September 21, 2006
Re "Sick but Insured? Think Again," Sept. 17 WellPoint's practice of denying claims based on a patient's alleged misrepresentations of preexisting conditions is infuriating in many ways, not the least of which is the rip-off of California taxpayers that results. Explaining why his company persists in dubiously rejecting claims, a Blue Shield spokesman said that otherwise "we will end up with all the high-risk people." Fortunately for individuals who are abandoned by their insurer, the state can provide assistance.
March 11, 2007 |
washington -- Labor leader Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, has become one of the most outspoken and unconventional proponents of healthcare changes to guarantee coverage for all while reining in costs. His pursuit of that goal has led him into unusual alliances with corporate and political leaders, including Wal-Mart Chief Executive H. Lee Scott Jr. and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, although Stern's union opposed the governor's reelection. Stern was interviewed in his Washington office.
October 18, 2009 |
At least one country already has a healthcare plan roughly similar to the one President Obama and the Democrats have proposed, with universal coverage, a mandate that everyone buy insurance and a major role for private insurance companies: Switzerland. So I used part of a vacation last week to head for the Swiss Alps to observe the system in practice. Dr. Jean-Oscar Meile, 53, runs a tidy one-man practice in Melide, a suburb of Lugano in Switzerland's Italian-speaking south.
December 4, 2008
Re "Health reform goals sharpen," Dec. 1 The Times' front page article describes a consensus forming in favor of a universal healthcare system dominated by the private health insurance industry. Yet the article clearly indicates why a government-operated, single-payer, universal healthcare program is the better way to go. The story notes that "the government will control costs and set standards of care, proposals that raise the unpopular prospect of federal regulators dictating which doctors Americans can see and what drugs they can take."
May 12, 2007
Re "Universal healthcare gains unlikely backer," May 7 This article reads like a cleverly disguised ad campaign for the drug companies and big insurers that are pushing to mandate, not provide, health insurance. I would expect The Times to give other plans, such as the single-payer proposal by state Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), equal coverage and present information from all sides. Why doesn't the article explore the question of why our healthcare system doesn't work in the first place?
April 9, 2007
Re "Universal healthcare's dirty little secrets," Opinion, April 5 Michael Tanner and Michael Cannon's screed against universal healthcare coverage deserves publication of a piece balancing their extreme views and cherry-picked review of "the facts." I'll restrict my criticism to their claim that "simply saying that people have health insurance is meaningless," and their citation that there is "no evidence" of a relationship between lack of insurance and ill health. To the contrary, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences has determined that lack of health insurance in and of itself is responsible for 18,000 deaths per year in the U.S. The omission of this well-disseminated determination should allow readers to make their own judgments about the objectivity of the authors.