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. Don Steele

    It always surprises me that people are so fearful of government running things. I have a niece who runs a small business in the health care arena. To her the most professional organization she deals with is Medicare. She says it is the most efficient including paying its bills on time. As a small business owner this is critical to her survival. I remember Sara talking about government death panels. What about all the medical decisions that are made by bureaucrats in the insurance industry. Imagine all the wasted overhead that doctors offices incur because of the complexity of the insurance billings. And have peole ever tried to understand and purchase insurance. It's expensive and a nightmare.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      When I think of the nine members of the Supreme Court in their black robes, I think of a death panel. Come to think of it, they are.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Tom

      Medicare pays well, because it has an endless pit of money available. It's your money, regardless if it comes from a printer or taxes, as either way it dissolves your wealth. So yeah, I'm sure your niece is having a happy relationship with the endless pit of money. Anyone would...

      June 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • gl

      The knee jerk conservatives take as an article of faith that government is inefficient. In fact the overhead of the original Medicare program is only about 5%. The overhead for the private insurance industry is circa 35%. It seems like a no-brainer decision to me. I would prefer to see the 30% difference go to lower premiums or better reimbursement to providers.

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

    While there are obvious and very serious problems in our healthcare system, suggesting that Obamacare is the solution is the deadliest spin of all.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      GIVE US A SOLUTION! Don't just sit there and type. You don't like Obamacare? Fine. Tell us YOUR great plan James of little courage.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Pokydoke

      Assuring that all citizens have adequate medical care is the spin of death?

      June 27, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      All through 2009, the Republicans refused to offer one suggestion about health care. They could have represented doctors or hospitals, or medical schools, or ANYTHING, but all they did was try to block the plan. So, we are still waiting, what IS your plan to save your fellow Americans from dying from diseases with known cures? Remember, emergency rooms are not free, and they cannot give chemo therapy or any long-term care.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • JamesofFaith

      Sorry for not being more clear. I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat and think that both parties have been severely derelict. The problem is that Obamacare will bankrupt our nation. After fiscal annihilation, where will the quality of our health care be then? The solution is complex and must involve a global reevaluation of all our financial priorities so our solution can be paid for.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  3. Mike

    That person in the picture is half the problem with health care. Obesity. Please stop eating and help you fellow citizen who is responsible and thats a good start.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      There are plenty of people that are victims of crime, wrath of mother nature and/or come down with diseases that are sick and injured. Look at the big picture in the world, not the little image in your brain.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      That obese person is probably starving. Starving? Yes: many obese people have severe vitamin deficiencies. They eat pasta and corn and corn syrup because they can't afford a nice little plate of fresh veges, a little lean meat, and a piece of fruit. Have you been to the grocery store lately and looked at the prices of those things?

      June 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Etalan

      Mike is right, one of the main problem with US health care is that some sickness are using up too much resource. Not all sickness are the same, but nearly 50% of Healthcare money go to the 2%.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Mike

      Oh Elizabeth....whatever.

      June 27, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Mike

      Hi Ken.....your comment is worthless. Obesity & Heart Disease eat up too much of the pie. That fattie in the picture is one of the main problems with the system. Don't make responsible people pay for others over indulgence.....or just stop complaining about the "system"...because it starts with choices!!! flake.

      June 27, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  4. Tom

    Who do you think, will make most money off this whole forced insurance situation ?
    Doctors, Patients or Insurance companies ?

    June 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • cn

      obviously, the insurance companies. proof that obama is a centrist by making this sop to the right wing. too bad people like you booed the public option off the table.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Bad Karma

      Obama originally wanted Single Payer, it was the GOP that made sure the Insurance Industry was a player!

