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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Health-care reform: Would these alternatives work?

A tax for health care that people won’t mind

President Obama indicated that he had two thirds of the cost of the reform paid for out of savings in his proposed plan. The other one third can be raised without hurting anyone.

Place a 50 cent tax on every stock, commodity and derivative transaction. Currently, the major brokers charge a $5.25 processing fee on every transaction on top of their commission.

Adding 50 cents to $5.25 would hardly stir up any objections. It’s a win-win situation. The health-care reform will be paid for and the investors will feel good they were able to help millions of people to have access to proper health care with a 50-cent contribution.

— Murray Levin, Mountlake Terrace

Employer-funded insurance should be eliminated

During the wage- and price-control era of World War II, employers began to offer medical coverage to employees as an allowable alternative to raising wages.

Inserting employer-funded medical care between the doctor and patient had no purpose other than to retain good employees. However, once started, it has been retained as the norm for larger employers, despite the problems it has caused in financing our health care. It served no medical purpose then, and it serves no medical purpose now. It should be eliminated.

It is a problem because large employers such as Boeing, because of risk spreading, can negotiate a much more favorable medical-insurance contract than can a small employer or an individual in business for himself or herself.

It prevents a level playing field being offered to individuals seeking medical insurance. We do not look to employers to provide group fire insurance for our homes. Individually, we shop around for a company offering good coverage at competitive prices in a fire-insurance market that has a level playing field.

Congress can facilitate elimination of employer-provided medical coverage by encouraging tax-free funds currently being paid for employee medical coverage to be distributed to employees as a tax-free increase in wages. Individuals would become responsible to purchase their own coverage. Medical-insurance premiums should remain tax-free.

Current union contracts requiring employer medical coverage could be allowed to expire over a reasonable period of time before funds for such coverage would lose their tax-free status for employers.

— Ed Wittmann, Seattle

Let’s have the same plan for all Americans

Isn’t it ironic that the very health-care system Sen. Ted Kennedy demands for us [“With Kennedy ailing, it’s still touch-and-go for health-care bill,” News, July 27] would have resulted in his own death?

Yes, under the proposed health-care plan, Kennedy would have been sent home with pain pills to die.

Except, I forgot the national health-care plan in the works would not apply to Kennedy. In fact, it would not apply to any congressman or congresswoman, federal employee or union employee as a kickback for campaign contributions. It only applies to the rest of us peons.

Maybe a truly fair plan would be one all Americans would be covered under. Maybe if the politicians had to suffer with the rest of us, they would make better decisions for all of us.

— Pauline Cornelius, Olalla

Comments | More in Health care, Reform, Taxes

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