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HEALTH CARE: Keep freedom of choice

Letter by William E. Zak, Allyn on Nov. 29, 2011 at 9:16 am with 15 Comments »
November 29, 2011 11:04 am

Re: “The individual mandate” (TNT, 11-27).

Professor Walter Zelman asks,”Why is it so troubling that the government is requiring responsible individuals to purchase what they would purchase anyway?”

As a retired military officer and combat veteran, I was precluded from being actively engaged in political matters for much of my professional life. Now I can publicly answer Zelman’s question.

It is troubling because the freedom of choice that many of us served to protect is being eroded. Whether the health care reform is good or bad for the economy should be decided on its merits.

Some of his questions are valid, but his premise that relaxing the government mandate would “cause us to penalize the responsible and reward the irresponsible” smacks of a philosophy from which I and thousands of others swore to defend our country.

We are a nation of free people who need a government to protect our way of life from external and internal threats. Those threats can be military, economic, criminal, social or health-related. Above all, we must recall the admonitions of Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine, who understood the danger of sacrificing our freedom for a sense of security.

Leave a comment Comments → 15
  1. sandblower says:

    So you think penalizing the responsible and rewarding the irresponsible is a good idea? Weird! That is not why I gave my 6 years with 2 in combat.

  2. cclngthr says:

    I think most people have to be responsible for themselves and pay for medical care, rather than requiring the taxpayers pay for it (I’m speaking of non-disabled people here). If they choose not to have medical insurance, that is their problem. Currently the USA has no civil right amendment guaranteeing medical coverage.

  3. sandblower says:

    If they choose not to have it, (insurance) then they must also promise to not get sick unless they can totally pay for it. You are missing something cc.

  4. sandblower says:

    I know of a drug used for certain cancer treatments that costs $100,000 a year. Not too many people can afford that without insurance.
    I bet cc and Mr. Zak are both in that category.

  5. cclngthr says:

    I am not missing anything sandblower. My point is people seem to insist that taxpayers should foot the medical bill when they are clearly able to do that. We have more NON-DISABLED people on medicaid and people wanting free medical care paid for taxpayers than there should be.

    One problem I do see here is medical care, particularly drugs are more costly here than other countries. A drug to treat ADHD, Vyvance, costs around $200 for a months supply, and no generic is available. Same thing with Advair. The cost of such medications is higher here than other places.

  6. sandblower says:

    Insurance coverage is not the taxpayers paying for anything. Insurance is a pool into which everyone pays just in case they get really sick. The insurance company pays the bill out of the funds that came from everyone who did not yet get sick.
    You are missing the mechanism and your ideology is showing.
    The letter is about mandatory health insurance. Medicare is for those too poor to have insurance and that will change as the new health care law is implemented over time.
    France has a healthcare system far superior to ours. It is single payer bolstered with private insurance and costs far less. Everyone is covered. Part of their cost is covered by their gas tax. It is what we should be aiming for.

  7. Insurance company/drug company?

    Same demon by different names.

    They control the cost of health care

  8. cclngthr says:

    RW98512,
    Yes, they do control the cost of healthcare, particularly drug companies. As I stated, the drug, Vyvance, which is used to treat ADHD is about $200.00 for a month’s supply for it. No generic form is available yet.

    Insurance companies on the other hand try to control the cost of healthcare by limiting the cost by dictating which drugs they will authorize for a condition. They may OK a cheaper alternative drug that is less effective than one that works better. Insurance companies also can limit the high risk clients they have by either denying coverage, or increasing the cost of coverage based on risk of needing a high cost medical treatment.

    I still view people who are non-disabled should foot the bill of coverage rather than relying on taxpayer coverage, such as welfare and state workers, who often pay less than private sector employees pay.

  9. Thank you for your service, William. You fought for Americans to have the freedom not to buy insurance, but please don’t claim to speak for all veterans, because I fought for freedoms of a different sort. I fought to preserve an America that existed before my service, in which a large majority of working people could afford to pay for health care. Between 2000-2011, health care costs have increased between 6% and 9% per year (depending upon the source), which is two or three times greater than the general rate of inflation. Meanwhile, wages are relatively stagnant and unemployment is high. According to Bloomberg.com, 9 million Americans lost their health insurance between 2009-2011 and in 2011 52 million Americans had no health insurance.

