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August 5th, 2009
06:15 AM ET

Dr. Gupta: Send in your health care reform questions

Do the health care reform headlines leave you with more questions than answers? Dr. Gupta is your AM insider – and he wants to hear from you!

Post your questions for Dr. Gupta in the comments below or tweet him @SanjayGuptaCNN.

Programming note: Tune in this week to hear Dr. Gupta answer your health care reform questions LIVE on American Morning – weekdays 6-9 a.m. ET on CNN.


Filed under: Health
soundoff (229 Responses)
  1. Harry de Beziers

    This is a remarkable to see an America who condones having children for the sake of having not to work and mothers not fit to be mothers
    having them just like litters. It is sad to see chilldren growing in a country where the beauty of Families was to have the entire family enjoying the fruits of their labor. Generations of children grew up in this society with the values of self sufficiency and pride which unfortunately
    metamorphoses into the use of children as pawns thus forcing the hard working Americans to take car of them forever.
    Do you know that a young woman with children receives :
    1) Housing subsidies such as $1.00 a month up to $10.00
    2) Food stamps and cash subsidies
    3) Free cell telephones
    4) Clothing subsidies
    5) Bus and Gas cards
    6) Sanctioned when they do not want to work because they just got pregnant again.

    There are an average 15 millions of these incompetent mothers receiving monies they never inputted into the system and they believe that they are owed that money!!!

    There are families that can not receive any subsidies because they worked last year but now are unemployed. Even getting temporary food stamps are out of their reaches.

    Now ahealthcare coverage willbe the icing onthe cake. I will indeed start pululating children and have them with no responsibilites since you will take care of them for me!!!

    Is this the America that you are looking forward
    to and perhaps we can force the World to take care of us because we have Nuclear Weapons?

    November 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm |
  2. Alicia Bottoms

    I have two questions:

    1) The Republicans keep claiming that the health reform bill will drastically cut Medicare to seniors, but they are not providing the specifics of how the bill does this. Is this true and, if so, what provisions in the bill can be cited to support their claim.

    2) If everyone will be required to get (and pay for) health insurance, how will this be accomplished for people who have been unable to find work and whose only source of income is unemployment insurance. Will the government deduct the money from their unemployment checks automatically, even if that would mean they couldn't pay their rent or buy enough food to get by?

    November 22, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  3. doubleaseven

    Hi Susan,

    You have posted after two months from the previous post. Most of the folks have probably scattered. Since I get e-mail whenever there is post, I got your comment that way. I thought I will come on down and share my 2c with you.

    If you follow Senator Wyden, he is pushing for the so called "Free Choice Act" where every body should have the choice of Insurance Carriers including the Public Option. As predicted vested interests and their tools in Congress are dragging their feet just like they are trying to drag the Public Option down. If he succeeds one should be able to do what you say.

    The current mood is to let the employers decide the Insurance Choice as they do now. They can switch your Carrier, whereby you may have to change your Doctor if he is not part of the network of the new Carrier.

    Imagine Single Payer like all the other developed countries, where you do not have to switch your Doctor unless you want to. You have your insurance no matter where you go within US.

    October 20, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  4. Susan

    To anyone that has an answer,

    The president continues to state if you like your health plan/doctor you can keep your health plan/doctor. But what if the company you work for decided to choose this "public option" plan to insure its employees because it is cheaper for them. Will we still be able to keep the doctors we favor or will we be forced to choose from a list of doctor covered by the public option plan?? This is my biggest unanswered question with Health Care Reform. I am all in favor of protecting struggling out of work families from being taken advantage of by the health insurance system but thriving citizens making a decent living should still be able to choose from public option or non-public option plan. I'm afraid we would lose that choice to our employer.

    October 20, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  5. Fred V

    Dr. Gupta

    Please advise the advantages and the disadvantages of having cosmetic surgery performed in the specialist private practice to having it done in the hospital.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Fred V.

    August 22, 2009 at 9:31 pm |
  6. James from Houston

    OK, Guys, How many uninsured people actually need additional help from taxpayers?

