. I can see that insurers are salivating at the prospect of all this new business.
    Further consideration should also include negotiating the cost of pharmaceuticals.
    Lastly, people whose decision making is compromised by donations from these industries should recuse themselves due to conflicts of interest.

    Marcia Angell's comments were compelling.
    If I had any doubts, they were erased. This bill should not be supported. I can see that insurers are salivating at the prospect of all this new business.
    Further consideration should also include negotiating the cost of pharmaceuticals.
    Lastly, people whose decision making is compromised by donations from these industries should recuse themselves due to conflicts of interest.

    Marcia Angell's comments were compelling.
    If I had any doubts, they were erased. This bill should not be supported. I can see that insurers are salivating at the prospect of all this new business.
    Further consideration should also include negotiating the cost of pharmaceuticals.
    Lastly, people whose decision making is compromised by donations from these industries should recuse themselves due to conflicts of interest.

    Bill, if you are wondering why there are so many repeat postings from the same poeple it is because there is a problem with your website. When one posts a blog you get a measage back that there was a transmission error from a remote site. This causes the determined to resend, and resend, until it is observed that at least one of the transmissions made it through.

    As I sit here in my kitchen just outside of Stockholm Sweden, I can not help but to feel an excruciating need to grab my fellow americans by the shoulders and shake them while screaming "wake up you fools"!! There honestly is no system on earth that is perfect- but by god, the lack of humanity built into the american system is beyond comprehension. I have lived here in sweden for over 20 years and I have had my dose of frustration with a system where it is, in principle, possible to game the system and get some undeserved benefits. But with a basic foundation where human suffering (the "motor" behind the need for healthcare) is accepted and seen as a primary right, all other modern countries have built healthcare systems the are inherently "gentile" and nurturing towards individuals. You could say that one healthcare executive's grotesque salary & bonus is equal to the sum of 10.000 small scale cheaters. However, there is one simple question you can ask any person (aged between 35-60 today) in the the US today: "what will happen to your child if you are gone, and if they have any financial hardship and they need healthcare? Should they be at the mercy of for-profit corporations? or should there be a system that provides healthcare for them irregardless of their financial status? If your answer is "screw 'em. I got mine. Let them fend for themselves. It's a tough world. Or it's not my problem" then I have news for you: That is not the voice of freedom you are expressing, it is the most primitive voice there is - egoism.

    Bill, thank you for your excellent series. No, I don't think that the Senate or House bills are positive steps because they bend over backwards to preserve a system that adds absolutely no value and kills thouands of Americans each year.

    We need a system like Canada's or the UKs that covers EVERYBODY automatically- and well - and pays for it by taxes.

    We could do that for less than we pay now in premiums. Its absolutely imperative that we say no to the insurance companies who yes, really are just like sharks. Sorry Obama, no thanks on your insurance company bailout.

    There is a good reason people don't want to buy insurance. It steals their money and fails people when they need it the most, leaving many with huge unpaid costs or terrible health care. To make money, (or break even) they deny care. They waste as much as half on paperwork brokers profits and billing hassles.

    These bills don't change that fundmental failure.

    Its so bad that doctors are forced to sign gag clauses in their contracts forbidding them from even discussing everything having to deal with quality of care issues.

    The insurance system is disintegrating before our eyes. Don't let the idiot politicians and their paymasters resuscitate it.
    (Hint, use sign language!)

    Bill, thank you for your excellent series. No, I don't think that the Senate or House bills are positive steps because they bend over backwards to preserve a system that adds absolutely no value and kills thouands of Americans each year.

    We need a system like Canada's or the UKs that covers EVERYBODY automatically- and well - and pays for it by taxes.

    We could do that for less than we pay now in premiums. Its absolutely imperative that we say no to the insurance companies who yes, really are just like sharks. Sorry Obama, no thanks on your insurance company bailout.

    There is a good reason people don't want to buy insurance. It steals their money and fails people when they need it the most, leaving many with huge unpaid costs or terrible health care. To make money, (or break even) they deny care. They waste as much as half on paperwork brokers profits and billing hassles.

    These bills don't change that fundmental failure.

    Its so bad that doctors are forced to sign gag clauses in their contracts forbidding them from even discussing everything having to deal with quality of care issues.

    The insurance system is disintegrating before our eyes. Don't let the idiot politicians and their paymasters resuscitate it.
    (Hint, use sign language!)

    I would like to express my support for the position of Dr.Angell. I believe that scrapping the effort to reform the system now is a good plan. However, I believe that starting over again soon will not work, as the same forces that are killing it now will be around for a while.
    One thing I have observed in my life in this country, is that in a Democracy, where the ultimate decision is that of the people, enough of those people must get behind whatever it is they are attempting to enact or change. Where our current health care system is concerned, unfortunately, things must get much worse than they already are before an adequate number of our citizens will support reforming it. Sadly,this is an inherent flaw in our system. Far too many people who are on employer paid plans are indifferent to those who are not, and cannot afford, or are spending their life savings on an individual policy.
    So let's allow the insurance industry to glut upon the helpless, the indifferent, and the silent, until a large enough number of our citizens realize that the insurance industry has been the major force in the deterioration of our current health care system. (Not the only force, but the major force) Then hopefully, we will have enough people agreeable to total elimination of private insurance companies from our health care system. It shouldn't take too long for this to happen as those aforementioned indifferent folks covered by paid employer plans are dropping like flies.

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    Walk away from this current health care bill and start over. Obama appears to be like most high level politicians, unwilling or unable to stand up and fight for the average Joe. Basic public health care should not be a for-profit-business.

    PS: Help us follow the money Bill - where is all this insurance co. cash going? NAME NAMES!

    Arguing about whether the proposed Health Care bill is to be, or not to be, to pass the Senate through reconciliation, or to die--that's the question on everyone's mind, and the two speakers took opposite views on what should happen. But no matter what happens, pass or fail, Dr Angell's views or Wendell Potter's---the ...health care system will unravel, as Dr. Angell suggested. And then a third option will emerge as the solution--state by state, we'll get single payer after all. Either California or Pennsylvania will get the ball rolling. It will probably be California. And it will happen very quickly, in fact has already started to happen.See More

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    Medicare for all is the healthcare and cost solution. Corporate money to our representatives obscures that simple fact.

    As an aside, when President Obama abandoned Single Payer at the outset, he demonstrated his inability to be an effective President. I will not vote for or support him ever again.

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    Medicare for all is the healthcare and cost solution. Corporate money to our representatives obscures that simple fact.

    As an aside, when President Obama abandoned Single Payer at the outset, he demonstrated his inability to be an effective President. I will not vote for or support him ever again.

    Let’s expand on Senator Rockefeller’s rapacious shark analogy.

    Health insurance companies are rapacious sharks that swim under the water. We, the citizens needing health insurance of some kind, are standing on one side of the tank, looking at the safety area (health care) on the far side of this tank.

    The described health insurance program acknowledges that if we try to reach the safety area (health care) the sharks may eat us if they are hungry (profit starved), or they may help us to the far side of the tank (where health care resides) if they are profit satisfied. It’s a risky journey.

    Many (arguably most) citizens want the government to build a safety platform over the tank, so we can obtain safety (health care) without the trauma of the tank (the hidden sharks).

    The described bill falls a little short of this. It simply pushes us into the tank.

    Is that a swim you want to make?

    Don
    Seattle

    For the year, WellPoint earned $4.7 billion, or $9.88 a share. Dr. Angell said that the CEO is only interested in the stock price to be sure she makes enough money.
    I agree with Dr. Angell, congress should scrap this bill and make Medicare the system for all. Most of the comments I read would agree on this statement.
    What happened to the public option. One person recently stated from Salon.com that President Obama was not interested ina public option in the first place.
    Why do people keep electing the same politicians every time they seek office. I agree with a comment that was made earlier: a political campaign contribution asking for money. I believe that we should all vote all politicians out of office after their second term.
    Perhaps Potter is right, that any plan would be better than none. Only time will tell.

    PASS IT!
    Remember the advice:
    Don't let perfection be the enemy of progress.

    We can add a public option later, after the insurance companies continue to show their true colors.

    What we need, more than ANYTHING else, is to OUTLAW LOBBYISTS!

    Money talks and our voices are drowned out. This is especially true with a Supreme Court that gives Corporations SUPERIOR RIGHTS to us poor little individual humans.

    If I became President, on day 1, I would declare martial law, give the lobbyists 24 hours to get out of town & put a $1000 bounty on their heads. Then, I would arrest the Supreme Court Judges who defend corporate rights OVER human rights & charge them with treason. Then, I would lift martial law, because I am just an ordinary American & despise dictators.

    Thank you for this excellent program.

    As usual the Dumbocrats have shot themselves in the foot trying to become Republican-Lite.

    Dr. Angell proposed a reasonable scale-in to Medicare on the Huffington Post:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcia-angell-md/is-the-house-health-care_b_350190.html

    It's simple, understandable, popular and
    takes effect immediately.

    Someday the voters will get tired of the Big Money Profiteers owning our Congress and funding the elections,
    Someday the voters will get tired of Wall St always getting the breaks but Main St get the muddy end of the stick,
    Someday . . . but till then, the working stiff gets screwed.

    Perhaps President Obama never intended to provide universal coverage in the first place which might explain why he has yielded and compromised so much. Delivering a captive audience to the insurance companies is not about providing health care, it is about providing profit and should be the last straw for Democrats. I agree with Dr. Angell and would not support passing empty legislation. It's time to move beyond political strategy, face the truth about The Party, and get serious about real health care solutions.

    Thank you for a very informative program. Prior to seeing it, my thinking was much like Mr. Potter's - the very compromised bills in progress in Congress were better than nothing at all. However, Dr. Angell's position on this was very enlightening: I know am starting to think that maybe it is better to let the current "reform" go and work toward something better. The downside of that is that it may not happen in our lifetimes, given the way Congress works (or doesn't) in light of the money and interests involved. In the interim, many people will suffer in terms of their health or at least their financial well-being. The only way things are likely to be truly reformed - in God's lifetime (to cite another poster) - are if things get so bad for so many that the monied interests are no longer able to carry the day.

    Thanks Bill-- We appreciate your description of the on-going catastrophe in the stormy sea of healthcare as seen from your high ground. While our citizens struggle in the frothy waters with the current flotsam and jetsum of insurance options thrown to us from the Corporate Cruiseship, our Congressional Coastguard is
    wrangling about which end of the lifeboat is front while wearing life preservers thrown to them from the Corporate crew. In the meantime, we are given the options of drowning or being eaten by the sharks -- or holding our breath. Our
    Captain of the Ship of State, Captain Horatio Hornblower is yelling into the wind -- 'do something!'
    while the muddled bureaucracy is trying to unsnarl the ropes & lines tying our country to the rocky coast.
    (btw -- I want the public option.)

    Mr. Moyers; Thankyou for this wonderful forum for average Americans to voice their opinions and concerns. I've just read through most of the comments and it is clear to me that Most folks: 1.don't like the choices being debated. 2. They want some form of single payer. They want to pay their fair share of the costs to insure all Americans. 3. The want to make it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. 4. They want to make it illegal for insurance companies to rescind coverage when a person becomes ill. 5. They want to make it illegal for insurance companies to raise rates anymore than the rise in inflation. 6. They don't want what's politically expedient for the Congress and Senate to enact; they want health care for all Americans. 7. A little math can go a long way to sheding some sanity on the costs issue. Consider the following: We could add the 50 million uninsured Americans to an extension of Medicare. These 50 milllion folks each pay $100 per month for this insurance. That's $1200 per year times 50 million, or $60 billion a year in new premiums. That should be enough additional money to cover their healthcare. To summerize: Real solutions could be worked out. Political expediency has no place in this most important issue for the American people. The Health Insurance Industry is not too big to fail. The Healthcare Provider Industry needs fair compensation for their important work; but they do not need to raise rates on the backs of the American people. If our elected officials can't work together to solve America's challenges, then they need to go. I'm so tired of Republicans and Democrats attacking each other. America deserves better.

    I do not believe that the so called health care reform bill as it is now structured should be passed. I am against the requirment for all to purchase for profit private health insurance which has proved a dismal failure in providing health insurance coverage to Americans. I am not necessarily in favor of Medicare for all but I am in favor of Medicare available to all who need coverage. Let those who wish to continue with private for pofit coverage do so. Let those who want or need Medicare be allowed to enroll.

    Arguing about whether the proposed Health Care bill is to be, or not to be, to pass the Senate through reconciliation, or to die--that's the question on everyone's mind, and the two speakers took opposite views on what should happen. But no matter what happens, pass or fail, Dr Angell's views or Wendell Potter's---the health care system will unravel, as Dr. Angell suggested. And then a third option will emerge as the solution--state by state, we'll get single payer after all. Either California or Pennsylvania will get the ball rolling. It will probably be California. And it will happen very quickly, in fact has already started to happen.

    I just finished watching the Journal from March 05,2010. Dr. Marcia Angell has inspired me to write for the first time. I am a Registered Nurse in California. I am in favor of single-payor health care for all--Medicare for all. For those members of congress opposed, I say...if we would eliminate YOUR health care insurance, maybe then you would see how it would be to be without.
    Why is it that GREED has to drive those in power...money is NOT everything.
    I work in a large urban hospital and have for 25 years. What has happened to our government? President Obama, please do the right thing. Throw this bill out and do what is right. Thank you.

    During the campaign, Obama said if we were starting out and could do anything he would prefer a single-payer system, but since that's not the case, he was not proposing a single-payer system. I am very concerned that diverting energies toward an impossible-to-achieve single-payer system at this time will undermine the unified effort needed by Democrats to achieve anything-- period. Dr. Angell's insistence that currently proposed changes are not worth passing reflects to me the unrealistic and often idealistic orientation of doctors and other scientists/academics toward practical policy possibilities. We should notice that her prescription is essentially the same as that of the Republicans--start over! Let's stick with what can be done now and believe in ourselves and our President enough to make it work!

    Brilliant program.
    I think that Dr. Angell makes great points. I agree with everything she has to say, almost. Basically, I think the Health Care Bill ought to pass. I do not think that "hope," as she puts it outweighs the millions without healthcare. Further, I believe that if Obama and Democrats win, they have a better chance of putting in regulations that could further reign in the insurance industry. If the system as Dr. Angell says is unravelling or will unravel one way or the other, then we will all be in the same boat -- if the bill is passed -- and will more incline then to seek a true overhaul. Better to force the issue than wait 16 years.
    Gordon

    A side note...

    If Dr. Angel ever wants to get into journalism. She would make an excellent replacement for you Mr. Moyers, when you retire in April.

    She is smart, informed and a straight shooter.

