Letters

LETTERS

November 25, 2008

Single-payer is path to universal coverage

The concept of the health insurance industry guiding the terms for a national health care plan would be worth a laugh if it wasn't so dangerous ("Insurers propose health care terms," Nov. 20).

Leaders of America's Health Insurance Plans have suggested that, in exchange for agreeing to accept all customers regardless of health conditions, they want a federal requirement that everyone buy coverage. But we have already seen such plans consistently fail on a state level.

The Massachusetts health care plan, which was supposed to create universal coverage, has left hundreds of thousands of people uninsured because the premiums and out-of-pocket expenses are too costly for many to afford.

Other states have tried similar plans but have also failed to achieve universal coverage as a result of annual increases in insurance premiums that make the subsidies many people need to afford care prohibitively expensive.

Mandates requiring people to purchase health insurance are unrealistic when the cost makes health insurance unaffordable.

Health insurance premiums have significantly risen every year, hurting both employers and consumers. This trend would not end under the industry's current proposal. Instead, we would continue to pay profit-seeking insurers more while we get less care.

We must face the fact that the health insurance industry is a market failure and encourage our political leaders to see that a true single-payer national health system is not only politically feasible but necessary.

Dr. Taro Adachi, Baltimore

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

New 'team of rivals' shows real strength

During his campaign, President-elect Barack Obama pledged to be a unifying leader, and for him there is a president from his home state of Illinois on whose experience he may draw - Abraham Lincoln. Indeed, Mr. Obama would be wise to appoint Sen. Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state, as that would offer an exact historical parallel to the legacy of the Lincoln era ("Obama decides on Clinton, aides say," Nov. 22).

In 1860, Lincoln's main competitor for the Republican presidential nomination, William Seward, was a powerful senator from New York. After a challenging political battle, Lincoln asked Seward to be secretary of state.

In appointing Ms. Clinton, Mr. Obama can begin to assemble his "team of rivals," and demonstrate that he has the ability to withstand opposition and take all of the necessary measures to start repairing our nation.

Tori Wienholt, Towson

Sen. Clinton isn't best-qualified pick

I'm afraid the shine of spectacle has overtaken the importance of quality and experience in President-elect Barack Obama's apparent choice of Sen. Hillary Clinton for secretary of state ("Obama decides on Clinton, aides say," Nov. 22).

What else explains why someone with so much baggage will reportedly by chosen over many others who are more qualified?

As secretary of state, I'm afraid Mrs. Clinton would be busy primping for posterity and a future run for the White House when her full attention should be on international relations.

John G. Bailey, Edgemere

Cabinet choices limit possible challengers

I have to concede that President-elect Barack Obama is a very shrewd politician ("Obama decides on Clinton, aides say," Nov. 22).

One way to ensure his chances to win a second term is to occupy his potential rivals with positions in his administration.

Michael V. Ernest, Catonsville

Sin taxes wrong way to balance Md. budget

I was very angry when I read the letter "Added alcohol levy could ease fiscal woes" (Nov. 19).

I am so sick and tired of the fact that when the state needs money, the smokers and the drinkers get punished with additional taxes.

These items are an easy target for taxation because of health issues. But why stop there? Why not put a sin tax on fast food as well?

Maryland is already one of the most heavily taxed states in the nation, thanks to Gov. Martin O'Malley's tax hikes.

Raising taxes isn't the answer in times of budget shortfalls. But responsible government spending would be a good start.

Morris Scheindlinger, Cockeysville

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