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A health care 'Judas' recounts his conversion
A clinic such as this, where countless uninsured line up at dawn for free medical care, convinced one man to quit his Cigna job.
June 27th, 2012
01:46 PM ET

A health care 'Judas' recounts his conversion

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - When Wendell Potter first saw them, he froze.

“It felt like touching an electrical fence,” he says. “I remember tearing up and thinking, how could this be real.”

Thousands of them had lined up under a cloudy sky in an open field. Many had camped out the night before. When their turns came, doctors treated them in animal stalls and on gurneys placed on rain-soaked sidewalks.

They were Americans who needed basic medical care. Potter had driven to the Wise County Fairgrounds in Virginia in July 2007 after reading that a group called Remote Area Medical, which flew American doctors to remote Third World villages, was hosting a free outdoor clinic.

Potter, a Cigna health care executive who ate from gold-rimmed silverware in corporate jets, says that morning was his “Road to Damascus” experience.

“It looked like a refugee camp,” Potter says. “It just hit me like a bolt of lightning. What I was doing for a living was making it necessary for people to resort to getting care in animal stalls.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is a colossal legal and political issue. For Potter, though, the issue became a crisis of faith.

For the last three years, Potter has been one of the most visible supporters of President Barack Obama’s health care legislation. He has testified before Congress, appeared on countless talk shows and written a tell-all book on the health care industry called "Deadly Spin." With his Southern drawl and mild professorial manner, he has been described as a health care industry “Judas” in some media accounts.

Yet none of the media coverage of Potter has explored what drove his conversion - his faith. Potter was raised as a Southern Baptist in Kingsport, Tennessee, where he says his parents instilled in him an appreciation for helping others.

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He says the New Testament is filled with Jesus providing universal health care - he healed the poor and outcast.

“Christians needed to be reminded of what Jesus did,” Potter says.  “It was important to him for people to have access to healing care. That’s what he did. A lot of people of faith lose sight of that.”

A health care hit man

Potter says he lost sight of that because the health care issue was an abstraction to him when he worked at Cigna as a public relations executive. Part of his job was to snuff out stories in the media that made the health care industry look bad.

But his visit to that free clinic in Virginia that July morning shook him. In a column that he wrote for the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization, where he works as a senior analyst, he wrote:

“Until that day, I had been able to think, talk and write about the U.S. health care system and the uninsured in the abstract, as if real-life human beings were not involved.”

Yet even after that visit to the clinic, Potter says, he still stayed with his Cigna job. He had a son and a daughter, a six-figure salary, bonuses.  He felt trapped even as he resumed his job.

“It was always gnawing at me,” he says of the experience at the clinic.

There was another reason he couldn’t leave his job.  It was his identity.

Wendell Potter was moved by his faith to quit his Cigna job.

“Our egos are tied to our jobs even if the jobs we’re doing are not what we thought we were going to be doing,” he says. “Our jobs, to a certain extent, help define who we are.”

Potter found a new source of identity - his faith. He read the Bible and found particular solace in the New Testament book of Philippians, where the Apostle Paul advises Christians to “cast all their anxiety” on God. He also read “Profiles in Courage” to fortify his resolve.

He finally quit, and eventually became one of the most visible advocates for health care reform.

“I felt that if I were on my death bed and looked back on my life and realized that I had not taken this risk to do the right thing, I would have huge regrets,” he says.

Why churches are silent

Potter now spends some of his time talking to churches. He says an estimated 45,000 Americans die each year because they don’t have insurance that provides them access to the care they need.

“This doesn’t happen in any other developed country in the world, and it should not happen here, the richest nation on the planet,” he says.

When he takes this message to churches, some shut their doors, he says. They don’t want to hear him. Pastors know the debate over health care divides their congregations.

“A lot of pastors are just too afraid to get involved in this and step up and say this is a moral issue,” he says. “They’re afraid of offending their parishioners.”

Some of Potter’s most consistent supporters, though, are former colleagues in the health care industry.  "I've had calls and emails from people I used to work with in the industry who thank me quietly," he says.

