July 28th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

How confident are you that Congress understands health care issue?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As lawmakers continue to squabble over health care reform with no deal in sight - it turns out most Americans don't think members of Congress even understand the legislation they're crafting.

House Speaker Pelosi answers questions about progress on health care reform.

A new Gallup poll shows only 27-percent of those surveyed say Congress has a good understanding of the issues in this debate. That's compared to 48-percent of Americans who say they personally understand the issues.

Only 16-percent say that both they and their representatives understand the issue.

These numbers are pretty depressing; and they also explain why most Americans are in no rush to see health care reform passed this year.

Gallup suggests these findings go to the larger point of how little trust Americans have in the people they send to Washington to represent them. Another recent poll found only 17-percent say they have a lot of confidence in Congress.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party might be its own worst enemy when it comes to health care reform. House leaders now say that their chamber won't vote on the bill before the August recess, mostly due to concerns of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had earlier insisted they had the votes to pass the bill before the August break; but now she says the House needs more time. The Senate has already said they won't vote on health care until the fall.

With majorities in both houses of Congress, it seems more than a little curious President Obama can't get his number one priority passed.

Here’s my question to you: How confident are you that Congress understands the health care issue?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Dr. G. from Leonardtown, Maryland writes:
I think the question should have been: "How confident are you that Congress has your best interest at heart when it comes to this health care issue?" Answer: Not at all. It seems Congress is intoxicated by lobbyists and their deep pockets and we're just a piece of chewing gum stuck to the bottom of their expensive shoes.

Kathy from Georgia writes:
I think all members of Congress during their recess should be required to go to a county hospital and sit in the ER 24 hours for at least three days a week. Maybe what they see there would, for one time in their lives, encourage them to do the right thing.

Amber from Austin, Texas writes:
Jack, Does anyone in Congress really understand anything about what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck with a sick child and no health care? I say take away their health care, make them pay 20% of their income to have it, and see how they start liking the real America!

Jan writes:
I think Congress understands health care reform perfectly, and the ones who are in debt to the insurance companies also understand perfectly that they will get punished if they move health care forward.

Jo writes:
They understand as much as can be expected. They know that the people want health care, and they know millions need it.

Ron from Fort Mill, South Carolina writes:
As slow as Congress is, it will be a long time before they understand. They have to be told many times and then they still may not get it. If many of them were in Obama’s age group, this issue would already be resolved.

F. from Manchester, New Hampshire writes:
I don't care if Congress doesn't understand health care reform, I just want them to pass it so I can get affordable health care before I die.

Filed under: Congress • Health care
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. Dr. G

    Do they understand the health care issue? Sure they do! They understand the 40 million dollars worth of “Pharmaceutical pressure” that has successfully removed important components from the health care bill. Among those was the right for the government to negotiate drug prices (as they currently do for medical procedures) to help reduce costs for struggling Americans.
    Jack – I think the question should have been: “How confident are you that Congress has your best interest at heart when it comes to this health care issue?” ANSWER: Not at all. It seems Congress is intoxicated by lobbyists and their deep pockets and we’re just a piece of chewing gum stuck to the bottom of their expensive shoes.

    Leonardtown, MD

    July 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  2. EugeneWiese Midlothian,Va.

    I donot think the Nays understand that Healthcare Reform is basically a method to stop the rising cost of heathcare.All the party of No and the Democrats who have Insurance companies filling their pockets can think about is is money for reelection. I think we need a public option and the Democratic majority of 50 should ram it thru Congress. The hell with bipartisanship and the devil be damned opposition. Gene

    July 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  3. Jan Theiss-Guffey

    I think Congress understands health care reform perfectly, and the ones who are in debt to the insurance companies also understand perfectly that they will get punished if they move health care forward.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  4. Ron

    As slow as congress is, it will be a long time before they understand....they have to be told many times....and then they may not get it....if many of them were in Obama"s age group this issue would already be resolved.

    Fort Mill, SC

    July 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  5. sanjay

    you mean how much confidence you have on democrats because far as i know only thing republican are up to is to drag the bill down to hell and it safe to say if they do they will laugh with the devil.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  6. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    I don't care if Congress doesn't understand the health care program, I just want them to pass it so I can get affordable health care before I die.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  7. Ed Michaels

    I have NO confidence that Congress understands this issue. It's clear to me that this is a welfare program that they want to push through. This will do nothing for the vast majority of Americans except raise our taxes.


    July 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  8. Candice North

    It is not a matter of whether or not they understand the issues. I believe they are all intelligent enough for that. The question is whether or not the lobbyist cant pay them enough to ignore the issues, and therefore vote in a way that makes it seems they do not understand.

    tucson, arizona

    July 28, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  9. Otto

    Some do some don't but I bet they understand how it would effect them!!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  10. Matt

    What Congress understands about health care issues are what the health industry lobbyists tell them to understand. The rest of us are ignored.

    Saint Augustine, Fl.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  11. Chad N.

    Unfortunately they dont have a clue. I am a HUGE supporter of health care reform. That being said I dont support our legislature's idea of what health care reform is in any way shape or form. Our legislature is simply mandating that everyone participate in the existing system. If it was that easy then everyone would already participate in the current system. The legislature has no clue, and if what they are trying to get done actually happens tehn our health care system will be that much more broken. Single payor and allowing the government to negotiate drug and procedure priceing for the entire country is the oly way that things will get better. Anything less than that and we are just going to end up seperated from even more of our money.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  12. Patricia

    Not at all Jack. They would have better insight if we took their socialized public option medical insurance policy from them until they understood it.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  13. Chris

    I'm not confident at all that congress understands the health care issue. As a member of the generation of young Americans that helped to vote this President into office, I have very little confidence in our representatives and the importance the place on the needs of the people they represent. US representatives and senators are among the ranks of Lawyers and Insurance salesmen in their trustworthyness

    July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  14. Janne from NC

    They don't understand anything else, why would you think they understand healthcare ?

    July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  15. Bruce

    Come on Jack, healthcare has been in the national debate for decades and since Medicare. They understand it alright. The question is do they really want to discharge the duties of their office for the good of the common voter or for the good of the common lobbyist... and his/her checkbook? HELLO! You tell me.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  16. kevin

    Congress has no clue on the health care issues. The only ideas that Republicans and Blue Dogs have come from the lobbyists that want everything to remain status quo. I doubt any one of them ever had to weigh the difficult options that face small business owners when health insurance premiums for their employees rise by over 20% annually.

    Just like big oil last year and big pharma before that, health insurers are posting record profits. There needs to be a public single payer option to keep everyone honest.

    Almost everyone in the country has electricity. It is an affordable service to business and consumers a like provided by multiple highly regulated large and small entities. The largest public utility company in the country is operated by the federal government and the free market system seems to work fine in that industry. Yet no one in congress is screaming about socialized electric power propaganda.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  17. John Clarkson

    Most of our Representatives and Senators understand completely. They simply are more concerned about holding on to power than quality of health care of the people they are supposed to represent. When it comes to holding on to power, the money of the powerful Lobbies trumps human decency every time. It's the American way.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  18. terry wilhite

    I am as confident that congress "gets it" as I am that the emperor of japan is devine. Terry

    July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  19. Scott in California

    I don't think Congress understands much of anything, much less the Health Care debate. The one thing they MUST understand is the American people want Health Care Reform NOW not later... or they will find themselves without a job, whether they are Republicans or Democrats. I hope they understand that.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  20. Ruthie from Wichita, KS

    They don't understand at all. They have health insurance for the rest of their lives. They don't have to fight to get a condition covered, they don't have to worry about a pre-existing condition, they don't have to stay on the same job with the rising health insurance costs. They don't have to worry about rising co-pays. They don't have to worry about going bankrupt. They don't have to sit in the emergency room hoping to see a doctor before you are sick enough to die. They don't worry about the military budget, they don't worry about how much it costs to fight 2 wars. But, mention something for the American citizen, and all at once, we have to count the pennies. I suggest if we don't get a good bill, that they have to give up their insurance and go out on the market like the rest of us.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  21. Don Emery

    Why in the world is this even an issue. Of the 48 million people without health insurance the vast majority are young people who don't need it. As a 50 year old guy who has never ever used my health care program at my company, I fail to see what this tremendously pressing issue is all about. I don't think it legitimately affects 6% of the population.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  22. Everett Beights,Miami OK

    Jack: Members of both the House and Senate understand the health bill allright. The delay is waiting for the maxium flow of cash into the pockets of the House and Senate members.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  23. Joe Cochran

    Zilch. I am not even sure its "our government".

