Mailbag: Both parties are off on health-care reform

I have great respect for Herbert Molano. His letters have offered many important insights into local government.

But he is incorrect in saying the Republicans in Washington are interested in controlling health-care costs (“Control expenses first before reform,” March 12).

Republicans lead the way in prohibiting Medicare from negotiating with the pharmaceutical companies to lower prices.

Canada’s Medicare program, which covers everyone, not just the elderly, regularly negotiates drug prices, which is why they are much lower in Canada.

And Republicans are the ones who don’t want Americans to get their meds from Canada.

Any legislation that would give the federal government the ability to regulate the cost of health insurance, establish best-practice guidelines, negotiate the price of hospital or physician care paid for by private insurance companies and introduce other cost-containment measures has been and will be greeted by the Republicans with cries of “socialism,” “communism” and “death squads.”

Nonetheless, whatever Republicans think, any cost-containment program can be carried out only as part of major health-care reform. Imposing cost containment without health-care reform is not possible.

Democrats, too, share a lot of the blame for the present state of health-care reform. Many people, including former Vice President Al Gore, told the Obama administration before the election that health-care reform should be started by offering people 55 and older the option of enrolling in Medicare and nothing more. That proposal would have been fairly easy to explain and defend.

But the Obama people didn’t listen, and we now have a reform bill that is very difficult to explain and defend.

As it is the only reform bill we have, I reluctantly support it. But my message to Rep. Adam Schiff is that the American people deserve better.



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