    Brilliant program.
    I agree with Mr. Potter in the end. But many viewers may have been persuaded by Dr. Angell because she went last.
    I think that Dr. Angell makes great points. I agree with everything she has to say, almost. Basically, I think the Health Care Bill ought to pass. I do not think that "hope," as she puts it outweighs the millions without healthcare. Further, I believe that if Obama and Democrats win, they have a better chance of putting in regulations that could further reign in the insurance industry. If the system as Dr. Angell says is unravelling or will unravel one way or the other, then we will all be in the same boat -- if the bill is passed -- and will more incline then to seek a true overhaul. Better to force the issue than wait 16 years.
    Gordon

    A side note...

    If Dr. Angel ever wants to get into journalism. She would make an excellent replacemnt for you Mr. Moyers, when you retire in April.

    She is smart, informed and a straight shooter.

    I am very concerned that diverting energies toward an impossible-to-achieve single-payer system will undermine the unified effort needed by Democrats to achieve anything-- period. Dr. Angell's insistence that currently proposed changes are not worth passing reflects to me the unrealistic and often idealistic orientation of doctors and other scientists/academics toward practical policy possibilities. We should notice that her prescription is essentially the same as that of the Republicans--start over! Let's stick with what can be done now and believe in ourselves and our President enough to make it work!

    Brilliant program.
    I think that Dr. Angell makes great points. I agree with everything she has to say, almost. Basically, I think the Health Care Bill ought to pass. I do not think that "hope," as she puts it outweighs the millions without healthcare. Further, I believe that if Obama and Democrats win, they have a better chance of putting in regulations that could further reign in the insurance industry. If the system as Dr. Angell says is unravelling or will unravel one way or the other, then we will all be in the same boat -- if the bill is passed -- and will more incline then to seek a true overhaul. Better to force the issue than wait 16 years.
    Gordon

    Brilliant program.
    I think that Dr. Angell makes great points. I agree with everything she has to say, almost. Basically, I think the Health Care Bill ought to pass. I do not think that "hope," as she puts it outweighs the millions without healthcare. Further, I believe that if Obama and Democrats win, they have a better chance of putting in regulations that could further reign in the insurance industry. If the system as Dr. Angell says is unravelling or will unravel one way or the other, then we will all be in the same boat -- if the bill is passed -- and will more incline then to seek a true overhaul. Better to force the issue than wait 16 years.
    Gordon

    I am very concerned that diverting energies toward an impossible-to-achieve single-payer system will undermine the unified effort needed by Democrats to achieve anything-- period. Dr. Angell's insistence that currently proposed changes are not worth passing reflects to me the unrealistic and often idealistic orientation of doctors and other scientists/academics toward practical policy possibilities. We should notice that her prescription is essentially the same as that of the Republicans--start over! Let's stick with what can be done now and believe in ourselves and our President enough to make it work!

    I am very concerned that diverting energies toward an impossible-to-achieve single-payer system will undermine the unified effort needed by Democrats to achieve anything-- period. Dr. Angell's insistence that currently proposed changes are not worth passing reflects to me the unrealistic and often idealistic orientation of doctors and other scientists/academics toward practical policy possibilities. We should notice that her prescription is essentially the same as that of the Republicans--start over! Let's stick with what can be done now and believe in ourselves and our President enough to make it work!

    There is one public option idea that may not have been put forth in this shouting match over the delivery of health care in the US. Its simply this: the US Congress and all federal workers get the exact coverage given to the people by Congress. Apparently, the US Congress has ceased to be the house of representatives and have become the lords of the manor while being vassels of Wall Street which uses lobbying as an arsenal against democracy.

    Mandatory health insurance without a public option is equivalent to licensing the for-profit health insurance industry to level and raise taxes at will. How is it not a tax? How can this possibly be better than a single-payer system? –unless you’re a health insurance executive.

    The original ideals of the new health care reform have all been cast aside. Time to start over.

    Mandatory health insurance without a public option is equivalent to licensing the for-profit health insurance industry to level and raise taxes at will. How is it not a tax? How can this possibly be better than a single-payer system? –unless you’re a health insurance executive.

    I agree we need single payer health care - Medicare for all.

    But if we cannot have that, and we now cannot refuse to have health insurance, the health insurance companies should not be allowed to refuse any claims. Ever. If we have to pay by law, so should they.

    Thank you for your service Bill.
    Ther are two things that I have not heard discussed during this entire debate
    and they are 1) What legal mechanisms do we have to prevent the
    insurance, pharmaceutical and some equipment providers from just
    packing their bags (money bags) and walking away, brushing their hands
    and tellin the Administration: "Now you can deal with it". 2)The pharmaceutical
    companies have been running silent (as though it's a done deal with whatever
    scheme they concockted with the Administration) and much of our Health
    Care is treated by prescription drugs whose cost are significant. Drugs are
    marketed to the health care professionals and public as well. I have heard that
    the najor component of drug cost are not in R&D but in marketing..
    In both 1 and 2, our scarce funds are being used to vacumn our bank accounts
    much like the bankers. I suppose that when it's over and done with, we too
    can insist on a bail out.

    I agree we need single payer health care - Medicare for all.

    But if we cannot have that, and we now cannot refuse to have health insurance, the health insurance companies should not be allowed to refuse any claims. Ever. If we have to pay by law, so should they.

    The current bill should be allowed to die. The mandate to either buy health insurance or be fined by the government is unacceptable. It can't be true that this is our only option. I am more than just another bottomless wallet for rapacious corporate entities who have no interest in anything but their profit margin.

    Dr. Angell is correct, she simplified Health concerns for me and I agree with her views. I hope President Obama call on Dr. Angell and listens to what she has to say. Maybe he watches Bill Moyers?

    Thank you, Bill Moyers--for your excellent journalism. Your voice is a vital one in America.

    I never cease to wonder why the fantastic Frontline documentary Sick Around the World (see URL) isn't required watching for everybody involved in this important legislation!?

    Scrap the existing bill--but only if that leads to immediate passage of public option/single payer/expanded medicare.

    The essence of what we need is this: the misfortune of becoming ill can no longer be a for-profit enterprise in the USA.

    Dr. Angell is correct, she simplified Health concerns for me and I agree with her views.

    Bring on the Single Payer option and out with the old buggy whip manufacturers, i.e. the health insurance companies.

    For-profit health insurance system does not work and is not cost effective, so lets bring in something that does, the Single Payer System.

    Americans always were the innovators of the world, so lets start acting like it again. Always go with the better idea!

    Dr. Angell is correct. We need a national single payer health insurance system -- not a government enforced monopoly to increase the profits of insurance companies.

    After watching the program tonight on health care reform, it all became crystal clear that Dr. Angell should be our next president. The single payer system IS the only way to insure that EVERYONE has affordable health care, like expanding Medicare. Our honorable veterans and politicians and are in a government run health care system, but we the people aren't given that option. Many other nations have government run health care systems for all their citizens but mandating that we all must participate in this raping of America by publicly owned insurance companies whose profitability and answering to their shareholders are obviously their top concerns...not our health, is fightin' words.
    I've been obsessively watching government and political analysts television programming ever since this health care madness started praying that President Obama and the congressional democratic majority was going to make the changes promised and come to our rescue. Okay and if you believe that, I'd like to sell you a pretty piece of property in Florida.
    Basically our medical doctors are trained to perform surgery and administer drugs. Maybe we don't need them as much as we think we do. Peacefully dieing at home instead of being a guinea pig in a hospital sounds better anyway. I think it's time to turn to alternative medicine and pray.

    The original ideals of the new health care reform have all been cast aside. Time to start over.

    Dr. Angell is right on. We do not need a government enforced monopoly for profit health insurance companies. We do need a national single payer health insurance program for all Americans.

    Dr. Angell is correct. We need a single payer national health care system -- not a government enforced monopoly for profit driven insurance companies.

    Dr. Angell speaks to the heart of the issue. Passing a bill that's barely 'half-baked' will throw salt on an open wound. As she clearly pointed out, a 'bad bill' will be all that's needed for 'nay-sayers' to point to and declare that -- "yes, they were right .... health care reform is a dreadful idea that we should never have taken on....Never again!"
    True too are the comments made throughout these posts that unless we change the $$ in politics, neither health care nor any other program that supports the 'public good' will have a chance of becoming law.
    BTW, are the health care nay-sayers also willing to eliminate public education as a common good, and let the wealthy pay for their private schools while the rest of us remain uneducated? As a society, we need a population that is both healthy and educated in order to be productive. Otherwise, as Dr. Angell suggests, we'll be ‘3rd world material’ in no time. Bye bye USA, hello new world leader(s) China and India!

    Basic Universal Health Care provided by a single payer system seems to me the way to go. It would be Universal care...but, cetainly, not free care...everyone would pay into it, including, maybe, some "service time" for those who don't have the means to pay with $$$'S. Insurancxe companies could offer additional coverage, like they now do with Medicare.

    However, if Congress and the poorly and ill-informed public can't agree on a "public option" in the current plans, how cana "single payer" system ever be approved? Therefore, I guess I'd support passing the current proposal and hope it will lead to a single payer system in the future.

    My big worry about the current proposals is...if the Insurance Companies are required to offer insurance to everyone and not deny or end coverage to someone with a "pre-condition", what will prevent them from offering it at such high prices that no one can afford it?

    Drilling down to discover where to respond to this issue was a chore.

    Before ANY desirable outcome for healthcare can be enacted (I do want a single payer system), we must have a disconnect between congresspersons and corporate bribery. It's just silly to expect desirable social legislation from corrupted legislators.

    Dr. Angell is correct. We need a national health insurance program, not a public option, not private-for profit insurance.

    I have been unemployed for over a year and have no health care. When I did have health care with an HMO my doctor put me on a prescription medication that I eventually discovered was undermining my health with its bad side effects. He didn't notice it, I did. I got the feeling he was working for the pharmaceutical companies, not for me. I believe the whole health care industry in this country is so corrupted by the search for profits that it is best to just drop it. If we all did that, doctors would be without pay, and maybe they would start coming to our doors once again with a black bag and a stethoscope and finally start delivering true health care once again. I'm probably dreaming.

    The individual mandate to purchase health insurance is the perfect way to give massive amounts of government money to the health insurance industry. The government option would be reform and change. Single payor would be dynamic reform and change that the nation needs. we should hold out for that.

    When Congress gets the same health care ins. "we" do then we will get professional negotiations from Congress (hopefully!

    Fed. govt. waste 100s of millions of dollars with out ACCOUNTANILITY--Is it no wonder "we" don't trust sending Additional money to Washington? (2 Washington Post reporters)

    At least think about this before reacting:
    Cut taxes 10% across the board for 1 year.
    Cut expences 10% across the board (including defence.

    Competant management could provide the same level of services--I bet.

    Those responsible for beinging about the Fed. financial Crisis are the same ones advising Obama-now! Can Sommers, Geitner, Bernake NOW!

    Time to get our house in order.

    Health Care is controversal & on the front burner because Congress is fearful of what Mainstreet will do when all is exposed!

    Billy Bob Florida

    Thank you Bill Moyers. It seems to me the problem with the health insurance reform bill is the mandate. People don't want the government telling them they have to buy insurance, especially from companies that are already making billions in profits and that pay their executives millions. I think that is what has turned the public against health care reform and further against the government.

    The current bill is bad and a single payer system is probably the only solution, but stop calling it "Medicare for All." Medicare involves paying small amounts in for 30-40 years and then being able to get care for many fewer years until death. That won't work.
    The best single payer system is in France, and it's based on premiums proportional to income. Both employees and employers essentially pay a percentage of pay/income. There are no deductibles, but there are co-pays. Supplementary insurers cover those at very low premiums.

    Thank you Bill.
    It's unpatriotic of our leaders to give us a second rate health care system, compared to all the other developed countries.
    The failure of our system kills tens of thousands of fellow Americans yearly.
    I'm afraid, our leaders don't care enough.
    They are going to mandate a second rate system and force us to pay for it.
    China, the next super-power, here's your chance to catch up even faster.
    Obama's become a real disappointment- nothing's changed.

    Thank you Bill.
    It's unpatriotic of our leaders to give us a second rate health care system, compared to all the other developed countries.
    The failure of our system kills tens of thousands of fellow Americans yearly.
    I'm afraid, our leaders don't care enough.
    They are going to mandate a second rate system and force us to pay for it.
    China, the next super-power, here's your chance to catch up even faster.
    Obama's become a real disappointment- nothing's changed.

    The idea for a corporate run for profit health care system without any regulation is diametrically opposed to the basic concept of sound public health. One is for profit, and the other is for the public good.

    While the current bill being considered by Congress is far from perfect it represents the chance to at least partially fulfill Obama's promise of reform. It is the greed and self interest of Congress that has created this problem. The failure of Congress to inact the public will is at the heart of the issue.

    While the bill is an insult to two thirds of the voting public it's defeat would probably mean the end of any hope for meaningful reform of health careand financial sectors. The recent Supreme Court ruling giving corporations the same rights as actual human individuals exacerbates the issue. If Congress can not pass the bill within the next two to three weeks it will be over. Corporate influence must be growing daily now that the Court has ruled in their favor. At this point all our representatives can see is money.

    Ask yourself. Is this an natural extension of unregulated free market capitalism? We dangerously close be becoming a two class third world country where the wealthy rule the people.

    Is losing on this health care bill worth it?

    I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Angell. Pres. Obama should pull the current bill and fight tooth and nail for a national health care system. The bill is not and never was a bi-partisan initiative and republicans can be expected to savage any legislation he proposes on any topic.
    So the President needs to stop his policy of appeasement and use the power of his office to provide the American people with the health care they need and deserve.

    MEDICARE FOR ALL; SINGLE PAYER!!!
    That's the ONLY and BEST way to fix our "non-system".
    Take the profit out of health care.
    We need HEALTH CARE, not health insurance.
    No more premiums.
    No more bargaining.
    Just real HEALTH CARE.

    MEDICARE FOR ALL; SINGLE PAYER!!!
    That's the ONLY and BEST way to fix our "non-system".
    Take the profit out of health care.
    We need HEALTH CARE, not health insurance.
    No more premiums.
    No more bargaining.
    Just real HEALTH CARE.

    Federal legislation that requires individual Americans to purchase health insurance from private for-profit insurance companies or face being fined by the federal government is my working definition of a poison pill considering the probable political consequences. If the so-called individual mandate actually becomes the law of the land, I would expect the Democrats to lose every battleground state in the 2010 midterm elections. Americans simply do not like being told what to do by anyone and that includes those genuises in Washington! The mandate scheme compels a citizen to spend part of his disposable after-taxes income to buy health insurance from a for-profit private health insurance company. Since the government is enforcing this mandate, it is actually a form of indirect taxation; even worse, it goes to a group of corporations determined to make a profit under this law. And, as a bonus, the private health insurance companies get their greedy fingers inside the US Treasury, because the government will end up subsidizing all those individuals who cannot afford the skyrocketing premiums. Individual mandates have proven extremely expensive in Massachusetts and resemble a license to steal. If the Democrats are determined to remain the majority party, they must scrap the Senate Bill and start over. Some incremental reforms including those mentioned by Dr. Angell are still possible.

