What do you need to hear from the president’s health care speech tonight?

Congress and the public appear sharply divided on the issue of health care reform. Tonight, President Obama will address a joint session of Congress in an effort to rally Americans in support of his plan. What do you need to hear from the president’s health care speech tonight?

  • Chris Pinotti

    I need to hear that he will not allow the democrats take their lesser qualities, using them to bring down yet another bill that will help so many others. Just cause they have no clue on how to step in line to get things done, and because they are too busy trying to blame the republicans for everything they are not able to do.

  • Deb Staley

    I need to hear that there WILL BE legislation signed into law that:

    *ends pre-exisiting conditions

    *ensures that people that apply for and pay their premiums that they have coverage

    *coverage for all citizens/legal residents of the USA

    *a public option

    *that a country that pays 2x as much as many other countries can spend less money than it currently does; cover everyone; and have better health outcomes.

  • Marta Ljungkull

    Portable, affordable, and public- start with kids up to age 18 if it needs to be that incremental.

  • Lisa Patrick

    As a recent college grad without insurance, and currently weighing whether to see a doctor or fix my car so i can get to work, i need the President to draw a line in the sand and state that he will not sign a bill without a public option. I voted for Mr. Obama because I believed he would deliver universal health care.

  • frank steen

    As a self employed couple with a good income– we pay

    up to two months of income per year for our health insurance for 2 adults and two kids. Will those who have taken their job -provided insurance for granted be ready to do a little sacrificing of their own? We come from such polarized positions in our nation. I just wish this had been taken care of years ago— before we became such huge consumers of cheap foreign goods and got our priorities out of line.

    Also, we should look at the Mayo model of quality diagnosis and quality treatment.

  • Tiffany H

    When I was fresh out of grad school I had no insurance and needed a root canal and 2 MRIs. I took out a medical credit card. Three years later I am working but still paying off 7,000 dollars in this medical credit card debt. It has been awful, especially starting out at the begining of my payscale and with tremendous student loan debt.

    Its terrible. I want to hear that no one else will have to go through that as well. No one else should have to start out behind that much due to lack of health insurance.

  • Dan

    I need to hear that everyone is taken care of.

  • Tim Nelson

    “Cut the cost of health care by 50%”.

  • Steve the Realist

    I want to hear President Obama admit that, because the current so-called “system” is unsustainable, it won’t be sustained. Among other things, this means that no one will be able to keep what they have, no matter how much they like it.

    Either Congress will find a way to reform health care so that it is sustainable, or it will collapse into chaos. And if it collapses, a total “governemnt takeover” will be unavoidable. Those who are afraid of “socialized medicine” need to understand that that’s what we’ll eventually get if Congress can’t get its act together this time.

  • JackU

    Sort of along the lines of what Chris Pinotti said, I want the President to basically challenge the Republicans to be constructive partners or get out of the way. He needs to end the call for bipartisanship that isn’t there. If the GOP thinks it’s that bad let it pass with no Republican votes and then let the 2010 election be a referendum on the changes.

  • Al Fisher

    I need to hear that the existing bills in congress (thousands of pages) need to be simplified and that he won’t sign a bill that does not contain a public option. That if the Republicans won’t come to the table with some positive ideas that include a trigger-free public option they will simply be left out. The same should go for the “blue dog” Democrats.

  • bob

    I need to hear him say that the public option is the centerpiece of health care reform, and that he will personally take on any politician who spreads lies about death panels and getting rid of granny. He names to call these folks out by name and dress them down for their fear-mongering.

  • Joanna

    Be a leader-channel FDR–stand up to the Republican fear-mongering and speak up for those who are suffering because of the inequities of our current system.

    I want to hear that basic health care is a right for all, not an “option” for those who can afford it.

    Containing costs must go hand in hand with accessibility to all, or we will continue to be robbed by the powerful, corporate health care companies.

    Medicine should be practiced by medical professionals, not by insurance bureaucrats whose intention is to prevent payout on policies.

    A bill without a public option is not reform, it is more of the same.

  • Andy

    Am I understanding this correctly? I heard yesterday and read this morning how congress is trying to reach an agreement on health care reform prior to tonights speech by the President.

    ?!? We have been discussing this for close to 20 years, and apparently Congress has been lacking only the incentive to reach a deal? Can it be true that they are able to reach such a deal so quickly, or am I misunderstanding the implications ot “reaching a deal”.

