December 21st, 2009
01:34 PM ET

Real-life effects of reform getting lost in the noise

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Last night I was up late covering the senate vote on health care for CNN. The number of e-mails I was receiving while discussing this on air was staggering. I realized that as much as we talked about cloture and reconciliation, most people who didn’t read the 2,000+ page bill (which is most everyone) really wanted to know what this bill means for them. They didn’t care as much about the compromise that was struck by Sen. Ben Nelson, which would obligate the federal government to pick up the Medicaid tab for his state of Nebraska into perpetuity. They are still not sure if a public option is a good thing or not, and they aren’t sure how the exchange would work for them. In short, there is a collision of politics and health care, and sometime the impact on individuals gets a little lost in the shuffle. (Read the Senate health care legislation)

I want to use this blog as a platform to try and address some of your specific questions and to also throw out some key information that may have flown under the radar. I will start with a number. 2014. This is the year most of the provisions of the bill would kick in under this version of reform. That’s right – four years away. Many people think health care reform in binary terms. One moment there is a vote, and the next moment you have it. Many wish it were that easy. It is true that children may benefit earlier in some areas, but for the vast majority of the more than 40 million uninsured, things aren’t going to change significantly for a few years. And, speaking of the more than 40 million uninsured, this bill won’t impact all of them, but instead roughly 31 million.

So, let’s start here: Based on what you know about this bill, do you think you will be impacted? Has this affected your current plan, if, for example, you are working for a large corporation? What information is still lacking for you?

Click here to see Dr. Gupta answering some of your health care reform questions.

soundoff (416 Responses)
  1. Linda Browning

    More than 1/3 of our household income goes towards paying our monthly health insurance premiums, over $1,000/mo. for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The policy is basically a "catastrophic health care" policy. We have a $2,500 deductible. My husband and I are self-employed and HEALTHY no less. I am 62, he is 53. We have no idea how we will be able to pay more if this "reform" bill forces the insurance company to raise our rates yet again. Whatever happened to a reform that would increase competition by enabling consumers to buy insurance across state lines?

    December 22, 2009 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. J.V.

    I don't have a job.
    I don't have health care.
    I will not die quietly.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Dolores

    Bottom line is very simple...I will lose my employer-paid health care. My boss will not pay higher taxes AND employees' health care. Thanks for nothing Mr. President.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Meegan

    I work for a private company. I have noticed a significant change in Health Insurance in the last couple of years! They dont want to pay for anything the insurance plans adopted by most companies are crappy as hell and they want all this money for a BS plan!

    December 22, 2009 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. A E Buddy Clark

    I would ask that you or anyone answer several questions.
    1) How many members of the House and Senate will make up the committee to resolve the differences?
    2) Are the members appointed by the House and Senate or by the President?
    3) Will there be equal numbers of republicans and Democrats and
    will a simple majority vote prevail?
    4) When the agreed upon bill goes back to the House and Senate will a majority prevail?
    In summary is it still possible to have a public option included?
    A E Buddy Clark

    December 22, 2009 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Judi

    Where did good old-fashioned common sense go – are we really that stupid and naive to stand for healthcare reform that burdens the middle class inequitably??? I thought that things were going to change -how foolish of me!

    December 22, 2009 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Constance

    I don't know how this bill will affect me yet. Am waiting to see what happens when the Senate and House versions merge. Am very concerned about the effect on people of waiting for four more years for pre-existing conditions to be a non issue. Hope that will be adequately addressed in some fashion with the merger of the House and Senate bills. Am also concerned about the cost of the changes, it seems the middle class is already overly stretched.

    I am 58 and a practitioner of alternative health care. I have a catastrophic health policy that kicks in after an $5000 deductible annually. My strategy is to keep working at staying relatively healthy. I regularly get acupuncture treatments and take herbal formulas and supplements to fight off disease tendencies. Like many others I need to keep working, need to keep it together, am supporting myself and teenagers.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. LDP

    Can someone explain to me why we need to wait 4 years for this? Reform is needed now !

