American Morning

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March 1st, 2010
03:00 PM ET

We Listen – Your comments 3/1/2010

Editor's Note: On Monday, as Congress continues to grapple with proposed health care reform, American Morning’s audience zeroed in on health care waste. Many thanked CNN for the investigative series, while sharing solutions as well as their own health care horror stories.

  • James: GREAT commentary on waste in the health care industry. It was an eye opener to hear of $1000 mischarge for a toothbrush. I PRAY you will take this further and show how much a toothbrush normally costs during a hospital stay, no just when there is a mischarge. If the regular household cringes at Joe The Plumber's bill, that will run in horror at what the hospital charges! The health care industry has become a government sanctioned monopoly and as a country we can't afford it. Please join in; we can't afford to get sick. The Obama plan is NOT the solution. It perpetuates the problem!
  • Gina: If I was an Ins. Comp. & was to Ins. YOU I would have a monthly statement to go out to Insured like a credit card statement. An itemized Bill that either your Dr. Hospital, or testing Facility carded them for including an year end statement what you & employer paid vs how much you spent. Like a credit you must pay at certain date with a HCare credit card you must verify at certain date that charges our carrier paid for is correct...with a small fine for not complying.....This will certainly keep down costs & Medicare & Caid should do the same.....You know […] well if something is fishy on your credit cards, you call up screaming to high […] right..same should be on Hcare.
  • Mary: Hairdresser for 40 some years. Man stories I could tell of either my clients or the others working there. One lady came in with her laminated bill of her aging husband that was charged for labor room and delivery room plus. The hospital dunning her for over 6 months as Medicare refused to pay the bill. Funniest thing I ever heard. Not only her husband an old man, but hardly have a baby. When my children born 1966, 1970, 1977, 1980, I brought the Kotex to the hospital to keep from exorbitant charges of at first $29.99, then, it was $36, then last two was close to $59. Brought my own aspirin. Remember hospitals buy in bulk and wholesale. Not in the store things. Vets for animals are equally as horrifying. Why so many pets get euthanized because vets are overcharging for services and products. I was purchasing some of that tainted dog food in which my dog's kidney's were bleeding at $80 a whack, and buying it from the vet. I now cook for my dogs.

What do you think? Is there a better way to prevent waste in the health care system? Continue the conversation below.

Filed under: We Listen
March 1st, 2010
01:00 PM ET

States may ban release of emergency calls

(CNN) – 911 calls can show us how lives were saved, and sometimes how they could have been saved. Now, several states are considering laws that would keep the public from hearing the recordings.

Does a caller's right to privacy trump your right to hear it?

Susan Howley, spokesperson for the National Center for Victims of Crime, supports banning the release of the calls. David Cuillier, chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists' Freedom of Information Committee, says releasing emergency calls can do a public service. They debated the issue with us on Monday's American Morning.

Filed under: Controversy • Justice
March 1st, 2010
12:00 PM ET

John Roberts, Kiran Chetry & John Avlon discuss 'Wingnuts'

Editor’s note: John P. Avlon is a senior political columnist for The Daily Beast and author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America." Previously, he served as chief speechwriter for New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was a columnist and associate editor for The New York Sun.

(CNN) – CNN independent analyst John Avlon is the author of a new book called, “Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America."

Avlon is no stranger to viewers of CNN’s “American Morning.” He joins the program on Fridays for his weekly “Wingnuts of the Week” segment.

What’s a wingnut?

According to Avlon, a wingnut is someone on the far-right wing or far-left wing of American politics. In a polarized two-party system, he says, wingnuts have a disproportionate influence and too often define the terms of debate.

On Monday March 15, Avlon will discuss “Wingnuts” at Strand bookstore in New York City. He will be joined by American Morning anchors John Roberts and Kiran Chetry. The event is free and open to the public.

Date: March 15, 2010
Time: 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Place: Strand bookstore
828 Broadway (at 12th St.)
New York, NY 10003-4805

Filed under: Opinion • Politics • Wingnuts of the week
March 1st, 2010
11:00 AM ET

'Letters to Jackie' captures a nation's anguish

Editor's Note: 1.5 million letters were sent to Jacqueline Kennedy after JFK's assassination in 1963. Author Ellen Fitzpatrick's new book, "Letters to Jackie,” highlights 250 of those condolences. It is published by Ecco and goes on sale at bookstores March 2, 2010.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=""Letters to Jackie" is a first-ever compilation of condolences received by Jacqueline Kennedy after President John F. Kennedy's assassination."]

By Ronni Berke, CNN

(CNN) – The 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy was an act of violence that shocked the collective American conscience, sparking an outpouring of grief that transcended racial and economic lines.

That grief has now been cataloged by historian Ellen Fitzpatrick in a new book, "Letters to Jackie," a first-ever compilation of some of the 1.5 million condolence letters the first lady received after Kennedy's death.

Most of the letters were originally destroyed by the National Archives, which felt it would not have enough room to store them. Fitzpatrick combed through more than 15,000 of the remaining letters at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, to choose 250 for the book.

"The letters that were most compelling to me were ones that encapsulated some sense of Kennedy as a president, or it was someone who had something very powerful to say about the day of the assassination … or someone who talked about an experience with grief in their own life," said Fitzpatrick.

Letters express JFK grief Video

There was also great diversity among the letter writers.

"I am but a humble postman," wrote Henry Gonzales. "Please try to find it in your heart that we Texans of Mexican origin love all of you."

Henry Gonzales emigrated from Mexico to Texas with his parents at the age of two. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he joined the U.S. Postal Service. (Photo scan courtesy the JFK Presidential Library and Museum)


Filed under: Politics
March 1st, 2010
10:00 AM ET

Leno returns to late night

(CNN) – He's about to become the sixth host in the history of the "Tonight Show," and he was also the fourth.

Tonight, Jay Leno makes his return to late night after a PR disaster that saw NBC kick Conan O'Brien to the curb. The big question is, even though Jay is back, will his audience be? Our Kareen Wynter has the report.

Filed under: Entertainment
March 1st, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Health care – Prescription for waste: $1000 toothbrush

Editor's Note: All this week, in the American Morning original series "Health care – Prescription for waste," we're examining more waste in the health care system – and this time it could involve your money. Today, a medical billing advocate shows our Elizabeth Cohen some of the wasteful charges she's seen in bills. And tomorrow on American Morning, we go shopping for health care to show you how you can save hundreds when it comes to your own medical bills.

(CNN) – Imagine someone spending a thousand bucks for a toothbrush. It might be amusing – if it wasn't your money. Consider this: for every dollar we spend on health care, fifty cents is wasted.

Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen shows us just how expensive some medical accessories can be and whether you’re getting slammed with bogus bills.

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