Swine Flu Woes... Can Gov't Handle Health Care?

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WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats have announced they will push for a government run health insurance plan. But while they wait to learn what it will cost, concerns over swine flu may make the plan harder to sell.
      
Congress's fix for health care now has a sharper focus after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid revealed that government run health insurance, or a "public option," will be part of the Senate plan.    

"The best way to move forward is through a public option with the opt out provision for states," Reid said Monday. "Under this states will be able to decide if the public option works best for them and have the ability to opt out."

Reid, who faces a tough re-election battle next year is taking a gamble. The public option is controversial among Americans and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Reid admits he does not yet have the 60 votes needed to avoid a Republican filibuster.

H1N1 Vaccine an Indicator?

But some question whether or not the government should be entrusted with health care when it's having problems with more basic tasks, like delivering vaccines for the swine flu.

Americans from California to Oklahoma and Illinois are waiting in lines for hours only to get turned away when the clinic's supplies run out.

"I thought I would have been able to get the vaccine at my children's pediatrician," Elizabeth Heubeck said. "It has not been offered there, county clinics have been canceled  and overwhelmed by lines."
    
Even Americans most at risk, like pregnant women, are having a hard time getting vaccinated. for some, that's a very real concern.

"I don't want to take my daughter too many places," Roxanne Checkley said. "I don't want her around other kids, I don't want her to get sick. I'm scared.

"This epidemic is continuing to progress and more people are going to emergency rooms," Nicole Lurie, with the Health and Human Services Dept., said. "More people are going to hospitals and sadly more people are dying."

FDA's 'Accelerated Approval'

Now, a new report from the Government Accountability Office shows the Food and Drug Administration has allowed drugs for cancer and other diseases to stay on the market even when follow-up studies revealed they did not extend patient lives.

Despite that, FDA officials say they have no plans to get more aggressive.

Officials says the report paints an overly negative picture of the agency's "accelerated approval" process of drugs to treat the most serious diseases like HIV.

But according to the report, since the program began, the FDA has never pulled an unsuccessful drug off the market.

More reasons why critics will ask if the government can handle the nation's health care.

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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.