    Pardon my cynicism, but if they have been able to structure and reach agreement, yet lacked the appropriate catalyst, that speaks volumes to the priorities and leadership of our governing officials.

  • Dave W

    That with over half of all medical care already paid for by bankrupt ponzi-scheme government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, veterans programs etc., and the rest micro-managed by government regulations, it is time to stop pretending that our broken health care system is a market failure, and admit that it is government that is destroying health care in America and that a continued Federal takeover of what should be a very personal financial matter is exactly the wrong thing to do. If it is mostly government controlled now and failing miserably, why would even more government control help things? I want to hear that the Federal government will find a way to release its stranglehold on health care, and encourage the states to do the same thing and make a graceful transition to a genuinely free market in health care – without a tax-advantage for companies to provide health care that individuals don’t get, and with doctors, insurance companies and individuals free to make whatever arrangements are mutually agreeable amongst themselves. It is freedom like this that will create the options for health care that people want – like transportability, etc. While this is what I *need* to hear, I know that what I *will* hear will break my heart, so I probably won’t be tuned in….

  • Brandon Ferdig

    “robbed by the powerful, corporate health care companies” – Joanna

    The biggest contributor allowing these companies to gorge us IS government involvement. Have you seen “Sicko”? Remember the $ figures over all the politicians’ heads? These were Dems, too. Why must we insist on more of their involvement to fix it?

    You’re right, it is broken. But anything that restricts freedom (i.e. raises taxes) is antithema to being American and will not work. The answer is simple we need to begin the process of removing government from health care. Too bad practically no one on Washington wants to limit their own power, save for Ron Paul and maybe a couple others.

    Here’s a good example: Why do you think insurance rates in MN are expensive? How about, in part, because MN has a law restricting competition from out of state providers? It’s a state issue, I know, but an example nonetheless of how laws will bind us into inefficiency.

    Look past the surface and see that a socialized solution is a recipe for more of the same trouble we have today.

  • Paul

    I’d like to hear that insurance reform will not be some panacea paid for by the government.

    As far I know, the government gets money to pay for things from rich people who get their money from the middle class and the poor.

  • Amy

    I need to hear that the 47 million people who are uninsured right now will not be let down and will have a public option available to them. I need to hear that insurance companies will not be able to deny people for pre-existing conditions because it happened to me once and it was a horrible experience. I need to hear that health care costs will be more closely monitored and controlled. I need to hear that doctors will decide treatment plans, not drug companies or insurance companies.

    Something needs to happen. We have the best health care in the world and the worst method of deciding who gets it and how it gets paid for. Lets put aside the partisan politics and look at the real issue is. People die every day and go bankrupt every day because of inadequate health care and lack of adequate health coverage. Its just not right.

  • Molly

    Dozens of countries have health care systems that are both better and cheaper than ours. Every one of those has more government involvement that ours does. Either government runs the system, or pays for the system, or strictly regulates the system. There is no example anywhere in the world of an unregulated free-market health care system that doesn’t leave large numbers of the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and children without access to quality health care. The idea that free-market reforms of health care will be a panacea is an ideological delusion that is easily disproved by looking at the evidence.

  • Danielle Rouse

    My politics are as far-left as they can be, but what I need to hear from the president is that he is committed to finding a bipartisan solution. I’d love to have a single-payer system in this country, but I know it’s not going to happen immediately.

    I pay dearly for my individual health insurance, and I don’t dare use it. I know that there has to be something in my medical history that I forgot to state up front, and if a doctor finds that I have an expensive-to-treat condition, my insurance company will dig through my history and find a way to rescind my heath insurance. At this point, any progress on health insurance at all would be good for me.

  • Mike Johnson

    I want to hear the president say that the new health care system will simply be to required to provide all Americans with the same coverage and cost as that provided for members of Congress. That would be an automatic mix of the public and private options, plus be totally fair, and must be supported by Congress for obvious reasons.

  • Mickey

    I would like to hear the president address specifically the misinformation that is being spread by conservatives. Just because a bunch of misinformed people get up and shout half-truths at town hall forums does not mean we should change course on health care reform. I think a public option should be part of any plan.

  • Nancy

    HOW are we going to pay for this ??????

