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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. Genold

    Fine Conservatives and Repubs. Go ahead. Frankly most of us Dems have health plans. It's your Southern poor, you and your children, who will pay the price. Gloat now if the SC sees in favor of dismantling Obamacare. For tomorrow you will pay the piper and on that day we Dems will gloat.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • USMedic

      And they vote how?
      You on the other hand will get the illegals and the Hispanics, also poor and disenfranchised. They can give the Dems power, but aren't going to be happy if they don't get nice benefits.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:22 am |
  2. diamond

    The Republicans want you to believe universal health care is expensive, The U,S model actually costs more on GDP basis compared with other G8 countries. That's fact, check it out,

    June 28, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • USMedic

      Universal care offering everyone everything 'we want everything done' is too expensive. That's a fact, not a political position. In the US we aren't ready for 89 year old blind 2 heart attack kidney failure diabetic grandma being refused an operation that has a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of letting her live another week.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:10 am |
    • USMedic

      I have worked in other countries, including the UK. In the US, a patient like I just described, if the family feels 1 in 1,000,000 is a good shot, we go for it. It is pretty much going to cost a million bucks, guaranteed, unless she dies on the table. In other countries, a 50 euro morphine drip, keep increasing the dose till she stops breathing. Our % of GDP will drop a lot, FAST, if we adopt the same policies as the G8 countries do. Guaranteed. Willl the AARP, public, etc. all freak out and start suing like crazy to stop it? Yes. Know where those numbers come from before you cry We spend more and get less. We get less because we spend most of our money on 'Hail Mary' last ditch plays.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:26 am |
    • Question

      You are totally pulling your "facts" out of your ass, medic. Totally making that up.

      Do tell us whether you consider yourself a Christian.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:30 am |
    • Gaunt

      USMedic, why would you pretend to be a medical professional and then make a claim like that? If you had even a DAY in the medical profession, you would know that no Doctor would perform the operation you mentioned, and it has nothing to do with politics or cost: its a MEDICAL decision. You do not perform operations that have a 1 in a 100,000 chance of suceeding, ever. Ever. Thats no different here or in Canada or in the UK.

      Furthermore, no woman such as you have described would undergo pretty much any invasive surgery, as it would kill her. Again, nobody who had even taken a single course pre med would not know this.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:33 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Question is spending all day looking for Christians to castigate.

      June 28, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  3. Meh

    Welcome to Amurica

    June 28, 2012 at 3:07 am |
  4. THATGUY

    I go to this betting site on politics and so forth. They put odds on things and the odds that the U.S. supreme court will strike it down is 74%. That is pretty high for this website.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:06 am |
  5. THATGUY

    Why do they have a picture of Jabba-the-hut on the front page?

    June 28, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • CNN

      To sucker conservatives into showing how heartless and selfish and unChristian they are. Worked pretty well, I must say.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:06 am |
    • USMedic

      He or she, you can't tell, is morbidy obese and on oxygen. This doesn't come from not having access to care, people. It come from eating like crap, smoking, and not exercising. But you know what? the healthcare system is to blame. Sure it is. 'The Devil made me do it' also ceased to be a reasonable defense for a crime a long time ago, too.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • Andrew

      Its ok. The other half of Christianity involves in usually executing people in particular ways for trivial reasons. Modern Christians have moved past a lot of that since just like with about everything else they pick and choose what they want to believe in to justify their character.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:11 am |
    • THATGUY

      How heartless? I don't feel sympathy for Jabba

      June 28, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • THATGUY

      Seriously, why in the world would you feel sympathy for Jabba and how does this make you want to pay for Jabba's Healthcare. I mean seriously do you really want to be paying for that things medical bills through taxes

      June 28, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • Question

      Do you consider yourself a Christian, THATGUY?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:21 am |
    • THATGUY

      I think it is an irrelevant question with separation of church and state

      June 28, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • Question

      That was an evasion. Do you not have the courage to tell us?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:28 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Maybe he's afraid to say he is not and disrupt your supposition that all Christians are mean spirited. That sure wouldn't look good for the non-believing crowd would it?