    MEDICARE FOR ALL; SINGLE PAYER!!!
    That's the ONLY and BEST way to fix our "non-system".
    Take the profit out of health care.
    We need HEALTH CARE, not health insurance.
    No more premiums.
    No more bargaining.
    Just real HEALTH CARE.

    Dr. Angell seems like someone who is saying that she will hold her breath until there is Medicare for all. As much as I would favor Medicare for all, it will never happen as long as Congress is under the influence of corporate lobbyists. As a retired surgeon, I recognize that the first step must be to get everyone under one tent, i.e. universal mandate. The current flawed bill will take a giant step in that direction. We can then carve at the edges to improve it, e.g. requiring insurance companies to issue basic health care policies as non-profits but still allow them to make a profit on supplemental policies for the more affluent. We may also then be able to use results-based research to base standard of care medical decisions on what really works & eliminate the perverse incentives to unnecessary treatments.

    Dr. Angell seems like someone who is saying that she will hold her breath until there is Medicare for all. As much as I would favor Medicare for all, it will never happen as long as Congress is under the influence of corporate lobbyists. As a retired surgeon, I recognize that the first step must be to get everyone under one tent, i.e. universal mandate. The current flawed bill will take a giant step in that direction. We can then carve at the edges to improve it, e.g. requiring insurance companies to issue basic health care policies as non-profits but still allow them to make a profit on supplemental policies for the more affluent. We may also then be able to use results-based research to base standard of care medical decisions on what really works & eliminate the perverse incentives to unnecessary treatments.

    Thank you Bill Moyers for this show. It clarified so much more than all the wasted hours spent watching cable news all these months. Both guests were excellent but I fear Dr. Angell is more correct. It looks like passing this bill now would hand a victory to those hidden, biting sharks.

    Thank you Bill Moyers for keeping healthcare reform on the front burner. Medicare for all, single payer or a strong public option, anyone of these has my vote.

    MEDICARE FOR ALL; SINGLE PAYER
    The above is the ONLY way to improve our present non-system
    TAKE THE PROFIT OUT OF HEALTH CARE.
    HEALTH CARE, NOT HEALTH INSURANCE.
    No bargaining needed.
    Just do it.
    NOW!!!

    Thank you Bill Moyers for keeping healthcare reform on the front burner. Medicare for all, single payer or a strong public option, anyone of these has my vote.

    MEDICARE FOR ALL; SINGLE PAYER
    The above is the ONLY way to improve our present non-system
    TAKE THE PROFIT OUT OF HEALTH CARE.
    HEALTH CARE, NOT HEALTH INSURANCE.
    No bargaining needed.
    Just do it.
    NOW!!!

    MEDICARE FOR ALL; SINGLE PAYER
    The above is the ONLY way to improve our present non-system
    TAKE THE PROFIT OUT OF HEALTH CARE.
    HEALTH CARE, NOT HEALTH INSURANCE.
    No bargaining needed.
    Just do it.
    NOW!!!

    MEDICARE FOR ALL; SINGLE PAYER
    The above is the ONLY way to improve our present non-system
    TAKE THE PROFIT OUT OF HEALTH CARE.
    HEALTH CARE, NOT HEALTH INSURANCE.
    No bargaining needed.
    Just do it.
    NOW!!!

    Thank you Bill Moyers for keeping healthcare reform on the front burner. Medicare for all, single payer or a strong public option, anyone of these has my vote.

    Thank you Bill Moyers for keeping healthcare reform on the front burner. Medicare for all, single payer or a strong public option, anyone of these has my vote.

    Thank you Bill Moyers for keeping healthcare reform on the front burner. Medicare for all, single payer or a strong public option, anyone of these has my vote.

    Thank you Bill Moyers for keeping healthcare reform on the front burner. Medicare for all, single payer or a strong public option, anyone of these has my vote.

    I'm with Dr. Angell on this one. I say scrape the bill, and fight for Medicare-for-All. Dr. Angell's arguments were totally on the mark. We should make her Sec. of Health.

    As for the President..., Come on, Obama, show some political courage and do the right thing. History will love you for it.

    I'm with Dr. Angell on this one. I say scrape the bill, and fight for Medicare-for-All. Dr. Angell's arguments were totally on the mark. We should make her Sec. of Health.

    As for the President..., Come on, Obama, show some political courage and do the right thing. History will love you for it.

    Walk away from this current health care bill and start over. Obama appears to be like most high level politicians, unwilling or unable to stand up and fight for the average Joe. Basic public health care should not be a for-profit-business.

    PS: Help us follow the money Bill - where is all this insurance co. cash going? NAME NAMES!

    Walk away from this current health care bill and start over. Obama appears to be like most high level politicians, unwilling or unable to stand up and fight for the average Joe. Basic public health care should not be a for-profit-business.

    PS: Help us follow the money Bill - where is all this insurance co. cash going? NAME NAMES!

    Though I respect Mr. Potter very much and am, like him, tempted to take what we can get now, I have to agree with Dr. Angell. Passing a plan now that does not include at least a public option is worse than no change.
    There is one sur way to take huge cots out of the nations healthcare bill: cut the profits and enormous salaries of the insurers out.
    As for the Dems and Pres Obama needing a win. Successfully passing a terrible healthcare plan that doesn't go into effect for years to come will do nothing for them politically. I can hear the Rep rhetoric already: boasting that they said no to the giveaways to the insurers.
    President Obama should rise to the occassion and happily let the current proposals die or even veto the bill. And immediately start over with medicare for all.

    Though I respect Mr. Potter very much and am, like him, tempted to take what we can get now, I have to agree with Dr. Angell. Passing a plan now that does not include at least a public option is worse than no change.
    There is one sur way to take huge cots out of the nations healthcare bill: cut the profits and enormous salaries of the insurers out.
    As for the Dems and Pres Obama needing a win. Successfully passing a terrible healthcare plan that doesn't go into effect for years to come will do nothing for them politically. I can hear the Rep rhetoric already: boasting that they said no to the giveaways to the insurers.
    President Obama should rise to the occassion and happily let the current proposals die or even veto the bill. And immediately start over with medicare for all.

    Though I respect Mr. Potter very much and am, like him, tempted to take what we can get now, I have to agree with Dr. Angell. Passing a plan now that does not include at least a public option is worse than no change.
    There is one sur way to take huge cots out of the nations healthcare bill: cut the profits and enormous salaries of the insurers out.
    As for the Dems and Pres Obama needing a win. Successfully passing a terrible healthcare plan that doesn't go into effect for years to come will do nothing for them politically. I can hear the Rep rhetoric already: boasting that they said no to the giveaways to the insurers.
    President Obama should rise to the occassion and happily let the current proposals die or even veto the bill. And immediately start over with medicare for all.

    Walk away from this current health care bill and start over. Obama appears to be like most high level politicians, unwilling or unable to stand up and fight for the average Joe. Basic public health care should not be a for-profit-business.

    PS: Help us follow the money Bill - where is all this insurance co. cash going? NAME NAMES!

    Though I respect Mr. Potter very much and am, like him, tempted to take what we can get now, I have to agree with Dr. Angell. Passing a plan now that does not include at least a public option is worse than no change.
    There is one sur way to take huge cots out of the nations healthcare bill: cut the profits and enormous salaries of the insurers out.
    As for the Dems and Pres Obama needing a win. Successfully passing a terrible healthcare plan that doesn't go into effect for years to come will do nothing for them politically. I can hear the Rep rhetoric already: boasting that they said no to the giveaways to the insurers.
    President Obama should rise to the occassion and happily let the current proposals die or even veto the bill. And immediately start over with medicare for all.

    The entire healthcare debate should have started by addressing and forcing politicians to answer this fundamental question: Should providing health care - taking care of the sick, the injured, etc. - a business or is it (by its very nature) a service. As a business, the "incentives" to provide inadequate care, excessive and expensive tests, drugs, etc. are perverse and contrary to the Hippocratic oath.

    The entire healthcare debate should have started by addressing and forcing politicians to answer this fundamental question: Should providing health care - taking care of the sick, the injured, etc. - a business or is it (by its very nature) a service. As a business, the "incentives" to provide inadequate care, excessive and expensive tests, drugs, etc. are perverse and contrary to the Hippocratic oath.

    The contrast between Potter and Angell, even with those areas that they agree on, does show the complexity of the issue. While far from adequate, especially without the public option, to scrap all that has been gained in the current bill and try to start over would most likely result in nothing coming this close again in the foreseeable future. I acknowledge Angell's view of the difference between politics and policy, but both have to be considered. If the current bill is scrapped to 'start over' it will be viewed as a victory for the right and will be used to ensure that any further attempts at reform would meet a quick death.

    The current crowd in Washington are clearly more concerned about their politics than trying to solve the problem faced by so many Americans. Since the average American can't come close to competing with big money lobbyists, the chance of any reform that puts the American people first is slim to none.

    A national health care program which provides access for all people to a basic level of care is the only just and sustainable system. Health insurance reform is not the answer. It is time to scrap the proposed bill and start it right. But this will require commitment from Obama and his administration to follow through on promises he made before he was elected--to challenge the corporate greed that runs this government.
    How we care for the people without money truly reflects the moral health of our country--presently we are a very sick society, in many ways. It is time to take decisive action and stop pandering to the rich.
    As an oncology nurse I see the discriminatory effects of our insurance system every day, and it breaks my heart. It is wrong.

    Dr. Angell is correct.

    We need a government run single payer system -- not just a public option. No for profit insurance companies.

    People remember the negative more than the positive. This is why so many think of the Great Society as a failed program, rather then remembering its successes. Current HCR bills have so many moving parts that many will fail. Democrats will be remembered as presenting failures. As with LBJ, we are likely to see a string of Republicans follow Obama. We can't afford that.
    Congress should pass some small but powerful reforms: expanding Medicaid, repealing the ban on Medicare negotiations with drug companies, for example. And then try again another day.

    Bill, we've all been drinking the insurance compnies Kool Aid too long. To think that health insurance equates to health care is absurd. Insurance companies should be paid to write checks and squeeze out fraud and excess not determine who is treated and for what.
    Health insurance is a product and like any other product the manufacturer buys the parts as cheaply as they can and sells the results for as much as they can to make a profit. We are asking too much of a corporation to take care of some one in need and yet make a profit and satisfy the share holders.
    A standard plan of care regulated by an oversight body and provided by doctors, nurses, and trained helath care professionals is health care. The Government should not issue the checks, we've already paid for too many $1,000 toilet seats but the insurance company should not decide who is covered it is "counter profitable".
    Paying for this should not be difficult based on the amount this country already spends it just has to be spent on what really matters; keeping people healthy and healing them when they are not.

    We agree 100% with Dr. Angell. It is time to start over with the goal to create healthcare for all with a single payer system like most European countries have.
    Everything else will make insurance companies richer and everyone else poorer.

    Society's healthcare goal, as much quality care for as little cost as possible, is diametrically opposed to the "for profit" model ... as little care as possible for as much cost (premiums) as tolerable.
    Marcia Angell is correct when she states that many of our legislators, especially those who crafted the current bills, are largely in the pockets of the for profit insurance and pharmaceutical companies.
    So how can she believe that we are ready for a single payor, when the political will isn't even there to pass something as logical and incremental as a "public option" ??
    I live in a part of the country where most of the voting public DOES NOT recognize health insurers as the problem. This is not liberal Cambridge but the "heartland" where most people believe government is ALWAYS incompetent even though, for instance, Medicare is administered at a fifth or less of the cost of private plans.
    In an ideal world where everyone spends at least as much time thinking about the serious matters we face as they do about shopping and eating Marcia Angell would have a much better chance of convincing us. I agree with her logic and 90% of her reasoning but in 2010 politics is more than ever the art of the possible.
    Next year the Republicans will have more not less influence and if we don't get things off the ground by passing the current (imperfect) bill we truly will be back to a "blank page" and headed nowhere.
    The current system IS unravelling and very quickly, but for most of the public this debate is way too complicated and they are years away from catching on. The politicians will lag behind even further.
    We have to hold our noses and get going !

    John Wheaton MD

    From Chamberlain to Churchill?
    All thanks to Bill Moyers for hosting two remarkable conversations last night. Admittedly, it was a bit difficult to listen to Wendell Potter and agree with him that this bill is probably better than nothing, and then listen to Marcia Angell, and find myself increasingly impressed with her grim arguments. (I've seen and highly respected both individuals before)
    Any way to reconcile the two? Perhaps.
    One could decide that Neville Obama followed a policy of Appeasement this past year by seeking a 'bipartisan' bill
    acceptable to the Republicans and the Health-Care companies.
    But on a hard second look, one could reluctantly decide that the price of this appeasement is too high, and that it's time
    for Winston Obama to emerge and switch to defiance of all those who want to maintain a system which would still be
    indefensibly rapacious even if passed with a few good reforms in it.
    It's a colossal gamble, and it's not at all clear Obama and those who should join him in a policy of 'Medicare for All' can pull it off. It's also not at all clear if a large enough proportion of the American people are up to the civic test of understanding what's at stake for the long future of the country even if this great issue is explained to them with political and substantive brilliance.
    But accepting or failing to accept that he, and we - the American people as a whole, are faced with a Churchillian challenge does now seem the only alternative for Obama.

    I enjoyed Potter and Angell. Thanks! However, they left me rather confused about the current plans for health care reform. It seems to me that if there is a mandate the single payer option is the best option.

    Potter and Angell do strengthen my belief that our main problem, not only in health care, is greed. Greed, one of the 7 sins, appears to be rampant in both the private sector (exorbitant profits and lavish lifestyles) and government (accepting large amounts of money from private sector
    lobbyists to win elections). Anyone afflicted with such an addiction is very unlikely to ever admit it. This likely puts the country into eventually facing a terrible dilemma as the poor are forgotten since they have no money, the middle class becomes the new poor and the wealthy begin eating each other. We can have hope that somewhere along the journey there will be a private sector and government recognition and resolution of the primary problem. If not a resolution, greed by itself, at some point, will force itself to end. And that won't be pretty.

    A national health care program which provides access for all people to a basic level of care is the only just and sustainable system. Health insurance reform is not the answer. It is time to scrap the proposed bill and start it right. But this will require commitment from Obama and his administration to follow through on promises he made before he was elected--to challenge the corporate greed that runs this government.
    How we care for the people without money truly reflects the moral health of our country--presently we are a very sick society, in many ways. It is time to take decisive action and stop pandering to the rich.
    As an oncology nurse I see the discriminatory effects of our insurance system every day, and it breaks my heart. It is wrong.

