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April 30th, 2008
04:55 PM ET

Are you optimistic about the future of healthcare?

ALT TEXT

Nisha Rajan, cringes slightly while Kyle Holloway, a University of New Mexico pharmacy student, gives her a flu shot in Santa Fe, N.M. Click the Play Button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.  (PHOTO CREDIT: AP)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's no secret that the health care system in this country is a mess. Right now, there are almost 50 million people who have no health insurance at all and the costs of health care keep rising. A new study out this week even showed that 7% of Americans were willing to get married just so they could get their spouse's health care benefits.

Now, on the campaign trail, each of the three presidential candidates is telling us that his or her plan offers the best solution to the problem.

Both Democratic candidates want to move toward universal health care coverage. Hillary Clinton, who tried to tackle health care in 1992 and failed, is proposing an individual mandate requiring all Americans to sign up for health insurance. Obama doesn't go quite that far, but his plan requires coverage for all children. Both Democrats' plans build on the current employer-based system and impose new regulations on insurers. The Republican, John McCain, says these ideas are "inefficient" and "irrational." He is opposed to mandates and direct regulation. Instead, he favors using tax credits to draw workers away from company health plans. He says that would allow people to find cheaper insurance on their own, more tailored to their individual needs. This proposal was similar to one proposed by President Bush last year which flopped in Congress, failing to get even a committee hearing.

One other item not being talked about by any of the candidates is this: The current government health care plan, Medicare, represents tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded liability.

Here’s my question to you: How optimistic are you about the future of our health care system?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mary from Alabama writes:
At almost 69, I am not at all optimistic over the future of health care. I have seen the hospital in the town I live in go from excellent to almost third world in less than three years. These are trying times in this country. After 8 years of the Bush-Cheney kingdom everything is down the tube.

Kim from Dodge City, Kansas writes:
I'm not at all optimistic. Until the government gets ‘Big Pharma’ under control and realizes that we are the only industrialized nation that has to pay these kind of prices for prescription drugs and medical treatment, there will never be a fundamental change in our health care system. As long as lobbying and kickbacks are legal, the health care field will remain rotten with corruption which means higher costs to the public.

Matt from Omaha, Nebraska writes:
I'm fairly optimistic because if it isn't now, our country's health care crisis will soon reach a critical tipping point and the mood of the country generally seems to be in favor of massive reform.

Ken writes:
No, as long as the slugs we call politicians keep supporting the health care industry instead of the American people nothing will change.

Mike from Syracuse, NY writes:
Jack,
I've tried to think of any initiative besides national defense where the national government has done a good job. I can't. A national health care system will become an expensive, bureaucratic mess. Whatever we do, we don't need another Social Security or Medicare monster.

Sandy from Ohio writes:
Right now, I find it hard to be optimistic about anything but I do have a small glimmer of hope. For many of my loved ones universal health care will come too late, I just hope it's not the same for me.


Filed under: US Healthcare
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. RC Lendz

    Only if Hillary is elected President.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  2. Marie

    I wish I could be more optimistic, but people still think insurance companies can manage healtcare. If you call 911 you need the police, the fire department, or the ambulance. Why is it that getting the ambulance is the only one that will bankrupt you?

    April 30, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  3. Greg, Hamilton Ontario

    It could be a great help to the people of America if it is approached the right way. Being Canadian i have a pay deduction (less than 100$) and can walk into any hospital and not have to worry about it. But if I want something annoying taken care of , but I can live with it for a while, I have to wait. It's all done by how bad the situation is and thats what Americans have to get use to. Don't listen to the wimps it's not that bad.
    What never gets asked in these discussions is why does everything cost so much? The nuclear scientists or engineers that work in our nuclear sites study just as long to become qualified, the stringingup and maintaining the wireing gets done but my electric bill is acceptable. Why do the insurance companies and hospitals get to reem us every time we need their services?
    To give you some perspective Jack I'm an epileptic. If I have a seizure here I pay 45$ for the ambulance (if needed), they watch me sleep it off and when my reflexes and metal accuity are back I go home. That's it. In the states I would pay over 300$ for the ambulance, they would watch me sleep it off, and then when my motor and accuity skills come back (1 or 2 hours usually) they hand me a bill for 2400$. Thank god for travel insurance because I put your your hospitals on the same level as Casinos. We want you to visit but you better have the money.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  4. JD - NH

    My husband and I are self-employed and among the 47 million who have been priced out of the health insurance market. We live each day with fingers crossed, hoping to remain as healthy as we can until a solution is found for this nightmare situation. None of the candidates has a satisfactory solution. All reward the parties that have created the problem: the insurance companies. Mr. McCain is particularly out of touch if he thinks $5,000 is anywhere within striking distance of the cost of a substandard health insurance policy. There is a good solution and it is the Conyers/Kucinich health care plan, HR 676, already in Congress. People should demand it be enacted.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  5. alexa, Lovettsville, Va

    Unfortunately I'm not very optimistic about the future of our health care system. It's only hope is for the government to step in and regulate it and we know that will probably never happen and if it does we know how government can screw things up.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  6. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Very much so as long as we have good health care coverage and can pay for it. Otherwise I'm cynical.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  7. Ray in West Chester, PA

    No, I'm very concerned. We have fewer and fewer doctors because we keep squeezing their payments to save money. The baby boomers are getting to the age where they'll need more and more healthcare. Also, if we adopt Hillary or Barck's healthcare plans where are all the doctors going to come from to treat 47 million new patients who will put tremendous demands on the healthcare system?
    We need a plan now to significantly increase healthcare education to get more healthcare workers in the pipeline. Or plan on importing many more healthcare professionals from other countries.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  8. Ron K.

    Jack:

    No not at all. The system is broken. the healthcare providers charge way too much for the service they provide. If that continues to happen, there will be no affordable healthcare in this country.

    There is allot of talk about universal healthcare. You notice, they don't tell you how much you would have to pay for it.

    Ron K. San Diego

    April 30, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  9. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    As long as the insurance companies and for-profit corporations control it,the U.S. health care system is doomed. I am fortunate that my wife is an R.N. with Kaiser and has health care provided as part of her contract. If she didn't have that,I would be dependent on the V.A. B-R-R-R-R! Until some of or all of the health care system is brought under government regulation it will continue to be at the mercy of endless profit for a few. Michael Moore got it right!

