Union Democrat staff


To the editor:

I am writing in response to a letter by David Wynne that was printed in the Oct. 12 edition advising readers to "to run like hell" from a government-run health insurance plan.

Dave, I think your position against government health insurance is a bit hypocritical, considering that you have had the benefit of government-paid health insurance for the great majority of your working years and on through retirement. You, personally, haven't run all that far.

Seems like what your are really saying to all the uninsured folks is: "The government covers my medical care, but I'm not in favor of you getting any government coverage."

There are more that 45 million people in this country with no health insurance, either because they can't afford it or they have been denied coverage by insurance companies.

Over half of the bankruptcies in this country are caused by health expenses. A person goes bankrupt in this country due to medical expenses at the rate of more than one each minute. Each year 700,000 Americans go into bankruptcy each because of medical bills.

The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. 37th, behind most of the industrialized countries, all of which have government run health care.

Clearly, the for profit-based health-care system we have in this country is in need of some kind of reform. Hopefully those of us who do enjoy the benefit of government-funded health care will be considerate enough to support it for others.

Chuck Holland


Dark blue Dem

To the editor:

The column by Jim Hightower in the Oct. 9 Union Democrat evokes another letter to the editor. While no champion of the Republican extreme right, Hightower is not hesitant to question the shortcomings of Democrats of whatever hue.

He is especially critical of Senator Max Baucus being assigned to head the committee assigned to work out a health care reform measure, and the kind of committee it was - finance rather than the obviously appropriate health care.

Without insider knowledge of how legislators are chosen to lead committees, it is difficult to assign blame. It seems that we should presume Hightower has some access to that "insider information," as he notes that "President Obama entrusted Baucus with the heavy responsibility of shepherding health care reform through the upper chamber."

Hightower sees that as a miscalculation on the part of Obama, and no doubt rightfully so, when we look at the political orientation of Baucus.

Hightower characterizes him as a "blue dog Democrat," and not a light blue one, but rather a real dark one somewhat close to the Republicans.

He points out that Baucus lost no time in declaring strong opposition to a single-payer national health care plan. Instead, he wants us to continue putting our trust in the present domination of our health care by insurance and conglomerates and opposes any plan that would jeopardize their profits.

That is understandable, when as Hightower points out, Baucus has received at least $800,000 dollars from them in the last two years, and the stream keeps flowing.

Del Berg


Security disparity

To the editor:

Protecting American lives is a matter of national security. Why are we trying to achieve that goal in two separate ways? In this case, national health care and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our president says he will sign a health care bill only if it does not, "contribute to our national budget deficit." He will sign this multi-billion dollar bill as long as the expenditure is "balanced" by cuts somewhere else, probably multi-billion dollar cuts to what has worked well, Medicare.

With two wars, costing upwards of a trillion dollars, there are no such restraints. The Pentagon does not have to squeeze those monies out of any other expenditure.

Why the disparity when both are subjects of national security - the health and preservation of American lives? Private corporations are attempting to squeeze the life out of us, either through the trillions for war or rationing of health care, spending millions to make sure they retain their stranglehold on our elected representatives and the American people.

Let us not forget the approximately $13 trillion we have committed to "saving our economy." Saving major banks and corporations would read better. But not trillions for national health care.

Achieving only half the "saving of American lives" goal as a national security act is supposed to be better than nothing. If this is the best our president and representatives can do, they belong in the unemployment line, without health care.

Now we know who really runs this great country. Insurance companies will be laughing all the way to the bailed-out banks.

Bert Canepa