      June 28, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  6. This Story is a Plot

    The lesson is...humans will report to their job, creating all nature of consquence until they themselves come to understand the impact. Guess what, this fellow quits and will be replaced by the next hungry soul who simply is "not aware." This story is an attempt to influence, the idea that someone came to terms with the dire situation, is not a logical precursor to accepting the Affordable Heathcare Law as it stands. I want so badly to shoot holes in several portions of this story (it is not news, people have had crises of conscience for eons), but it is so much more worthwhile to point out the following: we must divorce ourselves however briefly from the emotions here...the danger in that law is the Federal Government mandating purchase of a product. If it happens with Health Insurance, given that time will march on, any nature of mandate will follow. Please pay heed to the logical conclusion of that concept my fellows, this is a dangerous precedent. We will not solve the problem of affordable heathcare via crises of conscience (that individual can be replaced), we will not solve the problem of affordable healthcare through mandates (a change in power will almost certainly overrule the mandate in favor of something else). What if the next mandate is that we cannot purchase competing technologies? Think it won't go there? It will absolutely go there. Full disclosure: I'm an American citizen and I DO NOT vote.

    June 28, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • Matthew

      I think what would make everyone feel better is if the Government did not mandate it... They just gave it away for free. This way everyone would have it but it would not have a label of being required. Then, they can just raise our taxes to pay for it. I would actually be for it. I have great insurance but I don't ever use it cause I never get sick.

      I think the governments intention is somewhat good on this topic. They are trying to make sure everyone gets good health care. They just need to re work some of the bugs out. But, they have to start somewhere.. Create the foundation and work from there.. If they did not pass this bill, they would not have anything to improve on and I think they would have just let it die for years to come. At least passing the bill got the gears turning....

      June 28, 2012 at 3:14 am |
    • Gaunt

      Pure stupidity. Why does everyone on the far right always resort to the slippery slope when trying to argue? If you allow gays to marry, men will be marrying fire hydrants. If you allow this mandate (which is not so different from existing government mandates) then you will INEVITABLY be forced by the government to all buy play doh and dill pickle chips by law.

      No, you wont. Compulsory insurance systems exist all over the first world and in NONE of those states has this absurdist slippery slope existed or show signs of existing. This law would compel anyone who uses or will use the health care system (ie, everyone) to purchase insurance. Much like anyone who uses a car must purchase car insurance: the only difference is that it is possible to live your life without a car: it is not possible to live your life without the health care system.

      Now, maybe you agree and maybe you dont: Many dont. But even if you loathe the idea of your fellow Americans having access to health care, please knock of these laughable slippery slope arguments. They dont work and essentially do nothing but reveal you have no genuinae arguments to stand on.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:20 am |
  7. STEVEN L. HENSON

    LUCKILY OBAMACARE IS GOING TO GET STRUCK DOWN TODAY BY THE SUPREME COURT

    June 28, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • St. Biggus of Jewuthalem

      That would certainly put single payer back on the aganda. Fine by me.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:05 am |
    • Chris

      Amen brother.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • Genold

      If so then you or someone in your family will be crying about going bankrupt in a few years because of some medical emergency. Be careful what you wish for. The irony is that most Democrats and Liberals already have health plans and don't need Obamacare. It is generally the underemployed, rural, poor, and southern citizen who relies on emergency rooms and making do. Ironically most of them are Republicans.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • USMedic

      st. Biggus, single payer will give more basic care to more people. That is. good. then people realize that it doesn't mean cadillac care for all.

      The US population is not ready for that.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • STEVEN L. HENSON

      FOR ALL OF YOU FOR OBAMACARE, TALK TO SOME CANADIANS. THEY ALL HATE THEIR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM. NOT MY FAULT PEOPLE WON'T PAY FOR INSURANCE. BUT I DON'T THINK THEY SHOULD BE FINED FOR NOT BEING INSURED EITHER.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • Gaunt

      This is one of the WORST and most Perfidious lies of the far right: when confrontted with the fact that the rest of the world has a better health care system, they make up insane lies about other states to make themselves feel better.