    December 22, 2009 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Karen Cleveland, OH

    As a person that has a pre-existing condition and gets a medication that costs $3000 every other month I have to be hopeful that this bill can only help. I lost my job last year and I carried the benefits for my husband and I and continue to do so through Cobra. But my time is running out. My husband owns a small business and I have been investigating trying to get health care benefits so we can carry them through his company. We only have 2-3 employees and I was already told by one company the following because of my pre-existing condition and the medication I am on:

    "With the medication that you are on, you are going to have a difficult time getting anything that is not really expensive. Our rates for you would be quite high, too high. They would either not quote you or give me a rate that would be more than you would want to pay. You may have to go to the state high risk pool- because of the medication you are on. I would stay on Cobra as long as you can and in the mean time check with your state."

    How is that fair? My husband owns a company and we are unable to offer health care benefits because of the cost of just myself. How are we supposed to get quality people to want to work for us when we can't afford to offer them benefits? As a friend of mine recently said to me, how can they justify your health care costing more than your house payment? I want to know if all of these people that are fighting this have ever been denied health care coverage? I have been dealing with this since I was 21 years old. I find it absurd that I would have to go work for someone else to get health care coverage when my husband owns a company that I should be able to go to work for. This is supposed to be America.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Tom Kociemba

    Yes it will touch everyone. Now that Health Insurance Companies must cover preexisting conditions the insurance companies will buy their way on to every nutrition and agricultural committee in Congress to figure out how to prevent disease through better nutrition. For every diabetic they prevent, $400,000 drops to their bottom line. For every fat, salt and sugar emporium that must close down they will be helping their bottom line. For every pollution that is reduced they will help their bottom line. The insurance companies will figure out how to get it across to the public that good nutrition prevents chronic disease and can keep bad genes turned off and good genes turned on. Quality air and water also will aide their bottom line.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Mary

    I work w/ legislation daily. Nothing is ever as it seems, and w/ a potentila 4K page bill, such will be a nightmare. Personally, I do not see the legislation have a direct impact on me as I have excellent coverage w/ my employer 9a large in -house law firm.) Nevertheless, I can see an increse in indirect taxation. I do not like the idea of potential federal prision time for those who refust to purchase coverage. I do not appreciate the gross misunderstanding of Medicare Advantage programs and why they are a specific target. These HMOs are wonderful for healthy seniors, and with some adjustments, would save millions for the government. Lastly, if every single person who drawsa a paycheck and/or who pays income tax were required to pay into SS and Medicare..(NO CAPS) both programs would be thriving. The proposed legislation is ill-conceived and will do more harm than good.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Catherine Colletta

    All I have heard from the media, politicians, pundits and commentators is cost, cost, cost.

    When, sir, will there be discussions and fact presentations on how quality of care and accessibility to care is going to be affected.

    As a physician, you have a moral duty to present the pros and be honest about the cons and out it out there so we can all be informed about the impact of this bill.

    How can politicians and those who are in bed with them put money over life?

    December 22, 2009 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Garnet

    Despite my attempts to follow health care reform closely, I really don't know what kind of impact the current Senate bill will have because I don't know what will actually be left in it. I do know that I am disgusted with the many compromises that have been made in order to get support from self serving political hacks like Lieberman and Nelson. I am deeply disgusted by the tactics used by the Republicans as a whole to the point that I will probably never vote for a Republican again.