    A national health care program which provides access for all people to a basic level of care is the only just and sustainable system. Health insurance reform is not the answer. It is time to scrap the proposed bill and start it right. But this will require commitment from Obama and his administration to follow through on promises he made before he was elected--to challenge the corporate greed that runs this government.
    How we care for the people without money truly reflects the moral health of our country--presently we are a very sick society, in many ways. It is time to take decisive action and stop pandering to the rich.
    As an oncology nurse I see the discriminatory effects of our insurance system every day, and it breaks my heart. It is wrong.

    As long as ours is 'the best government money can buy', but we, the people don't have an effective method to buy it, then all we'll get is the health care scraps from the buyers' table. It's a delicious irony - the people pay the bills to insurers and providers, who pass on a chunk to K Street, K Street stuffs the leftovers in a brown paper bag labelled "Campaign Contribution, alias Free Speech from your friends at (insert name)" for our dedicated public servants on the Hill. It's a business model Goldman Sachs loves - customers paying you to screw them. This bill is like duct-taping broken engine mounts.

    Of course Dr. Angell is right!
    When the Obama bill fails the problem, as acute as it is, will stay on the front burner and will will have to be dealt with shortly. If, God forbid, it passses the pain and cost will be spread all over the system and become harder to pin point. I hope that in the meantime most of the incumbants in Congress will be gone and the newcomers will be less dependent on the Medical Insurance money.
    Those who say that the bill shoul be passesd to help Obama and Democrats prove that idiocracy reigns: the purpose of the bill is to help American people and not a political party or a person at the huge cost to the nation.

    Of course Dr. Angell is right!
    When the Obama bill fails the problem, as acute as it is, will stay on the front burner and will will have to be dealt with shortly. If, God forbid, it passses the pain and cost will be spread all over the system and become harder to pin point. I hope that in the meantime most of the incumbants in Congress will be gone and the newcomers will be less dependent on the Medical Insurance money.
    Those who say that the bill shoul be passesd to help Obama and Democrats prove that idiocracy reigns: the purpose of the bill is to help American people and not a political party or a person at the huge cost to the nation.

    As long as ours is 'the best government money can buy', but we, the people don't have an effective method to buy it, then all we'll get is the health care scraps from the buyers' table. It's a delicious irony - the people pay the bills to insurers and providers, who pass on a chunk to K Street, K Street stuffs the leftovers in a brown paper bag labelled "Campaign Contribution, alias Free Speech from your friends at (insert name)" for our dedicated public servants on the Hill. It's a business model Goldman Sachs loves - customers paying you to screw them. This bill is like duct-taping broken engine mounts.

    I listened to and understood all of what your guests said last night but I am honetly too baffeled about the pros and cons to make a decision.
    I would prefer a better bill but I can not see how one could emerge from the same system that gave us the three choices we have now. It is a conundrum.

    Marcia Angell has it right. I believe she presented a very clear and accurate assessment of the crisis we face. Thank you again for the excellent program.

    I agree with Dr. Angel. We need medicare for all. How in the world can mandated health care be justified without it being from a non-profit source? That does not make sense to this tax paying citizen! Yes please, let's make the fat cats fatter!

    As long as health insurance companies are in the equation it doesn't matter what happens....this country will be in a death spiral.


    Medicare for all will happen sooner or later. The later it happens will devastate this country.

    I have a story to tell you. The insurance lobbyists are greasing all Congress up and we are the ones screwed. President Obama said something like the single payer plan is off the table because it is not viable in this environment and something is better than nothing is. Besides, it is impossible to get any kind of public option to pass in congress in this current climate. Not true, let Obama campaign as strong as the insurance companies to tell the people what is really happening. If necessary, let the people vote anyone out of office that do not support some kind of public option and get someone in who will.

    As long as health insurance companies are in the equation it doesn't matter what happens....this country will be in a death spiral.


    Medicare for all will happen sooner or later. The later it happens will devastate this country.

    I listened to and understood all of what both of your guests said last night but I am honestly too baffeled about the pros and cons to make a decision.
    I would prefer a better bill but I can not see how one could emerge from the same system that gave us the three choices we now have. It is a conundrum.

    Health care for all is the only solution. But also, more should be done to encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle: Good simple food, exercise and enough sleep. I we would follow this we wouldn't need an expensive health care system. Cut your premium if you have not been sick for two years. Pay you to join a fitness club, like some companys do.
    Magdalene Jaeckel Grass Valley CA

    This whole health care reform effort should be studied not for what it portends for health care but for what it reveals about our congress and our society. After electing a President who campaigned on the issue of universal health care, a razor thin democratic majority in the senate refused, along with solid republican opposition, to give him the support needed to accomplish even the smallest of tasks. Largely ignored and unreported in the major media, this was done using the smoke screen of partisan wrangling and opposition to policy issues when the real reason is white societal unease in giving a black man real power to reform what is wrong in many areas of this nation. I have yet to see an informed black perspective on any issue, and the issue of race totally absent from the media's coverage of the Obama administration. This health care impasse is a consequence of this country's long history of racism and its inability to confront, not only it but any other difficult problem.

    This whole health care reform effort should be studied not for what it portends for health care but for what it reveals about our congress and our society. After electing a President who campaigned on the issue of universal health care, a razor thin democratic majority in the senate refused, along with solid republican opposition, to give him the support needed to accomplish even the smallest of tasks. Largely ignored and unreported in the major media, this was done using the smoke screen of partisan wrangling and opposition to policy issues when the real reason is white societal unease in giving a black man real power to reform what is wrong in many areas of this nation. I have yet to see an informed black perspective on any issue, and the issue of race totally absent from the media's coverage of the Obama administration. This health care impasse is a consequence of this country's long history of racism and its inability to confront, not only it but any other difficult problem.

    We agree with Dr. Angell. We need health care for all not health insurance for those that can afford it.

    This whole health care reform effort should be studied not for what it portends for health care but for what it reveals about our congress and our society. After electing a President who campaigned on the issue of universal health care, a razor thin democratic majority in the senate refused, along with solid republican opposition, to give him the support needed to accomplish even the smallest of tasks. Largely ignored and unreported in the major media, this was done using the smoke screen of partisan wrangling and opposition to policy issues when the real reason is white societal unease in giving a black man real power to reform what is wrong in many areas of this nation. I have yet to see an informed black perspective on any issue, and the issue of race totally absent from the media's coverage of the Obama administration. This health care impasse is a consequence of this country's long history of racism and its inability to confront, not only it but any other difficult problem.

    Expand the current single payer program, Medicare for all.

    This whole health care reform effort should be studied not for what it portends for health care but for what it reveals about our congress and our society. After electing a President who campaigned on the issue of universal health care, a razor thin democratic majority in the senate refused, along with solid republican opposition, to give him the support needed to accomplish even the smallest of tasks. Largely ignored and unreported in the major media, this was done using the smoke screen of partisan wrangling and opposition to policy issues when the real reason is white societal unease in giving a black man real power to reform what is wrong in many areas of this nation. I have yet to see an informed black perspective on any issue, and the issue of race totally absent from the media's coverage of the Obama administration. This health care impasse is a consequence of this country's long history of racism and its inability to confront, not only it but any other difficult problem.

    We need the regulation of the health insurance companies now. While I think medicare for all is what we need to actually contain cost, make our businesses globally compentive and provide individuals with full choice it will require a paridign shift to get there. We would need to see that health care should not be a for profit activity (if fire fighting were for profit fire departments would hire arsonists) and that health care is separate from health insurance.

    We are not at the place where we see the common good in providing health care to all. We 'get it' reqarding contagion. If my neighbor has H1N1 I want it treated quickly and effectively but he has a ruptured apendix, a broken leg, or cancer I don't see why I should care. The common good in keeping everyone healthy is more subtle than when we needed all our efforts to put food by for the winter to survive and when the lost of one persons efforts cost us all.

    I posted this comment on another blog last week.

    I am on record here (and elsewhere) predicting that a bill would get passed..., and that the only sure thing about it would be mandatory "insurance
    " coverage. I thought for a brief moment that I would have to admit that I was wrong..., it was barely on life-support. But it didn't take the insurance companies
    long to swing into action..., raising rates. Now..., if they really didn't want any bill passed they would have laid in the weeds waiting until it was completely dead..., but they didn't..., they rose up and virtually shouted out load, "You need to pass some kind of bill NOW..., or look what's going to continue to happen!" And The Big O stood right up with them (coincidence?)..., calling a summit..., promising "bipartisan" (compromise?) support for a new health "care" reform bill.

    What we need is a health "insurance" reform bill..., not a health "care" reform bill.

    The Big O is going to deliver for the insurance companies (mandatory insurance coverage & no competition)..., and the insurance companies are going to keep the premium increases..., and there won't be much (if any) insurance reform in it.

    I agree..., there is still "hope" that he will take a stand and deliver something meaningful..., or let it die..., but I am not holding my breath.

    Scott R. February 28, 2010 - 11:02am

    I was glad to see you ask Wendell Potter about the "briar patch strategy".

    BILL MOYERS: Excuse my growing cynicism at this age and stage, but could this be the briar patch strategy? In other words, they want to get people angry enough to– for Congress to pass that health care reform with the mandate that delivers millions of new customers to them under penalty of law?

    Bill..., are we the only ones to see through this ploy? I have a feeling Marcia Angell sees through it..., she sees through it all.

    I think that when the President and the Democrats abandoned the public option but kept the mandate they only strengthened the truly despicable insurance industry and killed any chance of real reform. But rather than losing all this momentum, what happens if they drop the mandate in this bill? Then Obama makes amends with that huge volunteer army that helped to elect him and that he seems to have abandoned to the DNC. This time he calls them up to fight in the second offensive aimed at a public option or, better yet, a single payer system.

    Single Payer not Payola !

    Single Payer not Payola !

    I agree with Dr. Angell. We need health care for all not health insurance for those that can afford it.

    Single Payer not Payola !

    Is the President's Health Bill Worth Supporting!
    NO, IT IS NOT WORTH SUPPORTING!
    THE INSURANCE RATES were already to HIGH!
    "A 39 percent rate increase at a time when people, Americans, are losing their jobs, losing their health care, is so incredibly audacious,.." and not sustainable! Persons on a FIX income of 20 thousand a year, can not even think buying the "Anthem in Ohio... approval offer a product, a health plan, with a 20 thousand dollar deductible!"
    At "a 39 percent rate increase at a time when people, Americans, are losing their jobs,..." "they (the Companies) can get richer and richer... as "45 thousand people,.. DIE every year, because they don't have health insurance coverage!"
    "ARE the AMERICANS SAFER" at "45 thousand people dead every year?"
    The HEALTHCARE INSURANCE ACT is a LEGAL LICENSE to COMMIT FRAUD, as is the BANKRUPTCIES ACT Chapter 11, Local Government Unit Debt Act, School Building Construction ACT and etc.
    Mandates, that will go in effect in two years will be over and above the 39 percent!
    Yes, indeed, "other Congresses and presidents did come along and improve it over for the benefits..." of the Corporations.
    The "CONTEMPORARY ...ISM" SYTEM in 21 century, Modern slavery, GLADIATORS defending their heart and soul in the "WORLD AMPHITHEATER" under the dictatorial power of "OLIGARCHY!"
    "GIVE me LIFE and/or LIBERTY!" It is just a DREAM!
    BILL, I know of no other Journalist as qualified as you. I just want to wish you best of HEALTH and LUCK in your LIFE!

    Mr. Moyers;
    Thank you for your insightful program about the pros and cons of health care. Mr. Potter and Dr. Angell offered solid, base-line perspectives on what otherwise has become a bone-crushingly weary re-hash of the same old arguments provided by not only our political parties, but by our mainstream media as well. Your program’s arguments were articulated beyond the usual political party considerations, and were clear, concise and offered more common-sense points-of-view than I’ve heard in a while.
    Yes, we’re in trouble insofar as our health care system is concerned, but that’s not the only aspect of our economy that’s in trouble. The loss of our manufacturing jobs, the evaporation of middle-class income, along with our disposable income and our real estate wealth, coupled with the steady rise of energy costs, additional insurance and the general cost of living has left the American people in the worst shape we’ve been in since WW2. These are facts are clear are already known, yet the solutions to these problems continue to elude Congress as they continue to kick the can down the road and vie for any and all of the political advantage that they can muster. Our health care system has become their latest ‘can’, and unless we do something about it, I’m afraid that it will become the harbinger of what we have to look forward to with the rest of the economy. Dr. Angell is correct: If we don’t deal effectively with this on a national level then we stand the real possibility of ending up with 3rd world status insofar as our health care system is concerned.
    One way out of this – and this is the most disagreeable, yet the most effective action that we can take – is for Americans to simply say ‘no’ to the health insurance industry and to stop paying these usurious premiums. I realize that our fear of getting sick or injured plays a large part in our continuing to pay these premiums, but we’re reaching a point where the costs simply outweigh the benefits; where we’re just continuing to feed the greed of this industry and the politicians who support them. If 50% of our citizens, small businesses and corporations simply said ‘no’ to these rising costs, both from our health care providers and by the insurance companies, then Congress would be forced to act to provide a level of basic services to all, lest the system would collapse altogether. As I said, this is the most radical and disagreeable approach available to us but, unfortunately, I see no alternative.

    David Boyd

    Dr. Angell has put the argument into the proper context: the only solution to the problems we have experienced is to create a single payer health insurance system, where the profit motive is completely removed. The President has a difficult choice -- to show he's got the guts to admit having made a bad choice and face down the insurance lobby by rejecting the present bill and forcing the Congress to go back to work and fix it. Otherwise, he faces a lame-duck, one-term presidency when an enraged public erupts and rejects him at the polls.

    Dr. Angell has put the argument into the proper context: the only solution to the problems we have experienced is to create a single payer health insurance system, where the profit motive is completely removed. The President has a difficult choice -- to show he's got the guts to admit having made a bad choice and face down the insurance lobby by rejecting the present bill and forcing the Congress to go back to work and fix it. Otherwise, he faces a lame-duck, one-term presidency when an enraged public erupts and rejects him at the polls.

    $300 Billion ripped from Medicare and handed to the private insurance industry, private insurance companies allowed to boost premiums on older Americans by 300 %, panels of bean counters making medical decisions to cut life extending medical procedures that Medicare now pays for; this is a full frontal attack on a healthcare system that has saved millions of seniors from losing their life savings to private for-profit interests. As Dr. Angell said, if this bill is passed we will see the start of an immediate collapse of the entire system as can be seen in her state of Massachusettes that adopted an almost identical plan. Using the name and reputation of the late Sen. Ted Keneddy to push through this criminal boon doggle is an indication of how far the current Democrat Party leadership has ventured down the 'Anything For A Partisan Political Win' path! Those who complained for years about the small weekly Medicare deductions from their paychecks will go absolutely balistic when the 4-figure mandatory health insurance deductions go into effect!

    Single Payer not Payola !

    Single Payer not Payola !

