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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: How Pete Buttigieg’s ‘Medicare for all who want it’ will sabotage healthcare

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg holds a town hall meeting in Keene, N.H., on Feb. 8.
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg holds a town hall meeting in Keene, N.H., on Feb. 8.
(Kristopher Radder / Associated Press)

To the editor: Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s proposal for healthcare would offer “Medicare for all who want it” and private health insurance for those who don’t. Columnist Doyle McManus calls this “clarity on healthcare.”

You need look no further than our public school system to see why this proposal has flaws. Given the choice, the wealthy will pay more for private insurance, and with this extra funding, private insurers will be able to attract better healthcare professionals, thus creating a two-tiered healthcare system.

Furthermore, the wealthy will be loath to fund the Medicare option, from which they would get no benefit, and with their disproportionate political power they will seek both to underfund it as they have done with our public school system, and to divert public funds to private insurance as with Medicare Advantage.

Should the wealthy be able to buy better healthcare the way they buy better homes and better cars? I guess the answer depends on whether you view healthcare as a commodity or a right.

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Glenn T. Rogers, M.D., South Pasadena

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To the editor: McManus, in his always terrific column, provides another illustration of the misleading assumption of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” proposal that just isn’t addressed in public discourse, not even by Sanders: the assumption that increased taxes mean increased costs.

The confusion probably arises because payments for health insurance to companies are called “premiums,” while payments to the government are called “taxes.”

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The sources of funding for a Medicare for all-type program have been thoroughly analyzed and published in an 83-page report by a team at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, titled, “Economic Analysis of the Healthy California Single-Payer Health Care Proposal (SB-562).”

Medicare for all would replace premiums paid to health insurance companies with lower premiums paid to the government (called taxes). Plus, the greater efficiency of the government-run program like Medicare, without a profit motive, results in lower costs while covering everyone.

Why has this been kept a secret?

Harvey Liss, Irvine

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To the editor: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar does not get the media attention that she deserves.

Last week’s debate in New Hampshire highlighted her excellent skills, knowledge, compassion and effectiveness. She may be the perfect candidate just out of sight. This lack of attention might simply be because she is a woman.

Klobuchar has Buttigieg completely outranked on experience, accomplishments and perseverance. She is young and fresh, and she will never look like she is a deer in the headlights.

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She deserves more coverage.

Deirdre Lee, San Diego


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