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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. TK

    Really? CNN uses a picture of Jabba the Hut's wife? No sympathy here for the obese. If you can afford to eat that much...you can afford health care.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Clyde Burgoon-Clark

      Many of the poor are obese because processed carbohydrates and fats are cheaper to buy and feed more people.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Shane Johns

      Only a fool would automatically assume that an obese person is obese simply because of food. There are many medications which cause the user to get heavy - especially asthmatics and the hormone pills often given to them. The "Jabba the Hutt" remark goes to the maturity level of the OP. I would bet this woman is obese because of medications which were necessary in order to keep her breathing. I hope her misfortune soon ends, and further hope that OP might be placed in a situation where s/he has to decide whether to breathe and gain weight, or not breathe at all.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  2. JohnnyC

    Propaganda.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Mike

      Really? tell that to the thounsands of people who attend free health or dental care events. The lines are so big that doctors (or nurses) are not able to see them in one day...You are so narrow-minded man...hope you never get sick!!!

      June 27, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  3. Hoo Myself

    A liberal looks forward to change.
    A conservative wants things to stay the same.
    The world changes every day.
    You cant stop change.
    You can only try to slow it down.
    When you slow it down, it does not stop it.
    You are fighting yourself.
    Grow up.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  4. Tom

    Do not vote for Willard Romney, he is a weak minded stooge of the right-wing.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • miss the point

      so tired of the right and the wrong; the left and the right; godless and godful;

      the answer is – we need a leader that can bring some people from all parts of OUR country together.
      now it is just one person complaining about another
      now it is just one group saying that another group is wrong
      anger and blaming all around

      obama and romney – both appear not capable of leading us to work together
      i want to vote for someone you is able to do that
      someone who is beyond an inflexible stance
      someone who is a leader in action not in words

      anyone have any suggestions on who might be a good person that could do this?

      June 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  5. soldeo

    Forget insurance. Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, prognosis of a year or so, and if I added the poison I might add a month or two. Multiple oncologists never shared what was in their backyard. An ND in Mountlake Terrace, WA who created my OWN cancer vaccine from my own immune cells. It's more effective, my quality of life astounds me, and saved my life. I was literally in the pit last year this time, and experienced a miracle. It's not FDA approved, and my insurance doesn't cover ND's, of course. It's less expensive, than cutting, burning, and poison, but you can't patent someone's own cells, so forget it. How convenient. Thanks, fed, pharma, and insurance, glad it's working for you, while I bankrupt my family. ehealthandhealing.com Dr. John Catanzaro, ND.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  6. charon

    Most of the people who die without health insurance are people who have qualified for social security disability and are waiting their two and a half years for medicare coverage. In that interim, most people only have cobra benefits, which are not affordable on SS. If they had been slackers all of their life and not saved anything, those folks would have gotten medicaid. But they are too rich for medicaid, too poor to buy insurance, and Obamacare did not do a whit for them. That is the reality.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  7. Ken Margo

    BUZZ MANN you're the perfect reason why people NEED healthcare. You may not be rich, but that doesn't mean you should be treated like that. NOT everyone that doesn't have healthcare is lazy. Are there lazy people? of course! But that doesn't mean we shouldn't take action for the 99% that are not.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  8. joseph

    If you smoke, drink or do illegal drugs and don't pay for health care you are leach. If you can afford those things you can buy health care. If you fall in this group it shows how poor your character has become. This applies to democrats and republicans.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Shane Johns

      I smoke. And an enormous amount of my product cost is taxes. The last time they raised it, they said it was for health benefits for children, under the CHIP program. In any case, you are a fool to think that smokers aren't being taxed for health care. They're not being taxed for their OWN health care. And THAT is the problem.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • js

      As you should be. However that doesn't excuse you from having health care insurance. If you have insurance that's fine smoke away. If not quit smoking and buy health insurance.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Shane Johns

      js,

      As I should be? Why should I, as a smoker, be responsible for my own health care, PLUS the health care costs of the kids coverage on the CHIP program? If we are responsible for our own health care, fine. But where do you find it proper within your legal theory of Justice, to charge smokers extra to provide health care for kids that aren't even theirs? If that is anyone's responsibility, it is the parents of those children. And if that's too much for them, then they shouldn't be having kids, right? And if society comes together to help out those children, that should be a cooperative effort from ALL in society, not just the smokers.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  9. JM

    Amen. Amen. Amen.

    What a lot of crap the so-called "Christian" right have been hurling the past few years. Their rants have in no way resembled Jesus' teaching. He didn't teach on hoarding one's money; he taught on sharing and giving away (everything we have) to the poor. Jesus didn't teach on changing the world by taking over the government; He taught on changing the world by showing radical, sacrificial, merciful love (turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, giving everything we have to the poor and following Him and His ways).

