Obama administration preparing 'health care tour' across America


In Focus: Obama administration preparing to kick off "health care tour" across America

STEVE FORBES: Absolutely, getting free markets in health care is the only way to go. Doing away with the disconnect with providers and consumers, we don't have free markets today. If we did, we would get productivity, you'd turn very expensive procedures today into more common place things tomorrow. This is a good start, start with simple routine things then go right up to the most sophisticated surgery. When patients are in charge it's their money by golly you get real bargains, including Lasik surgery, costs less today than it did 10 years ago. Why? Because there is not that disconnect between providers and consumers.

RICK UNGAR: It's terrific if you are talking about the lower ranges of expenditures. This guy happens to be a general practitioner; he's not doing the big stuff. The real money in health care being spent on heart disease, trauma, cancer, these are the big three costs. Unfortunately when you are dealing with those kinds of problems, you don't go shopping. You don't go shopping for a better deal when it comes to chemotherapy. When you need to have your chest cracked open you aren't looking for the deal of the week. You are looking for the doctor who gives you the best chance at survival.

RICH KARLGAARD: Steve Forbes likes to point out in his speeches that imagine if restaurants didn't publish prices in their menu; everyone would order the most expensive meal and bottle of wine if they knew someone else is paying for it. I had Lasik in the year 2000, it cost $5,000, seeing doctors perform it at $2,800 today. How do I know this? I can go on the web and find it.

MORGAN BRENNAN: That may be true for primary care physicians and more specifically private practice primary care physicians, but that snot where ballooning health care costs are taking place. You need to look at hospitals, medical devices, administrative costs and the amount of malpractice. I think this is a great idea on the base level when you are going to see your family doctor and afford to pay out of pocket like that but it doesn't get to the larger issues.

ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I've talked to brain surgeons, I've talked to doctors who deliver babies, and they routinely say we have too much government filler in hospital cost and they could bring the cost down if they are allowed to have more free-market practices in their own health system, there not. In health reform, there is a lot of government filler in the Rick Ungar fast food style of health care system that we are going to have to deal with. Twenty-two thousand diagnostic codes that hospitals have report injuries to the government under those 22,000 different items; that is crazy.

JOHN TAMNY: I think that the doctor clearly understands human nature. When it is not our own we are naturally less careful but when it is our own, we are more careful. It would be interesting for more businesses to do exactly what I think Steve and Rick describe, have catastrophic insurance for when the unthinkable happens, when you need to get your chest cracked open. For the routine visits, people should be paying for that out of pocket or through a medical savings account, when it is your money paying for it, you'll be far more careful with what you do.

Debate: Moms are primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households

ELIZABETH MACDONALD: We are all for, here at Fox, women working, that's not the issue. The issue is really bad government policies which have really cut and hurt the American economy. Fact, in 1950 eight out of 10 men worked, now it's less than two thirds of men who can work, are working. Houses head by adults younger than 35, one out of four in poverty. That's a record, we haven't seen that before, that's why more women need to work, and that's why women are breadwinners, it's unfortunate.

JOHN TAMNY: I think what you have to look for is how bad the economy would be if women weren't working, Adam Smith always made the point about the pin factory, the more hands. The fact that women are participating in the economy means we are better off today. I think it has positive social implications. Fifty years ago a woman was stuck in a marriage if a man treated her badly, there was no way out. The fact that women can support themselves now, means that they are treated better and you don't have to stay in bad situations.

MORGAN BRENNAN: I love the idea that there are more women are breadwinners, I think that's great. This is a larger reflection on what has been going on in the economy, all you have to do is look at where in the economy, most jobs were lost, and they were lost in male centric sectors such as manufacturing and construction, and that did lead the way for women to come out and be the breadwinners. Now, the economy has started to right size itself and job growth starting to return. It's those types of industries, those male centric industries that are welcoming the most job growth. Women are a smaller part of job growth moving forward.

SABRINA SCHAEFFER: I think it's good news and bad news. Some portion of the 40 percent is getting to be the breadwinner because of their achievements. More women are out earning men in terms of bachelor degrees, masters degrees, PhDs. The problem is that if this is happening as EMAC has suggested, at the expense of men. We don't live in a vacuum, too often women and men are pitted against one another. We don't want to see women becoming the breadwinners because men can't.

MIKE OZANIAN: The economy is not a zero sum game. Far more important than the sexual makeup of the labor force are things like participation rate, which right now is only at 63 percent, that's a recession level. Upward mobility, which is extremely difficult right now, real wages which are stagnant -- all the key indicators of the economy, in terms of the show, are really poor right now. That's far more important than our 51 percent male and 52 percent female whatever.

STEVE FORBES: This is not about equality of opportunity, for a middle class family today; you need two incomes, rather than one income. Because of inflation, because of taxes, not just income taxes, you have payroll taxes, sales tax, taxes have doubled in recent years, and everywhere you go. Two incomes have to do the job of one income, that's the problem that has got to be corrected.

Debate: Heidi Klum pays her kids to eat healthy

MIKE OZANIAN: Sooner or later these kids are going to figure out that parents are going to pay for their college education anyway or at least contribute it. Bribes are a short term thing. What children need to learn is that they need to do things because their parents are telling them to do it and it's the right thing to do.

SABRINA SCHAEFFER: I think parents are criticized way too much these days. It would be great if all kids liked their broccoli or asparagus but sometimes it needs a little extra butter a little extra salt and an extra quarter to get them to do it. The bottom line, this is about parental involvement which I give Heidi Klum two thumbs up for. Let's remember we have more than 32 million American kids getting government provided school lunches, I would rather see kids getting paid to eat their broccoli.

STEVE FORBES: Parenting is an art, if people want to do different approaches, let them try, see what works and what doesn't work. In terms of paying, I considered paying them to clean their rooms, I considered that a lost cause, I think that's a bigger cause for parents than eating broccoli.

RICH KARLGAARD: I think Heidi Klum has right to exercise her choice, but 95 percent of kids' main problem is not the calories that they take in, but it's the lack of calories they put out. They aren't exercising the way they used to, that's where you are going to create healthier children.

RICK UNGAR: Heidi and I have a very good understanding, she doesn't tell me how to raise my kids, and I don't tell her how to raise hers. I'll be the libertarian today, she can do what she wants, and I'll do what I want.


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