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No easy fixes for healthcare

July 11, 2009

Re "A cost that pays," Editorial, July 6

The Legislature has twice passed a bill that has already answered all your questions: universal access, affordability, choice of providers, high-quality care, cost containment, efficiency and fiscal feasibility, based on the moral premise that our society should care for the "least of our neighbors." The governor has twice vetoed it on the most specious of grounds.

Careful reading of the bill (SB 810) shows that it would help our financial situation while providing the kind of healthcare Californians want.

Ray Heer

Pasadena

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Including a public insurance option is key to making healthcare reform affordable. A national insurer could negotiate low prices, and it would not need to pay high executive salaries or be profit-driven. Private health insurers would be forced to bring down their prices to compete.

The same savings could not be realized with the healthcare co-op plan being considered by some senators (including Dianne Feinstein). The co-ops would be state or regionally based and would not have the negotiating power of a national plan. It would be exceedingly difficult if not impossible for them to compete at all with major private health insurers.

Joan Pirkle Smith

Glendale

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A typical family of four would be required to choose between buying a private policy averaging $12,200, plus co-pays, or facing $1,000 fines every year and receiving no insurance. This gives new meaning to the term "Hobson's choice." No wonder the HMOs support this healthcare "reform."

Howard Hurlbut

Redlands

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