LETTER: Health care should be available for all

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 | 11:37 a.m. CDT; updated 11:26 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 3, 2009

If I have a fire in my attic, I am assured that it will be put out by the Fulton Fire Department. No one will check first to see if I have a current "fire protection insurance card" before the flames are doused. As a resident and citizen of Fulton, I am protected.

Not so, if I need medical care.

With 45 million uninsured people and millions more holding insurance with high deductibles, economic ruin and bankruptcy is around the corner for too many of our neighbors. Health care reform is high on the new administration's agenda, and we need to be sure that a public "Medicare-like" option is included. We desperately need a plan that will effectively cover the uninsured and underinsured in this country while allowing folks to keep their current insurance if they are happy with it. Let us join the leading industrialized nations who are able, at a cheaper price, to ensure everyone has health care.

Please write our representive and senators Bond and McCaskill to move true health reform forward by including a public "Medicare for all who want it" health care option.

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Ayn Rand April 8, 2009 | 12:07 p.m.

Yes, the government has done such a great job with social programs (e.g., Social Security), so let's expand them even more.

Do you really want politicians determining your health care? I'm sure that they'll do a good a job as they've done with Fannie and Freddie, to name just two recent debacles.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 8, 2009 | 12:27 p.m.

Ms. (I'm even dishonest about my name) Rand,

Social Security is in fact a quite successful government program, it's in the black! Fanny is a privately owned shareholder corporation. Freddy is likewise a privately owned corporation.
Would you care to identify the private health entities that you feel would do a much better job than a government run program?
If government run health care is so bad, why aren't extremely wealthy politicians such as McCain, not augmenting their public plans with private ones. I think he has spent his entire 72 years on the puplic teat so to speak.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 8, 2009 | 1:01 p.m.

Foote in mouth, Social Security is not in the black. Congress spent decades of contributions and left IOUs in their place. Those IOUs will come due around 2016, when SS trustees say that the amount being paid out will start to exceed the amount paid in. At that point, Congress will have to raise taxes, cut benefits or both.

But wait, it gets better: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled multiple times (e.g., Fleming v. Nestor) that regardless of how much or how long you've paid into SS, Congress can cut you off. In other words, SS payments are not guaranteed -- even though you're forced by law to fund it.

If you want to see someone who's really screwed, it's the Bindens. From 1998 through 2007, their income averaged $245,000, with $319,853 in 2007. But when disclosing his finances for his presidential bid, his net worth was less than $150,000. Clearly this couple does not know or care to save. By comparison, the McCains' net worth was $25 million-$38 million. (Source:

As for private insurers, before I went completely self-pay, I used BCBS and Aetna and had no complaints.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance April 8, 2009 | 1:08 p.m.

Yes, the stock market was a great place for retirees to put their money

(Report Comment)
John Schultz April 8, 2009 | 1:28 p.m.

Tim, retirees should not have all of their nest egg in the stock market, something that has been beaten into my head for ages, and I'm not even 40. As you mature and your retirement approaches, you should ease from stocks to bonds. However, you'll want to keep some portion of retirement money in stocks to continue building a portfolio while drawing down on the balance. This is something any financial planner with clue (Dave Ramsey would say the heart of a teacher) can tell anyone, but there are too many people who just figure out where they want to invest once in their life (or per employer) and never revisit that decision.

While we're discussing Social Security, I would love if anyone could show me where both the entity and the tax can be justified by the Constituion. Please do not try to use the General Welfare Clause cop-out.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 8, 2009 | 1:42 p.m.

Tim, the stock market is a great place for retirees to put their money. Historically the return has been far higher than what SS provides, and there's no reason to believe that the market won't rebound.

Another key benefit of private accounts is that people can decide how much risk they want to take on. For example, if you're skeptical of the market, you can put the money into bonds or even CDs. John describes another option. Whatever you choose, it's your choice, not the government's.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote April 8, 2009 | 1:53 p.m.

Ms.(I wish I was going Galt) Rand

First, when a program draws a surplus, it most certainly can be defined as successful from an accounting standpoint. Second, the prediction that there will be a shortfall is just that a prediction. When your boy Bush first ran for office in 1978, one of his issues was the upcoming insolvency of social security. Back than they were saying it would be insolvent in 2001. Hmm, I believe that there was quite a large surplus in 2001. Notice how the date is perpetually being pushed back.

As to your private health care endorsement, here's the CEO of Aetna, Ronald Williams, testifying March 24 before the Senate health, education, labor, and pensions committee. He's explaining how terribly unfair it will be if private health insurers have to compete with government programs:

"A public plan would most likely employ the payments rates used in Medicare, which are far lower than the rates paid by private payers. In fact, the average family of four with private insurance spends an additional $1,778 on health care each year because of Medicare and Medicaid underpayments to providers. On an aggregate level, commercial payers incur approximately $89 billion more in costs than they would if public and private payers all paid equivalent rates."

Got that. If the government gets involved, private industry won't be able to charge as much because the government will have lower rates. Boy that sure would suck.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 8, 2009 | 2:09 p.m.

"Got that. If the government gets involved, private industry won't be able to charge as much because the government will have lower rates. Boy that sure would suck."

And we see how many providers don't take Medicare today. Fixing the rates lower will merely mean that health care will be rationed.

The problem is not so much that people don't have (or can't get) insurance. It's the cost of health care, and there are a lot of things we could do to bring that down, unrelated to some gov't single payer system.


(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand April 8, 2009 | 2:20 p.m.

Foote, go ahead and spend every last penny you have in the bank. Then go to the bank and ask for a loan. Tell them that you have plenty of collateral because you replaced the money you spent with IOUs. Better yet, go to some local businesses and try to spend some of your IOUs.

Do you think the Chinese will take IOUs? As a retiree, would you accept an IOU from the SSA rather than a check?

If we're going to have taxpayer-funded health care, we must be willing to force those who willingly overburden the system to pay a hefty premium. Some examples:

Of course there will rationing. In his book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis,” Daschele parised Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments.”

(Report Comment)
William Monroe April 14, 2009 | 4:02 p.m.

As the auhor of this letter to the editor that was just published in today's Missourian paper edition, I am sorry I guess) to have missed this discussion. I think the point of the letter was fairly well missed by just about all here. The Health care available in Switzerland, Taiwan, France, Germany, Britain, Norway and every other modern industrialized nation and even some underdeveloped ones has proved superior to that practiced in the United States. THis despite the fact that we spend far more per capita on health care than any oter Nation. Look at infant nmrtality, longevity and morbidity figures. The U. S. "system" is broken. We come in 37th in the world in terms of Health outcomes. A common denominator to systems that work is a publicly funded option, non profit insurance comapanies and controlled costs. Obama needs to include a public option to include everyone.
Your sick uninsured neighbor utilizing the "free" ER at the last minute is like the fire next door that will end by burning your protected house as well. When everyone has access to health care the way everyone is served by the fire department, we will all be better off.
Bill Monroe RN

(Report Comment)
DANNY YELTON January 7, 2010 | 9:55 a.m.

Universal healthcare is a "moral issue" dening it because of
someones income is a terrible injustice!

(Report Comment)

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