Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Take politics out of health care

How do we create a healthy economy if we have an unhealthy population? Everyone seems to agree that there needs to be health care reform, so just do it! Why is Congress allowed to go on a four-week vacation now?

I am a 2.6-year breast cancer survivor. Fortunately, I had insurance coverage to take care of the $400,000 cost of my treatment. I empathize with everyone who lacks coverage because they are unable to afford the premiums. The private insurance companies need to become less profit-oriented.

Stop listening to the lobbyists who only have monetary interests at heart. Forget the politics! Lead as the constituents of your district, rich or poor, expect of you. “;Politicking”; is not the best solution to this never-ending problem of exorbitant unaffordable medical insurance premiums and uninsured Americans.

Corinne Kobatake



Health is about care not about insurance

As a small business owner, I am deeply concerned about the debate going on in Washington, D.C. Washington doesn't seem to even want to hear about health care. All they talk about incessantly is health insurance. We don't need insurance, we need care. Personally, I believe a single-payer plan makes the most sense, but that's not even on the table. There has to be at least a government option. The cost of health insurance in this country is breaking the backs of small businesses, traditionally the greatest creators of jobs.

I have lived in Europe and received treatment under the French National Health Insurance. All the stories the Republicans tell about long waits, lack of choice, etc., are simply not true. The special interest groups are trying to scare people about a public option. The fact that they have to resort to lies to pitch their appeal tells me all I need to know. Congress needs to pass this now. The longer they stall, the more time special interests have to spread the lies and defeat this. Is anybody in Washington paying attention?

Jim Doyle



Health insurance woes hurt isle physicians

Thank you for Bob Takata's commentary (”;Health insurers must offer more transparency,”; Star-Bulletin, July 10).

Though we may not think of them this way, our physicians are precious assets. At an alarming rate, particularly on the neighbor islands, these assets are disappearing.

What to do? To keep physicians here in our communities, we must address one of the biggest problems they face: unscrupulous insurance companies.

Our state's recent experiment with for-profit, mainland-based health insurance companies is a case in point. With the admirable intention of introducing some positive market forces into our Medicaid morass, the government handed our most vulnerable population, our “;blind, aged and disabled,”; over to companies with inadequate physician providers and histories of payment problems.

The result is as expected. Participating doctors' offices must fight tooth and nail to receive the already inadequate payments. Many physicians would not accept the new coverage at all, leaving patients scrambling to find care.

Those of us with better insurance coverage may see this as “;someone else's problem.”; However, the money going to these companies is our money, from state and federal taxes. And these physicians, hospitals and pharmacies being denied payments are our physicians, hospitals and pharmacies. If we continue to ignore this situation, we may all come to know the misery of needing a physician that has long since relocated to a place where he or she is allowed to spend more time providing care and less time fighting insurance companies.

Joseph M. Zobian, M.D.



Furloughs would be the better plan

In response to John Witeck's letter (”;Governor must dump fear factor,”; Star-Bulletin, July 25), Gov. Linda Lingle gave the union leaders a choice. Take a few days off each month or lay off workers to meet the deficit that the state faces over 2009-10.

Witeck doesn't address the option of the union leaders choosing to take the two days off a month and save jobs over giving into the layoffs. Why? Because Randy Perreira, executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, would have to meet the payroll deduction that those two days equal and reduce his $180,000 annual salary.

Mr. Witeck goes on to suggest that we should raise the general excise tax, which he states “;would share the burden more equitably.”; That is a huge slam to the private sector.

The private sector is laying people off in record numbers and stores are closing, some of them owned by local entrepreneurs who have lost everything they own.

Steven Norstrom





How to write us

        The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (~175 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

Letter form: Online form, click here
        E-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
        Fax: (808) 529-4750
        Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210,  Honolulu, HI 96813