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The politics of health reform

August 30, 2009

Re: David Lazarus' consumer column: "Reform is vital; public plan isn't," Aug. 19:

Your column about whether we need a public health insurance option as part of healthcare reform sounds logical and seems to offer a middle road through a political minefield. Your sources are knowledgeable and your thesis about achieving reform without clinging to competition from the government appears rational.

But you are deluded if you think both parties are seriously searching for effective healthcare legislation.

You succinctly outline the desires of the majority of Americans in your opening paragraphs, but you don't seem prepared to admit that the goal for Republicans is to thwart Obama, and to make sure there is no effectual reform under a Democratic administration. That both suits the Republican Party and pleases their backers in the insurance industry.

It's a win-win proposition for reform opponents, and it's irrelevant that the White House sees the public option as "something to be dealt away."

They'll get nothing in return. Now that we're talking up "co-ops" and "exchanges" as possible public options, have you seen any thaw in Republican opposition? If so, that should have been featured prominently in your column.

Charles Clouse

Santa Barbara

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Why on Earth do so many people care about the fate of private insurers? Their only interest is their own financial gain and certainly not the well-being and health of their clients, which is the main problem. Certainly anyone who's ever dealt with private insurers knows this.

So why are many people rushing to their defense? And why are we listening to them at all?

When so many states decided to make smoking illegal in public places, no one asked the tobacco companies what they thought. They just went ahead and did it because tobacco products are bad for public health. So why is this issue any different? Private insurance is as bad for public health as smoking.

We absolutely need to keep public health insurance as an option in the reform, and the media should be fighting like mother lions protecting their young or else nothing will really change; private insurers simply will have proved once more that they are all-powerful.

Thibault Laporte

Hollywood

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