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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. RealityChecker

    Just because healthcare reform is needed, DOES NOT mean that the monstrosity called Obamacare is the solution. Obamacare is crap. Only the mentally ill would agree with the 28% who support the mess.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • corpsman

      You'd do well to keep in mind that when asked about individual provisions of the act, a MAJORITY of the population supported ALL PROVISIONS. Only after the republicans branded it "Obamacare" and carried out their smear campaign did approval drop.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • LIL JON

      YOU BETTER CHECK YOSELF

      BEFORE YOU WRECK YOSELF

      OKAY

      June 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Bev

      There are people on here saying "just think how much uninsured people cost the government every year". Do they think all of a sudden those people will disappear and cost the government less under Obamacare?

      June 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Bev

      Exactly.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  2. Emmsy

    Yes, let's do what Jesus did, let the little children in their mothers wombs live! Now O bummer is touting planned parenthood in high schools! Get out of my families business. Who does he think he is? That is for parents to discuss with their children. He is ridiculous.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • sam

      Emmsy...how long did you spend concoting this POS...

      June 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      The problem there is that most parents are too damn ignorant to discuss this stuff!! That is exactly why the USA has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the free world. Planned parenthood goes beyond se.x ed and abortion (which is between a woman and her Dr only); they also provide STD screening; screening for breast cancer. You telling Obama to get out of your families business is funny...how about the church gets out of peoples bedrooms?

      June 27, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • MIchele

      Well, someone has to counteract the crap taught by the Right. Did you know that there are schools (abstinence only enclaves) that teach children that a female cannot get pregnant unless she enjoys the act? It's called the "if she is dry the sperm will die" method. Get out of your family's business???? Right, when the Republicans get out of my womb.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • corpsman

      You're spinning like a republican. All Obama actually did is bring up the threatened defunding of Planned Parenthood in a speech given (mostly to non-student adults) at a High School. There was no mention of bringing PP into any high school.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  3. roadrunner2

    We are the richest nation with the most stark contrasts where the "haves" tell the "have nots" too bad you can't afford to buy commercial health insurance. shame on all those repubs who call themselves Christians. Jesus catered to the poor and he threw the moneychangers out of the temple. "....Easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven..."

    June 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Bev

      Tell that to the poor people in other rich countries. The poor here have free clinics and Charity Hospitals. I know. There was a time in my life that I had to use both.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  4. gregor1971

    Romney's camp wants this to get pushed through because the majority of Americans want to see it repealed. Democratic strategists want it struck down so it is not an albatross around their necks in the November elections. The irony

    June 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  5. Bo Failied

    Mormonphobes are hateful.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • MIchele

      Not as hateful as those who would retroactively baptize Hitler so he can join them in "Paradise"!

      June 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  6. Faith is nice on Sundays, but doesn't solve any problems

    This guy is a truly nice person. There is no doubt that the current health care system and how it serves the public needs a radical overhaul, but Obamacare isn't it. Obamacare is built to help Health Insurance Companies, not people. That is why besides for a few pieces, the current system, which allows H.I. companies to raise prices at will, remains in place. Obama sold out the public to get campaign money. Pure and Simple. This bill keeps the current stranglehold on consumers by only allowing you to get policies from the same companies that pillage your wallet now and Obamacare ensures they keep upping the prices and limiting the services.

    We need the following: Everyone is eligible for health insurance, High risk insurance pools for the sick, interstate commerce, tort reform, and most importantly, Cost Controls. If a Health Care plan isn't offering those things, we're getting ripped off.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • cyclonus11

      No, it's not that simple. He pushed through the only upgrade to the health care system he could. Republicans would NEVER agree to a single-payer system, something Obama initially wanted. They'd lay on the floor of Congress and throw baby-tantrums screaming SOCIALISM until the bill died. Oddly enough, that's what they're crying now even though this bill is anything but.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Older Sista

      There's one question that tops them all: If Obama Care is so good, why is the president & his family, the Senate and Congress exempt?? Why? Until those Greedy Basta**s put themselves under the same restrictions and benefits as you and I, the whole rotten mess needs to be thrown out and true refrom installed. There was/is no REFORM in the current bill.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • corpsman

