US Health care debate: What are the issues?

Joe Wilson‘You lie!’ – Republican Joe Wilson felt so strongly about illegal immigrants during President Obama’s speech on health care, that’s what he shouted when the President mentioned it. The President was explaining that illegal immigrants would not be entitled to benefits under his reform proposals.

But there are so many angles to this story I’m wondering what the biggest issue is…

Is it about the rights of illegal immigrants? Should immigrants give up their rights when they enter a country illegally? This blogger thinks so “Just because someone wants to work, doesn’t give them the right to undercut our system for all of our legal citizens.”

Or is it about health care and who should pay? We’ve discussed this before on WHYS.

The row is affecting President Obama’s popularity as he struggles to get support. Political scientist, James Morone, thinks it could make or break his presidency and according to a new survey more than half of Americans now disapprove of his handling of the issue. So is the question one about leadership? Do you need to be popular to be a good leader?

What do you think the issue is and where do you stand on it?

55 Responses to “US Health care debate: What are the issues?”

  1. 1 Dennis Junior
    September 10, 2009 at 11:45

    ///Should immigrants give up their rights when they enter a country illegally?///

    Yes, since, it will be a severe punishment and, that way; they will know that there behaviour is not going to be acceptable….

    =Dennis Junior=

  2. 2 gary
    September 10, 2009 at 12:44

    Mr. Wilson and his fellow party members are so wrapped up in in lies supporting the least efficient healthcare system on the planet they wouldn’t recognize the truth if it came along and stuffed some more money in their pockets. Illegal aliens? I’m quite shocked he didn’t also throw in comments about gay marriage and the Second Ammendment.

  3. 3 steve
    September 10, 2009 at 13:25

    @ Gary

    Really least efficient? Is that why Latin America’s policy is to not increase their system so as to get their populations to flee to the USA.

  4. 4 patti in cape coral
    September 10, 2009 at 13:27

    If what you are saying is should people in the country illegally have access to public healthcare, it’s easy to say no, but if I actually had to see the result of it, people dying, sick children, etc., I would probably change my tune. So, even though I know it’s probably the unpopular answer, I say yes, people here illegally should have access to public healthcare, if it ever becomes an option.

  5. 5 Michael in Ft. Myers, Florida
    September 10, 2009 at 13:38

    The issue of illegal immigrants being covered or not is yet another contrived issue by the far right who would benefit by the death of more poor people. I have always tried to be civil when discussing differences of opinion, but I have had enough. ALL of these Republicans who are against reforming the most broken of American systems are actively hurting their fellow citizens, don’t care about anybody but their rich croney friends and their own pockets. In modern society, healthcare is a RIGHT, not a privelege for those few who can afford it. I see all of their lies and obfuscation as nothing more than an act of war against the poor, whom would benefit most from change. But without us (the poor) who would wash your dirty clothes and houses, who would you hire if we weren’t around? I wil, from now on, vote against ALL incumbent Republicans in all races that I am allowed to vote in, until real conservatives come back.

    • 6 James Ian
      September 11, 2009 at 09:58

      If you don’t work and/or pay taxes you don’t or at least shouldn’t have a “Right” to anything. I’m not rich and I don’t feel like I have a right to anything except what I work for. I feel lucky just to be alive and able to work. I don’t expect anything from anyone except to be left alone to make and honest living for myself and take care of myself. People how think they have a right or entitlement to anything other then what they work for or pay for just make me want to screem. I had to go without insurance most of my life and had to pay all my medical bills myself. No I just feel lucky to have landed a job that provided insurance. No I take that back, I don’t feel lucky, I worked my butt off to get to where I am and you know what I’m glad I was never given anything because of the pride I feel knowing I worked for everything I’ve got. No body gave me anything, I had to work for it all. I have a pride that I would have never had if things had been given to me. I have a since of self worth because I struggled out of poverty on my own paying for everything on myown along the way.