    My current situation is getting bad. I work for a company with less than 500 employees. The company changed medical insurance providers, cut the benefits and selected a company that doesn't have decent coverage in the state in which I live. (There are very few providers available and none of the excellent hospitals that are within 20 miles of my home are in network.) In essence, the coverage is so unacceptable that I'm looking for a another job despite the fact that I love the work that I'm doing and the people I'm working with. I don't feel that I have much choice. The medical coverage selected by my employer will leave me deeply in debt if anything happens to me that requires hospitalization and even without that, serves as a deep decrease to my income because I now will have to pay for regular doctor's visits and for some on-going medical issues that I have.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Dave Ryan

    Dr. Gupta

    On a personal level I have a mentally ill sister in law who has repeatedly attempted suicide and has been without healthcare coverage for 20 years. All her suicide attempts, all her medications, her counseling, her case workers, and her extended hospital stays are covered by ... no one. The tax payer picks up the tab. I would be interested to know from your perspective how the new healthcare plan would help reduce what I am sure is a huge cumulative bill not only for this one instance but I am confident this is repeated many many times across the US where the tax payer picks up the tab for out of control mental illness.

    On a public front I spend a great deal of time with a citizens group and we are concerned about improving our society and typically focused on education, healthcare and immigration reform. I have read a good amount of the earlier bills and aside from special side deals to get votes I do believe this reform will help many people who just need a break. My group works with so many people that want to make it on their own but just need that little extra boost to break out of the cycle of poverty and lack of resources.

    I work for a large corporation and having portable healthcare policies is extremely important ... I know of a number of people trapped in their jobs because of preexisting conditions. I know of people who have been penalized after being laid off due to pre-existing conditions.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Carter

    Reform of health insurer regulation IS the right target for legislation. Though the spiraling costs are, in a granular sense, coming from the hospital system, the insurers are the places where patient needs (and payments) are aggregated. Thus, by acting on the insurers to ensure a more fair and accessible system, one that incorporates larger volumes of patients under stricter guidelines, and in a competitive marketplace, the insurers will be in a better position to demand cost reforms and innovations in the hospital system. We will see new forms of primary and preventative care, while bureaucracies currently necessary will wither.

    Please understand that the steps being taken by the current leadership are much bolder than anything done in decades, and offer a real chance for results that will eventually benefit everyone. Conservative stalwarts who have opposed reform, and in so doing forced significant compromises from a majority controlled congress.

    Realize that, however flawed this bill is when put in place, it is a necessary first step. You can count me with the few who will face a higher tax burden, but would I deny my fellow citizens the same principal right to healthy life that I enjoy?

    As far as I am concerned, the UK system is a good model for where the US should go. The real crux of the problem is that people just aren't sufficiently well educated about how our system compares with what the rest of the world offers. Hell, if the US wasn't taking these steps, then my advice to anyone in the lower income brackets and over 40 to move to Canada or Europe. Or even Mexico, where you can get cheaper pay-as-you-go care.

    This has to change, the compromise in congress is just the first step, and insurance reform is the right target because that is where healthcare needs are aggregated.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Barry In Las Vegas

    Yes, I will lose my ability to purchase Medicare Advantage. The closing of the donut hole in Medicare will not make up for the additional cost I will have to pay for just being under Medicare.

    Amazing, I live in Nevada. Harry Reid made sure the seniors in Florida, New York and a couple of other big states could continue to purchase Medicare Advantage – but didn't think enough about the seniors living in his own home state to take care of them.

    Something we will all remember next November.

    December 22, 2009 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Randal

    I've seen the discussion around pre-existing conditions, the mandate to have insurance and potential fines. What I have heard, however, is that the average policy will run up to 8% of income, while fines are only 2%....again, where is the incentive and who are th enforcers?

    December 22, 2009 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. David Grisco

    Let's see...Government Health Care Reform, brought to you by the same folks who gave you oversight of the Financial Sector, AMTRAK and the US Postal System. Let's start with just a simple requirement in the current private sector health care system...make ALL health care providers post prices so that the consumer can force open competition in an open market.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. david

    While the bill "sound and feels" good, it could be a disaster. Its nice to say we will all now have insurance, but at what cost? Also, who is to guarantee that all providers will accept the insurance. Many don't accept all insurance now, so what is to guarantee that they will accept the insurance we will be forced to have. Another point, out here in Hawaii, its very hard to even find a doctor who is taking new patients, regardless of whether or not you have insurance. I am employed and have good insurance, but I have no doctor, because no one is taking new patients.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Joseph Sutcliffe

    I am a chiropractor and small busines owneer, and understand very well what it is like to deal with government, when getting reimbursed. I have not heard any talk about opening up competition amongst insurance companies. Has this been dropped? I am hugely in favor of this.

