YOUR VIEWS | Wanted: Leadership and Solutions

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To the editor:

I wonder why Sanford D. Horn (Obama-Care Makes America Sick, July 30) took so many words and so much space to say our healthcare and health insurance systems are fine and lets leave them the way they are. He offered only criticism of proposed legislation, but no alternatives or solutions. Anyone can find things to like or dislike about the legislation, but just saying no does not cut it. Maybe the legislation is not perfect, but there is general agreement that there are problems that need solving. You would not know it from Mr. Horns letter except for a brief acknowledgement that there should be affordable health care.

Mr. Horn states foreigners are coming to the United States for treatment, but I would be curious as to whether they outnumber Americans taking medical vacations to countries like India for comparable but less expensive treatment. Mr. Horn states that drug companies are entitled to their profits. They are, but maybe they should have longer patent periods so expected revenue over time would become higher and in return reduce the charge for a prescription.

Mr. Horn states that insurance companies are entitled to the profit motive. I agree, but there should be better service and more competition for the hard-earned dollars they receive from their policy holders.

And Mr. Horn states that Congress should pay attention to those that hired them and do the job they were hired to do. I agree, but for me that means providing thoughtful leadership, ideas and solutions.

America may have the best health care in the world, but it is not perfect. What cost should we incur to maintain or improve it? Emergency rooms are overflowing with the uninsured costing everyone money. Fear of lawsuits prompts extra tests (costs) to support defensive medicine. Competition is negligible in the health insurance market keeping premiums high. The tax deduction for employer-provided health insurance costs the treasury a lot of money. Employer-provided health insurance limits job mobility. It also limits competition because most employers only offer a single provider. I would bet there are more problems. Solutions or ideas offered from Mr. Horn: None.
I do not think any of these problems are easy to solve, but solving them will take thought, leadership and most likely some compromise by legislators and the affected industries and businesses. But hey, lets just write to our representatives, demand they read the legislation, and then vote against it. (I am not sure why Mr. Horn would want them to read it; there would be that risk that some might like it after reading it or heaven forbid come up with something better, but why take that chance?) And if you would really rather complain than help solve a problem, go to a town hall meeting and shout down anyone who wants to engage in a civilized discussion.

Steven M. Banashek
Alexandria

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