    Dr. Marcia Angell made me mad opposing this Health bill.
    She drastically waffled telling us the bill is bad but then turned 180 and told us what was good.
    Her statement the insurance is allowed to charge 3 times more for elderly,(is part of a give and take necessary to keep the insurance industry complete and intact as it is now.)
    Her statement the premiums will rise, with the mandate is false.
    I contend health premiums will mimic car insurance which is also mandatory and quite affordable and it too has a 3 times clause for high risk or young drivers.
    Dr. Marcia Angell depth of knowledge and comparison
    was non existent on your show (please don't host her again she only confuses a difficult issue with muddy or skewed info).

    Mr. Moyers;
    Thank you for your insightful program about the pros and cons of health care. Mr. Wendell and Dr. Allen offered solid, base-line perspectives on what otherwise has become a bone-crushingly weary re-hash of the same old arguments provided by not only our political parties, but by our mainstream media as well. Your program’s arguments were articulated beyond the usual political party considerations, and were clear, concise and offered more common-sense points-of-view than I’ve heard in a while.
    Yes, we’re in trouble insofar as our health care system is concerned, but that’s not the only aspect of our economy that’s in trouble. The loss of our manufacturing jobs, the evaporation of middle-class income, along with our disposable income and our real estate wealth, coupled with the steady rise of energy costs, additional insurance and the general cost of living has left the American people in the worst shape we’ve been in since WW2. These are facts are clear are already known, yet the solutions to these problems continue to elude Congress as they continue to kick the can down the road and vie for any and all of the political advantage that they can muster. Our health care system has become their latest ‘can’, and unless we do something about it, I’m afraid that it will become the harbinger of what we have to look forward to with the rest of the economy. Dr. Allen is correct: If we don’t deal effectively with this on a national level then we stand the real possibility of ending up with 3rd world status insofar as our health care system is concerned.
    One way out of this – and this is the most disagreeable, yet the most effective action that we can take – is for Americans to simply say ‘no’ to the health insurance industry and to stop paying these usurious premiums. I realize that our fear of getting sick or injured plays a large part in our continuing to pay these premiums, but we’re reaching a point where the costs simply outweigh the benefits; where we’re just continuing to feed the greed of this industry and the politicians who support them. If 50% of our citizens, small businesses and corporations simply said ‘no’ to these rising costs, both from our health care providers and by the insurance companies, then Congress would be forced to act to provide a level of basic services to all, lest the system would collapse altogether. As I said, this is the most radical and disagreeable approach available to us but, unfortunately, I see no alternative.

    David Boyd

    Single Payer not Payola !

    I agree with Dr. Angell as well as your former guest Dr. Margaret Flowers. We in America can afford to have quality of health care for all through the single payer national health insurance option. It befuddles me that a for profit medical system can mandate to Congress their demands. I'm confused when a large vocal segment of our society demands "right to life" for unborn infants yet allows thousands of already born citizens to die from a greedy for incredible profit health insurance system. The Congressional "right to life" fail to embrace the needs of the living, truly affordable health insurance which can not written by the health insurance sharks. We need a public option plan.

    Dr. Marcia Angell made me mad opposing this Health bill.
    She drastically waffled telling us the bill is bad but then turned 180 and told us what was good.
    Her statement the insurance is allowed to charge 3 times more for elderly,(is part of a give and take necessary to keep the insurance industry complete and intact as it is now.)
    Her statement the premiums will rise, with the mandate is false.
    I contend health premiums will mimic car insurance which is also mandatory and quite affordable and it too has a 3 times clause for high risk or young drivers.
    Dr. Marcia Angell depth of knowledge and comparison
    was non existent on your show (please don't host her again she only confuses a difficult issue with muddy or skewed info).

    I've been moved to Dr. Angell's side.

    Scrap the bill and create a Single Payer plan. Let the insurance executives fend for themselves somewhere else...perhaps peddling fertilizer or working the kill line at an abattoir. You know, something they're used to!

    If I were to be given a vote, I would have to say scrap what we are being offered and try again for a single payer system. All of this started when insurance companies were allowed to go from non-profit to profit. Who where the people behind that move?

    President Obama, please let the current Health Care Bill die. We do not have to feed the unchecked hunger of insurance industry. We need a health care system that allows all citizens an affordable, efficient, with high quality treatment.

    Dr. Marcia Angell made me mad opposing this Health bill.
    She drastically waffled telling us the bill is bad but then turned 180 and told us what was good.
    Her statement the insurance is allowed to charge 3 times more for elderly,(is part of a give and take necessary to keep the insurance industry complete and intact as it is now.)
    Her statement the premiums will rise, with the mandate is false.
    I contend health premiums will mimic car insurance which is also mandatory and quite affordable and it too has a 3 times clause for high risk or young drivers.
    Dr. Marcia Angell depth of knowledge and comparison
    was non existent on your show (please don't host her again she only confuses a difficult issue with muddy or skewed info).

    Dr. Marcia Angell made me mad opposing this Health bill.
    She drastically waffled telling us the bill is bad but then turned 180 and told us what was good.
    Her statement the insurance is allowed to charge 3 times more for elderly,(is part of a give and take necessary to keep the insurance industry complete and intact as it is now.)
    Her statement the premiums will rise, with the mandate is false.
    I contend health premiums will mimic car insurance which is also mandatory and quite affordable and it too has a 3 times clause for high risk or young drivers.
    Dr. Marcia Angell depth of knowledge and comparison
    was non existent on your show (please don't host her again she only confuses a difficult issue with muddy or skewed info).

    Dr. Marcia Angell made me mad opposing this Health bill.
    She drastically waffled telling us the bill is bad but then turned 180 and told us what was good.
    Her statement the insurance is allowed to charge 3 times more for elderly,(is part of a give and take necessary to keep the insurance industry complete and intact as it is now.)
    Her statement the premiums will rise, with the mandate is false.
    I contend health premiums will mimic car insurance which is also mandatory and quite affordable and it too has a 3 times clause for high risk or young drivers.
    Dr. Marcia Angell depth of knowledge and comparison
    was non existent on your show (please don't host her again she only confuses a difficult issue with muddy or skewed info).

    Dr. Marcia Angell made me mad opposing this Health bill.
    She drastically waffled telling us the bill is bad but then turned 180 and told us what was good.
    Her statement the insurance is allowed to charge 3 times more for elderly,(is part of a give and take necessary to keep the insurance industry complete and intact as it is now.)
    Her statement the premiums will rise, with the mandate is false.
    I contend health premiums will mimic car insurance which is also mandatory and quite affordable and it too has a 3 times clause for high risk or young drivers.
    Dr. Marcia Angell depth of knowledge and comparison
    was non existent on your show (please don't host her again she only confuses a difficult issue with muddy or skewed info).

    Drilling down to discover where to respond to this issue was a chore.

    Before ANY desirable outcome for healthcare can be enacted (I do want a single payer system), we must have a disconnect between congresspersons and corporate bribery. It's just silly to expect desirable social legislation from corrupted legislators.

    Drilling
    down to discover where to respond to this issue was a chore.
    Before ANY desirable outcome for healthcare can be enacted (I do want a
    single payer system), we must have a disconnect between congresspersons
    and corporate bribery. It's just silly to expect desirable social
    legislation from corrupted legislators.

    What do we need a health insurance industry for?!

    Many nations have shown us that single payer universal health care works.

    Please Pres. Obama, fight for this, do it today: single payer universal health care. We put you in office for change--show some vision and courage.

    Like many others, I wish I could support the current bill. But, also like many others, I cannot.

    I hope Dr. Angell's view wins. It seems that the Medicare-for-all approach is the only one that will work.

    It is hard to follow the logic of Dr. Angell, formerly of the AMA. President Obama did not push the original single payer option, why would he turn around and do it now? Do we really think the Democrats will turn around and give the President the bill that the American public wants - if you listened for three hours this morning (Friday, March 5) on C-span, the overwhelming majority of the public wants a government run not for-profit health care delivery system. It is seeming that the Republicans will never provide that, only false statements about what they say we want. Holding up a blank white paper and say start again is not the legislative answer.

    Who is going to start again, President Obama, his White House staff, Congress? Let's advocate this flawed bill pass, and then we the American public and sufferers under this for-profit insurance, pharmaceutical, American Medical Association for profit medical industrial complex will rise up and demand that we have access for all - the same as our sister and brother compatriots in other countries. It is hard to believe at this point in time, Congress or the president and his office will do this for us now. We will have to do this, once we cut away at this flawed bill and craft the bill we need from elected officials from whom we demand accountability.

    Single Payer not Payola !

    Dr. Angell makes perfect sense. Her experience in her own state should be a warning: a system designed to fail will indeed fail and unravel. Most worrisome is the high likelihood that such a failure leads to the abandonment of the effort rather than to later improvements in the system. Obama's suggestion that the Senate bill can be improved upon is therefore wishful thinking at best. More likely, what we are experiencing is a well-orchestrated campaign to bury once and for all the "Medicare for all" that a majority of Americans really wanted, according to every early 2009 poll. But that was before Obama deceptively led us into this swamp of political manipulation and lobbyist misinformation at the behest of his paymasters. At this point, Angell is right in that we have to stop this very bad bill that makes healthcare even more costly and elitist. We need a tax-funded universal single payer plan, period.
    Personally, I hope Obama loses the next election. Progressives should get a grip and admit they have been completely duped by the slickest corporate PR machine in U.S. political history. Despite your continual reminders about "politics," Bill, our options are not constrained by politics; we are being robbed blind by blatant political corruption.

    It is hard to follow the logic of Dr. Angell, formerly of the AMA. President Obama did not push the original single payer option, why would he turn around and do it now? Do we really think the Democrats will turn around and give the President the bill that the American public wants - if you listened for three hours this morning (Friday, March 5) on C-span, the overwhelming majority of the public wants a government run not for-profit health care delivery system. It is seeming that the Republicans will never provide that, only false statements about what they say we want. Holding up a blank white paper and say start again is not the legislative answer.

    Who is going to start again, President Obama, his White House staff, Congress? Let's advocate this flawed bill pass, and then we the American public and sufferers under this for-profit insurance, pharmaceutical, American Medical Association for profit medical industrial complex will rise up and demand that we have access for all - the same as our sister and brother compatriots in other countries. It is hard to believe at this point in time, Congress or the president and his office will do this for us now. We will have to do this, once we cut away at this flawed bill and craft the bill we need from elected officials from whom we demand accountability.

    Single Payer not Payola !

    If, as Dr. Angell suggests, insurance companies muster profits for shareholders by denying rather than providing healthcare, then the problem with the current proposal is capitalism itself. By leaving healthcare in the hands of private for-profit insurers, President Barack Obama seems as committed to as misguided a policy in the health sector as President Lyndon Johnson was with regard to the Vietnam War. So perhaps Pete Seegar's insightful assessment of the latter's policy stance needs to be adapted and applied to the former's. "We're neck deep in the big muddy, and the young fool says to push on."

    Mr. Moyers, thank you for your great program this evening. I have always loved listening to Wendell Potter and seriously considered his remarks tonight. But when Dr. Angell came on she hit it right on the money. I agree with her statement that insurance companies are not fighting very hard for the defeat of this bill because of the mandate, which is something that makes my skin crawl. I have watched many political shows and have never seen Dr. Angell - I wonder why??? Thank you for having her on, someone who speaks the truth without holding back. I support single payer or at least a public insurance option. Passing a bad bill just so someone can win another election is a bad idea. I no longer support Obama and his bill needs to fail.

    Dr. Angell gets my vote, too. Medicare for all. Simple and effective. But warnings to Medicare "Supplemental Plans" offered by insurance companies. My parents opted into one of those plans and marveled at how well it worked - until they got sick and wished they'd stayed with straight Medicare because it covered so many things that the "supplemental plans" didn't.

    Dr. Angell gets my vote, too. Medicare for all. Simple and effective. But warnings to Medicare "Supplemental Plans" offered by insurance companies. My parents opted into one of those plans and marveled at how well it worked - until they got sick and wished they'd stayed with straight Medicare because it covered so many things that the "supplemental plans" didn't.

    Dr. Angell gets my vote, too. Medicare for all. Simple and effective. But warnings to Medicare "Supplemental Plans" offered by insurance companies. My parents opted into one of those plans and marveled at how well it worked - until they got sick and wished they'd stayed with straight Medicare because it covered so many things that the "supplemental plans" didn't.

    If, as Dr. Angell suggests, insurance companies muster profits for shareholders by denying rather than providing healthcare, then the problem with the current proposal is capitalism itself. By leaving healthcare in the hands of private for-profit insurers, President Barack Obama seems as committed to as misguided a policy in the health sector as President Lyndon Johnson was with regard to the Vietnam War. So perhaps Pete Seegar's insightful assessment of the latter's policy stance needs to be adapted and applied to the former's. "We're neck deep in the big muddy, and the young fool says to push on."

    Mr.Moyers, the Doctor is right. But, have you considered the real potential crime? With the present rate hike request by the health care company's and the prospect of the present health care bill, all the new customers would be starting coverage at the new higher rate. This is double dipping the chip. They are getting twice the action, however, I do have a personal request.
    As you know the printed word is suffering due to economic reasons. We all lose because there will be less investigative reporting. In the same way new authors are turned away in favor of celebrities or known "names" like Palin or Beck. I just wrote a book, but I cannot get any interest. I feel this is the main reason. In my book, "The Evolution of Democracy: the Book of Ideas for the Dismal Science", I offer a solution to the lie of our check and balance government. As you know amendments are rare, while the Supreme Court decisions are many. I offer a true check to the Supreme Court and it fosters a truer interaction by our citizens as the Founders' envisioned. I would like to e*mail the chapter to you. If you like it, I could e*mail you the entire book. I also offer an approach that will save our Social Security program and it won't cost the taxpayer one cent. The reaction to this concept will help all our company's compete with the imports.
    I think your guests like William Greider and David Goleman would like my ideas. In any case, if you like the book maybe you could endorse it, which might induce an agent and encourage a publisher. My latest fear is will you be able to read this with so many resonses? But hey, it is a tstimony to your great show. Thank you for your time and consideration. JFL.

    What do we need a health insurance industry for?!

    Many nations have shown us that single payer universal health care works.

    Please Pres. Obama, fight for us, do it today: single payer universal health care. We put you in office for change--show some vision and courage.

    If, as Dr. Angell suggests, insurance companies muster profits for shareholders by denying rather than providing healthcare, then the problem with the current proposal is capitalism itself. By leaving healthcare in the hands of private for-profit insurers, President Barack Obama seems as committed to as misguided a policy in the health sector as President Lyndon Johnson was with regard to the Vietnam War. So perhaps Pete Seegar's insightful assessment of the latter's policy stance needs to be adapted and applied to the former's. "We're neck deep in the big muddy, and the young fool says to push on."