    The way I see it, is insurance companies monopolize states, why not let people pick what health plan they want from all health plan options. THis only breeds better products, and compettitive pricing.

    I am tired of dealing with the same 3-4 insurance companies, and them calling all the shots.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Tess

    Question: I currently have health care through my company at the cost of $800 per month to insure a family of 3 with $500 deductibles per person. I am not happy with this insurance (my doctor and many others will not accept it because of the low payment rate) but it is the only option I have right now. With Health Care Reform, will I be able to purchase better insurance on my own, even with pre-existing conditions? My husband is self-employed so I wonder if he could secure insurance for the family even though it is an option through my employment.

    Thanks Dr, Gupta...I always look to you for straight forward and scientifically based answers related to health care!

    December 22, 2009 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. tim isenburg

    why is my name brand medication $ 17.00 in europe and $135.00 here in good old u.s.a.?? why was my wifes knee surgery in Rome Italy only $1800.00 with an overnight stay in the hospital and here they wanted $8000.00 to 15,00.00 as an outpatient depending on what they had to do once they opened her knee up??where can i get an mri or cat scan for $125.00?? europe!! where their governments control health care costs!!!!!!!!!!how come the u.s. media doesn't report this to the american peoople?? who are you protecting?can't give up the ad dollars from big pharma?? big insurance?? ama?? americans deserve much better!!!!

    December 22, 2009 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Dwyer Jones

    Dr. Gupta:

    I favor health care reform because reform will, at long last, open a vigorous and much broader discussion about the why our nation is not as healthy and happy as other advanced countries. As flawed as the current pieces of legislation may be, at least we are finally dealing with the reality of health care costs on our economy, as well as the toll that poor, incomplete, inefficient, or negligent health management takes on our lives.

    My Republican and conservative fellow citizens have railed against excessive medical malpractice awards because they have driven up health care costs and driven good physicians out of practice because they can't afford malpractice insurance premiums. In my and my wife's experience, they are partially correct; a good primary-care physician who cared for my wife and me told us she was retiring from clinical practice only halfway through her career because she couldn't afford $25,000 annually for the malpractice insurance premiums, and that was a shame. But there is another side to the malpractice story: Due to ridiculously negligent care at a nursing home, my wife can no longer walk independently. We are engaged in a lawsuit against the facility, a lawsuit that would never have happened if ordinary and well-established medical care standards had been followed. The high cost-consciousness that will be created by enactment of health care reform will, I hope, engender severe political and legal pressure to raise performance standards for nursing homes, to which all too many people of all ages are farmed out temporarily or permanently by insurance companies seeking to save themselves money. Should a nursing home fail in its care obligations–and nursing facilities can vary wildly in their care quality–society suffers from greatly increased costs to repair, compensate, or manage the medical damage patients suffer.

    Another benefit of reform may be an increased awareness of how simple and cheap good health can be to achieve, at least in the prevention of certain predictable and expensive conditions related to obesity and/or poor habits. In one long-term study that investigated the likely reasons why people live longer lives, the results were astonishingly commonsensical. The investigators found that those people who followed healthy diets, maintained good body weights, controlled their blood pressure, exercized regularly, didn't smoke tobacco, controlled diabetes, and managed stress, lived significantly longer lives. As an excellent medical educator, Dr. Gupta, I urge you to look up this study–I believe it was in a group of older Japanese men–and any related studies, and regularly remind viewers of the findings and their value for better quality of life and much lower medical costs.

