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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 3, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Health care

From drugs to doughnuts, we’re hooked

It is only now that the health-care system is overtaxed, associated costs are overwhelming and medical research is most emphatically promoting the simple and cheap: prevention. In other words, diet and exercise.

Call me a cynic, but while whole industries — from fast food to couch-potato, home entertainment to online shopping — to say nothing of the medical-industrial complex, we’re growing as the result of the public’s bad choices. And, there’s nary a peep about it.

Eating right and walking were intuitive to and permeated my parents’ and grandparents’ generations. They lived to be nearly 100; baby boomers and younger, who prefer to seek the fountain of youth through plastic surgery and pharmaceuticals, are dying off in droves.

It’s no coincidence that President Obama’s down payment/reserve proposal for universal health care was announced on the same day as the results of the latest cancer study.

The message is unmistakable: change now or pay.

Problem is, from drugs to doughnuts, as a nation, we’re hooked. So which way do we go?

— Karen DeLuca, Alexandria, Va.

Healthy work force means healthy economy

Let us not be misled by fearmongers. Good health-care reform should benefit all of us, either directly or indirectly. It is bad for the economy to have the your work force sickly. And worse yet, your nation’s children who will grow up to be your work force, sickly and stunted.

If you want good plants, care for them. Water and feed them and let them have enough sun. Get them off to a bad start and you may never get a healthy plant.

The lesson is elementary: Economic recovery will follow health-care reform.

Quality, affordable health care will stimulate the economy. Medical bills are still the largest cause of bankruptcy in the United States. Let us offer some alternatives to people without insurance. Programs like “Basic Health” of Washington state offer a basic plan with premiums based on percentage of income.

Let’s get people back to work and healthy. Let’s make health care next on the agenda.

— Pat Kaald, Issaquah

Use the money as it was intended to be used

I truly appreciated Lynne Varner’s column, “Preserving a health-care lifeline” [Feb. 25], in support of Washington’s health-care safety net.

It is extremely important the federal money designated for health care be used to maintain the essential services there for all of us in times of crisis or need.

Federal-stimulus money for health care is available to our state now. It is disconcerting to me that our state leaders could consider using these dollars to fill other budget gaps — not bolster state health care as our president intends.

With insurance rates skyrocketing and layoffs increasing, more and more people are finding themselves on the rolls of the uninsured.

Programs, such as the Basic Health Plan and General Assistance Unemployable, are the last bastion of relief for many of our state’s most vulnerable. This is something we should all understand right now because tomorrow any one of us could be in this position: vulnerable, exposed, at risk.

Thank you and please keep urging our lawmakers to help maintain our health-care system. Now more than ever, this is of paramount importance.

— Thomas Trompeter, Renton

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