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  24. Guy


    they don't get it becouse unlike me they never had to pay 1900 $$ per month for a 75% coverage and they never received a 26,000 $ bill for 18 hours stay in an Hospital.....

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  25. Brandon Sethi (Urbana, IL)

    I truly feel that congress is not concerned with me and my situation but rather only about getting elected and showing their ego's on the national stage. I feel most of these politicians are simply trying to one-up one another and make ideological points at my expense.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  26. Michael S.

    How confident am I that congress has any clue what is going on with this healthcare bill? Zero percent. Stop getting in front of the camera and saying the same empty-phrases and focus on getting this right.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  27. Tim

    I have zero confidence in our elected officials to even begin to understand what we are facing as working Americans. Health care or otherwise

    the majority of them are millionaires or close to it, how in the world can some one like that have a clue what we face on a day to day basis?

    they can't

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  28. Bobby

    It is way past the point of understanding it.......it's become totally political. I would be interested in asking them what they think a fair price would be for a family health care policy with a $2000 out of pocket deductible. You would have a better chance of them knowing the price of a cup of tea in Tibet.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  29. Z71bill

    Congress knows exactly what the heath care legislation they are working on means –

    That is why they want to KEEP the plan the government currently provides for them.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  30. Katie


    I am a liberal Democrat, and I support the public option plan, but I don't have much confidence in the Democrats in Congress to get the health care reform bill passed. If they can't get something this fundamental to this country's continuing, no pun intended, health, then I don't trust them to get anything more morally controversial passed. If we can't trust our own representatives, how are we going to get anything accomplished?


    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  31. Sarah Katz, Swanton, Marylad

    Senators and Representatives enjoy the benefits of a government operated health insurance program. What is good for the electorate is also good for the elected. If Congress does not pass health care reform this year, I say Congress should do without their health insurance next year. If they had to deal with the health issues we do, I suspect they would understand why we want reform now and the urgency of that need.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  32. Jevne Kloeber

    I think they understand perfectly well what the issues are. The problem is they get money from the special interests and the large corporations have the money and the power to control Congress. We send our representatives to Washington to represent us and the best interests of the common good. But money controls Washington.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  33. Theresa

    Congress doesn't care about the 45 million of us without health care.....it's only and all about the "profit margin" for pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies......most of these congresspeople were born with silver spoons in their mouths and they have jobs......do you really think they WANT to understand ???
    Give me a break..........

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  34. Seth in Newton, MA

    Congress has the best healthcare in the world at the taxpayer's expense. Not one of them understands this issue and how it effects everyday Americans. That being said, my confidence slips lower when it becomes evident no member of congress has read the full text. How can they understand something they haven't read? The American people understand this issue better than Congress, since they're the ones experiencing the the problems of Congress' inaction. Maybe if Congress takes the time over the August break to actually READ the bill they might understand it better. Let's hope...

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  35. David Dye

    No confidence. They do not even have the title correct. It is Health Insurance reform. I go to a doctor and the first thing I am asked is for my insurance card. I go to buy a $50000 car and they ask what color.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  36. Elizabeth Woodall

    I am not confident at all that congress – or the administration for that matter – understands the healthcare industry, or any industry! They all seem just "out of it" when it comes to business, free enterprise, any endeavor in which money must be made, nor printed! I wonder: has the president or any member of his administration ever had a "real job?" A paper route, maybe?

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  37. Donld H. Keagle

    I don't think congress understands the health care bill or the health care requirements of the people.


    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  38. Eric

    I feel congress is having a hard time understanding the seriousness of this issue. I'm not sure I have confidence we'll have anything settled this year in health care. The most disappointing aspect it seems, is that of although Obama campaigned otherwise, it seems it's still business as usual in Washington and nothing can get done when it's needed.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  39. James MN

    They understand it alright! They just dont want things to be even around the board, like they(republicians) and their family and kids are the only ones that should be able to see a good doctor and live a long and healthy life. Just another form of slavery If you ask me, but thats me.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  40. Dennis Spillman

    Jack, its not that congresdoesnt understand health care reform,they just dont care, they have theirs, and we pay for it. Why cant we have the same health plan that they do?

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  41. deon

    They wouldn't know where to start...to understand it.....if they understood it or at one point understood it.....health care would not even be an issue......not to forget...they are paid by insurance companies..to forget

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  42. Roman

    Hi Jack Being Canadian and a Socialist This is a Good Question. I unfortunately belive your Congress is in the so called bed with the Health care companies. It reminds me of when Hilary was in Charge of these same issues years ago and all it took was some lobbying and look what happened. NOTHING. Good Luck you are goinfg to need it

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  43. sandi sarber

    Why should Congress understand health care, they have the best health care taxpayers can pay for!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  44. Kelcy

    I have zero confidence they understand the issue because they have access to health care. They are not in jeapardy of loosing their health care or having their insurance cancelled. I doubt that any of their families have these issues either. Most are rich enough to buy health insurance off the economy or self-insure and no company would refuse them because of who they are.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  45. Robert M Becker

    It seems to me that people are forgetting that many who have a need for health insurance are lacking it. This health care program is certainly more righteous that deploying an oppressive force into a foreign country, and annually will cost less. It seems to me that those that are for the health care program realize this and are trying to give aid while they can. I once had a concussion and told the ambulance that I was not going to go to the hospital because i lacked health inssurance and didnt want to go into debt several thousand dollars. If I had this upcomming health care plan, I could have recieved the treatment I needed.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  46. Gail Clark

    I feel Congress doesn't have a clue about how to structure the Health Care Bill. Maybe if we could get rid of the bribes by the lobbyist, Congress could vote on the appropriate issues instead of worrying about trying to please a few & protect their re-election status so their income can continue.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  47. Karol

    I don't think congress cares what we think about health care. They have the best possible health care so their understanding and concern is minimal.

    I suggest that they drop their gold plated insurance and agree to take the one they are trying to foist on us.


    Scottsdale, AZ

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  48. Jose

    Jack –

    I am a Democrat and pleased to see the health care crisis as a top agenda item. That said, I am very willing to be patient so sufficient debate and analysis can take place prior to deciding on a solution. This problem is too important to expedite for political purposes and needs input and focus from our elected leaders and all non-government stakeholders so a solution that is better than our current one can be developed. The last thing we all want is a short-term fix that costs us more in the long run.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  49. Joe K in Stockton,CA

    Members of Congress don't a clue about the Health Care issue. How can they? They don't live like you and I do. We don't have access to the Navy Doctors downstairs. They don't have to spend hours on the the phone with their HMO or Insurance company. They don't have to spend hours on the phone with their Social Security Office or Medicare Office.

    Joe K. in Stockton,CA

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  50. Laurie Williams

    no we think that congress is cluelies about the bill cause it has so many pages to it, for them to read and if congress was doing there job we wouldn't be in the mess we are in

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  51. Rita-Massachusetts

    Do not believe Congress really has any understanding of the health care reform. They all want to pick little bits that they don't agree with rather than having a truly comprehensive discussion of what can be done. Heard many comments that we have the best health care system in the world.....certainly only IF you can afford it. Also hearing that people come here from all over the world for our health care....again, VERY WEALTHY folks. If you do not have money, you get lousy health care if any at all.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  52. Stephen Davidson

    Any governing body that votes on trillion dollar expenditures without reading them first cannot be entrusted with something as complex as our healthcare.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  53. Wilson from Alabama

    Persons in power love it. Why concede when they can debate. Orators make for great movies. I literally hate my Congress. Look up the word hate up in the dictionary. I hope they hang themselves with the jump rope during recess on the play ground.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  54. Salvador

    I believe that this Congress does not understand the importance of getting this Healthcare system up and running. They are in no rush because they already have insurance that covers everything that could happen to them. They continue to forget that they "represent us" and not themselves.

