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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 8, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Health-care reform

Mess created by state insurance regulators

The highly complex mess of health insurance certainly needs reform, as E.J. Dionne indicates [“The year for health-care reform,” seattletimes.com, Opinion, April 6].

But much of that mess has been created by state insurance regulators, and by the effects of the growth in government-funded health care from under 10 percent to 50 percent of the system today and cost-shifting when Medicare and Medicaid reimburse providers at a rate below their costs. Protection of nonobjective tort law by legislators has increased the impact of a legal extortion racket and the costs of defensive medicine.

Government reform this year or in the future should begin with those things the government can stop doing that will reduce costs, and not just implementing more of the same things that contributed to our current difficulties.

— Richard E. Ralston, executive director, Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, Newport Beach, Calif.

Cut for-profit insurance, increase health-care quality

America deserves a choice: the choice between keeping the for-profit insurance they already have, or choosing a public health-care option like Medicare, whose only “business” is treating the sick.

The billions saved on salaries for staff who decide whether or not to pay for treatment of the sick, on profits for the insurance stockholders and on the tons of paperwork no longer necessary would allow for higher pay for doctors, nurses and other hospital aides.

— Kevin O’Morrison, Edmonds

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