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Letter: An Academic Physician’s Salaried, So No Vested Interest, Opinion on Health Care Debate

Two-thirds of health care costs are related to unhealthy behaviors: smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyles, promiscuous sex, substance abuse, etc. The main emphasis for improvements in health care needs to be prevention of these behaviors. This will save money and lives. The elimination of Medicaid/Medicare fraud and elimination of unjust medical lawsuits and outrageously high malpractice premiums will also bring about major savings. This will result largely through reduction of defensive medical tests and procedures (inappropriate extra tests performed to create the illusion that all precautions, however unreasonable, have been taken).

Leave most of the rest alone, it works pretty well. Keep the government out of health care expansion. The money saved from the above measures can help fund the rest of the program, which does not need major reform. It is not true that the uninsured cannot get health care in this country. Those who want it can get enrolled in sliding scale health clinics, sometimes for less than the price of a pack of cigarettes. Also, as all voluntarily uninsured individuals know, they can take themselves to an E.R. and get the best medical care in the world while receiving medical financial assistance.

It will be at the peril of the health of our citizens if the government gets more involved in health care than it already is. It is a wonder that Medicare/Medicaid works as well as it currently does, but the cost is unsustainable. Expanding it will be disastrous because the consequence will have to be rationing of health care and higher taxes. What is needed is reform, not expansion and Obama keeps calling the current plan reform when it is really unsustainable expansion.

When are we going to wake up and make the government accountable to its citizens? Now that we all know about the corruption of special interests, abuse of government contracts, and irresponsible expansion of government, are we willing to do something to stop it?

Yes, the private sector has also betrayed us. The difference is that corporate corruption can be controlled by responsible, honest government regulation. Also, participation in corporate business is not compulsory, as are taxes and laws. Taxes are a great thing when we have good, honest government efficiently and cost effectively providing that which we cannot do on our own. Given what is currently going on, much of our taxation and the proposed increases (however disguised) is thievery.

Whatever your view or political affiliation, please become informed and act now by notifying your representatives. Our vote is the only weapon we have—and what a privilege that is! Make democracy work right. All of the opinions and rhetoric are useless without definitive action.

To contact your representatives with your opinion: www.senate.gov, The top red line has senators as the first choice, click on it, then choose your state to find the contacts for your two state senators.

 www.house.gov: The webpage allows you to find contacts for your representatives by ZIP code. Just to the right, you can get their websites (A-Z) and committees (A-Z).

Remember, they depend upon our votes and are our representatives.

Just one example of government management: A typical example of government management can be appreciated in the history of Amtrak. It was created 38 years ago when the federal government nationalized rail lines as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. With an original $340 million investment of our tax money, it was projected to be solvent and profitable within three years. To date, we have invested more than $30 billion of our hard earned tax dollars and Amtrack is still one of the least efficient rail systems in the developed world.

Melinda McVicar, M.D.