    April 30, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  10. Esther Cuyahoga Falls Ohio

    Health care should be a non profit business taking care of our children and elderly should be a priority of this country. where are the likes of Florence Nightingale in this world. we have lost our humanity for the love of the money. American's should be fined for being unhealthy lifestyles. everyone should call a fat person out on their denil of their disease and alcholism and other unhealthy vises we posses. sorry to say but we are lazy when it comes to everything fast --food money car women we just need to go back to making it from scratch and taking walks with our family in the evenings. get the kids off of computer games and spend more time talking about health. we are killing ourselves.send the mom's back to the home all this mess will go. a woman's right to have a child should be a committment to raise it not put it in a kennel and allow someone else to raise their litter.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  11. Raul from kentucky

    As a future physician I HOPE that the healthcare system becomes affordable for everyone, because I would hate to live in the richest country in the world, with the health index of Haiti.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  12. Karen-Phoenix

    I'm 64 and go on Medicare next year. Only if Obama becomes president will I beable to KEEP my medicare. Hillary and McCain's plans are for the wealthy only! Obama would change the basic structure of Health Care in the US to what the congress and senate get now. People go to his website and read his "blue book"!!! It's simple and explains it all.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  13. Mike from Syracuse NY

    Jack,
    I've tried to think of any initiative besides national defense where the national government has done a good job. I can't. A national health care system will become an expensive, bureaucratic mess. Whatever we do, we don't need another Social Security or Medicare monster.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  14. Anne

    Not if McCain gets elected. Taking away employer based plans means that the public will have to buy individual policies. That means a larger premium because we the public have no negotiating power.
    It also means that the insurance companies can get away with anything - excluding what might cost them a few dollars to canceling policies for any whim they may have.

    We need the government to insure that we have fair coverage at fair prices.

    Anne
    Texas

    April 30, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  15. Jamaal

    Healthcare sucks Jack that is one of the Reason Democrats have so many new voter because they have the best plans period and the sorry excuse for a Healthcare that john mccain is coming up with will leave us in the same place we were before

    April 30, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  16. dorothy delong

    Jack I worry as I am on a fixed income and I have Medicare and a supplement that the premium goes up every year. I would like to see Hillary as President as I feel she has a better fix for this problem. With the cost of everything we older people worry about the cost of groceries and gas. Dorothy Lucasville Ohio

    April 30, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  17. Ron Wacker

    Our health care system is out of control and ineffective for many people. Maybe we should call it the "Don't Care System." Unless there is a major over-haul things will probably continue to get worse.

    This makes no sense as we know that no health care or bad health care costs us all more in the long run.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  18. Tina (Ft Worth)

    None what so ever. Each year my co pay jumps up and I pay more and more for services and each year they cut more of the things I need. We will never get insurance like the other countries have. We are too damn greedy.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  19. beartrack Truckee,CA

    Not at all. I recently went through a major illness with surgeries and all. Do have insurance but still many bills to pay. Even my surgeon says that it's out of control and there is a need for some form of national health care. Education and health care are more important than the greed of private enterprise. It's a national disgrace.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  20. Bob in Traverse City Mi.

    I'm optimistic about our health care providers Jack in that regard we have the greatest health care system in the world. The problem is how access is provided and the useless middlemen who provide no service but take excessive money out of the system and I think that is fixable. In the meantime, if I am diagnosed with cancer or some other expensive health care problem I intend to get arrested robbing a seven-eleven. Prisoners get the best health care in the world for free!

    April 30, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  21. Catherine

    Funny you should ask this question today, when I just received a notice that my health care premiums are going to increase 16% this year. I was told that this reflects an "across-the-board" premium increase. My husband's annual physical, which consisted of a resident talking to him for less than 20 minutes, updating his tetanus shot and getting blood work when he complained of acid reflux was, to date, $940.00, and the bills are not finished. When we called for an itemization, we were laughed at. It still hasn't arrived. Needless to say, I am not optimistic. I wonder what will happen next year when I am in a new age bracket. Being self-employed can be a very scary proposition!

    April 30, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  22. Ryan, Woodbridge, Va

    Not very optimistic if John McCain gets elected. Does anyone know what idiots (excuse me strategist) helped him come up with this new health care plan.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  23. Chuck in Eugene Oregon

    Jack,

    I just do not see anthing positive happening any time soon to releive this situation. There are too many special interest groups out there that will lobby heavily against such a move. Some where along the line there needs to be a move by the federal government to regulate charges for medical care as well as insurance costs. This will take some time as there will be many hurdles to over come. For the federal, state governments and health care providers to make health care available for those that can not afford it at a reduced cost based upon income would more than likely work sooner than any national health care program.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  24. Ranger Jack in Reno

    I believe it is spelled "optimistic." I am indeed OPTIMISTIC about healthcare under Hillary's plan, whose coverage is the only one that is universal.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  25. Karen From Illinois

    We (my family) is in the $55,000 income level and yet we were never able to afford healthcare from work. We are now able to get state healthcare because of the wonderfull healthcare called Allkids and Family Healthconnect. This is the reason I know Senator Obama's healthcare plan works. My family is living proof.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  26. Ryan (Hollywood, Florida)

    It depends, Jack. I fear for our country if McBush gets the authority to institute his program of "rugged individualism" reminiscent of the Herbert Hoover days, and we all know how well that turned out. The government needs to do something. Either of the democrat's plans is a step in the right direction. Long-term solution wise? Thats for fate to decide.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  27. Peter-TX

    Nope, not after seeing what people are going through now or even listening to John McCain Health plans, i know the end is here.

    Dallas TX

    April 30, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  28. Mary in Alabama

    At almost 69, I am not at all optimistic over the future of healthcare. I have seen the hospital in the town I live in go from excellent to almost third world in less than three years. These are trying times in this country. After 8 years of the Bush-Cheney kingdom everything is down the tube.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  29. dennis north carolina

    health care and the health care system are very important to this country and the voters. the changes that are needed will not take place until we have a major change in the white house and the voters take their elected officials to task or make them do their job or replace all of them.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  30. Donna

    Louisville, KY
    I don't expect this to reach the air as I am not answering your question. I just want you to know that rarely does someone in the media get my attention and keep me listening. Of all the crap that goes over the airwaves and television these days, you are one of THE most refreshingly honest people out there. I tune in to the Situation Room just to hear your comments. You are truly NOT political-just tell it the way it is.

    The same is true of Barack Obama and I will definitely vote for him this fall. I WAS a republican, I am over 45, white,female and make under $50/year. All of the demographics that more closely fit Hillary Clinton but I would abstain from voting before I would help put her back in the White House. McCain is just plain ignorant! Thank you Jack for adding a breath of fresh air to the media circus! Obama 08

    April 30, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  31. Eddie, Quebec

    You don't need to be optimistic... You only need to be realistic. Its time for Americans to enter the 21st Century or they'll stall in the course of planetary evolution.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  32. Richard Heriot Bay, B.C. Canada

    In a free market capitalist system it's not the government's role to provide socialistic healthcare to everyone. It is the role of the government to guarantee that pharmaceuticals, medical devices, physician and healthcare workers are well qualified. If the government changed to a fair flat tax code those who cannot now afford decent health insurance might be able to. If health insurance companies were regulated to accept those with pre-existing conditions for the same cost as those who are healthy there wouldn't be the inequities that exist today.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  33. Susan Geear

    The most optimistic part of the whole mess is that major companies are fed up with the costs of insurance. They have enough clout to get changes made, unlike the poor voters who have been howling in the wind for years.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  34. DAD in Hollis, NH

    I’m optimistic about it. We have the best technology and some of the best training for the medical profession on the planet. If it is to be available to everyone then the cost will come down maybe through free and open markets between states. People, future patients, will need to turn their attention to prevention instead of disease control which is what “health care” is about. And don’t expect the government to run healthcare 100%. We are all dead if that happens. Look at homeland security as an example. Do you feel safer?

