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Letters: A history of healthcare reform

October 17, 2013

Re "A history lesson for the GOP," Opinion, Oct. 15

Jane Mansbridge's article should be cast in stone and delivered to every member of Congress and to the president.

Mansbridge reminds us that the Democrats already gave huge concessions to the conservatives on the Affordable Care Act by giving up the publicly popular single-payer (expanded Medicare) option. The president and the Democrats have also caved in to the deficit hawks over the last three years by cutting nearly $4 trillion out of the budget.

This wrongheaded idea of shrinking government spending is being promoted at a time when the government should be helping create thousands of jobs and rebuilding the nation's infrastructure and education system.

This isn't rocket science: As the people go back to work, they boost economic growth and decrease the deficit.

Dianne Walter


In a 2003 speech to the Illinois AFL-CIO, then-Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama said, "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal healthcare program."

As president, he calculated that the insurance industry would never accept an expansion of Medicare to cover everyone, so he proposed a version of the system that Gov. Mitt Romney enacted in Massachusetts in 2006 as his initial bargaining position — a compromise from the start.

Though the Affordable Care Act will lead to an expansion of coverage, it will perpetuate and subsidize the wasteful system of private insurance that forces us to spend far more per person on healthcare than other countries with better outcomes.

Obama knows this, but because of his inability or unwillingness to make the case for a single-payer system, he is now left fighting for a system pioneered by his 2012 election opponent.

Gerald Gollin



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