Re "Healthcare Isn't a Tomato," editorial, Feb. 2: You argued, "Deferred healthcare is more costly than prevention," implying that people may not have the responsibility to make their own healthcare decisions, as the White House proposes. Although the White House's proposals always extend the silver platter toward corporate gluttons, its proposal does throw a bone to the people, and that is a demand for personal responsibility.
Personal responsibility is, after all, the people's ultimate defense against exploitation, so it's very progressive in theory. But to make it work, the Democrats must make two bold countermoves: block the silver platter for the corporate gluttons, and teach the people personal responsibility.
The Republicans will get what they pretend they want -- responsible people -- and the Democrats will get what they pretend they want -- healthy people. The people will get what they want -- and this is the way it should be.
Uwe Reinhardt's comments were about the consumers' ability to purchase individual healthcare services at the time of need. The president's proposals are aimed at shifting the purchasing decision for health insurance to the consumer, something we do now under the umbrella of our employers during open enrollment. Once this annual decision is made, the insurance company generally screens which providers it will contract with. If consumers select a closed-panel HMO like Kaiser, then they do not have to shop for health services on the open market.