    If, as Dr. Angell suggests, insurance companies muster profits for shareholders by denying rather than providing healthcare, then the problem with the current proposal is capitalism itself. By leaving healthcare in the hands of private for-profit insurers, President Barack Obama seems as committed to as misguided a policy in the health sector as President Lyndon Johnson was with regard to the Vietnam War. So perhaps Pete Seegar's insightful assessment of the latter's policy stance needs to be adapted and applied to the former's. "We're neck deep in the big muddy, and the young fool says to push on."

    A single-payer system is the only way to ensure affordable coverage for all, and we must establish it now.

    Medicare covers the most expensive age pool---those who would never be able to buy coverage under the present private system. By extending the pool of participants to include all age groups, costs will be shared. The redirecting of the premiums, which currently go to private insurance companies, to a single-payer system based on the successful Medicare program will significantly reduce the costs of insurance while covering everyone.

    Health-insurance premiums should be deducted at source—paychecks—as Social Security, Medicare, and taxes now are. Like taxes, premiums should vary with income, and the nationwide pool can absorb the costs of those who cannot pay.

    Having lived in the UK and Canada for extended periods, we know that a single-payer system works and that it creates a society in which all feel equally valued. It is the only civilized way for any society to take care of us when we are sick, and we will all see sickness during our lives.

    The proposed Healthcare Bill is a disaster. It is the result of selfish vested interests and partisan politics the likes of which we have never before seem. First the process was headed by someone in the pockets of the insurance industry, Mr. Backus, who would not allow even a debate about a single-payer system. The Washington bill is not popular with the electorate because they want a single-payer system and President Obama was elected because he offered it. The system is allowed to serve greed and self-interest and is unduly influenced by highly paid lobbyists.

    Health care, like education and local and national security, should never ever be a for-profit enterprise. The insurance companies are not only fleecing those who pay their premiums, but they’re also woefully underpaying doctors, hospitals, etc. They are today’s robber barons! And having insurance does not mean having coverage!

    We hear much about fiscal responsibility in Washington, especially when Healthcare is the subject. Where was this discussion under the last administration? Sham protests about the national debt and bombardments by Republican propaganda have thrown up a smoke screen that citizens are unable to see through.

    Including the whole population in Medicare reduces costs by redirecting the private health premiums into a Medicare extension.

    And Bill, what shall we do without you on Friday nights? We wish you a long and healthy retirement and expect to hear from you as the voice of reason whenever your family can spare you. Thank you for all your work.

    I waffle one way one day and the other the next. HC is 17% of the economy, so any plan is complicated and risky. I'm hopeful the House and Senate will pass their bills and that will be the impetus for further change. Until we get not for profit or universal healthcare, we must boldly take the first step, so I agree with Mr. Potter's position. Making the pool 30 million stronger will be the first step in getting the entire HC delivery system on track.

    If, as Dr. Angell suggests, insurance companies muster profits for shareholders by denying rather than providing healthcare, then the problem with the current proposal is capitalism itself. By leaving healthcare in the hands of private for-profit insurers, President Barack Obama seems as committed to as misguided a policy in the health sector as President Lyndon Johnson was with regard to the Vietnam War. So perhaps Pete Seegar's insightful assessment of the latter's policy stance needs to be adapted and applied to the former's. "We're neck deep in the big muddy, and the young fool says to push on."

    In response to a plea from Consumers Union I was prepared to call my legislators to urge their support for reform.

    After hearing Mr potter and Dr Angel I had second thoughts but still want it to pass.

    I completely agree with the doctor that single payer is by far the best solution. However, I believe that the Health Care Industrial Complex with its huge financial muscle suceeded in keeping this option entirely out of the discussion. It also seems to have won the smaller government option battle too. With the recent Supreme Court decision giving corporations free rein to pour all the money they want into political issues it will be even more difficult to make progress in the future.

    It is particularly gaollng that the plan calls for using taxpayer money to subsidize the profits of the insurers so the poor can have coverage as the insurers rake in huge greater income.

    Mr Potter is clearly aware the proposals fall far short of perfection but I agree with his view that waiting for perfection will ensure nothing will happen.

    A single-payer system is the only way to ensure affordable coverage for all, and we must establish it now.

    Medicare covers the most expensive age pool---those who would never be able to buy coverage under the present private system. By extending the pool of participants to include all age groups, costs will be shared. The redirecting of the premiums, which currently go to private insurance companies, to a single-payer system based on the successful Medicare program will significantly reduce the costs of insurance while covering everyone.

    Health-insurance premiums should be deducted at source—paychecks—as Social Security, Medicare, and taxes now are. Like taxes, premiums should vary with income, and the nationwide pool can absorb the costs of those who cannot pay.

    Having lived in the UK and Canada for extended periods, we know that a single-payer system works and that it creates a society in which all feel equally valued. It is the only civilized way for any society to take care of us when we are sick, and we will all see sickness during our lives.

    The proposed Healthcare Bill is a disaster. It is the result of selfish vested interests and partisan politics the likes of which we have never before seem. First the process was headed by someone in the pockets of the insurance industry, Mr. Backus, who would not allow even a debate about a single-payer system. The Washington bill is not popular with the electorate because they want a single-payer system and President Obama was elected because he offered it. The system is allowed to serve greed and self-interest and is unduly influenced by highly paid lobbyists.

    Health care, like education and local and national security, should never ever be a for-profit enterprise. The insurance companies are not only fleecing those who pay their premiums, but they’re also woefully underpaying doctors, hospitals, etc. They are today’s robber barons! And having insurance does not mean having coverage!

    We hear much about fiscal responsibility in Washington, especially when Healthcare is the subject. Where was this discussion under the last administration? Sham protests about the national debt and bombardments by Republican propaganda have thrown up a smoke screen that citizens are unable to see through.

    Including the whole population in Medicare reduces costs by redirecting the private health premiums into a Medicare extension.

    And Bill, what shall we do without you on Friday nights? We wish you a long and healthy retirement and expect to hear from you as the voice of reason whenever your family can spare you. Thank you for all your work.

    No. This bill should NOT pass; it is fatally flawed.

    An argument for passing it has been, well, Obama needs to be able to say that he has addressed health care.

    No. He doesn't need that. And we the American people cannot allow him to have 'accomplished' that.

    The subject of single payer, apart from worthy efforts by Mr. Moyers, Dr. Angell, and others, and apart from the expressed desire of the American people - HAS NOT BEEN DISCUSSED by our government.

    This is a scandalous situation.

    Single payer advocates have been shut out of every Congressional and White House discussion of this important subject.

    That is like saying "We won't discuss whether or not it is good for every American to own a car - YOU HAVE TO OWN A CAR AND PAY THE INSURANCE FOR OWNING A CAR so that the people with limousines
    can afford to keep them - and the subject of public transportation is OFF THE TABLE!"

    When and if this bill passes, rather than solidifying the Obama presidency it will doom it.

    A single-payer system is the only way to ensure affordable coverage for all, and we must establish it now.

    Medicare covers the most expensive age pool---those who would never be able to buy coverage under the present private system. By extending the pool of participants to include all age groups, costs will be shared. The redirecting of the premiums, which currently go to private insurance companies, to a single-payer system based on the successful Medicare program will significantly reduce the costs of insurance while covering everyone.

    Health-insurance premiums should be deducted at source—paychecks—as Social Security, Medicare, and taxes now are. Like taxes, premiums should vary with income, and the nationwide pool can absorb the costs of those who cannot pay.

    Having lived in the UK and Canada for extended periods, we know that a single-payer system works and that it creates a society in which all feel equally valued. It is the only civilized way for any society to take care of us when we are sick, and we will all see sickness during our lives.

    The proposed Healthcare Bill is a disaster. It is the result of selfish vested interests and partisan politics the likes of which we have never before seem. First the process was headed by someone in the pockets of the insurance industry, Mr. Backus, who would not allow even a debate about a single-payer system. The Washington bill is not popular with the electorate because they want a single-payer system and President Obama was elected because he offered it. The system is allowed to serve greed and self-interest and is unduly influenced by highly paid lobbyists.

    Health care, like education and local and national security, should never ever be a for-profit enterprise. The insurance companies are not only fleecing those who pay their premiums, but they’re also woefully underpaying doctors, hospitals, etc. They are today’s robber barons! And having insurance does not mean having coverage!

    We hear much about fiscal responsibility in Washington, especially when Healthcare is the subject. Where was this discussion under the last administration? Sham protests about the national debt and bombardments by Republican propaganda have thrown up a smoke screen that citizens are unable to see through.

    Including the whole population in Medicare reduces costs by redirecting the private health premiums into a Medicare extension.

    And Bill, what shall we do without you on Friday nights? We wish you a long and healthy retirement and expect to hear from you as the voice of reason whenever your family can spare you. Thank you for all your work.

    A single-payer system is the only way to ensure affordable coverage for all, and we must establish it now.

    Medicare covers the most expensive age pool---those who would never be able to buy coverage under the present private system. By extending the pool of participants to include all age groups, costs will be shared. The redirecting of the premiums, which currently go to private insurance companies, to a single-payer system based on the successful Medicare program will significantly reduce the costs of insurance while covering everyone.

    Health-insurance premiums should be deducted at source—paychecks—as Social Security, Medicare, and taxes now are. Like taxes, premiums should vary with income, and the nationwide pool can absorb the costs of those who cannot pay.

    Having lived in the UK and Canada for extended periods, we know that a single-payer system works and that it creates a society in which all feel equally valued. It is the only civilized way for any society to take care of us when we are sick, and we will all see sickness during our lives.

    The proposed Healthcare Bill is a disaster. It is the result of selfish vested interests and partisan politics the likes of which we have never before seem. First the process was headed by someone in the pockets of the insurance industry, Mr. Backus, who would not allow even a debate about a single-payer system. The Washington bill is not popular with the electorate because they want a single-payer system and President Obama was elected because he offered it. The system is allowed to serve greed and self-interest and is unduly influenced by highly paid lobbyists.

    Health care, like education and local and national security, should never ever be a for-profit enterprise. The insurance companies are not only fleecing those who pay their premiums, but they’re also woefully underpaying doctors, hospitals, etc. They are today’s robber barons! And having insurance does not mean having coverage!

    We hear much about fiscal responsibility in Washington, especially when Healthcare is the subject. Where was this discussion under the last administration? Sham protests about the national debt and bombardments by Republican propaganda have thrown up a smoke screen that citizens are unable to see through.

    Including the whole population in Medicare reduces costs by redirecting the private health premiums into a Medicare extension.

    And Bill, what shall we do without you on Friday nights? We wish you a long and healthy retirement and expect to hear from you as the voice of reason whenever your family can spare you. Thank you for all your work.

    If I were a tenured Havard professor and all of my needs were being cared for I'd say let's wait for a better deal. Alas, I've had cancer for the last seven years and have to work to pay these blood sucking leeches their pound of flesh. I have had many and massive cost increases in my health insurance and would opt for any step in a direction away from profit driven greed.
    Who ever said that a company had to turn a profit each and every year? Corporations of the past didn't and survived stronger for it.
    Be carful I talk to the soldiers that are returning from Afghanistan and Iraq and they're tired of all of the corporate double speak and the congressional inaction. There might be a Robespierre in the future for these greedy executives and heads may literally roll.

    It is hard to follow the logic of Dr. Angell, formerly of the AMA. President Obama did not push the original single payer option, why would he turn around and do it now? Do we really think the Democrats will turn around and give the President the bill that the American public wants - if you listened for three hours this morning (Friday, March 5) on C-span, the overwhelming majority of the public wants a government run health care system. It is seeming that the Republicans will never provide that, only false statements about what they say we want. Holding up a blank white paper and say start again is not the answer.

    Who is going to start again, President Obama, his White House staff, Congress? Let's advocate this flawed bill pass, and then we the American public and sufferers under this for profit insurance, pharmaceutical, American Medical Association for profit medical industrial complex will rise up and demand of truly accountable government officials that we have access for all - the same as our sister and brother compatriots in other countries. It is hard to believe at this point in time, Congress or the president and his office will do this for us now. We will have to do this, once we cut away at this flawed bill and craft the bill we need from elected officials from whom we demand accountability.

    A single-payer system is the only way to ensure affordable coverage for all, and we must establish it now.

    Medicare covers the most expensive age pool---those who would never be able to buy coverage under the present private system. By extending the pool of participants to include all age groups, costs will be shared. The redirecting of the premiums, which currently go to private insurance companies, to a single-payer system based on the successful Medicare program will significantly reduce the costs of insurance while covering everyone.

    Health-insurance premiums should be deducted at source—paychecks—as Social Security, Medicare, and taxes now are. Like taxes, premiums should vary with income, and the nationwide pool can absorb the costs of those who cannot pay.

    Having lived in the UK and Canada for extended periods, we know that a single-payer system works and that it creates a society in which all feel equally valued. It is the only civilized way for any society to take care of us when we are sick, and we will all see sickness during our lives.

    The proposed Healthcare Bill is a disaster. It is the result of selfish vested interests and partisan politics the likes of which we have never before seem. First the process was headed by someone in the pockets of the insurance industry, Mr. Backus, who would not allow even a debate about a single-payer system. The Washington bill is not popular with the electorate because they want a single-payer system and President Obama was elected because he offered it. The system is allowed to serve greed and self-interest and is unduly influenced by highly paid lobbyists.

    Health care, like education and local and national security, should never ever be a for-profit enterprise. The insurance companies are not only fleecing those who pay their premiums, but they’re also woefully underpaying doctors, hospitals, etc. They are today’s robber barons! And having insurance does not mean having coverage!

    We hear much about fiscal responsibility in Washington, especially when Healthcare is the subject. Where was this discussion under the last administration? Sham protests about the national debt and bombardments by Republican propaganda have thrown up a smoke screen that citizens are unable to see through.

    Including the whole population in Medicare reduces costs by redirecting the private health premiums into a Medicare extension.

    And Bill, what shall we do without you on Friday nights? We wish you a long and healthy retirement and expect to hear from you as the voice of reason whenever your family can spare you. Thank you for all your work.

    It is immoral to have a for profit healthcare system in place where companies reap exorbitant profits off the backs of all citizens and deny claims to those in need so that they can sustain unconscionable profits.

    We need to demand of our legislators that they either push hard single payer or stand strongly in favor and vote for a strong public option in this current bill for the good of the people. We did not put them in office to gobble up monies from insurance corporation lobbyists. We need to focus on those politicians that have been purchased by the insurance corporations with a laser beam and put the pressure on them so they realize they will be voted out the next election if they don't do the bidding of their consituents.

    "These are the times that try mens souls."
    And their integrity and courage and ability to think clearly and act. There was never a time that didn't. I am not worried about your immortal souls but your mortal bodies. Your children's bodies. Your grandchildren's bodies. And minds.