No matter what the Supreme Court decides, Potter says health care changes are inevitable. The current system of for-profit health insurance companies is not sustainable. He says some Americans dismiss the uninsured, but they don’t realize how close they are to joining them.

He says many of the people who attended the Remote Area Medical clinic were working people. Their jobs simply didn’t provide enough good medical care. While many companies provide health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, most people with these maladies wouldn’t get coverage if they suddenly lost their job.

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“Most of us are just a layoff from losing it,” he says of health insurance.

Potter can’t guess what the Supreme Court will decide, but he has predicted what the United States will look like if the health care law is struck down.

We’ve already seen that future in a book and movie called “The Hunger Games," he wrote in a recent column.

"The Hunger Games" depicts a future America renamed Panem, where the government is disconnected from the people who struggle every day for basic needs such as medical care while the wealthy have access to modern medicine, he wrote.

“This society-gone-bad scenario of denying basic care to citizens based on their income or social status seems on the big screen not only cruel and unusual but even incomprehensible,” he wrote. “In fact, it’s occurring every day in what is still called the United States.”

Potter didn’t have to see that future on the screen. He’d already seen it in Virginia, where doctors cared for Americans in animal stalls.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Faith & Health • Health • Health care

soundoff (1,958 Responses)
  1. p

    Can someone tell me what will happen to the unemployed? Do we have to pay there health bill? Oh! How about the poor the homeless we all have to pay the bill oh no how about the ones that don't like to work and live with there welfare girlfriends or the drug addicts! Who pay the health cost? Boy! That America for you I think I stop working and let the everyone pick up my bill!
    I guess it pay off to live in America!!! I just keep telling all of the girls i know that it okay not to work and have babies and there boy friends they don't need to work because you have your hard working neighbor to pay for all your drugs and your designer cloths and sell your food stamps for drugs Its okay America has it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How about the Government getting involved with this and putting them all to work! Americans are getting lazy. I hope to never see the next generation. I hope the young will get smart and do something about the Government! Just my opinion.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Wahaha

      ...i know that it okay not to work and have babies and there boy friends they don't need to work

      *******************************

      Hey, that is their human right !!!

      June 28, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • berto

      First learn how to write and use correct grammar then grow a conscious.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Brenda

      There is no state in our nation that allows girls/women to have babies and live permanently on welfare. That happened decades ago but it does not happen today. There is temporary assistance only, there are limits in every state.
      Why is pooling our money and using it to insure ALL of our citizens a BAD idea? If you take the corporate greed out of the picture, healthcare becomes affordable. And just like the rest of our American society if we pool our funds we all prosper. That is how our interstates, our hydroelectric power, our postal service, our public schools, etc work! Why is it so many of you believe we will go "bankrupt" if we insure our citizens?
      If we regulate the pharmaceutical and insurance companies the cost would be much less. For example some prescriptions made in the same US factories sell for $345 in the US and a mere $25 in Canada, because the US has unregulated greed! We must change this so we can ALL prosper and pursue happiness!

      June 28, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Wahaha

      Brenda,

      Cost will be less?

      Imagine you are a doctor, can you guarantee that you wont make a single mistake in 30-40 years? If any mistake can cost your life saving, of course, the cost is sky high.

      Also, pharmaceutical company cant afford the risk either, the medicine they make must be 99.999999% safe, even 99.99% is not good enough, who pay the cost?

      June 28, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Jacob

      @ Brenda– We're not doing a very good job at funding all those things you mentioned. Notice the 16 trillion dollar deficit we have. Not exactly doing a good job. If one person has to pay taxes all should have to pay taxes, and then maybe we would have enough to pay for all of this.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  2. David Callard

    The US' lack of care for her poorer citizens is often a topic of bemusement for may of us out here in the primitive Outer World outside the richest nation on earth. How can it be, we ask, that a country so deeply Christian can be so callous to so many? At one time we in Australia had a totally private healthcare system with all its inequalities but we changed that in the early 70's with the introduction of parallel universal healthcare. It is now so popular that even the most rabid right wing politician would not dare interfere with it – and most of the time we still run a healthy budget surplus! Just a perspective from Down Under, which in so many other ways reflects much of American society.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • unbiased direction

      Thanks, David. People here, however, are too proud to admit that this country would do better if it would just look outside itself for solutions. Australia's health care is excellent. And, hey, you Aussies have have a budget surplus and little debt. Wow! Could you mates send our tantruming, incapable, miopic Congress some advisers?

