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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 14, 2009 at 2:40 PM

Health-care reform

AMA opposition to government health care driven by greed

We all look up to doctors. I worked with physicians for years as a former employee of the American Cancer Society, and I am constantly impressed by their dedication, intelligence and compassion. That’s why I’m so angry and disgusted by the American Medical Association’s stance against President Obama’s plan to create a government health-care plan [“Obama tells GOP to offer a better health-care plan,” News, June 12].

This is pure greed on the part of the AMA. Its leadership knows that a government health plan will help drive down costs, including, eventually, physician payments.

The health-care system in the U.S. isn’t just broken, it’s a disaster. The number-one reason for personal bankruptcies is health care. And that includes people who are covered by health insurance. It is ridiculous that people with health-care insurance are going bankrupt when they get sick.

It is people like me, a small-business owner with no access to group plan rates, who are at greatest risk. I’ve followed all the rules, have always had health-care insurance and try not to use the health-care system unless I really need to. Yet, if I should be unfortunate enough to get cancer, I seriously doubt I could afford the co-pays, drug costs and deductibles associated with my individual health plan. By the way, I would have to fight a deadly disease while I fight the insurance company.

Shame on the AMA. Of all people, physicians should be leading the charge to fix the health-insurance system, not getting in the way.

— David L. Allen, Bellevue

Universal health care will save us all money

Thursday’s rather extensive comparison of our current health-care system [“Government-run plan the rock that could block health reform,” David S. Broder syndicated column, June 11] left out some very important items.

First, the executive pay of private insurers. Currently it is 2,001 times what the average worker makes. No one is worth this kind of money. Before Ronald Reagan allowed health-care insurers to be for profit, this kind of abuse did not exist. It should not exist now.

Second, what is often stated about how to control costs is working on increasing individual responsibility for healthier living. This is not what is causing our bloated expenses. See above. Frequently the suppliers of medical care are blamed for the expenses. This also is not accurate.

Third, the myth of how expensive it will be to provide universal health care and how we cannot afford the expense. Currently we pay more, per person, than any country that has universal health care. And they have better outcomes. It won’t cost us anything. We will save money.

The time is now. Universal health care is a right. Without health care, none of us can enjoy life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. We need to do this. We deserve this fundamental right.

— Carol Barber, Kent

Universal-coverage benefits hidden by socialism stigma

Your piece on health-care reform is much appreciated. However, it overlooks the most effective of all cost controls: economies of scale.

Health insurance that covers the whole population under one umbrella will inevitably cost much less than multiple insurances that cover differing populations simply because the pool of insured who infrequently utilize the system is maximized.

Good health of the young offsets poorer health of older populations in terms of overall cost of care. Universal coverage also maximizes efficiency, driving down administrative costs far more than any other method. This reality is now obscured by the contentious rhetoric that now clouds reason in much of the media. The public option is a weak but necessary start along the road to an inevitable single-payer system of universal coverage.

This kind of coverage is not socialism. It is social insurance for private delivery of health care.

— James Maynard, M.D., Sammamish

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