    Let's imagine that there is no heaven. That here and now is all that is of concern. Look so far ahead as only the next unborn generation. Let's not look for a single true and grand religious system to control ourselves but let's pretend that you are but are a coffee can full of dust and a few litres of noxious moisture whose only true magic is the consciousness and compassion you share with others in the here and now.

    Does that not make the here and now you share with others all the more important. Does that not make compassionte and comprehensive and universal health care all the more important.

    I could pick at all the parts that compose the health care bill whacked together by your pusillanimous political representatives and agonize over their rightness or practicality. Indeed the problem and the tactic of disengenuous patriots who know what is true, right and good for you is to toss a bucket of plastic fish into the pond if they see you begin to focus on living food.

    I could argue conservative philosophy but I would have a time of it to know exactly what the democrats are about. Its been quite a while since we have seen a profile in courage. A new book should be written entitled Profiles in Cynicism.

    I could argue with those principled ethecists whose religious consciences lead them to an intractable stand on abortion. But I offer this thought. I would no more want to enforce my views of how a woman should manage her biology than I would want a woman's dictum to control the destiny of my testicles.

    Why the donnybrook over passing a compassionate and inclusive heath care bill?
    The short answer is the fear of vested interest and power. The terror of change. The prejudice of minds that have the answers before the discussion begins. Step back and smell it. It has an odor.

    Impermance is the true and only quality of our existance. This also applies to the principle, promise and longevity United States of America. There were no amendments that I recall that gaurantee immortality to the freedoms won by blood. There was, however. a warning on vigilance.

    There is a cabal formal or informal, defined or loosely knit, nourished in country clubs or board meeting rooms, known to itself or not, that grows in power daily. Perhaps with only a wink and a nod..

    Wring your hands and go to the wailing wall over the conditions of raising chickens for food if you must. Ladies and gentlemen you are the chickens. You are the prey of the corporations, of corporate America, of the rich, wealthy and infuential classes, of the political class, of your own cooperating selves and of any one who sees you as a consumer and an ecomomic resource rather than a human sentient being worthy of compassion. If you are not already so, paint your faces black and join your black brothers. You are the new slaves to vested interest.

    Ladies and gentlmen of America you are beset with predators who do not have compassion as the first filter through which they regard you. They do not care if tens of thousands of you die for lack of health care.

    Here is a small parable. At my first corporate review I demanded to know why it had taken so long to promote me and pay me a comparable salary to that of my peers. I was working for my family and not my own fortunes. The manager walked his fingers across the table and grinned at me saying, "As long as you let people walk all over you, you will get what you deserve."

    I know I have lumped all individuals into simple classifications. And I apologize to the exceptions. But its perceptions of which I am speaking.


    Dr. Angell is right. According to the key points I have read in the the Senate Bill, it seems clear that within the new "restrictions" insurance companies have vast power. None of the key issues will change: with no cap on the cost, the insurance companies will be required to cover only 65% of the high risk pool, they will have the right to rescind a person's policy if they have not fully disclosed their medical history according to the insurance companies criterion, and right to charge a person over 55 - 300% above the cost for younger persons - despite the fact that have been paying for health insurance for years and have probably used it very little until later in life.

    This bill will cause families into bankruptcy and THERE WILL NO BE NO LEGAL RIGHT OF APPEAL, because it will be LAW not just policy. What I did not realize until I heard your interview with Dr. Angell is that we will be fined if we don't participate in it. Obama needs to re-read these points in the bill. It is hard to believe he has not understood them. This bill, as it is, must not pass. If it does, Obama have a big problem with his legacy.

    The single payer - Medicare for all - is the only option that can save this country.

    I'm with Dr.Angell.

    It is immoral to have a for profit healthcare system in place where companies reap exorbitant profits off the backs of all citizens and deny claims to those in need so that they can sustain unconscionable profits.

    We need to demand of our legislators that they either push hard single payer or stand strongly in favor and vote for a strong public option in this current bill for the good of the people. We did not put them in office to gobble up monies from insurance corporation lobbyists. We need to focus on those politicians that have been purchased by the insurance corporations with a laser beam and put the pressure on them so they realize they will be voted out the next election if they don't do the bidding of their consituents.

    Wendell Potter is a hopeless dweeb who at heart still thinks health insurance companies should be entrusted with our health and most of our money. He must think we are masochistic idiots. They have had their chance to meet the needs of the American people and taken unethical, immoral albeit obscenely profitable advantage of it.

    Marcia Angell has got it in spades! If we let this bill become law, we'll never get good healthcare coverage or a good economy either. The insurance companies actually want it to pass because failure to pay the individual mandate will be a criminal offense --- unless you can prove you are poor. This of course will force everyone to buy one a policy whether they need it or not, or covers what they need.

    Wendell Potter is a hopeless dweeb who at heart still thinks health insurance companies should be entrusted with our health and most of our money. He must think we are masochistic idiots. They have had their chance to meet the needs of the American people and taken unethical, immoral albeit obscenely profitable advantage of it.

    Marcia Angell has got it in spades! If we let this bill become law, we'll never get good healthcare coverage or a good economy either. The insurance companies actually want it to pass because failure to pay the individual mandate will be a criminal offense --- unless you can prove you are poor. This of course will force everyone to buy one a policy whether they need it or not, or covers what they need.

    Trade curses everything it touches and even though you trade in 'messages from heaven' when trade attaches itself the whole thing becomes cursed." Thoreau.

    As long as for profit / public companies are providing health insurance...PREMIUMS MUST RISE...it is the law of capitalism!

    The reason for this is twofold.

    1) Healthcare costs are constantly going up, so the premiums must adjust for this. In the old days people were not as driven and as greedy as they are now.

    Back a few decades ago CEOs were happy to make 30 times the wages of the lowest employee. Now the figure is near 300 times. I can't find a chart to illustrate this. But compare it to postage increases and get the picture.

    http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/other/postage.html


    2) As was mentioned in the show, health insurance companies have many high salaried executives with stock options, and bonuses at stake. If the companies stock does not keep going up their stock options wont be worth anything. Nor will they get bonuses if they don't produce more profits.

    So the incentive is to raise premiums and cut costs to maximize profits so the stock price will also go up so they can cash in on their options.

    And in the big picture, Wall Street does not value a company unless each years earnings are more than the last years earnings. If a company does not grow earnings (actually every quarter) then their stock plummets and it wont be long before the CEO is canned. So, even if you got a CEO with a smidgen of social ethics, he wont last long in our world of always bigger and bigger profits

    If Obama was to make amends and recapture some of his lost virtue - he only has one direction to take.

    He can hold a press conference and admit he got caught up in the excitement and he made a mistake

    He needs to say he is scrapping the ObamaCare plan as ego driven garbage.

    And he is pushing on for a socialized healthcare plan to cover ALL of those in need.

    And he will be leaving the 'fee for service' health insurance vultures and their cliental intact to fend for themselves in their own pool of squalid greed and scum.

    We will miss you a lot Mr. Moyers. Take good care.

    We will miss you a lot Mr. Moyers. Take good care.

    Trade curses everything it touches and even though you trade in 'messages from heaven' when trade attaches itself the whole thing becomes cursed." Thoreau.

    As long as for profit / public companies are providing health insurance...PREMIUMS MUST RISE...it is the law of capitalism!

    The reason for this is twofold.

    1) Healthcare costs are constantly going up, so the premiums must adjust for this. In the old days people were not as driven and as greedy as they are now.

    Back a few decades ago CEOs were happy to make 30 times the wages of the lowest employee. Now the figure is near 300 times. I can't find a chart to illustrate this. But compare it to postage increases and get the picture.

    http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/other/postage.html


    2) As was mentioned in the show, health insurance companies have many high salaried executives with stock options, and bonuses at stake. If the companies stock does not keep going up their stock options wont be worth anything. Nor will they get bonuses if they don't produce more profits.

    So the incentive is to raise premiums and cut costs to maximize profits so the stock price will also go up so they can cash in on their options.

    And in the big picture, Wall Street does not value a company unless each years earnings are more than the last years earnings. If a company does not grow earnings (actually every quarter) then their stock plummets and it wont be long before the CEO is canned. So, even if you got a CEO with a smidgen of social ethics, he wont last long in our world of always bigger and bigger profits

    If Obama was to make amends and recapture some of his lost virtue - he only has one direction to take.

    He can hold a press conference and admit he got caught up in the excitement and he made a mistake

    He needs to say he is scrapping the ObamaCare plan as ego driven garbage.

    And he is pushing on for a socialized healthcare plan to cover ALL of those in need.

    And he will be leaving the 'fee for service' health insurance vultures and their cliental intact to fend for themselves in their own pool of squalid greed and scum.

    It is immoral to have a for profit healthcare system in place where companies reap exorbitant profits off the backs of all citizens and deny claims to those in need so that they can sustain unconscionable profits.

    We need to demand of our legislatures that they either votes in favor or single payer or public for the good of the people. We did not put them in office to gobble up monies from insurance company lobbyists. We need to focus on those politicians with a laser beam and put the pressure on them so they realize they will be voted out the next election.

    Many legislative positions are held by people motivated by greed and vanity. No longer do these positions seem attractive to people who want to serve their country. Tight restraints on lobbying will surely discourage the greedy from seeking office. So be it; we can run this country on a lot fewer Congressman. It would be a welcome sight to the citizenry of the United States to see a smaller body of people looking out for their best interest.

    Mr.Moyers, I agree with Dr.Angell, however, the real danger is the double dipping by the health care company's. If you combine the present rate hike request along with the prospect of new customers which the present health care bill advocates, then this allows these same companies to begin service for these new buyers at the higher rate. They get twice the action.
    Now, I do have a personal request. As you know the printed word is suffering because of many economic reasons. We all lose because there will be less investigative research. In the same way new authors are turned away in favor of celebrities or known "names" like Palin or Beck. I just wrote a book but I cannot get any interest. I feel this is the main reason. In my book,"The Evolution of Democracy: the Book of Ideas for the Dismal Science", I offer a solution to the lie of our check and balance government. As you know, amendments are rare and the decisions are many. The Supreme Court creates laws with their decisions. I offer a true check to the Supreme Court and the concept fosters a truer democracy as the Founders' hoped. I would like to e*mail you the chapter. If you like it, I could e*mail the entire book. I also offer an approach that will save our Social Security program and it won't cost the taxpayer one cent. The reaction of this concept will help all our company's compete against the imports.
    I think your guests like William Greider and David Goleman would like my ideas. In any case, if you like the book, my request is would you consider endorsing it, so I can place a "name" to it, which might induce an agent and encourage a publisher. My latest fear is will you be able to read my message with so many responses? But hey, it is a testimony to your great show. Thank you for your time and consideration. JL

    Mr.Moyers, I agree with Dr.Angell, however, the real danger is the double dipping by the health care company's. If you combine the present rate hike request along with the prospect of new customers which the present health care bill advocates, then this allows these same companies to begin service for these new buyers at the higher rate. They get twice the action.
    Now, I do have a personal request. As you know the printed word is suffering because of many economic reasons. We all lose because there will be less investigative research. In the same way new authors are turned away in favor of celebrities or known "names" like Palin or Beck. I just wrote a book but I cannot get any interest. I feel this is the main reason. In my book,"The Evolution of Democracy: the Book of Ideas for the Dismal Science", I offer a solution to the lie of our check and balance government. As you know, amendments are rare and the decisions are many. The Supreme Court creates laws with their decisions. I offer a true check to the Supreme Court and the concept fosters a truer democracy as the Founders' hoped. I would like to e*mail you the chapter. If you like it, I could e*mail the entire book. I also offer an approach that will save our Social Security program and it won't cost the taxpayer one cent. The reaction of this concept will help all our company's compete against the imports.
    I think your guests like William Greider and David Goleman would like my ideas. In any case, if you like the book, my request is would you consider endorsing it, so I can place a "name" to it, which might induce an agent and encourage a publisher. My latest fear is will you be able to read my message with so many responses? But hey, it is a testimony to your great show. Thank you for your time and consideration. JL

    Mr.Moyers, I agree with Dr.Angell, however, the real danger is the double dipping by the health care company's. If you combine the present rate hike request along with the prospect of new customers which the present health care bill advocates, then this allows these same companies to begin service for these new buyers at the higher rate. They get twice the action.
    Now, I do have a personal request. As you know the printed word is suffering because of many economic reasons. We all lose because there will be less investigative research. In the same way new authors are turned away in favor of celebrities or known "names" like Palin or Beck. I just wrote a book but I cannot get any interest. I feel this is the main reason. In my book,"The Evolution of Democracy: the Book of Ideas for the Dismal Science", I offer a solution to the lie of our check and balance government. As you know, amendments are rare and the decisions are many. The Supreme Court creates laws with their decisions. I offer a true check to the Supreme Court and the concept fosters a truer democracy as the Founders' hoped. I would like to e*mail you the chapter. If you like it, I could e*mail the entire book. I also offer an approach that will save our Social Security program and it won't cost the taxpayer one cent. The reaction of this concept will help all our company's compete against the imports.
    I think your guests like William Greider and David Goleman would like my ideas. In any case, if you like the book, my request is would you consider endorsing it, so I can place a "name" to it, which might induce an agent and encourage a publisher. My latest fear is will you be able to read my message with so many responses? But hey, it is a testimony to your great show. Thank you for your time and consideration. JL

    If Marcia Angell is right that the current bill is "a recipe for the growth in health care costs not only to continue but to skyrocket", she can hardly be against it's passage. If the costs indeed will keep to skyrocket (just like they do now), a subsequent step to reduce costs (which cannot be anything but reduction of for-profit elements from the system) will become all the more inevitable. So why not pass this bill as a first step, along the way at least saving some lives to begin with?

    It seems as though everything has been said in the comments already. Single payer is the only plan that makes sense, but we can't even get it on the table. Recently, I was called by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, who wanted a contribution. I told them that I was not interested in electing any Democratic Senator who continues to play games with our health care. When they agree to at least
    debate
    single payer, I'll reconsider.

    I must agree with the Dr., Public Option or Single Payer is the only way to go. Obama should stick to his promise, and show up the lobbyists, once and for all. I must wonder what an 'executive' does with $35 Mil of premium dollars plus stock options. I believe that amount would provide quite a bit of affordable healthcare for those who are suffering. How sad that we have come to this point. Healthcare is a right and a service, NOT a for mega profit business!!
    So...., expand Medicare, fund fraud efforts, pursue tort reform. There Healthcare is fixed - Lawyers and lobbyists, fget out of the way of decency, please!

    It's got to be unconstitutional to "mandate" that I buy health insurance. I also won't pay "a fine". I don't have any possesions to confiscate, so will I be arrested? A jail cell and three square meals a day sound pretty good. This is America, right? President Obama did "give away the store" as soon as he took office...he's a good actor and should go to Hollywood.

