26% had health insurance gap in 2011, study finds
April 19th, 2012
06:23 PM ET

26% had health insurance gap in 2011, study finds

The fate of health care reform legislation is still up in the air, resting with the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on the law's constitutionality in late June.

But today's news about health insurance isn't about the justices; it's about the people who had gaps in coverage in 2011.

The Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Tracking Survey of U.S. Adults found that 26% of Americans had a hole in their health insurance coverage in 2011. That would equate to about 48 million people who were uninsured at some point during the year, the Commonwealth Fund said.

Losses or changes in jobs, either on the part of the individual or his or her spouse, were driving factors in many cases. The survey was administered by The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit organization headquartered in New York.

"It’s a difficult place to find an affordable plan, and it’s also a difficult place to comparison-shop," said Sara Collins, vice president for the Affordable Health Insurance Program at The Commonwealth Fund. "There just isn’t a lot of information tools to help people in their search for a plan."

The survey included 2,100 adults in the United States ages 19 to 64.

Of those who reported a gap in health insurance, 69% said they did not have insurance for a year or longer, and 57% went two or more years without coverage.

The survey found that nearly half who tried to get coverage over the past three years did not end up buying a plan on the individual market. The majority of them, 62%, said the premiums were too expensive.

It proved difficult to compare benefits that different plans offer for 60% of respondents who tried to purchase a plan. And almost one-third of participants said insurance plans turned them down, raised prices or excluded a condition because of a pre-existing condition.

Participants also appeared less likely to have a regular doctor and get preventative tests such as blood pressure and cholesterol monitoring if they had a gap in health insurance.

The Commonwealth Fund had said in a report last year that about 9 million people who lost a job with health benefits in 2008 to 2010 became uninsured, indicating that employment is tied to health coverage for many Americans.

The Supreme Court will make a decision about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which includes a mandate for all Americans to purchase health insurance.

CNN's guide to the Supreme Court arguments

If the Affordable Care Act stays in place, in 2014 insurance plans would not be allowed to charge higher premiums or drop people because of pre-existing conditions or health status.

The Supreme Court, health care reform, and one girl

Also, in 2014, insurance exchanges would be available in every state, where people who lose employer-based coverage can find coverage. Those with a household income of up to 400% of the poverty line (about $88,000 for a family of four) would be eligible for tax credits, and Medicaid would be expanded to people with incomes of up to 133% of poverty level  (about $30,000 for a family of four).

soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Pay for it yourself. "nuff said.

    April 19, 2012 at 22:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dur

      yep, if you cant afford $1,600 a month for health insurance you dont deserve treatment

      April 19, 2012 at 22:57 | Report abuse |
    • free and able to think clearly

      typical tea party assh*le and republican moron – learn about the rest of the world and you might find a better way with less cost, more care. better care and compassion instead of useless empty rhetoric. Why you ignorant, brain dead shills even think you can understand ANYTHING has me totally beat – get a passport; travel and watch and learn; learn to read AND understand; THINK for yourself – and then you might be (barely) competent to respond to anything.

      April 19, 2012 at 23:15 | Report abuse |
    • g2

      complete moron. nuff' said.

      April 20, 2012 at 01:06 | Report abuse |
    • CN

      pretty fatuous thing to say. see you lose your job tomorrow, then find out you have a leukemia. do you happen to have the $250K sitting around for the chemo and bone marrow transplant?

      April 20, 2012 at 02:03 | Report abuse |
    • Dude


      Last time I checked, continuing my insurance, without my job, would cost $1350. That was six years ago. So, $1600 a month may be low. That is for one individual taking guaranteed continuance. Since I have a pre-existing condition, I cannot get insurance in my state. Not with any number of riders and at any cost.

      April 20, 2012 at 04:45 | Report abuse |
    • Small Business Owner

      Paying for it yourself is sometimes not even an option the way things currently are. I'm self employed and I wasn't insured for several years no insurance company would cover me because of a few mild pre-existing conditions. Not having insurance almost cost me my business. I developed mysterious abdominal pain one day and had to pay for diagnostics out of pocket. I knew that if the tests showed anything serious, I'd have to dump my business and be someone else's employee just so I could have health insurance again.

      This is why I support Obamacare. I never again want to be faced with the prospect of losing my business just so I can get onto an employer's health care plan. I also want the freedom to change insurers, which I can't right now because if I decide Anthem's annual 20 to 30% price hikes are too much for me, I have no choice but to suck it up and pay. If I leave Anthem, nobody else will allow me on their rolls.