    What would Jesus do today? The same thing He did in the Bible? Heal the sick; love everyone; show mercy (to everyone); give up everything for others; proclaim the Good News: that God loves everyone. He would expect us to follow His teachings.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • bg

      JM – I agree with you that the most important thing is to help others, love everyone, and show mercy. But I disagree with you on one important thing: the christian right does not teach anyone to hoard or to be greedy. That's a common stereotype that doesn't make anyone sound smart – not the people it's about and not the people who rely on it. You and I both have the same goals. See my comment below to see what the difference is between liberals and conservatives on this issue. And I don't use stereotypes of either the right or the left, so I think it's fair for both sides.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  10. Hunter

    Kudos to this man! Yes, healthcare is about PEOPLE, and if we are at all human anymore, we have to put our fellow humans' health and well being above money. It's NOT about hand outs or getting something for free. It's about having fair rules and level playing fields and being realistic about what needs to be done. We need a single payer system, but since the GOP and Tea Party considers helping their fellow man against their religion, we have "Obamacare". We need this healthcare reform in the worst way, ironically, to save ourselves from bankruptcy. Anyone who calls it Socialism is ignorant and has been listening to too much right wing propaganda.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  11. Billy

    And then Jesus spoke. "Go and create colossal Federally run healthcare bureaucracy! Force those who can provide for themselves to buy health insurance. And, always provide free birth control, even if they can easily afford the $9.99 copay. Oprah need not bare that burden."

    June 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • JM

      And then Jesus spoke (through his mouthpiece, the so-called Christian right): go, start a war in a country that didn't attack you; spend boatloads of money; kill thousands; waste time, money and lives for no purpose. Turn a blind eye to the wasteful spending and dishonest practices of Wall Street. Support those who act in such a way. Forget "regular" Americans; support the rich and powerful.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  12. Brian Macker

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

    What a moronic statement. Jesus only cured a couple people. According to Christianity Jesus is both the son of god, and god himself. According to Christianity he has the power to cure everyone for all times and yet he doesn't. So this was an example of selective helping. It was not a socialist (or communist) system of free goods supported by taxes.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • J2

      Eternal Life

      There's an afterlife.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Adom

      Just to set the record straight......... Everyone who CAME to him and asked for healing WAS healed. Check your facts

      June 27, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  13. bg

    I see the classic liberal problem here: “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.”

    Liberals think that some conservative Christians don't want to provide help to those who need it. That's nonsense. We're not disagreeing about the what the end result should be; we're disagreeing about how we get there. We all – liberals and conservatives – want the end result to be that no one suffers and everyone has access to what they need to be healthy. The different is liberals think that this can be achieved and sustained by large programs run by the federal government. Conservatives think that a large federal government with expensive programs becomes a burden on society that actually can't be sustained and creates worse conditions in the long run. So conservative Christians seek ways to take care of others without involving the federal government and without taking away the conditions of freedom and self-reliance that actually make people and society as a whole better.

    So in reply to Potter, No, no one loses sight of what Jesus did and how important that is. The problem is some people, like you, lose sight of HOW he did it.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Brian

      And yet there is still no health care proposal from the right.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • J2

      It's 2012.

      Decades of blathering; no action...until Obama.

      Conservatives would rather blather w/no actual progress.

      And people die...

      June 27, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • bg

      Brian and J2 – there are plenty of proposals for health care from the right. Do some searches and read up on them. Consider both sides of the argument before you assume that your side is the only option out there. And J2 – even if you were correct about no action – is an action with worse long-term results better than no action? But we don't have to worry about that, because there has been lots of change and action in health care, for better and for worse, since long before Obama came in to office.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Billy

      Actually, there have been plenty. John McCain had a whole plan, but it was dismissed by the Left because it wasn't a giant Federal bureaucracy. It's single payer or no way, for the Left. Then B.O. Obama campaign used McCain's plan to tax healthcare plans against McCain, and then tried to use it himself. That is, until the unions came along and told him he couldn't.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • J2

      Fortunately for me, I was brought up in the church and taught to follow Jesus' teaching: to have compassion and mercy.

      Obama is the first president in my lifetime who has been about the American people and not about wasting 8 years accomplishing nothing (or accomplishing the wrong thing: letting the economy tank, starting a war in the wrong country, making America an international embarrassment).

      Obama's healtcare reform will help people. I'm all for that.

      Sick and tired of the rich and powerful getting everything and taking advantage of regular Americans.

