Join the Discussion: Health Care
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Join the Discussion: Health Care


Hi, I’m Tom Daschle I’m the leader of the Transition Healthcare Policy Team, and you remember my friend and colleague Lauren Aronson. We are just so pleased that so many of you have already written in. About 3,500 people have already commented, and given the fact that that this was a holiday weekend, where millions of people were traveling, it’s all the more impressive. I spent a lot of the weekend actually reading the comment, and I have to tell you – I am extremely moved by a lot of the stories that you shared with us. We want to keep this a very open process. We want to make sure that you understand how important those comments and your contributions are. We really want to hear from you. And already we’ve begun to follow through with some of the ideas, and Lauren’s going to outline a few of those right now. One comment that we heard a lot about was from a person named “kllmt”, who said: “All Americans would benefit from a paradigm shift in healthcare, one that emphasizes preventive care and addresses the causes of illnesses above treating symptoms.” She’s absolutely right. Yeah, that’s exactly… That’s what I hear as I travel all over, too, is that we really need to put that kind of emphasis on prevention, because if you can keep people well, you’re not going to pay so much once people get sick. And that’s exactly what she’s saying here. Right, and I also think it affects American companies and businesses, because if you have a healthier workforce, people are not taking off time to be in the hospital or be sick at home, and they are being productive citizens working for these businesses and companies. That’s right. Another comment that we thought was actually very interesting was from “kkdc”, who suggested that we set up a kind of Health Corps, like the Peace Corps, which is a fantastic idea so we can have folks who are just finishing college, and medical school and nursing school go straight back into their community and give back to their country. It’s a very interesting idea. I like that. Yeah, so do I. I think it’s something we should definitely look into. Unfortunately our friend Dora, who did the video with me last week, is still visiting her family for Thanksgiving. When she comes back, she’s going to take the lead on looking into that issue. Great. And another big issue we talked a lot about – that was talked a lot about online in the discussion – was on cost containment, and what a big… and issues we need to face as we look at trying to expand coverage, we also need to contain costs for those who do have healthcare. I think it’s one of the biggest issues driving this whole healthcare debate. As I talk to businesses and families alike, everybody is saying if we can’t control costs, we haven’t solved this healthcare problem. I think you’re right on, Senator. And I think that Margaret, also, a CEO and founder of a large non-profit corporation would agree. She provides healthcare for 20 – sorry, for 52 full-time employees with healthcare, and has been struggling to find a way to provide her part-time employees with healthcare, as well. And it’s such a vital issue that we’re facing. Those are the stories that I think have really got to be compelling for legislators. I mean I know when I was in the Senate, it was stories like that – probably more than all the factual information – that really moved you to want to act. Right, absolutely, great. Well, we really appreciate all the comments that we got. You know the Senator and I have spent a lot of time over the weekend – the last couple days – looking at them, and I think we’re really going to try to incorporate all the ideas that we got, because they really were just fantastic ideas from the American public. Thank you.

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54 thoughts on “Join the Discussion: Health Care

  1. i am glad to see that they are trying to connect on a gress roots level.
    a health corps is na interesting idea, but i am not sure how nor how soon it could be implemented.

  2. An overseas perspective: it seems like an amazing distortion of the relationship to make employers responsible for the health care of employees. Have you ever thought how much your economy would be freed up if employers did not have this responsibility? I understand that it is a monumental task to go from one entrenched system to another, but I believe your country, which CAN afford it, should start to make the move. Also, there should be no room in health care for blame the victim.

  3. hello 98nafets: why not try a national healthcare program. the system is unfair now, unless you & business's can afford health ins. you and all insured pay for indigent care, obese, smokers now. a national system would make everyone pay. those with higher risks should pay more but we'd all be covered. dont you want that ?

  4. How far would they go to keep us well for our own good? I mean would there be mandatory diet restrictions or mandatory exercise? I don't think I want someone telling me how to be healthy. :-

  5. I'm a middle aged professional who makes a good salary and can afford health care, but affordability is not my issue. It's the fact that I am a consultant, i.e., a 1099 worker, and so am not part of a conglomerate group of people that can subscribe to an HMO. I am overweight, have diabetes and have undergone weight loss surgery (which greatly reduced my weight and diabetic issues), but I don't qualify for health care because of these "extreme issues"! Unless…I join a company!

  6. The horrific reality of healthcare is that healthcare is a business and therefore there is no financial future in preventative medicine. This scam runs rampart thru health insurance, car insurance, home insurance. I applaude the ideas which the Obama team strives for but %$^# corporate american makes the ideals of democracy shameful!

  7. How about an itemized health care a list of cost of treatments in the doctors office? So that we can make cost effective treatments.

  8. Respectfully, you two are great! The cure for AIDS was developed first starting in approx 1968. A combination of Chelation and Biological Antibiotics is highly efffective for prevention, In use by Law Enforcment currently NSA AGENT, Doctorate Emeritus.