    To justify his "public option"(which as of today is back on the table), President Obama tells us there were 45.7 million uninsured people in the U.S. in 2007. However, let's carefully look at the facts. By doing so, a more reasonable figure is 10.6 million, as compare to 250 million people with health insurance!
    .
    • Of that amount, 6.4 million are the Medicaid undercount. These are people who are on one of two government health insurance programs, Medicaid or S-CHIP, but mistakenly (intentionally or not) tell the Census taker that they are uninsured. There is disagreement about the size of the Medicaid undercount. This figure is based on a 2005 analysis from the Department of Health and Human Services.

    • Another 4.3 million are eligible for Medicaid or S-CHIP and have not enrolled! If they need care, the hospital or clinic generally enrolls them. They are protected against risk even though they don’t show up on the rolls as insured.

    • Another 9.3 million are non-citizens. Different people come to different conclusions about what portion of this group should receive taxpayer-subsidized health insurance.

    • Another 10.1 million do not fit into any of the above categories, and they have incomes more than 3X the poverty level. For a single person that means their income exceeded $30,600 in 2007, when the median income for a single male was $33,200 and for a female, $21,000. For a family of four, if your income was more than 3X the poverty level in 2007, you had $62,000 of income or more, and you were above the national median.

    • Of the remaining 15.6 million uninsured, 5 million are adults between ages 18 and 34 and without kids.

    • The remaining 10.6 million do not fit into any of the above categories, so they are:
    • U.S. citizens;
    • with income below 300% of poverty;
    • not on or eligible for a taxpayer-subsidized health insurance program;
    • and not a childless adult between age 18 and 34..

    When you hear “46 million uninsured,” or “1 in 6 Americans don’t have health insurance,” remember that this is technically correct but very misleading. The more important question is, “How many uninsured people need additional help from taxpayers?” ... What’s your answer?

    Source :http://keithhennessey.com/2009/04/09/how-many-uninsured-people-need-additional-help-from-taxpayers/

    August 18, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  7. James from Houston

    This response is for George in MD.... George, I agree with you completely!

    The current health care bill will, in one way or another, provide the illegal immigrants and their families with free health care. The reason they will qualify for free health care is because their wages are not reported by their employers and tracked on any W-2 Tax Statements. Consequently, these persons are considered “indigent” and in need of federal assistance.

    By classifying them as “indigent”, we will provide them with free benefits for which they and their unreported incomes do not qualify. Also, these benefits will became a “magnet” for people from other countries to come to the U. S. where they can gainfully work, receive good, unreported incomes and obtain free health care for their families. The new costs of providing these free benefits to our future non-citizens will grow beyond all proportions.

    Possible solution: The e-card system used for hospital admission and outpatient services must be designed so only U.S. citizens will have access to these cards! They must also be verifiable and tamper proof!

    August 17, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  8. James from Houston

    This response is for Boots in Los Angeles.

    Boots, the reason our medical procedures in the United States cost so much and are so expansive is as follows.

    First, when the private hospitals treat emergency-room patients and indigent patients who cannot pay for their medical services, they charge the private carriers more for their procedures and services (like $20.00 for two aspirin!) to make up for their operating losses. If they don’t recover these losses, they will close their doors and go out of business. (This has already happened to three hospitals here in Houston.) The insurance providers, who are charged the brunt of these charges, then pass these charges off to us and our employers in the form of higher premiums.

    If you have no health insurance and are admitted to the hospital, you will pay the same costs as the hospital and doctors charges the insurance providers. Again, these higher costs enable the hospital to recoup their expenses for treating the poor and indigent patients who are unable to pay their hospital bills. … From this example, you can see we have a “universal“ health care system now; it is very expensive and not very efficient! … It also includes all naturalized citizens and all illegal residents!

    August 17, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  9. James from Houston

    Here is a great concern from another of our bloggers:

    "Regarding illegal immigrants getting health coverage. Yes, the House version says they are not eligible; however, the House has deleted mandated verification of citizenship/legal status THREE TIMES.

    So the law saying that illegals won’t be eligible is meaningless without verification of citizenship status addressed in the bill. ...Please be honest in our debate and tell the whole story!"

    August 16, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  10. doubleaseven

    James,

    It is terrible to learn of David Rosenberg's plight. This could be some teething problems. I hope he has raised it to the proper party in Ray LaHood's DOT. I hope he gets his redress.

    By the way I have not heard any such horror stories from Medicare enrollees.