      The fact that one's employer has to pay for one's medical benefits makes absolutely no sense on God's green earth. One should be able to buy affordable healthcare insurance with the money one earns (working contract, etc.).

      June 27, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • J2

      John McCain? The same John McCain who said the fundamentals of the American economy were sound before suspending his campaign to run back to Washington after the economy tanked in order to do nothing?

      June 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Hoo Myself

      **** Liberals think that some conservative Christians don't want to provide help to those who need it. That's nonsense. We're not disagreeing about the what the end result should be; we're disagreeing about how we get there.
      ------------------------------------------------–
      Republicans shot down health care under the Clinton administration.
      That was a personal goal of Hillary Clinton.
      Obama came up with this plan, based on Romneys Mass health care that Republicans aproved of,
      but it is a Democrat in office, so no dice.

      You cant fool the American public.
      This attack on Obamas health care is just partisan politics.

      let me put it simple.
      We didnt come up with it,
      so we are going to stop you, until we can take credit for it.

      We are not stupid.
      Republicans seem to fall into that hook line and sinker.

      Keep defending a dead horse.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • historygeek5

      bg,
      So many of these types of stories quickly devolve into "arguments and debates" about liberal versus conservative. So I wish to make it very clear I am going to ask a questions to LEARN not to argue: What does the story of the Isrealites and the manna from heaven mean to you personally, as a "conservative" Christian?

      June 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  14. Jack

    Good evening. Everyone is invited to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    June 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  15. Buzz Mann

    Explain this ,I recently broke my wrist in 2 places and required surgery.I have no insurance and was told I had to pay 2000 dollars up front and make payments of 895 dollars a month for next 6 months before they would fix my arm.Then I was told that was with a 68% discount for not using insurance.Ever think if maybe they didn't charge insurance companies 3 times the price maybe,just maybe ,people could afford insurance.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      What hospital did you go to Taliban General? You must have gone to a private doc. If you went to an emergency room the hospital would have taken care of you first.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Buzz Mann

      My towns only hospital recently became privately owned and yes they will turn you away from emergency room if you already owe a bill.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  16. FedUpInSeattle

    Never in my life have I seen such a large segment of society become OK with the idea that its OK to take something from someone else, as long as its for a good cause or just plain strait out believe they deserve something for free. What has happended to America? Is this the New Math I hear about taught in schools? There are thousands of heart break stories including my own dads death from ALS and mother-n-laws death from cancer but at no time did we as a family think someone owed us something, we went without and sacrificed. First bringing my father in to live with us one year then die and then my mother-n-law the next year and die. This new American Value of I deserve it for Free is disgusting. Programs exist for those with great hardship, putting the rest of us on that program is not right.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • sam

      No one wants anything for free; that's lazy hyperbole. People are trying to survive. I cared for my mom until she died, I paid all her bills, and I will be paying her bills for some time. We can't keep shoving the poor and sick under the table – not eveyone has someone to fight for them, like your dad did, like my mom did. There are plenty out there who worked hard all their lives and get screwed at the end because their bodies break down.

      You must be smarter than that.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Like a G9

      Anyone who doesn't want to pay taxes is free to leave the country. This isn't a totalitarian country like China. You can leave if you really hate the idea of having a government. Just go away. Find a pier in Seattle and go swimming. Quit fighting against helping people.
      If you don't want to help make this world a better place for everyone, just go off by yourself. We don't need you that bad.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      This is not "FREE" EVERYONE PAYS one way or another. The question is how do we do cheaply? ARE you saying that hospitals should refuse patients? If so there goes the pro-life movement!

      June 27, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • fire0bama

      Very well said. I am so happy to know that there are still great Americans like you existing in this declining country. Where have the traditional American values of individual responsibility and individual freedom gone? Are we going to be another Greece soon?

      June 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      People like FedUp and fire0 never take the time to look at the way things are outside their own selfish idiocy.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • fire0bama

      Of course, I'm a red blooded redneck who doesn't know a thing. But, what the hell.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • 40acres

      Your comment has no basis in this argument. The AHCA does not allow people to get things for free....in fact it requires that they purchase insurance. You should be happy that those who have been treated at ERs because they didn't think they might need treatment are now responsible for their own insurance. Shame on you for tryingt to turn this into a "get stuff for free" argument.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @fire0bama

      I merely said you were selfish and an idiot. Never anything about being a redneck, but then again self-righteous anger feels good doesn't it?

      June 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • fire0bama

      Hawaiiguest, someone faked my username to say I am a redneck. I did not write that message. Liberals are dishonest as evidenced by this poser.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      And automatically labeling the person as a liberal is just as dishonest and intentionally partisan as you assume him to be. Congrats on you're perfect example of more idiocy.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • J2

      In other words: down with Social Security. Down with Medicare. Down with Medicaid. Down with tax-payer funded education, hospitals, etc.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • J2

      I'll believe you when you opt out of the programs I just mentioned.

