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In critical condition

August 17, 2009

Re "The sick status quo," Editorial, Aug. 13

I was one of many nurses, doctors and dentists who volunteered to provide basic medical care to the public at the Forum in Inglewood. Remote Area Medical started out providing services in Third World countries. Now it has set up shop in one of the largest and most affluent urban areas in the country.

Among those seeking care were people who had insurance but couldn't afford the deductibles and those who needed services that their plans didn't cover. Several patients with asthma, diabetes and/or high blood pressure had recently lost their jobs. They brought empty containers for prescriptions they could no longer afford.

Charity events are no substitute for comprehensive reform. We need a healthcare system that doesn't leave patients at the mercy of private insurers. Single-payer legislation is the only plan that would make this a reality.

DeAnn McEwen RN

Cypress

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I am ashamed that our nation has so many sick people who must rely on charity for nonemergency care. In what other industrialized nation does such a situation exist?

Yet there are many Americans who do not want reform. They are being fed distortions and lies, leading them like dumb sheep to clamor vociferously for no change to the status quo. With a few more years of the status quo, most of these people will be vociferously demanding reform. It will happen when enough of us are unable to afford health insurance, or have policies canceled by insurers, or are forced into bankruptcy because of a catastrophic illness, or watch a loved one die for lack of medical care.

What we see now at the Forum is just a preview of what we will see in the future.

James Carlton Morton

Anaheim

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Making basic healthcare services available to those who cannot afford them is a worthy goal. If the currently proposed healthcare reform addressed only that issue, we would not be having the contentious debate currently in evidence.

Reforming the system incrementally is not a bad idea; why not try it?

Scott Perley

Irvine

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The Times deserves praise for highlighting in tangible terms the issue with which we are struggling. No one disagrees that our healthcare system must be reformed and that we must find a solution to deal with the uninsured.

This editorial reveals one of the first stumbling blocks of expanding coverage to all: the shortage of primary-care physicians. Unless reform provides a framework to solve this current crisis, we will flood an already stressed system.

The long lines at the Forum symbolize the current inadequacies of our system, but we will only aggravate our existing problems if we do not study this issue carefully. The public debate must explore every facet of our healthcare system because we are only going to have one shot to achieve successful reforms.

George Maliha

Amarillo, Texas

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Thank you for finally printing a pertinent view on the current healthcare debate. We have become a nation of sensationalists who crave the drama of actors and frauds over the plight of real people. The media are guilty of choosing to report the events unfolding at these town hall meetings, which are merely a venting forum for a disgruntled minority of our society.

The real issue at hand is as you state: people needing care that they cannot get. Good job.

Michael Desmarais

Glendora

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