      No, cyclonus is correct: The dems in congress compromised again and again (especially by dropping the single-payer option) and the result is still a huge improvement over the previous system which made doctors, health insurance companies and big pharma rich. If you think "Obamacare" only benefits the insurance companies then you haven't actually read the text of the Affordable Care Act. It's a huge step forward for the American middle class.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Bev

      I was without insurance a lot of my younger life. When I first divorced, the hospital I worked for wouldn't let me take out insurance because " You might go back to your husband." Glad those days are gone. Then raising my 4 children with no support, I couldn't afford to have any more taken out of my check than necessary. We weren't sick very often, thank God. The couple of times I needed hospital care, it was taken care of. There are usually pell grants or something you can use. I see the woman in the front has oxygen on so obviously someone is making home visits. You can't get it without a Doctor's order and a Home Health setting it up.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • mvw

      These are political arguments that have nothing to do with the economics of health care. First, high risk insurance pools are unsustainable–look up death spiral. Second, tort reform is a meager issue relative to the real cost driver in health care–technology. I know, I know, it pushes some gps, peds, and ob gyns out, but in terms of dollars–drop in the bucket. It's only on the agenda because doctors are a powerful lobby. Moreover, you would push the solution further left of where it is now. How on earth is that sustainable when the ACA fought so hard to keep solutions central including provisions that the GOP loved before it was passed only to see them attack it socialism. It was kept central to try to head off that argument. If you want to fix the health care system stop spouting dogma, and pick up a health economics text. Ask your senator or rep to do the same. Perhaps then we can have a real debate. Until then it will be a single payer vs socialism debate which is not even close to what this law does or what a viable alternative is.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  7. Yakobi

    A republican Christian: "I'm going to donate my time and money to help the poor."

    A democrat Christian: "EVERYONE will donate their time and money to help the poor."

    June 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Like a G9

      I guess you like being ripped off by a bunch of sleazeballs. If you want more bang for your buck, let the gov't do the work – they aren't in it for a bunch of shareholders, they're in it to serve the public good. Health is a public good, you idiot.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Aurora Chuck

      So let me see "Like a G9".......so you're saying the government is here to help you? Are you serious?!

      June 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • TonyK

      Maybe govt is self-serving, but you still have some degree of power over it. Corporations are DEFINITELY self serving and you have NO power over them. Are you going to support a pro-business approach or a govt approach that will, inevitably, have to serve people's interest: if it doesnt, they politicos can and will be driven from office, but only if you all stop falling for the GOP "business approach is better" idiocy.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • rmtaks

      A republican Christian: "I want the healthcare industry to be a for-profit industry that works like a consumer market except it isn't a consumer market; people either buy the product or die/live in pain."

      A democrat Christian: "Let consumer markets handle consumer products. Provide healthcare to all American citizens."

      June 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Contra Archy

      Let's review: ... 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.

      Yes, the government is here to help you. Or rather, is here to help us help each other. And it works.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • roadrunner2

      a republican christian: The richer the better, let it trickle down. They can collect the crumbs to eat
      a democrat christian: Lets set rules so the playing field is a little more fair for the little guy who works at the sweat of his brow,

      June 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Emmsy

      You hit the nail on the head!

      June 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • LIL JON

      EMMSY

      GO NAIL YOUR HEAD TO THA FLOOR

      YEAHYAH

      June 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Amber

      Yeah you don't like government but you certainly will be looking forward to your Medicaid and Medicare plans when you are over the hill. Same BS different day.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  8. Swain

    It's everyone's responsibility to get a good job and insurance, period. If your too lazy then rot in hell. I make six figures, but I did not get here by being lazy. I worked endless for months, years on end with no days off or vacation. That's how you make it. I would rather see you uninsured die off before paying one penny of my savings to you bottom feeders. Unfortunate truth for you is profit is all that matters, money talks. anyone who disagrees is a hypocrite.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Hypatia

      troll

      June 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Like a G9

      Are you lost, Swain? Feeling Uncouth? Life getting you down? Why not do something to make the world a better place?
      You could jump out of an airplane, for example. People do it for fun, you know. You can, too!

