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The prescription for healthcare

October 21, 2008

Re "Health and education," editorial, Oct. 16

Barack Obama and John McCain have stark differences on healthcare. McCain's plan would establish a tax on health coverage and would deregulate minimum insurance standards that nurses, patients and consumers have fought so hard to win. In California, that could mean insurers would no longer be required to cover cancer screenings, minimum maternity stays and the right to appeal insurance denials of needed medical treatment.

Obama's plan would expand access and crack down on insurers that reject people based on their health status or age.

But more is needed -- especially in the midst of the economic meltdown.

Only an expanded, single-payer, Medicare-for-all approach would guarantee that everyone is covered while controlling costs through negotiated fee schedules and bulk purchasing.

That would provide healthcare and some measure of financial security for millions of American families now teetering on the financial precipice.

Geri Jenkins, RN

San Diego

The writer is a president of the California Nurses Assn.

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