    Finally, I hope that health care reform, after all the shouting is over, will help Americans realize that sick and injured people should not be profit centers, but fellow citizens in need. All of us are fragile, no one should suffer for lack of care or due to inability to pay, and a healthier and happier country is the best national-security bargain we can get.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. john meade

    i have a small business with less than 25 people . southern health wanted to raise our rates 61% this will cost 2200.oo a month for a man wife and child . we can not stand this .5407267444

    December 22, 2009 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Steve A

    I am a 60 year old self-employed veteran. The Va takes very good care of me. I will be on medicare in four years but I am wondering what will happen in the meantime. Will I be fined if I don't sign up for the gov't insurance? Additionally, what income level qualities for the subsidy. And finally will the IRS enforce the fines? Thank you! SA

    December 22, 2009 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. USOverseas

    I'm very concerned. As with most people I've read the summaries, but not tried to wade through the bill itself. I think that it's being rammed through in a fashion that guarantees that there will be special interest concessions – the senator from Nebraska is only one. I think the process is wrong, public sentiment appears to be against the bill as it sits, and we actually have no idea what the long term impact both in care or in cost will be. The only thing that seems certain is that my costs will go up (I'm employed by a US corporation, but am based overseas and pay tax on my health insurance as although it's pretty basic, it's a "benefit" that I'm taxed on because I'm not resident in the 50 states). Do the math – if we are really going to cover 20% more people the costs will go up. I've lived under systems with various degrees of government intervention for most of the last 25 years. The US system needs modest reform but following the European model is a huge mistake. I'm concerned for myself, my wife, and most of all – my children. They're the ones who will suffer from reduced care and increased costs (sorry, I've lived under these systems for years – it is reduced care) and I believe that it's going to push my retirement out for several years as I pay for others healthcare. .

    December 22, 2009 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Monica

    We have to purchase our health coverage on our own (because of self-employment). We would like to buy a better policy for our six year old daughter, but she has pre-existing conditions, so the better carrier will not cover these problems for six months. We cannot afford to take that risk, so we would be looking forward to not having that issue.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. LucyRicky

    It is cheaper to pay as you go with cash/credit card in hand!! Our insurance was costing us $20,000 a year with a $10,000 deductible!! Pay cash up front with your providers and they give you an automatic 50-60% reduction!! Also what people can do is up their medical coverage on their auto policies. We upped ours to $95,000 for each occupant for $230 a year!! Get that word out!! There are things you can do. Be bold – ask and demand better rates and you will get them. We are fortunate to be able to pay as we go but it is cheaper than insurance!! Oh and we both had pre-existing conditions that they wouldn't pay for anyway so we are better off without them!!

    December 22, 2009 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Tom

    I will be impacted if the bill passes, and I will be impacted if the bill doesn't pass. The quality of my employer-provided heath insurance has been going down for years as my cost has been going up. My family and I have been dropped by doctors and dentists. I know it will only get worse. Something must be done, and the democrats seem to be the only ones willing to try. The change might not be pretty, but I say get the major overhaul in place and work on the smaller issues as time goes on.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Donald

    What many people fail to realize is that the Health Care Reform bill has provision that place cap on how much insurance companies that will participate in the exchange can charge for certain benefit package. If that was not apart of the bill then the industry would have a field day plundering every American except the politicians. The bill is not perfect but it is better than the status quo. Anyone can criticize all they want but take time and talk to many ahrd working individuals who through no fault of their own cannot afford health insurance coverage and have had sick love ones that have died because they were unable to get the necessary care. Also talk to the family that lose their home due to an unfortunate medical condition that resulted wiht a high medical bill and they did not have the health insurance coverage to alleviate the cost impact. Even if it cost me 2% to 3% increase in income tax, I do believe it will worth it to see others get the necessary coverage. God require us to be our brothers and sisters keeper. Life can turn for any one and only then will some of us really know what it feels like to have love ones who are sick and watch them die because one does not have the financial wherewithall to provide the necessary care. This has open my eyes to see that many people are very selfish. This reform is long overdue for the America morally, socially and financially.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Kurt H

    I can not see how this plan will do anything but impact every single person in the Us negatively. There is not a single line in this entire bill that will lower costs. The cost of everything will skyrocket, quality will go down, most people will loose their health insurance through their employer. Withing 5 years the US medical system will be in free fall and we will be stuck with yet another massive debt to be paid off without a single positive note. It is sad the US will see back to back disasters for President.