      April 20, 2012 at 05:13 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      When you get sick and can't afford it you will change your macho tune really fast. What goes around comes around.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:03 | Report abuse |
    • NJBob

      Too bad you can't be insured against stupidity because you need it.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • KC

      A friend with pre-existing conditions was offered insurance at over $2500 a month - that's $30,000 a year. After paying for rent, utilities and groceries, can YOU pay $30,000 a year? And that's just for the insurance, not for all the required co-pays.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • JustCause

      NJBob, I wish there was a "like" button.

      April 20, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
    • dianawelsh

      Mark, we'll all remember your solution when you develop a chronic or terminal illness and your insurance company decides you cost too much and drops your policy. Or when you are forced to change jobs and your new one doesn't offer insurance. Or when you're laid off and can't afford insurance. We'll remember your empathy and concern for your fellow man and apply the same level to you and your family.

      April 21, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • wcus445

      If 1 individual cannot afford $1,600 per month, 300 million individuals put into a group will not be able to afford $480 billion per month which comes to $5.76 trillion per year or about 1/3 of everything produced by the US each year. That would triple Federal spending, and the government is already using a credit card to pay for 40% of its spending. How long does anyone think this is going to last?

      April 21, 2012 at 17:08 | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      Right. We have way too many people in this country; it's time to thin the herd. A few untreated, massively fatal epidemics will straighten things out.

      April 21, 2012 at 21:40 | Report abuse |
  2. twgloege

    Greatest healthcare system in the world????????????????? NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 19, 2012 at 22:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jorge

      Our healthcare system IS the greatest in the world. Our INSURANCE system is what needs improvement!!

      April 20, 2012 at 10:15 | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      There's nothing great about a health care system you can't afford to use.

      April 21, 2012 at 21:43 | Report abuse |
  3. Joe The Plumber

    As a Republican, I say, "Let them die."

    April 19, 2012 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • evensteven

      . . . and their gold teeth are pulled and given to Republican PACs . . .

      April 20, 2012 at 01:33 | Report abuse |
  4. 60minuteman

    Having health insurance for profit is immoral. They only insure those that don't need it and quickly drop everyone that does. Health insurance should not be tied to who you work for, or who you are married to. We need a single payer system. This republican inspired health insurance mandate is just another republican give away to big insurance companies.

    April 19, 2012 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • evensteven

      Bravo . . .

      April 20, 2012 at 01:32 | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      It is no more immoral than profiting off of people's thirst or hunger. The only time it would be immoral is if the person profiting from your health is the one causing you to be sick in the first place.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:16 | Report abuse |
    • NJBob

      Absolutely!! But that's an idea you'll never get through a tea bagger's thick head.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:47 | Report abuse |
    • NJBob

      @ Jorge - It IS immoral to profit off someone's hunger and thirst, which is why we make food stamps and other benefits available to those who need them. You remark makes no sense.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:50 | Report abuse |
    • ConA

      Thanks 60minuteman: At least you see it too.

      April 20, 2012 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      Can anyone here imagine Jesus working for a health insurance company?

      April 21, 2012 at 21:45 | Report abuse |
  5. ksmary

    The unfortunate thing about the present system is that if you have a heart condition (for example) you may be able to buy insurance (at a seriously hefty price), but it will not cover ANY problem that the insurance company can claim relates to the pre-existing condition, no matter how remote the possibility.

    April 19, 2012 at 23:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KC

      Yep. I have a pre-existing condition. I was in an auto accident - I was the passenger, so it wasn't my pre-existing condition that caused the accident - involving an uninsured driver, and my insurance refused to pay for any of the x-rays, claiming they were "related to my pre-existing condition". My condition isn't any sort of brittle bone syndrome, so how it could be related to x-rays for fractures caused by an accident, I don't know. But that was their excuse and no amount of logic would budge them off it. Since it was an individual policy, I didn't have the same protections as I would with an employer-provided policy, and I was stuck with their refusal to pay.

      April 20, 2012 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
  6. Brian

    Why do we even have health insurance? I t soaks up one third of our health dollars and provides nothing in return. We are so used to our current system we don't see how absurd it is. Propose changing it and the rednecks scream "SOCIALISM !"

    April 19, 2012 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ConA

      Thanks Brian. I pay $532/month and after that have a $5,000 deductible so can't afford to go to the doctor (except for preventive care –thanks Obama). I can't get other insurer (preexisting condition) and my Philly insurer tells me how lucky I am that I have this ridiculous plan!

      April 20, 2012 at 16:20 | Report abuse |
  7. Jude

    This terrible problem will only grow worse until Americans kicked out the Republicans, get a Democratic Congress and demand universal single payer government healthcare like the rest of the modern democracies have done. We are so far behind the curve in this area it's beyond pathetic.