      June 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • sam

      So when you get sick, lose your job and home, and can't fend for yourself anymore...good luck with that, buddy.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Ashame to be a Republican

      Swain, You think no one else on these comments makes six figures, has health insurance and work 70 hour weeks on end year in and year out. Your job or business can be lost when you least exect it j ust like it can happen to me or anyone else. Then, what can you do about it when you have no leverage. And you need to stop belieiving that everyone but yourself is a slacker. I make $250,000+ per year and work 70 hours per week. I was born in 1957 and have seen and experinced alot in life through those years. It was never as bad as it is right now. The cause of the problem is not which party president is in office. The cause is greed. The rich indviduals and corporate executives sole purpose is to get the most money with the least expenses. Read between the line>> Means that it was charged, taken, negotiated, stolen ... from the lesser people in society and the poorest gets hurt the most. Now, to make matters worst, for the very rich to get better at what they do, they are controlling the politicians at the Federal and State levels with unlimited amounts of moeny through their SuperPacs.

      You need to stop thinking about yourself and focus on what is best for society. That is how civlizations end.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Mark

      Given the thought process you just demonstrated, I find it hard to believe you have a six figure income. Wait, are you including the two digits to the right of the decimal as two of the six figures?

      Do you realize the same logic is also used by faith healers? If you pray hard enough and have enough faith you can overcome health issue. Do you consider your single instance of success as proof that it will work universally? Of course, there is always the fail safe which is if by some chance it does not work for you, it is your fault because you did not have enough faith or you did not pray hard enough.

      The question I have for you is "How do you know there is a six figure income (the conventional kind where all six digits are to the left of the decimal) for everybody that is willing to work hard enough"? Can you objectively prove this?

      June 27, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • mgray55

      Guess what? At the current rate, no matter how much you work hard, earn a decent living, pay your mortgage and bills on time, your employer will either ship your job overseas because your healthcare costs are too high, or they will not offer health insurance at all. Then you will have to purchase it on your own, and it will be more expensive than you can afford. Even if you can afford it, the coverage will be reduced. Oh and did I mention that the Insurance company could decide to deny you coverage at any time?

      June 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Richard

      Does your boss know you're wasting your time surfing the internet doing work hours?

      June 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Texas

      My sister was a nurse with insurance until she had a stroke. Unable to work the hospital let her go. COBRA was way too expensive and now currently does not have insurance. Without the Affordable Healthcare Act, my sister will never be able to get insurance again, even if she can only work at WalMart now. She is not lazy nor uneducated. She is a human being that deserves healthcare without it bankrupting her.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Doc Magnus

      And where is it so frikkin holy that health care comes with a job? We have to compete for work fine, but to see doctors?? The only reason employers generally provide health care was because of World War II when wage freezes made it difficult for employers to compete for talent based on salary. The asked FDR if they could provide health insurance and he said OK. The whole employer-provided care structure is artificial. Someday this will be recognized as a human right, not some kind of socialist scam. You need health insurance to cover the delicate operation needed to remove your cranium from your rectal duct.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Is it swain or SWAMP? Typical republican stereotype, those that don't have are lazy and don't try. I have health ins. Between me and my job it cost $36,000 a year for my family of four. Who in the hell can pay that every year? There are small business owners that can't pay that. Are they lazy? As far as letting people die, remember the republicans are "pro-life" wanting all these children to be born! SO IF YOU'RE PRO-LIFE HELP THEM!

      June 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • TonyK

      Even if all you are doing is trolling to get your jollies, those jollies will cost you happiness, equanimity and peace in your life. Spewing this kind of venom, even for "fun," will inevitably create a joyless existence for you and those close to you. I wish you peace and well-being.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • StephVa

      dido the troll remark

      June 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • corpsman

      Who'd you work for Swain? Some big company with a great benefits package, no doubt. Good for you. I spent 2005-2011 self employed, took very few days off, worked most weekends and paid $1,200 / month for insurance for our family of four. The Affordable Care Act, if left intact, means I can switch insurers even with a pre-existing condition and, once everyone is enrolled, means my premium costs will not rise 20%/year indefinitely, as my private health insurance did.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • LIL JON

      HEY

      RICK SANTORUM IZZAT YOU?

