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Letter: Let’s Do Health Care Reform Piecemeal

I look with some concern at Congress’ attempt to push through health care reform with an attempt to curb debate as if there were things to hide. The idea of having senators and representatives vote on thousand plus page health care bills with apparently very few even reading them (including the president) makes a mockery of the democratic process and threaten to lower Congress to the level of the New York State Legislature.

I believe Congress does its best work when it is bipartisan, is pragmatic and eschews ideology. What is going on now meets none of these hurdles. From what I read we are getting a tremendously expensive mish-mash that caters to special interests (like the trial lawyers), creates new and expensive bureaucracies and is based on almost delusional assumptions that billions will be saved on Medicare, hospitals and doctors’ fees to cover the cost of this trillion dollar-plus plan.

I feel there are those politicians who really want socialized medicine and what is being proposed is certainly a step in that direction. I have had an uncle die in Europe waiting for an operation under a socialized system. Is this what we are going to end up with? I am a senior citizen and does this mean some uncaring bureaucrat will decide I have lived long enough and it is more efficient that I get no more health care?

To put it more simply, if there are 46 million people without health care coverage, it means that there are 260 million who are covered and most seem to be pretty satisfied. Of these 46 million how many really can afford to have health insurance and choose not to? How many are illegal aliens? In effect, Congress wants to throw out the baby with the bath water in the rush to “reform” health care.

My suggestion is to attack health care problems piecemeal. First see if there really are savings in Medicare and Medicaid that can be taken without depriving senior citizens and the poor of this coverage. How about really investigating states like New York who literally waste billions through Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Is Medicare/Medicaid operating so efficiently? I don’t think so.

Instead of demonizing the insurance industry, take a good and objective look where additional regulation might work. Also, forget the idea of a government-run insurance plan which will most likely drive private companies out of business and saddle the country with the usual bloated bureaucracy and inefficiently run operation that will be kept afloat by more and more tax dollars.

If Congress really is interested in saving money, how about tort reform in regard to malpractice lawsuits (something the president seems to avoid mentioning). I realize that you will have to buck the trial lawyers lobby but doctor and hospital expenses will come down while avoiding the need for medical overtesting that is done merely to try to avoid these lawsuits. These are a few of my ideas.

Thank you for your attention to my letter.

John Frangos

(Editor’s Note: This letter was sent to Senator Charles E. Schumer and to the Manhasset Press for publication.)