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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 20, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Health care: solutions, lies and politics as usual

Inefficient system only to get more expensive

For five years, I worked as a physical therapist aide in a small clinic in Des Moines. During this time, I talked to hundreds of patients from all walks of life.

Sadly, they all had to deal with high health-care costs. It was heartbreaking to see people at their most vulnerable not only struggle with injuries but also financial insecurity and mounds of paperwork.

Our undependable health-care system is not a political game but a harsh reality for many Americans. I am sure most people know someone with health insurance who is drowning in medical debt or being denied coverage because they actually need health care.

Unfortunately, if we do nothing, this inefficient system will only get worse with costs predicted to double by 2016. Small businesses and families will be hit the hardest, and I don’t how our economy can deal with these higher costs. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have to realize that we are done with rhetoric.

A public option will create the competition in the market that can cut costs and red tape. It is time to finally get strong reform and a dependable, affordable health-care system.

— Tiffany McGuyer, Des Moines

Future after reform: a cool, free vacation in the hospital?

It’s been hot in Seattle this summer, so let’s get this socialized medicine up and running fast.

Because then instead of going to the mall to cool off, we can go to the hospital and not only get an air-conditioned room for free but three squares and a view.

Ding, ding, ding. What’s wrong with that nurse? My dinner’s cold and my bed pan needs a changing, or I’ll lawyer up and sue for malpractice!

— David Hagen, Seattle

A veteran who wants everyone to have his health care

As a combat-disabled veteran, I have been enrolled in the Veterans Affairs health-care system for more than 50 years.

The system has faithfully delivered the finest health care to me while residing in several states.

I am most grateful for the undivided attention I receive. The VA Hospitals in Seattle and American Lake are, by far, the most efficiently operated.

Why can’t this nation offer each of it’s legal citizens the same government care?

— Curt Lint, Herron Island

A health-care solution in a vegan diet

Our nation is in the grip of a raging debate over reforming a grossly misnamed “health-care system” that threatens to bankrupt our economy. In 2008, U.S. medical costs reached $2.4 trillion, or 17 percent of our gross domestic product, growing at an astronomic annual rate of nearly 7 percent. That’s $8,000 per person or $20,000 per household. It’s a major factor in mortgage defaults underlying our economic crisis.

And these numbers don’t even begin to account for the economic toll of lost productivity or the emotional toll of crippling disease and premature death.

The tragic irony is that these outrageous costs have little or nothing to do with health care and everything to do with medical care, directed mostly at alleviating chronic killer diseases that are self-inflicted through our flawed lifestyles.

Actual health care is absolutely free: It consists of regular exercise, adequate rest and abstinence from smoking, hazardous drugs and meat and dairy products.

Yes, meat and dairy. According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 1.4 million Americans are crippled and then killed annually by heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases linked conclusively with consumption of animal products. That accounts for 70 percent of deaths from known causes, and presumably, for a similar percentage of medical costs, or $14,000 per household.

We have no control over the national costs of medical care. But each of us can exercise a great deal of control over our household’s $14,000 share every time we visit our favorite supermarket.

— Alex Nelson, Seattle

Not just politicians should be able to afford vacation, health care

Congress has adjourned for a month of vacation — briefly interrupted by town meetings. Their family time is, I’m sure, financed via savings from the simplified health plan they enjoy.

It’s only fair the House vote to pass the Affordable Health Choices Act once they reconvene so we, too, can afford to spend time with our families.

We promise to reinvest some of that savings into increased vacation spending next year in Western Washington; money not available to many working families who struggle to keep up with double-inflation rate premium increases under our current system.

— Philip Bradford, Tacoma

America itself is sick with lies

Like viruses, two big lies infect America, threatening us more than any foreign terrorists: First, the illusion that our nation can sustain itself without taxing wealth, and second, the illusion that government is the enemy, when in fact our government is we the people.

Spread through propaganda funded by private corporations, these lies convince gullible citizens to vote against their own best interests. At town-hall meetings on health care, these gullible Americans shout down the very democracy and government that is the last best hope among nations.

Which is more democratic and American: We the people owning our health care, or health care controlled by an elite cartel of corporate profiteers?

— Alfred K. LaMotte, Steilacoom

A taste of Bush’s treatment for Obama

I nearly spit out my coffee when I read Paul Krugman’s syndicated column in The Seattle Times [“Obama must deal with the death of his postpartisan dream,” Opinion, Aug. 16].

He charges that President Obama is now dealing with an enraged right that denies the legitimacy of his presidency, threatens his health-care proposals and eagerly seizes on every wild rumor manufactured by the right-wing media complex.

This is such a vivid description of what the left did to President Bush over the past eight years, but now it’s outrageous because it’s happening to Obama?

Krugman’s hypocrisy is his own business, but he shouldn’t insult our intelligence.

— Freddy McLaughlin, Seattle

Comments | More in Congress, Health care, Politics, Reform

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