      June 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Kate

      Your comment sickens me. Not everyone can just do that, what about children who live in poverty? Do they not work hard enough for you to get good health insurance. You are a terrible person. I am a poor college student, the health insurance I get is terrible. If not for Obama I couldn't stay on my mother's health insurance. I work incredibly hard for everything I have, and some day I hope I have enough money to give to the poor, to help them pay for health insurance. Your comment is selfish, try thinking of other people first.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Swain: So you're the 1%? You should be offering to pay more taxes and shutting your damn mouth...no-one respects the 1%.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Amber

      Swine-

      I hope you never have hard times becuase then you will have to kill yourself.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Amber

      Hate eats it's own container.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Mark8000

      Mr Swain's comments remind me of the audience at that one Republican debate, where the moderator asked the question about what should be done with a hypothetical uninsured thirty year old guy who is in an accident and brought to the emergency room. "Would you just let him die", was the question and the all the candidates on the stage stood there with their figurative thumbs between their buttocks, but a couple guys in the audience yelled "yeah!" and everyone laughed and applauded. I remember thinking right there, I wish the moderator would have followed up and said "OK, so much for the hypothetical uninsured 30 year old man. What if it was his five year old daughter who was brought in. She got hit by a car riding her bike." I wonder if the yokels in the audience would have laughed at that. Regardless of what the SC rules or what the Congress does, that moment defined the ideological difference between the two parties. The Republican Party in America consists of the cruel and the ignorant being manipulated by the greedy.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  9. Paramad

    If there was a heaven this guy would be go there. This is what being a christian should be about but the 85% of Americans that call themselves christian are for the most part hypocrites.Conservative thought agonizes about birth control and abortions but once you are born you are on your own what is wrong with supporting good health?
    Cents you forget insurance companies don't just insure stuff, you needn't worry about them losing money, they have billions of dollars invested in everything from soup to nuts and right now they are investing in getting old Mitthead elected so they can go on raping the US. Businesses diversify to protect their profits and they brook no interference, simple economics.
    The healthier that we can make America the stronger we will be. That's why we need a national dialogue about providing healthcare for all Americans. Obama's plan can be the beginning for that dialogue.
    I would think conservatives would support national healthcare so we have big strong healthy men and women for cannon fodder since the repelicans are so anxious to start wars. I guess its' more useful to ban abortions so you can kill them when they reach military age in your wars of acquisition.
    Check it out for yourself. Forty percent of enlistees for the military are disqualified due to obesity. Sixty percent of Americans are obese. Obesity leads to diabetes(especially in youth) Heart attacks and a host of other problems. We as a nation are becoming soft and sickly. Obesity is just one of our health issues facing America.
    We need a paradigm shift on the issue of health. Emphasis on exercise, healthy food, preventative medicine, affordable and accessible medicine and care, education but mostly a strong belief that a healthy population is in the best interest of our nation, economically, militarily and socially.
    Mr Potter is truly a hero, We need more people that will stand up for what is right.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Sounds like you want the government to regulate how much each of us weighs. I suppose in your ideal world, there would be government "fat camps" where they send you after your mandatory annual weigh-in. All hail the Socialist States of America!

      June 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  10. Ashame to be a Republican

    Americans need to wake up to see what will be waiting for them.

    Lose your job, lose health insurance. If you have health insurance, the policies have gaps on covering expensive care. If you have a pre-existing condition (as defined by the insurance companies), you don't have coverage even with insurance.

    God help you if you get seriously sick. The insurance companies prefer that you die. It is cheaper. The rich (1% like Mitt Romney) are laughing all the way to their stockbrokers.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Been there, done that.

      No, I prefer to work hard and save lots of money so I can afford my own quality health care when I retire instead of relying upon fraud-ridden, yellow-wrap government run cookie-cutter health care where politicians decide which procedures are approved.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Johnstone39

      1% like Mitt Romney? You do realize that Obama is also very wealthy. Neither of them, nor anyone else in Congress, need to worry about health care insurance as they will have it for life. Tell me, if this health care plan is so great, why isn't Congress first in line to sign up for it? Why did Obama also give out so many waivers to union supporters already if this plan is so good?

      June 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  11. HJA

    Profiting off someones misfortune is the lowest of the low. The so called Christian conservative are a joke because they are not Christian nor are they conservative. By the way Jesus was as liberal is you can get.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • You Don't Say?

