Letters to the Editor

Universal health care would go too far

Health care for all, necessary, not free | May 17, Robyn Blumner column

Universal health care goes too far

Is our health care system perfect? No! Does it need to be improved? Yes! But not with universal health care. We all know that there is not a single government agency or division that runs efficiently, not even Medicare. So do we really want another government agency dictating our health care?

It will need to be paid for through higher taxes, and we already have a huge national debt that our children will need to pay for. That proposed $634 billion is just a down payment. Will we have to work 11 months out of the year to pay Uncle Sam?

Government-mandated procedures will likely reduce your doctor's flexibility and lead to poor patient care. Just ask people in those countries with universal health care. Just ask the patients who have to wait 18 months for a hip replacement or eight months for knee surgery.

And when universal health care doesn't work, it will be politically impossible to remove or curtail it later when costs get out of control. Just look at Social Security and Medicare, which our government says is going broke. If they are going broke how are we going to pay for a universal health care system?

If President Barack Obama looks at all of the options, perhaps he will find a good medium where insurance companies can work with the government and between the two of them be able to offer Americans the best health care choices. It will take a lot of time and work and certainly won't happen quickly. We need some health care reform, but most of us can agree that this is not something we want rushed.

Donna Gannon, New Port Richey

Health care for all, necessary, not free May 17, Robyn Blumner column

Potential savings could be abundant

Robyn Blumner's article fell short of explaining how the savings in health care reform could offset additional costs of universal health care.

The United States spends almost twice as much per capita as the average per capita costs for health care in Western Europe and Canada (which insure all their citizens with single-payer systems). This indicates that there surely is excessive spending in our health care system.

Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt has estimated that 40 percent of the higher U.S. costs (about $1,900 per capita) are "excessive," and so indicates how much savings could be redirected to pay for universal coverage. Reinhardt estimates that for 2006, instead of per capita health care costs of $6,714, the costs minus the wasteful spending should have been only about $4,800.

According to Reinhardt, "translated into total dollar spending per year, this excess spending amounted to $570 billion in 2006 and about $650 billion in 2008. The latter figure is over five times the estimated $125 billion or so in additional health spending that would be needed to attain truly universal health insurance coverage in this country." And just the excessive spending in administrative costs would be enough to finance universal health insurance.

Robert White, Valrico

Health care for all, necessary, not free May 17, Robyn Blumner column

Not government's job

Robyn Blumner believes that a universal health care system will make our nation better. She indicates that Canada's system is the "third-highest in popularity" among 10 developed countries.

Popularity is the wrong criteria to consider. Rather than popularity, I suggest we consider constitutionality. Canada and Western Europe do not have our Constitution. When I read our Constitution, I conclude that it is not our government's job to provide or plan health care. Health care is great. But our government should be involved in other roles — not health care!

Jody Tompson, Tampa

National system needed

Howard Troxler and Robyn Blumner have revealed, in their respective columns (Hold out your wrist and don't do it again and Health care for all, necessary, May 17), what our private health system is doing to our nation. The faults of the present system were pretty well covered. I see no other way than a nationalized system where there will be watchdogs all over the place.

There may be some delay in receiving the care your doctor prescribes, as happens in other countries with nationalized systems. But that may not be helped when all segments of our society receive proper care. That will have to be worked out when a nationalized system is established.

Directors of a nationalized system would be appointed by elected officials who will have hands-on policies to maintain the integrity of the system and hold it accountable. We the taxpayers will be able to connect with the elected officials with suggestions and or complaints. Will it work? Do our fire departments work? Does your mail get delivered? Our police departments are the best.

Hartley Steeves, Tampa

The Great Depression | May 17

Precious memories

Since I was born in 1928 in Hartford, Conn., I remember these times well.

Mama and Papa were Southern Italian immigrants who came to America around the turn of the last century. Papa when he could find work, made as little as $12.50 a week.

In addition to doing housewifely things such as darning our socks and patching our pants, Mama took in seamstress and upholstery work to augment the family income. She also made sure that our tummies were full, serving us a lot of beans and pasta, squid and octopus.

Mama was a bright little woman, relatively uneducated, who passed on to me, her only son, through genetics, an ongoing thirst for knowledge and curiosity about life. This legacy is more dear to me than things like money, fame and fortune !

My fondest memory of the Great Depression was my making a scooter from a 2 by 4 and a pair of cast off roller skates, which made me feel like a king.

Joseph P. Corell, Clearwater

Future act | May 17, Floridian story

Perceptive writing

Flag this one for consideration for a Pulitzer! John Barry is in the ranks of rare, top-notch writers who can relate to the hearts and souls of his subjects.

As the grandparents of one of the children featured in Miss Loretta's incredible project, we both were brought to tears of pride as we read and reread Barry's perceptive story of nine gifted autistic children and a therapist who wouldn't give up on them.

Our heartfelt thanks to your exceptionally competent writer and to Loretta Gallo-Lopez for her personal and professional skills in working with these bright, beautiful, but challenged children.

Elaine and Leonard Gotler, Clearwater

A life filled with chaos and drama to the end May 17, Floridian story

Legacies of dysfunction

The article last Sunday by Meg Laughlin said so much about the breakdown of the family and how if there is no peace or stability in the family, we certainly can't expect to find it in the children. That is such a revealing depiction of the times:

Dysfunctional parents condemning their children to dysfunctional lives. Thank you

David DeRousse, Dunedin

Universal health care would go too far 05/23/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 23, 2009 8:44pm]

    

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