March 27th, 2012
08:06 PM ET

Overheard on Readers go back and forth as Supreme Court mulls health care law

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

As the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments about President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, our readers are making some arguments of their own. Some are even protesting. Comment below and share your thoughts and ideas about health care.

Supreme Court divided over health care mandate

We've been hearing from several readers, including a bunch of iReporters, about this measure.

"We need universal health care," says Matt Sky of New York. He suggests the insurance companies have a conflict of interest when treating people. Jannet Walsh of Murdock, Minnesota, says she likes the law in theory but is unsure that people will be able to pay for it. Houston, Texas, resident Vera Richardson says we're already required to purchase auto insurance, so why not health insurance?

Some, like Mark Ivy of Farmersburg, Indiana, suggested leaving health care programs to the states.

k3vsDad: "I say no to this being a federal mandate. To me this is a violation of the 10th Amendment. This is an issue that should remain with the states. The states have a much better handle developing health care programs tailored to their citizens. One size does not fit all. Every time the federal government overreaches, it is never better, but worse. Give health care back to the states."

Egberto Willies of Kingwood, Texas, says he believes Obama's plan was a compromise, and he might even like to see it go further.

"I am of two minds. Sometimes I want the mandate struck down in order to speed up how soon we will ultimately get Medicare for all (single-payer health care). But then given the lack of congressional competence, I then revert back to doing this in pieces starting with the current bill."

These two comments represent the debate pretty well.

IndyHoosier9: "This is about health care costs. Right now, if a person goes to the hospital and does not have health insurance, they get treated and the rest of us pay for it (in our health care costs). So it comes down to two options: either require health insurance by everyone, or tell hospitals not to treat anyone without health insurance."

tp16: "This is certainly one of the most crucial decisions the Supreme Court will make in determining the power of the federal government. This administration and its Justice Department have had to resort to every sort of stretch imaginable to try to justify [this]. What the administration wants to do is to impose a tax without the political liability of calling it a tax. This president has taken a swipe at individual rights, under the guise of the collective good, purely to save face."

Another story generated a different sort of conversation about health care. Three-year-old Violet McManus suffers from seizures that threaten her breathing.

The Supreme Court, health care reform and one little girl

Her parents are worried the Supreme Court could restore lifetime limits on Violet's insurance coverage. She was quickly approaching the $5 million lifetime limit on her insurance policy before health care reform. Readers had lots to say about both sides of the issue.

Phange: "I am a medical student with a Master of Health Administration degree. I can say this, without a doubt. Both sides, top to bottom, are dead wrong about health care.

DEMOCRATS – Insurance isn't/has never been the problem. ... (The law is) like putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg. It fixes a problem that doesn't exist, thereby increasing the likelihood that the main problem (a complete oligopoly of price controls within the provider marketplace) will continue.

REPUBLICANS – We currently have the most expensive health care system in the world. ... I would know, I work in it every day. A true fiscal conservative would immediately recognize that we need a radical change in hospital and provider regulations if we are to have any hope of changing course.

The bottom line is that neither of you actually care about health care. You've turned one of the most important humanitarian fields into a political game."

This reader supports the measure.

SoCaliBB: "I was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 9 and underwent two years of chemo. I have since then been diagnosed with two additional health scares in my life and I"m still in my 20s. Thankfully, I was either under my parents or my own health insurance and hardly had to pay the treatments because I had good coverage. I HATE to think what a person or family would go through if they had no insurance. It's very gut-wrenching and devastating if you think about it. I'm willing to pay more in taxes, insurance co-pays, whatever if it means that others get the same type of treatment and health opportunity as I have."

This comment comes from someone who opposes the law

Peshwar: "Let's cut the sob stories over health care. This debate is not about emotional issues. It is about the constitutionality of forcing American citizens to have to purchase health care or face a penalty. It is about nothing else!"

If a child is sick, how do you pay?

Crystal N: "My daughter is profoundly affected by this law. Like Violet, she's 3. However my daughter got an infection that turned septic at a week of age and almost died. Either the sepsis or the antibiotics that saved her life (or both) caused a kidney to fail. At 10 days of age she had a stroke. She could have hit the cap in her lifetime, particularly if she needs a transplant in the future. The pre-existing conditions issue would have determined her career path and major in college because her first priority once we couldn't cover her would have been insurance. The ACA gives her a future."

Randy Darrah: "So us taxpayers should have to pay for your daughter? I hope your daughter recovers and gets the help she needs, but why is it my responsibility to pay for it?"

Some other readers talked about the portions of the law that bothered them.

Opinion0731: "Most people will agree that there are a handful of provisions in Obamacare are good. The problem is that there is a lot more bad in the law then there is good. Putting a sick child on the headline and making it and sound like overturning Obamacare is a personal attack on this little girl. I agree that the problems with health care need to be addressed, but a 2,500-page law that is filled with a lot of costly provisions isn't the solution."

sporty53: "Actually, it's the other way around. More good than bad. I have yet to hear more than three things Republicans don't like in this bill."