      Jesus was neither a liberal nor a conservative. As far as Christian conservatives go, you obviously somehow don't get it that those who are Christians and are conservatives do so much for their communities and helping the poor. Most Christian conservatives aren't the wealthy elite. You really shouldn't comment if you're that clueless. Just saying.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • sam

      You Don't Say apparently knew Jesus better than anyone.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Unitarian

      Jesus was a middle-eastern Jew, and probably looked a lot like those guys standing outside of Home Depot that conservatives REALLY don't like.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  12. independentlyowned

    So if there IS universal healthcare, we have less chronic illness, less people in ERs and thus shorter wait times for all, less people going to ERs and not paying their bills which causes insurance premiums to go up, less chronically sick workers taking off work because they're too sick to come in and thus causing companies a loss in productivity, less kids growing up as caretakers for their parents instead of going to school and getting a job that will better society.... so explain to me WHY people are against this???

    June 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Yakobi

      You also have poor people living longer on the government dole. You also get an influx of illegal immigrants seeing free health care, straining all aspects of government. You also increase the amount of fraud and inefficiency in the system (look at how well the government manages Medicare!) You also stagnate the economy by taking money out of the pockets of working people and flushing money down the poverty hole.

      Are those enough reasons?

      June 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Bev

      Won't happen. I worked at hospitals 30+ years. Waits will be longer, care not as good, surgeries put off. Have you ever been to a Charity Hospital? I have, Worked there and had surgery there. It will be 100x worse than that and will cost the government billions which we can't afford. Plus what you pay (the people who can afford to pay) will be a lot higher. Right now, if you need surgery, it is usually timely even if you have to go to the Charity Hosp. But just think if you have to wait a year or two. And the waste and graft of a government is really bad.They will not manage this well.
      =

      June 27, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  13. Harry

    This is what I don't get we are a nation who claim to be christian, but you got people like Sarah Palin who say that having government put their hands into medical insurance creates deathpanels, well what is going on with those that are uninsured and can't afford insurance? Those that don't have insurance are going through death panels everyday. I don't get her reason or logic for saying that. We need to stop pretending to be christians and start taking care of eachother. After all christ said love thy neighbor as I have loved you, and other various references in the bible talk of love and how love trumps all.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Yakobi

      You can be a xtian and take care of all those you want.
      Just don't expect me to do the same!

      June 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Amber

      That bi-otch defies all reason and logic.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  14. Marc L

    When you present us with facts about Obamacare and why it is good, instead of trying to tug our heartstrings with a sob story, then we can debate it's merit. Don't get me wrong, the situation described is very sad. I am not dismissing how serious it is. All I am saying is, this article is pure propaganda. It was written purely to elicit emotion in hopes of making us not ask questions. There is not one mention of how Obamacare would alleviate these problems, and especially no mention of the flip side. And there is always a flip side.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Are you a crack head? The uninsured cost taxpayers (you and me) tens of billions of dollars a year. Aren't you tired of paying that? Since you're so paranoid, lets see your plan! How would you solve the problem?

      June 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Older Sista

      Bless you . One more instance of this country refusing to examine what other countries do. My father-in-law used to vacation in Canada and made his family promise to drive like hell for the U.S. border if he ever got sick or injured in Canada.

      Just sayin'.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  15. Connie in Tennessee

    All of you saying that you don't want to pay for insurance for poor people, who do you think is paying their health care costs now?? Everyone is as they are forced to use the emergency room for all medical care and that just makes health care cost higher for all of us. When employers stop providing insurance, just see how long it will be until everyone is advocating for a national health care system.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Amber

      Yep! Some of these people will be the same ones screaming if they don't get thier medicaid bennies later in life. Money is temporary folks and not all of you bootstrapping snots are going to be well off forever.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Bev

      Sure, we are already paying for them . Then why do we need Obamacare? The government will only make things worse. The fraud and waste will be horrible. I'll bet you anything that a lot of Obama's friends are already planning clinics and hospitals without even knowing anything about how to run them. Just like they jumped on the green energy companies and managed to run them all into the ground. Maybe something needs to be done but it needs to be slow and people who work in the healthcare field (doctors, murses, people who do the billing and insurance) should be consulted.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  16. Dl

    Silly Jesus. He was about people over profits – obviously he wasn't familiar with American Capitalism.
    Vote Romney 2012!