      No, Canadians do NOT hate their health care system. Two 2009 national polls demonstrated that only 7% of Canadians would consider moving to a US style system, while 89% preferred to stay with their own.

      The Canadian health care system costs less per caopita than the old, broken US system and delivers BETTER health care by just about every single measurable standard. Lower infant mortality, higher life expectency, lower post-operative infection rates, lower operative complication rates, higher survival rates for most cancers. The myth of waiting lists is also often trotted out: in fact study after study have shown that for emergent or critical procedures, waiting lists in Canada do not exist, and the pace is just as fast or faster than in the US. For elective or non-critical operations, the wait average in canada is 6 weeks, as opposed to 2 weeks in the US.

      So, they have a slightly longer waiting list for elective surguries. Anmd for that, they get BETTER health care, for EVERYONE, for LESS money.

      And by the way, Canada, while far better than the US, is not even the best out there. Scandinavia, France, Austria, Switzerlans all ranke even better than canada on outcomes.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:27 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I'm a Canadian and I don't hate our health car system. In fact, I think it works reasonably well.

      June 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  8. USMEDIC

    How many of them smoked?
    How many of them ate like crap and were fat?
    how many of them didn't exercise (even just going for a walk every day)?
    In Blamerica, you aren't responsible for being sick then needing someone to help you get better. It's always someone else's fault. In Blamerica, everything can be fixed if you only had the money to pay for someone to give you the magic pill.
    A lot of problems, like diabetes, can't be fixed. A lot of people are diabetic because they are overweight.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  9. nolimits3333

    America is the stupidest nation on earth.

    Because we have a Republican Party.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:54 am |
    • USMedic

      Come live in San Francisco. We have no republicans in our government.
      Then, when you blow out a 3rd tire in a year on potholes because the city spends all of the road repair money on homeless progrems, when milions of your tax money are spent on adult literacy programs that refuse to provide data on how many people they actually taught to read every year, when as a sanctuary city illegals arrested for major crimes are set free then go on to commit murder (it has happened, and more than once in the last few years) because we're a 'sanctuary city' you might pray for a few conservativs to lend some balance and a little debate to some of these issues.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • xaton

      Yes this is true because one has to ask the question that if a nation has the IQ to have that Republican party why has there been so many times in our history we have elected a Democrat in the WH or allowed the Senate and/or Congress to be in a Democratic majority? I get your point. Now he is mine:
      The United States of America is proud to present as their leaders:
      Jimmy Carter – Billy Clinton – Barrack Obama – Harry Reid – Max Watters – Chris Dodd – Barney Frank – John Edwards – Joe Biden – John F Kennedy – Anthony Weiner – Hillary Clinton – Dennis Kucinich – Eric Holder – Nancy Pelosi – Arlen Specter – Jerry Brown
      Some people hear a funny noise coming from their car as they are driving down the road and simply turn the CD player up a little louder until the funny noise goes away.
      Insanity is the act of repeating the same act over and over again expecting a different outcome.
      Better off today than you were 4 years ago people? Want another 4 of Obama people?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:16 am |
    • Farhan

      GOP has not presented a solution other than blindly opposing Obamacare...they still live in 70s and are true proponent of class war.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:19 am |
  10. Young Milken

    We don't talk about faith when it comes to money because religion itself is a prosperous business in America. We tell the congregations what they want to hear, make them happy and kaching.. 10% goes to our pockets. Capitalism and money is unseparable. Who cares of affordable healthcare? This is capitalism not socialism. We don't share our prosperity to unemployed and uninsured. They are lazy and they deserve to suffer. America is belong to the rich like Koch brothers and alikes. We give our charity enough. (sarcastic)

    June 28, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  11. St. Biggus of Jewuthalem

    Jesus: Sell your goods and give the proceeds to the poor.