    In the best interests of America at this point and time, it is imperative that this Congress sorts out this Healthcare mess before they get out in August. I voted for them to make change, not to sit and discuss change then leave without anything changing...

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  55. Carl

    Asking "Does Congress understand health care?" is like asking, "Is Congress more than six feet tall?" Congress isn't that sort of thing. Some of the people in Congress, however, do understand health care, and most (but not all) of those who do are Democrats. Anyone who doubts this should ask how well the Republican approach to health care has worked in the last decade.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  56. wanda...Sacramento

    We need health care reform. 50 years is long enough to ponder excuses. I am as cofident as ever that they can get it done. All it takes is the willingness, the determination, enough people to voice their opinion, a kick in the but for congress, and a leader in our President who keeps with the voice of not taking no for an answer... Let's get it done for crying out loud!!!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  57. Misty

    Oh, they understand it alright. They understand that they need to milk this thing to line their pockets! While we, the people, languish here with this broken health system, they're raking in the lobbyist money on this.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  58. Valorie, Russellville, TN

    The Blue Dogs and the Republicans understand it but have been bought off by the insurance and health care industries. It makes your head spin to see how much money this group of politicians is raking in under the guise of donations. The only group who really understands and gets what a dire situation the American people are facing are the Progressive Democrats.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  59. Jeff in Minnesota

    Senators and Representatives have the best health care system in the world, why would anyone that has such a system understand what the rest of us face? then there is the idea that the plan will cover everyone without regard to their current health. There is a reason why some people cannot get health insurance and that is because their health condition is so bad that no amount of money will fix it. Apparently, Congress believes that the government can afford to insure these sorts of people, regardless of the costs. We almost broke the bank on the financial system bailout and now they apparently want to finish the job with an unsustainable, unrealistic health care reform plan.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  60. Mike, Ontario, Canada

    I doubt very many people understand the complexities of a government run, publicly funded health care system. We've got one up here, and I'm still waiting for a call back from my "very busy" doctor's assistant after I left a message around 10:00 this morning. Thankfully the problem isn't urgent, and I didn't portray it as such when I left the message, but this IS ridiculous. This might be an isolated incident, but it's the way public health care works at times. Why don't you just tell your doctors what they can charge for a 15 minute consultation, and make it reasonable. That'll make medical care more affordable and hopefully easier to get for everyone in America. If they don't like it, let them ply their trade elsewhere.
    Where? That's their problem.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  61. Patrick

    Congress may or may not understand the health care issue, but the priorities of far too many congresspeople are completely wrong. The Blue Dog Democrats are beholden to the insurance companies while Americans die for lack of coverage.

    -Prather, California

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  62. Robert

    I guess just about nobody understands what is going on!!
    The major cause of healthcare cost is the greed of the doctors and hospitals. To gharge for a 10 minute doctors visit $300.- that is where the problem is!!
    The present planmakes the doctors only ev en more rich!!!
    Medicare is ripped off daily by the doctors; there is absolutely no oversight on how these cost are generated.
    It is one big rip off by the industry.
    Do something about that before anything else!!!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  63. Rick

    I'm not confident that most Washington politicians know much about anything beyond whatever pet project they have. They depend on their staff to tell them what to think and how to vote. Perhaps they should let their staff members speak for them.. They might actually make some sense.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  64. Shirley Hodge

    I am not even sure that the members of either house of Congress even know which way it up. I think Obama's comment stupidly would be well applied to that somewhat less than August body and its members. Understand the complex health insurance bill, get real.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  65. Don Nelson

    We Americans make a sport of trashing our elected reps, when in fact theyt are some of our best and brightest, and prove it when they earn a majority of our votes. Our congressmen and senators have staffs to read, outline and brief them on this exhaustive piece of legislation, and they know how to weigh the pros and cons. They aren't a bunch of dunces. The main thing we need to worry about is that our own congressman may become disgusted with our attitudes and decide he/she might as well vote the way some lobbyist with lots of money in his pocket recommends.


    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  66. Pepper from CA

    It's not about confidence, its about caring. Congress understands the health care issue socially, politically, and economically. They just don't care about the social part. They are only interested in how the issue impacts them politically and how it impacts their campaign contributors economically.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  67. Chuck Spinks

    Congressional Understanding of an issue that does not affect them? Are you serious?

    The only three things they understand is the payola they benefit from, The fat paycheck they don't earn and the even fatter perks they don't deserve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    At least if we had all new freshmen(women) in there it would take them 5 years to learn all the ways to cheat the taxpayer!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  68. Al Raleigh

    MOC's (Members of Congress) have their own health care, and probably have very little understanding of this complex issue that affects everyone else. Let's face it; we don't elect them based on their cerebral abilities. One problem is that their "understanding" is mostly limited to whatever input they get from lobbyists, supporters, and maybe a few letters and emails. The good thing however, is that they know they have to vote in such a way that they (and their party) will get reelected. Too bad we can't vote for lobbyists...

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  69. Michael, Portland Oregon


    They understand quite well that if the system stays the same they get everything that they get now: great personal coverage provided by the government and lots of money to get re-elected from the insurance industry. The only way this will ever change is if we as Americans vote against any member of congress that votes to give more money to the bloated insurance industry at the expense of basic health care for all.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  70. G Dudley

    I have almost zero confidence in our legislators understanding of the 2000 page document on health care. I assume most of them have done a cursery overview of the bill as usual and are going to vote along party lines. When they return to the states at the break before voting they will change how they veiw the vote based on getting their heads handed to them by constituants.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  71. smizzle

    It's hard to understand a problem if you've never experienced it.. I hunk they understand people are struggling but they don't understand the struggle

    peace from California ..

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  72. Robert Slaton

    Based on the Senate Finance Committee's November 12, 2008 report – Call to Action: Health Reform 2009 – I'm confident that Senators Baucus does, but beyond him I'm doubtful. Unfortunatly the President didn't use this Report – which identifed all the problems and offered optins for solutions -as the starting point for the debate.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  73. Ollie Rivers

    What members of Congress really understand is that hanging on to their jobs is "Job 1" for them - to heck with what the American people want or even need. I am afraid that many members of Congress lack the character to risk their jobs to do the right thing by supporting a public health care option. (See: Republicans, birther conspiracy, failure to deny, for an example)
    Ollie Rivers

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  74. Karl from SF, CA

    I don’t think they understand anything. Discount the Republicans because they don’t want to understand anything and the Democrats don’t even understand the simple math that they can do about anything they want if they just get their act together. If they don’t wake up and get this done I’ll bet the farm they will be voted out in 2010 and 2012 and be an even more pathetic minority then the Republicans are now, and rightfully so. Three-quarters of Americans want healthcare reform and President Obama needs to kick some serious butts, knock some empty heads together and s’plain it to the Blue Dogs.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  75. Lucinda from New Orleans

    Given that there are quite a few in Congress who do not understand the true definitions of "socialism" and "socialized medicine," I can't image those same people have the capacity to really understand the health care issue. They apparently can only see things through partisan eyes (yes, Jim Dement, I'm talking about you).

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  76. RT Vaught

    I have no confidence that Congress understands the health care issue.
    Then again, I dont think Congress understands most issues. The have become an elitist, out of touch group. Most of them are incompetent, corrupt and/or owned by the lobbyists and are serving in Congress because they came up with enough money to run a campaign.
    Take away their health care and make them shop for it and pay the same premiums as the rest of us, then they might accomplish something.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  77. Ed Miles

    Our politician don't care about the public, and thats obvious. The health Care package the "So called President", is a disaster waiting to happen....... Just look at Canada and other country that have it..... Tweak the existing system and make it more affordable.

    Wellsboro, PA 16901

    July 28, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  78. David

    Absolutly not. They will end up again like they did with medicare. To pay for this lets put congress on social security, take the jet plane away from Nancy Polise. Then we will have more then enough to pay for a national health care plan.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  79. Sandy Gates

    When are all the followers of Obama going to wake up and not listen to his lies on air that Medicare benefits will not decrease $500B over next several yrs. They need to go online and read, read, read what is in writing and the truth. Or do none of them know how to read????

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  80. Veta Gardner

    I don't think they understand or they are just being bias

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  81. Billy from Ky

    Not confident at all-Are you kidding-these bunch of idiots are just plain idiots-they could care less as long as their health care is not effected with this plan that they will eventually pass and it will destroy health care as we know it in this country.I say VOTE them all out of their plush lifestyle in Washington and let new people have a chance of saving this country.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  82. brian white

    As a man out of work since 2007 and as a man without health care for years I can only say this , I may not be as educated as our illustrious congress , but I know this , I don't get paid unless I work.....they get paid for work little done....its time for a Complete change inthis country.....this isn't it....throw congress out and let the workin man make the choice on this matter and many others

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  83. Arch Stanton, Mississippi

    I think they understand that health care, as it currently stands, is wasting billions of dollars, and that fixing it is a good way to help our economy. We'll get better health care out of it, and the burden will be taken off of small business owners. I'm not sure they understand how important the public option is, though. That's got to be a part of any plan they make.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  84. Mike

    I do not think that congress understands the health care problem. They are just making it more political and out to prove that their party is right. I think that it is funny and ironic that some of them are completely against a government health care option but yet they are completely taken care of health wise with a government health care plan for themselves.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  85. Jan in TX

    Not too confident – most of them just trying to straddle the fence and stay on the gravy train.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  86. Lena

    Congress fully understands that the big time insurance lobbyist are the ones who fill their coffers not the average citizen who is hurting and screaming for reform. Shame on Congress!!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |

    of course congress understands the health care issues, that's why they are stalling and dragging their feet. It has been the real issue for years. remember, congress has no health care worries only the little people so they can afford to move at a snails pace.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  88. Janet E Bridges

    I am absolutly sure the ONLY thing Congress understands is "what is in it for me". Even if they have 6 months to read it I will bet you my last dollar(which is already gone) that they still wouldn't understand it!
    It is just an excuse.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  89. Roland D. menard III

    Albeit there may be a lot of partisan contention on the health care reform both sides agree there must be something done. I know when I rush out the door. More oft then not I forget something important and later have to retrace my steps. I realize that Congress is saddled with the due Diligence that will bring about lasting reform. I am happy to hear that Congress will be taking more time with this issue. It is imperative that we get it right. It is not imperative that we get it done right now.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  90. Dagmar Pelzer

    It is amazing, but I don't think they've got a clue. i was born in a country where the law requires you to have health insurance. Here, we have social security – we have no choice but to pay. We have taxes, and no choice there either. Why not add health insurance? If you are working, you and your employer pay, if you are not working, the government pays.

    How was it when social security started? Did everyone agree? Was everyone happy?

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  91. Art, Texas

    Confident? Jack, did you really use that word? Those knotheads are clueless and always will be. They will give the farm away to save one pig but then all the other pigs feel left out and want their fair share to cover the extra corn they were promised. In the end the farmer pays for the corn, loses the farm and the pigs get fat.
    The dumbing of America has already commenced....onward thru the fog.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  92. Diane

    Absolutely NOT. The people understand what's going on – – just ask anyone with Blue Cross. Let me tell you about the three hours I just spent over two days with them with no resolution. Congress doesn't get it...the House does, but Senate just wants to kill the health care bill to make Obama look bad. For example, why did Orrin Hatch drop out of the Financial Committee for Health Care?? 2/3 of the political donations to him were by the Medical Industrial Complex

    July 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  93. Glenn

    Oh they understand it just fine. It's just a matter of who gets paid, and how they are going to get us to swallow it in the end.

    Haymarket, VA

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  94. Alana Cooper

    I am not at all confident that they know what they are doing. I don't think that they have even read the bill. The president is also misleading the public when he says you can keep you employer provided plan if you like it. Many employers will drop their plans and force employees to go into the government option.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  95. Carl Ryan

    I'm confident that most of congress is interested in getting re-elected with funds from the insurance and drug companies. Take their insurance away until they pass a health bill and they might get something done.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  96. Ron Rinehart

    Members of Congress understand health care just like they understood Social Security. They stole from our trust fund and yet continue to shove their bloated egos down our throats despite a 17% approval rating. So much for doing what's best for the country.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  97. Christina

    Until Congress has to start paying for the same health plans that the middle class is stuck with, they're never going to "get it". I think it's time for the public to take away their "free" top of the line benefits, and see how long it takes to come up with a better system.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  98. mike desmoines

    well i think none of congress members had to see loved one suffer to understand why we need this reform
    u need to have that happen to understand why we need this let insurance companies fight for ur bussiness like all other mom and pops bussiness instead of having monoply

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  99. Dane Osborn

    Congress can't see that our President (a.k.a. George Soros) is positioning himself so that his "handlers" are in control of all our major systems within our Country. That being said, if Congress can't see that, how the heck are they competent enough to digest a reform bill that requires industry experience and industry specific legal resources to translate many of the nuances of the bill.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  100. Phil, Georgia

    Sometimes, being a Leader, you have to take a hit for the team. The Blue Dog democrats have to be willing to lose an election for the Greater good of america in passing Health care. They will have a better legacy and name for doing the right thing rather than just trying to get re-elected. It may be the very thing to get them re-elected.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  101. Mike Buehner

    Hi Jacl, I have zero confidence that our Washinton rep's in either the house or senate really understand the ramifications of the proposed health care legislation. The Pelosi and Reid followers will rubber stamp any Obama proposal. However, some others are likely to study (hopefully) the more than 1000 page proposal more careful. Reform is needed but this is not the way to go about it!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  102. Nancy Connolly

    Congress members understand getting elected and protecting their perks. They do not understand - or even care - that the country is sliding into third world status while they refuse to responsibly address serious national crises. There are too few with progressive vision.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  103. Tom Libby

    Hi Jack,

    Our congressmen and senators would understand the health bill a lot better if funding for their own very expensive, very good health plan was cut to zero.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  104. Wayne Evatt

    I think Congress fully understands the importance of health care reform. However, they are dealing with a very powerful lobby that does not want to see anything change. I do however, feel that we will eventually see some major changes made in our health care system.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  105. Nate Coffin

    Congress has no clue about health care because they have not yet figured out that it's SICK CARE. It is a contradiction to say we have a health care system. Every member of Congress is so deeply paid off by big Pharmaceutical Companies that they have no desire to discuss real health care and wellness. Until big pharma is brought under control in this country we will never get Congress let alone our citizens to understand that health is a choice and that choice involves scrupulously making proper lifestyle decisions.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  106. Glen Smith

    Congress does not understand health care issue nor do they care.
    They have GREAT health care plan and a lot of them are in the pocket of the insurance companies so they will not change things to help the American people.
    If they pass a public option it will be so bad that it will be like public schools in bad areas, something that no one wants their family going through, the trash can of healthcare.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  107. Pat from Il

    HI Jack,
    In answer to your question, LET CONGRESS GO UNINSURED FOR ONE DAY AND BELIEVE ME THEY WILL PASS A GOOD HEALTHCARE BILL AND MAY I ADD, WITH ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES...after my husband of age 59 (with diabetes) losing his job due to his company's bankruptcy and me at age 62 (to young for medicare and to broke for traditional health coverage) know the fear of being uninsured....and losing everthing we worked for...
    Praying to say healthy

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  108. Brian

    They understand it perfectly Jack, and that's precisely why they are resisting any changes whatsoever. They understand very well that the insurance companies have been robbing us all for a long time now, and that if we reform the system, much of that legalized robbery might just come to an end. And of course, since congress pretty much lives in the pocket of the insurance industry, (among other pockets they live in) they can't hardly bite the hand that feeds, or rather, bribes them.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  109. Peg in St. Pete

    I'm not confident at all Congress members have a clue about the proposed health care bills. The best thing I've heard recently is this:
    All Senators and Representatives should be required to have identical coverage as whatever they adopt.

    First of all, I'm sure they'd actually read the legislation, which is partly what we pay them to do. Secondly, Americans will be ensured they get better, more affordable coverage for all.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  110. Annie, Atlanta

    Congress is clueless. They live in a bubble of privilege and have no clue what it's like to lose everything due to medical costs. Besides they owe it to the health care industry, who funds them to enjoy that privilege, while the rest of us can "eat cake" or, better yet, drop dead.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  111. Anna (Norristown, PA)

    I am getting the feeling that the longer this goes on the less they understand. The President kept things simple and congress is beating health care by adding confusion. I sit here and think "we are paying $1100 a month on cobra and congress is playing politics while we spend our IRA/401K on healthcare". What the heck is so difficult to understand. We need affordable healthcare NOW. I hope they enjoy their time off while we worry about where our next cobra payment comes from.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  112. Misty

    I think Dr. G has it right...the question should have been: “How confident are you that Congress has your best interest at heart when it comes to this health care issue?”

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  113. John Callery

    I have lost all confidence in Congress, the only thing any of our elected officials care about is getting re elected. If passing health care helps, they are for it. No matter if it’s good for the country or not. We need term limits to get these lifers out of government and give us back our country

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  114. Albert L. Mole II

    How confidant am I in congress, in understanding health care issues??

    As far as i remember, this Question has been asked since before our current President . All congress is worried about is 1st their freaking pay check. 2nd. where to go for the AUG break.....

    And the people bite the big one

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  115. Sue from Montgomery County PA


    You're quite the funny one. From what I see, hear and read the answer is an unqualified NO!!! What I am confident in is that most of the congress cannot stand to lose all the money from big Pharma, private insurance companies and all their lobbyists. Until all of that is "reformed" (whatever that may mean), not only do I not have confidence I know they simply don't care.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  116. Ray Victory

    Vero Beach, FL
    I am not at all confident the Congress as a whole has a good understanding of all the nuances in health reform. Far too many members of both houses and both parties clearly have a disconnect with the American people. No doubt the disconnect is significantly enhanced by the health care and retirement benefits they enjoy. This satisfaction with their own care would lead them to believe that their cases are typical of all Americans. That permits them to believe the status quo is not so bad and so let the insurance companies and other private health establishments continue to gouge us all. There are individual members of both houses who do understand but the question is what are the relative numbers?

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  117. Kelly Veino

    I don't believe they do understand it well. The propaganda against it suggests so; many indicating that people won't be able to choose their own doctor, that government will interfere with medical decisions, and the like is inaccurate. As a Canadian, I have never had my government interfere in any decision I have made with my health, and I have experienced a few serious health issues. Americans deserve to be educated about their choices.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  118. Judy

    Dear Jack,
    As I write, I sit here with thousands (yes THOUSANDS) of dollars in health care expenses in front of me – some due to doctors, some to collection agencies, some to credit card companies, and some to our wonderful mail-in order prescription drug company.
    Congress absolutely understands the health care issue!!!
    They understand that real reform to our current "for profit" health care system (which 18,000 Americans die as a result of each year) will result in cutting the hand-outs and kick-backs Congresspersons receive.
    The fact that some Democrats are fighting President Obama on reform is proof that they are in bed w/the insurance and drug companies every bit as much as the Republicans.
    We not only need health care reform, we need an overhaul of our government's political system!
    Thanks for all you do to bring light and truth to the public.
    For my grandchildren,
    Judy in Ohio

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  119. mick

    Jack, I don't think it's so much that Congress doesn't understand, I think they don't WANT to understand. They know most Americans want healthcare reform, but that would mean making their good buddies in the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbles. Then they would lose all of those millions in campaign donations.
    There's already been an excellent bill in Congress for years, HR 676, by Congressman Conyers. It has the most support in Congress, 85 co-signers (last time I checked), polls show about 60 % of Americans want this type of plan, it covers everyone for medical, dental, optical, prescriptions, and more! It covers them by extending Medicar for all, if I remember correctly, and it's affordable.
    But it forces for-profit insurance companies to go into another business.
    It also calls for the negotiation of lower prices from the drug companies, like Canada does. Makes sense to me!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  120. Mary

    I believe Congress does not understand the health care crisis, Many families out there are suffering why in the world in the U.S.A we take care of other countries better than our own. The Medical Insurance companies control us. They can drop you or decided to pay for your surgery it depends if they need more money in their own pocket, Congress has their own health care can we the people get yours? We are paying for it for you. I say if you can not get on to pass this health care issue drop your own and go private Medical insurance and see how you will be their puppet to dangle. Shame on you our families are just as important as yours.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  121. Bernice

    I am not confident that anyone there gets it. How would they like to go without Health Care for one year, I wonder how they would feel? A lot of people have little to no money for the high cost of medical care, but Congress can vote in their own raises but we will not be getting an increase in our social security in 2010. I think these people should be put on a budget like we have to live on and then watch how fast they will vote for the people who put them in office. Remember we voted you in and we can vote you OUT.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  122. Mike

    I do not think that congress understands the health care problem. They are just making it more political and out to prove that their party is right. I think that it is funny and ironic that some of them are completely against a government health care option but yet they are completely taken care of health wise with a government health care plan for themselves.

    san antonio, Texas

    July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  123. Ron

    Nobody understands it! It is not just health or insurance, or who gets care, or how much they get or how much it costs. It is about our entire way of life and our individual values. There is no one right answer to health care. We need to keep chipping away and taking one small step at a time. Compromise on small ideas and build up. Health care will never be perfect but we can make it much better than it is.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  124. Kathleen Myers

    I have no confidence that our congress understands the crisis our medical care system is in. If any one of them had to experience the real world of health care, it would change over night. The complaint is that a "public option" would put bureaucrats between me and my doctor. What a joke–what do they think the insurance companies do? The debate has been all skewed. The issue isn't whether we have access to "affordable" insurance. The issue is that we have access to health care at all! Group insurance is increasing co-pays, deductibles, and uncovered costs. Why is that OK, just because it is "private"? Why on earth shouldn't we expect to be able to seek a medical professional or treatment when necessary and as needed without any, or at least minimal costs.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  125. sean

    they understand the greenbacks they will get when this passes by the lobbyists

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  126. Ruth Ann Donges Corpus Christi,TX

    I don't think our elected officials have a clue about anything they are supposed to do. They aren't too good at reading things. They may have a bill in front of then for weeks and yet say they didn't have time to read it. They then don't seem to listen to any experts in the insurance and medical fields. They seem to only have a six hour day;go to work around ten, lunch break from twelve until two. As far as the blue dog democrats who are acting like kindergarteners, I think they should just switch to the republican party so we can elect some regular democrats who have some common sense and really seem serious about their job. Ann

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  127. Richard Laughlin

    I have no faith in Congress understanding the health issue because Congress understands whoever is paying them the most. That is the fundamental problem- special interests. If they understood, they could explain why everyone would "flock" to a government option. My opinion is the government option would be to provide health care and the Insurance goal is to avoid claims or paying them.

    Maybe if we took health care benefits away from Congress (like many people now) they would understand.

    Richard- San Diego

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  128. Mark Stone

    Jack, congress understands full well the healthcare issue, they know "single payer" is the only way to go, yet they're slaves to their masters the drug, hospital and insurance corporations! Even if there is a bill passed the American people will get hosed! They know right from wrong, they just don't care!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  129. Tom

    No, Congress has no clue about the health care crisis !!! I have private health insurance, my wife and I EACH pay over $500 per month for basic health coverage. My 27 year old daughter pays over $200 per month for the same. The worst part is the premiums have gone up AT LEAST 15% per year. Based on that rate my daughter will be paying over $500,000 per year for her health insurance when she is 65 !!! The only way to reign in the private insurance companies is with a government alternative.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  130. Dan Leahy

    I think Congress understands the issue, especially the Blue Cross Democrats. They understand something the media is reluctant to talk about, that the insurance industry is pulling their strings, along with those of the Republicans. You'll know who supports the public and who supports the insurance industry by how they vote on a public option. It's that simple.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  131. Gail Benefico

    I have absolutely no confidence that our representatives fully understand how the healthcare reform bill will impact all middleclass, hardworking citizens. Our choices are slowly being taken away. If this bill is signed, what next? What other choices will be taken from us. I don't believe anyone has read the over 1,000 page document/s that are before the senators and congressmen. By his is own admission, our President hasn't even read the various versions floating around. I do not support public healthcare or any form of socialized medicine.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  132. Silence Do Good

    They understand as much as could be expected. They know that the people want healthcare, and they know millions need it.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  133. Joyce Peterson

    I am not the least bit confident that Congress understands the health care issue nor are they interested in listening to the people they were elected to represent. It is a sad state of affairs when our leadership is more concerned with aligning to vote with their respective parties than considering what is best for the welfare of our people. "Hello Washington" – most Americans don't care if you are a Republican or a Democrat. Our leaders need to wake up to the fact that Americans are fed up with both parties policies leading us toward socialism and bankrupting the futures of our children and grandchildren. The government can't run the post office now, how can they possibly run a a health care system??

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  134. John Boydstun

    While I'm not sure that Congress understands all the nuances of healthcare, it's obvious that those critical of a "public option" have no idea of the problems of the regular citizen. The one thing that irritates me is the criticism of Democrats for not rubber stamping everything that comes from the White House. Have we all forgotten what happen during the Bush administration when Congress rubber stamped everything that came from the White House. A little reminder : unjustified war, unfunded $450 billion give away to the pharmacuetical industry, massive debt and destruction of our reputation throughout the world.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  135. Mikey

    Jack. The problem is not the understanding of healthcare. The problem is there is too much money involved, including the cost of overhauling our sick-care system. The real money problem is the influence of companies and individuals who make money off those receiving healthcare services. If pharma, and the insurance companies, etc. were not pumping in millions of dollars to defeat reform, my guess is many more politicians would do the right thing. Change is scary.

    New Prague, MN

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  136. Bernard Londoni

    Lawmakers have the best health care in this country which is covered by taxpayer maney. But the irony is that they don't want others to be covered by taxpayer money claiming that it is expensive. What if they start paying for their own health care coverage so they understand the pain of most American people?

    July 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  137. john gunderson

    by now everythinking (older person) voter knows about the health plan but congress has to do what the lobby groups pay them to do

    July 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  138. Ryan

    Congress needs to look at the bigger picture. Canada has universal healthcare, but the quality of healthcare is poorer than it is in the United States. If the United States has a universal healthcare system for all americans. There will not be enough doctors for every new patient in the system. There needs to be incentives to get more people willing to become doctors and nurses. There also needs to be more incentices for doctors to improve the quality of the care. I would like to see more hospitals built, as there is not enough at this point in time.

    Rochester, New York

    July 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  139. dennis garrison

    Well, here is how we make sure Congress usnderstands health care. TAKE AWAY THEIR HEALTH CARE. Betcha all of a sudden there will be a number of health care students instead of a bunch of supercilious, arrogant politicians.


    Sherman Oaks,california

    July 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  140. Karl Carey

    Well jack... the Patriot Act was a great example of Senators voting on a huge bill without even looking at. the bill. Also If congress is supposed to be representative of the people, we'll then..... that isn't exactly helping their understanding of complex issues now is it.

    Hicksville New York

    July 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  141. Alec

    I appreciate Speaker Pelosi's enthusiasm, but it's disappointing to hear that the bill isn't actually going to hurry through the house as she said it would. It also sounds like Pres. Obama doesn't have quite as much control over the situation as he'd like, and that it's now on the Blue Dog Democrats to realize that health care needs to be extended to everyone immediately. The conservatives that had been in control of congress for so long barely even tried to solve this problem – and now they're still standing in the way of resolving this crisis.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  142. Pete

    I knew we were in trouble when Mitch McConnel said, "we have the greatest healthcare system in the world". He was only talking about the Congress of the United States. We have what's left over sometimes nothing. They don't have a clue.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  143. Patnap

    Congress only cares about missing out on their vacation. They sit in their ivory tower with the best health care in the world and no payments and cannot relate to the person fighting her insurance provider for the care she/he as paid for. The insurance companies control how much therapy you need despite what the doctor orders and many other things. If they watched a family member fight cancer and the insurance company they would feel differently. They should be proud that they have a president who is willing to take the fight of the people on health care and get the job done.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  144. Gary from MO

    Sure Congress understands healthcare. Its just that change requires political risk and a backbone. Set term limits and eliminate open ended retirement for these people, and maybe they'll work for America instead of themselves. For those in Congress currently opposed to healthcare reform, you might want to start looking for your next job when you lose reelection.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  145. June

    Jack, love watching you.
    Health care provided from the government is not good. If people want to know what its like go to Canada.

    Oboma wants to shove the government down our throats. Keep up the good work Jack. Our elected Officials should all have term limits of no more than 3 terms. They get tainted after their 2nd term Look at Jim McDermot and Patty Murray.
    June from Washington

    July 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  146. Carl from NC

    Not many appear really to know or care much about anything except how to get re-elected.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  147. ed

    Not quite Jack, because none of them has ever had to negotiate their health care plan

    July 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  148. Carol Auburndale, Florida

    Jack, This bunch in Congress has not seen the football since the kickoff. Why should they care if the American people have affordable health care, they have the best our tax dollars can buy. Then figure the money that goes into their pockets from the lobbiest from the drug and insurance companies, the hospitals, PPO, HMO's and you see why they don't want to ruin their cash cow. They could care less about the very people they are supposed to represent.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  149. vern Waco TX

    Some members of Congress truly don't seem to understand that there is a real crisis in healthcare in our country while others don't seem to care. It appears that issues affecting low to middle class
    Americans society don't matter as much as catering to the many lobbyists involved in fighting the current healthcare initiatives. Maybe it is time that this voiceless group (low to middle class America) to find a means of making their elected representatives accountable. If they continue to remain powerless in their actions, then reform of healthcare will die a quick death.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  150. Magali Axson

    Since Congress cannot relate to the American's healthcare crisis, lets send them home for recess without health insurance. Than they will come back with a New Attitude and Perspective!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  151. Becky

    Does Mr. Obama know that his mother-in-law will have to attend mandatory meetings every 5 years on how to refuse medical treatment if Congress passes this bill? She can sit next to my parents & have a nice chat.
    Of course they know what they're doing...they want to get rid of all the old people & we won't have to pay for their health care! Watch out Jack, you're not a spring chicken anymore either.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  152. Alex in New Jersey

    If a "representative" is in favor of Obamacare, then I put in to question their entire understanding of economics. I wonder what Congress is going to do when they run out of other people's money.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  153. Frances

    I am confident that not all congress understand the health care package on the table. The congress that don't understand have never been without or have been in their seat so long (to comfortable) that they are no longer hearing what the people want.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  154. Jane Pierson

    It is patently clear that no one in Washington understands health care except for the billion dollar lobbists who dole out bucks to bolster their cash cow employers' position.

    If we are to get this done we need to look at Germany or Sweden or Finland for answers. The taxes are high but health care is superior.

    These insurance companies are making billions without providing care and fighting every claim until the patient gives up. This is America! We have got to take care of the elderly, children and the infirm.

