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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 20, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Krauthammer on Obama

Health-care plan is essential

Charles Krauthammer would criticize President Obama’s aspiration to extend health care to all our people [“Foundation of Obama’s domestic revolution constructed on sand,” Opinion, syndicated column, April 19]. He keeps hammering on the theme of unsustainable costs for universal coverage. To solve this dilemma, he resorts to the vague and very tired conservative position: reform entitlements. That, we know, is code for cutting benefits.

I suggest Obama’s health-care plan, though not spelled out in detail at this stage, is essential. In good conscience, we can’t go on denying health care to some 45 million of our people. Until we do cover them, by whatever plan, their emergency care is usually provided and is a considerable cost to taxpayers.

Those of us fortunate enough to be covered have seen our premiums skyrocket in recent years. And that is not surprising, considering the costs inherent with private-sector coverage — huge salaries and bonuses for corporate managers, millions spent every year lobbying Congress, blitzing our airways with drug commercials, paying dividends to investors and maintaining a bureaucracy to review and deny our claims. It’s a wonder there’s money left to pay the actual caregivers.

Obama has hinted that his plan would eliminate this waste and duplicity. And, as he claims, it probably would cost less.

— Dave Ogilvie, Gig Harbor

Don’t ignore innovative solutions

Many innovative structures are built on sand or worse — a major sports arena in Mexico City is built on soil that is 85 percent water. Many other buildings are successfully built on land that Charles Krauthammer would call questionable. These feats are not new. All they take is an open mind and yes, more money than building on a solid foundation.

We do not have that solid foundation — the economy we inherited from the past eight years is anything but solid. In fact, one might even consider that it is not even sand, but merely smoke and mirrors: the revered and respected Wall Street giant Bernie Madoff’s unregulated and un-investigated pyramid schemes; the entire financial system; “Mission Accomplished”; the 285 pallets of cash simply lost in the Iraq war; or the billions of dollars billed by Halliburton for shoddy, fatal or nonexistent reconstruction.

The list of financial architectures predating Obama that have proven faulty and already collapsed would cover an island the size of Manhattan or, more aptly, Abu Dhabi.

Buildings built on sand must be monolithic in their structure, where they do not bend or twist at all. The study of their internal and external forces must be comprehensive. Most important, once built they must be able to sit upon the sand and not shift or sink with the whim of the winds or rains.

Casting fearful aspersions about change, at the same time ignoring the forces causing the collapse, is what got us this scattered, shambled house of cards in the first place. Ignoring innovative solutions only prolongs the pain. Let’s see how new structures proposed by Obama perform before burying our heads in the sand and espousing doubt.

— John Richards, Tacoma

Comments | More in Barack Obama administration, Health care, Reform

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