10-31-13 Waconia Patriot Letters to the Editor

Bottom line is health care system needs improving

To the editor:

I will agree with Mr. Polunc that there are a number of factors that make the our care system look worst, but there is no question we pay the most and at best we get mediocre results. If we look at life expectancy from age 65, removing the impact of infant mortality, then we jump to 34th behind Slovenia, Portugal, and Chile and just ahead of Panama. At age 65 we could expect to live two years longer in Japan and 1 1/2 years in Canada.
He is right that we make heroic efforts to save premature babies. My nephew weighed about 2.5 lbs at birth almost 20 years ago. Today he is healthy young man living in Florida. Floridians spent several hundred thousand to save him when he was born. This is the great thing about our health care. Today if he had health problems he would be in trouble because he does not have health insurance or much money, and that is one of problems with our health care system.
Our system will go to great lengths to keep someone alive, but at the same time many do not have basic and preventative care available to them.
If you have ever gone to the emergency room in a large urban hospital you may notice that it is filled with people who do not have emergencies. That is because the poor and those without health insurance use ERs for basic health care. There are multiple problems with this scenario. First we have developed great ERs to treat emergencies and the resource is going to treat problems that should be treated by family physicians. Secondly ERs are a very expensive source of non-emergency health care one of the reasons our health care costs are so high. Finally when patients cannot pay, the reason they are there, the rest of us pick up the tab either in our hospital bills or through our taxes.
As to the 46,000 Canadians that came to the U.S. for medical care that is just 0.13 percent of the Canadian population (about 1 in a thousand). Wikipedia reported that Canadians strongly supported their health care system with poll results like a 2009 Harris/Decima poll that found 82 percent of Canadians preferred their healthcare system to ours.  This is more than 10 times the 8 percent who prefer an American type system.
Mr. Polunc mentioned the improvements pushed by the Republicans, which I think are positives, but they are like putting a band-aid on a badly broken leg. We can argue whether the U.S. ranks 30th or 50th in service, but the truth is that we pay the most, and we are not getting our money’s worth. How many are afraid to change jobs because you might lose insurance; how many cannot get insurance because of pre existing conditions; how many have had treatment decided by insurance companies not their doctors. It is time to work on improving our health care system.

Jim Weygand

Writer reminds that every viewpoint has two sides

To the editor:

Last week, the writer to the Opinion page proved that there are always two sides to every issue depending on the fact finding evidence a person wants to use. So why does this writer always feel that his ultra-conservative way is the only tried and true viewpoint? The readers of the Patriot should be exposed to both sides of an issue to make an educated decision so let the writers of both sides of an issue express their views without a rebuttal every time.
Sure the ACA has some problems that need to be worked out. When Social Security, Medicare, Romneycare, and Bush’s Part D were rolled out, things got very chaotic but eventually everything worked out.
How many of you on these programs would say, “I don’t want or need them, I’ll give them back to the government to reduce the national debt.” Not too many.
The ACA will help millions of Americans stay out of bankruptcy and be able to get health care. Every American deserves decent health care. People against the Act probably were never turned down for insurance or had a writer on their insurance saying that certain health issues won’t be covered. Former Republican Governor Romney led the health care act which passed in Massachusetts which now has 96 percent of its population enrolled in insurance. The ACA is based on Romneycare in Massachusetts. So why are the conservatives in Congress fighting Obamacare? Could it be they are afraid that it will succeed and be as popular as these other programs?
PS: If the Canadian health care system is so bad, why do the Canadian insurance companies pay to fly their sick citizens back to Canada to treat them in Canada? Could it have something to do with our expensive health care system?

Mary Ann Geyen