    April 30, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  35. Lori Jeffries

    I'm lucky enough not to worry since I have medicare & a supplemental but I do worry about my children and grandchildren. I worry about them now and I also worry that medicare won't be there when they are older. Everyone should be able to go to the doctor when their ill, not just the fortunate few. This country is in trouble, big trouble, Were becoming a subject of ridicule around the world. Soon we will be just like a third world country where there are the few people in power with wealth and privilage & the rest of us are just the little worker bees. They don't care if a lot of us die off because we can't afford to go to the doctor. They will have China & India to do their slave labor.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  36. Paul from Houma, Louisiana

    I think the only real problem with health care in this country is the cost. If it wasn't so expensive more people would have good health care. This Universal health care is a myth that even if we get it, you will never really get it.

    My mom is on this free health care through disability. When she has pain she spends "8 hours" at the hospital waiting for them to tell her she is imagining it. They send her home with no answer and no tests, and they keep rescheduling her so they can get more government money, it is a joke. She has to schedule to see the doctor weeks in advance. Universal health care if done like medicare will be yet another false promise by politicians to get in good with voters.

    I believe the fundamental problem with prices is that we preach that people should become a Doctor to make money and be successful. Not to help people. So we have tons of these Doctors that learn just "enough" to get the grade for school but not enough to really help people. And the people who probably would really help can't afford the school...

    April 30, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  37. John from Chicago

    John McCain is way out of touch with what the American people want. He has had government healthcare his whole life and then he says its not good. what a joker!

    Americans want govt to oversee healthcare. Private insurance will also be an option. The Democrats have it right, EVERYONE needs to be insured and the costs need to be low.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  38. Ray, Florida

    Hey Jack,

    I'm sure the future of the health care system will be just fine!!
    On the other hand the future of the people that can't afford it,
    I'm not so sure about!!

    April 30, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  39. Pat in MIchigan

    I'm not optomistic at all.....those of us that have to keep working just to have coverage for pre-existing conditions that would not be covered under McCains proposal, can only hope that Obama will keep his word and be able to negotiate lower costs for health care and using the tax increases on the weathiest americans to help pay the costs for others. Medicaid fraud is a major issue which isn't and hasn't been addressed by the government in the way it should. The major drug problem in America today is prescription drugs obtained for $1 through medicaid and sold on the street for $10 a pill or more. The health care issue is NOT an easy issue to correct and is going to need more than just a few tweaks here and there to get it turned around

    April 30, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  40. Karen in Fairfax, CA

    Not very optimistic, but hopeful.

    Ever notice how the media never reports polls on what percentage of the electorate prefers a single payor system?

    Obama's strategy, should he win, is to gin up unprecedented public pressure for major health care reform by using the bully pulpit to say 'I can't do this alone–I need your help'; and then, by holding congressional negotiations on C-SPAN for all to watch. In theory, then, legislators' jobs would be on the line if they don't remove health care from the private market. How effective this grassroots, ground-up strategy can be against entrenched interests is unclear, but I think it's the best shot we've got.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  41. Jack Martin

    Jack

    I am not optimistic about our future health care system. The moguls of the health care industry will not give up their profits without a fight. Their large bankroll, extracted from the public, will be used to buy off any elected democratic officials who dare to propose universal healthcare. The assinine McCain proposal will win their approval however. Senator McCain is proving to be just as clueless about healthcare as the present disaster in the oval office. He actually thinks insurance companies will compete? Nonsense!

    Jack in Boynton Beach Florida

    April 30, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  42. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    I'm not at all optimistic. Until the government gets Big Pharma under control and realizes that we are the only industrialized nation that has to pay these kind of prices for prescription drugs and medical treatment, there will never be a fundamental change in our health care system. As long as lobbying and kickbacks are legal, the health care field will remain rotten with corruption which means higher costs to the public.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  43. Matt Callaway in Omaha, NE

    I'm fairly optimistic because if it isn't now, our country's health care crisis will soon reach a critical tipping point and the mood of the country generally seems to be in favor of massive reform. That being said, I see two main dangers:

    1. Special interests could once again convince enough of the American people and their representatives to vote against their own best interests.

    2. Being without health insurance or being under-insured are not noticeable conditions. I've bandied about the idea of a mass protest in the form of everyone without health care going shoe-less for one day. That would be hard to ignore.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  44. Scott L. - Wichita, Kansas

    I've got a pretty good health plan, but I've never needed it. I stay in shape, eat healthy, (you'd be amazed how much gas you can save biking to work) and I never take medicine unless absolutely necessary. The more you take, the weaker your immune system is. the result? I get sick maybe once a year for about 2 days, and my only health care expenses are for medical insurance just in case.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  45. sandy in Ohio

    Right now I find it hard to be optimistic about anything but I do have a small glimmer of hope. For many of my loved ones universal health care will come too late, I just hope it's not the same for me.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  46. Connie

    Jack,

    If the voters in America does not wake up and put Obama in the white house and stop this picking every thing apart . I am not even optimistic about the further of this country. OBAMA 08!

    Connie from Logansport,Indiana

    April 30, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  47. Susie (British Columbia)

    Any health care benefits is better than nothing. Here in Canada we have a good medical plan. I am working fulltime in my company and they pay 100% of my medical plus my dependants (3 childrens) It doesn't cost me any thing. And if I have to buy a prescription drugs, I can get reimburse it through my insurance which is covered on my Union.
    So America you should be excited about health care plan in the future. Please vote for Senator Obama..............He is the One for America.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  48. Bill, Quarryville, PA

    The healthcare business dictates how a doctor Can treat his patience. They dictate to Congress how to vote when it comes to bills concerning the Health Care business. That is why Medicare is not allowed to negotiate prices with the drug companies like the veterans hospitals are. So I think as long as they have control over Congress we will not be seeing any changes in Health Care coverage.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  49. Travis, Los Angeles CA

    There is no "our" health care system, and there is no "our" economy. However, the profit motive can be reconciled with the moral necessities of medicine if the involved parties are willing.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  50. Peter Pan Fairview, Texas

    Jack what the candidates are not saying about this super duper healthcare plan concept is where are we going to get the doctors hospitals specialists nurses and labs and personnel to all of a sudden provide health care for each and every American? Including preventative health care. If all of a sudden a magic wand was waved tomorrow and all Americans had free healthcare or government funded healthcare how could the current system keep up when it can not keep up now. Last week I cut my hand and had to go to the emergency room for stitches. I waited 4 hours to be seen with insurance. These visions of grandeur are a lie. It can not be done or at least not safely and cheaply and certainly not in 4 years. It takes longer then that to train even one doctor. It all sounds nice and good but it isn't practical and can not be done. The healthcare system would self destruct just trying to keep up with the current level of facilities and staffing. I want some of this stuff these candidates are smoking. It has blown their minds.