      June 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  5. JMP

    A lot of people exaggerate on their posts. So half of them I do not believe. The other half I do believe though. All I have to say is, you are responsible for yourself. In the old days, lets say 1700, we had whatever we could afford. Just like now. Health care does cost too much. Who is going to pay it? That's the real question and the only one that needs to be answered. We all know what happens when we get free stuff. It's free, you really can't complain or hold anyone really responsible. Just too much to fix in a simple post. Good luck is all half to say on that matter.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Great another crybaby. The reason there is a mandate is to eliminate "FREE" Since you are required to pay for it, it will not be FREE. But the same individuals cry about being "forced" to pay. So make up your mind.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • cn

      i guarantee you will change your tune if you lose your job and find out that you have, say, leukemia. do you happen to have the $250,000 sitting around for the chemo and bone marrow transplant, or are you ready to die (fyi, i am a doctor, eat PBJs for lunch every day, and even *i* don't have that kind of money sitting around. and, i would be ready to die). people like you are the first to go screaming for help in these situations, just like the rest.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  6. Scott

    Jesus said "you will always have the poor among you". Yes, I want them to have basic healthcare (I am one of them). But do I want the government to penalize me with a tax because I can't afford insurance? Or because my employer won't provide it? Seem to me this "law" may have been much more accepted if it provided a tax break for employers and individuals that get insured rather than penalizing them if they can't afford it.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  7. JD

    There will ALWAYS be those who have and those who don't. Doesn't matter if it's healthcare, money, a house, car, etc. That's the great thing about this country, if you want something you don't have, you have the opportunity to get it. ANYONE has that opportunity. Aspire to get a better/more education so you can get a better job, etc.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Al Ford

      Yes but a better job shouldn't be defined by the money and benefits you receive. Your better job could be helping poor or mentally ill people for example. You think that would come with gold plated benefits?

      There are clearly some basic needs that should be met in a modern society otherwise the society has failed.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Dorchadas

      Well, except that "socialist" France has higher social mobility than the US.

      There will always be haves and have-nots, but the wider the gap is, the harder it is to cross it. And it's getting pretty wide.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • BobFromPA

      You are naive at best.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Speedy

      You are so out of touch Not everyone has the same opportunity. It is selfish people like you who stand in the way.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Tom

      @Al Ford: I find that too many people escape their own problems by trying to take care of everyone else's problems. If everyone just focused on their own family, their own lives and their own problem and stopped trying to help everyone around them, things would be much better. Try to help another person when possible, and when he asks for it. Do not try to force your help, do not be scared to say "I can't" when it is just impossible to help. You, and your own family is your main responsibility, everyone else is secondary.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • CatSh

      You are obviously not over 55.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • tcaudilllg

      For now... but I guess we all know how you get it, eh?

      June 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Melanie Edwards

      For those of you who think with hard work you can have anything in this country are highly disillusioned. Try having cancer and being denied ssi for not being "sick enough" or medicare or medicaid and having no private insurance and being denied care by the local cancer centers for not being "insured" and being told to go to a "univerisity" hospital 100 miles away and having no trasportation!!! I am personally watching a friend of mine going threw this!!! Thank God she has "friends" to help her find rides to the "free" hospital which she is treated like a second class citizen and made to feel like she doesn't even deserve to live. All the while fighting SS for not being "sick enough" by having to hire a "lawyer" which will end up, if shes lucky enough, half the money she deserves in a year or 2 if she's even still alive!! Think about that when you self richus people with no clue judge people!!!

      June 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      Most young college grads have a huge debt caused by college loans. They often cannot afford good health care. You might not have noticed this, if you are wealthy... and what have you done for the world? Have you made money on stocks and derivatives, or have you built communities? Many people who once had good engineering jobs are out of work, even CEOs are now outsourced to foreign countries, so if America doesn't stand up for its own, we will have nothing. That includes you.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Terri

      So what happens, JD, if you were to get laid off from that "good job"?