      June 28, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • Wahaha

      LOL,

      Australia has trillion tons of natural resources and doesn't have to spend anything on military equipment.

      and how many people are on that continent?

      June 28, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  3. Drew

    If the government does healthcare as well as they do finances then we're all in trouble.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  4. mike byrd

    Over Eater should pay more, Bad Driver pay more so should bad health people...

    the Lards have enough money to buy food and booze, and a bunch of kids....

    Be Responsible, why should the rest of us pay for your laziness.....

    June 28, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Brenda

      Not everyone who is sick "caused" their own disease! Some are randomly struck with cancer, metabolic disorders, neurological disorders, etc. Not to mention the many accidents that are not caused by the individual injured.
      Our country needs to take care of our own! Regulate the medical industry, make healthcare affordable, take the for-profit out of the picture and stop BLAMING people for being sick, diseased, injured, etc. Pool our money and insure all our citizens this is how AMERICA became a great nation, pooling our efforts and looking after each other. Our society is in shambles because of unregulated greed, ignorance about how our infrastructure was developed and is maintained, and from selfishness!

      June 28, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  5. Felicia

    As a respiratory therapy student in a hospital, 95% of all diabetes is due to "too many calories" (right out of my textbook)....OBESITY...causes breathing trouble, kidney failure, foot problems, heart disease, liver/spleen/gallbladder trouble.....MOST illnesses can be cut out if people lose the pounds....healthcare needs to have a huge push at weight loss.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Drew

      I totally agree with you. If we took up a nationwide effort to lose all of our extra pounds, we'd see a much better healthcare system.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Krista

      As a medical student you should recognize that cheap food is seldom nutritious food, and that poor people are usually less educated when it comes to making decisions regarding food / nutritional planning. Of course, if we had universal healthcare, they could see a nutritionist as part of preventative care and their illnesses could be stopped before they become so expensive to treat.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Wumpus74

      Being thin is a great thing. If you can afford to stay that way. I used to be 'model' thin, until I lost my job last year. I have been taking odd jobs whenever they come available. I can't afford ritzy things like salads. I live off pastas and rice (Blech!) because they are cheap and fill that hunger hole. Unfortunately, they also make you gain weight. It is not always that people are fat and lazy or choose to eat pizza and ice cream all day, but more often than not, poor people are overweight because we eat what stretches our dollar.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • berto

      What we need to do is push PREVENTATIVE HEALTH CARE practices but this would pose a problem for insurance companies and their partners in the pharmaceutical world!

      June 28, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  6. Krista

    It's a good thing, for some people, that God doesn't really go around slapping down people who deserve it. If I were god I'd be piling on 'pre-existing conditions' on the racists and those who look down on people who are sick or blame them for their illnesses, and then their bosses would suddenly have to lay them off.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Brenda

      Agree!

      June 28, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  7. floyd

    the republican christians are not true christians, they have no compassion for the poor and homeless. remember them shouting out "let them die " at the republican debate and the self professed christian candidates did not scold this person. their silence reveled who they are and you have the majority of these church going hate mongers voting for romney. hypocrites!

    June 28, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Krista

      They are the 'Pharisees' of our time.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Wahaha

      What do you cry about?

      Freedom = get as much as you can with the power you have.

      The rich have more power, so they are the ones who first get MOST of the pie, then the union, ,,... at the end of chain, the senior and children.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • unbiased direction

      You are overgeneralizing. This Christian, who voted GOP for many years, sees health care as a basic human need. YOU need it. I need it. The elderly. Children. All. It's a moral issue. We need our elected leaders to see it the same light and enact meaningful reforms, regardless of the Supreme Court's decision. We all need to think very differently. The uninsured and under-insured will still be here with us next week and beyond. Many of them will die needlessly because they cannot afford even the most basic care.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Wahaha

      ...It's a moral issue

      *****************************

      Big mouth talk, typical crap from media and journalists.