    April 19, 2012 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bspurloc

      so u r not Aware Mittens Healthcare in Mass? u know the one Obamas is based off of?

      April 20, 2012 at 09:48 | Report abuse |
    • matt

      Move to Canada..........The best healthcare sytem in the world..............

      April 20, 2012 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
  8. Renait

    The GOP says they want to lower taxes on the rich to encourage job production. Romney's taxes indicate that he paid 14% last year – and he is an example of what the rich pay – and they're not producing jobs. Meanwhile, companies all over the country are unable to hire new workers because they can't afford the health care costs. If the Republicans really cared about creating jobs, they would support universal health care that takes the onus off employers. But they don't really care about job creation. Their mantra is just "Kill the poor."

    April 19, 2012 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sine

      Republicans don't want universal health because they own stock in the health insurance companies and they want their parasite money.

      April 19, 2012 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
  9. Devosays

    48 million people... and how many needed health care and didn't get it... none, stupid CNN propaganda

    April 20, 2012 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dtlb

      You ass!

      April 20, 2012 at 00:53 | Report abuse |
    • Lushonosi

      Because the taxpayers paid for it. So that's just great, isn't it.

      April 20, 2012 at 08:28 | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      People without insurance can apply for Medicaid.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:17 | Report abuse |
    • KC

      Not all people without insurance qualify for Medicaid. It is possible to earn $1 too much for Medicaid but not enough to pay for your own insurance. A friend with multiple pre-existing conditions was turned down by all 39 insurance companies operating in this state - they wouldn't insure him at ANY price - but because he had a job, he didn't qualify for Medicaid. Perhaps you'd be in favor of people like him refusing to work so that they can get Medicaid?

      April 20, 2012 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
    • ConA

      I pay $532.64 per month for the only plan that a person like myself over 50 with hip replacements can get. I can't afford to get my hip replacements checked because this plan has a $5,000 deductible and after paying for the ridiculously expensive plan, I don't have $250 more for a specialist. So I guess not everyone gets care who wants it! Meanwhile my insurer made $211 million in 2010 in profits and had lower medical liabilities and higher premium income. I can't even get a checkup except for the preventive care (thank God for ObamaCare). So stop spreading your propaganda.

      April 20, 2012 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
    • dianawelsh

      You seem to be operating under the myth that ER's treat every medical condition. They don't. They stabilize you and send you away. This doesn't work as medical care for any chronic condition, including asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, lyme disease, etc. Yes, you can wait for an emergency and then get treatment, but, that doesn't help you be able to work or live your life and it isn't health care.

      April 21, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
    • sqeptiq

      If you seriously believe that no one in this country went without health care in the last year, you are dangerously delusional.

      April 21, 2012 at 21:48 | Report abuse |
  10. Dtlb

    its all about greed. In other countries people dont pay income tax but everyone pays a high sales tax and everybody has health care. In some cointries they look at you funny if you talk about yearly property tax but they have access to healthcare. It can be done and relatively easily if the governkent would go to work for us and not for themselves and their other employers

    April 20, 2012 at 00:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Daniel

    A huge number were unable to get care.There are very few public hospitals and every they charge an arm and a leg unless you are compeleltey impoverished. Medical care for many is not a one time shot, it's cancer screenings,diagnosis and treatment of a whole range of conditions including expensive medicine. try paying for a serious illness treatment out of pocket, we're talking a higher cost than the average student loan and a year's mortgage mayments. 60minuteman says it best.

    April 20, 2012 at 00:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. evensteven

    Primary Care Physicians go broke and millions of American families take out bankruptcy because of Medical Bills while the Health Insurance companies are increasing their profits 40-50% every year and their CEOs rake in millions.

    Google "Health Insurer Profits"

    April 20, 2012 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ConA

      Thanks evensteven: The health insurers are greedy and deceptive and while not the only problem, but are major contributors to the bigger problem. People would rather criticize the government than these evil greedy companies. Insurance companies only worry about shareholders and try to unload their subscribers who need care by pricing their premiums higher and higher and making their deductibles higher and higher so they can't bother to seek care. And nonprofit companies often control for-profit subsidiaries so the shareholders are important to them too.They only want the young and healthy subscribers and want to dump the rest. Shame on them!

      April 20, 2012 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
  13. Gary177

    Like many opinion articles designed to promote one point of view, the author points out the good parts of what will happen in 2014 and ignores the many problems. The biggest problem is the huge cost, which can only be covered by increasing far, far more taxes than can be raised by "taxing the rich" or increasing the deficit which also threatens to bankrupt our children.