      June 27, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • CatSh

      Insurance companies need to get out of the routine healthcare business. They a basically trying to insure a sure thing.
      When all this started, people rarely went to the doctor. They weren't obese and hadn't been smoking for 30 years. Chronic illnesses like diabetes was rare. Mose adults lived health lives, then dropped dead in their 60s from a coronary or short illness. The insurance companies were betting you wouldn't need a doctor until the end – and the end would come quick.
      Modern medicine is keeping people alive who would have died earlier and for years longer. Now people are expected to see a doctor regularly even when they aren't sick.
      Insurance companies keep jacking up the premiums in an effort to make a bigger profit, but they can't because now the healthcare industry is feeding off them.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  8. Ray

    Health care should be FREE to all. Whatever it takes. I dont care who argues and who is smarter blah blah....This is truly a moral crime by those making the real decisions, influencing the decisions, etc... Come on people! Try something new. Put life above money! You never know, you might like it.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Free?

      Nithing is ever free. Someone always pays.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Jon Zieg

      Well you're welcome to go to medical school, spend hundred of thousand of dollars of your own money getting your degree and then go volunteer your services for little or no pay.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Ray

      I realize nothing is free. I realize the education, hard work, and all that goes with it has a price. My point is that other countries seem to have no problem providing the care to all including visitors. Our country is so cold to its own people because of the greed and the influence of a few. We're being nickel and dimed so much that it's causing ordinary people to turn on each other. I'm single and have been working all my life paying the maximum amount of taxes. I pay more and more every year. Where is that money going? Why are executives of the insurance companies, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, other corps, not to mention the members of the congress, are becoming zillionaires yet we're always broke! The system is corrupt and it's killing people – literally! I'm so happy to see Mr. Potter exposing these games. We all know about the games! The people behind them are the trash of society and the cause of our downfall. Doing good and being kind does matter. Worshiping money and making decisions totally by the drive to increase profits is WRONG. Watch!

      June 28, 2012 at 2:20 am |
  9. Scared

    I have brain cancer, and had to stop teaching college. My wife has a health care plan through her full-time job, and I am covered by that (though it still costs us about $14,000 per year for medical costs). If my wife loses her job, I'm a dead man. A brain tumor is considered an pre-existing condition, and we either go homeless and bankrupt, or I die and simplify the whole thing. What a "wonderful" country this is...

    June 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      I hope that she can keep her job. My husband has cancer, and the medical insurance is through him. If he becomes unable to work, we will have to pay for "COBRA" coverage, with no money to pay it. We already have paid per year, just for him: $4000 hospital, and co-pays for the oncologist which come to about $600, and other prescription medicines which all have co-pays. And we have to hire people to help with things like shoveling snow in the winter, etc. Stress can cause the disease to get worse, but there is no way to avoid the stress this causes. On Thursday, we will learn if the insurance might continue to pay for his chemo or not.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  10. DE

    Republicans originally wanted a mandate in any healthcare reform, until they found out that the democrats also wanted a mandate and all of a sudden the republcians were against it. AMAZING!!!

    June 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  11. maxine

    Health care is too damn expensive.
    I had to have a biopsy on my breast. The insurance co. actually had a code to remove the needle.
    were they going to leave the needle in me??? Of course not, but our insurance charged 500 bux to remove it.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • evensteven

      Just pray your teeth don't go bad . . .

      June 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  12. Bob

    The core of universal healthcare is to PREVENT major health problems. Look at the first photo, a morbidly obese lady who probably smoked, drank and god only knows what else. If she could have gotten a stomach stable years ago we might have saved hundreds of thousands in medical bills.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      Or, if she had gotten real nutrition that would have prevented her from eating so much. There are conditions: a friend had a tumor on her pituitary gland, which caused terrible weight gain. But without medical care, who would catch it? The real waste is that this lady might have had a full life if she had treatment before becoming this obese. Even now, her life can be saved, but not if she is only cared for once every few years in an outdoor clinic.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  13. jma58

    If you haven't been in that position without healthcare insurance, you would not know how it affects you. Fewer employers offer health insurance because of the cost. The cost is so high because hospitals and doctors charge outrageous fees. It is all about money.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • maxine

      yes it is all about $$$$.
      I think the country doc who actually cares about the patients is a long ago memory.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  14. John Smith

    atheists and evolutionary Darwinians should be praying for the health care bill to be rescinded. After all, isn't it their religion that only the strongest of the species survive!