  6. 7 steve
    September 10, 2009 at 13:51

    @ Michael, in europe they forcibly expell illegal immigrants due to the costs they impose. They in many case keep them in detention camps as well. You do realize that if all of Latin america decides to come to the US get free healthcare, even YOUR taxes will go up considerably. Not just the rich people’s who you want to pay for this all.

    • 8 Michael in Ft. Myers, Florida
      September 10, 2009 at 14:21

      Of course I understand that concept, but my point is that they pose such a minimal amount of us who aren’t convered anymore that it is a red herring meant to do nothing more than derail the whole topic of reform. President Obama very clearly stated that he would VETO ANY legislation that even mentioned covering illegals during last ngiht’s speach. I have read theough all 4 proposals that are currently being floated around, and every one specifically EXCLUDES illegal immigrants, so my point stands. The Dems DON’T have all of the right answers, but the right wingers are posturing and nothing more, and again I state that they WANT the poor to die off in larger numbers than they are now!

    • September 10, 2009 at 14:29

      Steve, who expects the rich to pay for it all? The rich are not the only citizens who pay taxes. The rich seem to let “priveledge” go to their heads. Most of us were immigrants at some point who gained stability from the blood, sweat, and tears of others. The immigrant quarrel sounds like a rant from an egocentric child.

    • 10 Keith- Ohio
      September 10, 2009 at 22:54

      Why is everybody so crazy over illegal immigrants. This issue has nothing to do with them, and every plan excludes them, as Michael says. And Steve, do you REALLY think Americans would pass a law that makes us support legal immigrants? Democrats don’t support that, NOBODY supports that!

      The only change in how they are treated now is that they would be able to BUY insurance at full cost, funneling money into the US economy! Right now they enjoy “free” health insurance by making trips to the emergency room whenever they are in trouble, and they receive treatment!

  7. 11 Dennis Junior
    September 10, 2009 at 14:18

    I think that the issues are in this Health Care Debate are; That the Republicans in the United States are not the ones who are proposing any ideas….They are using the old game of criticise the Majority Party….

    =Dennis Junior=

  8. 12 Ann
    September 10, 2009 at 14:21

    Hey – I have an idea that could possibly sort out the healthcare problem in the USA and worldwide in fact….

    Given that 40% of the world’s wealth is owned by 1% of the population, how about asking THEM to fund health care for the poor? Simple eh? No more bickering about taxes and illegal immigrants. No more disproportionate taxation of the low paid and the moderately paid. Tax the super rich!

    In fact I’m liking this idea… maybe we could extend the idea into providing education and other beneficial things like decent housing to the poor. And while we’re at it we could be thinking about asking for some of those huge bonuses back from rich enough bankers – that should swell the pot a bit. And those multi-million dollar private jets and such like, they could raise a few bob on the open market. Oh I can think of so many ways of redistributing wealth.

    I’m off to speak to Michael Moore….

    What’s that I hear from other people with a social conscience…. “dream on Ann dream on”.

    • 13 patti in cape coral
      September 10, 2009 at 15:30

      @ Ann – Do you have a petition? Where do I sign?

      • 14 Ann
        September 10, 2009 at 15:46

        Patti – what a great idea!!! We could start an internet revolution for justice and equality – any good programmers out there want to build us a website?

      • 15 Keith- Ohio
        September 10, 2009 at 22:49

        While it’s true that many executives get rich with less than decent business practices, it would be difficult to justify making a small group of people pay for such a large problem that they aren’t responsible for. Income tax is one thing, this is another :). Sorry, I know that wasn’t a serious plan.

  9. 16 Mike Yantachka
    September 10, 2009 at 14:36

    Rep. Wilson’s outrageous outburst is itself a lie. President Obama was stating his policy, and his policy is to not provide illegal immigrants access to the public option or any other government-sponsored health insurance plan. If Wilson could point to anything concrete to support his assertion, it would be one thing. But he instead challenged Obama’s personal veracity regarding his statement of a policy, and that is simply an out-of-bounds insult.

  10. 17 Morf
    September 10, 2009 at 14:42

    The behavior of the Republicans during this speech was a near pure demonstration of cynicism and disrespect for the American political process.