    April 30, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  51. Terry in Hanover Co., VA

    What health care system?

    April 30, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  52. Roaring Moose

    Yes and No; the way things are it is a downer. With new technology I see a day when you will walk in a both at the mall pay a very low fee the machine will analize your drop of blood and your Urin and give you a detailed analisis of your health. Doctors as we know them will not exist.

    April 30, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  53. Charles L. Gardner

    sorry I'm from Galion,Ohio And I am serios as a heart attack.The congress has no business handling money.Especially ours.

    April 30, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  54. mitchell martin ark.

    i'm 1/3 optimistic.mccain's health care plan will help noone,so democrats won't support it.clinton's plan will force 'free' americans to pay for health care ,they may not want,which the republicans won't support.obama's plan requires all children to be covered,and gives adults several options ,in choosing their own health care.that sounds good to me.something for everyone.we are lucky to have this man running in this election.

    April 30, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  55. Allen L Wenger

    Only if a Democrat gets elected. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will make a major change in our health care system, but John McCain's policy will be a lot like putting a band aid on a gunshot wound.

    April 30, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  56. Dan, Chantilly Va

    About as optimistic as I am about the future of anything else in this country. At least we're still better than the rest of the world in sports we invented.

    April 30, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  57. John E

    Jack

    I am not very optimistic at all. It seems like people are just regurgitating the same old tired ideas that have proven not to work. There are no innovative ideas to solve the problems at this time.

    Until someone starts to circulate some truly innovative ideas we will be stuck with the same old thing doing nothing to change it.

    April 30, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  58. Aaron B.; Champaign, IL

    Awesome lead photo, Jack. Did that girl catch something during her Marti Gras celebration?

    April 30, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  59. Esther Cuyahoga Falls Ohio

    Jack
    this country is seriously facing a major symptom of lunacy and in a serious meltdown we have lost all our core values we all should have our minds examined by the best psychartist our low down dollar can afford

    April 30, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  60. Aaron B.; Champaign, IL

    Seriously, our nation's health care is garbage. There's no "fixing" it at this point unless you scrap the entire industry and rebuild it (either that, or opt to move to a Scandinavian country).

    April 30, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  61. Paula in Albuquerque

    No. Mental health care, of which I was a part before I retired, is dismissed by the American medical authorities, and governmental agencies, as the ugly, idiot step-child of medicine...and, thus, is underfunded, or totally ignored. Mental illness is often the underlying cause of many aberrant acts and crimes, committed by people who have no means of being diagnosed, and thoughtfully treated. They stagger into emergency rooms, taking-up valuable beds there, then get bounced back onto the streets...with nothing done to prevent such a circumstance from occuring again. I had to call paramedics 5 times in one month...feeling anxious, and having a rapid heart rhythm. I was told that nothing was found, and they cut me loose. The very first visit to the hospital, if any doctor or nurse had bothered to read my lab results, stated that my potassium-level was low...period. but, for a month, I had been fitted with a heart-monitor...accused of being a "shopper", which is someone who "shops" medical facilities for medications...been yelled-at by an ER doctor, who flatly stated that I had better not return, because they "...couldn't help me"!...and, consequently, had run-up medical bills of $20,000...and, it was potassium that I wasn't getting enough of! Another ER doctor, at another hospital got me an appointment with a heart specialist, and HE discovered the oversight! Luckily, the hospital forgave my entire medical debt, since I am retired, but it was a very ugly, and could have been a very costly experience. Personally, I'm not bigt on being "mooned" by physicians, who think that they are "gods", and fat-a**ed, burned-out nurses, in a lot of cases, do more harm than good. Having worked with health care professionals, I am not awed, as they prefer, but the general public might not have been as fortunate as I was, and could DIE, instead of receiving thorough, compassionate, and affordable medical assistance! Bottom-line: I'd rather die, outright, than have to travel in an ambulance, again...(they have NO shock-absorbers!)...and, have to deal with some of the outrageous personalities into whose hands I had to place my life...

    April 30, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  62. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    I'm an Obama supporter, but I have to say that John McCain is the only one tackling this problem at its 'root.' I don't like his solution, but at least he is talking about the costs of health-care. When you spend a night at a hospital, and among the itemized bill, you find a charge of $45 for two aspirin, something is really amiss.

    April 30, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  63. Esther Cuyahoga Falls Ohio

    I am so sad that this is what my america has come to.
    really in the 60's I must have been raised in an extraordinary place cause i didn't know I was white and we all seemed just like one big happy family but after Kennedy was killed we went into the twilight zone and have killed off the best part of us as a nation and I just wish you all would shut up and go back to a time when if you had nothing good to say said nothing at all. optimistic people are shot down in this country and we get stepped on to make way for the money changers it was so sad to watch what we evolved into.

    April 30, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  64. JS

    If McCain or Hillary get elected, I am not optimistic about anything, but apparently Rev Wright is the only thing people are worried about in this election. Here in North Carolina we have a grand voter fraud going on with Robo calls that have affected votes in 11 other states, everyone has been trying to find the sender of these calls which are going to African American households, well now they have and surprise, it is a group of Hillary's people and Bills former people in Washington. Will you – the media give this as much time as you gave Rev Wright? I doubt it. I hear that ABC reported on this but censored out the Hillary connection, no surprise as they are the people that did the hit job on Obama during the debate. JS NC

    April 30, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  65. Tom in Texas

    Right now our health care system is the most costly in the world while at the same time the quality of our health care continues to go downhill. Given that it is hard to remain optimistic. On the other hand, the right reforms should fix many problems in our health care system. We just need somebody that has the courage to go against the greed of the health insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies and corrupt politicians. Despite the fact that McCain and Clinton go around acting like Rambo, I think the only candidate with the courage to take this on is Barack Obama.

    April 30, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  66. Esther Cuyahoga Falls Ohio

    we have nothing to fear except fear itself and it looks like fear is here to stay

    April 30, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  67. Tim from minot maine

    There is nothing to be optimistic about. mccain's policy's are a diddo of bush's and the democrats are just selling more insurance policy's for the corupt insurance industry.
    Human health should be everybodys right, and no one should profit from it!!!!!!