"1. It pays for abortions
2. It doesn't include tort reform
3. It forces all Americans to purchase insurance sometimes against their will
4. It requires religious institutions to fund procedures or medicines against their religious beliefs
5. It is adding trillions to the national debt; we simply can't afford it
6. It does not allow for the purchase of insurance across state lines which would create greater competition and lower prices."

What do you think? Do you have ideas to fix the health care system? Should health insurance be required by law? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on Or send us a video comment via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (346 Responses)
  1. Mike

    The passing of this bill would be the perfect way to catch illegal aliens and send them the hell back home.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFritz

      The illegal aliens issue is a smokescreen. Keeps our minds off the real issues, like the fact that our retirement security is gone and health care unaffordable. No one who builds homes, owns mega-farms, poultry plants and slaughterhouses, lawn-care businesses and nail salons wants illegal aliens to go away. Insurance companies are perfectly happy to use them as an excuse to up our premiums, and hospitals are happy to use them as an excuse to do endless unnecessary, expensive procedures on those who do have health care so they can fund their endless building campaigns and executive salaries. BS-blowing smoke.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Geoff Pykett

    We all know that this debate is political. There are vested interests who don't want to lose out on making money and another faction who just want to damage the goverment. For a country that was established on the pioneering spirit where we all helped each other, how can we not consider a universal system?
    The care we get in the US is excellent but if some politicians and the moneymakers get their way, be advised that the middle class will lose it. The healthcare system must be brought into the 21st century.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFritz

      I don't get the argument against the mandate. We are mandated to pay for auto insurance, aren't we? Leave it to the states? Honestly, didn't we fight the states rights issue over 150 years ago? Time for the south to let this one go. We need universal, publicly funded health care and we need to pay for it, not endlessly feed the military industrial complex. We need to look around the world for health care systems that work and stop pretending they won't work for us. We all need to see health care as an inalienable right for everyone, not just the wealthy.

      March 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |

      I agree with you but the "pioneering spirit" is just words! We're a selfish greedy nation where each is left to fend for his or her self! let's face it, this country was built on greed and evil! Aka..slavery, annialation of the Native Americans and confescation of land belonging to the Natives and the Mexicans, etc, etc, etc! Pioneering spirit? I don't think so!

      March 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Too many people think socialism is bad regardless of the context, even though when they call the police or fire department or send their kids to public schools, they are utilizing socialist programs.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      You both are correct and why no one else can see the reason why is beyond me.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southerner01


      Not only is health care NOT a right, it CANNOT BE a right. If someone has a right to healthcare, then someone else has the obligation to provide that healthcare, regardless of whether or not they want to. You cannot have hte right to another person's labor. Your right to healthcare consists of what you can do to yourself.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe


    the problem is we catch plenty now and still don't send them home...

    March 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. toxictown

    The argument that Health Care is just another product like broccoli or cars is a red herring. It is a public health, safety and welfare concern like roads, the military and first responders and should be treated as such. You don't get to opt-in or out or that stuff a-la-carte on your taxes and shouldn't be able to on this.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. seneschal

    The civilized world looks on in amazement at the pathetically ridiculously nonsense that passes for discussion on health care in the US. Of course Republicans, by and large, are against universal medical coverage, it would cut into the profit of the insurance companies, and that's a definite no no.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southerner01

      This Obamacare act INCREASES profits for insurance companies. That's why they don't oppose it. The reason it is bad is because it takes what used to be insurance and turns it into yet another form of welfare, where the healthy are forced to pay for the sick.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gotstosayit

    The issue everyone seems to be up in arms about is that the law requires everyone to obtain insurance. We are required to obtain car insurance which protects the insured person and others which is kind of the same reasoning behind requring everyone have health insurance. If you get into a car accident and the other driver does not have insurance, you end up paying for it..... if you have health insurance and others don't , you end up paying for their medical care....

    March 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • gottstosayit

      Really....its the republicans appears to me by mandating we purchase healthcare from private insurance companies while doing nothing to actually reduce is the Democrats who are helping line the pockets of the healthcare industry.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • gottstosayit

      But you get to choose if you want to own and operate a car...some people do not. They walk, ride bike, take bus, or use trains....those people do not pay auto insurance.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southerner01

      Nobody is forced to buy car insurance. You only need to buy car insurance if you want to use the government owned public highways.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Disgusted and Disheartene phared responsibilty at the Federal level applies to Social Seicuty. to

      You are absolutely correct.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tstorm92

    I'm convinced that 90% of people against health care are simply against Obama. He could be proposing the cure for AIDS and cancer and they'd still vote against it.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      sadly you are right... just like a bunch of people opposed everything Bush did solely because it was Bush and a bunch of people opposed Clinton just because it was Clinton... welcome to politics and the two party mafia.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • stevensb

      Worse than that , if the president came out with programs for the economy , foreign affairs , energy , you name it , that were HAND WRITTEN by the right wing pundits , the right wing would be falling all over themselves to declare every thing proposed by the president as " freedom killing socialist plots " !!!!!! They just hate him , period , and will do or say anything to bring him down !