    June 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Dorchadas

      "atheists"..."their religion"


      June 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Etalan

      Christian should not have health care, because it is god's will that you are sick and he is testing your faith on not taking medication, since nearly all medication are make by studying evolution.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      No, this is some kind of cult that believes in killing people off to save them from suffering; that was banned long ago. I only wish that cult would stop dictating our health care rules.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  15. malw

    people talk about repealing obamacare but they never follow up their disgust for obamacare with their own solution, or their own reforms..... what is your healthcare solution. i am tired of hearing about what you're going to repeal..... give me your darn solution

    June 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Dorchadas

      "what is your healthcare solution"

      Rep. Greyson summarized the Republican solution the best, I think.

      Part 1: Don't get sick.
      Part: 2: If you do, die quickly.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  16. nottolate

    SCOTUS should overturn it cause anything short of single payer is a complete failure

    June 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      If it is overturned, Congress isn't going to put in single-payer, sorry to inform you. When the health care plan under Bill Clinton didn't pass, he decided to be nice to the Republicans and deregulate the banks; I'm sure the banks would love that (but the rest of us wouldn't). No, single-payer should be called for when THIS plan has had a chance to work a little, and should be introduced as an upgrade. Otherwise, people will be dying while waiting for the possibility, the distant idea, that America is a government for the people and by the people.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  17. faberm

    As I look at the picture, I once again am stunned by the huge overweight woman who has eaten herself into her medical problems. Americans are addicted to food and no amount of money is going to be able to put out the health care fire that is headed our way in this country. We need reform because the cost is shifted to payers instead of recipients. Maybe it is time to get insurance out of the whole thing so doctors and hospitals can compete for scarce dollars. They need to be subject to market forrces like EVERY OTHER SERVICE OFFERED IN AMERICA.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Kay

      There are some medical conditions that cause uncontrollable weight gain. Unless you know that woman and know why she's overweight, it's best not to judge. That could be you someday.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Hawk in texas

      Have you ever thought that the overweight lady has an underlying medical problem? i have a good friend that has a glandular problem that causes her to blow up like a baloon. not all over weight people got that way from eating.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      I have a friend with a pituitary tumor... who knows what this woman's problems are?
      But she could also be starving for real vitamins. That is another problem in America: too much genetically-engineered corn, corn syrup, and other carbs, and the rest of the food is too expensive for the poor to buy. Try being poor for a few minutes and see how it is. Try to eat when your take-home pay is $250 every OTHER week, and your rent is more than that, and you have to get to work somehow; you will be lucky to be eating beans.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Donovan

      For those of you making remarks about the morbidly obese woman in the picture. You might consider this. Could this woman have an overactive thyroid. Maybe just possibly she can't even get diagnosed let alone aford the medication she would have to take for the rest of her life to control it. I'm just saying.

      June 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  18. h

    Perhaps I hav no interest in people who hate their fellow citizens so much. It does not take much to lose your insurance. My sister lost her job at age 59 and ahs not found full time work she takes small withdrwals for her retirement has no health insurance, She will strt social security but is not eligible for medicaid or medicare. She makes do and I try to help. I hope you always have what you need.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • ginny

      J7 first praying for your sister, I have worked from 18 never did i not have a job, 2 children. I did my best to care for my kids, no support. Well yes I did the lord, my sister helped me out so much to find the love of the lord, i raised my kids to do the best job that they could do, be respectiful. do not judge other's. With gods hand on me and my wonderful kids. we did it. I got remarried Things were great. then i was in car accident. I had no say I was put on disablity, major operation on neck. got ssd after fighting then I lost my Husband he passed at home 6 yrs ago. this was a very hard time for me. now i live on disablity, less than $1000.00 medicare & medicade is what i have many medical things I have a wonderful support team. and faith. I don't understand what is going on where i've moved to , to be with my kids, but the goverment programs are a mess. no public transpertation, the local office is so short staffed and just found out that as of 7/1/12 there is no dental coverage for anyone over 21. as is there is no local dental office that does not take one hour to reach and that will be done as of next month. what is going on THANK YOU TO THE DOCTOR WHO SAW WHAT THINGS ARE IN A BAD STATE THANK YOU LORD . Have your sister go to the local state rep. I did ask them for help. never give up

