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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 5, 2009 9:30am-10:00am EDT

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hammered. i run a civil engineering firm. host: cells like you're listening to us on radio as you are driving to work. -- it sounds like you're listening to us on the radio as you're driving to work. caller: is correct. host: the latest unemployment number is 9.4%. some of the callers are talking of attrition in their own respective states. on sunday, we will look specifically at california. we will come back and turn to the issue of health care with ceci connolly. we will be back in a moment. >> this weekend, is the largest literary event in the midwest. on saturday, panels and authors will discuss the economy, globalization and the american worker, homosexual rights, the former illinois governor, civil
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rights and a look at the graphic adaptation of "working." stanley greenberg will discuss advising political leaders. he is interviewed by the forer assistant in the bush- cheney what house. university of illinois professor and former weather underground member discusses his latest book. he will take your calls as well as questions from the audience. for a complete schedule of the programming this weekend, go online. >> our party obviously needs a lot of work. >> on sunday, the indiana republican governor on revising the gop. >> we need to look inward lead.
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we need to think about how they can speak more meaningfully to the problems of today and the americans of today. specifically, to the young people today. maybe i can be part of that. you do not have to be a candidate to do that. >> that is on sunday night at c- span. it will also be on xm radio. can also download the pod cast. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we want to welcome ceci connolly from the "washington post." what is the issue like in washington? what has the president proposed? what is likely to happen with congress over the summer? guest: this was a big topic in the last campaign. president obama came in and said it was his top domestic priority
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and that he wants to get something done this year. taking a lesson from the clinton experience of 16 years ago, president obama and his team are not writing legislation. he has laid out eight principles. they are fairly broad. he wants to get on a path to covering every american. as importantly, he wants to control the out-of-control rate of spending going on right now in health care. he wants to improve its quality. they're big things that just about everybody can agree on in principle. most of the action is on capitol hill. on the most part, it is in the democratic caucuses of a few key committees. the senate finance committee is the key one. they are working hard. we expect to see a build from them within the next few weeks. on the house side, energy and commerce is a critical committee along with the ways and means committee. they're working on putting together their legislation. host: you wrote about the
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president's plan to require all americans to have health insurance. as you say, the devil is in the details. explain. guest: this is sometimes referred to as an individual mandate. is an idea similar to that of everyone driving in the country needing to have car insurance. there is the concept that maybe everyone should be required to have some basic level of health insurance. we have seen at up to now with massachusetts. for three years, it has been working with its big comprehensive health care plan. the point that president obama made in his letter to the senate democratic leaders this week was that while he was not crazy about an individual mandate during the campaign -- he criticized his democratic opponents for having such an idea. now, he is saying that he could warm to the idea if there were protections for people that
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cannot afford to purchase their own health care. host: how much would that cost? guest: it is hard to say. what we know about the 46 million uninsured is that a certain number of them are the working poor. they just cannot find affordable health coverage. they would probably need some assistance in purchasing it. we also know that there is a group between the ages of 55 and 65 that are not yet eligible for medicare. they are having trouble purchasing insurance. they might need some assistance. they might just need a good pool that they could buy into. then we have a group called the young in decibels. they are probably in their 20s. they are healthy and athletic know. -- we have a group called the young in decivincibles.
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they could afford a plan but have not been inclined to buy one yet. host: the commission looked at the base closure and realignment. it was an up or down vote by congress to avoid the back-and- forth with specific bases in each congressional district. the president says he wants to do the same thing on health care. steny hoyer is saying he does not like that idea. guest: let me take one step back here. this is half a of an idea that rockefeller from west virginia came up with. there is a medicare payment advisory commission. it is just an advisory commission. it tries to give congress reports on medicare, what kinds of things that should cover, how much it should pay for certain services. but it is just advisory. senator rockefeller once to give that commission full-fledged --
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senator rockefeller would like to give that commission full- fledged authority to make those decisions. the idea is that day will be removed from political pressure. they might be able to make logical and rational decisions about what happens with medicare. president obama countered with his own twist on that theme in the letter he sent to the hill. he said he was giving some thought to may be setting up a base closure commission to handle this. there are a number of politicians who interestingly think it may not be such a good idea. you're still letting congress make all of these different medical decisions about people and medicare. it is that really the smartest approach? host: we're talking to ceci connolly from the "washington
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post." good morning, donna. caller: i have three points. first of all, the republican senators all have top-of-the- line health care. it is paid for by taxpayers. they are going to try to block this. it does not get much slime neier than that. we need health care to compete with the country'ies that have . we cannot compete in the car industry. the insurance companies will pay millions to advertise against this. is the congress going to listen to the average person? will they listen to the health insurance companies? we need real campaign financing.