      Why did CNN pick a picture like this?

      How many of them couldve afforded if they had worked hard?

      June 28, 2012 at 12:59 am |
    • Jacob

      You are over generalizing the Christian right.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  8. Wahaha

    One way of keeping the POOR poor is to make healthcare a LUXURY.

    *************************************************

    Imagine you are a doctor, can you guarantee that you wont make a single mistake in 30-40 years? If any mistake can cost your life saving, of course, the cost is sky high.

    Also, pharmaceutical company cant afford the risk either, the medicine they make must be 99.999999% safe, even 99.99% is not good enough, who pay the cost?

    Get a clue?

    June 28, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • seer clearly

      Simplistic. Obscene profit is built in at all stages of the health care system. And greed is what drives it.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Wahaha

      moron, greediness is part of human right, as claimed by media and journalists.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Timothy Biddiscombe

      Easy enough to drive those costs out of a healthcare delivery system...UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE!!!! Doctors are all govt employees, there are no lawsuits, or lawsuit insurance, or obscene profit-taking at every level of the chain. When all doctors work for one employer, all doctors become auto-insured and the system only pay costs, not lawyers, trials, lawsuits, malpractice insurance, etc....but it smells of socailism to conservatives and thus, is in and of itself, evil...when if fact it works beautifully.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • Wahaha

      Timothy Biddiscombe

      Do you know a group of Katrina "victims" demanded 3,000,000,000,000 dollars from US government ?

      Google it>

      When greediness becomes part of human right, that is what you get.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:03 am |
  9. dr. mark

    I am a doctor and get very weary of people talking about the "right to health care." What people really mean is they think that they have a right for somebody else to pay for it for them. I will agree that everybody has a right to health care as soon as somebody explains to me how a person's very existence obligates another person to provide a service for them. If you accept this, then I have a right to a hair cut or a housecleaning or whatever the case may be. Health care is not and never will be a right. Doesn't mean that it's not a good thing for government to help some, but still isn't a right. People also seem to forget that we, i.e. any tax payer, has been footing the bill via medicaid and medicare for decades which the truly needy can qualify for and the EMTALA legislation passed in the early 70s mandated ERs to treat people regardless of ability to pay. I would be willing to accept reforms if citizens would agree to accept accountability and responsibility for themselves in exchange for the service, improving your BMI or taking care of your diabetes, etc., but everybody wants the care but no responsibiilty for their own health. As soon as you talk about accountability, it gets called discrimination.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • seer clearly

      "Obamacare" forces everyone to accept responsibility for their own healthcare. It gives everyone the "right" to get healthcare, but doesn't give them the "right" to have it paid for. This sounds exactly like what you are proposing, yet I bet you're against it.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • bill

      amen!!

      June 28, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Krista

      If you were _really_ a doctor, you would understand that preventative care is a great deal cheaper than emergency care. You would also know that per capita we spend 3 to 4 times more, per person in this country (not just per person with insurance) than some countries with excellent universal health care systems. The current system doesn't work. It's too expensive, even if you have decent insurance (my employer has high deductable / HSA plans). It makes a great deal more sense to have everyone on a single payer insurance plan, where they're _encouraged_ to see a doctor for an annual physical that would detect problems before they get too severe, and thus keep treatment costs low.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • Larry

      IM comletely accountable for me and my family but luckily our state has a low cost insurance program for children or nobody in our family would have insurance. The companies wont insure me for anything because i take blood pressure med and have seen a dr for my back and they wont insure my wife because shes had a c-section in the past 5-10 years all of which they say are pre-existing conditions. The lone company that would offer coverage wnated $600 a month and still wouldnt cover anything for me other than the flu essentially and wouldnt offer any future ob or gynecological services for my wife. Work insurance is out of the question because its $300 a month and its limits on check ups wouldnt cover one of us and it only pays the hospital $100 for a trip to the er and nobody within an hr of me will take it. Offer me insurance that i can afford the premiuim and will cover everything we need and ill gladly pay it

