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Letter: Intelligent health care debate needed

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The health care debate has been deprived of vital content and force due to fear mongers. Through petty and unsubstantiated claims the importance of health care reform has been defamed. We've lost sight of the real issues such as the U.S. ranks at the bottom (the most deaths from ailments that good medicine could fix) among rich nations. And we are the only nation that doesn't insure everybody. (Source: Money Magazine).

In the U.S., it is easy to think of the 47 million uninsured as those other people. The people with good coverage aren't too concerned with the price of their care. That pushes total cost up ultimately causing more people to lose it. The percentage of higher-income families ($88,000 per year) without insurance for 2009 is 5.8 percent. By the year 2019 it will increase to 7.4 percent to 11.2 percent. (Source: Urban Institute). There is no safety net. The reason it costs so much to fix health care now is the fact this should have been done 20 years ago. As we all know the longer you wait the more you pay.

The fear mongers have especially targeted those on Medicare. Medicare recipients are understandably worried but doing nothing only makes it worse. The Medicare Trust Fund will be tapped out in 2017 due to the rising costs which fuel the long term deficit crisis. Medicare just buys health care in the regular health care system. Overall reform that covers everyone will make the system more efficient and could slow the growth of Medicare costs, lowering the risk of future benefit cuts. We need to act now. Proposals have been made in Congress to loosen regulations on private insurers by as much as 10 percent to reduce costs for the insured. Deregulations really did wonders for the financial industry, didn't it? What about the uninsured? If we don't address the issue it will only get worse and costs will go up. We need to deal with pre-existing condition coverage as well. We've heard the fear mongers say that legislation being presented created death committees. Present insurers' refusal to cover pre-existing conditions actually constitutes corporate death committees.

Don't believe the fear mongers. We need a well-informed, rational and intelligent debate not fueled by politics and a Congress that is not more worried about getting re-elected in the next election rather than the serious issue at hand.

Vince H. Ficek, Dickinson

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