    American Christian: But that's . . . SOCIALISM!!!

    June 28, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • ED Sosa

      thanks

      June 28, 2012 at 2:57 am |
    • bill

      Good definition.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Wrong. Socialism is the government sells your property and gives it to whomever they want.

      June 28, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  12. blackluke8

    Such emotional crap. I've worked in health care for years now too. The truth is that these people came out because they saw something advertised for free. Most Americans aren't health care "consumers" just trying to do the best for their bodies. They are professional victims, abusing an enabling system created by weak family members and stupid liberals.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:49 am |
    • Jay Crandall

      Blackluke8: I don't believe I've ever seen or heard of a more obvious"Defender of the Dollar" type of person as you (that ISN'T in a nice way either) Yes I understand that you work for them and have no need to be anything but a troll, but if you were in the same situation you'd be screeching like a demented baboon over your health benefits. As for the concept of "Professional Victims" are you sure you can afford to point fingers at these folks? After all, they can just as easily point fingers at you as a "Professional Thief or extortionist..."

      June 28, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • Gaunt

      Yes, yes, we have all heard the tea bagger screed against reality before. All the 'poor' are cheats and have cellphones and gold watches, all the homeless are just travel lovers, all the unemployed are just lazy, all the sick are just not sufficiently committed to god, and so on.

      Get over yourself.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:37 am |
  13. Edgar

    So instead of using his position to try and change the way things are, he quit?

    Thanks Jesus.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:47 am |
  14. Xeno

    I am 40, in my opinion and my doctors opinion, in great health. For some reason I had atrial fibrillation a few years back, ever needed medication, now I am all good. I am self employed and have the money for healthcare, but can't get it. What is wrong with this picture? Half of this country is blind to risk. For profit healthcare? That seems right to half of the country? "Healthcare" should not be connoted to profit, but to simply keep 300 million americans healthy.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • Steve

      They HAVE to make a profit or else how will they pay for the uninsured? Pay for office space, computers, lawyers, salaries, utilities to run the buildings, pensions etc etc etc etc. I have an Idea..why dont YOU create a health insurance company that is non profit?

      June 28, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Christine O'Donnell 2012 - Witchcraft can save America ! ! !

      Actually Steve, everything you listed is part of non-profit organizations as well. Those things you mention are not part of the profit for any healthcare company.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • xaton

      Talk about eating too many tacos, gesh.
      Anyway, can we also feel for all the families who have lost their jobs and their homes and now live in tents and beneath bridges due to this racist socialist in the WH giving away our jobs and our over taxed monies? Jobs for ALL the illegals he says. Run through the boarders and call 1-800 if a American citizen gives you ANY grief he says.
      Or is it just prop photos of obese illegal aliens? Take your country back from these socialist now America.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • Tim

      It is inevitable that the "half the country" you mentioned will come around, slowly. It may be hastened by this morning's decision but, regardless, a country as great as this one cannot continue indefinitely to be in the middle ranks of developed nations' health care, especially when the issue isn't so much quality of care as it is access to care.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:00 am |
    • Andrew

      Well Steve. That is just one of the questions that would need to be answered.
      The military is designed around a system of where its not a profit system... except for its research and development programs. But the government should ultimately strive for such a system where it can insure health care to its citizens with profit not being its main driving force. Other businesses can thrive off its aim for profit since they are actually producing goods. Health insurance doesn't really produce a product. It provides a service. A service that is obviously not free but its a service that should be a basic necessity to help further progress our nation and it's citizens and help remove one burden so we can all focus on producing goods and services that can be designed around a profit model which can help provide the income necessary to pay for our healthcare, emergency services, transit lines, and defense.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • USMedic

      Having worked for the VA:
      Try calling your doctor to ask questions. Or call at 2AM because you might be having a problem after surgery.
      Good luck. You'll get an answering machine. You can drive in to the ER though.
      Try suing them because you think you had a problem. You can't.
      Be careful what you wish for. Single payer will make us more like VA than 'Medicare for all.'

