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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 13, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Health care

Win McNamee / Getty Images

President Barack Obama, surrounded by members of Congress, applauds after he signed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) legislation in the East Room of the White House on Feb. 5. Obama is looking to further overhaul the nation’s health-insurance system.

Don’t be afraid of “socialized” system

Editor, The Times:

As a registered-nurse at a medium-sized Seattle community hospital, I find the recent offer by the insurance industry to reduce its prices for health insurance [“Health-care sweetener for Obama,” page one, May 11] akin to a bank robber making an offer to be let out of the bank if they agree to take $998,500 instead of a million.

What everyone fails to see is that insurance companies fail to deliver anything that we as a people can’t do more cheaply ourselves. Public schools in this country are by and large respected and they are not for profit. They are an example of “socialized education.”

Fire departments and police departments function the same in almost every municipality in the country. Imagine your response if when your house caught fire, you called 911 and the operator asked “Do you have fire insurance, sir?” The military is also “socialized,” but most fail to see that.

To a lesser extent, credit unions are also “socialized” and they have shown they can compete with banks on rates and still deliver better service. By the way, banks tried mightily to keep them from being legal.

The wordsmiths of the insurance companies have demonized what people used to simply call tribal, community or national. It is time that we demand to be able to insure ourselves. Medicare is able to insure the elderly for a 3 percent overhead while insurance companies charge between 20 and 30 percent!

So instead of our employers paying premiums to a for-profit company, they would pay the premium to our government and we, the people, will use the premiums to pay health-care providers, diagnosticians, pharmacies, etc. for their services. As for the workers in the insurance companies who are presently on our payroll, they could go to work for the new National Health Service, or be retrained to do something useful, like be a pharmacist, ultrasound tech, doctor or nurse.

— Thomas Booze, RN, Seattle

Kick out abusive insurance companies

The power of insurance companies is becoming more and more evident. Is it possible that a group of senior white men will be able to dictate to the president of the United States the terms of what’s what on issues of health care? I sincerely hope not!

Just like the banks, the insurance companies in their greed did not foresee that increasing their premiums at unaffordable rates in unsustainable ways, denying claims, using endless discriminatory practices and granting huge CEO compensations would eventually lead them to offer changes that no one believes in. Our bankers became investors and ignored the consequences of high-risk investments, and where are they today?

I hope that President Obama will stand up to them and protect hardworking citizens from continued abuse from these insurance companies. They have no right to be involved with health care to start with.

President Obama can start by putting an end to Medicare Advantage Plans and then give Americans a choice of coverage that is affordable. People who are happy with their insurance coverage need not worry. They can keep what they’ve got. Making health care possible and affordable is what is needed for the millions of Americans who have no coverage.

— Edyth Koch, Seattle

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