    Oh and do not think for a minute that anyone who does not have health insurance will get good medical care out of this. They will get what they have now, the right to go to the emergency room, get bad care, and a massive bill.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Carolyn

    This bill is very flawed. One of the biggest being how it is funded. Most of the money for the program will come from a 40% tax for high cost health plans. Heres the problem the high cost plan is not based on the plan but the cost. The cost limit is something like $8,000 for individual and $21, 000 for families. So what this means is either the insurance companies lower their rates to avoid the tax and the progam loses its funding or they pass on the tax to us. Larger families could be hit the hardest since I haven't seen anything to indicate that a family of 7 has a differant limit than a family of 4. Many working class people would be effected by these limits. I have a large family and am worried what it may do to us in the future.
    Second this bill makes it illegal to not have insurance. If you don't have insurance and seek medical care you could end up with prison time as well as a fine. That is if the government calculates your finances and determines you should have had enough money to buy it. But seeing that our government seems to have no idea on how to spend our money as it is. I would greatly fear how they might determine how we should spend ours.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. sjgerman

    This bill is a travesty of political corruption and porkbarrel. We the People should demand better. Something HAS to be done. I personally pay more for my health insurance than my house payment and my car payment combined. This is because after I turned 55 "someone ie computer program" determined that I was high risk because of heart surgery I received as a child. This is OK and allowed by the politically funded legislators who do as thier insurance company masters tell them to do. I have never had one problem with my heart since the surgery when I was 5 years old. There is no actual basis in any fact that would really justify this classification yet they are allowed to do this and I am allowed no recourse for once that determination is made. And by the way what a cop out allowing the bill to "start in 2014" of course the Repub/Insurance funded will do away with it as they are paid to do.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Gregory

    Yes, this already has affected me, my health insurance starting January 2010 has increased $2400 a 19% increase. It would seem that those of us caught in the 4year window before reform takes effect are going to take a very big hit. If insurance continues to increase at these rates 2012 to 2014 I will not be able to afford any coverage at all.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. jodiRN

    Charles MD – I agree with your complaints, and I see it too!!

    I have three young children, and always looked forward to encouraging them toward a career in medicine. Not anymore.

    This is the wealthiest nation in the world. I love the concept of the American dream of EARNING and ACHIEVING a persons way up the ladder of success. Now we are going to say everybody is free to earn and achieve their way up that ladder, except the people whose career choice REQUIREMENTS exceed all others in this country. No other career choice REQUIRES the level of intelligence, dedication, personal sacrifice, years of training/education, and personal debt. Yet we are going to tell them that they cannot make as much or more than a lawyer, a banker, a CEO, a real estate developer – ALL with less than half of the years in education, and none with the high risk for lawsuits. The push away from medicine is already happening. They ARE leaving the career faster, and the most intelligent ARE already choosing other paths.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Missy

    I have worked in social services for 25 years. Most of the people I have tried to help are the working middle class. Individuals and families who do not have drug addictions, are not lazy and wanting a hand out as perceived by many who have insurance or Medicare. Years ago I had a woman come to me I was her last hope. She had no insurance and breast cancer. When I told her there were no available programs to help her she asked in one question. She said, "What am I suppose to do, just die". Sadly, that is what happened. All Americans should have medical coverage no matter what their socioeconomic class is. Those of you who are against this I strongly suggest that next time your getting served by a waitress, store clerk or see a blue collar worker ask them what it is like to be uninsured.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Frank Kennedy

