December 22nd, 2009
12:21 PM ET

Health care reform and personal responsibility

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

As we continue this discussion, there are a few emerging themes. (read the Senate health care legislation) So, to keep the direction focused, I will try and take on one at a time.

The topic I would like to explore today is “personal responsibility.”

In many different ways, it seems you have questions about this topic. So, let me attempt to summarize it this way.

Will increasing access to health insurance make people more responsible about their health? Should it? And, will it improve their health overall? It is an important question to me as a doctor, because the measure I care most about is a healthier society, and the corresponding health of individuals.

There is no question that people who have unlimited resources, in terms of money and insurance, are often the unhealthiest of all. So, it would seem that access to health insurance alone does not equate to good health. On the other hand of course, over 40 million people don’t currently get a chance to test that theory.

Personal Responsibility.

How would you define the current obligation of any individual for their own health? And, if you would believe in the power of personal responsibility, how do we get better at it as a nation?

Programming Note: Tune into Larry King Live tonight at 9pm ET for a discussion about life after death. Can we come back from the dead? People who say they've done it say "yes"! Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Deepak Chopra take on the mystery of life after death – only on CNN at 9pm ET.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.