    The GOP should be ashamed at the adolescent hostility and sullenness expressed at this pivotal presentation.

    Those GOP members who were so negative and uncooperative should be named and voted out. If they have nothing to contribute, they are part of the problem.

  11. 18 Jennifer
    September 10, 2009 at 14:46

    The main issue here is that we need honesty from the President. People are not stupid.

    The issues are:

    Illegal immigrants


    The cost of this plan

    Stating that Republicans have not tried to work with democrats is a big lie. They have. People keeping up with this “debate” know that.

    And a personal issue is the (lies) insults against someone I support without even using her name.

    • 19 Keith- Ohio
      September 10, 2009 at 22:16

      The only issue I am even slightly worried about is cost.

      But you need not fear about illegal immigrants: the bill states that illegal immigrants would not be denied PURCHASING health care, and specifically states that health care subsidies will under no circumstances be given to illegal immigrants. This means that many of the illegals who were previously subsidized by tax payers whenever they had to make a visit to the emergency room will now be able to buy health insurance, taking the burden off of tax-payers! This can only HELP our economy.

  12. 20 Bruce
    September 10, 2009 at 15:03

    Joe Wilson is one of the low-life politicians who have stoked “Death Panel” fears during the August recess. President Obama called him and his ilk out on their lies and Wilson simply felt the need to call Obama a liar from the safety of the floor. It was an unprecedented show of disrespect from a cowardly nobody from South Carolina. The issue at hand didn’t really matter. Illegal aliens? One wonders what problem Wilson really has with the President.

    • 21 Ann
      September 10, 2009 at 15:42

      “One wonders what the problem Wilson really has with the President?”

      Ann whispers to Bruce quietly….

      “maybe because some of Obama’s ideas are…em…..eh…..well….oh dear – I don’t know how to say this to without upsetting Republican sensibilities….you know how his ideas are shot through with notions of equality and justice…..in Europe we call it… not sure I should say it really…..em…. eh…..well we call it ‘socialism’, but that seems to be a big bad word in America so I daren’t say it out loud”.

      • 22 T
        September 10, 2009 at 18:05

        It’s called racism. The mostly white neocons in Congress are STILL angry that a person of color is President.

  13. 23 tkoller
    September 10, 2009 at 15:22

    The current system gives free medical aid to illegal immigrants. But it is not stated that way. Anyone showing up at a hospital needing aid is given it. There are no checks. Therefore unless the ‘new’ system addresses this, it *does* give aid to illegal immigrants.

    As I have posted before, when anyone engages in illegal activities, they lose rights in proportion to the offense. Illegal immigrants should never be covered. It is an incentive for them to engage in their illegal activities. The only effective way to stop illegal immigration is to eliminate the desire.

    As to other health care issues, we need competition to bring prices down. To me the best way is to change how insurance is sold. Currently it is effectively sold only to employers. We need to make it more competitive by having it sold individually, more like auto and property policies. This would also help small businesses survive.

  14. 24 Tom D Ford
    September 10, 2009 at 16:15

    “You lie!’ – Republican Joe Wilson”

    Ha ha ha, this from the party that told us “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq!

    From the party that told us that Iraq was involved in 911, which Cheney finally admitted was a lie!

    From the party that brought us the Colin Powell speech full of lies before the UN about WMDs in Iraq, which embarrassed even Colin Powell!

    Republicans are thoroughly discredited liars, they have no credibility at all.

  15. 25 Tom D Ford
    September 10, 2009 at 16:20

    “You lie!’ – Republican Joe Wilson”

    LOL! This from the party that told us they’re for small fiscally responsible government but grew the government hugely
    and drove us into worldwide recession and debt so large that our grandchildren will still be paying it off in the future.

    Republicans are liars!

  16. 26 Tom D Ford
    September 10, 2009 at 16:28

    Conservative Republicans are against what Jesus taught about when he said “even as you treat the least of these”, which makes them anti-Jesus.

    Democrats try to be “our brothers keepers” just as Jesus taught, but Conservative Republicans are offended by Jesus’ teachings and work to prevent them from being brought to life.