    In reading through these comments I'm struck with how angry, suspicious and disenchanted many of us are. And no wonder, given what we're up against. Large forces beyond our control, so much greedy self-interest, true reform distorted by smoke and mirrors.... However, I continue to hope that seeds buried in the bill will one day flower, and that in the long run things will improve

    December 22, 2009 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Angela

    I graduated from college in December of last year with a degree in Secondary Education. After a long 4 ½ years of paying my own way through, I was congratulated with a letter from my parents’ insurance company informing me that I would be “removed” from the plan beginning in January. Because of the extreme deficits in most of the school districts in WI, new teaching positions are few and far between, so I have been working as a substitute teacher. While I am extremely thankful to at least have a job, substituting does not come with insurance. Therefore, I have been uninsured since January. I have looked into MANY different insurance plans from NUMEROUS companies and there is no possible way that I can pay for any of these plans while making payments on my student loans. I am 23 and would LOVE to know if this new “ground breaking plan” will benefit myself as well as the thousands of other recent college grads in any way, shape, or form…

    December 22, 2009 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. sf helton

    I am a61 year old with no health coverage thru work. As passed the bill offers me nothing. the expanded medicare coverage or a better pubic option (ins. companies need competition to lower cost) would possibly help me. As it stands now, if i get sick and can't pay for a long hospital stay, the bill will be paid by the taxpaying public one way or the other. with increased hospital cost . The uninsured pubic needs help. Not special programs for the pharmacy companies and the insurance companies.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Kim

    I can't afford insurance, I work part time and the insurance my company offers is more expensive than if I pay out of pocket for a Dr's visit. They don't cover hospitalization or prescriptions. I don't live off the system and certainly don't take a free ride like President Obama says of some americans. Now they want to fine people for not having insurance? Whats next go to jail if you can't don't pay the fine? Are the police going to enforce this? Does this sound like this country is turning into a police state?

    The prisons are going to fill up and the corporations that own them are going to get richer. The insurance fat cats are really excited over this one!! They will have health insurance that will be a law for every American to have.

    Once again the government has sold us out to Corporate America.

    I'm open minded and would really like somebody to convince me that they are passing health care that will benefit the people who simply can not afford the cost of medical care. Many Americans are struggling to keep food on the table in this economy.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Judy

    I have never distrusted politicians as much as now. We should all be outraged by the bribes to Nelson and others that we, as taxpayers, will pay for. My state is broke, and we get no such help for the poor because my reps are lemmings who vote with their Dem party. This will cost all of us and care will be decreased, especially for the elderly who need it the most.
    The politicians are afriad to go home and listen to constituents, so race for passage before their break.. They think we're stupid.
    Any program could show support for itself if money was collected for 4 years before it was spent on the intended use.
    I'm ashamed that I voted for Obama!

    December 22, 2009 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. norma tolbert

    yes this bill will affect me and my husband, when they cut all of those dollars out of medicare where does that leave people like us. I think all of the people in washington should have to take the same insurance that they are pushing on the american people. Its a known fact that most of americans don't want any part of this so call health care. But they are taking away insurance for the older americans and giving it to medicad. And anyone on medicad should have to take a drug test. (I bet they could save a lot of money if they did that) I can't wait for the next election . I thought Pres. Obama ran on a platform to help the american people but instead he is hurting them.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Cathi

    This is not health care reform, it's the government feeling they have the right to change what is currently in place. Why doesnt our wonderful government attempt to correct some of the problems instead of pushing for change. Who do you think is going to shoulder the burden of those with pre existing conditions? The tax payer. The government has not been able to run Medicare successfully nor Medicaid for that matter. If you brought people in to run these programs that have actually run businesses, we might be able to salvage these programs. This vote is a disgrace and it isn't going to work.

    December 22, 2009 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Harry

    I think this whole discussion can be boiled down to one question – will our representatives in Washington and our President be exempt from these regulations. If what they are proposing isn't good enough for them, why is it good enough for the people they represent?

