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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 2, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Health-care reform: blue dogs, bad habits and high costs

Blue dogs? I’ve got a better name for them

Thank you for publishing “Who’s feeding the Blue Dogs” [CloseUp, July 31]. Now that it’s been established these representatives and senators are all bought and paid for by the health-insurance industry, I believe the term “fiscally conservative” can no longer be used to describe them.

There’s a more appropriate term for people who sell out principle and people for cash, but that word is probably not fit for a family newspaper.

— Amy Hagopian, Seattle

Our poor choices are at fault for health-care failure

In response to a letter from Dr. Donald Sherrard [“Lower costs, lower mortality in Canada,” Opinion, Northwest Voices, July 29]: I do not doubt the statistics he cites, but an important bit of information is missing.

As a nation, we continue to overeat and under exercise –60 percent of us are overweight and half of those are frankly obese This leads to an inordinate amount of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, gall stones and destruction of knee joints.

Do the other countries mentioned have that same profile? In addition, a good number continue to smoke, drink to excess, take drugs both legal and illegal and have unprotected sex. This leads to liver, lung disease, cancers, unwanted pregnancies and STDs, including AIDS.

Is there a health-care system alive that can continue to respond to all this? It seems much easier to blame insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, the American Medical Association and fast-food joints than looking in the mirror for the cause of the “system failure.”

I’m concerned there is not enough money or any system that can deal with our health unless many personal changes occur. After all, the above items are all put into our bodies voluntarily. Pogo, the comic-strip character, said it quite eloquently many years ago, “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”

— Charles R. Strub, M.D., Monroe

No break for Congress

Congress should not be allowed to take a break before passing a health bill. It just gives the lobbyists and health-insurance industry more time to buy more members of Congress. It is not like they have to work that many days a year anyway.

This is probably the one issue that will affect every citizen. Well, except for possibly our representatives. They will see they are taken care of.

— Harriet Benjamin, Seattle

Some selfish doctors not helping health woes

It was refreshing to find letters published in The Times July 28 getting to the heart of health-care issues [“Health care: What is the cost of Canadian system?”

seattletimes.com, Northwest Voices]. One was especially telling because it was submitted by a doctor, Donald J. Sherrard. If only there were more physicians with his take on the problem. His final two sentences were perfectly on target: “Citizens should question strongly the assertions, lies and evasions of the health industry. They’re after the big bucks, not your health.”

I would also suggest that one part of the problem is the attitude of some, not all, doctors. They think their lofty professional status entitles them to live a lifestyle of the ultra rich and famous, and some who can’t lower themselves to care for Medicare or Medicaid patients because the payoff is too slight.

Both attitudes fail to live up to the Hippocratic oath, which all doctors are supposed to observe in their practice.

— Rod Belcher, Des Moines

Isn’t eliminating a middleman good business sense?

Most people are smart enough to know that eliminating the middleman from a purchase is a good idea. Middlemen, after all, add very little value — but always add cost.

Why then are people hesitating over reforming our health-care system? Our current system is completely dominated by middlemen. We give these companies our hard-earned money so they can enjoy fat profits while blocking our access to good health care.

That makes no sense whatsoever. Physicians don’t like it. Patients don’t like it. The middlemen, however, are fat, dumb and very, very happy.

Health-care reform is not socialized medicine. It’s about removing the middleman’s obscene profits and allowing we, the people, to get the services we pay for.

— Debbie Terwilliger, Bothell

In the way of reform, six bought senators

Our thanks to Dr. Donald J. Sherwood for his eloquent letter to the editor spelling out the advantages of the Canadian health system over our inefficient, bloated hodgepodge.

Already the majority of Americans want reform of the type proposed by President Obama. Unfortunately, the next obstacle is the six senators — Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, Kent Conrad, Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley and Olympia J. Snowe — who have sold their souls to the health insurance and pharmacology corporations for $3 million in campaign contributions.

They are blocking the public option without which, as President Obama has spelled out, it is impossible to have truly universal health coverage.

Somehow we must find a way past them.

— Robert & Susan Stanton, Seattle

No price tag too high on health-care reform

Charles Krauthammer’s “Obamacare vs. fiscal reality: the health-care nirvana fantasy” [Opinion, syndicated columnist July 26], concedes that medical costs are destroying our economy. True! His argument is that Obama’s efforts to improve the health-care delivery system being worked on in Congress will be more expensive.

Obama’s plan will provide medical coverage for millions of families who have none, for families whose wage-earner loses their job and for those with pre-existing illness.

Universal coverage is lifesaving for millions of victims of an inadequate system. Sure, Krauthammer, that may cost more. But don’t we need more?

Let’s support our Congress in its efforts to achieve a more efficient and inclusive medical system.

In the meantime, Krauthammer might offer a different solution than just more of the same.

— Jack Ballard, Port Ludlow

No need to deal with Republicans

Regarding The Times’ editorial [“Bipartisanship needed on health-care reform,” Opinion, July 28], which says, “Health-care needs Republican votes to pass. Oh yes it does.”

Oh no it doesn’t actually. The American people soundly rejected the Republican Party in two elections, making clear they have no trust in the Republicans. Why compromise with a party that has no standing with the large part of the country?

More importantly, the Republican Party is opposed to any meaningful reform of the health-care system because that would harm the bottom line of its patrons in the insurance industry.

Republican attempts at “compromise” are stealth efforts to torpedo the whole thing. It takes two to compromise, and the Republicans are working to prevent a bill, not improve it.

The Democrats want bipartisanship for political cover, which is gutless. The Republicans want it to disguise of their attempts at preventing any meaningful bill from passing, an agenda they share with a large number of Democrats who the insurance companies have also got their hooks into.

Why do you want bipartisanship? To help your friends the Republicans in their attempts at preventing a bill? Or are you so enthralled in the conventional wisdom that bipartisanship is good government that you are blind to all these realities?

— Brad Lowe, Edmonds

In health-care debate, don’t forget the kids

We appreciate Lynne Varner’s column [“Health-care reform: Push for kids,” Opinion, July 29], which raised important issues of how to meet the needs of children in federal health-care reform. We in Washington state are justifiably proud of the health coverage we have created, Apple Health for Kids. We can be a model for the nation.

Reform should maintain the best of Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, and expand coverage to all kids and adults. Kids are healthier when their parents are covered, and they are healthiest when their coverage meets their needs.

Varner mentioned kid-friendly legislation floating around. We are happy that one of these important bills was accepted in the House Energy and Commerce Committee Friday.

An amendment introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado would prevent children from being moved into the new health insurance, Exchange, until Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services certifies that coverage offered to children is at least comparable to the average CHIP plan.

We hope this important amendment will be included in the final bill the House considers and in reform passed by Congress. We are calling on the Washington delegation to pass health reform when they return from recess so that all of Washington’s children and families can get the health coverage they need.

— Paola Maranan, Children’s Alliance executive director, Seattle

Comments | More in Congress, Federal government, Health care, Politics, Reform, Republicans, Social services

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