      June 28, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Timothy Biddiscombe

      Access to quality healthcare, "Dr.", is a universal right the rest of the civilized world has accepted for its citizens for decades. It costs half of what the ridiculous US for-profit system does and delivers a much better product. Canadians, for instance, enjoy longer lifespans, and better general health, everyone pays through taxes, Dr.'s are govt employess, and it costs half as much. The US healthcare system that you defend, sir, is THE laughing stock of ALL healthcare delivery systems throughout the world. It is NOT a model to be defended. The US economy is being ripped off to tune of 9% of its GDP (of the 18% of GDP healthcare takes) Canadian total healthcare costs are 9.3% GSP...with better access AND outcome.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • maddoc13

      If you really are a doctor, you will hopefully remember the oath you took upon graduation called the Hippocratic oath. I sincerely doubt you're a doctor and if you are, I am sincerely sorry that you are one because you've obviously lost sight of what it really means to be a doctor.
      Here are a couple of very appropriate lines from that oath since you've obviously forgotten them:

      "I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

      I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

      I will remember that I remain a member of society with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm".

      June 28, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Zaxxon

      Interesting how your post was filled with the mention of "rights". Expecting health care is not a right. It the is responsibility of each of us to look out for the other.

      God: "Cain, where is your brother?"
      Cain: "Am I my brother's keeper?"

      We are indeed our brother's keeper my good doctor. It's a shame they don't teach this in medical school.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Jon

      If you are a doctor, I hope I never have to go to your hospital.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Brenda

      Access to quality healthcare, "Dr.", is a universal right the rest of the civilized world has accepted for its citizens for decades. It costs half of what the ridiculous US for-profit system does and delivers a much better product. Canadians, for instance, enjoy longer lifespans, and better general health, everyone pays through taxes, Dr.'s are govt employess, and it costs half as much. The US healthcare system that you defend, sir, is THE laughing stock of ALL healthcare delivery systems throughout the world. It is NOT a model to be defended. The US economy is being ripped off to tune of 9% of its GDP (of the 18% of GDP healthcare takes) Canadian total healthcare costs are 9.3% GSP...with better access AND outcome.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • tallulah13

      Health care is only a right in nations that are looking to build a prosperous future. It's sad that we can no longer count the United States as one of those nations. Personal greed has destroyed the desire for common good. The "Us vs. Them" mentality rampant in this country will be the downfall of the United States. As a wise man once said "A house divided against itself cannot stand,"

      June 28, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • berto

      I would say you make me sick but that may be a preexisting condition and my insurance company may not allow treatment. So I will say you make me sad. Sad to hear a doctor, who took an oath to treat all. Did you forget what Hippocrates asked you to do:

      -To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers
      -I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.
      -Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice
      -I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

      I hope someday in your time of need there will be someone to help you and that in the mean time you look into your heart for guidance and humility.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Jacob

      Dr. Mark is right. People need to take personal responsibility, and everyone, not just those with more money need to contribute if you want to have a gov't run health system. Somehow people are too poor to pay a $20 deductible, but have enough money to buy beer and cigarettes. People want someone to pay for their diabetes meds, but they want to continue to eat high caloric foods and refuse to exercise.

      People that really need help are subject to the high costs b/c the ones that could have prevented it are too lazy. Is healthcare for everyone a good thing sure, but it's not affordable under our current system.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • HotAirAce

      All doctors in Canada are not government employees. Most run their own practices and clinics as the wish. Yes, we have a single payer system and there are fee schedules, but I believe most doctors are sel-employed.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:49 am |
  10. zandHcats

    I finished and reread the trilogy of Hunger Games three times within a week, the books had haunted me for a while even in my dreams. Its plot was so similar to today's the political vile: the rich had overpowered the nation, and the poor were abandoned. Tomorrow the supreme court will reveal if our fate is closer to the books or the judges have mercy to the us.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • tallulah13

      I wouldn't count on anything good from our corrupt Supreme Court.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  11. Jakk

    Kind of supprised no wants to talk about what's broken and how to fix it. All i read is d this r that. Who did what. Why you suck and i rule. I am hoping this is because everyones angry and not thinking rationaly. Two coment sections would be nice. One to the bash the other to discuss. I would bet though the discuss side would be empty or maybe 5 comments. Best wishes, peace, and hope to all. 🙂