  • http://xstitcher.webs.com Alesia Matson

    What I need to hear is this:

    If, despite your campaign promise we are to be REQUIRED to carry health insurance (thereby forced to buy into a system that is demonstrably dysfunctional) that you will, at least, furnish a public option to keep the insurance companies honest.

    That’s really all I need to hear.

  • Bea Larson

    Absolutely the only reason to keep a public option out of health care is to preserve the obscene profits in the upper management of some of the health insurance companies – I believe that United Health Care is the worst. These big money interests are spreading so many scary stories to preserve their ability to maintain those huge profits. I’d like to hear a comparison of the salary of the top director of Medicare to the salary of the top executive of United Health Care. That should make it clear that a government option is a good idea. I’d much rather have a government official, who’s required to allow me to receive the accepted standard of care, be in charge of my options than an insurance company bureaucrat whose salary and bonuses depend upon how much care is denied to policy holders.

  • Paul

    Universal coverage, affordable and no pre-existing exclusions.

    Public option — which is already a compromise — is essential.

    I would rather deal with government than the insane, inept, stonewalling bureaucracy of the private insurance companies. I know this because I have spent the summer trying to change my family’s coverage to try to lower the cost we can’t afford. We have had to split our family into two policies, because of denials. It is crazy.

    Why can’t we learn what the rest of the developed world already has? Our system is broken and should be scrapped.

  • Lan

    1. Eliminate the ‘prior condition’ clause in all contracts. As we continue to dissect the gene pool, they will find that all of us have a ‘prior condition’ and will stop paying for anything.

    2. Stop the insurance companies from ‘dropping’ you after you have had knee or other surgery.

    I believe the premise for insurance companies to exist is for them to calculate the ‘odds’ on groups of people contracting conditions. If they drop a person who’s paid in for years because of a knee surgery, all the odds are on their side. We don’t allow that in our gambling casinos – why does it continue to happen here?

  • Emily Yliniemi

    That the public option is essential, and that there will be a provision to let states go ahead and implement their own single-payer systems if they so choose. Affordability is important. Insurance companies should not be allowed to discriminate based on pre-existing conditions. And we not be forced to buy private health insurance – I do not want to pay for an industry that turns around and uses their profits to fight against my best interests. Fines for not buying insurance should be out of the question. Most of all, I wish we could get universal single-payer health care. I’m a US citizen, but currently live in Finland where there is universal health care paid for by the government, and I have to say; knowing that health care is taken care of for everyone takes such a burden off my mind and it’s wonderful not to have to worry about it. The quality of care here is comparable to what I’ve received in Minnesota.

  • Andy Guthrie

    I need to hear President Obama is dropping the whole ill-conceived effort to overhaul a system based on making money from sickness and injury, and coming back with universal single-payer health care. Sadly, I’m not holding my breath.

  • Dan Kenzie

    I need to hear the President talk about health care as a right for all Americans, not as a guaranteed income stream for insurance companies.

  • Elizabeth T

    I want to hear a concrete, declarative statement about what he will sign.

    I don’t want general policy statements. I want concrete activities which need to occur in order for him to sign a bill.

    Of course, I want to see a single-payer system and a major overhaul of the insurance system. Other facets of health care need to be changed (eliminate direct marketing of pharmaceuticals to the public, for example) – god, I just want to hear what he *specifically* wants to see.

    His political capital is wavering on this – Go Big or Go Home. I don’t want a President who wants to get re-elected. I want one with big brass you-know-what who won’t care about election, just about doing the right thing. (That, of course, will improve probabilities of my voting for him – as will implementation of a single-payer or at least public option system.)

  • Timm

    That he’s going to make necessary reforms, but no major overhauls. That he will establish some new tweaks and regulations to allow more competition and more health security, but that he will establish no new agencies or “systems” or entitlements which cannot be undone. That he will start his reform by eliminating the ways the government CAUSES healthcare problems rather than sticking his nose further into the system. That he will only implement changes which are proven and evidence-based and not his personal whims and cronie-based. That he will not put himself and a bunch of other meddling lawyers in charge of medical care. That he will stop the hyperbole and fear-mongering he’s been using to sell his whims to the public. And, that he’ll lead by example on better health and quit smoking!

  • LAE

    President Obama should acknowledge that this initiative with the letter and spirit of a limited federal government as defined in the “U.S. Constitution” That the President, Senate and House will influence, not legislatively mandate, solutions brought forward through the Several States, private sectors and U. S. citizens.

