Can America Afford Government-run Health Care?

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WASHINGTON -- How can America afford government-run health care?

It's a question more Americans are asking at town hall meetings across the country.

They're also growing more concerned the government will convince Americans to skimp on end-of-life care to save money.

As summer wears on, Americans keep getting hotter and continue using town hall meetings with members of Congress to blow off steam.

So what are folks so fired up about? For one, federal spending.
    
"Social Security is bankrupt, Medicare is bankrupt, the post office is bankrupt -- how am I as a proud American going to trust you people to do the right thing?" a man said at a town hall hosted by Sen. Arlen Spector, D-Penn.

Last month, the federal deficit grew by $180 billion and is now a record total of $1.27 trillion.

President Barack Obama promises he will not sign health care legislation that adds to the national debt, but some Americans aren't convinced.

"The initial cost is over 1 trillion for a down payment. My children and my grandchildren are going to have to pay for this bill," a concerned American said.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is joining the skeptics, airing this ad on national TV.

"Inflated taxes, swelling deficits, and expanded government control over your health," the ad says.

Another issue that has Americans rattled -- especially older Americans -- is language in the House bill about end-of-life care.

It provides reimbursements for doctors to have end-of-life care discussions with Medicare patients every five years to talk about issues like living wills, resuscitation orders, and power of attorney.

It also states, doctors shall explain Medicare pays for hospice care.

Because health care at the end of life is so expensive, some experts fear doctors will convince seniors to forego expensive treatments.

Dr. Dale Matthews says such decisions are not for government to make.    

"At the end of the day, as a patient when you're sick, you want a competent doctor who's taking care of you and you want your family members and yourself and the doctor to be making the ultimate decisions about what kind of health care should be provided," Matthews said. "You don't want bureaucrats making that decision."
    
As the tide of resistance grows, President Obama prepares to head west to continue his pitch to the American people.

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Jennifer Wishon

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Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.