      June 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  19. Tom

    I live in Canada. I can go blow 1M dollars in a state run casino tomorrow. That's fine. But I can't legally pay for my mother to have a hip replacement without waiting years in a queue. I can, on the other hand, go to USA to have it done, but I'm still forced to pay for my best "health care" in the world. State financed health care is like anything state financed: expensive, and mediocre at best.
    Also be careful with any opinion build faith, as much as you would be of any airplane build on faith. It might make you heart warm, but it will probably crash and burn.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • paul

      I am willing to bet Tom is not Canadian. Any takers, errrr?

      June 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Keith

      I would gladly take your Canadian care over the nothing I have available now. My Brother-in-law is Canadian and had surgery on his shoulder just a few months ago. Everything worked out great for him.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • fiscal2020

      Wrong. There are plenty of health clinics in Canada that skirt the law, especially for 1 million dollars. You can skip the queue in Canada. Any Google search for private medical clinic in Canada will find you one for a hip replacement - and it is done in Canada, not flown to the USA. By the way, Canadian doctors are not government employees and citizens are free to choose their doctors.

      What you call mediocre I call triage. Focus resources on prevention and detection, and those who die because they are too fat or smoked are out of luck. If you don't like that, keep spending most of your money on unproductive, dying people with the demographics 3 retirees to 1 worker and see what happens to the US economy. It won't be pretty.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Lars

      You are lying. Private suplemenatal insurance and care is available in Canada. Maybe the US is cheaper (because the Middle Class isn't paying into your insurance pool) but it does exist. And that is the true scary thought. When I pay for insurance in the US, it can subsidize the cost of a wealty American in the same plan group. But if I fail to ever need costly health care, my premiums will not go to help those who are truely in need.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Hear Ye

      I don't expect you'd blow a million bucks in a Canadian casino if you whine about having to pay for quick service in the US.
      Loosen your purse strings and take Mom for a nice treat south of the 49th.

      Canadian health care works pretty well for the rest of us.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      Move to a better city then, because if you are closer to the bigger cities in Canada the health care is available sooner. I have a friend who moved there to treat their Parkinson's disease. But if you are in the U.S., you also have to wait for a hip replacement in most cases. People are told they can get them the next week, but that is propaganda; the fact is that there is always a back and forth fight with the insurance company first, and often they make people wait years and get several tests and physical therapy just in case that works first. I went to the doctor with a shoulder that was in so much pain that I couldn't move it, and all they did was give me a cortizone shot and send me to physical therapy. I also paid out of pocket for a chiropractor, who also helped, and gave me ultrasound treatments. But the orthopedic doctor even made fun of me; there was no suggestion of surgery. You really have no idea about this, do you?

      June 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  20. evensteven

    Bravo to this man. He needs to be on Fox News every week at the least telling his story . . .

    The Health Care issue is a multifaceted problem, but the biggest is that the insurance companies make as much money as they pay out in claims. This effectively doubles the cost of health care as compared to other nations. Either get rid of insurance companies altogether or have a single-payer system . . . or both.

    June 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • J7

      Fox News wouldn't have him because he tells the truth.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • gl

      Until the 35 – 40% of the premium dollar that somehow gets lost between the purchaser (employers and individuals) and the actual providers our system will never live up to its technological promise. The inefficiency of the current, market driven system is unconsciounable. A single payer system is, indeed, a very cogent answer to this problem.

      June 27, 2012 at 9:25 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.