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most of the supreme court justices said that limiting this bribery would be limiting their freedom of speech. i do not see any way out. i am 60. i do not see any silver lining here. you are all working against us. there are a lot more people that do not have health care than what you talked about, lady. guest: that is an excellent point. we know that officially there are 46 million uninsured, the estimates are another 40 or 50 million are under-insured. they have their policies that do not cover many doctor visits or trips to the hospital. it is a serious situation affecting a lot of americans. it is getting at global competitiveness for many of our companies in the united states. the auto industry has been saying for some time that those
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big health-care costs have been hurting their ability to compete with other manufacturers around the globe. it is a serious situation. she got that many of the important points. host: she is a health care reporter from the "washington post." the next call is on the democrats' line. caller: i am a 70-year-old mathematician from princeton. i have sent you many emails. host: we enjoy reading them and sharing them with the audience. caller: i want to complain about the coverage for single payer. i've read all of this stuff every day. i want to briefly mention some things that you never talked about. then i want to examine the idea that single payer is off the table.
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overhead in an insurance company or the help system is the difference between what goes in and out. it is waste. private insurance companies have overhead of up to 15%. medicare has two%. france has less than 2%. that is up to two hundred dollars billion every year that a solid waste a. you never see that mentioned in the pages of the "washington post ." -- that is up to $200 billion. guest: thank you. you give us the opportunity to plug al gorour blog. some of the single payer advocates had a meeting with the senate. i do not know if you will like what came out of the meeting.
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senator baucus says he's taking it off the table. he has more to do with the progress of the legislation than i do. it is something that we cover specifically in "daily dose." we all long for peace that is in the pipeline here. you should be able to read it in our newspaper in the next few days. it is not something we are ignoring. as you can imagine, a lot of people have a lot of important aspects that they want us to cover. we're going to try to get to them all as quickly as we can. caller: ok. let me say something that is general. you refer to the article that i have of course read. that article is about process. i am talking about content. you're talking about how things get done. i am talking about the actual facts. am i still on? host: you are. you are not talking to yourself.
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caller: it is hard to tell. because of the system of private insurance, we waste half a trillion of dollars each year it that we would saved if we switched to medicare for all. if you get medicare for all, you pick up this money. you can get without costing any more money. you can give everybody super- medicare with no deductibles and completes medical and dental coverage. it lockewill not cost anything . host: we have been reading there are about 46 million uninsured americans. if the government can provide coverage for these individuals, it would cost about $1.50 trillion over the next few years.
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does that sound right? guest: we have seen different estimates. most experts say that we will need at least $1 trillion over the next decade to cover these uninsured that you talk about. we also need to put in place some of the other elements of reform that we frequently hear mentioned. it would not just be the simple math just to cover those 46 million. it would be the cost of the package. the administration puts the figure at about $1.20 trillion over one decade. they are then quick to say that after we get in place some of these things like better technology for medical records on line, more efficiency in the system, they suggest there could be savings further down the road. host: we're getting tweets about
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mandating insurance when you cannot insure jobs. they say it is ridiculous. caller: thank you for talking my call. i am a small medical equipment provider in houston. we're having to deal with rules in the medicare act that deal with competitive bidding. we have to bid against other providers, it typically national chains. we have to do that to continue to provide coverage under medicare. i'm curious if you know anything about the new plan that obama wants to implement. is his approach to reducing overhead to limit the amount of providers available to provide services? in my small industry, we are the only company i am aware of that provides medicare services that has to competitively bid to continue servicing providers at
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this point. do you know if that will continue in terms of the evolution of the health care plan? health care been a fisheries will only be allowed to use certain providers based on their ability to cut costs? host: before she answers that, what does your company do? caller: we provide medical equipment and supplies for medicare beneficiaries and medicaid beneficiaries. host: how many people to use service? caller: have maybe 1500 clients overall. we are a small company. guest: he is raising several questions. let me see if i can address a few of them. let us be clear. president obama is not supportive of medicare for all. he has been fairly forceful about that. with respect to competitive
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bidding in using more of that in the medicare program, i do expect that there will be more of an effort to have competitive bidding. this is something republicans have talked about for many years. it is letting the marketplace flowers. that is in a sense what competitive bidding is all about it is about a free enterprise system. the idea is that medicare ought to be able to get the best price available. they ought to be able to do good shopping for their customers. that is the general idea behind competitive bidding. i do anticipate there will be more of that in the coming years. host: one of our tweets wants the url for your blog. guest:
9:48 am caller: i was really offended when clinton compared us to cars when talking about insurance. you have a choice about having a car. you do not have a choice about being born. i believe it is unconstitutional to force people. in massachusetts, a large percentage of the population is having a hard time paying these premiums. i was injured a few years ago. i paid my bill in cash with a credit card. i paid it off and got a discount. the number one concern at the hospital has to change. they were concerned that i did not have health care instead of that i was suffering from severe burns. doctors should be trained not to care about the paychecks. then we will see the proper care.
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it cannot be through an insurance company. i was laying there on intravenous and were saying that most people have health care coverage. they sent me out the door. i am in my middle 40's. i never had a major health crisis before. host: is it safe to assume you do not have health care insurance? caller: i am self-employed. i have a 20 year old car. someone is going to put a gun to my head and tell me i'm going to lose my tax deduction you get a tax credit from the federal government. i am worried about my car. host: if you had a major illness, would you worry about paying for that? caller: that should not be my concern. doctors become doctors to make money in this country. they have from people in jail in massachusetts for not paying their medical bills.
