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Letters the Week of August 06, 2009
'Single-Payer' System Still the Fairest of Them All
In his July 30 opinion piece, "Don't Adopt the Medicare Model in Expanding U.S. Coverage," David E. Edman made several serious errors in addressing the crisis in health care.
First, Americans do not have access to the best health care in the world unless they are among the small privileged class. Between the 44 million without health insurance, the more than 25 million who have very limited health insurance and those about to loose their coverage when they're laid off, his claim holds no water.
He argues against single-payer health care. While private for-profit insurance takes as much as 30 cents from every dollar to give large salaries to executives and to pay dividends to stock-holders, Medicare takes less than 5 cents of every dollar for administrative costs and possible wasteful spending.
The proper role for government is to make primary health care available to everyone in this country. Edman cites Canada and England, where it is a felony to sell primary health care insurance for a profit. Canada provides quality primary care to everyone at a much lower cost than we do.
In a country where police and fire protection, national security and a first-class highway system are correctly funded by all for use by all, why should something like health, which is recognized by our constitution as an inalienable right, become a place for the wealthy to make a profit?
System Needs Reform, Not to Be Fully Scrapped
It was most interesting to read U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz's explanation of the health care reform bill now being debated in Congress (Opinions: "Demand Greater Quality, Efficiency in How Medical System Operates," July 30). I was happy to learn that half of the money needed to fund the bill will come from savings and efficiency in the present bill.
Half sounds pretty good until we hear that Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, has stated that the bill will cost more than $1 trillion in additional funds. This is the other half.
No one wants to challenge the trial lawyers by attempting tort reform; tort law represents a tremendous hidden cost in medical practice and needs to be controlled.
Too many people try to get rich by claiming malpractice. Just look at asbestos-related illnesses and the thousands of phony claims that have been paid to nonvictims. And how many cases have been filed against OB-GYNs because mothers believed that their beautiful babies were mishandled in delivery?
Our present system has its flaws, but our medical care is nonetheless excellent; our doctors and hospitals treat our ailments and improve the quality of our lives daily.
I'm happy with my care. It's expensive, but I'm alive to enjoy the benefits.
The system needs changes to eliminate waste and fraud, but it's basically sound and needs a dose of honesty -- not a complete overhaul.
Scandal Will Send a Clear Message to Anti-Semites
The latest corruption scandal in New Jersey should send a clear message to all those who think it is good for Jews to vote in a block (Nation & World: "A Sense of Shame and Introspection Follow Many Arrests," July 30).
I have repeatedly warned the Jewish community that some political leader will use us to make deals that benefit both parties involved. Delivering votes in a block transfers into political power, and that power can be used for good or, in this case, for evil.
This scandal gives ammunition to anti-Semites who repeat Hitler's horrific statements about the Jews, and their supposed control of world commerce and industry.
Please note it was a corrupt Jew who turned in the politicians and rabbis. Does anyone truly believe that this scandal goes unnoticed among those who already hate Jews with a passion?
Though reaction to this horrible crime, which includes the selling of body parts, will not necessarily be felt immediately in America, I can assure you that in Europe, passions against Jews are already exploding.
Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg