American Morning

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June 12th, 2009
02:00 PM ET

We Listen!

American Morning’s Friday audience was predominantly concerned about the future of healthcare in the U.S., in response to John Roberts’ interview with Senator Tom Coburn. Senator Coburn’s remarks were not favorably received, as most found him to be completely unclear.

  • P: i just saw john roberts interview sen. coburn on health care. Did even john understand the man's answers? i didn't and i have a PhD in biochemistry.
  • John: The Republican Senator you interviewed this morning said that Medicare Administrative costs are 21%. A study in 2006 by Milliman, the actuarial firm, concluded that Medicare administrative cost are 5.2%. He needs to get his facts straight!
  • Ernest: If you are going to present a critique of a "Public Health Care Component "to Universal Health Care, do you think you could have the integrity to present both sides? The "Lewin Group" which you "suggest" as an independent evaluator is owned, in totality by the "United Health Group. This "Group" owns United Health Care, Prescription Solutions, AmeriChoice,, Optum Health and other PRIVATE, for profit, health care offerings. Now, I wonder what conclusion the will come to? Do you inform the public that they are NOT an impartial arbitor? No. Then, you have the nerve to present Tom Coburn as a spokesperson, with no one to counterbalance his positions. He, a conservative senator and MD who is pro-life and threatened to block the 100 year commemoration of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" as "junk science". He is certainly not the "expert" that I want to listen to about public health care. Of course, you can invite him, but how about having someone like Howard Dean on at the same time? Are you, CNN, joining the greedy insurance companies to bring down universal health care coverage in the US once more? Where is your concern for the forty million plus citizens who have no health care or provisions to pay for medication? Where is your concern for the countless others who are going broke trying to pay their exorbitant premiums? Finally, if I hear one more journalist talk about the poor health care companies that may go out of business, I will send you all Kleenex. Make up your mind whether you believe in Darwinian capitalism or not. Do the CEO's of health care companies and HMO's need to make millions per year? A public component will keep whichever for-profit providers that survive, HONEST. I respectfully ask you for HONEST reporting.
  • Dorothy: I am an RN/Family Nurse Practitioner (retired) and I was very interested in John Roberts' interview of the Senator who opposes including a public option in a health care reform plan. I would like to see additional information on this as much of the information presented by the Senator contradicts information from other sources. The figures presented by the Senator on the percentage of costs which are administrative in private health care plans (22%) are much lower than any I have ever heard. Also, he stated that Medicare costs are higher which is also something refuted by every source I have ever seen. Please present further information on this topic so that the American people can have appropriate information on which to base their decisions. Thank you for your attention.

What did you think of Senator Tom Coburn’s comments about President Obama’s health care plan? Do you believe that the “profit” motive should be completely removed from health care? How do you feel about insurance companies’ involvement in the process of determining health care legislation?

The new legislation allowing the FDA regulation of tobacco was deemed a fair compromise for current smokers while attempting to curb the number of new smokers.

  • Bob: I began smoking in my late teens and have continued now into my 60s. I know this is at best a stupid habit and that young people should be discouraged from picking up the habit. However, I've opposed past anti-smoking legislation for the broad scope of proposed restrictions. The legislation as just outlined on American Morning seems to me to strike a reasonable balance between limiting the number of new smokers while not imposing onerous restrictions - economic and social - on those of us who, for what ever reason, have not found the motivation to quit. I hope that the focus of the legislation remains on preventing new smokers without marginalizing we long-term, all-be-it stupid, smokers. And I hope that efforts to dictate how Americans eat (the whole trans fat issue, et al) is handled with much greater sensitivity and thought than was early efforts to eliminate smoking
  • Paul: The new legislation with regards to tobacco coming under the F.D.A. is barely a band aid approach! We have similar laws in Canada. However our laws are much more strict and tobacco use has come down marginally in Canada. The argument that by taking nicotine out of tobacco the sales will flow to the black market is absurd. Sales of tobacco products flow to the black market when the prices for tobacco are high. By removing nicotine in cigarettes the user can now have a choice of whether or not they want to quit without the drug nicotine drawing them continually back to their product. It would be wonderful to sell a product to consumers that every time they touched or used your product they would have an overwhelming urge to purchase your products again and again. This is what the tobacco industry enjoys with their products. They have a drug, 'Nicotine', that commands their customers to return to purchase again. Remove nicotine and the problem of smoking and smoking related industries will go away.

What do you think of the FDA’s involvement in the regulation of tobacco? Is this an appropriate trend for our country? Is there a more appropriate solution? Do you believe that our rights are too closely regulated by the government or do you appreciate the steps the government is taking to ensure our safety with such products?

Carol Costello’s piece on bad moms had single dads lobbying for the opportunity to be shown in a positive light.

  • Jerry: What about single dads? I think you are missing the point. I listened carefully to the "bad mothers" confession report this morning. I think its time for CNN to cover the single “good” dads that have been given custody of their children either because the mother has signed them over in a divorce or (in the few cases) where the courts have agreed and awarded the children to the father because of the “bad mother”. My son recently was awarded the custody of his three little girls. This is unheard of and was and still is the most difficult thing we as a family have ever faced. Why? The courts and the legal system favor the mother… “good or bad”. I believe it is time for CNN to do a story on the good dads, how the system causes them to be 500% better than a mother and then fails to protect them as their new lives move forward.
  • Patricia: Recently at a baby shower we were all asked to write a comment in the baby's book. I wrote: Love them, feed them, house them, clothe them, educate them, give them morals, give them work ethic, then give them wings. This is the guidance I used with my 2 girls and they both now own their own company[ies] and we are referred to as "Those [Name removed] Women".
  • Dick: I saw your article about bad mommies. I was a single dad. I raised my son almost by myself. That is something that should be acknowledged. He turned out pretty well in my judgment. We did a lot together, went camping, dirt bike riding, movies, fishing and spent all kinds of time with each other. I decided to do the opposite of what my dad did with us. He is now married, put himself through writing school at UCLA, did free work for movie studios, is a hopeful screen writer, and is doing a sports column on Maybe you could do a piece on single dads.

