Re "Health measure will be a tough sell," Aug. 3
For the sake of winning meaningful healthcare reform, President Obama and his allies in Congress should reframe their arguments with more emphasis on affordability and less on universality.
Purchasers of private coverage deeply distrust any plan that might actually raise our premiums to subsidize the uninsured. If a single-payer system is politically unfeasible, then at least give us the most robust of government-administered insurance options, but sell that alternative by overtly prohibiting below-market reimbursements or rationing. Only real competition from a nonprofit alternative promises to drive the profiteers' rates down. Our nation's economic plight demands that we do more than cap rate hikes and limit preexisting-condition exclusions.
The reason why the Obama healthcare plan will be a tough sell is because the health benefits for many working people will be replaced by a system in which people who are not wealthy or do not work for the federal government will get substandard care and tax increases, while those who refuse to work or are not authorized citizens will continue to get taxpayer-subsidized benefits.
Furthermore, the plans leave open the possibility of funding abortion with taxpayer dollars and would result in worse care for the elderly and terminally ill. If this is what Obama intends by redistribution, he will have a tough road to follow.
The single biggest political phenomenon in the last 30 years is how the right wing of the GOP has been so successful at getting middle-class white voters to enthusiastically endorse policies and leaders who do not have their best interests at heart.
They have used race, religion, false patriotism and now -- in the case of healthcare -- a fear of "socialism" to achieve these goals. From a purely results point of view, it is nothing short of brilliant that they have been able to accomplish this. But what does it say about our country that so many are so easily duped by so few?
Re "Where does the healthcare overhaul legislation stand?" Q&A;, Aug. 2
The answer to the question of whether or not there will be a government plan was stated very clearly: "The government plan faces opposition from some who fear it could ultimately drive private insurers out of business." There it is!
Since when has competition been a bad thing? Americans pride ourselves on the ability to compete and make products better. Insurance companies do not have to go out of business; they should just make themselves better. All they have to do is reduce their tremendous overhead and stop catering to their shareholders by making generous profits. Get competitive! The American people want their excessive profits taken out of the equation. Diane Welch
In 1967, on the first night of spring break in the Bahamas, I slammed my rented motorcycle into a telephone pole midway through a hairpin curve. Every other day for the next two weeks, I spent a couple of hours sitting on benches at a clinic with dozens of locals, waiting until a doctor could inspect my huge leg abrasion and change the bandage. It cost me, a visiting foreigner, 35 cents a visit.
Today, the richest and most powerful nation in the world still cannot bring itself to rise to the level of healthcare offered 42 years ago by a tiny nation. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at our foolishness.