American Morning

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July 21st, 2009
04:00 PM ET

We Listen – Your comments 7/21/2009

Editor's Note: American Morning's Tuesday audience was filled with political interviews and opinions on health care reform. Debate continued over who should pay for health care, with mixed opinion on taxing the “rich.”

Health care – Against Taxing the Rich

  • Louise: We were dirt poor. We got a job, worked and earned and saved for what we have. We did not depend on others to work and GIVE TO us. Now you and Obama want me to give what we EARNED to you!!!!!
  • Jessica: I speak for others like me in the silent minority of the top 1% earners. I believe strongly in health care reform and many other social programs. I voted for President Obama. I don't mind paying more taxes to help others less fortunate. But no one ever mentions that many of us have established lifestyles based on our high hard earned income. If I could sell my home and live in a smaller one to help others, I would, but right now most of us in the top 1% have lost a respectively larger percentage of our liquid assets and net worth, our homes are under water, our incomes are down and our expenses (mortgages, health insurance premiums, college tuitions not eligible for financial aid) are the can't get blood from a stone – even a large one.
  • Ken: There are many options to pay for health care: cut defense spending 10%, limit farm aid to 50k per yr farmers not millionaires, roll the taxes back to pre Reagan which was a 60% rate for incomes above 250k and 90% for millionaires and billionaires. Eliminate NASA trips to Mars and the moon. I never heard any whining about taxes pre Reagan, now 39% seems too unbearable to the rich. Give me a break.

For Taxing the Rich

  • Roger: Yes the rich should pay more (their fair share for a change). When you factor in that Social Security tax stops at less than $100K and all of the deductions available, the effective tax rate for most high income earners is less than the middle class. I would like to see some reports on the effective rates of the rich rather than the posted rate on the IRS website.
  • Victor: Somebody has to pay for health care if not the rich, it’s the poor. We know the rich run this country so guess who will pay?
  • A.R.: Health care.... When you give something free to a person, usually they abuse it or throw it away or give it to someone else. There should be no free health care, if you go to a doctor you pay $30. if you go to the hospital you pay $50. Every person should be required to pay something. If you have to pay something for your healthcare you won't be running to the doctor every time you get a cut or your child coughs. Give the poor some responsibility in the whole mess.

Who should pay for health care? Is it fair to tax those who have more money? Do you believe the “rich” are paying their fair share of taxes now?

Filed under: We Listen
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. RP

    We are comfortably retired -came from nothing college graduates who still live far below our means. I am opposed to imposing overwhelming responsibility on hard working people to provide for the have nots. It is discouraging to work hard, reach a certain level of success and be slapped with a tremendous luxury tax on a car you've waited for, long enough to make a cash purchase. This among many other surprise penalities, slapped on anyone who dare to dream. Everyone should bare responsibility – no free-loaders.

    July 23, 2009 at 1:28 am |
  2. shannon

    I make a moderate income for a young professional. I pay for my own health care. I understand that there are some that have stacks of health care debt from certain health issues that couldn't be covered or from family members – I think the government should assist them.

    However, I don't think the government should assist anyone else. Get a job, most that I've ever seen offer health benefits, use COBRA if you have to – I did. Yeah it's expensive and it sucks paying that much for it... but it's called paying for your own health insurance.

    July 22, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  3. brian k

    why is it that when an individual needs help then you get the we're in a freemarket 'bird' but if it a huge irresponsible company whose executives run it into the ground everyone has to come together to help them? socialism is ok for the rich but not the poor??? what am i missing??

    also, I heard a AmFix comment from some woman who says 'she's not rich but rich people have worked very hard to be rich' and I will leave the explicative out but must say hard at what? charging people 1000s of times more for a good than it cost them to produce? something else? making people believe that they need things they don't really need? yes, most rich folks do work very hard at making sure the average person is fleeced for all they have and more. it's time we all WOKE UP!!!!

    July 22, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  4. Susan Terrill

    Don't be fooled by late night ads that denigrate the Canadian healthcare system. Check the facts. Canada's health care system is consistently rated as one of the best in the world. I don't know anyone in Canada with a life threatening condition who has had to wait for treatment. A family member was recently diagnosed with breast cancer (for the second time). She was in surgery within 10 days of her diagnosis. She chose her surgeon. She had meetings with both her surgeon and oncologist before and after surgery. A nurse visited her at home every day after surgery. Her only expense so far has been parking at the hospital! My father had open heart surgery as a young man and then angioplasty later in life. There was no waiting required for his treatment. He received the finest care. I don't understand the American "system". I am a Canadian married to an American. Though we have a middle class lifestyle, healthcare is a major concern. It's very sad when your mind rushes to finances as soon as you experience a healthcare problem. Though we pay a substantial amount each month for insurance, we have been burdened by major bills after two brief hospital visits (one visit for a kidney stone incident lasted fewer than 5 hours yet somehow cost us thousands – despite being insured). I cannot believe that there are medical practitioners in this country who oppose Obama's effort to ensure everyone in the US has health care coverage. Only the wealthy defend the status quo. Most insured Americans understand that they are one serious illness away from bankruptcy. For those Americans opposed to the very notion of universal care because they fear anything that smacks of "socialism", why not dismantle your public education system? Oh, I forgot – that process is well underway, isn't it?

    July 22, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  5. Steve

    Not everyone who can't get insurance is someone who "ate the wrong stuff" as one call in person said.

    Some people have diseases or conditions that they did nothing to cause. But insurers don't care. If it's pre-existing, they exclude you.

    A lot of people are perfectly willing to pay for insurance. The insurers are not willing to sell them any.

