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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 11, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Health-care reform

Legislators dodging universal health care

The U.S. public is squarely behind universal, publicly funded health care as a right. Our U.S. legislators recognize that our current health-care system is broken but are loath to take on the health insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies who pay them millions of dollars.

Thus Democratic leadership and more centrist and right-wing Democrats are trying to avoid the single-payer public health-care option and are trying to fund any alternative through various sleight-of-hand maneuvers.

Health care for all is a right, and with rights come responsibilities.

Just as the right to free speech comes with the responsibility to not incite violence through its imprudent use, the right to a public health-care system comes with the responsibility to pay for it honestly.

We must have a universal public health-care option now, and it should be paid for with income taxes on everyone. Not with taxes on health-care benefits, not with taxes on soda and cigarettes, not by mandating that everyone buy health insurance and give subsidies to those who can’t afford it.

We already all pay through general taxes for many government functions to protect us: paramedics, firemen, police, military and various other agencies like Homeland Security. It is time for our legislators to stand up for us and establish a universal-access, publicly funded health-care system, and to do it now. It is our right!

— John S. Snow, Woodinville

It’s time for single-payer health care, civilized medicine

Syndicated columnist David S. Broder states that President Obama may have to be flexible regarding a government-run health-care option [“Government-run plan the rock that could block health reform,” June 11] sound familiar? In other words, the lucrative insurance industry and those elected officials who kowtow to it are already poised to do all they can to thwart what is the only truly thorough solution to our nation’s health-care woes.

A government-sponsored single-payer system can control spiraling costs and simultaneously guarantee coverage to all. By eliminating overhead, simplifying the presently arcane and convoluted system of billing and making health care accessible to everyone, the current out-of-control mishmash that characterizes today’s medical labyrinth can be turned into a reasonable and humane program of universal care. Of course, that would mean the evaporation of gargantuan profits reaped annually by the bloated barons of the private insurance business.

Obama and all enlightened elected federal officials must stand up to those reactionary forces that would demolish a genuine overhaul of health care in this country. The creation of a single-payer system is long overdue and the bulk of the American people want it. It’s not socialized medicine. It’s civilized medicine.

— Joe Martin, Seattle

We pay Medicare; county employees should pay insurance, too

Well, the editorial staff at The Seattle Times finally got something right [“County workers should pay part of health tab,” editorial, June 9]. Of course the bureaucrats of King County should pay their insurance costs.

Industry employees have been paying a good portion of their insurance for a long time. My wife and I have Medicare, and we have to pay Medicare and our supplementary insurance company a total of $370 per month for each of us.

If we old folks on Social Security have to pay such amounts for insurance, it is only fair that these people who are supported by taxpayers pay a great deal more for their insurance than they pay now. As someone else said, if county employees don’t like it, then let them go someplace else and get a job.

— Art Davis, Normandy Park

If prisoners get health care, why don’t we all?

We heartily agree with Elizabeth Hanson [“Treat it like a utility,” Northwest Voices, June 10] that just as we expect sewage treatment and clean water from our taxes, so should we expect universal health care.

We would add a point: We take for granted that health care should be available to murderers and rapists in our prisons. Why shouldn’t it be equally available to the rest of our citizens, including those whose only crime is that they’re poor? Why should it be a source of profit?

— Robert and Susan Stanton, Seattle

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