  • Linda S Alexander

    What I really need to hear is what the purpose or objective of healthcare reform is and how the President’s plan, or anyone’s plan, is going to accomplish that objective.

    The complaint about our healthcare system is twofold – it costs too much and doesn’t cover everyone. Yet nowhere can I find a description of how much savings any of the plans will offer. In fact, there appears to be no hope of any savings at all.

    If the objective is to cover everyone, why not leave the current system alone and put in a government insurance option for those that don’t have/can’t get insurance. Although again, maybe we have that in Medicare/Medicaid or in MinnCare here in Minnesota.

    Maybe if we concentrated on lowering the cost of healthcare delivery, more people could be covered under the systems we already have in place.

  • John Miller

    I want to know when I can quit working my soul-sucking job that I keep just because I’m afraid what will happen when I get sick.



  • Ted Malm

    Look, it doesn’t matter whether there is a public option or not. What matters is the following, and the current proposals address only some of this.

    1. Every barrier to obtaining quality primary care should be removed. This means more GPs and fewer specialists. It means no paperwork and no up front costs to patients. It does not mean more PAs or clinics in supermarkets following the Rapid Oil Change business model. Free, unfettered primary care is the best way to lower overall health care costs and improve overall outcomes. But it is probably the most difficult aspect of our health care system to reform. I suggest a loan forgiveness program for anyone going into general medicine, pediatrics, or internal medicine. Also, a requirement for all insurers (private or public) to pay primary care costs in full without deductible or copay. This is the most likely area where a public option would help. BTW: we would be money ahead if we provided free primay healthcare to illegal immigrants. Sure, they are not supposed to be here, but if they end up in the emergency room they will cost 5 times as much.

    2. Tort reform. Bad doctors must be weeded out, but not by a system that is little more than a get-rich-quick scheme for attorneys. Those who are badly served by the health care system should be compensated, but not in any way that there is the incentive of a windfall profit.

    3. Eliminate the concept of pre-existing conditions. Everyone is covered by whatever insurance plan they pay into no matter what. Duh.

    4. Eliminate employer provided medical insurance. Employer provided medical insurance is an historical accident and puts our corporations at a significant competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace. Also, the future of American prosperity lies in small business and self employment. To free our citizens of the need for a big business job just to provide health care would be a huge shot in the arm to our economy. It is the right way to counter the negative impacts of globalization.

    5. Eliminate provider networks and pharmaceutical formularies. Our healthcare system as it is today places many limits on our access to health care. Foremost among these are provider networks and pharmaceutical formularies. True health care reform would enable anyone to see any doctor and be prescribed whatever medicine that doctor believes is appropriate.

    6. Separate pharmaceutical research and development from pharmaceutical manufacturing. We currently have many drugs that are unnecessary and companies inventing maladies that require their patented drugs. By breaking the link between R&D and manufacturing, the incentives to invent diseases to match new drugs, and the incentives to abuse the patent system are removed. Yet the incentive to drive efficiencies and lower costs are retained.

    Finally, we must reject any attempt to turn the health care system over to Free Market Principles. The Free Market relies on consumers deciding whether to spend their money on goods and services. When applied to health care, this means some people deciding between poverty and illness or death. Make no mistake: this is what the ultra-conservatives want. They believe the poor, disadvantaged, or unlucky should choose death rather than burden the wealthy and healthy with the cost of their care. This is why health care reform is a moral choice. Either we consider health care as a right, or we declare that the poor are guilty and should die for their sins. I for one see no middle ground on this point. And as a Christian, I cannot support any point of view that prices the poor out of life and health.

    The sad thing is that most of the 45 million uninsured are not poor: they are self-employed business people who want nothing more than to make their way in this world through their own ingenuity and hard work. But the system we have today denies them care because they do not fall into a defined, protected group.

    Come on, folks, let’s get this done. Let’s unlock the creative spirit of the American economy by removing worries about health care from the equation. Every other major economic power did this decades ago and are at a competitive advantage because they have done so.

    So let’s do it.


    PS: All of the hysteria about death panels is horse hockey. Think about it: there aren’t enough government employees around to form up enough panels to look at individual cases, even if someone wanted them to. And nobody does. The propoponents of health care reform do not want that. The only villians on this issue are the people who falsely claim that these death panels will exist. Those people are truly evil.