    As a military retiree, you may have earned free health care for life. Not being a military retiree myself, something is amiss when my health-care insurer receives a bill for over $82,000 for a 2.5 day hospital stay. Somewhere, sometime, the insanity of unbridled, runaway health care costs has to stop. If it doesn’t, inspite of the differing freedoms you, myself and others have fought for, the only freedom of choice in health care, and its only availability, will be for the military, for medicare/medicaid patients, and for the now infamous, upper 1%.

    That is not the America I fought for.

  10. sandblower says:

    “They may OK a cheaper alternative drug that is less effective than one that works better. Insurance companies also can limit the high risk clients they have by either denying coverage, or increasing the cost of coverage based on risk of needing a high cost medical treatment.”
    Give us just one example of an insurance company denying a drug with a certain efficiency and replacing it with a drug with less efficiency. That, I think is total BS on the part of cc. And under the current new healthcare law, pre-existing conditions (high risk) cannot be a basis for denying coverage.

  11. cclngthr says:

    sandblower,
    My neighbor has a son who has severe ADHD and was prescribed Vyvance. His insurance plan refuses to allow Vyvance to be prescribed, but allows a cheaper drug, Ritalin, which is less effective on the child. Vyvance works better for him. Vyvance costs $190.00 for a months supply where the generic form of Ritalin is around $30.00 a month.

    I also have a pre-existing condition, and through my work, the premiums are $2,100 a month IF the condition is covered, and I would have to get preauthorization before getting treatment that may be connected to the condition I have. This also would continue under the new healthcare law because there are loopholes in the law that allows insurance companies to make decisions about a person’s healthcare over the physician/patient decisions.

  12. harleyrider1 says:

    America is still the same; America has never changed.

    Its some of her people that opt to create chaos, that put themselves before Country; a lot of her people that put their political party before Country. Most of these people have never served in the military. They have never seen War, a draft, and are too selfish to have a lasting belief in anything other than the right to demand.

    Health care costs have been allowed to increase in such a swift and unreigned manner because we allowed it. Had the monthly price of water or electricity been allowed to rise unchecked, Americans would have put a stop to it. It’s our fault – we vote in “leaders”, “spokesmen”, and representatives every year. Every 2 years, every 4 years.

    But we have yet to demand as one voice to break up the monopolies, to investigate the payoffs, to prosecute the congressmen and senators that take payoffs related to the health care industry. It’s our fault. We blog, we whine, we go to Canada and Mexico to purchase – but we never change the root cause: a corrupt Congress.

    Are you ready yet? Are you willing to put Country before party and only vote for people that will do the same? We need to compromise, we need to help, but most of all we need honesty. This is one industry that has remained untouched.

  13. BlaineCGarver says:

    I’m a 20 year Army Vet, with a small disability, and receive mostly free medical through VA. I propose dumping ALL health insurance. ALL HMOs…..a non-profit, single payer system to be funded by a national sales tax (for ONLY medical payments). Get medical care. It’s paid for. Period. Screw Big Medicine. This way, everyone is paying. No need to worry about illegals, they are paying, too. I’m tired of seening Big Medicine making billions on the back of sick and dying people.

  14. LarryFine says:

    “So you think penalizing the responsible and rewarding the irresponsible is a good idea? Weird!”

    What’s weird is that someone of your philisophical tendencies would ever write such a statement.

  15. itwasntmethistime says:

    sandblower — You can’t be denied for a pre-existing condition, but the monthly premium may be so high because of that condition that you can’t pay it.

    I don’t know that having medical insurance is the luxury many people think it is. Unless you work for the government or a huge company like Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, etc. you can be insured and still not be able to afford to go to the doctor. I pay $300 per month and I have a $4000 deductible. That means I pay the first $4000 each year, then insurance picks up the rest. It’s excellent for a major illness or injury, but not so good for day to day stuff. If my kid cut his head I wouldn’t pay an ER doctor $1000 to superglue the cut closed, I’d just do it myself.

    I don’t think public employees and people on public assistance realize the insurance program Obama wants won’t help people get to the doctor for minor troubles.

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