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Weighing In On Health Care
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Dear Editor,

To begin with, we already have two Government Run Health Care Programs, Medicare and Medicaid. Both these programs are billions in debt, fraught with mismanagement and fraud so we don’t need another even more costly and mismanaged program.

Health Care in America is too costly and not available to all. The costs are high because doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and medical care facilities are forced to pay extraordinary high insurance premiums on liability policies in order to protect themselves from excessive damage awards. Congress needs to pass tort reform to reduce the monetary awards. In addition, Congress needs to reduce costs by making the purchase of health insurance policies from any given company available in all 50 states. This makes for competition and competition lowers costs.

Various levels of health insurance policies ranging for those more costly covering chronic or catastrophic illness to lower premium policies for minor illnesses. I’m sure doctors won’t mind cash for the latter category of illness. Neither high cost nor availability are being addressed by Congress in the proposed health care bills. The Congressional bill will be financed by 29 new taxes. Taxes on everything from soda, alcohol, payroll tax hikes, penalties on business and individuals for not having insurance, fees and taxes on medical devices, excise tax on Cadillac Plans, Medicare cuts to providers and more totaling $987 billion to $1.3 trillion. These taxes are levied for the years 2010-2014 before any services are available or the benefits are put in effect.

Can we trust Congress to set this aside just for health care? In both bills, there is a group of appointed individuals in Washington that are titled the “Exchange” who will determine the availability and extent of medical services that will be paid for and delivered under their “Universal Health Care Reform Bills.” Oregon has had “Universal Health Care” since 1990 and as of March 2008 there are 600,00 uninsured state residents but the State can only pay for and include in the program 24,000. Health Care Reform in this country needs only to address costs and availability and the present reform bills in Congress do neither rather just the opposite, they increase the deficit, burden the states with increased Medicaid costs and levy more taxes on individuals struggling to survive in this recession.

By the way, don’t you think if it’s such a great health care program, members of Congress should drop their private health care plans and be the first to enroll?

Brewster Burns