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Wrong Turns on the Road to Health-Care Reform

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The June 6 news story " 'Single-Payer' Supporters Challenge Democrats" put single- payer health care into the headlines where it belongs. But Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) still won't put it on the table. It's viewed as not being politically feasible, even though it's favored by huge numbers of doctors, nurses and members of the public. Who's in charge here, lobbyists and special interests, or the public?

A private insurance company's mission is to make a profit. Profit is best made by insuring the healthy, screening out the sick and denying health care to anyone unfortunate enough to get sick after enrolling. Managing all this wastes a significant portion of every dollar spent on health care.

It is time to demand meaningful health-care reform, and single-payer is the only proposal that can provide medical and dental care for everyone while saving hundreds of billions of dollars.

JERRY M. EARLL

Washington

The writer is a member of the advocacy group Physicians for a National Health Program.

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Of all the impractical ideas to improve our dysfunctional health-care system floating around, the suggestion by Alain Enthoven and Denis Cortese that "value" be used to curb costs [op-ed, June 6] has to be one of the most impractical. If people really understood the value of health and health care, they would drink less alcohol and soft drinks and more water, eat less fat and salt and more fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, and avoid tobacco altogether.

Judging by their credentials, Mr. Enthoven and Dr. Cortese should know better than to expect seriously to influence such a recalcitrant group as Americans, who expect the health-care system to somehow deliver them from the harmful excesses of their lifestyles.

ROBERT K. ROSENBERG

McLean

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