July 12th, 2009
11:10 AM ET
5 years ago

Sebelius: There's a 'shared responsibility' on health care reform


WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama administration is open to exploring a number of different options in order to achieve the president’s ambitious goals of increasing coverage, containing costs, and improving care in the nation’s health care system, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday.

“The bottom line is it’s got to be paid for,” Sebelius said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “We all have a shared responsibility, that we all need to play a role,” the Obama Cabinet member added.

Asked about a new proposal from Democrat Rep. Charlie Rangel, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, that would increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans in order to help finance health care reform, Sebelius replied that “I think everything is on the table and discussions are under way.”

Asked whether the administration would reject any reform proposals that included taxing employer-provided health care benefits, Sebelius was equally equivocally.

There are “no lines in the sand at this point,” she said.

The Obama aide also gave an update on the administration’s preparations to fight the H1N1, or “swine flu,” in the fall when the regular flu season begins.

The HHS Secretary said that if testing of the vaccine goes well, a vaccine should be ready by mid-October.

soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Tom

    Everybody that receives free heath care should have to pass a drug test. The people that will have to pay the bill for all of this is people who are now working and they all have to pass a drug test.

    If people want something free they need to abide by the rules working people have to.

    July 12, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  2. DOC

    There are also PROFITS to be shared.

    Thats why our health care is rotten.

    The best healthcare in the world if you can afford it.

    July 12, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. Robin

    I already pay for mine and my family's health care. I don't want to pay for someone elses.

    July 12, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. girlymen love the GOP

    Ram it down the republicans throats,just like they did for thirty years.

    July 12, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. JU

    Robin –

    Don't kid yourself - you already do pay for health care for others. Every time someone who is uninsured goes to the emergency room and can't pay, those costs are passed on by the hospitals in the form of higher rates, which your private insurance company passes on to you, whether you file any claims or not. You don't think they would actually absorb those increases, do you? Heck no, they raise your premiums – they're not about to give up their profit margins – they have CEO's who need their bonuses.....

    July 12, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Frank Brady

    Any insurance program, public or private, that separates the decision to use health care from the financial consequences of that decision will increase the cost of health care for everyone. That is based on the immutable law of economics: The demand for free "stuff" is infinite.

    The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money. See California, for a current day example.

    July 12, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. Marc

    Robin – Someone else is paying for 'your' police protection, your 'judicial system', 'your' military forces, and the list goes on and on. And besides, do you really pay the companies well enough so they won't gonna turn you down if you end up needing them the most?

    July 12, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Keith in Austin

    To Girleymen: You obviously have sexual identity issues don't you!

    I've read many of your prior posts. They are similar the liberal views that Big Government should take care of the masses. Wake up, get a job and try making it on your own! If YOU earn something in life, you can then donate to charity if you wish. My bet is that you're already on the government lam expecting even more freebies. I have no desire to pay for you and yours. Let's see some personal responsibility coming from your end.

    July 12, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    Tom July 12th, 2009 11:31 am ET

    Everybody that receives free heath care should have to pass a drug test. The people that will have to pay the bill for all of this is people who are now working and they all have to pass a drug test.

    If people want something free they need to abide by the rules working people have to.
    *******************************************
    I agree – they should also have to produce proof of U.S. Citizenship.

    July 12, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    Tom July 12th, 2009 11:31 am ET

    Everybody that receives free heath care should have to pass a drug test. The people that will have to pay the bill for all of this is people who are now working and they all have to pass a drug test.

    If people want something free they need to abide by the rules working people have to.
    *************************************
    It won't be free. It will cost according to ability to pay. Otherwise, I agree, unless they are seriously seeking addiction "cure". Also, they should be required to product proof of US Citizenship.

    July 12, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. laughing republican

    Every national politician should be required to receive health insurance through the VA system. I'm sure they're opinion will change regarding a socialized health care system!!!!!!!!

    July 12, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Mark Ashdown

    I hve been watching Sebelius in England ten minutes ago . She stated that Americans pay twice as much for health care as any body
    else .I visit America frequently and that comment is naive . Our govt run system is about the same price as your private system but is woefully inadequate .Waiting lists to see a consultant 18 months dirty wards Mrsa is rampant .Beauracrats out number medical staff 4 to 1
    The biggest mistake America will ever make.We even have to pay to park in the hospital car lot when we visit someone in an emergency.

    July 12, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. Jenn, Philadelphia

    If we all have a "shared responsibility", why do so few always have to pay? The President wants to raise taxes on those making over $250,000 to help lower taxes for the middle and lower class. Now he wants to tax those same people to help pay for health care. I think if this keeps up, the additional taxes will lower those people's income to under $250,000 and then what will he do? Also, during the campaign, the President attacked John McCain for suggesting taxing private-owned health care. Now he won't rule it out. I thought he said, during the campaign, that he wasn't like all the other politicians in Washington. Sure sounds the same to me.

