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Wanted: affordable health insurance

September 06, 2007

Re "Seeking a healthcare cure-all," Sept. 1

Why do lawmakers continue to turn back-flips in the effort to keep healthcare dollars flowing into the coffers of the private health insurance industry? When will they figure out that the only way to solve the healthcare crisis is to cut out the middleman and adopt a government-based, not-for-profit, single-payer system? They don't even have to invent one. There is a well-vetted and fully worked-out plan ready to go in Senate Bill 840.

I hope this latest gambit by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be quickly put to a vote so they can finally see it's not what residents of this state want or need.

Carol Dalrymple

Santa Clara

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In this article, Nuñez states: "Some people say that so far, doctors have not contributed one single thing to this conversation. I'm very disappointed about that. I've never seen a doctor in a welfare line."

As a physician, I have never seen a politician in a welfare line. What I do see are politicians failing to invite physicians to the table to help guide healthcare reform. The problem, Mr. Nuñez, is not the physicians who are providing care to your constituents but the insurance companies that have established predatory pricing in a monopoly atmosphere due to poor oversight by the regulators that you fund.

The problem is not the hardworking physicians who face annual fee cuts by third-party payers even in the face of increasing overhead.

The problem is a failure of legislators and the governor to seek physician input. Perhaps you might be interested in what the physicians have to say if only you asked.

Instead, you issue gratuitous attacks.

David H. Aizuss MD

President

Los Angeles County

Medical Assn.

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We can all have good health insurance and decent retirement savings with less bureaucracy and more freedom. Health insurance should be readily available from numerous providers competing to offer the best prices and coverage. Just like car insurance, major medical insurance should be mandatory, and there should be a high-risk pool to cover those who have health problems that would otherwise make it impossible for them to obtain coverage.

Instead of taking 15.3% of each paycheck for Social Security and Medicare, 20% should go into a personal health and retirement savings account, which would not be taxed. Social Security and Medicare should be phased out.

We would be relying on consumer demand for the best coverage at the best price, and our own desire for a better life, rather than more big government bureaucracy.

F. Stephen Masek

Mission Viejo

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What led you to write that essential to healthcare reform is "an affordable individual mandate"? Healthcare is not and never will be an individual commodity to burden the individual; it is a social responsibility essential to the common good. Second -- without one word on premium cost containment in any policy on the table, individual mandates are healthy only for the corporate bottom line. Any notion that expanding the risk pool will actually lower premiums is born of a greater faith than I share.

Historic observation shows that any time you mandate people's inclusion in a private program, the only beneficiary is the corporation left free to feed on that captive population. Knee-jerk acceptance of individual mandates just focuses us away from what is really wrong with healthcare today: it is the province not of doctors and patients but of bottom-liners at insurance companies. More of the same is not progress.

Elizabeth Sholes

Director of Public Policy

California Council

of Churches

Sacramento

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