      March 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |

      Agree! If Obama was to walk on water, the rightwingers would deny that it ever happened! But that's no surprise because from day one, they said they wanted him to fail! So if America fails, then that is all well and good with them!

      March 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • gottstosayit

      Seriously....I am sorry thats what you believe. If Obama and the Dems came out with a universal healthcare plan funded by the government I guarantee a majority of people would be supportive of that and it would actually reduce the overall cost (look at Taiwan). What they have done here will do 0...nothing to actually reduce the cost of only spreads it around. Sorry if 90% of the people dont agree with this band aid, line the insurance companies pockets, pander to lobbyists approach to fixing healthcare.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Duane - St. Pete FLA

    health care is not a right....owning a home is not a right....getting an college education is not a right.....owning a car in not a right....if you want it....go out and earn it....if you can't or don' die. sounds like great motivation to me.....

    March 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      It is the Declaration of Independence that states we have the right to Life. You are not saying you disagree with the Declaration of Independence are you?

      March 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southerner01

      The right to life means that I am not allowed to take your life away from you. It does not mean I am responsible for maintaining your health FOR you. That's your job. The right to life does not mean I have to feed you. It does not mean I have to clothe you. It does not mean I have to pay for your medical care. It just means I cannot take actions that kill you, unless it is self defense.

      March 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JoJo

    This was on CNBC How come this was not on ccn news

    Bernanke explained that the Congressional Budget Office's calculations miss an important reality. As the government's debt and deficits rise, the economy will slow down—an effect not taken into account by the CBO. So, for instance, when the CBO says that federal spending for health-care programs will roughly double as a percentage of GDP in the next 25 years, it is probably being too optimistic. If debt keeps, rising, GDP will be much lower than the CBO estimates—which will mean that health care spending will be a much larger percentage of the overall economy.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joe


    That is completely incorrect.. First you are only required to have car insurance that covers your liability... what is what I have. If I get into an accident they insurance company does nothing for me, only the other driver.... All humans have a right to live and should be given emergency medical care. If the person is unable to pay (HUGE DIFFERENCE FROM BEING UNINSURED) then the hospital must raise costs to recoupe the loss. This effects your heath insurance costs because someone else goes to the hospital to have treatment and their costs go up effecting your costs....

    guess what, if you have your own savings account for medical purposes, you won't feel any increase in health insurance costs at all until you actually needed treatment at which point you would actually question the need for treatment since it would be coming out of your pocket instead of running to the ER unnecissarily which also causes a rise in premuims because doctors waste their time with non-issues.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. stevensb

    Interesting that the poll on the CNN homepage asks the question – will the decision be based on politics or law ????? As of a few minutes ago the split was 51% politics , 49% law ...... sure , OK , not a " scientific poll " ...... but over 110,000 votes cast from CNN readers , not your dumbed down fringe from either side . When about half the moderate people seem to think " politics " is now determining actual legal precedent .......... there is something seriously going wrong .......

    March 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bobington

    Why does it seem like Obamacare is more about Health Insurance Law and not so much about Health Care Reform?

    March 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      because the health care reform in question requires the purchase of health insurance.

      March 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • gottstosayit

      Because your paying attention and not buying the hype...come on...get with the program and drink the Koolaid!

      March 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Allen R. Scott

    It'll be the same old BS. The rich will get what they want and the poor will suffer. Have the Congress take the same insurance as Medicare and not the great coverage they have nw. Now one is talking about that.

    March 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Luis V

    Becarful what you wish because you might get it. the stranght of the US has always been a strong Federal government supported by strong states. Making states stronger than the Federal Gov. will bring 50 weak separate countries.

    Same as Latin America.

    do you really want that? if this happends, The great US will no longer be the worlld leader which it will be too bad. I really love their system.

    March 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Solution = Cost, Not Insurance

    Obama-care is trying to solve the wrong problem. We should not try to make sure everyone has insurance. We should work to make health care affordable to the average American. Make the cost of health care affordable, add tax free incentives for a Health Savings Account, and most Americans would be able to pay for routine health care out of pocket. There would be no need to regulate most pre-existing conditions because people could afford to pay for care from their Health Savings Account. Even insurance for catastrophic coverage could become affordable because the cost to insurance companies is reduced. Congress needs to work on the factors that drive up COST not universal insurance coverage.

    March 28, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • BADGUY

      The problem is, if you contact a serious problem like Cancer or Heart disease, there is NO WAY you'll be able to save enough to pay for that.

      March 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
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