    April 30, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  68. Linda Richards

    Jack,
    I'm pessimistic. Whether it's mandatory or more affordable, it will result in a boon to insurance company who can now select only the healthiest among us–which I am not. Either way, I think the government should stop subsidizing insurance provided by employers. I have yet to hear of a subsidy that hasn't been ripe for corruption.
    Linda, Woodbury, NJ

    April 30, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  69. Agnes Nova Scotia Canada

    Jack: I've heard a lot of unfavorable talk on the way Canada runs their Health Care. It really depends on which Province and plan you fall under. I have never paid for a doctors visit. I have had numerous surgeries and have never paid for one of them. I do not pay a monthly premium to any insurance company. The last surgery I had was a brain anyrsum. Had I lived in the USA and didnot have private insurance I would have lost everything. My savings, my home etc. I am glad that I live in Nova Scotia.
    We have one of the best Health Care Provincial Plans in Canada. I don't think mandating Health Care is going to work in the USA. Too many will be unable to afford it and then where does that leave them.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  70. Ethel-19

    The system is completely broken. Even Doctors are becoming scarce. If the Insurance Companies make the decisions that Dr.'s should be making, and everyone has insurance, our health will be in grave danger. I support Obama, but McCain is the only one with a semi workable health plan.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  71. Doug Pierson Tohatchi, NM

    Health care...HA. With the free enterprise system we have broken health care, outrageous oil prices, screwed up environment, climate overheating, two wars, skyrocketing food prices all over the word, 1 in 4 in prison, homeless, starving people all over the world and people dying of hunger and diseases that could be prevented. If someone does not step up and put controls into place and take back the government from big business and the extremely wealthy then I truly pity what will come. Just remember that history shows time and time again that when the middle class gets beaten badly enough then the revolution starts. Are we there yet. Nope. But let us keep doing what we are and see.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  72. Carolyn in Oregon

    John McCain's answer to health care? What a joke! A $5,000. tax credit for a family? What rock is he living under? Health care costs a minimum of $1,000 per month. And that's if you are not a diabetic, have a heart problem, or cancer, or any other pre-existing condition. Then, you cannot get a health care plan at any price.
    Sheesh........and I shudder every time I think of the folks in the USA electing another clueless Republican!

    April 30, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  73. bill

    Only if Obama is elected. If McCain is elected then his plan won't get past congress. If Clinton is elected she has too much history to get it past. Only Obama can get it done.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  74. Carol New Baltimore, MI

    Our government officials have not given us much to feel secure about. Everyday we here about another drug being pulled from the market because of deaths associated with them. What's with the FDA? Then it was tainted drugs from China that killed two loved ones in one family. We have to stop the lobbying and make Congress have a conscience instead of fat pockets. Americans deserve more.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  75. Alan, Buxton Maine

    I seriously doubt that the next administration will do anything useful concerning healthcare but that is not the issue in any event. What we have in this country is not healthcare it is disease care. Little or nothing is ever done to keep people healthy. Only when there is sickness or disease is any action taken and then it is just pill pushing. Most of the drug dealers in this country have MD after their names.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  76. Pete from Boston

    Jack,

    The tough nut is to determine what constitute's good basic coverage - if we try to cover everything at high quality with short waits for elective care the costs will continue to sky rocket. The most problematic issue is caring for the terminally ill. Hospice care is a relatively cheap option, but most people want a good deal more than hospice care for their loved ones and for themselves - as long as they have any chance (even 1 in a million) of even partial recovery. Medical treatment during a terminal illness is very high cost and growing most rapidly. But we don't know beforehand who is terminally ill because some patients thought likely to be terminal actually recover.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  77. Andre California

    No, I do not think the super delegates will be swayed.

    Jack, why is it that the media does not give an update on the Election Fraud case Paul vs. Hillary Clinton?

    Also, I read some very disturbing information pointing to the Clinton's having a hand in Rev. Wright's betrayal and disrespect for Obama. It is interesting that whenever Hillary is guilty she gets really quiet?

    I believe the American people (super delegates) are very astute and tired of being insulted. They will vote for change and the super delegates will stand behind their endorsements of Obama.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  78. marylee atlanta,ga

    Jack,
    Everyday Hillary Clinton stays in this race,is another day closer to us never having healthcare. If Clinton really was passionate about healthcare like she says,then she would exit this race. With her refusal to leave we are closer to 4 more years of Bush McCain and thus NO HEALTHCARE !!!

    April 30, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  79. Ryan 22 Portland, Oregon

    I am very optimistic Jack. I look forward to seeking no assistance as I manage my own health. By living healthy one does not have to worry about self inflicted profit opportunities for the healthcare system. People need to stop whining and be proactive about their health, especially the elderly. They should be paying more than anyone, not whining about "entitlement."

    April 30, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  80. Marie

    There's no where to go but up from here. People are desperate for care and are falling through the cracks in a system that has not been controlled for decades. I'm a Repulican voting for Obama this election because he is the only one that has made a workable plan one of his highest priorities.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  81. Andre California

    One concern I have with universal health care is the level of health care we will receive. What will this system mean to research and discovery? Europe has universal health care and the people there have terrible teeth!!!!

    I am also concerned about people relinquishing their freedom to choose. Universal health care as prescribed by Hillary is a mandate which has the potential for wage assignment. I like Obama's health care proposal.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  82. Dave Arnholt

    Until the free market enthusiasts are controlled with over sight the health care problems will not only continue but increase.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  83. Ralph at NYC

    Jack, I worked in the health department in the city where I live, Whether it be doctors, hospitals, laboratories, I saw nothing that would make me feel health care for the individual and their families will be improving.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  84. Ron in Hood River, OR

    McCain's plan seems to think that you can buy a family health plan for $5,000. He is so out of touch with the realities of working class Americans. Most Canadians I have talked to love their health care. Enough with the lies from the insurance companies being parroted by the right that Canadians come here for better care.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  85. Louise, Sanford, FL

    Very optimistic. They (Health Care) can pull the plug at any time.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  86. Glenn in Florida

    Our health care system is fine. I wish they would call this what it is, Health Insurance!! The system of private insurance raises costs by trying to insure only the healthy. Alot of money is also spent looking for ways to deny claims. Until we get this out of their hands and make it a service rather than a business nothing will change.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  87. Dottor Giorgio da Caltanissetta

    Jack, please print this comment. This is my third try! Health Care in America is finished for good. It is in the hands of greedy,evil corporations. Criminals are administraors in hospitalsand clinics. Organized crime is involved in health insurance business. Of course the low and middle classes are suffering. No humanity. Your just a number and a dollar sign. As a medical doctor for the past ten years I had no health insurance Now I've gone Americaeto Europe if you need medical care. It's better and is universal for everybody!

    April 30, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  88. Ruby Coria, LA. CA.

    Jack, I am hopefull only because how bad can it get?, it could be worst and then it could be worst then worst, and I think there will be more jobs in the industry.. we'll see.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  89. James3

    McCain's policy on healthcare........"take a walk........".

    April 30, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  90. Brian, Buffalo, NY

    I come from a country that has a National Health Service and know that it works. Democrats ideas about encouraging Universal Healthcare are workable in the main but need strong oversight by the Federal Government. Not sure that Clinton's mandatory system is workable. For children only, yes, but much greater study is needed and it won't happen in one term.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  91. Sharon Minnesota

    Jack, I am from Minnesota and a retiree. In our state Medicare, is affordably supplemented with health insurance from several good carriers. I also worked in the health insurance industry during most of my working life and have not seen Minnesota citizens falling through the health care cracks.

