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Healthcare remedies

December 19, 2007

Re "State accuses Blue Shield of illegal cancellations," Dec. 13

Kudos to the California Department of Insurance for this first step in rectifying Blue Shield's alleged violations. In addition to the fines, we need to make sure that the canceled policies are reinstated, all claimants' bills are paid and assessment is made of additional compensation to victims of Blue Shield's possibly fraudulent breaches of contract.

But fines and monetary damages are not enough for this egregious behavior that undermines the confidence of our healthcare system. Until a few key administrators see the inside of some jail cells, they'll continue to invent ways to game the system. It's time for single-payer now.

Douglas Dunn

Escondido

There's a simple solution to the private health insurance crisis too many insured people across the country are facing: Offer a public insurance option like the public Medicare program to employers and to people unable to secure good, affordable coverage from private insurers or who no longer trust their private insurer to guarantee them affordable health security. At the same time, require private insurers to be accountable to their policyholders.

Private insurers need to make public their protocols for denying and delaying care and to guarantee continuous coverage to their policyholders without medical underwriting.

Recent polling suggests that the overwhelming majority of the public supports these types of reforms. And these are the kinds of protections every leading Democratic presidential candidate is proposing. The health insurance marketplace is clearly not working for working families.

To suggest, as the leading Republican candidates do, that a tax credit alone will guarantee us good, affordable healthcare is to ignore the scope of the problem.

Diane Archer

Special Counsel

Institute for

America's Future

New York

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