Saturday, September 19, 2009

My letter to the editor on health care reform

The cartoon you published yesterday depicting a hospital emergency room was misleading and offensive on several counts. It shows a nurse addressing an obvious extra-terrestrial, saying "I'm going to assume, since I can't ask, that you are a U.S. citizen." The caption reads, "Under Obamacare" -- a derisive term adopted by the anti-reform crowd. The implication is that reform measures would somehow change the current system wherein ERs are already prohibited by law from requiring proof of citizenship. That isn't going to change with reform, nor should it. How inefficient would ERs become if they had to send people home to find their birth certificate or passport before treating them? Would this apply even to people who showed up with a massive head injury? Would you like to be that patient yourself? Who would pay to train them in forgery detection? Who would be penalized if a non-citizen slipped through? Etc. But another problem with the cartoon is that nothing in any reform measure would change the delivery of health care. All it would do is add another affordable insurance provider to the mix, that could cover those for whom premiums are currently out of reach. That's it. No death panels, no abortion funding, no illegal aliens on the plan -- just another, publicly-funded insurer, kind of like we have public schools that compete with private schools. What is so scary about that?

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