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The Healthcare Aisle

February 04, 2005

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.

Robert Drury

Los Angeles


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.

There is ample evidence that consumers can compare price and quality of insurance coverage.

Jeff McCombs

Health Economist

USC School of Pharmacy


Do Bush and his neocons really think that workers and their families are not careful users of healthcare? Do they think we just pop in on the ol' doc for the fun of it? When? In between the 40-plus hours at work, traffic-jammed commutes, family obligations, kids' homework, household chores, packing lunches and paying bills? What world do they live in? And if their plan for an "ownership society" takes hold, I guess we can add shopping for healthcare and mutual funds to our already overburdened plates.

Katie Rodgers

Valley Glen


I would agree with your opinion if healthcare insurance were affordable. I recently was quoted an annual premium of $18,000 for a family of three with minimal health concerns. This is the equivalent of being told to drop dead, we don't want your business.

Before I dropped 18 grand on insurance, I went forward with a health-savings account and catastrophic insurance. My wife recently negotiated an imaging study from $1,500 to $500.

Stop treating the public as though we're a bunch of imbeciles. Healthcare like anything else is a commodity, which, if subjected to market forces, can be brought under control and wrestled away from the lunatics who run healthcare insurance companies.

Kern Barrow

Wilmington, N.C.

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