Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: On Health Care

Rich getting richer

I guess I cannot say that I am surprised by the holiday “gift” I found in my mailbox the other day. It was a notification from my health insurance carri­er that my monthly premiums are going up 18 percent. Yep, 18 percent!

It’s so nice to know that at least one already wealthy sector is taking steps to ensure even greater profitability in an economy that sees so many other sectors and individuals just struggling to survive. I cannot help but feel dismay and anger over the debate of public option versus the free market.

If free market means that quasi monopolies are free to gauge consumers with limited choices, then I imagine the health care reform obstructionists must feel pretty good about how things look in Washington at the moment.

I urge everyone to take a step back and do the math. How many years of 18 percent increases does it take to see a doubling of costs? And who knows what is next? Yes, I am indeed feeling “blue” and more than a little “cross” at my health insurance carrier.

Rick Cohen

Avila Beach

Medicare for all

Kill the current health care bill, it appears to be nothing but more of a giveaway to corporate insurance companies. Medicare for all is the only thing that makes sense, all of the mechanisms are already in place.

Cut the corporate and political ties and think about the common American citizen for a change.

Frank Hutchinson

Los Osos

Medicare option

I would like to be given the option to sign up for Medicare. It is important that we be given that choice. Moreover, there should be a prevention program to any medical plan that we use. England has a good health care system, why can’t we have one as well?

Anita Hernandez

San Luis Obispo

Insure the kids

The United States has one of the highest cost per capita of health care and still 46 million (including at least 8 million children) are uninsured.

This means they lack basic health care needs that citizens of every other civilized nation on earth enjoy. We need to change that. Please expand Medicare coverage, support the public option (it’s an option) and curb the excesses of our wasteful and neglectful insurance industry.

Joshua Hayes

Los Osos

In disagreement

Laurence Houlgate’s letter argues that compassionate people ought to support a public option in health care bills and that if you’re on Medicare, you’re a hypocrite not to (Have compassion, Nov. 30). This amounts to saying that if you don’t agree with Houlgate, then you’re a bad person.

But compassion doesn’t make the public option a good idea. Its negative features are obvious. It is an expensive, unresponsive bureaucracy whose decisions will be shaped by politics and will be backed by the coercive power of the law.

Alternatively, the government could regulate the insurance industry in constructive ways that wouldn’t require any additional bureaucracy or any transfer payments. Don’t allow insurers to refuse to cover pre-existing conditions or cancel a policy when someone gets sick. Do allow insurers to compete across state lines and do require them to insure some low income people at low rates. And do allow health insurance premiums as income tax deductions. That would impact revenue, but it wouldn’t create additional costs and it would help people who need it.

Someone who thinks as I do that this would be a better course isn’t being uncompassionate or hypocritical; he or she is just disagreeing with Houlgate.

A. C. W. Bethel

Arroyo Grande

Single-payer’s the way

Single-payer is the most inclusive, cost-effective method of providing health care to all eligible children and adults in the United States. If we want responsible, universal health care like other advanced industrial countries, single-payer Medicare is a proven way to go.

Carolyn Fergoda

Paso Robles

Universal health care

For the life of me, I don’t understand the attitude that universal single-payer health care is a horrible idea.

My son is a student in Canada. When he contracted a high fever, he simply went to the health center and was treated. When he had another medical issue arise, he simply went to the specialist he needed to see and was treated immediately.

The care was excellent, the waiting nonexistent and the out-of-pocket cost at the time of treatment was zero (he has bought into the health system at a very reasonable cost).

We are not facing high medical bills. The Canadian health system will never turn him away because of pre-existing conditions. What is there not to like about this?

We need to take a collective deep breath and start to fix this very broken system we have. Private insurance companies should not be monopolies. We should begin moving to a single-payer system that brings premium costs down by insuring everyone in the same pool — young, old, healthy, sick.

We all become old and we all get sick. By paying smaller amounts when we are well, we guarantee care when we need it.

Judy Neuhauser

Los Osos

Penalty for no care?

It is my understanding that the current health care reform bill in the U.S. Senate has a financial penalty for not buying health insurance.

I have a son in his 20s who does not have a job and does not receive unemployment monies from any state or federal government. He is attending school on money he saved from his previous employment.

How does he pay this punitive fine? Does he go to jail if he does not pay? Is he charged interest while in prison or out of prison until he can pay?

Is the above true? Is there a penalty if you do not pay for health insurance before buying food, seeking adequate shelter and having clothing?

And forget Abraham Maslow’s self-actualization!

Karen Boerboom

Shell Beach

Take a step back

As I read the editorials and letters to the editor in The Tribune and elsewhere on health care, I think we all should step back and look at the big picture.

We are told a root cause of our dysfunctional health care delivery system is the greedy insurance companies. They charge high premiums and direct too much money to profits instead of patient care.

To solve these problems, Congress has written two fiendishly complicated and dishonest bills that will require everyone to buy health insurance.

If the insurance premiums are too high, the government will subsidize the premiums with taxpayer dollars. Is it any wonder that the insurance industry endorses these bills?

The American public should not allow these bills to become law. Congress needs to start over from scratch and write a bill which requires providers and patients to confront the costs of goods and services directly, not through third parties.

Only when physicians and patients become aware of the true costs of health care will costs come under control.

Richard Riggins

Pismo Beach