      Put your money where your mouth is. (And your families': kids, parents, spouse.)

      June 27, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Kathryn O'Hehir

      Because you and your family did not need, nor ask for, help, I am happy for you (not for the illnesses you mention). However, your family does not exist in a vacuum. Even if you do not personally "see" anyone in "need" these comments about people being "lazy" is just a lack of knowledge on the subject. Any American with a serious pre-exisitng condition, i.e. ovarian cancer, a severe mental illness, can NOT buy any insurance for love or money. The reason we even have a federal government is to provide services to those who do not have access to them in any other way.

      Live a long and healthy life, and may you never contract a illness that your insurance refuses to cover, and that you NEVER lose your exisiting insurance.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Hoo Myself

      Its not free if i paid into it.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • algorelies

      hmm..if a picture were to tell a thousand words, the lady is sick from obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney and liver problems, circulatory problems, heart problems, and probably some sort of cancer stemming from the 50-60 lbs of visceral fat.
      Go to traMlaW on any saturday and you will see the "assembly line" of sick or soon to be sick americans buying hoardes of junk food with their pmatdoof debit cards.
      See, health care is not needed if americans were to be responsible for their own well being. Period. Eat well, drink lots of water, sleep well and MOVE!!! Walk, run, cycle, exercise, do anything to keep your body limber and your heart healthy.
      But no. Obama would not want to stop the one thing that this country manufactures, and very well, sick americans.
      Put a tax on obesity, have the money go to a health care fund and reward those americans who are healthy with some payback money. All taf sratsab will have to pay, until they become healthy or not.
      See, this chicago hustler got away with claiming that 40 million americans did not have health care...did that mean that 40 million americans NEEDED health care?
      doing the math, that is 13.3 % (2 out of 15) of americans are sick and need to go see a doctor or a hospitall?
      And where did this wizard get these numbers??
      See no reporter had the cajones to ask the usurper (no tiene papeles, so he can't be president) these questions.
      But now, a la Al Gore-esque, the media is painting cutesey examples of people waiting in line for treatment...before I turn on the water works, I have to ask:
      How did all of these people get to be that way? No one really, is born sick, or obese, like the lady in the cover story. Lady Obama has a good idea in fighting childhood obesity..nip the problem in the bud.
      I have my own thoughts on that as my plan, which I emailed to Sen. Ron Paul, to begin taxing obesity at $1.25/lb of fat above a 12% body content of fat would force americans to lose weight and take better care of themselves and their children, else, pay out of your ass, literally. Fat tax would be taken out of paychecks and would suplement or replace medicare tax.
      So, those who need to lose more, actually pay more.
      So simple, the government will not touch it.
      The group Red White and Blue group proposed for me to write a white paper on this, I did not. Michelle comes up with her plan soon after...go figure.
      But 13% of americans are sick? Would you not call that more of a present danger to this country when the odds one is likely to suffer at the hands of a "terrorist" will be at the next "staged" terrorist plot conveniently foiled by the FBI or Obama's gardner, or face american terrorism at the hands of a barely educated, double-digit vocabulary TSA thug?
      Seriously, folks. See through the tihs colored malarkey Obama, the media and the supreme court are handing to the american people by the handfuls.
      What can you or I do? Do not throw away your vote. Begin with yourself. Take such good care of yourself and your loved ones, your money and your health and there will be no government action that could ever get to you.

      June 28, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  17. JR

    NAMBLA = liberal? I understand Sandusky was a GOP leader. Until he got caught.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  18. Martin

    The only health care mandate we have at the moment is that hospitals are required to treat people who turn up in the ER regardless of their ability to pay. AFAIK this is the only case of a mandate requiring a business to provide goods and services to anyone who wants them. Its not fair to the business - why should they carry the deadbeats - and its not fair to the rest of us - we end up carrying their costs.

    You cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you want insurance to be entirely optional then you have to be prepared to have people die in the streets. Failing that then you just have to find a way to pay for it.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Joscar

      Hospitals that accept federal money are only required to examine someone who shows up at an emergency room to determine if they suffer from an 'emergency medical condition' or are in active labor. Only those that are deemed in that condition must be treated.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Shane Johns

      Joscar,

      You are correct. Hospitals are ONLY required to bring those people to a situation of 'stability', they are not required to perform surgery, or treat the illness. If it is a simple common condition, they may treat you. But if we're talking about a heart transplant, liver transplant, AIDS, or a plethora of other conditions, they will let you die if you don't have the ability to pay.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Avalanche

      Seventeen years working for kodak.
      Job shipped to Mexico.
      Retirement account whiped out.
      Cant find another job.
      56 years old
      White gay male, have been with my partner for 30 years,
      My partner works part time, things are very tuff.
      Worked hard my whole life.
      Had a paper rout when i was ten
      Dont want sympathy, but help would be good.
      Nobody cares.
      Some lady treated bad on a bus gets $530,00 from donations.
      Wish somebody could help me.