    June 28, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  12. unbiased direction

    Health care is a basic human need ... as are clean water, food, clothing and shelter. In this country, however, it has become a privilege. And any basic need that becomes a reserve for the privileged few - which health insurance will become in a few short years as we drop more and more people off the roles - is destined for revolution. Jesus, were he able to walk the halls of the big insurance companies, just might be kicking over a few tables and tossing a few computer screens. There is an injustice here. Glad to see this man's conversion.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  13. Nikolai Potrovsky

    oh boy i sure hope that this bill passes, that way, when i go to hospital to have a doctor check out a possibly cancerous lump i can be treated like crap by an under paid receptionist and told to fill out countless forms and take a number like at the DMV only to have an underpaid doctor glance at my possibly cancerous lump and tell me not to worry about it because i am 86 with a past medical condition of a gunshot wound to the chest that i received at Kursk and i am not given priority by the government because i will probably die soon in there eyes. i escaped "good" soviet "healthcare" only for my great grand children to be suckered into this pack of lies

    June 28, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      Я надеюсь, что все будет хорошо для вас. Могу ли я спросить, если ваши раны, полученные в большой танк на Курской дуге? Я прошу прощения за мой плохой русский язык.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Johan S

      I salute you. I have read about the battle of Kursk the performance of the Red Army was simply amazing. It made a big difference in the war. Thank you for your bravery and courage. I really appreciate it and the sacrifices of you and your comrades during that battle and others in WWII. I hope you do not have cancer, and I wish you the best of luck. I am sorry the healthcare system sucks now, but I am confident it will get fixed eventually –if not in 10 years then 50 or 100.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Canadian

      I have bipolar, my dad has cancer, my boys have special needs. We are very well taken care of in Canada. There is no anxiety or financial hardship because we need medical help. My dad is living a good quality of life despite his cancer and my boys and I are doing well and are happy since so many resources are available to us. I see Obama as a good man, and I hope the American people work with him rather than against him. Social programs make sense and are humane; they're worth paying higher taxes for.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • seer clearly

      Nikolai, the health care system we have will collapse in just a few years. It's already at 20% of GDP, and eating our economy for lunch. What will follow will be far worse than any legislation on the table today. If you bothered to inform yourself about the Affordable Care Act, you'd know that your nightmare scenario is just a projection from your past in Russia and has nothing to do with the ACA. In fact, the ACA doesn't go far enough: without single payer, what this man has seen about the insurance companies will still cause our system to collapse, just a little later. When you let fear and greed speak for you, you create a world in which they rule

      June 28, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • georgea g

      Either way I am treated like crap! I pay $220 out of my pocket for health insurance and still got a $4000 bill from the hospital!
      Healthcare system in the US is worse than in a thirld world country ( I speak from experience)

      June 28, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  14. Caiha

    Nobody likes someone who stuck to his or her ethics, it makes people feel guilty. Studies have been done that demonstrate jurors over 40 are more likely to oppose a whisle-blower than people under 40. Why? Cos most people over 40 have gone against what they knew to be right, and are still actively trying to rationalise it to themselves.... and they despise people who had the guts to do what they didn't.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  15. responsibleTOyourself

    Please get your hands out of my pocket. I work hard to take care of my family.

    BTW, the pictures above look like illigal mexican.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Ben Wiley

      Learn to spell....cornpone.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • ari

      fascinating. do tell how you can differentiate between a legal mexican, an american of hispanic descent, and an "illigil mexican" based on one photo.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • unbiased direction

      What if she were your neighbor? Or mother?

      June 28, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • bill

      cornpone???? It is "corn pone".

      June 28, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • maddoc13

      Do you realize that the person in the chair appears to have renal failure with significant fluid retention and is probably in congestive heart failure??? Racist moron!

      June 28, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • bill

      If she was my neighbor, I would show her how to fish – not giving her fish. That is empowering.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      @Bill: If she were your neighbor, I doubt that you would even give her the time of day.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • seer clearly

      @Bill... if I'm to understand you correctly, if she was your neighbor you't teach her the equivalent of a medical degree instead of just giving her medicine? Or were you just talking out of your posterior orifice?

