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December 3, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Single-payer system can standardize medical costs (call this writer)
Regarding the costs of health care, Paul Krugman need only repeat the indisputable facts about single-payer systems. Single Payer systems all around the world average 10 percent of GDP while we spend 20 percent of GDP anually in the U.S. on health care [“Obamacare’s secret success,” Opinion, Dec. 1].
Statistics show how only a single-payer system can control costs best into the future. That’s the only reason we’re all talking about health care in the first place.
These facts prove that the Affordable Care Act is nothing but a shameful continuation of the massively corrupt health-care mess in this country. At least 30 of the authors of the ACA are now “consultants,” helping corporations navigate the dizzying law.
November 18, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Obamacare justification should not be political
State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler made a valiant attempt to justify the seriously flawed Affordable Care Act in his column [“Your health plan and Obamacare,” Opinion, Nov. 13].
Sticking entirely to his party line, he listed the reasons why we all should embrace Obamacare. However, commissioner, the dilemma of policy cancellations to the middle class is not about politics. It is seriously affecting nearly 300,000 residents in the state of Washington.
Sure, policy criteria premiums change annually, but never to the extent we are currently witnessing. Does it really make sense that those of us fortunate enough to be healthy and have incomes above the government subsidized threshold should incur the brunt of making this plan work? My wife and I currently have a perfectly good plan, not one referenced as “inadequate.” Yet, Regence has advised us the premiums will nearly double. In addition, along with the privilege of contributing more to support those “in need,” our deductible and out-of-pocket limits will actually increase.
And of course, the commissioner’s office has apparently blessed the new plans presented by Regence. I have to believe that many of the 300,000 affected Washington residents are in situations similar to ours.
Wes Pitman, Woodinville
November 15, 2013 at 7:34 PM
Employers won’t be able to cope
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler understates not only the impact on those who are losing their health plans under Obamacare, but also the number of people affected [“Your health plan and Obamacare,” Opinion, Nov. 13].
Kreidler states health plans have often canceled coverage. No, they discontinued plans for new sale and his office required the older plans be maintained for current subscribers. His regulators used to be aggressive against filed rate increases. Now, in the face of a 100 percent increase for a higher deductible, he sheepishly offers that we’ll get more. He says no one could afford coverage if you could buy maternity coverage only when you need it — but that is exactly what happened here 15 years ago, which led to the total collapse of the individual market. Kreidler supported easy sign-up then, and now he fears returns for those “checking in” during open enrollment.
The 290,000 residents cited as losing individual coverage is just the beginning. As a health-insurance broker, I know some employers just can’t cope with the added cost and overregulation. So they contemplate reducing hours below the eligibility threshold, or dropping group plans entirely. Some employees will find their way into the exchanges, many others won’t.
But the worst loss of coverage, which Kreidler doesn’t even mention, is in the small group market. We have had a thriving association market, serving hundreds of thousands of Washington residents. This is being virtually obliterated by Obamacare’s regulation. Many employers are forced off this market. Most of the association health plans will actually have to shut down in 2014. Sorry, you can’t keep your health plan after all.
There is no smiley face Kreidler can put on the rate increases, loss of coverage for so many and the decimation of our health-insurance market. Forget the bumpy rollout of exchange plans. This is truly ugly.
Hugh Hendrickson, Renton
October 3, 2013 at 1:50 PM
Take the “Obama” out of Obamacare
We need to take Obama out of Obamacare. The new health-care initiative is actually called the Affordable Care Act (ACA). By placing President Obama’s name in the health-care program we personalize the new system to one person. And that connection to one person, who is being vilified by the tea party, makes it easy to dismiss the ACA as a socialist endeavor by a black man.
President Obama did not write the ACA law. He participated in its creation and signed it into law. But the ACA was created by Congress and passed by majority votes in the House and Senate, and withstood a Supreme Court challenge. It is the law of the land until Congress changes it.
We do not call Social Security as FDR Security. We don’t describe Medicare as JohnsonCare. By labeling the ACA with Obama’s name, we participate in a systemic attempt to discredit and personalize this law to a single individual — with the hope of circumventing the legislative process, because the Tea Party can’t succeed otherwise.
Dennis Day, Lake Forest Park
September 29, 2013 at 7:56 AM
What is the alternative?
For those who believe that defunding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) justifies the shutdown of the federal government and/or America’s default on its financial obligations by not raising the debt ceiling, please do one thing. [“Obamacare foe presses fight,” News, Sept. 25.]