      June 28, 2012 at 3:20 am |
  15. Steve

    Heres the thing with health insurance. How many people say they "cant afford it" have cellphones? Cable? Sweet Rims? A booming car system? etc etc etc. I see people who have medicare driving $50k cars. I see people using EBT cards talking on a Iphone at the shopping center...they cant afford to feed themselves but can afford a cellphone and the associated plan? Priorities people, if you dont have them...the tax payers shouldnt have to pay for your stupidity.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • ALI

      excellent post

      June 28, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • blackluke8

      Hear hear. These people are leeches.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:51 am |
    • diamond

      I have all those things plus free health care, I live in Canada. We pay higher taxes, but not as high as you may think. I had a heart attack, was taken by ambulance to one of the best heart hospitals in the world (Sunnybrook). Within 5 minutes upon arrival, I was having a stent implanted. I spent 3 days in hospital and attended cardio rehab at Sunnybrook for 6 months. It cost $45 for the ambulance and $40for my material for cardio rehab, That was it, $85 (Cdn). The only medical insurance used was provided by the government. My meds are covered privately through work benefits,

      June 28, 2012 at 2:53 am |
    • 1benza

      Technically no one is paying for them through taxes. The uninsured are paid for through high premiums and costs when one receives medical care. Use to be a bit cheaper, till Reagan made ER care a basic right, then things began ballooning out of control, where now to have your eyes checked costs two arms, three legs, and half a head.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • Cat Woman

      @ Steve:
      Steve, I've read/seen your statement-argument before many many times.
      I wanted to say "please don't assume". I myself drive a 2005 Camry. In good condition. No body issues. Nothing shiny. I wear recently new clothing. I have an iPod. I get $200 in food stamps and $200 in cash from the state. Because couple a years ago I was working full time in the IT industry, making some good money. Bought the car, clothing, iPod. Then brown stuff hit the fan and here I am, food stamps.
      This assistance to me is not because I want to mooch. It's to EAT AND HAVE SHELTER. Please remember; some of the people you scorn may have been doing exactly what I was doing: working, earning money, bought something nice, and did a face plant.
      Not too long ago, I had some stamps. I bought a T bone steak, nice taters and mushrooms with it. I got stinkeye from EVERYONE including the cashier. Guess what? That steak and tater was to celebrate the new job I just got, and reward myself.
      Assume all you want, you really don't know if it's me you're looking at.

      Oh, by the way, I plan to NOT be here on assistance much longer. And when I'm working, I'll donate time to the food bank that's helped me, and bake a batch of damn good cookies for the crew at the welfare office. Do YOU pay people back when they help you?

      June 28, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • amanda

      Stereotypes sure are a nice warm blanket that keep you warm at night aren't they?

      I've never had consistent health care coverage, even as a child. I am white, educated, don't have nice rims, or even a car, an iPhone, or any of these other 'dis-qualifiers'. I'm quite simply poor, and in need of health care.

      I need to quantify myself to someone who's healthy and better off than I? The process for begging for federally covered health care is long and extensive. Even once I go through the process, I doubt they'll cover most of what I need.

      Instead, I suffer with a busted knee and sleep apnea that can't be treated.

      But while I struggle to improve my life in an honest fashion, I have to watch people decry the uninsured as undeserving of healthcare coverage.

      Why is it justifiable to punish the disadvantaged? It's not about rewarding them either. It's about a basic standard of living. And for many that are uninsured struggling with health issues, sometimes life gets to the point where it almost doesn't seem worth living.

