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More on Health Care

The current state of politics has been deeply poisoned more than usual with the crazy antics of deliberate corporate-organized, fear-mongering heckling squads that show up at town meetings, designed to shut down any reform of the shameful excuse of a health-care insurance system that this nation carries around in its burlap sack of other broken systems, like say the mainstream media complex.

So many lies and distortions are being hurled in this so-called debate, like the assertion that "gubmint will force your grandparents to commit suicide" or "they're gonna put a bureaucrat between you and your doctor." All of this baseless bovine scathology is getting a free ride in the corporate media without a serious challenge.

Going unnoticed is the story of the original "public option," having been decimated early on by the "bipartisanship" brigades that are the true heroes of for-profit bottom line preservation. These centrists have axed all of the truly cost-saving and effective public insurance features in exchange for watered-down private-centric plans that nullify any real advantages that a smartly crafted government plan could offer. For example, the Lewin Group, a highly respected nonpartisan consulting firm that specializes in the review of health-care plans, gave the "Health Care for America Plan," developed by Jacob Hacker who is also known as the father of the public-option idea, high marks because it would enroll 129 million people and cut the uninsured down to 2 million. This plan was dumped because it would easily compete against any for-profit contraption the private sector has to offer.

But you'll never know that by all of the noise being generated in the media, which maintains that the "public option" is heavily weighted with a "big government" element. Don't kid yourself, it's being rewritten by the AMA, big pharma and the major corporate insurers.

Better yet, a single-payer plan that would eliminate the majority of for-profit private insurers, while preserving all private health providers, would be even more efficient because it would not have to wrestle with the initial burdens of "pre-population" of enrollees through marketing efforts that swell the operating budgets of any health insurance system that has to compete for policyholders.

A true "Medicare for All" plan would just change the current law that says only those 65 years and older receive Medicare, to everyone. It could provide the necessary insurance for all who need it without the unnecessary waste of a market fight for enrollees. Of course, there are those who assert that Americans with private plans are "satisfied" with what they have and don't want to change.

Sure, they might say that now, but have their plans ever been put to the real test of a policy challenge? They had better hope that they never need to find out what a private insurance bureaucrat can do when motivated by the bottom line. The major problem with Medicare is that primary care doctors are being underpaid, while the boondoggle Medicare Advantage plan overpays specialists, thereby bankrupting the Medicare program. This can be fixed, with cost controls restored to the program.

So, if you do ask your congressman about "big government health care," make sure you ask where the original "big" government part of it went.

--Kevin Bayhouse,


There are approximately 47 million uninsured Americans and approximately the same number of underinsured. Twenty-two thousand Americans die every year from lack of access to health care--that is 60 people each and every day. This could all be avoided if we'd just join with the rest of the civilized world and implement single payer.

Single payer is not socialized medicine. Under single payer, our choices increase, not decrease. I don't want to choose my insurance plan, I want to choose my doctor. Any health-care reform that continues to include private insurance is not reform, it is a slightly different version of the same old thing. We've seen that it doesn't work, so let's have some real reform and implement single payer. It is the most humane and fiscally responsible option. Everybody in, nobody out. To not support it is un-Christian, to say the least.

--Tara Shields-Lundquist,


One of two things has been happening in recent weeks: Either the conservatives are consciously and maliciously spreading lies and misrepresentations, or they have actually been duped by the Limbaugh-Beck-O'Reilly crowd into believing the weirdest nonsense imaginable.

Time after time, the newscasts show someone telling Congress members that the health-care bill will create death panels to kill all the elderly people, or that it will take away their family doctors, or other bizarre concoctions. Are these people just employees of the insurance companies, trying to save their bosses' bonuses, or do some of them really believe this hoohah? C'mon, people! You don't have to take your Congress member's word for it. Look at, or go to the congressional sites and read the actual bills being considered. Don't just holler against these fantasies because someone told you to.

--Ed Rush,


I will be driving home tonight on socialist roads, protected by socialist police and fire, and expecting to find the socialist school districts ready to open their doors to our neighborhood children next week. Who needs Universal Health Care, a socialist program? I do! You do! We all do! Give me the British model of health care now!