    April 20, 2012 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      You never did well in math, did you, Gary177?

      April 20, 2012 at 08:40 | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      One of the best solutions would be massive tort reform. People complain how immoral it is to make money off of people's health. How about the millionaire trial lawyers who make money by suing doctors and drug companies? That cost is passed off to the consumer not only in terms of price, but also additional regulation. People like to point to other countries and how much cheaper health care is in those countries. Those countries don't have millionaire trial lawyers lobbying their governments for more privileges, which come at the expense of people's health!

      April 20, 2012 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
    • Jorge2

      One of the best solutions would be massive tort reform. People complain how immoral it is to make money off of people's health. How about the millionaire trial lawyers who make money by suing doctors and drug companies? That cost is passed off to the consumer not only in terms of price, but also additional regulation. People like to point to other countries and how much cheaper health care is in those countries. Those countries don't have millionaire trial lawyers lobbying their governments for more privileges, which come at the expense of people's health!

      April 20, 2012 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • NJBob

      @ Jorge - Unbelievable!!!! Are you aware of the fraud commit by pharma companies???? J&J just got fined $1.2 billion in Arkansas because of their fraudulent business practices. Elsewhere they were selling prosthetic devices without FDA approval. If you want to know why health care is so expensive, have a look at big pharma. And don't tell me they need those profits to innovate. Many of those companies have fired their R&D staff because they buy up smaller companies who do the innovating and then fire the staff.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • KC

      Tort reform is not the answer; some 80% of malpractice lawsuits are based on preventable medical mistakes. If there are too many lawsuits, doctors just need to do their job better, more mindfully. Read Jerome Groopman MD's "How Doctors Think" for explanations of how doctors diagnose by stereotype (all divorcees are depressed), get married to a diagnosis and ignore all evidence the diagnosis was wrong, and - by interrupting after just 18 seconds - often miss the information that would help them make the proper diagnosis.

      I had a doctor take the correct diagnosis that was handed to him on a silver platter and change it to a wrong diagnosis, then argue that it was my fault I got sicker because "nothing you said made sense". No, nothing I said made sense because I was telling you the symptoms that differentiate the condition I have from the one you diagnosed, and because you thought you knew better than the specialist, you were trying to fit my square pegs into your round holes and couldn't get them to fit. The problem was that the diagnosis was wrong, not that the patient was too stupid to know what symptoms she had. Now I have permanent health problems because the correct treatment wasn't offered, and the treatment forced on me made me even sicker.

      No lawsuit will give me my health back, but it might drive home the point that sometimes the patient is right and the doctor is wrong.

      April 20, 2012 at 13:23 | Report abuse |
    • AW

      Insurance reform will create tort reform. Many, many malpractice suits come out of cases where everyone agrees that the doctor didn't really do anything wrong, but the patient's insurance company refuses to pay without a lawsuit. It's not patients suing doctors; it's insurance companies suing insurance companies.

      April 20, 2012 at 19:34 | Report abuse |
  14. Alito Scalia

    Civil welfare such as a library has merit. However if journalists print too much of the truth too often, such as this article, the corporate citizen rights will be trampled. It is the job of well paid media outlets and their employees to defend the rights
    of their major stockholders. Corporations by definition are just persons, persons who have a right to pick and choose who may see a physician or not. Government is not for the purposes of the common men, this is a fallacy. Therefore, Congress, must not pass laws without consultation and apporval of the major investment class and it's lobbyists whom it repreents.

    April 20, 2012 at 01:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Daniel

    We need to be more careful about going to war and save this money for the public benefit. Tell me who do the government's funds belong to? Where are the Congressional votes to go to war? There is so much waste and theft in government programs. Remember the $1000 toliet seats? The other larger problem is that too many major American companies don't care about paying their fair share taxes to maintain the required public medcial care infrasturcture and services. Way too much corruption all around and lack of banking/trading regulation.

    April 20, 2012 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. nolimits3333

    I haven't had health insurance for years.

    Why should I pay someone to lobby Congress to deny me coverage?

    April 20, 2012 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sameeker

      Well said.

      April 21, 2012 at 23:12 | Report abuse |
  17. zulux

    That's why there is DoctorsForUninsured dot org

    April 20, 2012 at 02:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Daniel

    ksmary-The ACA fixes that problem. Only in America, where lack of education reigns would half the population be against protectiions of their ability to get access to and reasonable pricing of health care. Read any European publication and see how foolish thet think we are-the average citizen. They would be in the streets defending ACA, even though it's not perfect. It's a good start. Costs can be brought down while maintaining quality of care. Even though you have insurance contest charges you believe are unreasonable and don't get tests or meds unless you really need them. Report fraud and scammers.