      June 28, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      @seer clearly: I don't know about the posterior orifice, but I do think he was talking out of his ass.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Brenda

      So because your employers provides affordable insurance to you and your family, the rest of our American citizens don't need that same opportunity? YOU are NOT paying for anyone else! The idea behind UNIVERSAL healthcare is that we all POOL our funds and purchase good coverage for ALL! You know like how our nation built our interstates, our postal service, our dams that provide our hydroelectric power, you know HOW our AMERICAN society works! Just because you got yours handed to you doesn't mean no one else needs coverage. Millions of working Americans don't have affordable insurance through their places of employment.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  16. Jake

    It would be nice if we could cover the costs of everyone's medical bills, but the fact is that medicine is expensive. It's impossible to absolutely fund it, without going into to debt, increasing taxes for everyone, and/or huge cuts in other areas. And a lot of these other countries that fund healthcare are going bankrupt. Add to the fact that a lot of the medical problems people face could be eliminated with lifestyle choices. Which makes it hard for everyone else especially those with real needs.

    Churches do a lot of good, maybe preachers don't like to get involved in politics or have different opinions on the matter. And if we all had healing power like Jesus the world would be a better place and the cost of health care would be free.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • unbiased direction

      Jake - take a careful look at Switzerland and Singapore. They have fostered private-public partnerships in which the government regulates the number of doctors to ensure enough supply (and thereby limit costs), opens the doors to drug makers to bid for their wares, and advocates for the health of the people through rigorous preventative medicine. All people have coverage. Lawyers are largely shut out. Insurance exchanges actually compete for your business. No - it's not "free" - but nothing is. Nothing, including our system, which costs lives.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Eugene

      So, how do Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Australia, Canada, new Zealand, South Africa, Luxemburg, and Switzerland do it? They live longer, live healthier, have lower infant mortality and have better health care outcomes than we do. There is a way to provide health care – Universal health Care, preferably of single payer variety (all countries above, except for Switzerland, employ a sort of single payer Universal health Care)

      June 28, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • Larry

      Yeah several other countries have healt care for all and they do just fine. anyone who thinks it can be done here is either willfully ignorant greedy hates the rest of their country men or works for the health insurance and drug industry

      June 28, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Brenda

      If we regulated the pharmaceutical companies and healthcare industries it would be possible to cover us all and not go into debt. We need to take the "for-profit" out of the equation. For example some medications manufactured in the United States are sold for $335 in the U.S. yet for a mere $25 in Canada, another medication is sold at $1250 in the U.S. and just $73 in Canada, these are the same medications from the same U.S. manufacture the difference is profit, unregulated greed.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • Timothy Biddiscombe

      Do some actual homework please...look. I'll make it easy. Google "Canadian healthcare costs as a percentage of GDP" and then google "Canadian Healthcare System outcomes, costs and results". Your welcome.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  17. Ben Wiley

    If they are "a bunch of Mexicans" then it is a small price to pay for taking the land of their ancestors.
    My guess is that it's a mix of Mexican Americans, Mexicans and various other Hispanic groups.
    The Mestizo Mexican, Guatamalen, Salvadorian..etc...have lived on these continents for thousands of years.
    They were defeated by the Spanish, The French and finally America.
    We couldn't begin to pay them back for the oil, agriculture, slavery and minerals we've stolen from them.
    I beleive a revolution is coming. You better decide which side you're on.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Cissy

      AMEN!

      June 28, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Brenda

      AMEN!

      June 28, 2012 at 1:09 am |
  18. Rick Springfield

    The Nazis had Obamacare. Everything they did was the embodiment and structure of Obamacare. You had no choice, you participated in it regardless. Nazis created the most sophisticated medical tracking system ever created to date using IBM computers which was based in Germany. They started using the computers to track people, what medical care they needed, and their complete demographics. Every citizen was in the database of cards and tape memories. When the "final solution" was proposed they knew right away that the national medical database which Obamacare is now based on would help them categorize the people who would be rounded up and how it would be done most effectively. People often wonder how so many people were rounded up, transported, and then killed so effectively with minimal resources and the answer is the current Obamacare system we now are using. I'm not saying Obama will round up Americans for concentration camps but Obamacare has the potential to achieve so many bad things its worth the courts tossing it out like the traitor Obama himself.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Ben Wiley

      Please....shut up. What an idiot. Love the poor.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • ari

      the nazis also believed that cigarettes were full of toxins and encouraged people not to smoke, therefore the department of health = nazis!!!!!!!!!!!

