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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 24, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Health-care reform: Is all that is needed just some personal responsibility?

Some required reading for health-care debaters

Kudos to The Seattle Times for printing an excellent guest column by Robert J. Herbold and Scott S. Powell [“Government-dominated reform will not improve health care,” Opinion, Aug. 23]. These two guys really nailed it. It should be required reading by anyone interested in the current debate on whether or not to allow the federal government to become so heavily involved in our health-care system.

As the writers point out in such easy-to-understand wording, government health care would be a disaster, as a majority of Americans seem to be grasping. With the news now coming out of more and more trillions of dollars being added to President Obama’s — not Bush’s — deficit in the near future, the country simply cannot afford to let Uncle Sam further screw up the system.

— Scott Stoppelman, LaConner

Diminished regulations, not collectivization, the threat to economy

Robert J. Herbold and Scott S. Powell try to compare failure of collectivization in the manner of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to an anticipated failure of collectivization in government-paid health care.

Encouraging borrowers to amass massive debt in an attempt to make huge profits cannot be equated to spreading risk over the entire population to make health care affordable. To bring about the housing crisis, regulations were diminished, thus encouraging fraud and foolish behavior. To obtain affordable universal health care, enforced regulations and standards would discourage abuse and foolish behavior. Collectivization, in itself, has nothing to do with it.

Read H.R. 676 instead of the endless explanations by Congressman Rick Larsen, Blue Dogs and agenda-driven think tanks that believe a single-payer health system will not work.

Denis Cortese of the Mayo Clinic [“Fresh ideas boost health reform,” Opinion, syndicated columnist, Aug. 2] says it will work, and he has no incentive to deceive us.

— James Bruner, Oak Harbor

Time for personal accountability from corporate crooks

I certainly hope The Seattle Times didn’t pay Robert J. Herbold or Scott S. Powell for their thinly disguised market-knows-best rant.

Not only do they attempt to tag proponents of national health care as collectivists, but they blame the entire financial collapse on government bureaucracy. The financial collapse isn’t due to the fact that twice in 30 years lenders have gamed the system with straw buyers and conveniently obfuscating financial instruments. No, financial collapse was due to government mismanagement and the suppression of infallible market forces.

Their thesis is hogwash, and until this country demands accountability out of both individuals and corporations, we will be systematically fleeced again and again. We need to treat swindlers harshly. No more country-club jails. Life sentences and hard labor.

Complete forfeiture of all property and equities including those belonging to anyone accepting transferred assets. And while we’re at it, break up the corporate boards of directors who enable the “your lotto winnings are peanuts compared to my annual earnings” corporate pay structures.

Don’t let businessmen tell us how to receive benefits that should be national services, or we are all going to become commodities working at the discretion of corporate overlords.

— Michael McInnis, Seattle

Government shouldn’t need to have all the answers

The article by Robert J. Herbold and Scott S. Powell was the best I’ve seen on the range of things it covered.

I hope there is still time to avert becoming just another country with citizens expecting the government to answer all of society’s problems instead of taking personal responsibility for the choices made in life.

It’s difficult to choose which of their points is best because the article is full of excellent ideas, but this one is right up near the top: “It is ludicrous to spend additional hundreds of billions for supposed health-care reform that will limit options, weaken competition and create the largest U.S. government bureaucracy ever while ignoring the reasons behind the insolvency of Medicare and Medicaid.”

— Jeanie McBee, Kenmore

Talking personal responsibility from an ivory tower

When Robert J. Herbold and Scott S. Powell claim in their guest column that “over the past 45 years personal responsibility has been marginalized by collective government policies,” they presumably refer to the adoption of Medicare in 1965 but lack the guts to say so.

In their rant against “collectivist political power” from the sanctuary of the Hoover Institution’s ivory tower, they display an insufferable arrogance and ignorance of the real world in which the United States is the only economically advanced country on the planet that doesn’t or can’t provide its people with the peace of mind of guaranteed adequate health care.

Herbold and Powell may have failed to notice that China, which they seem to offer as a model of economic and social policy, is still a communist-collectivist state that provides universal health care to its people.

I have no doubt that Herbold and Powell would also welcome the abandonment of Social Security and a return to the good old days of the late 19th century before the government started interfering with private industry by regulating child labor, wages, hours and the right of workers to organize.

— Dan Levant, Seattle

Comments | More in Business, Congress, Economic stimulus bills, Economy, Federal bailouts, Federal government, Health care, Politics, Recession, Reform, Republicans


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