    April 20, 2012 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jorge

      And that is why many European counties are going bankrupt.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
    • NJBob

      Absolutely!! And health care is NOT why many European countries are going bankrupt. Europeans spend less on health care than Americans and the quality is excellent. I know from personal experience.

      April 20, 2012 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
    • Greenspam

      @Jorge: Germany, France, UK, Netherlands, none of them are going bankrupt anytime soon.

      It's the weaker ones going bankrupt, it has more to do with their lack of productivity.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • @jorge

      are you pulling stuff out of your a** to make your point. Bankruptcy in Europe (grreec) is due to low tax collection
      (hardly anyone pays taxes) and the euro

      April 21, 2012 at 17:12 | Report abuse |
  19. Daniel

    Thx for link zuluz. No limits try to get insured in case you need it, really need it. Yes, watch where your money goes, I feel the same way but I have to have insurance. Otherwise one big bill can eat you alive like a cannibul.

    April 20, 2012 at 02:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. gessoart

    I covered the health care for my 12 employees until 2002 when the premiums became too high, going up, roughly, 25% a year. At the point I cancelled the program, my Blue Cross broker argued that I should continue providing health care for my employees. I pointed out that what I was paying for some of my staff was more than what they paid for their monthly mortgage or rent. I will never forget her response as she sat across from me at our company conference table: 'What's more important – your home or your health?" And then it hit me! This is the exactly what a representative of organized crime would say to me if he was shaking me down in a extortion racket! Fortunately for my family and I, my wife was born in Vancouver, BC and we live most of the year in BC where we get world class health care for $129/month for our family of four. I feel badly for our Idaho employees, but it is not our fault the system is broken down there.

    My take is pretty straight forward – Americans deserve what they are getting because – in general – they are too lazy to educate themselves on the issue, are too arrogant to consider other systems, and wait until they are old or having a health problem to take the corporate medical abuses seriously. Plus they parrot the "Big government is bad" argument and reject the only practical solution. Big government put a man on the moon, big government built this country, and big government should be of the people and by the people if the people would just sit up and pay attention to what is happening, be informed and vote with their minds and not their dogma.

    April 20, 2012 at 02:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AJD13

      Actually a great many people in the U.S. see things the way you do and know the system is broken and would like universal care as most industrialized countries enjoy but those who are making too big of a profit off of health care the way it is and those who think that only the rich deserve it do everything they can to block it. It's truly a David and Goliath battle except the David in this story just can't seem to bring Goliath down. It's not that Americans are lazy, we are facing a huge monster called the greedy rich.

      April 20, 2012 at 03:38 | Report abuse |
    • NJBob

      Yes! You are absolutely, 100% correct!

      April 20, 2012 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
    • Greenspam

      I tend to agree. I have poor relatives who are against Obamacare (oh, they listen to fox news) because they say it's socialism. So, for healthcare, they go to emergency rooms.... I kid you not.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
    • blnnh

      exactly. the for-profit healthcare system in the US is little more than a legalized extortion racket.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:48 | Report abuse |
    • Ralph

      Too bad the current health care reforms do not address any of the shortcomings you list.

      April 20, 2012 at 22:25 | Report abuse |
  21. Daniel

    Yes, would be quite nice for those of us who believe in these community clinics (doctorsfortheuninsured.org) and can afford it to send one of them a donation. Or just use one and pay full price to help them stay afloat. Ask your doctor to volunteer a couple of days a month. Those with office skills and retired medial professionals can volunteer asl well. Call a pharmecuetical company and ask them to donate some vaccines for low income kids, anyone who may not be getting government aid. Republicans say they like private welfare so they should want to help such private care organizations.

    April 20, 2012 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Daniel

    gessoart, I agree with you 100%. Having been both a small business owner and someone with a life threatening condition I see the need for a better system and am dismayed we still haven't come up with a workable national health care program. You and I could probably set up a better system. It's really not a matter of political view but of greed. I could barely afford to pay my employees with the economic down swing. My own premiums were nearly $1000 a month, not to mention OOP and went into debt. Now on SSD and not easy paying medical debt off. Forget retirement savings and travel.