    December 22, 2009 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Kevin

    Obed Santos, you are about the most selfish person alive. How dare you just expect everyone else to pay more while you pay nothing in order to maintain your benefits! You're obviously either an immigrant or a minority who has had everything handed to them their entire life. I hope you rot in hell.

    December 22, 2009 at 14:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Tim E

    It's hard to know one thing form another with all the rhetoric and drama that steals the coverage. From what I can tell, the rich have great health care, and will continue to, the poor don't have to buy in and get gov money to help, and as always the mid class-the working machine that drives the country-has to do as it's told and gets little to no help.

    They removed anything that would have created real reform and an even playing field. The pockets of the insurance corporations are too big, and through lost of "lobbying" the politicians did as they always do, they protected corporate America.

    From what I can tell the skeleton of the bill will trim this, shave that, and keep things just the way the insurance companies like them. Both parties are happy. Republicans protected the corporations, and the Democrats get to rave about the "major" reform the got through.

    As always in politics, after a bunch of yelling, and tax money spent, nothing really changed.

    December 22, 2009 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Tom

    This is a monumental sad assessment of how "disconnected" our representatives from their constitutents. Be it the President, the Democrats or Republicans............they should be ashamed that it comes down to "getting votes at all costs" to pass legislation that 1. no one fully comprehends and 2. has consequences that don't manifest themselves until many of the lawmakers are "safe and sound" into their sweet retirement. I hope this action awakens the "sleeping giant" known as the American people and we make known our collective displeasure on this matter. If we don't, the next piece of legislation to affect us will simply follow the same model and the President ansd Congress can once again just "dupe" the ignorant public in believing they know what's best for us all.

    December 22, 2009 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. thom

    How could the american people even think that this health care farce will do anything for us? The politicians in this country are the worst group of people imaginable to work through a problem of this nature and magnitude. Health care is of no concern to them because they are covered by a health care plan, one of the best, paid for by the american people. when you have a group of people who are millionares to begin with, obviously when money is of no object or concern to them, they are only moitivated to produce, when there is something in it for them, for their state, inturn for their ego. we created a monster that we have had to live with forever. the number one problem for this country.

    December 22, 2009 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Bob

    This blog is certainly getting plenty of response!
    I have to say I agree with many of the posts here. A few of my comments:
    1. What is the big rush to pass this? So you can check a box on your campaign form saying "I passed health care reform" so you can raise more money?
    2. Is no one LISTENING to their constituents – that they claim to represent? The public is AGAINST this bill 2 to 1!
    3. Why call it reform? Have you reformed liability issues – NO! Have you limited outrageous liability damage $$ or the resulting liability insurance costs – NO!
    4. Since there is no restraint on major causes for high medical fees, of course, all of the costs will go up – even faster than before.
    5. What about limits on insurance premiums? And portable insurance? It is pathetic that we have an insurance monopoly in this country. This bill does little, if anything to address it.

    So... I ask again – why so fast, why so poorly drafted a bill – who will benefit? I know who won't – that is the middle class taxpayer. He gets the "opportunity" to pay the (huge) bill for this debacle.

    December 22, 2009 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Kat Marshall

    I have WORKED all of my adult life to pay for my medicare! it is NOT a right, I have worked for it so that I would be covered in my declining years when I most need it. Now they want me to "share" that with those that decide NOT to work? I do not object covering for those who can't work and children but that is a much smaller number. They could have covered them and not stabbed the working class in the back!! What they are doing is criminal and unconstitutional... Most of us would not get away with this type of behavior but they bribe, threaten and cheat and everyone knows it. It is blatant and a shame for this once great country. They are really selling all of us short. For those that think they are going to get something for nothing out of this, I hope you like being a slave to your government. You have no idea that they do not care for you either. It's all political and monetarily driven. BELIEVE IT!! They do lie, a LOT.

    December 22, 2009 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
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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.