    August 16, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  11. Mary

    to James Yes they do provide perscriptions meds mostly in Generics

    August 15, 2009 at 9:40 pm |
  12. Mary

    To James: Differance i still keep my 99.00 a month from social security. citrus remiburses me back. so i use this to if i need it to spend on specialist of 35. I do not know about Medicare as such . i only know if i had medicare it would be taken out. of social security.
    I do have a dounut hole. in perscruiption drugs i would around i can use up to 3500 i believe.i would have to get my policy out. but what you sent me should tell you about the plan http://www.citrus.com i have just been on this almost 2 years.

    August 15, 2009 at 9:37 pm |
  13. James from Houston

    Austin K,

    Here is a very good review site on what is proposed in the bill to help you better understand the “leagelese” that is in the bill!

    http://keithhennessey.com/

    Here is where you can find a current copy the House Bill, HR 3200:

    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h3200ih.pdf

    August 15, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  14. Austin K

    Can you summarize some of the propositions being but forward in layman's terms? I don't know what we don't agree on other than the idea of public health care. Like many Americans I am not the best at tuning into the news everyday but all I have heard about is the controversy behind reform. I don't care what the crazy lady did at the town hall meeting!!

    August 15, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  15. James from Houston

    Wow! Did you just witness the live interview with David Rosenberg? He owns an auto dealership, and he is participating in the "Cash for Clunkers" program. The government employees who are overseeing this program from Washington have approved the Federal applications he has submitted for the program. However, another government overseer has reviewed the work these people have done and finds errors and mistakes in their reviews.

    David is then notified by the government overseers that the people who have traded in the "clunker" are, for some reason, not qualified to participate in the program. Meanwhile, David has already sold the customer a new car, and now he owns the “clunker”. Guess who is now left holding the bag? The auto dealership of course!. So far, David had lost one million dollars participating in this highly-touted government–run program.

    And now we want to trust the government to run our national Health Care Insurance Program effectively with this new congressional legislation? … Come on team ... let’s get real!

    August 15, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  16. James from Houston

    This is for Mary. Mary, What is the difference in benefits and costs when the Citrus Plan is compared to the Medicare Program? Are both programs equivalent and do their premiums cost about the same? Does the Citrus Plan cover prescription drugs? .. just curious!

    For those not familiar with the Citrus Health Care Plan, please check this out:
    http://www.citrushc.com/

    August 14, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  17. Mary

    TO Doubleaseven : Thank you I watched the town hall meeting in Montana did i get this right? My citrus plan is a medicare plan and that goverment pays for this and than i get reiumburst by the citrus plan to my social security. well , President i believe they will stop doing this and that means my husband and myself will have 200. every month taken out of our social security, 100.00 ea. we live on this 200. extra. plus pay for our specilize care . i guess than will go on medicade than. he will put many on that program.

    August 14, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  18. James from Houston

    This response is for Doubleaseven. Doubleaseven, I agree with everything you say!

    My problem is when I look at the government's track record of controlling costs, it is a dismal failure. The Post Office, Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, Medicare, Medicaid, and Amtrak are all good, well-intended programs, but their costs have grown and exploded until they are out of control. Today, Medicare costs are ten times as much as they were estimated to be by this time when the Congress passed it in 1963.

    There is no "trust fund" presently available for Social Security. Today's retirees, such as myself, are paid by today's employees who are working and contributing to the retirement system. What are we going to do when we have more retirees collecting social Security than we have workers in the work farce who must pay the payroll taxes?

    Our goal of having everyone covered by health insurance is noble, but let's not pass a bill that will further bankrupt the country and leave our grandchildren to pay off an enormous, unsustainable debt. We must, in our compassion, look out for their welfare also!

    August 14, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  19. doubleaseven

    Mary, their are terrible rumors being spread. Even more shocking is the fact that they have used these rumors to frighten our elderly. There is no nefarious agenda in President Obama's plans. Some people just don't want a young, intelligent man who cares deeply about people to succeed. Even if it means hurting the elderly, the poor and themselves.Only people who profit from the fear campaign are two bit dishonest politicians.

    Firstly Medicare is a 100% Govt run program. So do not worry about Govt meddling with your private Medicare insurance. It is just not private. Medicare takes good care of 45 Million seniors. No body wants to mess up a program that works well for our Seniors.