  17. 27 steve
    September 10, 2009 at 16:29

    @ Pete, the top 1% of wage earners in the US pay OVER 50% of the federal taxes. Over 50% of americans pay no income tax at all, and these are the poor. they pay nothing into the system. THe rich fund everything. Everyone should pay at least something.

  18. 28 Tom D Ford
    September 10, 2009 at 16:34

    Wilson should have been removed from the chamber by the Congressional Police, just like any other disrupting protester and charged just like any other.

    When will charges be brought? Are Republicans above the Law? There sure are plenty of witnesses.

    • 29 T
      September 10, 2009 at 18:04

      I agree. Cindy Sheehan was arrested and removed from the same chamber just for wearing a T-shirt. But for the neocons, once again there’s no consequences to their actions.

  19. 30 steve
    September 10, 2009 at 16:34

    In in return for the rich providing healthcare fo rthe poor, as the rich actually pay taxes, and the poor do not, only the rich should be able to vote? Or you want to have your cake and eat it too?

    • 31 Ann
      September 10, 2009 at 17:10

      From The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1736…

      « Enfin je me rappelai le pis-aller d’une grande princesse à qui l’on disait que les paysans n’avaient pas de pain, et qui répondit : Qu’ils mangent de la brioche. J’achetai de la brioche. »

      “Finally I recalled the worst-recourse of a great princess to whom one said that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: “Let them eat brioche…”

      I see not much has changed.

  20. 32 steve
    September 10, 2009 at 16:49

    The deal with illegal immigrants, is that even if they are not covered under the bill, someone will bring a lawsuit that will judicially change the law to cover illegal immigrants. It’s inevitable that the law would be challenged on that ground. Also, there has been some pretty bad behavior by Democrats in Congress, remember when Cynthia McKinney hit a police officer on the head with her cell phone?


    • 33 Keith- Ohio
      September 10, 2009 at 22:36

      … there is no constitutional passage or legal precedent that makes non-US citizens eligible for benefits meant only for US citizens.

  21. 34 Anthony
    September 10, 2009 at 16:58

    @ Tom D Ford

    We’re talking about a party who didn’t hold Bush and his administration to “this will be a war of weeks, not months”, and don’t care that we never found any WMD. They use Motivated Reasoning, thus we get people who just copy and paste exerts from Rush Limbagh and Sarah Palins web site without really reading nor thinking about it.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  22. 35 Tom D Ford
    September 10, 2009 at 17:18

    Oh for goodness sakes Steve, the rich got rich by creating the poor, by reducing people to poverty.

  23. 36 Ann
    September 10, 2009 at 17:23

    Quick question for Tom D Ford

    What’s the going rate hourly rate for a waitress in the US? And can she manage to pay taxes on her income? Or how about a cleaner? An manual agricultural labourer? Gosh they work pretty hard don’t they? Done it myself, back breaking stuff. Do they get paid enough to pay tax?

  24. 37 T
    September 10, 2009 at 17:59

    One key factor is this. The current “health care system” in the States is for profit. And, it’s designed to deny you coverage as long as possible. Therefore, how is this “health coverage”?

    Implementing single payer coverage over a 10-year period will cost every person in the States roughly $1.50 a day. Why then would you continue to waste your money in the first system? Why is that so hard to understand?

    • 38 Tom K in Mpls
      September 10, 2009 at 22:08

      “it’s designed to deny you coverage as long as possible” as a profit system, tell me, how do they make money by not doing anything? Keep in mind most medical companies provide the treatment *and* the insurance. Think of this case, you have a small issue, money is made in the testing. You receive multiple treatments (just to be sure), and they make money. Then there is a follow up, more money. Then they need to raise the insurance rate because of all the expenses they have, more money.

      Pretty simple eh?

  25. 39 T
    September 10, 2009 at 18:02

    The neocons oppose single-payer for two reasons. One, they’re getting millions in “campaign contributions” from the anti-single-payer lobby. And two, they’ll do everything they have to to destroy Obama. All that matters to them is maintaining their money and power.