      Guess i dont have a viral video to show somebody.
      mgull@frontiernet.net

      I will probably regret this , but will be interesting to see the replys.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  19. newtonslaw

    The Golden Rule doesn't seem to apply to the GOPers these days. More concerned about there pieces of eight.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • ur2cool

      The golden rule is to teach a person to fish and then to become a fisherman, a valuable member of their community, not to continue to hand out fish to keep the unskilled just barely happy...

      June 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • 40acres

      2cool, beside the fact that you don't seem to know what the Golden Rule is, am I to assume that you think we should teach the poor to do their own surgeries and then they too can be doctors?

      June 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • ur2cool

      Wow... you really are disconnected from reality.

      Build business, employ workers, improve skillsets so that people can become self-sufficient and more productive, grow the business, hire more people, teach them to save (not impulse buy $1000 rims or whatever the Jones' have)... not only will they actually be able to afford healthcare w/o public subsidy, but they will also be able to save money in order to send their kids to college to become doctors. Yup.

      Or, as my Dem family occupying most of the general Baltimore area philosophizes (behind closed doors of course), just hand out enough to keep 'em happy and keep 'em from rioting, and we will get on with our life and making money.

      Which avenue do you think is racist? Do you actually think or just emote?

      June 27, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Shane Johns

      ur2cool,

      When those loaves and fishes were multiplied, please show me the verse where only fellow-fishermen were given food. The multiplied loaves and fishes were given to all. PERIOD.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • ur2cool

      Now you are getting it Shane old boy...

      The fisherman is self sufficient and a food fisherman may sell his excess to bring in additional funds... amazing what a little mentoring and teaching can bring about! No the fisherman might have a little money (not just government coupons) to spend at the market, so the market owner shares in his wealth. The fisherman will need tradesmen to build new nets and rods, so the local trade unions share his wealth. The fisherman may need to build more work space, so the local carpenters share his (or her) wealth.... and so on.

      Glad to see some of you are catching on.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • fw

      Those that cant fish should starve ?
      Sick.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  20. Henry

    We set up shop in Costa Rica, which has Universal Healthcare, so we think we're good... Guess what the most important single benefit is? Private Healthcare, due the inefficient, bloated and corrupt government bureaucracy... Universal Healthcare is not the answer. As for being the "richest nation in the world"? Really? You must have your head in the sand... We can't afford Obamacare even if it did make sense. You might as well call it Chinacare, since they'll be picking up a big chuck of the tab... "The problem With Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money" – Margaret Thatcher

    June 27, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • terry Vann

      It would probably just confuse you, but health care is private in this Nation. Only a few Doctors work for the Federal Government. Federal involvement is not bad for healthcare, check out the rest of the world, where nations provide
      great health care to ALL of their citizens and residents. The United States does not lead in providing health care to it's citizens.
      The incredible amount of money spent vs. results is CRIMMINAL. Just use that thing on your shoulders to think for a minute.
      Are you seeing POOR doctors out there? POOR hospitals!!!!

      June 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • bg

      terry vann, besides sounding condescending, you sound just a little uninformed. A little humility and a little knowledge would both serve you well.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • drew

      exactly bg. i had to laugh when terry said "just use that thing on your shoulders to think for a minute". dont you just love these people who lecture to others as if they have the authoritative word on such topics? i find it especially funny when those same people only get their news from one or two left wing rags, yet they know it all.

      thanks for your attempt at enlightening us terry. if i may return just a small favor so i can at least feel somewhat worthy of the fact that you took the time to try and educate me and others on this topic.....The way you spelled "CRIMMINAL" is downright criminal.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • ur2cool

      drew... nice chuckles, thanks. I have been 'lucky' enough to live in several countries with 'universal' care and they are downright CRIMMINAL!

      Ask my 80 +/- year old inlaws in the UK what they were told about getting testing & treatment... too old, long waiting list full of younger, more productive members of society.

      We may not have the best health system in the world, but my father-in-law was very appreciative when we flew him over here to be seen by US docs (after waiting in the UK for months...) – rest his soul.

      June 27, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
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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.