    My children who also live in Minnesota have very good plans from their employment too. Our more disadvantaged citizens here are also well taken care of with our welfare system. We are doing very well here and most likely will continue to do so into the future.

    So yes, I am optimistic but must temper that optimism with my concern for many other people who do not have what we enjoy here in Minnesota. I'm hoping Hillary Clinton can supply the missing links to get everyone in America on board in a comprehensive approach to health care for all citizens.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  92. Drew, FL

    The only way to be optimistic about it Jack is to remove all the greedy grubby hands in the cookie jar. When's it is finally affordable then the American people can look at the system with optimism.

    Doctors are overcharging to cover increased costs in malpractice and liability insurance.

    Pharmaceuticals overcharge on pills. More so now that they get to advertise in national commercials. Something they weren't allow to do before. They lobbied hard for that. That costs money too.

    Insurance companies are in the business of taking the people's money and holding out when it comes time to pay. By that definition, you can't call it insurance.

    Then, of course, are all the middle men with there hands in the pie for their cut.

    That's the fundamental flaw with our healthcare system. It's been privatized. The so-called "free market" approach is anything but. It's about making money, not healthcare for people. When Americans truly realize that their elected officials are selling them out for the sake of greed, then we may have a real democracy in our country.

    April 30, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  93. Bobbie Cayce

    Lord I hope so. I see the homeless vets around these parts and have worked with the elderly in nursing homes. I've watched my sister swap medicines to get them through until they can afford thier prescriptions. Thats no longer an option. One, the youngest died from stroke.
    B Cayce
    Panama City, Fl

    April 30, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  94. Linda Cook

    I am very concerned about Healthcare issues. Hillary Clinton has worked hard to have better healthcare for all and I feel confident if she is elected President this will happen.

    Linda
    North Carolina

    April 30, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  95. Mike, Dillingham AK

    Don't know about the so-called "super delegates" but the Reverend Wright tabloid non-issue still has mass media political pundits and/or propagandists foaming at the mouth. The mass media apparently won't do in-depth investigative reports on serious complex issues so long as "talking heads" are paid for pandering to ones corporate puppet masters and/or manipulating public ignorance and apathy. It's about the failing economy, current and impending wars, abuse of power, health care, education, global warming, immigration – not the remarks of ignorant preachers or which "expert" can take the most words and phrases out of context and use them as a "red herrings" to avoid the real issues and further confuse consumers and voters!

    April 30, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  96. elizabeth

    Am I the only one to remember the pardons from Clinton to criminals (that served him well) or the lying and almost impeachment process w.Clinton? Health Care may suffer the same "empty promises" & political manuevering if Hilary gets in- she may even forget her promises like she "forgets" her shady associations of past.
    Obama is at least painfully honest

    April 30, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  97. Luke

    Universal healthcare will never work, dont get used to the idea people. There have been studies that show how horrible the wait is to see anyone. The pay/compensation for doctors is horrible as well, needing drs to try and cram as many pts (equals more wait time) in a day as possible.

    And secondly, as someone in medical school at the moment, I would be extremely angry if I was given a standard salary instead of earning what I could in a capitalistic service. If I'm a great doctor, people will want to pay more (and should be able to) to see me than an average doctor.

    Thirdly, where are the people wanting to limit the salaries an lawyers or business men? If I end up "wasting" the 4 years I spent studying my butt off in h.s. to get in a good college, 4 yrs in college of not going to parties because I was studying to get into medical school, and 4 years of studying-every-day-and-no-social-life-and-still-dirt-poor and paying 200k for my education only to be limited in how much I can make, you'll probably find me becoming a lawyer and suing unfortunate doctors for all the "truely" greedy people out there.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  98. Darr/Cleveland/Ohio

    I'm totally not optimistic at all, pessimistic to be sure though. Affordable health care on an individual or family basis cannot be achieved no matter what Obama, Clinton or McCain may promise to win this next election. Why, because the insurance companies and pharmiceutical industries control the costs by setting their prices on their products. If you think for one minute these giants of corporate manipulation will succumb to a nationalized health care plan to standardize costs at a lower rate well, then I'm optimistic that tomorrow it will snow in the Amazon.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  99. Roy Munroe

    At least the issue is on the table unlike it's been under this poor excuse for an administration. I believe that at least the two Democratic candidates are serious about helping the less fortunate who are facing major health issues that they simply cannot afford. I do not believe that mandating such changes is a good idea but when compared to the nothing that is standard procedure with the present White House it looks like the end of the rainbow.

    Roy Munroe
    Olympia, WA

    April 30, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  100. Jon Gill,philadelphia

    I believe that only hope for our healthcare system is to elect a democrat to the WhiteHouse. Al McCain wants is more of the same free market junk that has not worked before. There has to be some kind of nationized health insurance for the system to survive.
    Do we really need another president who just wants to give our futures to big corporations like Bush did with the Mdeicare prescription plan.
    I say give the Dems a chance and see if there is a brighter future for healthcare in this country.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  101. Deanna, Katy Texas

    Not if Clinton is elected. I have health insurance and do not look forward to paying a fine if I don't take the one the goverment "reserves" for me. That's total bull.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  102. Mary in CT

    I am a healthcare provider in CT. Like everywhere else in the US, our ER's are overcrowded EVERY DAY, not because people are suddenly having more emergencies, it's because non and underinsured folks have no where else to go, and the clinics for those on state aid are full and cutting back on staff to save money. This affects even those of us lucky enough to have good insurance and a private doctor....say what you want, be in love with Obama's charisma until the cows come home, but only Hillary has a plan that makes even remote sense....next time you have to wait 7 hours in an ER for stitches, remember who you voted for in 08.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  103. Jen B.

    As someone who grew up in the UK, has lived in Canada and Sweden, countries that have universal health care, I would love to see the same here.
    However, I am not optimistic about seeing any significant reforms should Clinton, heaven forbid, get elected. A huge chunk of her funding comes from the drug companies and health care industries, so it goes without saying that she will be taking care of their interests first and foremost.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  104. Ron

    About as optimistic as I am that HRC will not get charged with a felony crime in the Peter Paul case. Oops. After seeing the video evidence, I guess she misspoke to the grand jury.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  105. Abe New Orleans

    I find it extremely hard to believe that anyone would think that a president of the United States of America can single handedly change the face of healthcare that has live nextdoor to citizens for a long time. First of all, I don't think that any president can get healthcare reformed without the help and total agreement of congress and a bunch of other key special interest players. With that being said, you can't really judge a person by their plan, because it is highly likely that the canidate did not come up with the plan themselves. These people had no plan until they suddenly announced running for president. Just ask bush who writes his speeches and comes up with his so called ideas for change. LOL...For those who don't know, that why it pays to have a "superbad" capaign team and classacts for writers. They can make or break you.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  106. Marilyn

    If Hillary is elected President, I will be very optimistic about our healthcare system. She is capable of making it work this time.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  107. David

    I like the Democrat plans much better than the lame plan that McCain has come up with. It seems to be like his economic plan....something he just pulled out of his butt at the last minute just so he can say he has a plan too. I think Obama has a better chance of actually getting it done. Clinton has tried once and failed. Obama's ability to work openly with others and to make the process bipartisan and open to the public seems like a much better approach. Hillary Clinton's approach is more the behind closed doors partisan approach.
    David, Kentucky

    April 30, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  108. Jill

    I am young and have no problem paying for the country's elders. My problem will be when I and my peers are older and cannot work, who will care for us?

