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Weighing in

A weekly look at reader comments and reactions to the news

This week’s column examines reader reaction to the average 17 percent rate increase announced by Regence BlueShield, one of several private health insurers to impose double-digit rate increases recently. Spokesman- Review Associate Editor Gary Crooks, in the newspaper’s A Matter of Opinion blog, suggests it’s another indication that health care costs in America are out of control and notes facetiously, “Hey, no problem. We’re all getting 17 percent pay increases, right?” Here’s a sampling of the debate that ensued. You can see the full postings at www.

JeanieS: Oh that just makes great sense. It boggles the brain that as our salaries go DOWN and our 401(k)s disappear into a black hole, that companies we NEED will raise their rates – on an average of 17 percent.

RathdrumBob: At some point, we are going to have to go to a single-payer health insurance plan, like the rest of the industrialized world. We need to bite the bullet and get to it now.

Gary D Rhodes: Single-payer makes as much sense as anything else that the federal government has done lately. One reason insurance rates are going up so fast is to cover the government’s failure to pay full price. ER visits, Medicare and Medicaid patients are subsidized by the private sector. When the private sector is gone, so will this cash propping up the health care system.

Gary Crooks: So you want more spending on Medicaid and Medicare? About $1.2 trillion in government subsidies ensures that employers will offer their workers coverage. … Even with the subsidy, more and more employers are dropping that benefit.

Gary D Rhodes: Show me where in the Constitution it says the federal government should provide health care for every person in this country.

Gary Crooks: Show me where in the Constitution (it says) that we should cover the health care of veterans of war or the elderly.

spokelooneh: “To promote the general welfare …” WHAT is more exacting in defining “the general welfare” than providing health care, without which the citizenry in general certainly cannot have LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Lewis Henderson: It is not government’s job to provide health care to anyone! Government is already too big. Do you really want them running this too? … Look at the wages your public officials make. Do you really think the cost they set will be in the range you can afford? Not on your life.

spokelooneh: In every other civilized, Westernized country, the government has a substantial role in health care, and what is the result? HALF the cost of the U.S. FAR better health care outcomes.