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A sore spot on healthcare

December 30, 2006

Re "Going universal," Opinion, Dec. 26

Ezra Klein's Op-Ed article is an excellent resume of the need for universal healthcare in California and the nation. Klein predicts that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will propose a healthcare plan during his State of the State speech in January. Klein fails to mention, however, that Schwarzenegger recently vetoed a universal healthcare bill.

The bill, SB 840, would have provided extensive healthcare coverage for less than what is now being spent for insuring only a part of our population. The bill's sponsors are currently running the "One Care" campaign. The plan will be rewritten and will be back.

MELVIN H. KIRSCHNER

Van Nuys

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Klein's article contains the astonishing line "Kaiser Permanente -- a historical 'good cop' insurer amid the almost cartoonish villainy of the industry." It's especially astonishing that it appears in The Times, which has been so active in exposing Kaiser's egregious failures, such as the recent kidney transplant disaster. And who can forget the $1.1-million fine against Kaiser for letting patients die of ruptured aortic aneurysms after sitting in an emergency room?

Kaiser is not better than the other HMO villains, it simply spends more on advertising.

HARVEY S. FREY

Santa Monica

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