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Overview of Health care in America; Destructive Path of Hurricane Maria
Aired September 22, 2017 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Nightingale floors, almost as awesome as Fridays. And you`ll learn why in a few minutes on CNN 10.
I`m Carl Azuz. Welcome to the show.
We`re starting in the U.S. landmark of Capitol Hill, where congressional Republicans and U.S. President Donald Trump had been working on a new healthcare plan. It would repeal and replace a health care law passed in 2010 by congressional Democrats and former U.S. President Barack Obama.
That law is the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare. It made some popular changes to the U.S. healthcare system and led to a record number of Americans having health insurance. But it also increased costs for the federal government and many participants. And insurance companies increasingly stopped offering Obamacare in part because not enough people signed up for it.
Republicans have promised and attempted repeatedly to repeal Obamacare since it was passed. But up to this point, they have not been successful.
Their latest effort is called the Graham-Cassidy bill, named for two of the Republican senators who proposed it. All of the Democrats in the Senate are against the bill, just like all Republicans who voted in 2010 opposed Obamacare.
Now, with a slim majority in that chamber, Republicans are attempting one more time to repeal and replace Obamacare before the end of this month.
We`ll let you know what happens.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Politics and plans and proposals aside -- why is health care in the United States so expensive in the first place?
The United States spends a staggering $3.2 trillion a year on health care. It`s almost $10,000 per person. That`s close to 20 percent of our economy.
We spend more money on health care on health care than any other country in the world. And most of us aren`t living any better or any longer because of it. In fact, our healthcare system ranks 37th in terms of overall efficiency.
So, what factors are at play here that are driving up the dollars that to a lot of people just don`t make any sense?
Well, for one, drug prices can induce some serious sticker shock. In the United States, the price of your prescription is set by the company that makes it. Unlike in most other countries, we can`t even negotiate for lower rates here, the exemptions being the V.A. and Medicaid. Medicare can`t do it, neither can you, or your insurance company.
Another big chunk of money goes to administrative costs. Because our billing system is so complicated, you need a lot of people in the back office to figure how to code your visit or procedure, co-pays, co- insurance, differing deductibles. It`s not a one-size-fits all.
We all get referred to a lot of specialist here. Their visits can be more expensive. In many other countries, primary care doctors can take care of many more things. And sometimes we`re prescribed are newer and more expensive, but they aren`t necessarily any better than older and cheaper
Finally, have you heard this term, defensive medicine? It`s when doctors and hospitals, for example, may order more tests than they mean in order to cover butts, because they`re afraid of being taken to court. Even when they`re confident about your diagnosis, sometimes, there`s a need to create a paper trail to show that everything else has been ruled out.
All that said, look, America does a really great job of treating the most difficult cases. We have incredible doctors. We have incredible nurses.
We have incredible medicines. But in the end, the best fix for our out of control spending might be not allowing ourselves to get so sick in the first. Of course, that means eating better, getting plenty of exercise, not smoking or drinking too much.
Yes, our health care system could use some work, but better health begins with all of us.
SUBTITLE: This is what it`s like to drive through Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
Fallen power lines blocked transport routes.
Traffic lights were useless after the storm as it cut off the island`s energy grid.
Parts of the roads were flooded.
Restoring power to the U.S. territory may take months.
AZUZ: And Puerto Rico wasn`t Hurricane Maria`s only victim. There were also power outages in the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica and destruction that could be seen across the nation of 73,000 people. Dominica took a direct hit from Maria when it was a category 5 hurricane, with 165-mile-per-hour wind speeds.
At least 15 people were killed there and one government official said he had no power, water or food, and that looting was going on throughout the country. Relief efforts were being handled from the nearby island of St. Lucia.
Maria weakened after passing over Puerto Rico, but when it got back out to sea, it started strengthening once again. Yesterday afternoon, it was category three storm with 120-mile-per-hour winds as it approached the Turks and Caicos islands.
And Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic were still being flooded with rain because the system itself is so big, it`s far away as 60 miles from Maria`s eye, there were hurricane force winds blowing. Tropical storm force winds could be felt 150 miles from the center.
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AZUZ: Nightingale floors, they sound like a modern luxury upgrade, but these things are anything but modern.
Back in feudal Japan, they were sort of security system. Used centuries ago, Nightingale floors got their name because they were squeaky, they were supposed to be. If say a ninja assassin, for example, were to creep into someone`s home, the floors would go off, so to squeak, and let the homeowner know the trouble was afoot.
Now, that`s random!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ: Our last story today is also a little random. It involved a van that recently drove through the streets of Arlington, Virginia. It had a bunch of cameras and a bar behind the windshield that lit up. But despite the fact that there was no visible driver and despite the fact that some people did notice, they would have been wronged to assume it was a self- driving car.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): : A gray van goes by, what`s wrong with this picture? Rewind, please?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I kind of glanced at it, and I said, you know, I didn`t see a driver in there. That`s really weird.
MOOS: Scott Brodbeck, the editor of arlnow.com in Arlington, Virginia, whipped out his iPhone and started shooting the seemingly driverless van.
When he published the video, it turned the vehicle into a mystery until a reporter for NBC Washington stumbled on the van, discovering the driver`s seat had arms and legs.
REPORTER: Brother, who are you? What are you doing? I`m with the news, dude.
MOOS: He was half-man, half-car-seat wearing a sort of seat disguise. The van took off, WRC`s Adam Tuss tried to follow.
REPORTER: No driver.
MOOS: Eventually, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute acknowledged it owns the test vehicle.
The driver`s seating area is configured to make the driver less visible within the vehicle, while still allowing him or her the ability to safely monitor and respond to surroundings.
The apparent purpose: to gauge people`s reactions.
AZUZ: While some folks thought there wasn`t someone in the driver seat, it turns out there was someone in the driver seat. Does it signal more than experiment? Will people break for hidden drivers or at least a van with a plan? It looked a little shifty, but that was no accident.
I`m Carl Azuz and I`m with the news, dude.