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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 16, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Health-care reform

Doctors don’t trust Uncle Sam for payment

In Monday’s letters to the editor [“AMA out of touch with most doctors,”, Northwest Voices, June 15] Colin McCluney, a self-described “future physician” has the chutzpah to criticize the American Medical Association for failing to accurately represent a group of people he is not even a part of.

If McCluney thinks government-run health care is the panacea for all the health-care problems in the U.S., he’s in for the shock of his life once he leaves his ivory tower of high thinking and joins us here in the real world.

As far back as eight years ago, newspapers reported increasing numbers of doctors refusing to take Medicare patients. Why? The all-knowing, all-loving, all-perfect government either didn’t pay them enough or pay them at all. Why bother with Uncle Sam when you can actually get paid from the evil private-insurance companies?

So, sure, let’s get all 300 million of us on government health care. Then we can all wait 12 months for an MRI or, even more ironic, wait 10 months for the maternity ward like our Canadian friends are already doing.

— Eric Pilon, Mercer Island

Disinformation rampant in health-care debate

Why are we talking about the cost of a public option? Because every country with universal single-payer health care enjoys a total cost per covered person for health care that is less than we pay in the U.S. In many cases their cost is much less than we pay, approaching one half of what we pay.

Still, we face a barrage of disinformation about the cost of universal coverage and hand-wringing about who pays. These are issues only if you fail to imitate the many successful models in Canada and Europe.

Let’s keep this simple. I want exactly what the French have. And I want to have the savings left in my bank account to spend on my vacation.

Better health care costs less, not more — unless you are stupid enough allow these loud-shouting profiteers to keep charging you double the world price for health care.

— George Robertson, Seattle

Special interests shouldn’t be at the table in health-care reform

When health-care reform is being discussed by Congress, why is anyone else at the table?

It seems to me the American people elected representatives to do the work of legislating, and they should be the only ones at the table.

Let’s insist our legislators do their work in sessions that exclude all special interests from going anywhere near the “table.” Maybe then the American people will have taxation with representation.

— Mavis Norton, Edmonds

Letting the market dictate only causes more health-care harm

George F. Will’s argument [“Nation’s prospects for growth are rapidly diminishing,” syndicated columnist, Opinion, June 12] implies that individuals should take more responsibility for their health, government should take less and everything in between should be solved by the “economic rationality of markets.”

What is glossed over in his argument is the very idea that the economic rationality of markets is often the very engine that promotes ill health, including violence, AIDS, coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes.

This occurs through the dual mechanisms of severely constraining opportunities for many populations and producing sets of alternative goods that are all potentially pathogenic. One need only look at the current food system to see evidence of the ill effects of such economic rationality.

Within such a system, even if individuals know what they ought to do –and most data suggest they do — many lack the opportunities to act on that knowledge. Now, if we could get markets to attempt to optimize health and well-being, then Will’s argument might hold some water.

— Craig Hadley, Seattle

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