Nobody denies that there is something seriously wrong with an American health-care system that is far more expensive and much less effective than that of 36 other countries while leaving 47 million of us without health insurance. President Obama deserves our gratitude for taking on the onerous task of fixing it.
It is onerous, because two uniquely American problems make health-care reform such an uphill battle: the enormous power of the few who profit from the status quo, and the political apathy of the many who would benefit from reform.
In contrast to the elected officials of countries which provide better health care, where elections are largely publicly financed, our elected representatives are so dependent on campaign contributions from special interests that they are much more attentive to their wishes than those of their constituents. And the significantly higher voter turnouts in those countries show that their citizens are much more politically engaged.
Proposed bills emerging from Congress have largely been designed to please the insurance and drug companies. The single-payer system - an extension of Medicare to cover all Americans - which is preferred by most physicians and patients, is being excluded, though it is the norm for countries with better health-care systems. But only a single-payer system can provide decent affordable health care for all Americans while giving government the leverage for effective long-term cost control.
The public option, allowing public and private insurances to compete, is also being opposed or weakened, because a strong public option would probably lead to a single-payer system.
It is now up to the silent majority, known to favor genuine health-care reform, to speak up and urge their elected representatives to vote for the only two approaches likely to achieve it, the single-payer system or a strong public option.
Americans will never agree on the need for a makeover of the health-care system because Americans do not all share the same health-care benefits.
My husband and I have worked full time for 25 years for the same small business in Toledo, and our employer has always provided health-care benefits as an option for employees. Our premium alone represents 10 percent of our combined income. On top of that, we pay $35 for each doctor visit, upwards of $40 for each prescription, and full price for dental and vision services because our plan does not include thoseitems.
My neighbor has the same salary and has 100 percent employer-paid health care, including vision and dental. It's easy to see why my neighbor sees no need for a change, and why my family is desperate to see reform.
A recent contributor stated that Americans who lack health care, or pay a disproportionate amount of their salary on health care, simply aren't working hard enough to take adequate care of their families. I can assure you that my husband and I work plenty hard for our middle-class income. If every American paid the same fees for the same care, there would be common ground on which Americans could truly debate the need for reform. Until that happens, we have an impossible argument.
From 2000 to 2005, 266,000 companies dropped their employees' health-care coverage, while many more increased the amounts that their employees contribute and/or reduced the amount of coverage. That was before the latest recession hit.
If you still have your job, you could have purchased health insurance from HMO Health Ohio during its open enrollment. If you are single between the ages of 50 and 59, the cost would be $30,845.88 per year. For you and your family, the cost would be $83,310. You cannot be denied this insurance.
Right, better read the fine print.
Fifty-nine percent of medical doctors say we should get insurance companies out of health care. Small wonder.
Doctors are not paid by the quality of their care, but by the quantity. This encourages over-treatment. Researchers at Dartmouth College found that patients who receive more care actually fare worse than those who receive less.
There is certainly great value in new technology, but expensive treatments replacing less costly ones for no reason is a large part of the problem.
Quality pay for quality care should be the rule for all doctors. HMOs do not do that, nor do the drug and medical equipment companies want that.
Socialized medicine may scare you (we have been conditioned for that) but it works very well for other developed countries. We want a health-care system that works for the patients, doctors, and other health-care personnel, rather than those who milk the system just for the profit. A system paid for by the taxpayer, not business, would also relieve employers of a very costly burden.
James P. Struble
Consider the following: In 2007, it was reported that 62 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States were due to medical bills. Seventy-five percent of those medical-related bankruptcies were from those who already had health insurance. In 1981, only 8 percent of bankruptcies were due to medical bills.
Someone please explain to me how our current model is "the best health-care system on Earth" if people are losing everything as a result of their medical bills.
What do supporters of the current "profit care" system say when drastic changes are needed to fix this problem? They scare us with Cold War propaganda by saying that Canada has the best "socialist" health care the world has to offer, and that it will be much worse than what we have now if we adopted it ourselves.
Folks, Canada doesn't have the best socialized health care in the world. France does. France's system is ranked by the World Health Organization as the world's number one system in overall quality. The United States isn't even near the top 20.
So the next time someone wants to use Canada to show how scary our own government's solution would be, ask them why they're not using France as an example instead.
As community members, we are very aware of the changing newspaper industry that has forced papers to compromise and reduce staff, costs, and so on. With these trying times, we would like to commend The Blade on not compromising on the exceptional quality of journalism you provide for us.
This is exemplary in the work of your religion editor, David Yonke. His work covering religious communities and, most recently, his article about our mosque, has continued to shed great light and dispel the myths and stereotypes that surround not only the Muslim community but other issues and communities as well.
We look forward to your continued success as a leader and example for other newspapers.
Marty Frankel, Tom Noe, James Hartung, Robert Alexander. Hmmmm. I lost my job in May after 35 years of hard work just doing customer service, mostly because I was loyal and adhered to a code of ethics. I couldn t feel more insignificant if I tried.