    April 30, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  109. sue, florida

    8,000 members and lines to get into Obamas church!!! Why didn't all these people walk OUT. There must be something about this church that it is a white and black church with influential members as well. OR didn't these people hear bad comments either. This is also one of the churches recommended to people moving into the city. What do you think? I don't understand.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  110. Gerald

    Unless there is regulation with health care providers and prescription medication companies the future is more bleak than what we have now. These companies are ravaging the consumer without any regard for the consequences of the country. It says a lot about the state of our retarded (mentally challenged) government. The fact that the middle class population and subordinate classes are making life changing decisions when they are at the pump should give you incite into how well the health care situation should be in the future, worse than it is now. It is truly amazing that our government has better health care than the people they serve and guess what we are paying for it. Why can't they do the same for us?

    April 30, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  111. janis martz

    jack, medicare is overated 1. they take 93.50 out of your check every month 2.you pay 139.00 deductable 3. no medicines 4. when you go to hospital then get out you can"t go back for anything for 60 days they don't pay.j really can't see the goverment fixing the health care when after all of these years they haven't gotten medicare worked out

    April 30, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  112. jeff

    No. It is a well planned attack against the American middle class and the dollar to make us dependent on the Government by devaluing our wealth so the Rockefeller's can implement the North American Security and Prosperity Agreement or better known as the North American Union. Our dollar the Canadian dollar and the Paso will be more in line with each other so it will be easier to change over to our new currency, the Amero.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  113. sco

    I would have liked to have seen a health stimulus plan. I think the government should had partnered with the health industries and doctors to creative a plan to help those who need health care right now, especially those who have chronic illnesses, cancer, etc., and those who have not seen a doctor, dentist, etc. in years. I think this would have been a wonderful temporary plan until there's a new president in office. This plan would allow those who's lost their jobs and insurance, those who have preexisting illnesses should be waived until there's a permanent plan put in place. In this short email I can't give the details how I would propose such a plan, but it makes more sense to me than giving everyone a check to blow. I don't think there's too many of us that's going to take the stimulus check and go see a doctor.

    -sco, Colorado

    April 30, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  114. keith Ensminger

    Only if people realize we're better off pooling our resources. McCain's proposal says we're on our own and is like letting people keep taxes they pay for police protection. We should leverage the purchasing power of our entire nation, something that will certainly reduce insurance costs because the risks are spread and help curtail medical costs through bulk purchases and negotiations with doctors, clinics and hospitals—something insurance companies do already-after they cut out anyone with preexisting conditions.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  115. Andy

    jack im outraged with health care but the way to do this is how hillary explains her way. And people would be some much happier. Everyone needs to have medical care. But let me say something there is alot of people in the US that could be arrested because they are all smoking some good stuff when they want to follow around obama and do what ever he says PLEASE give me a break he should be a hollywood actor not president of America. If people really listen to him they could understand what he is all about and it sure aint helping america he says he dont get money from lobbyist well lets see wheres his money coming from uh maybe IRAN or others in that neighbor hood. Come on jack help people understand its a misstake and we are in trouble. I hope the superdelegates see the real picture and turn away from obama

    April 30, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  116. Jeannine Holmes

    I'm 64, retired living in Williamston, SC, sitting here with an Ace Bandage around my ankle for 9 days now, because I didn't dare to go to an Emergency room to take care of it after I severely sprained it while at an adult ed class, let me tell you what I think about the "now" health care system . . . it stinks!

    The most reasonable health insurance I could afford after retirement at 62 was a plan with a $5,000 deductible, leaving me at odds with any minor injuries that may occur. I don't believe in this sue-happy idea of going after the school for an accident that happened on their property, that maybe I could have avoided if I was being a little more diligent walking to the parking lot.

    So, I'm trying to get through this on my own. Can't wait until I can get to Medicaire when maybe at least 80% of the cost will be paid, then I might have gone and had this looked at. But for me, as it is with many other Americans, there is no other choice.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  117. Herb in Hawaii

    Until november we'll all be in limbo. I'll begin to be optimistic if a Democrat is elected President. Although neither party is perfect,
    the Democratic Party is the only one that's concerned about the welfare of all the people. The Democratic Party is the party of the people, by the people, for the people. The Republican Party is only concerned with
    government of the people.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  118. lighttraveler

    No. Candidates propose a mandate the uninsured be allowed to join the congressional plan when mandating congress to join ours would make more sense. Some propose tax breaks to purchase our own, when we would recieve a tax break when they are required to pay their own as opposed to us paying their healthcare through higher taxes. Our healthcare infrastructure was designed to deny healthcare by people that are either dead or retired leaving the inadequate mess we have today to people that do what they do simply beacause that is how it has always been done many clueless as to why they do it. End result our healthcare is run by an organized mob of clueless salesmen that could not sell icewater to a dehydrated man in the desert leaving us ot enough healthcare facilities/providers or hope, the ones that are left have perfected denying healthcare and are subsidized by the taxpayer to do so. Until we change the attitude of the national leadership to understand how vital an affordable and working healthcare system is to our economy, we will continue to navigate from one national economic crisis to the next while we bury our families one after the other from preventable causes. Fix healthcare and all our problems go away. P.S. We have a first class healthcare system? when are we going to export it and reverse the deficits? or do other nations not want it?

    April 30, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  119. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    Health care costs are skyrocketing. Employers are imposing extremely high deductibles on their coverages to reduce costs.

    None of us can afford to be sick or need basic preventative tests.

    My employer chose the cheap route that also removes most age-related health care, like colonoscoy and prostate biopsy from the coverages.

    Almost eight years ago, we had a multi-trillion dollar Federal surplus. Since then, we've squandered trillions more on the insane war in Iraq and tax cuts to the richest US citizens. All that has failed to resolve our greatest issues – our unfunded liabilities for health care, Social Security, veteran's health care....

    Remember Mitt Romney gloating about his 'health care mandate'? Here in Massachusetts, long after he left the state to begin his mid-term second job as a Presidential candidate, the writing was already on the wall. His answer was supposed to be mandatory health insurance coverage, but that is facing massive cost overruns because more people are eligible for the 'free' state coverage than will be properly funded by the 'token' employer fines and tax penalties for those who have no coverage.