      But it's easier to think of why people don't deserve help, than why they do. It's easier to bad talk the idea when you don't have health issues. It's easier to be against something, than for it.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • xaton

      OBAMA are YOU listening to Steve here!!?? It works the same way in with government spending too! Just ask your buddy Jerry Brown in CA.
      Look American Conservatives, WE have some chores to do. I understand NOBODY ENJOYS shoveling the manure out of the stalls, BUT it needs doing. So get off your duffs this 2012 election cycle, REGISTER to vote, get your like minded friends and family in to REGISTER to vote. Take the day off and GO DOWN AND VOTE! Then after have a get together for a pot luck and watch the results. People, you're talking getting your country back or LOSING IT; that is what is in the balance here.
      If the American people do not REGISTER and GET OUT THE VOTE in 2012 then the qualified voting public, their families and their neighbors and their likeminded friends ALL deserve what they WILL BE GUARANTEED to get.
      America does NOT have to be on the decline, CLEAN your house of socialism NOW.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • David B

      How do you know the iphone wasn't borrowed from a relative.
      If they're getting Medicare then they have likely paid medicare taxes and deserve medicare. Employers and employees pay these taxes. Or maybe they work as a chauffeur. Maybe they work at a cable company and get free cable. Or maybe the EBT card you saw was stolen. Your kids probably have received public school education. Though what does this have to do with medical care which I believe is more important that education?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      Steve, I am so d@mn sick of the kind of thinking you display here, which is usually one of most "moral" conservatives.
      How do you people go to bed and sleep without your conscience keeping you awake? Tell me, are you a Christian? If you consider yoursel to be one, then there are some things l you better be aware of!

      June 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  16. Andrew

    Hes been working in the business for god knows how long and is just figuring this out. I suppose I should say "congrats" on discovering how 3rd world America really is at it's lower end of the system.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • Steve

      Maybe 3rd world American should put down the bong pipe and booze and open a book.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • Andrew

      and then what? Would you like this 3rd world American read the text of said book? Assuming if he got a decent public education so he can read in the first place.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • blackluke8

      It's not my job to feed you, clothe you, educate, or pay for you or your kids health care. If you are too stupid to do those things for yourself you deserve to sleep under a bridge.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • xaton

      Yea and then what? Go stand in the unemployment line this 3rd world banana republic president has etched in granite for the graduating classes of '11, '12 and '13. And if he is re-elected you can ad the classes of '14, '15, '16 and @ least '17 to that.
      Besides having a 2.1 grade average what you do have in the WH is no more than a car jacker who jacked your car America and is leaving you and your families standing on the street corner of American looking for the food stamp express to get back home where you'll find all your belongings out laying in the front yard of your now foreclosed home so you grab your tent and load up in your wife’s car with your family and drive until you have no monies left to re-fuel due to the high fuel cost, (about 10 miles) and there you pitch your tent and see your new tent neighbor is your old neighbor who got there last week and as you listen on your car radio with the last bit of juice left in the battery Michele wants you to eat healthy even those of you out living on the streets.
      Hope and Change , , , better off than you were four years ago? Your family? Neighbors?
      In four more years with Obama are you going to be better off than you are today?

      June 28, 2012 at 3:07 am |
  17. Mike g

    The political debate is not about what is moral or not it is about the role of the federal government and what they should and should not be using taxpayer money on. Second,having health insurance does not equate to access to medical care. Third, very few understand the deviousness of the 2800 pages of Obama care. The federal government is currently auditing charts from the past 3 years and demanding that hospitals and doctors pay millions of dollars back to the government for illegible signatures and dates not put on all pages. Under obamacare, few hospitals will be able to pay their bills. Another government bailout is coming but this one will result in a complete takeover. Nothing has been done to reduce spending the government is just denying payments from medicare and Medicaid. Change is necessary but obamacare is not what it pretends to be.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Andrew

      Medical care shouldn't be a private industry driven by corporate greed like other things such as basic products and material value. Its ok to have a lot of other businesses set up so their main goal is profit but when it comes to health(healthcare), security(military), crisis management(fire, police, EMTs) these all shouldn't be profit driven businesses and should be tied to necessities similar to how roads are a necessity to just about everything these days.