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this is based on them paying doctors instead of them being caregivers. that has to change. guest: you are getting at so many of the difficult issues that people are confronting right now. we have another report on our website on the health-care page about the number of individual bankruptcies in this country that are due primarily to medical expenses. their medical bills that people cannot afford. the end up filing for personal bankruptcy. -- those are medical bills that people cannot afford. the end up filing for bankruptcy. they have brought the uninsured down to about 3.5% of the population in massachusetts. that is remarkable when you think about a national percentage being closer to 70%. i also understand from reports coming out of massachusetts,
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that you have seen an increase in virtually every type of health care coverage available up there. more people are offered insurance other jobs. they are now taking it. a number of people eligible for a medicaid program or another state program are enrolling in that. we are seeing a whole range of coverage options being taken advantage of their. that does not say it is working perfectly. one problem they are still experiencing up there is a shortage of primary-care physicians. that is going to be a problem nationwide as well. there do seem to be some good indication of massachusetts as well. host: david gallagher email us some questions. he asks if it is true that a portion of every health care dollar goes to an insurance company. the second question is why not a single payer system?
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guest: i am not certain about the 43 cents out of every dollar. i do know there has been good work done by dartmouth university that estimates that easily 30% of health-care spending is what they call pure waste. it may be administrative. a lot of it is unnecessary tests and procedures. we hear a lot about going to one doctor and they take an x-ray. then you get sent on to a specialist. the x-ray may not have made it to the specialist. the specialist may not think it is good enough. they do another one. it is this sort of duplication and replication of tests and procedures that add to a lot of the health care costs. dartmouth says that could be 30% waste. host: this next tweet says that
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single-payer is the best. they say their canadian relatives are very happy. guest: absolutely. i hear from many people in canada and europe. i lived in mexico city for a few years. i know that there are many people who are very satisfied with those government-run single payer health programs. they feel they can get basic care. they can get to a doctor. on the other hand, you will hear some stories from people who complain that there are wait times for specialists and surgeries. there may be limits on how much spending you may be permitted. there is a real divergence of opinion on that. senator baucus is reflecting what he is hearing from his constituents. they're trying to craft a uniquely american solution. host: ceci connolly's b
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yline can be seen in the "washington post." caller: i am glad to see that you are with c-span. i saw you on cnn monday. i thought you went over to cnn. host: we were promoting in our interview with the president. he talked about health care issues in the interview we did with him two weeks ago. caller: i am glad to see that you are still there. this is a wonderful subject. i am so thankful to god that i got through this morning. i am so excited. i do not even know what to say or how to say it. i am a diabetic. i am a long-time diabetic. i have been diabetic for over 30 years. it was so hard for me to get my shivers down.
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i tried for 30 years. -- it was so hard for me to get my sugars done. i tried for 30 years. i met a man from italy who has been here about 30 years. we're going to have to get more aggressivprogressive. i have already emails barack obama about this same subject. i got my sugars down. my a1c was 15 at one time. everybody in america wanted to be at least six or seven. i almost died. with insulin and the chemical medications combined, i started taking some herbal products.
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we have to get with it. i saved my kidneys. i saved myself from going on a dialysis machine. i have gone from 15 down to 6.1. my cholesterol -- host: i'm going to have to stop you. that is a lot of information. do you want to summarize in a question? guest: i need to sit down and talk to somebody. i need to show you the evidence and proof. -- caller: i need to sit down and talk to somebody. i need to show you the evidence and proof. i do not have the kidney or heart disease anymore. guest: i am very happy for you. as you know, diabetes can be very serious. it can lead to dialysis and other serious and costly
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procedures. if you have information to share, it would be great to try to connect with your congressman on some of that. let me also point out that prevention and wellness are very much a part of the conversation in congress right now. the firm belief is that one of the ways to reduce spending on health care is to keep people healthy in the first place. you have a handful of chronic illnesses like diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, these things are costing our country so much money. they can be controlled if not outright prevented. senator tom harkin has a big effort going on to look at ways to encourage more of this prevention and wellness, and healthy living. host: we have an e-mail that is
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asking us to do a program on who promotes the myths about canadian health care. we have focused on that issue. we will do so again. thank you for the suggestion. the next call is from tennessee . caller: i am amazed at the people who want someone else to pay for something that they want. tell me one program the government has ever run that they have not run into the ground. medicare is broke. tencare in tennessee is broken. it has corruption and abuse. all of their drug dealers get their drugs from tencare. tell me one thing the government does. people want single pair. they tried to get around it by calling it a public plan. they are playing with words. people want someone working to
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pay for their medicare. guest: it has been a little while since i have been down to tennessee to take a look dat tencare. i'm not aware of the latest with the program. it has gone through some difficulties. on medicare, i hear these complaints about limits on doctors and specialists. you do make a good point. the long-term solvency of the program is in jeopardy. part of that is because of health care costs and the utilization of services. people go at and get a lot of the extra tests and procedures. i would also say that it is because of the demographics of our population. we have more people who are aging. they are becoming eligible for those benefits. they are collecting from that program at a time when we have fewer workers paying into the system. it is a calculus that is bound to run into


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