--Will Rainford,


I work for the state of Idaho. In November my portion of my insurance premium will increase by 1,000 percent, yes, that's one thousand percent, which is effectively a 40 percent pay cut because the cost for my insurance to the state is almost as much as I make. Multiply that by the number of state employees and you would think that our state's representatives and every state, and every corporation and every business would be demanding that this broken system be reformed. My question is, why aren't they?

--Sue Latta,


I come from a country with full medical coverage for everyone, and I think it's barbaric for a country with the resources we have to leave its citizens so unprotected. The corporate greed and excess of insurance companies should not dictate the care we receive as citizens of one of the most powerful countries in the world, and I personally think that if we spent more time working for a better quality of life for all people, we could use our resources for things like health care/education/environment, and spending on weapons and defense would become less of a necessity.

--Reham A. Aarti,


May I respectfully submit my opinion on the current health-care debate? Fuck the insurance companies. Thank you.

--Jerry Taylor,


Deja vu all over again as Yogi Berra would say. Remember the fight the tobacco companies put up over tobacco causing cancer? They spent millions paying employees, scientists, doctors and everyday folks to lie to Congress denying tobacco caused cancer when they knew and had research that documented the dangers of tobacco.

Those opposing health-care reform, drug companies, for-profit hospitals, insurance companies, will make the tobacco lobby look like nursery school. They are better funded, more sophisticated and more greedy. Their interest is not in your good health, it is in paying huge bonuses to corporate executives and dividends to stockholders. They are and will continue to spend millions to fight equitable health care in this country. The evidence is clear. The United States has the most expensive health care of any nation in the world. In terms of quality, we rank somewhere below 20th. That is shameful.

Dr. Ted Epperly, president of the 100,000-plus member American Family Physicians, a military physician for 21 years and many years in private practice, publicly endorses President Obama's Health Care Reform Bill. If health care currently represents 16 percent of the GDP, what will it be in another 10 years? Do your children and grandchildren have health care? Do you think they will be better off in 10 years if we do not pass health-care reform now? If the Republicans (I don't believe this should be a political issue, it's human rights), have a better plan, where has it been for the past eight years? Where is it now? Put Congress on the same health care as the public has. Encourage your members of Congress to vote yes for Health Care Reform.

--Shirley Thagard,

Hayden Lake

As someone living with a chronic illness, I get to experience the health-care system often. There are good things, there are many bad things. All of it could use a good magnifying light to fix and improve it. While I love that people are going to town halls, reading legislation, and participating in the process, yelling at these town halls, taking ideas and fanning the flames on the talk show circuit is not constructive, nor is it going to get us anywhere. We need to have an open forum, look at every idea, and have an honest debate about all of it. It can be done, everyone, and more importantly both parties just need to commit to doing it!

--Jennifer Miesbach,


It is way too easy for insurance companies to weed out people who need care. If a devastating illness can bankrupt a family, we don't have adequate insurance programs. People are more important than profit. Doctors should be able to focus on providing health care and not being a collection agency that has to fight with both insurance companies and un/underinsured to receive compensation for services.

--Tom Mihlfeith,


I agree with the speaker at the City Club: Health care should be seen as infrastructure. Call it socialism if you like. So we have socialized roads, too. Nothing wrong with that.

And just like I, as a child-free person, pay taxes and see a return when your kids can have a decent education, healthy folks see a return when sick folks get well. They get a return in the form of sick/hurt people returning to work, keeping families together, not spreading disease, and yes, the satisfaction of Doing the Right Thing. Tax me more! I'm happy to invest in the well-being of my fellow humans.

--Whitney Rearick,


Just because life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness meant different things upon our country's founding doesn't mean the meaning can't adapt with time. Health care is a human right available to citizens of countries who have rightly so followed our now old "new style" of government, and yet we remain hidebound with regards to this basic human right.

This is a human rights issue first, and a global competitiveness issue second.

While we bemoan the loss of manufacturing jobs to other countries, who can blame a company for cutting costs on labor by moving to a country where the entire cost of an employee's and said employee's dependents are borne by the company?

Isn't the lack of universal health care one of the rational reasons a company would move its manufacturing operations out of our country? Let's remove that barrier to stateside manufacturing by making our great nation equal to the other nations of the world with regard to cost of health care.

--Matthew Brown,


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