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Do need commitment for national health care PDF Print E-mail

Letter to the Editor:

Every day, it seems, the noise level surrounding the launch of Obamacare in-creases in intensity. There is virtually no one who does not believe that the problem with the law’s website is nothing short of disastrous and threatens the viability of the entire project.

Add to that the controversy over the president’s repeated claims that those existing policies would not be inconvenienced and you have real problems with defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Defending the law, however, is not my primary reason for writing this letter. My aim here is to suggest that we need to place this discussion into some historical context and to remind ourselves why even an imperfect attempt at reforming a dysfunctional health-care system was, and remains, necessary.

For those who may not be aware, or have chosen to forget, the United States, as a nation, spends far more per person on health costs than any other modern country, while simultaneously denying the ability for tens of millions of its citizens to obtain proper care. In this country, if you have the right job, or are old enough, poor enough, or are a military veteran, the system may work well enough. Not so much if you are among the millions without insurance, or with coverage so inadequate and unreliable that bankruptcy is often the solution of choice when confronting unpayable medical bills.

I applaud the attempt this law makes at addressing these issues. I support the law’s goals of inclusiveness and of finding ways to lower overall costs, both as a nation and at the individual level. Certainly there is an urgent

need to reform a corrupt insurance industry that is exclusionary by design. And I?sincerely hope this effort at reform continues and succeeds.

But given the political realities of the day, and the fact that the ACA essentially attempts to graft itself upon the already existing system that has failed millions of citizens, I also have my doubts.

In the long run, I?belive the choice facing this nation will be to either insist upon keeping the privatized, for-profit insurance and delivery model, or join the rest of the world in a commitment to universal coverage and lower cost. In particular, we need to rid ourselves of the notion that somehow government-funded health care is a socialist threat to American values.

Only in the United States, it seems, is such a notion taken seriously, while others around the world have found a variety of ways to accomplish what we seemingly cannot. What is lacking here is the kind of national commitment that most others have been willing to make for generations.

Hopefully, the ACA will survive and lead the way to better choices in the future.

Jeff Laadt

Eagle River

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 1:03 PM


-2 #10 2013-12-09 16:57
Tort reform has already happened in WI and prior to the ACA WI had over 25 insurance carriers yet prices kept going up. Living in this rural area we also have to drive 30, 50, or 80 miles to get care as those in other countries may have to. And for every person you say doesn't like their healthcare in another country I can find one that does as well as finding those right here that dont care for their heathcare. It's a balaning act. Other countries have better preventative care and better rates of mortality and for half the cost. When the #1 cause of bankruptcy in this cuntry is medical bills you know there is a problem.
+13 #9 Jeff Laadt 2013-11-22 14:23
While I have no reason to dispute your story of the unfortunate Canadian family, I honestly feel that it misses the mark as criticism of what I had to say in my letter.

The notorious waiting times in Canadian healthcare are well known. And Canada has become the convenient whipping boy for criticism of national health systems. But Canada's single payer system is only one of many different types of solutions worldwide.

Many of these solutions do not follow the Canadian model, ranging from near-total control of healthcare like the NHS in Britain to a mix of public and private insurance efforts which is the norm in much of Europe.

Admittedly, the ACA does not solve the problem of universal coverage, nor does it do enough to address overall costs within the system. But neither the ACA nor Canada represent the full range of options in the world that actually do go a long way in solving these problems.

Jeff Laadt
-10 #8 2013-11-22 10:27

There is now a single mother of three small children running the farm on her own. Nearly 60% of her income goes to the government in taxes. Over half of that goes to the system that took her husband.

There are problems with the system (even more so after nobamacare). But adopting faulty systems like other countries is not the way to do it.

Here is a question: Do you want to go up there and help this woman raise her kids and keep the farm, or do you want to help those that would rather not do anything and be a drain on society?
-11 #7 2013-11-22 10:23
Last month I was up in Winnipeg visiting a customer. And like every single person I have met in Canada, he hates their healthcare system.

I am surprised by the amount of them that had friends or relatives that died because of their healthcare system. Why? Because of government bureaucracy more than anything.

He told me story about a very close friend of his. He was a husband and a father of three kids and owned a farm. One day he had some pain that would not go away, so he went to the doctor and they ordered an MRI. Three months passed by before he could get in because of government approvals. Six months after onset, he was diagnosed and died 3 weeks later.

Had the cancer been caught in the beginning, he wouldn't have died from it.

-14 #6 2013-11-21 17:48
Yes Jeff, I will recognize your message, but you are talking to a guy who has circumnavigated the globe maybe 10 times in my lifetime and have personal contact with people from around the globe. Your impression is erroneous. As you state, wait times are a real issue. Health care is rationed in the UK. We shouldn't be on the hook for non-residents of this country. yes, our military budget is incredible, but we live in an incredible world. the memories of the cold war, Russian atrocities of the late 1800's and 1900's, fascism, Japanese aggression may be weak in your memory but not mine. Now the Iranians r developing nuclear bombs AND long range missiles and why you ask? Maybe Snowden can tell you the answers.
+10 #5 Jeff Laadt 2013-11-21 11:03
My writing is not about defending either the President or "Obamacare." Neither is it about drinking some liberal Kool-Aid. It is not even about defending the well-known Canadian wait-times for certain procedures.

It is about urging more Americans to look beyond our shores at the dozens of other health systems (French, German, British, Japanese, Australian, etc.) that, in various ways, have addressed the twin issues of universal coverage and cost. Probably most Americans would be impressed by what they might find.

Jeff Laadt
-14 #4 2013-11-21 04:04
shortage of Obgyn doctors. really Jeff?

Knew a friend who had a brother, Canadian citizens, had to drive 80 miles 1 way to get radiation and then had to drive home. Not in a rural area too. How would you like to have to do that?
be careful what you tinker with.
-17 #3 2013-11-20 19:14
My point Jeff is the link clearly provides insight as to the incompetence of the Obama Admin and it's crafting of ACA website and outright lies to the taxpaying public. Yes, you libs are never in favor of any kind of tort reform and frivolous law suits. Stop drinking the purple kool ade.
+12 #2 Jeff Laadt 2013-11-20 14:20
The total impact of medical malpractice claims seems to be fairly small -- perhaps 1.5 to 2 percent of the 2 trillion dollars spent on healthcare overall in this country. I'm all for limiting frivolous lawsuits, but "tort reform" is hardly a major issue in medical cost.

I clicked on your link, but I am not sure what your point is as it relates to my letter.

And, yes, medical treatment in the U.S. is often first-rate; nobody is disputing that. But so is medical care in every other rich industrialized nation. And in the latter case no one is denied care simply for inability to pay (or pretty much any other reason.)

Jeff Laadt
-14 #1 2013-11-20 03:13
Tort reform Jeff and health care costs will come down. Defensive medicine adding to our medical bills.
may be expensive, but it's the best in the world.
check this out:


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