    July 22, 2009 at 9:01 am |
  6. Leon Powell

    Gun cotrol-I believe one should abide by the laws of the state in which he lives.When he goes to another state or city , he should abide by their laws. What about speed , when we go to another state or city, we are suppose to obey the speed limits.

    July 22, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  7. Deborah

    People who equate health care reform with Socialism are very naive. This is the bottom line: things have gotten out of control in this country because of greed. Not that long ago people did not have to have health insurance because they could afford to pay bills from their doctors and hospitals. In any given city in this country who has the biggest buildings? Insurance companies and banks have the most impressive buildings because they are making all the money. We have already seen what the banks have done to our economy. There is a glut of money already in the health care system. What has to happen is an equitable distribution of that money so that insurance companies are not profiting from others misfortune, people are getting appropriate healthcare, and doctors can focus on healing people not making them bankrupt.

    July 22, 2009 at 8:08 am |
  8. Neil Stapley

    Yes you are right the only way to get a fair affordable health care system is to have every american to pay a fair price the result is lower premiums as I stated above my Health care costs have risen 261% since I moved from the UK and I am not getting any better service over here infact I find it to be worse.

    I disagree about sales tax because when you see the economy go to the wall funding issues arise as you have seen by many states that rely on the sales tax.

    A national insurance premium is an option similar to what is paid in Europe.

    Regulation of the insurance companies for example ban the practice of deductables or even turn them into non-profit organizations.

    July 22, 2009 at 7:51 am |
  9. E. Laurence

    Wealthy citizens should be charged the same tax rate as the poor and middle classes. This shouldn't be done for health care (I don't want the government managing health care) but it should just be done as fair and equal treatment of all citizens.
    Deductions and loopholes that typically benefit the wealthy should be removed from the calculation.
    If we had equality in tax, we could perhaps all get a better rate rather than over-burdening the middle class.
    Several areas where additional revenues could also be created are by establishing import tariffs and placing additional taxes on those corporations where more than an established percentage of their products are not manufactured in the U.S.
    We could eliminate all the lifetime benefits of the politicians and the funding for libraries and other revenue drains. Why should they receive the lavish benefits – it is only an employment choice where salary should end when the position is no longer held.
    A huge revenue increase could also be obtained by upholding the illegal immigrant laws and discontinuing any and all benefits they receive when they come into our country illegally.

    July 22, 2009 at 7:36 am |
  10. Neil Stapley

    Ron Paul is wrong health care is a right, and would really like to know who is actually funnding Ron Paul.

    I am originally from the UK my health care costs have risen 261% since I have moved and to date I have not found the health care here to be superior to that of the UK.

    Across the world nations provide their citizens with affordable quality health care even Cuba. Europe as a whole spends on average 8% of its GDP on its health care system and covers 100% of their population where the US spends double that on its medicaid and Medicare programes which only covers approx 25% of the population. Why can Europe do but the US can not.

    Answer – Market Forces

    THe US Health Care system is all about profit and when profit is involved its all about shareholders not about patients. Insurance companies want their cut, drug companies want their cut and hospitals want their cut and all this gets past onto the patient. I

    July 22, 2009 at 7:34 am |
  11. Tina

    Why is it that no one will say that most of health care cost come from frivolous lawsuits that are "settled" for thousands each year? Hospitals and drug companies and doctors have gotten to the point that lawsuits are yearly expenses?!! And some of the people on Medicaid and who get food stamps dress beautifully and drive nicer cars than the 1% of the rich that you are trying to tax to pay for these people!

    July 22, 2009 at 7:23 am |
  12. Phil Grigg, FL.

    You cannot tax the wealthy, and insurance companies, and employee benefits to pay for a Government Health Insurance plan that is ONLY available to lower income Americans, and not also available to those paying for it. That is called “Socialism”. The last I heard, we live in a “Democracy” here in America. The only fair Government provided health insurance plan is one that is paid for by all Americans, and then equally available to all Americans. The only way to ensure that all Americans help pay for the Government provide health insurance, is to tax goods and services. Even the guy standing on the corner asking for a hand-out will use that money to buy some kind of alcohol, tobacco, or fast food, thereby helping pay for his own medical care.

    July 22, 2009 at 6:53 am |
  13. Irene Gardner

    I cant believe Cheney's daughter on Larry King with Carville. What a
    mouth!!! She was so rude and didnt let Carville get a word in edgewise. Im surprised Larry King did not shut her up. What a joke
    she is.

    July 21, 2009 at 9:36 pm |
  14. Michael Boyd

    Today, July 21st, there was a report that tried to paint a sympathetic picture of a couple who make 1.5 million, and may see their taxes increase by $9,000. The report also discussed that there is a movement to raise the cutoff for increase from $250,000 to $500,000.
    We are going the wrong way. The idea of taking people off the hook is wrong minded. I make a modest income well below those limits and would still be willing to have my taxes increased by $9,000, the amount of increase for a millionaire, if it would guarantee a high level of care for everyone. I already pay over $6,000 for my employer based plan, so why not add $3,000 to that to insure my grown offspring could be covered as well.
    We have become a self-centered society were we insist that someone else pay for us; we want to share the benefits but are unwilling to share the costs. If we are unwilling to pay – all of us, rich and poor – we will never have a system that does anything but coat a few pockets and leaves most of us poorer and less healthy.

    July 21, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  15. Ray

    sure why not tax the rich ! That way its easier for them to lay off worker s, hire foreigner s. Hey maybe they will just take there companys an money else where !

    July 21, 2009 at 7:22 pm |