Letters to the Editor -- November 27, 2009

Reader: Health care reform, Ms. Ryan?

To say that the health care reform debate started with President Theodore Roosevelt, a Progressive Party candidate in 1912, because it was the 11th issue of one of the items on the platform plank of a third-party candidate, is a bit of a stretch. I could find no evidence that it was ever seriously debated in the campaign and, since he lost the election, I assume that was the end of it. Hardly a national debate.

The supporters of today’s “health care reform proposals” would have you believe that with the government plan no one will be denied coverage. I was denied coverage under the government run long-term care plan but covered after appeal. People are denied procedures by the government run Medicare all of the time. Often, coverage denied by the insurance companies is based on the fact that Medicare does not cover that procedure.

The stated purposes of the reform were to have everyone covered and to lower the cost of health care. Somewhere along the way, health care and health insurance became considered synonymous, which they are not. Even the supporters now admit that everyone will not be covered and, while no premiums have been made public, it is also admitted that the proposed public plan will be more expensive that the existing plans.

Anyone who believes that those with pre-existing conditions can be covered at the same rate as everyone else has no understanding of insurance. You cannot purchase life insurance if you are dying, you can’t insure your car after it is damaged and you can’t insure your home while it is burning. This will drive everyone’s rates higher.

Emergency rooms are used by many as their primary health provider. People go there to be treated for the common cold. Many people who have health insurance put off going for treatment for any number of reasons. I know people who refuse to get colonoscopies, flu shots and mammograms, and the cost has nothing to do with it. I readily agree that improper use of emergency rooms increases the cost of everyone’s insurance premiums, as will forced acceptance of those with pre-existing conditions at standard rates.

In July 2009, President Obama stated that rather than give an elderly woman a needed pacemaker let’s just give her a pain pill. He has proposed cutting payments under Medicare which will certainly drive more doctors away from treating seniors. He has also stated that we spent too much resource on those in the last year of life.

Doctors have agreed that many tests are for CYA, due to the high cost of malpractice suits. To say that the public option will introduce competition is ludicrous. There are many competitors now. The problem is that the state laws will not allow free and fair competition. The reform proposals do not cure that problem.

Effective reform does not have to be complicated and it does not require a 2,000-plus-page bill. Years ago, as an economics major, one thing I learned about supply and demand is that when supply is down and demand is up, costs are up. The current reform proposals are increasing demand and reducing supply. We have a shortage of doctors and nurses, but are we doing anything about it? No, in fact, the president wants to reduce their pay under Medicare and I would assume that would be true under the public option.

Let’s give medical and nursing schools funding so they can finance more students. Let’s give a tax break to doctors who go into primary care. Let’s leave malpractice punishment to the state medical boards instead of untrained juries. Let’s open all states to all insurance competitors. We do not need to cast out the free enterprise system that has lifted us to the highest standard of living in the history of the world.

Walt Berwick

Women’s club donates, thanks many

On Aug. 3, 1925, 18 women came together to form the Women’s Civic Club of Bethany Beach. From the start, we helped provide the Town of Bethany Beach with needed items as basic as benches, water fountains and trash cans for the boardwalk.

The club supported the lifeguards by giving them their uniforms, lifeguard stands and equipment. We held a contest in 1984 to produce the town seal that you see on our town flag today. One of the most outstanding contributions to our town was the beautification of Garfield Parkway under the guidance of Martha Jean and Ed Addy. Our town has always been the utmost concern for our club.

In 2009, with 247 members, we continue to support the town with our donations. On Nov. 12, the club gave out $4,700 in contributions to the Town of Bethany Beach, the South Coastal Library, the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service, and the Fourth of July Parade Committee. Donations were also given to provide phone cards for our troops and Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for needy families.

I want to thank the members of our club for their dues and donations that help to fund our annual giving. In this difficult economic climate, it is wonderful to have the support and generosity of our members.

Suzanne Evans, President
Women’s Civic Club of Bethany Beach