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Insurers are weak link in health plan

December 20, 2007

Re " 'Giant step' for health coverage," Dec. 18

We hear of nothing requiring shared participation in a healthcare solution by for-profit health insurers, which are major contributors to increasingly excessive costs. Insurers make huge profits at the expense of individuals and companies who pay premiums. If healthcare insurance is to be required of everyone, insurers must be regulated, as are utilities and auto insurers.

Dick Littlestone

Pacific Palisades

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So Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) hatched a plan to provide health insurance for all on the backs of employers, the middle class and the poor. The plan will no doubt use revenue sources that will dwindle as employers leave the state for tax-friendly locations and consumers quit or go to the black market for tobacco. All this while facing an existing deficit.

Dan Thurber

Buena Park

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California has a well-deserved reputation for successful public policy innovation in healthcare, which often successfully leads the nation. But this Assembly bill is not innovative, nor does it provide solutions.

Mandating insurance does not provide a guarantee of affordable insurability or actual medical services, and it does not resolve the problems of the tremendously expensive administrative overhead and system inefficiencies of the private insurance system. As a matter of fact, in the name of political feasibility, it reinforces and finances more of the chaos and inefficiencies for a larger subsidized population at tremendous incremental cost. The Legislature recognized these factors and passed a single-payer system while maintaining the existing network of industrious private providers from physicians to hospitals. This truly creative approach was vetoed by the governor.

Jeoffry B. Gordon MD

San Diego

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This solution doesn't even pass the laugh test. If a law were passed forcing people to buy food, would it solve the problem of hunger? Why then should we think that forcing people to buy private health insurance is going to stop the meltdown of our healthcare system? This proposal also fails to learn from recent history. As governor, Mitt Romney implemented a similar reform in Massachusetts. Employers there that did not offer health coverage face only paltry fines, but fines on uninsured individuals will escalate to about $2,000 in 2008. Few can afford the sky-high premiums offered by the for-profit insurance sector, and the plan does nothing to contain skyrocketing medical costs in the state.

The Schwarzenegger-Nunez plan does nothing for Californians except buy time for the medical-industrial complex, keeping its ultra-profitable business in place for a few more years.

Randall Smith

San Diego

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How can Nunez be trusted to reform healthcare when he can't even add or subtract? He states that the healthcare system has been broken for 90 years. This is clearly impossible because health insurance did not exist in the United States until the 1930s. If you don't know the difference between 75 years and 90 years, why should anyone believe that you have any idea how change would work and how much it will cost?

Richard Zalar MD

Fallbrook

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