    Instead we focus on this ridiculous Gates non-event rather than get moving on something that effects us all.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  155. Amanda

    I do not if anyone knows whats going on accept for the providers and doctors who are getting rich and are hoping for the status quo . Everyone else is just guessing and worrying about if their going to win their next election and hoping to put healthcare back on the shelf again.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  156. RON

    Well Jack, So far, Not too much.What i am seeing and hearing is that they (Congress) do not seem to have that much confidence either as this thing seems to be changing day by day.The transparency aspect that was promised by the President and his Administration during his Campaign has turned into a solid wall of brick. Maybe this wall would be perfect for our southern Border. It seems almost impossible to cross over to get any reliable information. The American people's heads are spinning..

    July 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  157. Ron

    I have no confidence in our legislators' understanding of the health care issue. But far more concerning, I have no confidence in their ability to make decisions about the issue, as well as solve the problems that surround the issue. It's one thing to understanding it, but it is another things to help make it go away. I don't believe the issue is that complex. But the alternative solutions to the issue are very, very complex. This is because they are mired in the neverending political campaigning that victimizes our country well after the election is over.

    Pilesgrove, NJ

    July 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  158. Richard Honeyman

    I'm very confident that not a single person in congress or the executive branch (yes, including our president) understands the health care issue to the degree that should be required to enact such a major change in our lives. It's so complex that it would be virtually impossible to understand both the proposed legislation and its full context in the time the legislation has been available. What concerns me more is my impression that most of them could care less and will be driven to their actions by one or two small aspects of the legislation or extraneous political/personal issues.

    Webster, NY

    July 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  159. B

    I am not confident that congress knows what it's doing when it comes to our healthcare, but I bet they understand theirs.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  160. Krishna

    Hi Jack,

    I have ZERO confidence that the congress understands the health care issues. The members of the congress have focused their attention on sucking up to the plethora of special interest vultures circling the Capitol. They could care less for the country. Shame on us for having sent them to change the system.


    July 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  161. Ron from Granbury, Tx.

    Here it is Jack,
    Make the congressmen pay for their own health care and i'm sure understanding will soon follow.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  162. Luc

    Of course our elected officials understand the health care issue, Jack. They understand that if they support a public option that brings an end to the windfall profits enjoyed by private health insurers, they will lose money needed for their campaigns as well as have a powerful enemy(the health care lobby) ready to spend against them in the next election.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  163. Louie C Wingo

    Jack, Congress can't understand what they don't read. Louie, Port Richey Fl.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  164. Jack Stuhlsatz

    I think most of them understand enough to realize that if President Obama's plans materialized, many of our representatives will be out of a lot of campaign money. I think this would be a GREAT story for some up and coming news reporters to dig into. Find out and publish the names and relationships of which representatives are subject to the health industry. This could be a real eye opener and probably very dangerous to the reporters.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  165. Agatha

    I am more concerned that the President does not understand the healthcare plan since he did not write it or read it, but he is traveling everywhere promoting it.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  166. Robert Hooton

    Follow the money trail. Congress understands that the people up and down the health care industry and insurance industry don't want congress to kill the golden goose. Costs haven't gone up on a straight line curve CHARGES have gone up. The profit motive has found a home in a bad place. Doctors aren't exactly patch Adams these days. They didn't heal a bird with a broken wing and found a "calling" to be a healer. Check out the doctor's parking lot at any hospital.But let's not just pick on them. Pharmaceutical industries, equipment manufacturers, drug store chains .it goes on and on and on.
    Money talks and BS walks in congress and this is all out war........actually, class warfare but, I digress.
    All the talk and threats about coverage and care are just a smoke screen for the aforementioned underlying truth.
    Robert R. Hooton
    Hummelstown, Pa.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  167. Angel, Birmingham, AL

    When it comes to healthcare, the average citizen in this country is hemorhaging, and from what i can see, the best Congress can come up with is a leaky bandaid. They don't understand anything but politics - they need to get rid of all the lobbyists and find out what really happens to the actual people they are supposed to represent. Then they might understand that some of their constituents are literally dying for decent healthcare.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  168. gabby

    I'd love to think that Congress does not have an understanding of the health care issue, unfortunately some members of congress are definitely looking out for he big interests – viz the Pharmaxceuticals, insurance cos etc. Those are the members who we need to replace and those are the ones that have to be replaced. We need action here in Washington not the kind that President Obama pointed out that create inaction and get nothing done. Congress should have worked until a bill was created and passed. What are we paying them for ? More politicking and nothing but pork barrels. It's time for real change to support the president. We need Congress personnel that are movers and shakers with action to support the average Anerican not big businesses....

    July 28, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  169. Eldon Tedder

    The only thing congress understands is which lobby has the most dollors. This bill changes every day and no one knows what all is hid inside of it. When congress starts trying to write a bill and pass it this fast, look out. It is going to cost you, and congress will still be getting free heath care with 100% coverage.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  170. lynne from NC

    I think it is a tie. They understand, but they don't care. They can pay for their meds, procedures and visits to the doctor, dentist and other because our tax dollars do so.

    What the people need to do is get behind those members of Congress who don't receive taxpayer benefits and get them to introduce a bill to strip the rest of their taxpayer paid insurance until We, The People, have some.

    Nothing moves folk faster than threatening to take their freebies or toys away.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  171. Jack - Lancaster, OH

    Mr. Cafferty:

    Well, Congress did not understand WMD, they were kept in the dark by folks in charge, we now have and have had several doctors in Congress for many years apparently and no progress has been made, unless protection of the pharmeceutical and medical community was the goal. There is no precedent for confidence in congress. Perhaps taxpayers do not have the right or need for this confidence? Beer is the answer jack, back at the Whitehouse...you betcha !

    July 28, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  172. Susan Sell

    I don't believe Congress understands the health care issue and God knows they don't read a bill before they vote on it. All this rushing to get things signed is costing us billions. Don't forget, this is coming from a President who, as a Senator, seldom showed up to even vote when he was in that office. I say "Go Blue Dogs". Make them put their MONEY where their mouth is BEFORE anything goes to the President for a signature.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  173. Sandra in Arkansas

    Not at all confident! They need to start out by assuring th active duty insurance -TRI-CARE Prime – will be accepted by all physcians and medical facilities. It isn't !!! That leaves fighting men and women worried about the health care their loved ones are getting at home. If they can't make sure active duty insurance is mandatorily accepted how can they ever assure that there will be any kind of universal coverage!???


    July 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  174. Bill Dixon

    I believe Congress understands the importance of the health care issue. I do believe however, that playing ball with special interest is more important to them. Who is going to finance their mid term election bid?
    Blue Dog Democrats are especially up setting to put it mildly. Blue Dog Democrats , many of whom represent really poor districts . Areas in our society were health care lacking.
    I think for these people to set aside the wel fare of their districts for political gain is disgusting. Also I"d like to add, that there are primaries before any mid term elections There could be a price to pay if their supporters were to realize that politicians filling their pockets was more important then the peoples business.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  175. Matt in Stafford, VA

    This is Congress we are talking about here. They see issues as political opportunity, turning an issue that effects many into a talking point or a sound byte. This is true from guns, to abortion, to healthcare. They do not understand how these things effect average American citizens. They all have health care, and do not know what it is like to be denied coverage, or having to deal with mountains of paperwork just to get treatment.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  176. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    Congress understands health care quite well. The members of congress that oppose health care reform also oppose financial reform on Wall Street. Wall Street runs the health care insurance industry. If you like what the financial institutions have done with your credit cards, you will love what the health care insurance companies will do if health care reform fails.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  177. Robert Hooton

    I'll be 62 in January. I just want health care to tie these people up until the new year before they try and tinker with social security.........
    Robert R. Hooton
    Hummelstown, Pa.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  178. Scott Daugherty

    NO!!! They have no idea. The problem with health care is not just the millions who are uninsured. Those of use who pay our premiums through work or on our own still have to argue with the insurance companies to get the coverage promised us. Too often we are still denied coverage. The Insurance companies dictate what doctor we go to for our care and when we go. Our health care is decided by Insurance bureaucrates. Most of us have no choices where health care is involved.
    If universal health care puts health care decisions in the hands of political burearcrates instead of Insurance burearcrates and we actually get the care promised us, it would be much bettter.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  179. Mary Texas

    There isn't really a problem if we just keep repeating over and over again "We just want the same healthcare that you in congress have." It is paid by the taxes from our pockets and congress knows it. Just keep repeating it!!!!!!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  180. tj66

    I am completely confident that Congress understands the health care issue – from the point of view of the health insurance lobbyists.