  26. 40 T
    September 10, 2009 at 18:07

    A question. Will this soundbite get more play than Howard Dean’s famous campaign yell? Who’s going to be the first person to sample this?

  27. 41 T
    September 10, 2009 at 18:17

    Part of the problem is the MSM’s approach to covering this. Which clip is going to get more coverage? Someone who tells the truth? Or, insults (possibly racist) and better yet actual brawls?

    • 42 Jennifer
      September 10, 2009 at 18:27

      Obama did not tell the truth in his speech!!!!!!!

      • 43 Keith- Ohio
        September 10, 2009 at 22:38

        Have you read the bill? Or are you just channeling Palin?

      • 44 Keith- Ohio
        September 10, 2009 at 22:44

        Actually let me apologize for asking that. Let’s be honest, none of us have read the bill. It’s so long that we have cause for concern that even LAWMAKERS are reading it. The most any of us have read are outlines of the plan, which can easily be skewed with simple changes in wording. This could be partially responsible for all the misinformation circulating.

  28. 45 T
    September 10, 2009 at 18:25

    Re: illegal immigrants. If the worst happens and an American decides to illegally immigrate to another country, what would they do if they got sick and were denied health care?

  29. 46 clovis41
    September 10, 2009 at 18:26

    As I was listening to the BBC this morning I caught an interview with a John Blondel (?) in which he commented that the US healthcare system is the best in the world and compared with that of the UK. Are patients in the UK forced into bankruptcy when they are unable to pay exorbitant costs charged by doctors and hospitals? Are UK citizens told that they might as well just die because they can’t get private insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions? Do patients routinely hear from the NHS that they won’t pay for treatments because of fine print in their policies? He stated that he had just returned from the US where he investigated the health care issues for the Institute for Economic Affairs (UK). I think he must have spent most of that visit in some local pub since he seems to have no understanding of what really goes on here in the US.

  30. 47 Patrick M
    September 10, 2009 at 21:10

    These are the issues:
    Giving 46 million people insurance coverage (up to 20 million who are ILLEGAL)

    But –
    We’re not building a few hundred more hospitals.
    We’re not likely to find a few hundred thousand doctors overnight.
    We’re not likely to find a million or more new nurses.
    About two million more EMT’s, Paramedics, CNA’s, MA’s, ER Tech’s. etc
    Not adding a few hundred new nursing homes, skilled nursing facilties, urgent care centers…..

    And yet there will be no rationing? And all this will be paid for by streamlining medi-care?
    And my tax money will not be used to pay for this?

    He was right – it IS a LIE.

  31. 48 Maccus Germanis
    September 10, 2009 at 21:13

    Freedom. Responsibilty. Cooperation naturally evolved of like self interests versus coersion.

    I’m the only person that I’ve run across that will argue for the status quo. While I can concede certian improvements can be made, I object to any systematic denial of individual rights. Whether it is the right of an injured patient to sue for malpractice, or to freely contract with medical providers, insurers or medical cooperatives free of government interference. The system that renews itself can never actually be broken.

  32. September 10, 2009 at 23:05

    Everyone should ask themselves some simple questions: Do I have health insurance? Can I get health insurance without reform? Do I need health insurance? If your answers to these questions are all YES, then why are you arguing with people who do not have health insurance, who can not get health insurance without reform or if you just simply don’t need health insurance? As he said last night, If you are Happy with your insurance NOTHING changes… DUH. That Barbararealtor Person…. Get real…. “Borack” is your president too if you don’t like what he is doing then honorably disagree with him and fight for change, because what happens to us happens to you too.

  33. 50 T
    September 11, 2009 at 01:25

    Again, it amazes me. Some people like their current private coverage. Does this mean that the premiums are ok? The deductable’s aren’t astronomical? And, you don’t mind being denied or cancelled because of “pre-existing” conditions?

