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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 5, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Health care: Will bureaucracy bog down treatment?

Public health care? Think twice after trip to DMV

Around Memorial Day, I was sick and needed to see a doctor. Deciding to seek medical care at 7:30 p.m., I drove to the Everett Clinic. I immediately saw a doctor, received a thorough evaluation and had my prescribed medication electronically sent to the drugstore. I picked up my prescriptions by 8:50 p.m. In a little over an hour, I saw a doctor, received a diagnosis, picked up medication and was home.

A few days ago, my son needed his learner’s permit. We went up to the Everett Department of Motor Vehicles. The parking lot had no spaces so we drove around until one opened up. The room was packed. We took a number and waited for three hours to receive his permit.

Next time you make a trip to the DMV or the Post Office, ask yourself: Do I want government to be in charge of my family’s health care? Our family sure doesn’t.

Medical costs need to be addressed, but our care is the best anywhere in the world. We are not willing to give something so important over to self-absorbed, unprofessional politicians to monkey with — like they are doing with our economy.

— Laurel Christiansen, Everett

Those who can’t pay disregarded in current system

For all those who think that we all have great health care here in America, here’s a story that is all too common, but I don’t hear anyone talking about.

I have a friend who was diagnosed with cancer. He runs a very small business, working as an independent contractor. Bottom line: He can’t afford good insurance. After some initial radiation and chemotherapy, the latter doing more harm than good, his doctor wanted no more to do with him. He was told nothing about nutrition or any other aspect of overall health.

When he finally had a follow-up visit to that doctor, and asked about his various debilitating symptoms, the doctor told him nothing. “Come back in a month.” (Yeah, I hope he can.) And the fact that he could barely stand up, fell regularly, was slurring his words badly and so on, meant little. “Take some vitamins,” he was told.

Does anyone believe that a person with money — or good insurance — would have been treated this way?

America has its strengths. But it has its faults, and this is one of them.

— David McKenzie, Federal Way

Like with Medicare, provisions for private companies will come

Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Max Baucus are talking about an automatic trigger that would include the government option if private insurance didn’t reduce health-care costs enough.

We seem to remember that when Medicare was overhauled the Republicans included a provision that guaranteed the private insurers they would make a profit, since there was no way they could compete with Medicare. The private insurers jumped at the opportunity — witness the list of them in the Medicare booklet. It would not surprise us to see that type of provision included in this legislation.

What is it these politicians don’t get about the 75 percent of the public, voters, wanting government-provided health care?

They had better wake up.

— Anne and Bill Dillon, Kent

No government bureaucrat is worse than private insurance

It is with alarm that I listen to the debate on health-care options. Frequently I hear conservatives claim government cannot run health care, even though they can run our military. They say we would have a bureaucrat standing between us and our doctor. But we already do. That bureaucrat is the insurance company, which denies benefits and payments.

Conservatives also claim they want competition. No they don’t. They only want the for-profit insurance companies to continue to bleed us dry. That is why they hate the idea of government-run health care. It is cheaper, more effective and a better value. It would put the greedy insurance companies out of business, unless they learned to offer a better value for consumers.

Conservatives also scream about an inheritance tax, calling it a death tax. The real death tax is what happens when people die prematurely because of inadequate access to quality health care. Then they die having exhausted their life savings, and their survivors are left with nothing but debt.

It is time for a change. Universal health care for all is a right. Conservatives are a choice whose time has gone.

— Carol Barber, Kent

Cantwell needs to support public health care

Get off the fence, Sen. Maria Cantwell [“Cantwell hints she might back Obama plan,” NWWednesday, July 1].

Your constituents are fed up with this “will I or won’t I” support the public option game — we want no triggers, no compromises, no regional deals, no watering down in health care.

I read an excellent analysis of the monopoly power insurers have in the health-care marketplace in the United States. It’s more than just disgusting; it’s inexcusable that a progressive senator from a progressive state still can’t make up her mind.

This monopoly industry is crying about the loss of competition, and it’s just d&eacutej&aacute vu all over again. They’ve got a stranglehold in most of the smaller rural states, and they’re pouring millions a day into lobbying to hold their position.

Free market, my sweet patootie.

— Julie McCormick, Port Townsend

Innovation will save costs in insurance industry

Job loss through downsizing has decimated working Americans who pay the taxes driving our economy.

But drastically downsizing the work force may be inefficient. Cutting overpaid ineffective executives should be a first consideration.

Example: Boeing is losing money with continued delays in delivering ordered Dreamliners. Reassembled components are manufactured elsewhere to cut labor costs. Frequently these components are improperly made, with missing parts or faulty construction. When this happens local engineers and machinists have to solve the problem and find the hardware to complete a component that was not ready to assemble. Boeing engineers and machinists are to be praised.

Costly, insufficient health care cripples our economic recovery. President Obama finds fault with unnecessary medical expenses, like spending up to 20 percent of revenue on administrative tasks.

Obama would like to cut this to 3 percent, the bookkeeping cost of Medicare and his suggested optional government medical insurance. My current local private plan already does this at a savings of more than 50 percent from my previous plan by having computerized medical records and easy communication with specialists by phone or e-mail.

It won’t be easy, but I believe we can reclaim jobs as well as insure American health care.

— Bob Olson, Bellevue

Comments | More in Health care, Reform

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