      June 28, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Ryjil

      The Tin-Foil is over there. I'll go and make you a hat out of one. That should fit you just fine...

      June 28, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Brad

      This is the level of ignorance we have voting in this country. It's too bad there isn't an IQ test before going into the voting booth.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Eugene

      Is better health care system a bad thing?

      June 28, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • unbiased direction

      I had family members die at the hands of Nazis, so I have to call you out. You don't know what the hell you are talking about. Mr. Obama is no great leader, but to equate him with Mr Hitler just reveals to me a certain lack of logic and, perhaps, some brainwashing. If you don't like Mr. Obama's reforms, fine. Say so. Then...TELL US WHAT YOU WOULD DO TO IMPROVE HEALTH CARE IN THE US ! WHAT'S YOUR PLAN?

      June 28, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      @Rick: You went overboard, even for a troll. The sad thing is that too many people will believe it. You need to get a life, it is true, but it's also true that you can whip up a batch of inventive B.S.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Jake

      You are completely delusional and have creating connections between unrelated events. Obama is NOT Hitler. Obamacare is NOT the same as the Nazi system. You apparently need to step away from the computer, away from the propaganda that is brainwashing you.
      Is Canada like Nazi Germany as well? Get a life.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Innocent bystander

      Turing is the father of modern computing and earned that reputation by helping to break the Nazi's Enigma coding machine / system.

      Since all technologies you mention were invented well after WWII and we're only possible due to advances made during WWII, where is the basis of reality in your comment?

      June 28, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      @unbiased direction: The guy is just a troll looking to get people stirred up. There are a bunch of it's type on these boards. Don't let them get to you. Sometimes they can be entertaining in their inventivemess, but usually they're just stupid nyah-nyah name calling maroons.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • Brenda

      All the developed nations currently have universal healthcare just like Obamacare!

      June 28, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • megachirops

      Rick, your post is a complete and total falsehood – either somebody is lying to you or you are yourself a liar. Just as a starting point – computers were not built until after WWII, IBM is an American company and always has been, Obamacare is not a database of people, it is a system that works through the private insurance industry... it goes on and on. What makes somebody like you post total lies?

      June 28, 2012 at 1:30 am |
  19. rdeleys

    This country needs to join the rest of the industrialized world and go to a single payer system now.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • namethename

      I mean what can go wrong copying Europe, right?

      June 28, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Brad

      It's not just Europe. It's literally every single democratic nation on the planet (except for ours). We are the only developed country in the world where our own citizens don't have access to health care. It's disgusting.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • seer clearly

      This has nothing to do with Europe, as SJ correctly pointed out. In fact, if you're referring to Europe's problems, there is a direct causal relationship between the US investment banking cartel and their failing economies. In other words, if the US capitalists hadn't interfered, they'd be doing fine – with healthcare for all. Goldman Sachs basically caused the Greek collapse (go read about it...)

      June 28, 2012 at 12:57 am |
  20. Steve

    No doubt that woman in the wheelchair has a Twinky and a Mountain Dew under her blanket as she waits for her free diabetes medication.

    June 28, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • iammeyouareyou

      YeeeeeeeeeeeP !

      June 28, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Jim

      Sure doesn't look like she's starving.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • SJ

      I bet you wouldn't say that if it was your mom. But then again, you obviously miss the point that we are talking about human beings. If you really want to know the truth, track that person down and figure out whether she really has mountain dew under that blanket. Your analytical skills are so amazing that you are obviously a successful humane person. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask – how many bad analyses have you made so far . That will give you an indication whether she has mountain dew or not.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Jon

      I can only quote Carrie Fisher circa 1977 "And you call yourself humans..."

      June 28, 2012 at 12:38 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.