  9. I really like the video! Let the truth be known! El Segundo Police Department, the finest police force in the world. NSA. Thank you both, together we can bring abou a peacful world. RESPECT TO ALL LIFE.

  10. Mr. Daschle if you TRULY want to control costs then you should work to eliminate health insurance as a requirement for employers.

    Having a third party (insurance companies) get in the way of a patient and a doctor is THE reason why health care costs so much. Eliminate Medicare/Medicaid while you're at it.

    Once that is gone people will be able to visit their doctors and pay directly in cash. You will see costs drop off a cliff and people would be able to afford it once again.

  11. Is there anything in place where people working in the medical field would keep their education up and to par for the best treatments in patient care?

  12. Why don't you issue health care for the family instead of one for the husband and one for the wife. It would be redundant to have two policies for each family when one would cover. You don't need a program for the man and woman but just one for the family.

  13. Take the insurance co. out the the equation. That is the cost we can't afford, not the treatments. If Doctors and hospitals didn't have to carry insurance on everything, how much less would the cost be? Insurance is a scam and should be stopped.

  14. Cost containment? The new $621-million visitor center at the capitol just opened at $550-million (almost 90%) over budget. And people actually think that these clowns are going to make health care cheaper? What kind of expensive drugs can we use to fix that sort of delusional mental disorder?

  15. All people really need is a voucher that gets them 2/3 of the way to a basic health care plan. When I had health insurance years ago, I kept getting the feeling that the doctor had the insurance company looking over his shoulder. Stop the micromanaging.

  16. If you want to drive a car in America you are required to have car accident insurance. Everybody pays their share and the system works. Health insurance however, is too expensive because those who are lucky enough to have insurance are paying for the people that get healthcare but are not paying their share because they lost their job and company paid health insurance.

  17. I hope that our health care policies wil be based on sound scientific research, rather than dubious or untestable therapies.

  18. Government pays for something, all the thieves rush in for government money. Price goes up, we can't afford to see a doctor.
    Government caused the problem, government will fix it by making it worse. The crisis is government f'ing up everything it touches.

    Please don't help us anymore.

  19. Excuse Me,where is my data-comment about Childhood cancer??? Tom's "nice glasses" comment is ok but fighting and research funding Childhood cancer Is not???

  20. I agree…imagine an ER physician who refuses to do blood transfusions for religious reasons and may end up killing patient because they wont do it in an emergency situation. Abortion I can understand…but to extend that to ALL medical procedures is malpractice.

  21. I think people could get better healthcare if we would utilize nurses, social workers, and all non-doctor professionals to provide most office visit procedures, and focus on preventive care. This would definitely reduce insurance re-imbursement issues and lower the cost of insurance for us. SER a psychotherapist

  22. Australia, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, The United Kingdom and even crapy France has free health care….idk why we call america the best country in the world

  23. The tobacco industry is costing us lives and money! The cancers and illness caused by tobacco are a serious problem.

  24. These doctors and nurses paid large sums of money to earn their degrees and work long hard hours at their job and they should be paid well for their work. They must continue their education as well or else lose their job. The Hospital is the problem and EVERYONE has access to care, but not everyone has the means to pay for their care without going into debt. The Hospitals and Insurance companies drive our medical costs, but our Government is a huge reason that we have high cost as well.

  25. I really believe we do need a paradigm shift, one where we get the insurance companies out of health care. We should use one of the single-payer models, they generally work very well as anyone who does even a little research will see. All Americans can be provided for, cradle to grave, at high quality, for far less cost than it costs us now!

  26. The only way to fix this system is to out compete the insurance companies by offering coverage that is better and cheaper. The only way to do this is to Cut The Fat out of Healthcare. Half of every Dollar spent today goes toward, Medical billing costs, Record keeping cost, Administrative fees, Malpractice insurance. Cut these cost out by eliminating the need for them. Unified automatic billing, electronic records, fire the suits, and limit liability, bring criminal prosecution for bad lapses.

  27. The healthcare insurance problem that affects so many people including myself are preexisting conditions. Especially if one can only ce companies do not want people with problems. What is the purpose of health care if not to help existing conditions?
    Also as a person get older before medicare the insurance rates are prohibitably high! Very hard to afford for someone on fixed income. Perhaps to expand medicare to people in their 50's or younger. Single payer would be very good too!! HELP

  28. One of the largest problems with the healthcare/insurance system are preexisting conditions. The insurance companies do not the people that have problems. What good is healthcare if not to cover problems affordably and that's if they will even cover an existing condition. Expand medicare to people in their 50's or younger. There are many people with preexisting conditions that are not covered and it is much worse with private insurance. HELP!! We need a new system!!

  29. Prohibit insurance companies from excluding people with preexisting conditions. Perhaps expanding medicare to cover people in their 50's or younger. Medicare automatically covers people with problems. We need help!!!

  30. The government should nationalize the insurance companies and the pharma companies. Doctors are greedy trogodites. Insurance companies are robber barons and pharmaceutical companies are animal torturers whose use of non-human experiments causes great hearm to humans. They don't seem to realize that rats and humans are different animals.

