Readers comments 5-26-17
Profiteers in healthcare
I agree with Doug Lyon that government interference with the free market system is keeping healthcare costs high.
The simple fact that government insists, in most cases, that insurance companies act in good faith when responding to claims by premium-paying customers, keeps prices artificially elevated.
If we allowed insurance companies to operate freely and stiff their customers whenever they liked, health insurance rates would come way down. Hell, they could offer unlimited coverage for five bucks a month. They just never pay any claim that they deem unprofitable.
All kidding aside, we have tried the free market when it comes to healthcare. There are some cases where the free market does not work for all the people. I can’t think of one modern-day industrialized nation that allows free market profiteers to administer public healthcare.
The for-profit pharmaceutical industry is, with the blessing of its paid-for politicians, screwing the American people. For-profit, private medical groups and hospitals charge ridiculous amounts to insurance companies who play a game of bill, negotiate and re-bill. That administrative game is costing Americans millions of dollars.
Government-run healthcare has much lower administrative costs. Government-run healthcare costs less than for-profit healthcare. Look at the stats.
We need to get with the rest of the world and get the profiteers out of our healthcare. If those other countries can do it, we can do it better. And no one is preventing the free marketers from purchasing a supplemental plan if they feel the government run plan is insufficient.
Demonizing good healthcare
To the writer of “Healthcare for all?” (COURIER, May 19) I can only comment on how naive it is to pin one’s hopes on a so-called free market solution to the poor state of the healthcare business in America.
First and foremost, there really is no free market (and, spoiler alert, trickle-down economics doesn’t work, either!) at least as portrayed in the ideal world of textbook theory.
Absent regulation, the big guys gobble up competitors, create monopolies and, otherwise, tend to behave badly. After all, a corporation’s goal is to maximize profit for its shareholders. And just recall what some high-profile drug companies have done to the prices of life-saving medications recently.
I’ll never forget a large plaque that was mounted in the office of a board member of a banking company I worked for years ago: “Golden Rule—He who has the gold makes the rules.”
Sounds funny, but sadly, that’s the reality of the market. The large health insurance companies before the Affordable Care Act behaved extremely poorly by cherry picking who they covered.
Had it not been for so many Republican-led states working overtime to sabotage the ACA and Medicaid expansion, that program could have eventually been fine-tuned by a Congress dedicated to the health and well-being of constituents. Rather they chose to demonize a program that was imperfect, but was still a good first step to improving healthcare in America.
In 1965, Lyndon Johnson saw Medicare as a beginning and, ideally, the qualification age of 65 would slowly go down to encompass everyone in a single-payer system. That was never allowed to happen, and our current Congress is not about to repeal and replace the ACA with anything that remotely is an improvement.
Are you disgusted by the influence of big money in politics? Did you know that in most California local elections, there are no limits on the size of campaign contributions to candidates?
Tell your assembly member to support AB 1089 to end unlimited money in our local elections.
California is one of only four states that limit campaign contributions to state candidates but not local candidates. And in about two-thirds of counties and a whopping 78 percent of our cities, wealthy special interests can give unlimited amounts of money to candidates. In some cases, a candidate for local office has taken $100,000—or even more—from a single wealthy donor. That’s outrageous.
AB 1089 would safeguard democracy by ending that local loophole. It provides a general contribution cap to stop the worst abuses, while respecting the autonomy of our counties, cities, and districts to set their own limits tailored to their communities’ needs.
Please tell your assembly member to vote yes on AB 1089 to prevent corruption, curb undue influence, and protect local democracy.
VP for Advocacy
LWV of the Claremont Area
Learning from the best
I was so thrilled to see one of our best weavers, Ingrid Petersen, 99 years old, mentioned in Jan Wheatcroft’s column.
Yes, she was an accomplished fiber artist and still is. “Her high expectations for her students and quality of their work” is absolutely true.
She is still giving me weaving lessons. Her passion for weaving is not only in her work, it reflects so much of her philosophy of life. There are a lot of parallels between weaving and humanity.
I would like to share some of Ingrid’s wisdom:
“My weaving is very traditional. It takes time and is not easy. You need to learn the traditional way first. Make your foundation; then you can build up your own way on top of that. Don’t look for the easy way out.”
“Take care of all the threads on the back of your weaving, even though no one can see them.”
“Take your time weaving. Do not hurry. Weaving is meant to take time. That’s why people are still weaving from thousands of years ago.”
What a great teacher she is.
We always look into each others eyes and say “Have a good life” before I leave her room. I look forward to learning more from Ingrid on my next visit.