    April 20, 2012 at 02:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. tarzan

    it's official, our monthly premiums are now more than our house payment. Got a notice for a 24% increase coming in june.We are 54 so.... based on 20% every year at age 65 our cost will be $7942 per month just for the premiums. What inflation???? Gotta love health capitalism . Soon, most companies will do away with healthcare due to the costs and because foreign companies don't have to provide it. Pay the doctors direct!!!!! They r the ones that went to school and put their own time and money to get the smarts for what they do! Too many people are blind to where this train is headed, We r taking our deductibles up and will stop paying so much to big blue cross, what does this cross stand for anyway? Good luck! stay healthy!

    April 20, 2012 at 03:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Fed up

    Go after the people who charge outrageous fortunes for pills and testing. Make it more affordable for people to pay out of pocket. I'm sure it's expensive to research new cures but at the same time some greedy people are holding people's lives for ransom to get rich.

    April 20, 2012 at 04:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Dude

    If you are insured, you are paying approximately $1000 per year to cover the costs to hospitals of unpaid bills for treatment they are obligated to provide to the uninsured.

    So Republicans, I would like an answer. Since you are so opposed to the "mandate" in Obama's health care reform, how are you intending to put an end to this mandate?

    I plan to vote to re-elect Obama, mostly because of the health care reform bill. But, give me a good answer to that question and my vote would be up for grabs. If it helps, I live in a state that has been solidly Republican for a very long time, but all the polls say it is up for grabs this election.

    Awaiting your reply.

    April 20, 2012 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ralph

      So, if ObamaCare is upheld, I should expect my insurance cost to go down, right?

      April 20, 2012 at 22:26 | Report abuse |
  26. Stacy Barbee

    Well, hopefully Obama's Health Care Bill will reduce the malpractices of the insurance companies. They will be prevented to drop coverage midway or even to deny coverage for pre-existing illness. Let's wait and watch where this is gonna lead us. Its too early to predict anyway.

    April 20, 2012 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. beachgalone

    I believe every person should have health insurance. However, not like it's being proposed now. At birth, every American should have a lifetime deductible of $100,000. Then, 100% coverage thereafter. Thus, we would be buying insurance for $100,00 thru the private insurance model. In addition, we could set up an HSA account to cover the $100,000 if we ever get ill.

    This would be a hybrid between government and private sector coverage. Really we need a catastrophic plan in place, not all the bells and whistles. Catastrophic illness is what bankrupts us or makes us lose sleep.

    April 20, 2012 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dianawelsh

      The problem with your 100,000 deductable at birth is this: No one would get out from under paying deductables. When you are born, how are you supposed to pay it? Can you work as an infant? No. So the parents pay it. Have they paid off their own yet? Probably not. Most parents haven't made 100,000 yet, considering they didn't start working full time until at least after high school. So only the rich would ever get out from under medical debt, and most people wouldn't live until their 18th birthday due to lack of medical care.

      April 21, 2012 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
  28. Wayne J

    As long as American jobs do not pay living wages, the health care problem will exist. You want to get a grip on greed, just ask the government to up the COLA penny for penny for those on fixed incomes to cover the increases in the health care insurance and rising taxes. So, fixed incomers will cut off their winter heat, stop vacationing, ration their food, and ... wait, there goes a stray cat, got to kill it for food. See you later.

    April 20, 2012 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Bob

    Republicans don't care about anyone except themselves. So why should the rest of us care about them. And I'm not talking about the politicians here. I'm talking about the people who vote republican. Your neighbor. Your boss. Your spouse. These people are vile and should not be given the time of day. Don't do anything with them. Don't date them. Don't marry them. Don't work for them. Don't shop at their stores. I'm sick of people blaming this problem on republican politicians. The problem is the people that vote for them.

    April 20, 2012 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dom625

      Well, Democrats aren't exactly perfect either. There are some inane ideas coming from their camp as well.

      April 20, 2012 at 09:18 | Report abuse |
    • NJBob

      I don't understand why anyone would vote Republican either. Republicans will take this country right back to 1910.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
  30. dom625

    What about those of us who have insurance but it comes with a deductible so high as to be nearly unattainable? Our individual yearly deductible is $2000 per person; if one of my family becomes sick, we may as well not have insurance since we have to pay so much before it ever kicks in. We are forced to simply deal with whatever we get and hope to recover from it.

    But what really irritates me is the amount of money getting dumped into Medicaid for "needy" people while older people on Medicare are paying through the noses for their care. My father, who worked for thirty-two years, is retired. He has to pay monthly premiums for his Medicare coverage. But, the teenage girls I teach who are having babies right and left simply apply for and receive Medicaid and can go to the doctor for free. Something is wrong with this system!

    April 20, 2012 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bspurloc

      32years? what he do take 10+ years off?