    July 12, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. David

    Why isn't the REAL cost of health care being addressed ?

    Get rid of the middle man = health insurance by private FOR PROFIT companies that are making Billions of dollars.

    We need individual Health Savings Plans, and Catastophic Government Insurance, like IRA'S AND FLOOD INSURANCE

    July 12, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. Linda

    We are all paying for it now, only this cost is hidden. The cost to care for the uninsured (and underinsured) is shifted to the insured and is alreay reflected in the insurance premium you pay.

    July 12, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Clark

    there are no lines in the sand .... but we will make sure you pay for what we want to implement.

    the problem is you the government are taking money out of my pocket to give indiscriminately to those that truly need the help and those that are willing to sit on their butts and not lift a finger as you provide for their every need.

    helping each other should be done without the government's intervention ... we can hold people accountable when there is direct contact with those we are helping ... and thus a whole let less waste and inefficiency.

    July 12, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. chris

    I am in the upper level of income that will b taxed to cover benefits and I don't mind one bit. I'm paying anyway at least with this reform I will know exactly where my money is going. There shud b sum restrictions on coverage. Wait a min r there any on welfare recipients.

    July 12, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Nobody Asked Larry But...

    Why is it that all the rhetoric being thrown around re health care reform never addresses in depth, if at all, singer payer insurance as our wonderful and responsible elected representatives in Washington have, and so tactfully avoid to be part of the solution. Selfish, hyprocritcal, obscene.

    July 12, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Linda

    True market forces are supposed to drive innovation and create efficiencies. The problem with this sector is that the ultimate consumers (us) don't understand the cost becase it is either paid by our employer (insurance premiums) with minimal out of pocket when we do use healthcare, or it is government sponsored (Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare for the military) What the problem seems to be here is that Health care is in both the captialistic and socialistic systems. So everyone is confused as to how to fix it because we all have a very different perspective depending on which part of the system we are in.

    July 12, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. Jim

    I am really getting tired of these lamebrained, know nothing political appointees telling me about my "responsibilities"! If you're going to steal my money, at least have the balls just to take it. Let's not pretend that I agreed to let you have it !!!

    July 12, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Willis, Texas

    Does it seem practical to fold Medicare and Mediaid into the NEW health care program? Couldn't we use the monies for these two programs to finance the New Health Care plan?

    July 12, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. America Shrugged

    Some of you folks have no clue about how healthcare works and who really pays for it. Not for profit hospitals receive that priviledge as long as they provide charity care for those who have no health insurance. In today's economy, the increased charity care provided is eating up any hospital profits that usually goes to purchasing the newest technologies and updating their facilities. As more private insurance companies are adopting CMS rules (medicare rules) for reimbursement on hospital care, and medicare is reducing reimbursement payments, hospitals are taking on the burden of absorbing a good deal of charity care. We haven't begun to see the effects of this yet, but it's coming. More and more folks that work in hospitals will be laid off and quality of care will be compromised. Because more and more people are being laid off and losing their healthcare coverage, new hospitals that were recently built, have no patients to support their current budgets (you need to fill the beds). All this bickering about socialism and welfare and free healthcare for all is a bunch of malarky designed by the lobbyists so that we do nothing about how we deliver affordable, quality, and safe healthcare. I think we need a universal plan that will not be profit driven and will concentrate on healthcare rather than sick care. One thing for sure, I don't expect this to ever happen because like always, the Dems will blow this chance to make some real progress in this country. Some of them might as well run as Republicans in 2010, because that is exactly what they are.

    July 12, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. Bill

    It's called pay your own way, quit being a leach in society.

    July 12, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. P.Y.

    @ Marc Ashdown
    We have relatives in England and they are very happy with the health care system. I am told that the only thing you have to wait for is " elective " surgery. Emergerncies are treated just as that, AN EMERGENCY.
    BTW–We have to pay to park cars in hospital parking lots for many hospitals in the states also. I have lived in 3 states and it is so in all of them.

    July 12, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  25. Cali J

    We don't need socialized medicine, but we do need a safety net for those who have no insurance. Put a program out that competes for the business with private insurance and a international option for purchasing medicine whever the best price is and compete with the pharmicuticals, and for people who abosolutely cannot pay for insurance, provide free quality health care by using the tobacco tax and the alcohol tax. Try legalizing marijuana and use that tax also. Put a cap on profits for insurance companies and pharmacutical companies, and watch the price of health insurance come down.

    July 12, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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