MAILBAG: Americans deserve choice in health care

Health-insurance reform is too important to be drowned out by shouts of cliche slogans and the spreading of “death panel” type lies (“Airing our emotions before facts,” Aug. 14).

While it is convenient and very profitable for some to pretend we don’t have a problem in this country, we can’t afford to wait for reform. Those of us who have insurance coverage today may see it disappear if we don’t fix this broken system.

Each year we experience higher co-pays, deductibles and premiums that continue to soar out of control. Companies offset the outrageous cost of health insurance by pushing more of the burden onto their employees.

Our current system allows insurance companies to discriminate against those who have pre-existing conditions, denying coverage to those who need it most, and each day 2,190 Californians lose their health coverage.

Reform that controls the skyrocketing cost of health insurance and covers every citizen is the type of reform that will protect hard-working Americans from bankruptcy and the experience of watching their life savings vanish if they become sick. Families deserve nothing less than the opportunity to choose between a public option and private insurance.

Health care, like water, is essential to life. We can make the choice to drink the water offered by our municipal government or from a bottle offered by a private company. Americans should be entitled to that same choice when it comes to health care.


La Crescenta

Uniting for safety and friendliness

In response to Dan Kimber’s July 30 column, titled “Church should be more upfront,” regarding literature from The Way to Happiness and the Foundation for a Drug Free World and Scientology religious literature:

I commend Kimber’s understanding of the controversies surrounding the Scientology religion stemming from the church’s stance against the multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry and the psychotropic drugging solutions they promote.

The Church of Scientology, like nearly all religions, has numerous nonreligious programs to simply help the community. The Way to Happiness and the Foundation for a Drug Free World are two such programs.

I served as president of the Glendale-based The Way to Happiness Foundation from 2004 to 2008. The foundation is a distinct and separate 501c3 nonprofit foundation from the Church of Scientology. The Way to Happiness booklet clearly states that it is a nonreligious work written by L. Ron Hubbard containing 21 universal character and ethics principles. Its purpose is to help people live a happy and productive life, and has been used in more than 12,000 U.S. schools and numerous community organizations in more than 100 countries.

There is no more concern that a person would be come a Scientologist by reading The Way to Happiness than they would become a Seventh Day Adventist by having their appendix removed at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. The hospital is there to provide excellent health care to the community, and The Way to Happiness is there to provide good personal values. Both have religious affiliation, but serve the entire community.

The same applies to the Foundation for a Drug Free World.

The question of whether these publications are possibly religious can easily be answered by simply reading them.

In Glendale, we are faced with a very ethnically and culturally diverse population. We are faced with budget cutbacks in our schools and Police Department. Drugs and declining moral values are issues the community faces and feels the effect of with crime and intolerance. Yet, it takes all of the members of a community, working together, to create the safe and friendly city we all love.



Few asking the right questions on care

The 1st Amendment carries no guarantee that free speech will make sense (“Airing our emotions before facts,” Aug. 14). On the other hand, there is no fool-proof substitute for free speech. So let’s not worry on a national town hall level about a problem we’ve never solved in our own City Council meetings.

Let’s also realize that Saul Alinsky’s tactics are available to every radical, not just those of the left.

The rage and frustration exist because, from the president on down, nobody on either side talks about facts needed for intelligent discussion. The Senate and House still have to consolidate their proposed bills into a single plan. So how about answers to these questions?

1. How much of our health-care system expenses for pharmaceuticals go to subsidize the lower prices for the same drugs in other countries?

2. How many of our health-care dollars go to pay for malpractice insurance and excessive awards? How much would be saved if we capped punitive awards at some reasonable amount?

3. If there is so much Medicare and Medicaid fraud, how much has been uncovered by the prosecutions and jail terms?

4. Why aren’t Medicare-insured people asked to audit charges against their accounts annually? With so much personal data in the computers and all the mail we get from the Social Security Administration, each year it should be easy.

5. Who audits charges for all the exotic machinery used in health care these days?

6. How well do medical boards police the competence of doctors, nurses and others?

The anger and frustration exist because the president is selling a concept; Congress has yet to present him with a complete plan. Perhaps President Obama will tell us what he wants to see in a plan? Soon?



Spending records offer little hope

Lynn McGinnis (“Suggestions for national health care,” Aug. 15) is concerned how Congress expects to pay an approximately $1-trillion cost for the first 10 years for a health plan covering Americans; this topic related to meeting of Rep. Adam Schiff on health care for Americans.

I’m also concerned on how we’ve financed a more than $1-trillion war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. And, also lost about 4,500 American soldiers.

Don’t forget billions to Wall Street and banks.



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