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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 23, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Health-care debate: Poor arguments, democrats failing and co-op alternatives

Constitutional argument being used in the wrong way

Not since Publius and Cato battled over the ratification of the Constitution has such a base debate about the nature of government taken place.

One can notice that the rhetoric of the right seems not to be directly attacking the notion of a government-run option but the underlying notion of federal dominance. Many at Congressman Rick Larsen’s town hall held high signs declaring the necessity of originalism, or the idea that we must look to the Founding Fathers as the arbiters of all modern Constitutional questions.

Most jurists, and even James Madison himself, dismiss the idea: “Whatever veneration might be entertained for the body of men who formed our Constitution, the sense of that body could never be regarded as the oracular guide in expounding the constitution.”

We cannot look to the framers alone for the answers to the health-care question. We must look to the wording of our Constitution, both implied and direct.

Congress is responsible for ensuring the general welfare of the United States, and nothing is more general or basic than health. This does not mean providing people expensive cars or swimming pools; it simply means the government is responsible for taking care of the most basic societal requirements, such as ensuring a healthy workforce.

We must move forward on health care, and we must not let these frivolous arguments stand in the way.

— Peter J. Wagner, Blaine

Democrats falling apart on health-care reform — again

It looks like the Democrats are self destructing again. It happens every time they get in power. Whenever Americans give them votes enough to make a difference, Democrats start bickering among themselves and initiatives like health care fall apart.

This time they’ve sold out for 30 pieces of silver. When will people learn to think for themselves and stop looking for saviors?

First, single-payer health care was off the table, and now they’re not going to consider the so-called public option, which would provide government health care for those unable to afford health insurance.

Obama is so desperate for something he can label health-care reform that he’s sold out to the right wing and the insurance companies for a patch job to the current system, which means continued skyrocketing health-care costs and huge taxpayer-funded subsidies to insurance companies.

It seems no matter which side wins, millions of Americans lose and will still go without coverage, hundreds of thousands will go into financial ruin over health-care costs and insurance CEOs will laugh their way to the bank.

The Democrats haven’t the courage to stand up to the moneyed interests and pass a single-payer plan that would cover every American regardless of income, age or prior medical condition. Single-payer works well in every major industrial western nation and the Government Accountability Office and Congressional Budget Office studies have stated that single payer would save billions in health-care spending. It would eliminate the administrative costs, waste and high CEO salaries of for-profit health insurance.

Until we take the money out of politics and adopt clean campaigns, we will continue to have the best government that money can buy, and we will fail to have a courageous Congress that would adopt such measures as HR 676, the single-payer health-care bill.

— Howard Pellett, Anacortes

Obama clearly from another world

Those birthers who think President Obama is not a U.S. citizen are only partially correct.

Our group, earthers, contends he is actually from another galaxy.

Our proof? He is unquestionably way too smart and reasonable to be an earthling politician. Do you need additional evidence that he is a politico from another planet? He occasionally admits it when he makes mistakes, and he is faithful to his wife.

He’s clearly not a terrestrial elected official.

— Kevin Cole, Seattle, USA, Planet Earth

Why cooperative health-care is a viable alternative

There is a lot of interest in the health-care debate and in Congress about cooperative health care and especially in Group Health Cooperative here in Puget Sound. Since cooperatives may be a viable alternative, I feel I should share my own recent experience.

In December 2004, I had a major one-car accident. My chest was crushed, and I bled into my lung cavity causing major damage to my lungs.

A Seattle Fire Department Emergency Response team cared for me at the scene and transported me to Harborview Hospital. I spent about a month there in intensive care. Next I went to Regional Hospital for six months of critical care. From there I went to Kindred Hospital for another five months of critical care. Finally, I spent 100 days in Bothell Rehab center and then in February 2006, I went home for good.

You might suppose that to pay for this amount of care, (estimated to cost more than $1 million) that I would now be financially destitute. Not so. We have had to pay only a small amount of this. As a member of Group Health Cooperative, my eligibility for Medicare, the $10,000 from my car-insurance policy and the Seattle taxes that pay for emergency responses, the rest of the bill was paid for me.

My experience shows how all these programs can work together toward their common goal. I still use supplemental oxygen but other than that, after four and a half years, here I am.

I still live a pretty good life for an 85-year-old man thanks to cooperative health care.

— Frank Baker, Bothell

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

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