    Rumor mongers forget to tell you that. No question of taking anything away. If anything the bill should only help Senior Citizens. There is no hidden agenda here. No plans to take your money away – and make a Death Panel. No curling up and dying Grandma. It is these rumor mongers who should get their comeuppance.

    The term Death Panel was coined by an unscrupulous politician to make the elderly afraid and angry. These crooks are no better than those in Florida who fool the elderly and steel their life savings. Death Panels what a horrible term. That too in America, not Nazi Germany, where we take pride in caring for each other. No proud American will believe that their fellow citizens would let that happen. If it was up to me I will outlaw such hateful and fear mongering speech. It does not lift anybody, just pushes honorable folks into the gutter.

    James, these bills are in a flux and hopefully CBO will work with OMB to make sure that the President's promise to keep the plan budget neutral is realized. Additionally it is well understood that small businesses are the heart of job creation. First off only more than 250 thousand may pay higher taxes. As for small businesses if they reinvest the profit, there should be investment credits. I am pretty confident that things are in good hands. If we want us to be happy and content we should be strengthening Obama's hand.

    It is a crying shame that the shyster politicians whip up fear and thus anger. No sane minded American would think that agitating at the behest of crooks is very smart. It is in our best interest to not let these politicians sabotage the sincere efforts being made by the President. Slowing him down will only bite us in our behind. If he does not come through, we take care of it at the ballot box. That is the American way. If any thing I believe that President is wasting time in including those whose mission is to sabotage his agenda. As for me I would say enough is enough. Dump the naysayers and get on with people's business.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  20. James from Houston

    This response is for Mary. Mary, here is where you can find a current copy the House Bill, HR 3200:

    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h3200ih.pdf

    Here is a very good review site on what is proposed in the bill to help you better understand the "leagelese" that is in the bill!

    http://keithhennessey.com/

    August 14, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  21. Mary

    To James from Huston: I would like to read and to understand this reform where is it. Their was a lady whos reading it now, no politics envolved she just likes to read whats going on very informative. well where do i find this on the enternet?? like the healthcare reform bill ?
    James i do know I am on a citrus program, medicare i do not pay for primary doctor. which chareges 179. a visit to citrus and citrus paid 117. to the primary dr. I pay 35.00 to specialist every time i go to them. plus drugs i get generics which i do pay most of time nogthing, so this is something i never had before i turned 65. out of pocket for me. sooo i am hanging on a tight string anyhow. oh plus i have a doughnut whole. oh well i have about 15 more years in my life, i hope it comes quick, the weeks are now going so fast i will get there too. Blessings

    August 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  22. James from Houston

    This response is for Mary. Mary, I will fight to my dying breath to assure that your Medicare benefits are not taken away from you! What really scares me are these very unrealistic projections by CBO was to what our health insurance costs will be in the future.

    I am a high school science teacher, and I am very concerned about the unnecessary obesity I now see in our children and their parents. Most of the obesity I see in our children today is due to lack of exercise and the fried foods, dairy products and refined sugars they frequently use in their ethnic foods.

    If their diets and eating habits don't change, the health costs of treating their diabetes, heart disease and attendant internal organ damage will increase beyond all reasonable and acceptable controls!

    August 14, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  23. Mary

    I am on medicare: I heard from the News that the President , has made a deal with the drug companys with out congress knowing will this affect my medicare, plus will this affect goverment not to honor our Private health care medicare, and will be taking out of our social security this 200. will hurt us we might as well cruel up and die, and I am a grandmother. SO DONT MEDAL WITH OUR MEDICARE BENIFITS. this is a DEATH PANEL IN ITS SELF. TO THE ELDRLY. SO PLEASE LET ME KNOW . DEATH PANELS WHEN GOVERMENT TAKE MONEY FROM ME I HAVE TO PAY MY BILLS. SO EXPLAIN. I WAITED MANY YEARS TO BE ON MEDICARE . THANKYOU

    August 14, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  24. James from Houston

    Question: Will the House bill, in its current form, increase short-term, 10th year, and long-term budget deficits?