    Pittsburgh, PA

    July 28, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  181. gabby/ Washington DC

    Insanity is defined as, 'Doing nothing and expect , somehow, that Health care costs will come down and every American will be covered'

    July 28, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  182. Ron

    It not so much that they don't understand, I think it clearly has to do with their inability to put themselves in the place of an ordinary citizen who can't afford health insurance. Many ordinary citizens are forced to endure severe pain until they are force to go to the emergency room. This suffering includes mothers watching their kids hurt until they use their only option, the emergency room visit. How many days do you think a member of congress would go through this before he/she signs a health care bill so his family won't suffer.....my guess, NOT LONG!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  183. susan

    not confident that Congress or the American people understand at all. When President Obama ran for President, he explained many of his political ideas so that , I think, if they were listening or reading, understood many issues presented. This is why he was able to be elected. He needs to make sure media coverage is such that health care reform is understood in many of its many facets for both the Congress and the American people.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  184. Lenny, Dallas, TX

    Jack, what I understand is that some "blue dog" democrats think healthcare is not an urgent issue and should wait. They have never spend a minute in my shoes where an issurance company is refusing to pay for my son's much needed therapy which is costing me $5000.00 a month out of pocket.

    By the time it becomes an important issue, I would probably have filed for bankruptcy. I guess what they understand is the millions of dollars from lobbyist that will make this healthcare bill ineffective in improving healthcare delivery.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  185. joe stlouis mo

    How confident are you they understand anything.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  186. Eleanor, South Carolina

    Maybe they don't. It is probable that health care will be the primary issue in the next election and the people will punish those who deny them reasonable reform of a broken system. If Congress turns down health care reform, the for-profit insurance companies are going to raise the price of policies in order to recoup the $$ they have put into lobbying Congress. The result will be a revolt against Congress.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  187. R J Koser

    Congress understands about health care - how much money they get from pharma, insurance companies and other lobby groups. That's what has to be overcome to do the right thing.

    RJ Koser
    Glen Campbell PA

    July 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  188. Shellie

    I'm not confidant at all, Jack. I don't think they understand the problems and pain of average Americans. But more than that, since our Congress is bought off by bribes from lobbyists in Big Pharma and the insurance industry, they don't really care. They put on a show, but their real allegiance is to the money.


    July 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  189. Michael C.

    There is only one way that members of Congress can understand the health insurance issue. Effective 01/01/2010 each member and their entire staff will lose their current health insurance coverage and be required to obtain individual coverage. They would then understand the issues – pre-existing conditions, cost and ability to get adequate coverage.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  190. Patricia Armstronrg

    Jack , congress seem to me in the last 60 year's has no ideal to know how it is to feel uncovered my not having to get what it is when health care is needed! I'm 62. Last-week on cnn an a report came out at how washington for the 60 yrs. something comes up and this issues is put on the back burner.I have no confidence in congress nor how the people that say they are our leaders or not ! If we have people looking out for us and this is it wow, I would not like to think of them being my enemy

    July 28, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  191. Gary In Lexington

    I have little confidence that anybody truly understands this extremely complex issue, much less Congress. However, this one is particuarly difficult due to all the "players". You have the insurance companies frantically lobbying for obvious reasons, the pharmaceutical companies scrambling to apparently get on board, the AMA taking a stand, individual doctors and medical practitioners taking a different stand, scholars and economists another stand, the GOP taking the "no way" position, the Democrats multiple positions, businesses another and the citizens have numerous concerns and confusion. I have very little confidence, if any, Congress understands this complex issue.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  192. John

    Very few understand it, I think. But they do understand politics, which is why they are pandering to the American public to try and secure their re-election.. When did health care become a right? I always thought our rights consisted of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If health care is in there, why not food, shelter, and clothing?

    July 28, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  193. j/NJ

    How confident are you that Congress understands the health care issue?

    Question is not whether Congress understands health care reform legislation, but whether it is willing to put the interest of the American people first, i.e., ahead of govt, the health care industry, the pharmecutical industry, and its lobbyist friends on Wall Street...unfortunately the answer to that question is 'not in this life'...

    July 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  194. Phil Kidron, Ohio

    I hate to answer a question with a question. But how can they fully understand a bill they won't read?. NO they don't understand. I for one am tired of hearing the President say ( If you like your present health insurance you can keep it.) Anyone with common sense knows its only a matter of time before everyone is forced into the cheaper public government run system, government employees being the only possible exception. Isn't that Ironic?.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  195. Bernard Londoni, Boca Raton FL

    Lawmakers have the best health care in this country which is covered by taxpayer maney. But the irony is that they don’t want others to be covered by taxpayer money claiming that it is expensive. What if they start paying for their own health care coverage so they understand the pain of most American people?

    July 28, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  196. Brad D

    The ONLY way Congress will understand the healthcare issue is when they ONLY have the options the American People have! Not their " free for life " healthcare programs!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  197. John Mitchell

    The only thing congress understands about health care is,how much money will the big Pharma and health insurance companies will give them for their vote.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  198. EJ

    Politicians primary care is the PAC money they receive for pushing the agenda their party promotes. They are nothing more than political salespersons, nothing more. Bills and Amendments are written by the PACs and the advertising tools, like charts and diagrams congressional salespersons use are published using businesses' lobby resources. They get their spicy rhetoric from corporate lobbyist, which is why there is 6 health care insurance lobbyist per congressional member. America's politics are corrupted beyond repair and the American electorate too lazy, stupid and self important, to care.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  199. Commelita

    Jack, THEY GET IT!!! Here's what they really get...access to the best health care coverage in the world. They can take a month off during a recession and not have to worry about getting sick or being laid off and losing their coverage. I would challenge the blue dog Democrats and Republicans(who by-the-way had 8 years to pass something, anything!) to either cancel their coverage or pay out of pocket until a bill is passed. We would be SHOCKED to see how quickly they 'd pass a bill. Average Americans want access to the same coverage we PAY for them to have! And I am a conservative Christian Democrat.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  200. Robert E. Foxwell

    Looking at their past record, I`m not sure our congress understands anything. They damn sure don`t listen to their constituents.

    Bob Foxwell

    Edinburg, Va 22824

    July 28, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  201. Jim N

    I don't believe they understand the Health Care Reform bill. If they do understand it than they are disingenuous and purposely pulling done our health care system. Just recently I was given some of the major points in the first 500 pages of this health care plan and it is a disaster particularly for Senior Citizens. For example it mandates that Physicians will provide reduced care for those on Medicare. Those receiving Social Security will be required to receive end of life counseling every 5 years to explain how to end their life earlier. A Health Benefits Advisory Committee will be created to monitor and recommend health care treatments and benefits. It mandates that all health care plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare exchange (whatever this means). Hospitals can not expand without government approval. All non-US citizens, illegal or not will be provided with health insurance. It creates a Telehealth Advisory Committee. The Government will provide and approved list of end-of-life resources and decide what level of treatment you may have at end-of-life. These are but a few important facets of the HCR bill. Finally they, our elected officials, will not have to participate in this plan.
    Not one politician discussed these points when pushing this plan. No wonder there was a push to pass this bill quickly.
    Our health care is in jeopardy if this bill passes.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  202. Melissa

    The GOP and the Blue Dog Democrats don't understand it at all. We don't need more of the same, we need National Health Care.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  203. AARON

    Not all of them actually care and I dont blame them because I'm like that too.

    July 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  204. Paula E.

    We need more women in Congress who understand the issues and the people.

    Houston, TX

    July 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm |