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A single-payer system is the best solution to health care reform

Health reform can be led by people, not Congress | July 20, commentary

Push for a single-payer system

Rep. Adam Putnam points out many problems in the health care system that need fixing, but other than using electronic health records and taking better care of ourselves he does not offer one concrete remedy.

He emphasizes the "bogeyman" of government bureaucracy coming between the patient and the doctor. I have standard Medicare coverage and have never experienced a problem with government interfering between me and my doctor. However as a physician rendering care I have often experienced this from commercial insurance.

He also raises the specter of increased cost. There are enough savings in the inefficiencies of the current system to offset a significant amount of cost. If we have to pay a small increase in taxes, that will be offset by a decrease in premiums, co-pays, deductions and pharmaceutical cost. The difference is that dollars will not be skimmed off of the top by insurance executives, stockholders, highly paid hospital CEOs, excessive pharmaceutical profits and excessive administrative cost. Health care is not a commodity that should be bought and sold on Wall Street.

The system is not going to be fixed by tinkering around the edges. There is only one solution and that is a single-payer system. Please note this is not socialized medicine, another "bogeyman." Unfortunately Sen. Max Baucus did not allow any single-payer advocates a seat at the table for his hearings on health care reform, and 13 physicians and other advocates were arrested for seeking a seat at the table.

I urge all voters to flood their congressional representatives with calls in support of true, needed health care reform, a single-payer system. Proposed legislation exists in the form of HR 676 by Rep. John Conyers.

David Cimino, M.D., St. Petersburg

Reason to worry

I personally believe that the health care system as we know it is unsustainable. And I am favorably impressed with the statistics for public health care systems in other Western nations.

However, it is stories like the one Tuesday (Feds quickly fix vet's citizenship paperwork) — where the government bounces a combat veteran through multiple offices and no one can help him without public intervention — that make the average person shudder at the thought of government health care.

Rebecca L. Johnson, New Port Richey

Health reform can be led by people, not Congress | July 20, commentary

The system we have can be a deadly one

As long as for-profit health insurance has a stranglehold on health care, we'll be a sicker, poorer country. The other developed countries have better health care for less per capita than we do. Every American death because of denied health care can be laid at the feet of politicians who'd rather have "campaign contributions" from the health insurers than support their own citizens.

Remember: If we don't have a good public option, it's because politicians of both parties are more comfortable with dying Americans than with controlling the insurance companies. Each year some 18,000 Americans die from inadequate health care — that's six 9/11s — and the terrorists in this case are the insurance companies and their political enablers.

James Shirk, Tampa

Health reform can be led by people, not Congress | July 20, commentary

What the people want

Rep. Adam Putnam seems to forget that this is a representative democracy, and that it is his job to do what "the people" want done. Poll after poll shows that "the people" want fundamental reform of health care access in this country.

Putnam parrots the Republican talking-point when he talks about a "federal bureaucracy between you and your doctor," but he doesn't seem to have a problem with a greedy insurance company between me and my doctor, my pharmacist, and every other health provider I need. High executive salaries, profits and stock values are apparently far more important than my health. At least the federal bureaucracy would not deny coverage of my health care needs to pay for a new yacht.

Would he be willing to anger his campaign contributors by forcing them to offer fair, affordable, across-the-board, no-pre-existing-anything insurance with no coverage denied to anyone who wants it? That is what the people are asking for and are demanding from those elected to represent them. That includes you, Mr. Putnam.

Keith F. Silas, Tampa

Canadian health care

Not a model for U.S.

It is patently obvious that the Times has bought in to the complete nationalization of the American health care system by endorsing the Canadian model.

As a Canadian who has spent the last 15 years living in the United States, I feel it is important to clarify some things.

• Wait times are a reality. Specialists are limited and advanced equipment even more so. Need a PET scan to isolate a specific type of cancer? You may need to fly 1,500 miles to the nearest machine unless you're dog or cat. Diagnosis to treatment may take a year.

• Work hard all your life, pay your taxes and look after your family? Too bad. Wait in line with the dregs if you get sick.

• Want to pay a small fee to bump the queue? That's illegal in Canada.

The American system is far from perfect. Millions are uninsured (many by choice and millions more are here illegally) and lost jobs mean an end to coverage for others. Cost overruns are rampant and lawsuits are raping the system. These concerns must be addressed. However, these challenges cannot be solved through a blanket one-payer system.

Canada's system addresses the needs of 33 million people and is rife with problems. Imagine how these will be multiplied trying to cover more than 300 million.

Be careful what you wish for, Mr. President.

Gary Compton, Wesley Chapel

It's a disaster

There goes the Times again telling us how great the Canadian health care plan is. In reality, it is a disaster. The number of Canadians in Windsor, Ontario, coming over to the Detroit area for medical care should give you an idea of that.

And the medical care in England and Germany that used to be free is no longer free. If that is the medical care the president wants for us, I suggest he move to Canada. The voters rejected it in the '90s under Clinton and they'll reject it now.

Charles Farrell, St. Petersburg

A single-payer system is the best solution to health care reform 07/21/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 6:58pm]
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