      Hell yes, healthcare is stupid expensive but you can blame decades of inflating prices and corruption by health insurance industry. Its insane to hear people forking over 2,000 dollars a month for health insurance. Without it a simple visit to the emergency room can land you 10,000+ in debt. HOLY FRICKEN CHRIST THAT IS A LOT!
      The well being of the public is definitely something our country should strive for. I suppose one thing that we could help with the costs is through preventive maintenance. That means not feeding trashy meals to kids in public schools and making that fat kid actually partake in gym class so he doesn't get every known illness by 35.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Steve

      WHo pays the offset of the healthcare of the uninsured? The 30 million illegals? The people who go to the ER because they want cough medicine for free as opposed to buying it themselves? Ive worked 10 years in the medical field 80% of the people in the ER never need to be there. Not to mention mal practice insurance and friv lawsuits that drive up the price...oh lets not forget the price of obtaining a Doctorate or Nursing degree and all the upgrade training costs.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • ED Sosa

      thanks very good 100%+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      June 28, 2012 at 2:52 am |
  18. Grand Old Party of Amerika

    Obama care is too COMMY for my liking. It reminds me of the days when the JEWS wore stars and had to suffer in death camps. I want a small government when the poor gets poorer and the rich gets richer! While we are at it, DRILL BABY DRILL. What is this GLOBAL Warming BS? This is all concotted by the LEFTIST. I say there is no global warming. Its just a freak of nature and its all going to AOK at the end. We need to go back to our conservative roots and start COAL Mines again. COAL is the way to go. Dig and DRILL now that creates jobs i tell you. We need BLUE COLLAR jobs. At 3 bucks an hour with no UNION BS and no health care for all. That is just too expensive for AMERIKA to compete with CHINA. We must return to the dark ages.
    Now where is that white pillow case of mine? I gosta put it on and buy me a noose!

    June 28, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • Still want Christine O'Donnell to steal the nomination at the convention. America needs witchcraft, and we need it NOW!

      The trick to doing a Poe post is to make it funny. Poe's fail if the satire isn't funny.

      June 28, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Timothy Biddiscombe

      Strange take on the world of healthcare there GOPA...socialist (single-payor) healthcare is the most efficient national healthcare delivery system that exists...and its not even close. The US is getting ripped off to the tune of 9% of its national GDP (of the 18% that it costs) because for-profit drains off billions. Proof is there...Canadians have better access, have better outcomes, enjoy longer lives...and it costs them HALF THE PRICE that it does in the US! 9.2% of Canadian GDP goes for healthcare, half the US cost...and they live longer and nobody goes without or goes bankrupt. Dr.'s are govt employees, threfore no lawsuits, no malpractice costs, no lawyers....and no stress, either economical or socially. Get informed!

      June 28, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • BamaDaniel

      Yeah but Canada cant fight global wars like we can,so ha ha .damn healthcare we have stealth bombers and unmanned space planes

      June 28, 2012 at 3:33 am |
  19. ImpishLisa

    I know we need something, but the big insurance companies are jacking up the costs for those who already HAVE insurance and pay SO much for such small percentage of help. we pay 180 every two weeks on health insurance. that is insane, not counting dental and eyes. if they make the insurance companies change, it falls on the rest of us to pay higher rates so the uninsured can have the 'no refusal' stuff they only pay for when they need it.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:22 am |
  20. Grand Old Party of Amerika

    Animal stalls for Americans. What is wrong with that? Thats how the rest of the world is anyway. You are lucky to have an animal stall to begin with. Now if your kid wants a job as a custodial just come over and talk to my fellow Republicans. I am sure we can do something SPECIAL for him. As for the rest of you, get a 3 dollar job serving something at the local bar or something. Wear a shot short skirt while you are at it. We republicans like the the conservative way. Aka, low pay, no pay and thank Gawd you got paid. Amen, Halleujah and kumbaya all in one.

    June 28, 2012 at 2:16 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.