  31. Lets add to that the meat industry. The raising and slaughtering and distribution of non human animals for food causes as much or more damage to human health and environmental damage as any other industry on earth.

  32. I live in Canada and read an interesting article about the cost of health care around the world. I remember Canada was spending about $3000per citizen and the US was about double, at $6000per. That is what happens when Corporations must make a profit and you turn peoples health into a Business. The United States is the only Developed Country with-out socialized medicine of some sort. Get rid of the [email protected]!

  33. I agree that we need to get rid of the third-party insurance companies. I am in favor of a system based on Singapores Healthcare system. This system is based on MAS's which are tax free, and deducted right out of your paycheck. Another idea would be to get rid of the state regulations that impose burdens on coverage. For instance, in Michigan private health insurance must cover services such as a chiropractor and accupuncture. We don't all use these services, yet we are forced to pay for them.

  34. We really need to look into introducing market functions in our healthcare system. I like most people will go to a doctor and are never concerned with costs because we use a card. And, obviously our professionals sometimes prescribe us or charge us rediculous prices on services or for health care products.We need an incentive to save costs; we can learn to deal with this by having an incentive to purchase the best deals on services and lowest priced prescription drug services (pref. generics).

  35. Currently, if you loose your job, you loose health care. Health care should be automatically calculated into the rent or mortgage payment. It should NEVER be used as a collective bargaining tool. No one should be excluded. Everyone pays, keeping rates affordable. Basic and preventive health services would be provided. No more pre-existing condition clause or non-paying emergency room patients.
    Unlike socialized medicine, this is everyone paying for a privilege, similar to driving privileges.

  36. Foresam, my family understands your comment all to well. The damage has been done and now they (insurance companies) will only offer Ritalin as a solution rather than offering our twin son much needed therapy. I do know that Daschle does really care about Autism and more, and very glad to see Obama selected him for this job.

  37. The only problem with a universal health care system, in the US anyway, is that it creates an image of the old, "mile-long" Soviet ration lines, an image that most Americans don't see as a positive one.

    Personally, I feel the current system is a solid foundation; it's just that it costs too much and a lot of people are still not covered.

    Solution: find a way to cover the people, who aren't covered, and then cut costs by improving the information systems, eliminating the constant re-tests.

  38. Not sure how prevalent this is around the country, but a short while ago, I heard about a program, I believe situated in California, that would provide health coverage to all people, under the age of 18, who didn't already have coverage. A novel idea, if I do say so myself.

    And in addition, from a friend of mine heading into medicine, one of the major costs associated to health coverage, is the constant need to repeat every test.

    Fix the info system, and you cut this down, too.

    Helps everyone

  39. That all goes back the question of risk/return for the insurance companies.

    By fixing the information systems, along with having a single government entity helping to cover those who don't have access to insurance, you eventually cut down the overall costs for the entire insurance business, allowing them to take more risks on those they want to cover, hopefully getting you under the umbrella.

  40. I don't know about you, but I can't fathom too money people who are sitting on $5,000, just waiting to spend it on their next hospital visit.

    You may have that money set aside, but most of the country doesn't.

  41. We hear we cannot afford univeral health care reform. The truth is, if all our citizens get care, the ONLY kind of health care we can afford is universal health care.

  42. Here's a scary, true fact: The health care industry gave out 500 million dollars in Washington, D.C. last year. That's over one million dollars per Congress person and Senator. Write, folks, for God's sake write because it's the only input we have.

  43. In 1967, Returning troops were affected by strange illnesses. We worked in Doctors from the Veterans Administration to create CHELATED TYPE compounds for poison removal (gb laced heroin + other chemicals that was successful. Oral and IV chealtion plus biological antibiotics is highly effective treatment. AIDS was invented and developed as a weapon of war, a coverup of chemical warfare. Truth will save lives, let the real story of AIDS invention be known to all as treatment is needed for MILLIONS

  44. I think we first need to get the government out of health care. Whenever the government gets involved in anything the price goes up while quality goes down. The government cannot give anything to anyone without stealing it from someone else. Consider the difference in quality between public and private education, yet it generally costs less to educate a student in a private school. Competition and free enterprise keep costs down, not government control.

  45. We need absolutely to have universal health care with no exclusions on pre existing conditions and some real cost containment. Health Insurance should NOT be contingent on having a job! Our privately run health insurance is a mess. So many different plans..how do you know what each covers? There is no way a government run plan could be any worse than what we have now. Lets roll right over those damn conservatives and do something for regular Americans for a change!

    David

  46. Until we all get the used to the idea that there is little or no health care in modern medicine nothing will change much. Modern medicine has focused on aetiology of illness, disease, pathology and there has been hardly any resources devoted to the aetiology of health. The nearest it gets to this is preventative medicine which is early diagnosis of pathologies and not promotion of health. One remarkable Pathologist did recognize this problem 50 yrs ago, Dr Scott Williamson, Peckham Experiment

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