      April 20, 2012 at 09:51 | Report abuse |
    • dom625

      No, he did not take time off. He became physically unable to work any more and had put in enough years to retire.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:18 | Report abuse |
    • dianawelsh

      The answer: Universal coverage. Then you dad wouldn't be paying every month, other than taxes, and the teens health care would be covered.. and so would yours.

      April 21, 2012 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
  31. ConA

    Of the insured, many have under-insurance. Insurance companies sell them products which don't cover everything and many people do not realize this. I have seen policies which only cover hospitalization but don't mention covering diabetes. I know someone who found he had diabetes when he was 24 yrs. old. He is not overweight and exercises. So S*H#T can happen to anyone. Insurance companies should do better but the greed is rampant.

    April 20, 2012 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Greenspam

      Insurance is not the bad guy. It's the uncontrolled cost of healthcare. Why Americans have to pay 5x more than other industrialized nations for the same care?

      April 20, 2012 at 12:14 | Report abuse |
    • KC

      I applied for and paid for a really good policy with a low deductible. Once I used it for an expensive test that proved that I did NOT have an expensive-to-fix problem, they continued to bill me for the good policy, but in practice replaced it with a high-deductible hospitalization-only policy. As an individual policy, I didn't have the same legal protections as with an employer policy, and I was told there was nothing that could be done about it, except to try to find new insurance with pre-existing conditions, and hope the new company didn't pull the same stunt. Such bait-and-switch would be made illegal under Obamacare because that "policy that covers nothing" would become illegal to sell.

      April 20, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
    • ConA

      This is to Greenspam–insurance companies are the bad guy. They just have everybody fooled for now. They are making record profits and pricing people who need health care out with high deductibles after they pay high premiums. Then they become uninsured or underinsured. I just don't know why people want to believe the insurance companies are good when they are doing very bad things. Read Wendell Potter's book.

      April 20, 2012 at 14:34 | Report abuse |
  32. bspurloc


    April 20, 2012 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. EAS

    for the record, i'm republican. have cobra health ins that will run out in 2013. pay $800/mo for myself. I have applied for my own policy twice and was turned down both times. I have diabetes and a couple "age" related issues. Come next year and i will be out of luck. I loved the Obama Cobra plan that expired as I had to pay just 35% of the health insurance cost. I don't have any idea what i will do next year. I have 7 yrs until i reach medicare age. first time in my life i want to be older. Self employed and single and not planning to marry anyone for health benefits anytime soon.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Greenspam

      And The Republicans' answer: either get rich or just die.

      April 20, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
  34. The Film Professor

    We've been in the "private insurance" market for the last 2 yrs – what a nightmare. $1000/month with 8K of deductibles up front, and then only 70/30 after that. What that means is that honestly we have avoided seeing our doctors, which is not good for us and not good ultimately for the healthcare system either. Those people who make comments like "pay for it yourself" hav.e never walked in our shoes, shoes that have had insurance for 25 years but lost it during the recent economic turndown that saw so many of us in our 50's get laid off. We have a horrible system, that discriminates and charges you even much higher amounts at the doctors office if you don't have insurance. Even Republican Politicians have stopped defending the current system for the most part

    April 20, 2012 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. sick n tired

    Health Insurance, extortion...whats the differance?

    April 20, 2012 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. michelle bauchmann

    I would like to send all Rethuglicans on a hunting trip with Dick Chaney

    April 20, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Fish

    Insurance companies have been holding us hostage for years. During my marriage we had two insurance policies from our jobs and every claim went to the state insurace board for medkation with both claiming the other as the prime insurer. What a crock, they are relentlessly greedy companies!!!

    April 20, 2012 at 14:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Kadie

    Insurance premium prices would drop for everyone if everyone was required to have it. Insurance companies would have to compete. High-risk patients would be spread among insurers the way car insurance customers are. No one with pre-existing condition would be left uninsured. Small business owners and poor would get subsidies to secure coverage. For heaven's sake, actually read the law instead of relying on the Fox or blogger version of what they want you to believe it says. In the meantime, those of us with insurance have to cover not only our own bills but those of those without insurance who use the ER and hospitals when they're sick because they get "free" care that I'm paying for through my premiums or the "uninsured care" surcharges my local hospital tacks on to all bills. Amazing how Republicans and Tea party have convinced the people who need affordable insurance the most that it's somehow bad for them. Great PR job, just not true.

    April 20, 2012 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. lefty avenger

    American Health insurance has more holes than swiss cheese. The HMO insurance companies are scammers of the first order. Hmo's fit right in with wall street hedge fund bankers, cheaters and exploiters of decent people everywhere. I hope they all go bankrupt and go under.

