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The Shameful U.S. Healthcare System

LETTERS TO THE TIMES

November 24, 2004

The Nov. 19 Steve Lopez column, "A Family's Struggle, a Nation's Shame," cites the tragedy of a uninsured cancer patient that is magnified thousands of times all over this nation. I well remember being in a religious sanctuary in the 1950s when the hat was being passed to help pay the medical bills of a retired clergyman whose wife came down with cancer. Medicare has thankfully ended this hideous problem for seniors 65 and older. It is time to extend a Medicare program to the entire population of this nation. Without it, as Lopez points out, our nation has to hang its head in shame.

Martin A. Brower

Corona del Mar

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The Lopez column about Marina Tamayo Higgins' struggle against cancer and a Byzantine American healthcare system does indeed reveal a national shame. Where is the rage against the institutional and economic insanity that constrains what our politicians call the most advanced healthcare in the industrialized world?

We can't get flu shots, while we are deluged with ads for drugs treating erectile dysfunction. More than 40 million Americans cannot afford healthcare [insurance], while our government pays the bill for national healthcare in Iraq. We silently board trains to Canada for the purchase of cheaper American-made drugs because it is illegal for HMOs and states to negotiate prices with the drug companies.

Healthcare is too important to be left to big-business interests. The American healthcare system is rapidly approaching a crisis, and we are not prepared.

Don't wait for a congressional blue-ribbon report to tell you why; write your representative now. Marina's struggle for quality healthcare is our struggle too.

Jim Bettendorf

La Habra

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