Diagnosing the Health-Care Debate

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Regarding President Obama's health-care address ["Obama Implores Congress to Act," front page, Sept. 10]:

I remember my mom, circa 1970, writing a check to the doctor for $50 that covered the cost of a visit plus a 30-day penicillin shot. Fast-forward to the 1980s and my first job with a preferred provider health-care organization, when I was stunned that a doctor visit cost me only a $10 co-pay.

Mr. Obama's speech was great. But I remain disappointed for two reasons.

First, I wonder why no one is talking about the loss of a true market valuation of services. Such valuation could help me decide whether to see a doctor for a bad cold or get an expensive treatment. And I'm a Democrat (yes, Democrats are capitalists, too). Why isn't transparency, the lack of which brought down our economy, central to the debate?

Second, although the president put big interests in their place, he failed to tell the public what we can do. Reducing waste is great, but will it really cover those in need and maintain high-quality services? I'm even willing to pay more -- if only I knew what I was paying for.

NANCY HUDDLESTON

Annandale

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