    June 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  17. Mark

    Obamacare is a band-aid. As a self-employed person I carry insurance with deductibles and copays that are so high that I really don't have insurance in any practical sense, and post-Obamacare those who will be compelled to buy insurance will buy the same product I have. The real goal should be to make health care affordable, which is a different matter from insuring everyone. When are we going to get to the root of the issue? When are we going to look at how much debt med students have, how much doctors make, why we have ever-larger and more complex hospital campuses, how much we get charged for materials and services, how drugs are approved and how long drug companies can monopolize them, etc.? If we really want to provide healthcare to everyone, and not just insurance, these are the things we need to focus on.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Like a G9

      Yes, health-care needs to be free to all, with price and salary controls, and that's going to mean the government needs to just completely take it over and run it like a level-headed and reasonable government program (don't laugh) making it non-profit oriented even where private companies are involved.

      No more publicly-traded health industries, no more greed-oriented gouging, no more CEOs. Then it will be so affordable it won't take much to pay for good health care. As it is we've got millions of people who have been driven into bankruptcy by the gouging health-care sector. That should stop.

      And this Obamacare probably needs to be tossed and a better one written that makes sense for everybody, but that will have to wait until we get leaders who want to do the intelligent thing and not the status quo.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • hippie power 69

      no mark that is not true. there will be exchanges and other health co-op's for cheaper rates. that is why healthcare must be a not for profit industry. what we have now is a disgrace to this country.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  18. dbrock

    And he has this revelation conveniently when he is at the age of retirement? If you feel so guilty, give the money back!

    June 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  19. MMOB

    While we can't all agree that God is "rea'" we can hopefully agree that cancer, gall stones, gout, broken limbs, tumours, pneumonia and herniated discs are! And whether you're a god fearing person or an athiest, a democrat or a republican, a tinker, tailor, soldier or sailor – everyone needs healthcare. Being from Canada where universal healthcare work ( as it does in almost all Westernized countries); it's unfathomable as to why anyone would be against equal healthcare for all. Is it the word 'equal' that's making this an issue in the USA? We all know the history behind 'equality'! In my 52 years on this planet – neither myself nor my family has ever NOT had healthcare available – it's not something we even think about. From heart attack/ Aortic Aneurism / shoulder & hip replacement/ gall bladder removal/ births / alzheimers treatments/ MRI and radiology / breast cancer screening/ Colon Screening -the Works. And never a wait and never a penny paid – except in our taxes – which is money well spent. In the long run. It seems more economical to keep the population healthy – including those who don't contribute much in the way of taxes – by making healthcare available to all. My 2 cents – and that's in Cnd $'s.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • independentlyowned

      Well said! People are so shortsighted, they don't realize that having healthcare for everyone benefits everyone in the long run.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Wow, neither one of you knows much about economics. Giving free health care to poor people doesn't stimulate the economy–it has the exact opposite effect.

      And as for Canada, how about you switch places with the U.S. for a while and have Mexico on your southern border? Maybe when YOU have millions of illegal immigrants sucking on government services and filling your jails you might feel differently.

      June 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Amber

      Yakisoba- Um if they got the cost of healthcare in check maybe then so many, and yes there are many, wouldn't be so reliant. HELL-THCARE IS NOT AFFORDABLE PEOPLE!!!

      June 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Bev

      I've heard it is not so good in Canada and a lot of surgeries have to wait a year or two so people come here to have their surgeries. Maybe it is better in some parts of the country.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  20. Secret Police

    Obviously what to do with Health Care has been debated for a long time now, but obviously not enough. It seemed to enter the public debate again after a bunch of inter-company memos surfaced showing how it was common practice and even promoted at health insurance companies to find ways to drop 'high risk' patients or to just be able to drop patients after they hit some predetermined cap of benefits (as high as a million but that doesnt go far with how much hospitals charge) and once they found that pre-exiisting condition you were basically ostracized from getting any kind of insurance. YOu could be completely healthy, have insurance, be stricken ill and then be determined to have had a pre exisiting condition even though you had insurance b4 the condition...I really approve of this article because most people cant seem to grasp the whole picture or what really could even happen to them down the road...i think most americans can agree our healthcare shouldnt revolve around a for profit system....really sad image thinking about that free clinic and ppl treated in animal stalls...only thing missing in that sad scene are death panels aka Health Insurance Companies

    June 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
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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.