Letters to the Editor


POSTED: Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Health care fix not necessary

I am very disturbed by all the urgent hype of reforming health care. Why the urgent push to deal with an issue that affects about 12 percent of the nation? And why such a drastic overhaul, versus simply fine-tuning an already working system? Our nation's health care system is not perfect, but if you look at the statistics, we still represent the lowest percentages of deaths by prostate cancer, breast cancer and other diseases, in comparison with countries with government-run health care like Germany and Britain.

Moreover, while most Americans say they are satisfied with our health care system, more than 70 percent of Germans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and Britons say their systems need complete rebuilding.

I also don't buy the rhetoric that the costs for this excessive overhaul will be covered mainly by the money saved from the wasted spending in our current system. Government programs require government spending, which usually requires the American people to fund it. Our government needs to focus on ways to help the 12 percent who can't or aren't taking care of themselves, without punishing the Americans who are able to take care of themselves.

Cora Newman

Reduce size of government

Try to find the logic in proposed solutions to the state deficit as it pertains to state employees. First, in an active hurricane season during an El Nino year it's proposed they raid the hurricane fund to pay employees' salaries and help eliminate a projected deficit. Second, during a deep recession resulting in joblessness, foreclosures and families struggling to financially survive, the Hawaii Government Employees Association proposes a significant increase in the general excise tax in order to maintain state workers' compensation.

The real issue is, during the big-spender years of the Waihee administration, then-Gov. John Waihee and the Legislature increased the size of state government by 25 percent to a size which we cannot economically sustain in good economic times or in bad. The yearly fund-raiding strategies, clever accounting changes to manipulate cash-flow and balance sheets, and increases in taxes are simply stop-gap measures which do not solve the problem. The problem will only be solved by a systematic and thoughtful reduction in the size of state government to a level we can economically sustain.

Peter Bianchi
Waialae Nui

Watch expenses in health care

President Barack Obama claims there is $200 billion of waste and fraud in Medicare that can be transferred to pay for universal health care. Shouldn't we begin now to collect these funds and maybe prosecute some of these crooks or do we wait until health care is passed? Since Medicare is going broke we should save this money as a reserve.

All working people pay into Medicare and retirees pay for part B and some also pay for the drug plan. Since only those over 65 years of age receive benefits why is Medicare going bankrupt? Will national health care head down the same road only at a much larger scale?

When the cost of health care becomes greater than insurance premiums we would have to increase taxes, increase premiums, increase federal borrowing or reduce payments to doctors and hospitals.

Another way is to look at the procedures covered by universal health care and eliminate or reduce some of the most expensive especially to patients over 80 or 90 years old. Obama said he would not do this but what about another president 10 or 20 years from now facing a massive deficit threatening to bankrupt the country?

Warren Fukushima
Pearl City





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