Is there such a thing as “over-parenting” or “hyper-parenting?” What do you think about “helicopter moms”? Is this something that is a real issue, or has the media simply created this term for moms who are heavily involved with their children? Comment on the story here.

John Avlon’s selection for ‘Wingnut of the Week’ drew concern from some who felt that providing air time for extremists like Pastor Drake Wiley would only incite more violence and hate.

  • Greg: I watched your program on wingnut of the week and was surprised on how off base it was. The wingnut of the week was Von Brunn, remember him? He went to the DC Holocaust museum to kill Jews but was able to kill a black security guard instead. Von Braun is a well known Neo-Nazi and right wing extremist. The right wingnut of the week was the killer Von Brunn, not an unknown preacher. By CNN bringing [Pastor Drake Wiley] into the national spotlight you are laying the groundwork for more hate and deadly violence. Your network has a responsibility to the American public to stop sowing the seeds of hatred in this country. This type of irresponsible, attention getting journalism is just that, irresponsible. I recommend you dump this segment completely or suffer the consequences of the next lone wolf shooting. I would appreciate your reply on this issue.

Tell us who you believe should have been the “Wingnut of the Week.” Comment on John Avlon's blog here.

Filed under: We Listen
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Fran

    Another thought: On the Larry King show it was stated by another doctor that the Hollywood doctors should be investigated. This doctor said that he wasn't going to name anyone, that he would let the investigators do that. This would be interesting to find out who's practicing what without what.

    July 2, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  2. John O'Shaughnessy

    Lost my job over a year ago. Paying all my bills including mortgage from savings. Bank of America refuses to discuss my mortgage as I currently do not have a job. They say I cant refinance because I am jobless. My home is currently worth $125K LESS that I paid for it. I would like to pay a mortgage based on the current value of my house.
    I cannot continue to pay at the current rate and B of A will not discuss the issue with me. FYI.I am still up to date on all my bills.

    June 15, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  3. RusRus

    I think Ron Paul is either confused or lying. When he says Canadians go across the border to the US to get care, yes they do, THE WEALTHY CANADIANS, who think they shouldn't wait their turn because they are wealthy.

    I really hope nobody listens to people like Paul who are trying so very hard to protect the special interests that contribute financial to their election campaigns.

    People like Ron Paul are trying to derail President Obama's plan because if the president brings in health care for everybody, greedy health insurance companies will not be able to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, and fleece the rest of the people.

    It is too bad you give people like him a platform, without being asked the tough questions. This way they can say anything they want and presented as fact, even though it may be inacurate or out right lie.

    June 15, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  4. Joseph S.

    The Iranian Election Crisis may prove to be a great opportunity for The United States and the International Community as a whole. If the region devolves into civil war, the instability would force the government to take focus off their nuclear program, if not terminate it entirely. Furthermore this puts The United States and Europe in a strong position at the bargaining table, when it comes to providing political and/or economic support to Iran in exchange for cooperation with the International Community.

    June 15, 2009 at 6:20 am |
  5. Mitchel

    Hello friends and family,
    We must ignore North Korea. They are just making noise to get attention because they are starving on many levels. Let them starve, and breakdown, then they will be China's problem. China has the key to make them be quiet, yet does not do this because they use North Korea as a "pawn" against South Korea, and Japan. They use China as a threat to Japan and South Korea. China is 80% of North Korea's trade. The other 20% is North Korea selling weapons that are Chinese made weapons.

    It is a chess game to China. Let them starve and dissolve, because North Korea is making their last gasp now, and they cannot live much longer. So, let's wait them out. China is not playing for short term gains, but in fact, long term gains. North Korea is part of their influence. Ignore all the nuclear tests and missile tests that North Korea makes now. It is all a game for concessions. And China is a party to this game too. Let them die as a dictatorship, and let the refugees flow into China, then we will see them ( China ) try to make the situation correct in a normal way. We cannot waste our money, resources and time on them. The best
    policy, is to let them die with a whimper. Let China suffer by their arrogance in strategic thinking.

    June 13, 2009 at 4:51 am |
  6. Mitchel

    The latest "official vote" indicates that Ahmadinejad has 77% of the vote. This is a basdardized election, pure and simple. It was clear by the masses of "green" voters in the streets and the arenas for the last 2 weeks, that they overwhelmed the Ahmadinejad vote. It is also clear by reports, that many election places "ran out of ballot cards", so as not to allow voting in areas that would take Ahmadinejad out of power. Plus, Ahmadinejad supporters are reported ( by Iranians ) to have intimidated Mousavi they were easy to recognize, by wearing green colors. Also, the Iranian Mullahs had internet service, and cell phone service shut down during the day, so the Mousavi supporters- who are mostly 40 and under- could not communicate and text each other as to problems in the voting process.

    This was government imposed control over the election. If it is allowed to stand, then we are dealing with a corrupt religious government, that will do anything to keep their people limited in freedom, individual rights, and in chains. It is NOT the will of the people. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's power is surely deep, and he has "rabid" followers. The only solution for the Iranian people is to do as the Czech's did against the Russians...have a "Velvet revolution". Because, ultimatley, government must represent their own people, or else they are doomed to fail, and be absolved. History reflects this fact. I pray for the Iranian people to find their own way, in these difficult times.

    June 13, 2009 at 1:38 am |