    Health care costs are masked, too. Insurance companies negotiate costs which are much, much less than what the providers charge.

    We need the George W. Bush 'faith-based' approach:

    I have the faith someone else will fix the problem after George W. Bush and the Republican goons have screwed everything up.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  120. Amy Bourkiche

    Hi Jack,
    I am a clinical social worker that provides case management for a medicare program in Massachusetts. This Masshealth program provides intense wraparound services which are managed by an insurance company for which I am employed. We develop a team of professionals (Doctors, Social Workers/Therapists, Teachers etc...)and non-professionals (Family/Friends, Mentors, Community Members etc...) who literally wraparound an individual and dramatically change their lives. We have proven that our interventions are extremely effective and efficient, so much so, that emergency room visits are reduced by 30%, people are allowed to remain at home within their community, and people gain a voice in how their healthcare is provided. I have hope based on my above experience of working in such a unique program, but it is imperative that we as a nation think outside of the box. There can be no more business as usual!
    Hopeful in Boston

    April 30, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  121. Grant from Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

    Jack: I am guardedly optomistic on the future of affordable healthcare. When I was in my fifties and looking for health insurance, I found it almost unaffordable. Once you are over fifty (or forty) you are automatically a risk. I now have insurance through my employer. If we can have universal coverage the risk will be spread around. People need to realize that if your employer pays some, it comes out of your salary; if you pay it all, it comes out of your pocket, too. If the payment is in the form of a tax, you still pay. Same same, but everyone is covered under a universal plan.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  122. Karen Fulster

    Lately, I'm not optimistic about much, including healthcare, gas, food, jobs, etc. Uh-oh! I sound BITTER.
    Karen in Peoria, IL

    April 30, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  123. Cynthia, Everson Pa

    My husband retired this past Janruary at the age of 50. He lost his insurance because he was required to $450 per month just for himself. It would be an additional $490 for myself. After looking into other alternatives, I found ins. for $550 per month for all of us, but it has a $5000 deductible. My husbands pension is only $2400 per month.

    I pray everyday that neither of us get sick or hurt until the ins from his NEW EMPLOYER kicks in. Happy retirement to us!

    Optimistic? Only if Obama pulls through and wins the election

    April 30, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  124. Kimberly Boseman

    I am now a third year med student- and am seriously considering changing my major. When I decided to go back to college to become a doctor, I had faith in the health care system of the great United States. My faith has now turned to disgust and shame. I refuse to dedicate my life to helping this corruption progress.

    Kim from Hertford, NC

    April 30, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  125. john w stover

    We are the wealthest country in the world and we spend the highest percentage of our GDP of any country in the world on health care. For this we are ranked 37th in the world for health care. Let's give all the money to Medicare, give everyone medicare, and see what happens. Medicare has an administrative cost equal to the rest of the world's health care programs. Now I don't want any one to cry for the health insurance executives, their multimillion dollar salaries hopefully have been invested wisely. Not having to pay their salaries will go far to help pay for everyones medicare.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  126. Katie (Tennessee)

    My optimism depends on what happens in November. If Obama is elected, I think that health care conditions can improve, but if Clinton is elected, I think that the situation will either remain poor, or worsen.
    So lets just wait and see,Jack.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  127. Euphemia, Ireland

    Dear Jack
    Health care – its a real challenge. We have a Health Care System which is appalling although unlimited funds from the Celtic Tiger has been poured into it. Its a disgrace to our economic success but at least it is free for everyone who does not have health insurance provided you can get a bed, and not just a trolley in A & E; and live long enough to keep your appointment with the appropriate consultant. Everyone who can afford it has private insurance, many in a work-scheme where the payments are deducted monthly from your salary.

    In France the health scheme is both excellent and free but they are now finding it difficult to sustain as people live longer. The employer pays the bulk of the payment to the government. The French are complaining as they are bringing in a medicines subvented payment scheme! The French are the highest 'users' of medication in Europe- you go the Doctor with a runny nose, and they prescribe enough medication to sustain one of the refugee camps in Chad. It is appalling, as no matter how rich you are you get free, excellent medical car. One has private insurance as a status symbol, to be treated in Ritz Hotel-style away from the 'canaille'!

    We do have a medical card in Ireland though for the very poor and elderly, which provides all medical treatment and medicines free for the people on disability benifit and the old and infirm.

    Good luck -but this area is a bone of great contention in all 'democratic economies' – the UK, Belgium and EU are all wrestling with it, especially as people live longer and more cures become available. – I am thinking to moving to Cuba!

    Brenda Elizabeth
    Dublin/London/Paris/Brussels.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  128. Cerelle Bolon

    How can I be optimistic about health care improvement?! As long as the "Political Aristocracy" provides separate and far better health care for themselves, what would motivate them to improve ours? We need to put them on the same retirement social security and health care as the rest of us, and just SEE how fast something gets improved!

    April 30, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  129. fran

    I pay 15k for health insurance, I had back surgery in Nov. and got billed a additional 10k. In review if I just paid cash it would have been less. I may be the only person on the planet that John Mc Cain's 5k would help. Please forward my address to him.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:59 pm |
  130. Michael

    Who in their right mind would want to entrust their health care and our national security to a party that cannot even run their own primary elections! For that matter has the government every run a program efficiently and effectively. Social Security? Medicare? Katrina clean up? McCain's health care mandates to the insurance companies sounds to me like the wisest way to proceed.

    April 30, 2008 at 5:59 pm |
  131. Jerry Siuta

    Let's see:

    The McCain family has received free healthcare for 3 generations - This is a period of over 100 years.

    Why aren't all Americans eligible for the same free healthcare the McCains have received for all of these years?

    On a different note, Sen. McCain receives Military Retirement pay of a reported $58,000, Social Security of $23,000, and tax-free military disability payments of $53,000 per year. If elected Commander in Chief will Sen. McCain's disability payments be suspended or cancelled since he is capable of serving in the highest position associated with the Military?

    Jerry
    Akron, NY

    April 30, 2008 at 6:02 pm |
  132. Sue Filutze

    Jack, I've been working in healtcare for over thirty years, for the past several years I've been working for a group of ER physicians. Five years ago our self pay patients made up 17% of our demographic, today they are 45% and have been at 45% for over five years now. So in a word NO. People don't have insurance so they go to the ER because of EMTALA laws they know they have to be seen. People are desperate, even the AMA is endorsing some kind of universal healthcare system. In the State of Idaho, where I live, there are about one physician to every 1000 patients. College costs, lack of reimbursment for physicians and the major insurance companies are killing the healthcare industry. And I didn't even get to the Pharmacutical companies. We need a one payor system based on the Medicare model, only with higher reimbursment. The insurance companies can compete to be the intramediary by region for say three years. This isn't rocket science, but the government wants to make you think it is. That is the reason it never gets fixed because of them and the healtcare lobbyist!

    April 30, 2008 at 6:03 pm |