    It's got to be unconstitutional to "mandate" that I buy health insurance. I also won't pay "a fine". I don't have any possesions to confiscate, so will I be arrested? A jail cell and three square meals a day sound pretty good. This is America, right? President Obama did "give away the store" as soon as he took office...he's a good actor and should go to Hollywood.

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    I would like you to know that Dr. Marcia Angell, and another of your recent guests, Dr. Margaret Flowers, represent my views on healthcare reform to a "T". They speak eloquently and heartfelt about the issue.

    It was especially thought provoking how Dr. Angell separated the policy concerns from those political. That got me thinking about why the Republicans haven't put up a real fight, and haven't developed their own substantive bills on reform-they are already going to get what they want. And when this stinking mess gets enacted, they can blame the Democrats for it, to boot. In other words, the Republicans will win both in policy and politically.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats' ultimate policy is dumped in lieu of their own brand of the Washington corporate lobbyists' "bribe-induced" stupor, and We the People still won't get the healthcare system we deserve, and already pay for, one way or another.

    (FYI, I was a Republican for over thirty-five years. Finally, last year, I became a member of the Green Party.)

    Dr. Angell's holistic prescription to ditch the watered down, contaminated poison pill makes the most sense. Both were highly critical of the mandate, which will be a boon for the insurance industry. Very little analysis of or even comment about the mandate has been made in most media and from the most vocal politicians, such as Anthony Weiner and Howard Dean.

    I'm afraid that these bone-crushing arguments from the left and the right will continue, with no bottom-line discussion or investigation taken by any of the mainstream media; actions that, by their very nature, will continue to confuse and polarize the American voter. Bill Moyers broadcast has done us all a service by laying out concise views on health care by professionals who know what they're talking about, and laying them out without any political considerations. Good Job!

    But what worries me is that the current trend in health care, with its skyrocketing costs and premiums, will continue, no matter what Congress does. On the one side there's the 'mandates' that fill the insurance company's pockets and on the other is the very real prospect of doing nothing at all. It may come to the point, and I hope it doesn't, that Americans get so sick and tired of this 'playmanship', of the continuing decline in benefits and care, and of the greed attached to these games, that we simply refuse to go along with the companies anymore and we stop paying ANY and ALL insurance premiums altogether. The result of this would be to force the Congress to finally overhaul the health care industry once and for all and to provide at least basic care for all Americans along the lines of the much respected Medicare. The alternative to this, as Dr. Angell said, is that America WILL become a 3rd worls country insofar as our health care is concerned.

    I don't mind having to buy health insurance, what I do mind is being forced to hand over thousands of dollars for a policy that overs no value. A $5000 deductible will bankrupt me if I get hurt or sick, so why pay for a useless policy.

    Questions of social ethics don't go very far in DC. Social ethics and capitalism just don't mix. They are like trying to mix oil and water. As a capitalist country we have no national philosophers in gov to answer questions of social ethics. So we the people, have to help our poor, corrupt and confused politicians find enlightenment on this subject.

    Some of the citizens on the show testifying before the DC committee mentioned the health insurance companies were 'unconscionable' with their 39% raise in premiums?

    un·con·scion·a·ble (n-knsh-n-bl)
    adj. 1. Not restrained by conscience; unscrupulous 2. Beyond prudence or reason; excessive

    What you label as unconscionable, others may find understated. Just ask Wall Street.

    Here is the bottom line.

    If it is not illegal...then companies are free to do as they like. They can raise fees 100% or 1000%...there is NO limit.

    I gotta rant a little over the knuckleheads on TV that demand 'affordable' healthcare. I wish they would stop talking nonsense about how they want 'affordable healthcare' without a socialized healthcare system.

    Doctors pays hundreds of thousands of $$ per year for malpractice insurance, as everyone is sue happy and tries to hit the lotto by going to court. The doctors runs every test under the sun to cover their xyz if they do have to go to court.

    The doctors have high overhead with office and personnel expenses. In addition, the doctors work hard to go to expensive schools for many years, so want to earn some big bucks. And their high priced houses, expensive cars and trophy wives suck down lots of money.

    The drug companies pay off the politicians to keep their drugs artificially high priced. And the insurance corporations are run for max profit for the high salaried CEO's and money grabbing shareholders. The hospitals are very expensive to build and run and have lots of expensive employees and overhead.

    So where in the hell do people get the dream that ALL this will EVER be AFFORDABLE?

    Many people seem to think the health insurance companies are charities and supposed to work for the benefit of the sick and needy. They are ONLY in biz to make money and not dole out charity. So don't get confused on this point.

    The good customer for the insurance company is the customer they never hear from, other than to get their premiums each month. The good customer for the insurance company is one that gets sick and then dies immediately in their sleep...before the insurance company has to dole out a red cent.

    The well run insurance companies job is to DENY as many claims as it can to MAXIMIZE their profit...that is the capitalists way. After all, we are a capitalist country and not a socialist country, so one must take the good with the bad.

    Well, why should it be any other way to a capitalistic system? Especially one where the politicians can be bribed to only pass legislation to benefit the rich?

    Get this DVD from your library:

    http://www.amazon.com/Super-Size-Me-John-Banzhaf/dp/B0002OXVBO

    Showcases the poisonous diet that is being pushed off to Americans...again under the mandate of the almighty dollar that capitalism promotes as god.

    Americans will keep getting sicker and sicker as their unhealthy lifestyles and poisonous unnatural diets work their evil...and healthcare will just keep getting less and less affordable for them.

    http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv219/keepitlow456/americandiet.jpg

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    Thank you for inviting our comments.

    I believe that a health care program that protects otherwise solvent people from bankruptcy is key to keeping us strong enough to remain a democratic and economic world leader.

    The current bill answers to the realities of the latest Supreme Court decision on campaign financing. There is a fine line between compromising for a greater good and compromising yourself. I believe with Mr. Potter that the current legislation is a worthwhile compromise.

    Dr. Angell's very persuasive argument against the current bill serves, in substance and in tone, to support those who object to any controls on the current insurance system and those who are philosophically against universal healthcare. The country is angry, divided and shielded from their legislators by billions of business dollars. That is our reality. It is not hopeless, but there is much work to be done. This bill is a start.

    Sincerely,
    Marie Isenburg
    Dorchester, MA

    As a passionate single payer proponent I think that we can support President Obama's efforts for one reason. By its very nature since it is not a single payer solution it is not the end of the health care reform road. As the Health Insurance and Big Pharma know this bill is a huge windfall for them. I don't know if the public truly realizes this fact. Obama has said that after this bill passes he will try and get the Congress to look at the public option. Hopefully, during this time we single payer proponents can get the ear of the White House. If Switzerland and Taiwan were able to overhaul their system in the 90's to construct a single payer system, there is no reason that the most powerful nation on the planet cannot do it as well.

    Questions of social ethics don't go very far in DC. Social ethics and capitalism just don't mix. They are like trying to mix oil and water. As a capitalist country we have no national philosophers in gov to answer questions of social ethics. So we the people, have to help our poor, corrupt and confused politicians find enlightenment on this subject.

    Some of the citizens on the show testifying before the DC committee mentioned the health insurance companies were 'unconscionable' with their 39% raise in premiums?

    un·con·scion·a·ble (n-knsh-n-bl)
    adj. 1. Not restrained by conscience; unscrupulous 2. Beyond prudence or reason; excessive

    What you label as unconscionable, others may find understated. Just ask Wall Street.

    Here is the bottom line.

    If it is not illegal...then companies are free to do as they like. They can raise fees 100% or 1000%...there is NO limit.

    I gotta rant a little over the knuckleheads on TV that demand 'affordable' healthcare. I wish they would stop talking nonsense about how they want 'affordable healthcare' without a socialized healthcare system.

    Doctors pays hundreds of thousands of $$ per year for malpractice insurance, as everyone is sue happy and tries to hit the lotto by going to court. The doctors runs every test under the sun to cover their xyz if they do have to go to court.

    The doctors have high overhead with office and personnel expenses. In addition, the doctors work hard to go to expensive schools for many years, so want to earn some big bucks. And their high priced houses, expensive cars and trophy wives suck down lots of money.

    The drug companies pay off the politicians to keep their drugs artificially high priced. And the insurance corporations are run for max profit for the high salaried CEO's and money grabbing shareholders. The hospitals are very expensive to build and run and have lots of expensive employees and overhead.

    So where in the hell do people get the dream that ALL this will EVER be AFFORDABLE?

    Many people seem to think the health insurance companies are charities and supposed to work for the benefit of the sick and needy. They are ONLY in biz to make money and not dole out charity. So don't get confused on this point.

    The good customer for the insurance company is the customer they never hear from, other than to get their premiums each month. The good customer for the insurance company is one that gets sick and then dies immediately in their sleep...before the insurance company has to dole out a red cent.

    The well run insurance companies job is to DENY as many claims as it can to MAXIMIZE their profit...that is the capitalists way. After all, we are a capitalist country and not a socialist country, so one must take the good with the bad.

    Well, why should it be any other way to a capitalistic system? Especially one where the politicians can be bribed to only pass legislation to benefit the rich?

    Get this DVD from your library:

    http://www.amazon.com/Super-Size-Me-John-Banzhaf/dp/B0002OXVBO

    Showcases the poisonous diet that is being pushed off to Americans...again under the mandate of the almighty dollar that capitalism promotes as god.

    Americans will keep getting sicker and sicker as their unhealthy lifestyles and poisonous unnatural diets work their evil...and healthcare will just keep getting less and less affordable for them.

    http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv219/keepitlow456/americandiet.jpg

    I waffle one way one day and the other way the next. HC is 17% of the economy, so whatever we do is complicated and risky. The Senate and House should pass the bills before them now -- that way the momentum for greater change will have begun. Doing nothing, as Mr. Potter has convinced me, is not an option. Someday we'll have not for profit HC again, and after that we'll have single payer. Let us begin the work...

    I waffle one way one day and the other way the next. HC is 17% of the economy, so whatever we do is complicated and risky. The Senate and House should pass the bills before them now -- that way the momentum for greater change will have begun. Doing nothing, as Mr. Potter has convinced me, is not an option. Someday we'll have not for profit HC again, and after that we'll have single payer. Let us begin the work...

    Insurance companies and recalcitrant, ignorant, fear-mongering conservatives are, literally, making me sick. I predict that many more Americans (including myself) will choose to refuse medical tests and treatment because they would rather die a few years earlier and leave a little money to their heirs than give one more dime to an insurance company. I am in the "underinsured" category, paying $500 a month in premiums for a plan with a $5,000 deductible. I'd much rather pay that $500 per month in taxes if it would help insure ALL Americans.

    Medicare for all gets my vote.

    I agree with Dr. Angell. Single payer, national health care is the right solution.

    I was disappointed to hear William Potter refer to "we the people" as consumers. We are citizens! IMO, he is still wearing his corporate hat, or, at the very least, hasn't yet quite brushed the cobwebs out of his thinking.

    I was disappointed to hear William Potter refer to "we the people" as consumers. We are citizens! IMO, he is still wearing his corporate hat, or, at the very least, hasn't yet quite brushed the cobwebs out of his thinking.

    Your interview with Mr. Potter made me hopeful. Your interview with Dr. Angell created more despair for my situation. Both were excellent interviews although I now am on an emotional roller coaster after hearing two sane discussions on the health reform issue.

    If Dr. Angell is correct, the current bill will force every citizen to have health care. Our government cannot enforce its current laws let alone put another law on the books.

    I live in a rural area. Being recently widowed, my situation has left me in poor financial state. My IRA is a third of what it was, my home investment cannot be sold in this market, my health insurance COBRA from my late husband was over $800 a month and after taxes and more taxes, I have only $128 a month to live on with no credit card debt. I was not considered in the Make Home Affordable Plan to reduce my mortgage because I was not at least 3 months behind in payments.

    So what would the government do with people like me? Force me to pay for health care without a government option and go without food? Since I won't be able to afford their fines, let them take me to jail. I can end out my life there without the worry of housing, it's upkeep, taxes, food AND health care provision.

    I agree with the comments of Marcia Angell. Given the behavior of the healthcare industry, public healthcare is the only viable solution.

    I was disappointed to hear William Potter refer to "we the people" as consumers. We are citizens! IMO, he is still wearing his corporate hat, or, at the very least, hasn't yet quite brushed the cobwebs out of his thinking.

    Your interview with Mr. Potter made me hopeful. Your interview with Dr. Angell created more despair for my situation. Both were excellent interviews although I now am on an emotional roller coaster after hearing two sane discussions on the health reform issue.

    If Dr. Angell is correct, the current bill will force every citizen to have health care. Our government cannot enforce its current laws let alone put another law on the books.

    I live in a rural area. Being recently widowed, my situation has left me in poor financial state. My IRA is a third of what it was, my home investment cannot be sold in this market, my health insurance COBRA from my late husband was over $800 a month and after taxes and more taxes, I have only $128 a month to live on with no credit card debt. I was not considered in the Make Home Affordable Plan to reduce my mortgage because I was not at least 3 months behind in payments.

    So what would the government do with people like me? Force me to pay for health care without a government option and go without food? Since I won't be able to afford their fines, let them take me to jail. I can end out my life there without the worry of housing, it's upkeep, taxes, food AND health care provision.

    I was disappointed to hear William Potter refer to "we the people" as consumers. We are citizens! IMO, he is still wearing his corporate hat, or, at the very least, hasn't yet quite brushed the cobwebs out of his thinking.

    Not discussed by either Wendell Potter or Dr. Marcia Angell is the notion cited by Paul Krugman that the Wellpoint rate crisis is caused by a spiral of cost-driven shrinkage in the ratepayer support for the system. At a higher price, the young and healthy are more likely to drop coverage than the old and infirm. The present bills in Congress will increase the subsidation of a failing industry - and, in accord with the Chicago School of Economics, sustain a business that should be allowed to fail. KILL THE BILL. The selective application of "conservative economics" is truly in the Biblical tradition.

    I have a story to tell you. The insurance lobbyists are greasing all Congress up and we are the ones screwed. President Obama said something like the single payer plan is off the table because it is not viable in this environment and something is better than nothing is. Besides, it is impossible to get any kind of public option to pass in congress in this current climate. Not true, let Obama campaign as strong as the insurance companies to tell the people what is really happening. If necessary, let the people vote anyone out of office that do not support some kind of public option and get someone in who will.

    Mr. Moyers. I think the health bill is outgraious. First of all no one understands it. It will not fix the problem and us elderly people are really frightened. The people in Washington are screwing us over in more ways than one. They are are servants and they are acting like we are their slaves. Vote them all out.Respectfully June Attaway

    Sadly, I must agree with Marcia Angell and say the bill should be scrapped. If private insurance comnpanies are part of this, then they need to be regulated and the bill should be similar to what was done in Switzerland. We need a single payer system, not one where the private insurances benefit from taking funds away from Medicare.