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Wednesday, March 20 , 2019, 5:13 am | Partly Cloudy 53º


Letter to the Editor: Go in Good Health

It's time for a system that reins in health-care profiteers

I went to a health-care town hall Tuesday night where the audience was primarily predisposed toward an anti-”ObamaCare” speaker, a self-professed former health insurance salesman who repeatedly used the phrase “We’ve already established ...” when, in fact, we hadn’t, and dared to play the “death panel” card although the ground rules called for sticking to fact, not inflammation.

Like trained seals, onlookers barked their approval whenever he or anyone else put down “the government,” and I wondered what had them walking around so angry.

“The government is incompetent. Government employees are lazy and overpaid,” they let the room know, before blushingly assuring on-duty police and firefighters in the room that “present company” was certainly excepted.

The former insurance salesman admitted that he had frequently gamed the system to get insurance coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, usually a disqualifier. He did this, and recommended the audience do it, by having two such people form a “business” together, thus making it mandatory that insurers cover them.

In one instance he related, he did that to get two gentlemen, both suffering from cancer, enrolled and treated, and it’s a pretty good bet the premiums didn’t cover their cost. In this case, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cutting-edge medical care had to be paid for by others who had contributed dutifully into the system for years against the chance of being struck by either disease or a drunken driver running a red light.

Any number of infuriated conservatives are out there hoping and praying for President Barack Obama to fail, and health-care reform is the field of battle on which they’re hoping he’s going to fall. They put their money on President George W. Bush and a free-market economy, and all it got them was an upside-down mortgage, a drastically shrunken retirement account and wars in the Middle East that are going nowhere, even by conservative estimates.

Hey, folks, the rest of us just want to see a little “progress” in at least one area of our national life — and “Cash for Clunkers” just doesn’t cut it.

Won’t you let us at least rein in the health-care profiteers? Insurance companies lining their pockets as they cherry-pick healthy clients and leave “government” to care for the losers? For-profit hospitals selling services and surgeries we don’t really need but insurance companies are happy to pay for? Pharmaceutical companies charging us 10 to 20 times as much for a pill as it costs in Canada or Mexico, often something new that hasn’t proved as effective as a tried-and-true prescription, available now for pennies in generic form?

Why are you so determined to cut off your own noses just to spite your scowling faces? And why do you expect me to help pay for sewing those noses back on?

I’m rooting for a robust public option. Truth be told, I’m jonesing for a single-payer system that takes insurance companies out of the equation altogether. The Democrats, though, have disappointed me almost as much as you by refusing to even weigh the merits and drawbacks of the idea. But legislators and politicians aren’t the same as “the government.” George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and a whole lot of other liberals founded our government when Americans finally got fed up with not having a say on how their hard-earned tax dollars were being spent.

And now I’m fed up with seeing my health-care dollars wasted on a bloated, inefficient, profit-driven system that’s driving this country into bankruptcy. I’m fed up with knowing my tax money is already paying for the uninsured and underinsured who delay seeking treatment until problems become unimaginably expensive. I’m fed up with right-wing parrots squawking nonsense most of the time, echoing the blather of such demagogues as Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Ann Coulter.

So go, groom your candidates and see how you’ll fare in the next election. Meanwhile, let those I helped elect do what I helped elect them to do.

Oh, and did I say “Go in good health”?

Jon Williams

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