    THE PRESIDENT: "And we will do this without adding to our deficit over the next decade, largely by cutting out the waste and insurance company giveaways in Medicare that aren’t making any of our seniors healthier."

    (and later) "First of all, I said I won’t sign a bill that adds to the deficit or the national debt. Okay? So this will have to be paid for."

    And yet:

    • CBO says the House bill would increase federal deficits by $239 B over the next ten years.
    • CBO says the House bill would increase the deficit in 2019 by $65 B, meaning the bill fails the President’s “10th year test.”
    • CBO says the House bill would result in increasing deficits beyond 2019, because the new spending would grow faster than 8% per year, while the offsets would grow only about 5% per year.
    • The House bill would not just slow Medicare growth, but would also raise taxes on high-income individuals and small business owners.

    This last point is perfectly acceptable to me, but we must be prepared to accept slower future job growth because will be diverting investment capital from the small business owners and private investment groups (who create private sector jobs) to Washington in the form of higher-and-higher taxes.

    August 14, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  25. James from Houston

    President Obama makes a good case against his public option in the health care bill!

    THE PRESIDENT: "I mean, if you think about — if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems."

    I think the President was using this example to demonstrate that private firms can compete with the government. It came out wrong. He undermined the case for more government control, and especially for a public option, by pointing out that the government cannot deliver the mail and stay on budget!

    August 13, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  26. James from Houston

    This response is for Mary. Thanks, Mary! I guess brilliant minds often think very much alike! …Ha-ha!

    Some other concerned citizens and personal friends of mine have voiced concerns that the Federal government pays for (subsidizes) about 30% of the monthly premiums for their workers. These persons are rightfully concerned if everyone were included under the Federal system, the tax payers would have to subsidize the insurance costs of these new enrollees as well.

    I don’t believe this problem will materialize for the following reasons. First, believe it or not, the Federal Government already subsidizes the private insurance companies with the billions and billions of dollars they give them each year in the form of reimbursements from the Medicare system. When the hospitals treat emergency-room patients and indigent patients who cannot pay for their medical services, they charge the private carriers more for their procedures and services (like $20.00 for two aspirin!) to make up for their operating losses.

    Second, the Federal Government uses the Medicare transfer payments to offset the inflated (50-75%) treatment costs our hospitals now charge our private insurers. However, if everyone were included in the present Federal system, the government subsidies (50-75%) we now pay to the private insurance companies would instead be used to cover everyone who is now uninsured with no net increase in cost to the taxpayers. The only people out any money, and rightfully so, would be the people who would have to pay monthly premiums for the new coverage they receive when they enroll in the existing Federal Employees health insurance plan! … Case closed, Problem solved!

    August 13, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  27. Mary

    To James from Huston:

    I thought of that too, we all can have . we all could be into a group with the Federal employees, Sence we are the people. thumbs up.

    August 12, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  28. James from Houston

    Hey, guys, Here is a perfect solution! Why doesn't the House and Senate just expand their health care coverage to include all of us? ...They could do this with a simple, one-page bill! Things do not have to always be this complicated, as they are now!

    This way, we will get the same great medical coverage as they do, and our premiuns will be reduced because we will all be included in one huge insurance pool! Also, we will be able to pick-and-choose from a menu of private providers just as the Federal employees now do!

    August 12, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  29. James from Houston

    This response is for Carmen.

    Carmen, I agree with you completely! Health insurance today for non-employed citizens and legal immigrants is much too expensive!

    However, I’m very, very concerned if President Obama cuts off the billions of dollars each year in Medicare payments (federal subsidies to reduce their reimbursement costs) to these companies, like he wants to do, these insurance policies will become even more expensive! Perhaps this is how he wants to finally go to a single-payer system!

    What we must do to reasonably bring down costs and make health insurance more affordable for everyone is allow our citizens and legal immigrants to enter large, regional pools which can negotiate and sign legal contracts with the insurance companies.These pools must be allowed to negotiate with these companies across state lines. Currently, if you live in Texas you must buy Health Insurance from Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Texas. If you live in California, you must buy Health Insurance from Blue Cross-Blue Shield of California. This is a bad policy and must be corrected in the current legislation!

    Also, please read the following most enlightening article about profits in America.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/29/AR2009072902626.html

    August 12, 2009 at 10:00 am |
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