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Healthcare: How do you feel?

August 24, 2009

Re "Obama backs off to move ahead," Aug. 18, and "The next battle: Medicare subsidies," Aug. 19

I have a confession to make having read about the healthcare disputes and town hall madness. I have socialist medicine -- gasp!

My care has been attended to by the Veterans Administration for 40 years now, since I was discharged after returning from Vietnam in 1968. I have never had it so good.

My primary-care doctors encourage me to use natural remedies and preventive methods and assist me in finding all the information on my conditions. VA doctors have no reason to engage in expensive procedures or to prescribe expensive new drugs, as they are paid a salary by the VA and it does not go up if they operate more or push more drugs.

The VA's only shortcomings have come when large numbers of combat veterans are discharged without a simultaneous increase in VA funding.

R. Lane Anderson

Santa Barbara

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I want to know why the opponents of a public option want our businesses to be crushed by healthcare costs and the health of our workers to suffer? I am a 51-year-old male, carrying on the family business that is about to celebrate its 35th anniversary -- if we survive.

Since our founding, we have lived up to our responsibility to provide good-quality healthcare to our workers and their families. But this has become increasingly difficult because of spiraling insurance premiums, overwhelming deductibles and plummeting benefits. And each year, our individual insured members must pay higher premium costs.

We have trimmed every expense to continue paying what is now our second-highest monthly cost of operation. I haven't collected a regular paycheck in two years, and no one has received a raise. Medicare-styled insurance through a "public health option" would allow us to maintain insurance for our people and to continue our pursuit of the American dream.

Neil Clark

Bellflower

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Our healthcare system in America is not broken. In fact, we have the highest-quality healthcare system in the world. People from all over the world come here when they can't get the care they need in their home country.

The "reforms" currently proposed will destroy everything that is working well, cause rationing that will harm our most vulnerable citizens and reduce the incentive for the development of new and more effective treatments going forward.

If there is concern over everyone having access to healthcare, the government should offer tax and other incentives for charitable work in the private sector to provide the needed assistance -- and not involve our nation in a boondoggle that will be a millstone around the necks of future generations.

Kristen Claussen

San Juan Capistrano

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I don't understand why so many people are opposed to a public option in healthcare. The operative word is option.

That means you have a choice. If you don't like it, don't take it. But please give me the opportunity of choosing it if it seems right for me.

Barbara Gary

Los Angeles

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Regarding the national healthcare debate, perhaps "death panel" is an oversimplified label for the group of bureaucrats who would oversee the proposed program.

Perhaps legally carrying a firearm to a rally is a bit of an overstatement, and possibly even counterproductive.

But in your righteous indignation over the lack of civil debate, where is your outrage over the administration and Congress for their attempt to get this legislation approved without any public debate at all?

Then, when debate broke out in spite of them, they labeled critics as "shills" and "fanatics." It seems to me our representatives blew their chance for a civil debate, and now the people are, quite understandably, angry.

Matthew Crain

San Fernando

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The only "death panels" that exist with regard to healthcare are those run by the insurance companies, which approve whether or not critical lifesaving procedures and treatment will be covered.

Barclay Livker

Los Angeles

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Thank God for the Republicans' opposition to President Obama's healthcare reform. They have protected my freedom of choice by taking away my freedom to choose a government healthcare option that might have been so good that it could have actually forced private insurance companies to address my health needs. Just imagine where this country would be without them.

Tom Pease

Burbank

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What conservatives fear is not that government-sponsored healthcare would be a costly failure. They fear that it would be a resounding success.

Bernard Roth

Santa Barbara

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How can private insurance companies possibly stay in business competing with a federal insurance company?

All the people who work in the private insurance industry will be thrown out of their jobs and collect unemployment. The federal employees who replace them will have more costly salaries and benefits, which taxpayers will pay. Where's the savings in that?

Maria Tambon

Anaheim

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We must get behind the effort to provide an alternative to the failed system that does not provide access to all.

Fritz Schenk

Fountain Valley

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