Explain to the rest of us, who believe Obamacare is needed health-care reform, what health-care reform you would propose in its place. In the clamor about the adoption of a new fiscal year’s budget, raising the debt ceiling and defunding Obamacare, I’ve yet to hear what those who oppose Obamacare would replace it with.
Now, if you respond that health-care reform is unneeded in our country, then I would ask you, how do you compare America’s decline in the performance rankings with other developed countries in major health and health-care indicators?
America spends more per capita on the health-care industry than any other developed country, yet our outcomes are second tier. Why is that?
Finally, once you’ve answered these questions, why is the U.S. “defense” industry, and budget line, so sacrosanct in these budget discussions, when the U.S. spends nearly as much as the next 15 countries combined?
Robert Rench, Seattle
September 25, 2013 at 7:05 AM
First, let me say that I believe that The Times did a wonderful job of explaining the Affordable Care Act. [“Insuring health: Navigating your way through the Affordable Care Act,” Section J, Sept. 22.]
With today’s political parties playing fast and loose with the facts, your insert was absolutely necessary.
To the Army veteran, now student, who is skeptical of Obamacare, I would say: OK, this is your choice to make. I defend your right to do so.
But I would call a screeching halt when he states that he will deal with the consequences if he gets in an accident or something.
Once he is 27, and possibly earning little or no money (especially if he is still in school), who is going to pay his bill when he shows up at the emergency room?
One of the key benefits of the Affordable Care Act is that people without insurance now, can get insurance. Thus, the rest of us should not have to pay for uninsured people going to the emergency room.
Alan Zelt, Kenmore
September 24, 2013 at 6:59 AM
No free ride
Carol Sterling rejects Obamacare because she doesn’t “agree with the flippin’ government telling me we have to do something.” [“Insuring Health: Coming changes polarize state,” page one, Sept. 22.]
The problem with such an attitude is that, if and when she gets sick or has an accident, she will end up at Harborview Medical Center, and we all pay for her rehabilitation. Or, she will receive charity care from community hospitals that are supported by their members. There just is not a free ride.
Even in a democracy we all are subject to laws we may disagree with. Women’s suffrage, Social Security and Medicare were all opposed by folks who felt that the “flippin’ government” should stay out of their lives.
How many people would want these laws repealed?
James Behrend, Bainbridge Island
September 18, 2013 at 6:28 AM
Time for a bigger change
I am convinced that the national health-care reform law is seriously flawed.
It is not that the law isn’t good in theory; it is just not workable in a currency-driven economy, such as the one we have now.
What we need to do is rethink our economy. A society with a currency-based economy will fail eventually. It’s a question of the “haves” and the “have-nots,” which creates an entitlement society, such as that which we have here in the United States today. Obamacare has been called a new entitlement, as health care should be for all of us.
What we need to do is change our society from a currency-driven society to a labor-driven society, where everyone who works, be it designing and building spaceships or just sweeping our streets and sidewalks, is entitled to all our society can offer.
I believe we must change our society now.
Peter Carrig, Tacoma
September 11, 2013 at 7:27 AM
Lornet Turnbull’s article on immigrants and health-care reform highlighted the challenges for many natives of the Micronesian islands residing in Washington. [“How will immigrants fare under Obamacare? It’s complicated,” page one, Sept. 5.]
It was a well-done story, shining a light on how history (atomic-bomb testing) relates to today’s health-care realities.
For the past two years, the Children’s Alliance has advocated with families from the Marshall Islands in order to make sure no child in our state goes without the nutritious food they need. This June, lawmakers partially restored a critical source of nutrition: the state Food Assistance Program.
But when a seriously ill, under- or unemployed person is in need of life’s basics, like health care or nutritious food, we shouldn’t check their papers first.
Parents must still feed their hungry children. That’s why we’ll call on lawmakers to fully restore the state Food Assistance Program in the 2014 legislative session.
Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children’s Alliance, Seattle
September 8, 2013 at 7:12 AM
We’re fed up after reading about the government health plan and its effects on immigrants. [“How will immigrants fare under Obamacare? It’s complicated,” page one, Sept. 5.]
We are ready to turn Republican, and we’re sure many taxpaying U.S. citizens and others with a right to be here are as well.
Can someone please explain to us why illegals (now called “undocumented” in politically correct speech) should receive any free or reduced-cost health care from our already overburdened system?
Hardworking Americans with insurance pay yearly deductibles, co-pays, etc., and frequently go into debt to pay for their care. It isn’t free.
If the American people had been allowed to vote on the so-called ‘Obamacare’ law for health-care reform, it would never have passed.
Gayle and Robert Krona, Seattle
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