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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 9, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Health-care reform: Are we being played by special interests and their ads?

Deceptive ads have no place in health-care debate

I heard an ad last night on TV requesting us to ask our senator if “he” had read the health-care reform bill before he signed it.

First of all, no bill has been signed, and it is looking as if it will be a cold day in hell before one is signed.

Second, I resent that as an elder myself, I am being played.

The ad implied that my government will arbitrarily decide if I will live or die depending on a set of government positions connected to the elderly. The ad was disconcerting because it was meant to confound us.

But the folks who paid for that ad are not looking out for me — they are looking out for their bottom line. I resent them because now that I have Medicare, I feel comfortable about my health care. I want the same for every human being in the United States.

It is obscene for them to try to make us afraid. They need to reach for their higher selves and not be trying to obscure what’s really happening in Congress.

— Cheryl G. Banks, Seattle

Feeling like puppets in health-care show

Recently we received an e-mail labeled, “Free medical care. Coming soon to a hospital near you. ObamaCare.” The picture was of President Obama retouched to resemble an African witch doctor. The “C” in “ObamaCare” was drawn like a Communist hammer & sickle.

We are being bombarded with evidence like this that serious health-care reform is impossible, and we pass it on to each other. We’re convinced: Americans can’t have the kind of universal health insurance other developed countries have.

Why not? Because the health insurance and pharmacology companies don’t want us to have it, and they know how to push our buttons. They even buy our national legislators before our very eyes.

It’s bad enough being a puppet with invisible strings. It’s really humiliating to see us dancing when we can see the strings.

— Robert & Susan Stanton, Seattle

Take private insurance out of basic health care

The theory behind insurance is that many pay premiums and a few make claims. Insurance works for automobiles and homes because many pay premiums and few make claims. With health care, too many must make claims. It is doomed to fail.

People now pay huge premiums, co-pays and deductibles. People in many cases pay more in premiums than they would for basic health care. Most of this money is wasted on insurance-company bureaucracy, and no value is added to health care. Carrying the current cost of the health-insurance system is like trying to run a marathon carrying a man on your back.

The solution is simple. Eliminate insurance companies from basic health care. Let people pay for their own basic health care or have employers give a health-care account.

Insurance should only cover major health problems and surgeries.

For example, we now pay $6,000 per year for insurance for our single daughter.

She doesn’t spend $6,000 per year for basic health care. If we used this $6,000 for her basic health care and a major medical plan, we would all be better off. There is no useful purpose served by forcing the doctor to send her bills to an insurance company for payment.

Without all the insurance bookkeeping, doctors would be freed from the overhead of insurance. Doctors could donate no- or low-cost service to people who cannot afford to pay.

— Joyce Kormanyos, Sammamish

Why must health care be for profit?

One very significant issue remains perilously silent in the intensely conflicted and highly vocalized debate over the supposed reform of the health industry in the United States: Why must America’s health industry be for profit?

American democracy may be capitalistic, but money can’t buy everything, most notably human values. Consider the usually unrecognized but unquestionable success of Catholic education at all levels.

Faculty and administrator salaries there rarely compare with secular institutions, though the institutions most likely wish they could; they are equally founded on the spiritual values we identify as vocational.

Can “being in the business to make money” compare with the dedication of one’s life? Historically, hospitals began as religious institutions, and modern science has created medical miracles, but has an essential element seems to have been lost in this discussion? And aren’t we the poorer because of it?

— Fr. John F. Foster, S.J., Seattle

Comments | More in Congress, Health care, Reform

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