Scrap health care bill

Americans haven’t been shy about declaring what’s wrong with the health care reform measure now before Congress. Priorities vary, but collectively they say it will raise taxes, cut patient care, kill jobs, cripple the economy, balloon the deficit, give too much power to the federal government and more.

The reform bill gets such a bad rap because these criticisms are valid. The best course of action may be to scrap it and begin again to fix what ails our health care system.

As a nation we face serious economic challenges. Responsible health care reform must acknowledge these challenges but not add to them.

Legislators should follow the physicians’ Hippocratic oath and “First, do no harm.”

This means reform must not penalize small business, burden an already struggling job market or slow economic recovery. It’s a tall order, especially as health care costs keep rising. But we can bring down those costs and keep the economy moving forward if we insist that reform increase insurance options, boost competition among carriers, eliminate government mandates for employer-provided coverage and enact tort reform.

Congress and the president should listen to the American people. They’ve made it clear they want to fix what’s gone wrong with our health care system and keep what we’ve gotten right. If that requires starting over again with fresh legislation, so be it.

Patricia Ek



Health care numbers

In response to the Feb. 17 OpEd, “Lack of health coverage America’s shame,” Democrats sure like to throw numbers around, such as: 47 million Americans without health coverage. In fact, the number of Americans without health insurance is closer to 18 million; the remaining people without coverage are illegal aliens, or those who simply choose not to have insurance.

Typical of the Democrats’ ideology is to continually bash the Republicans for all our country’s failures. Why, with a 60 vote supermajority in the Senate and large majority in the House, didn’t a health care bill pass? Was it because of the overreaching, overburdensome hand of government itself killed the bills proposed?

Americans spoke, some of our representatives and senators listened.

I agree that having any citizen go without heath care is not right. I support certain measures to rein in the cost of health care, but can’t subscribe to the theory that only Democrats and big government are the answer.

Noting that other industrialized nations have universal health care is a weak argument considering the premier of Labrador, Canada, and a prince from Saudi Arabia have chosen to have their health care services performed in America.

No one need look far for examples of Democratic Party policy, look what 40-plus years of control has done to Maine. I’m betting all the countries with universal health care don’t have a long wait in their immigration lines.

Jim Allmon



Home of the afraid

When I was growing up in Maine more than 40 years ago I was taught that America was the home of the brave. Seeing what has taken place over the last decade in this country, I no longer believe that to be the case.

A perfect example of this is the new policy of allowing people to bring loaded firearms into what is, statistically, some of the safest places on Earth, our national parks.

In a recent letter to the editor, Ken Durkee ranted at length about the “paranoid” segment of the population that sees no need for loaded guns in national parks. While Mr. Durkee is quick to label other people “paranoid” and “afflicted,” he appears totally blind to his own paranoia regarding his personal safety. Mr. Durkee should ask himself why he feels so threatened that he feels the need to bring a lethal weapon into a national park.

Apparently he imagines heartless criminals and killer wildlife around every bend. This is a truly distorted view of the world and certainly not one that policy should be based on. Because if America is truly the home of the brave there is no legitimate reason to carry lethal weapons while visiting our national treasures.

Michael Riley



Religions, terrorism

Does Dr. Edwin Bruno of Bangor really think that we need airport security because of Muslims (BDN Letters, Feb. 17)? From that perspective, all religions are suspect since people from varying religions have participated in forms of terrorism throughout history.

The religion of Islam is not a terrorist organization. Dr. Bruno should enlighten himself.

Katherine Campbell



Public option needed

I had a dream. I dreamed that during the recent Washington shutdown our senators sat down and reflected, away from lobbyists on how best to serve American citizens’ health care needs.

Why does this have to be a dream? Our elected representatives in the Democratic Party have been devoted to equitable health care since Teddy Roosevelt’s days. Americans are going bankrupt trying to provide themselves with health care while insurance companies find one way after another to raise premiums and deny cover-age.

Our senators oppose a public option, because it involves governmental bureaucracy and could cause health services rationing. From my viewpoint, there is plenty of bureaucracy already involved in the private systems.

The difference between government and industrial bureaucracy is that we can vote to change how government treats us. When an insurance company sets a policy of exclusion (including high premiums combined with high deductibles) and the practice of denying coverage based on preexisting conditions we set a precedent in which the norm for health insurance is to only offer coverage for catastrophic situations.

When our elected representatives fail to serve us, we can vote. We have no voice in the private insurance market. This is why we need a public option government health care system based on the Medicare model.

Catherine L. Foxson