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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 24, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Health-care reform

What if health insurers were firemen?

Imagine how efficiently private health insurers would operate fire protection. Imagine your house is in flames and you consult a fireman:

If your job doesn’t come with fire-protection insurance, you don’t get a fire truck.

If your job went overseas and you didn’t keep up fire-protection payments, you don’t get a fire truck.

If something catches fire that you had when you bought the insurance, you don’t get a fire truck — it was a “pre-existing condition.”

Otherwise: Congratulations, you qualify for a fire truck to help you deal with the fire!

However:

The fire chief must check with an accountant to see how much water can be sprayed on the fire. If you go over the limit, you must find some other source of water.

You must throw the first 500 gallons of water on the fire yourself.

You must contribute 20 percent of the water sprayed on the fire after that.

If you lose your job because you’re spending too much time putting out the fire, you lose your fire-insurance coverage and the fire truck drives away.

If your neighbor’s house is on fire, and you want your fire department to put it out before the fire spreads to your house: Sorry, that’s not in the policy.

Surely, the current health-insurance model is the best!

— Randy Winn, Mercer Island

Coverage doesn’t equate acceptance by greedy providers

In response to your editorial [“A healthy reform model,” Opinion, June 23] Washington state health-care reformers, with all their headline-making efforts, have done mostly nothing to ensure more-accessible health services. Coverage does not ensure access or availability.

Just ask those of us who live in Kitsap County and other rural areas. Not many dentists in the county will accept adult Medicaid patients. What a shameful reflection of low Medicaid rates and the greed of certain health-care providers.

— Karen Clay, Port Orchard

Senate is giving in to industry interests

The Senate is at it again with trickle-down health care, and that includes our senators. Every time we try to fix this thing, it gets turned upside-down in Washington and becomes a bonanza for some vested interest.

The Seattle Times reported that another deal is in the works [“Drug firms OK discounts,” News, June 20] documenting Senate piecemeal deal-making with the drug industry as part of an effort to defuse public demand for a comprehensive solution. They did the same thing with the Medicare drug bill of 2003, turning it into a subsidy for U.S. drugmakers with a flood of U.S. Treasury bonds — and then told voters they had solved the problem.

We don’t need more bad legislation from the Senate; the president must veto anything that doesn’t include a single-payer or single-risk pool system that distributes costs equitably for preventive, prescription and basic medical and dental care on a “pay-go” basis, taking the load off small business. Private insurance should be selling supplemental plans for those who want to pay or who have it as a job benefit, nothing more.

No, the way to do this right is to raise taxes. Yes, Rome is burning — but the Senate still plays the fiddle for the rich, turning its backside to the American people.

— Kal Lambert, Renton

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