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Letters to the editor

August 22, 2009

Reforming health care is a matter of national pride



To the editor:

The status quo will not do.

Do we Americans really love our health care system and think it is the best in the world, the way politicians and protesters claim? The latter (world's finest) is "a mistaken maybe" and the former (love it) is "a really doubtful."

We love the idea of high-tech medicine, but hope we never need it. And since we recklessly disregard preventive measures until we become ill, we are the main cause of poor international statistics.

OK, maybe we really do love our system, but we use it improperly. In fact, 16 percent of us only get to use it under dire circumstances and with scarce out-of-pocket payments. Give me a break. Those that make the hyperbolic claims are either intoxicated on baloney or employed by the medical-industrial complex.

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We are apprehensive about the future of our health care system. We do not want it to become worse, less accessible or more expensive. We mistrust socialized medicine and are terrorized at the thought of mounting federal deficits. That makes us easy victims for fear mongering. That's what I see clouding the current debate. Fearful multitudes led by lobbyists.

But we are a compassionate nation and would prefer to see everyone covered by health insurance. We abhor stories of waiting until it's too late, overcrowding in the ER and loss of coverage due to corporate greed. Big-spirited America always accomplishes its toughest responsibilities.

I read a Bible that tells me it's morally proper to share with and provide for the less fortunate. If you read only letters to The Herald-Mail by opponents of health reform, you might become a traitor to your own finest nature.

We can establish a quality health care system covering every citizen. One that provides all of the necessary primary and preventive services. We need to step up to the plate. The French can do it at half the per-capita cost and statistically knock our socks off. The French health system enjoys the world's highest satisfaction. What are we waiting for - the second coming of FDR?

We can beat those French. It's a matter of national pride. We simply cannot leave the American health care system to spiral downward while costs escalate. The U.S. needs reform with a public option. Period.

M. Douglas Becker, M.D.
Hagerstown




Media needs to report the facts on health care reform



To the editor:

I'm an ordinary citizen who was educated to believe that my responsibility within a democracy was to do my best to learn about the issues of the day so that I could make informed decisions that my representatives could "represent" in Congress.

I find my "job" severely compromised when the media continually emphasizes the extreme points of view while, from my perspective, the fact apparently is that a vast majority of citizens want health care reform. Such pointed emphasis on "newsworthiness" in contrast to the statistical facts only undermines the citizen's job to become informed, not to mention the congressman's decision-making ability.

But where can we turn for reality-based information? I want to be informed about the various issues that need to be considered in my decision-making process. However, to face this "elephant in the room," we need facts, not polemics or emphasis on sensationalism. It is obvious that we cannot rely on the (for-profit) insurance companies or the radical fringe (who appears to be adept at fear tactics based on fantasy. So where is this unbiased information to be found?

Give me the facts and I will give you my considered opinion. As a teacher, I am intuitively driven to believe health care is as much a right for the citizenry as universal education - that medical care/coverage is a responsibility and a prerequisite for a democratic community. But I want to be factually supported in my belief. I feel that is the job of the media. Then, maybe, Congress will be brave enough to listen to its informed citizens.

Ann Matheson
Middletown, Md.




Representatives need to know there is life past Frederick County



To the editor:

Where do our federal taxes go?

Take a drive to Frederick County to see facilities that used to be in Washington County.

We lose a military base while new military facilities are being built or enlarged in West Virginia, just across the Potomac River.

In Franklin County, Pa., a military base to be closed a few years back is now quite busy.

It is time for our congressman and senators to know there is life past Frederick County and we pay taxes, too.

Jacques G. Hager
Hagerstown




High schools, colleges should have VFW magazine issue



To the editor:

This month's issue of Veterans of Foreign Wars magazine should be in every high school and college in the United States.

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