  34. 51 T
    September 11, 2009 at 03:16

    Under current U.S. law, it’s illegal to deny ER treatment to anyone. Since there are at least 12 million illegal immigrants here, what will we do? Does this mean that EVERYONE has to show a passport or national ID card BEFORE they can be treated? Obviously, this is a backdoor neocon attempt to implement national ID cards.

    • 52 Halima
      September 11, 2009 at 07:43

      It is also immoral. Whether legal or illegal, every human being should be able to get emergency services. The issue of legality or illegality is a separate issue.

      But also we have to understand the way the whole system works. People immigrate not out of criminal intent (usually) but because where they are is in some way intolerable. Much of the reason some places are intolerable has a great deal to do with foreign policy of the wealthy countries or the way multinational businesses are conducted and because the governments of their countries are dsyfunctional in some way.
      Therefore the ultimate solutions to the problems of immigration lie in long term relations with other countries and – dare I say it – a more equitable system of international trade and global interests. Short term is another story, but meanwhile I, for one could not live with myself if I was responsible for someone’s death because I denied him/her emergency help simply because he/she was not from my neighborhood or my part of the world. How can you?

  35. 53 Ralph Furman
    September 12, 2009 at 13:47

    The rich are not entitled to be rich. Their wealth is a product of the society they live in. They are supported by the poor and middle classes with votes,ideal,and blood. Illegal immagration is allowed to exploit cheap labor by our society. Do we really want to stop it? The answer is NO. So, is this really a health care issue? Employers suppling health care is wrong. If a company pays for such benefits as health care or pension, it cant compete with companies that dont. Nationally or internationally, it makes our companies uncompetative. Consumers will not logically pay more for the cost built into products. The answer is national health care with a set base of sevices for everyone with an additional premium paid for by individuals for expanded services. This could be paid for with a tax on imports. The same imports that are taking our jobs. For example, Whirlpool this week said it will close its Evansville IN. factory eliminating 1300 jobs, It is moving to Mexico for cheaper production cost. This will cost American tax payers for every job lost. Each person losing a job will need unempoyment comp,a means to sustain health care, lost pensions, bail outs for mortgage payments. To gain support for National health care, paid abortions must be taken out and dealt with as a separate issue along with exessive mellpractice settlements.

  36. 54 chiebo ezeoke
    September 12, 2009 at 19:09

    Reps and Dems, I have an idea I have been floating around.
    Why dont you have two health care systems; one that is very efficient ,funded by the rich and covered by the insurance companies and the other ..well fairly ..em..em not too efficient funded by government and covered by government owned insurance but at least providing ‘some’ service for the poor.
    Afterall, all men are not equal and some lives are not worth much anyway. Then, illegal immigrants can benefit from the later and when they convert to ‘legal immigrants’ as most serious ones often do, they can move across to the former. How about that? It allows for a compromise. Afterall, America is a country of immigrants and everyone (plus or minus ancestor) at some stage was a migrant in search of a better life.

  37. 55 AZ
    September 19, 2009 at 15:14

    As an American who has spent the last year below the poverty line I can personally say my views have drastically been changed. Raised in a conservative state, I was taught that what we have in life is in direct proportion to what we work for. In the material sense I don’t know that I totally disagree with that but observing this nation from the position of the working poor has re-tooled much of my understanding to say the least. I live in Phoenix, (the nation’s 5th largest city and largest capital by population size, larger than LA in terms of geographic area including the suburbs that make up the metro proper) a largely spread out metropolis with a notoriously difficult to legislate public transit and little in the way of public services. (Remember this McCain’s hometown and the heart of the conservative why-should-I-pay-for-you-and-the-Mexicans, assault rifles at Obama town hall meetings ethos. ) THE EYE OPENER has been the dynamic of learning to survive and now thrive(As a full time student the Department of Education provides me with loans that carry no interest while in school, and one grant a year of $4200 to supplement my janitor’s wage) in a down economy amid the fearful rants of citizens the majority of which earn far more than I do. It’s been interesting and I often wonder how many times in my two and a half stateside decades I have taken for granted or allowed my own arrogance laced fears to leverage me out of the real opportunities available in the securities we pride ourselves on here.

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