    April 20, 2012 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. soundmind

    Health care in America is a joke, it has been for 30 yrs. While our congress has argued and debated and tried different new ideas our costs to the individual has been rising 10-30% annually. What is covered has been decreased, pre-existing conditions has disqualified many more. We have folks on the right screaming "you cannot force me to pay" and those on the left saying "we need to pay somehow". The facts are these everyone right or left agree that health care is the number 1 cost issue going forward to the national expenses. We all end up paying anyway because ALL people HAVE to be treated by LAW. The agreed ways to cut costs are through preventative care instead of emergency room care. Reducing legal exposure to Dr's and cutting paper work so the Dr can treat more patients. If we can agree on all of this isn't the answer obvious? The HMO's (middle men) are the problem, my health care for profit is the problem, we will all need health care we will all pay one way or another. Obama is on the right track he didn't go far enough but we need socialized medicine in the U.S. or we will go bankrupt. BTW for all of you that want to bring up all those bankrupt EU countries look at WHY they are bankrupt and it isn't health care. It is the trading and banking practices that brought all of us down. They don't know how to take care of business. That is why we are all in this boat. Health Care now! Obama for president 2012!

    April 20, 2012 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. InsuranceAlwaysDenied

    I have health insurance for my 8-year-old son who was injured at birth, but insurance denies everything. We have to fight for everything and my doctor spends more time fighting health insurers than he does on my son. We need to provide penalties to these companies for frivolous denials. There is currently no incentive for health insurers to cover these costs, especially since most people who are denied just give up. If people want to talk about holes in health insurance, lets talk about how pourous the denial system is in these places and how requiring more people to have health insurance does not mean lower costs of better health care.

    April 20, 2012 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Habib Abdula

    Just forward all medical bills to obama to pay.

    April 21, 2012 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. David

    I think we should take congresses health insurance away and let them pay for their own insurance out of their own pockets.

    April 21, 2012 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nima

      This is the best educational life inrcsanue video I've seen on YouTube. It points out that properly calculating one's life inrcsanue need is most important, and that seemingly big numbers are really not all that big when it comes to ensuring dependent's lifestyles. Then it points out that there is usually a need for a combination of term and permanent inrcsanue, depending on the length of the need and one's inrcsanue budget.

      September 14, 2012 at 00:09 | Report abuse |
  44. Ryan Meuse

    Duh – employment tied to health insurance. This is news? Um, 100% of everyone I have ever known, unless they are running their own business, have health insurance because their company paid for it – it's just too expensie, like 20-50% of low-middle class income. Otherwise they/we are playing the "I hope I don't get in a car accident or my kids get really sick" game. Obama effed up the bill but the fact that he is actually addressing this reality is great. Now we just need him or Romney to tell Congress to suck it and give this country health care. It should be our 4th inalienable right, or at least governed in the same way as water and power. Seriously, if any one of us gets stuck with a $100K heart attack hospital bill, our life is over, for at least 10 years if not forever. It's a joke that both political sides can't agree on a compromise. I'm voting for Mickey Mouse since Obmaney are twin sides of a coin.

    April 21, 2012 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Walter

    My cousin has no health insurance (he says his job doesn't offer it and he can't afford it himself). Last year he had to go into the hospital for an appendectomy. When he got the multi-thousand dollar bill, he called the billing office and said it would take him a while to pay this because he didn't make much from his job. The hospital admin told him that if he met their income threshold he wouldn't have to pay anything. He did, and he didn't. He said as long as his income remains low, he'll never buy health insurance. Now explain to my why everyone shouldn't have to pay something for health insurance?

    April 21, 2012 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. AnonObserver

    You can't print money in your basement and there should be no such thing as private health/medical insurance companines. You pay a reasonable/affordable premium and the agency/Medicare or whatever pays your medical bills – ALL of them. OR, you allow private medical insurance carriers, you pay their reasonable/affordable premiums and the carrier pays your medical bills – ALL of them. Denial of coverage or failure to pay is an IMMEDIATE capital crime with incarceration and extermination of the insurance company executives certain and rapid. Insurance carriers are the only businesses – excluding scammers – that take you money and the find some reason not to provide you with their product.

    April 22, 2012 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Navin Johnson

    An insurance company would rather deny you coverage and reward the CEO for the behavior of saving the company money with by giving him big bonuses. I mean, that's the nature of the free enterprise system the Tea Baggers care so deeply about. Profit over people. Profit over everything.

    April 22, 2012 at 03:55 | 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.