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Letters to the Editor

Sat., May 5, 2012

Mandate is a start

While I agree that we need to have national health care with minimum coverage for all, until we get a single-payer system the only way that we can affordably cover everyone, including those with pre-existing conditions, is to make participation mandatory.

It is nonsensical to compare the mandate to buy health insurance to buying everyone a car. Under the current system, we already pay for everyone else’s health care, such as through cost-shifting, where everyone pays higher costs to cover those who can’t pay, and through government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. Additionally, it costs a lot more to pay for uncovered individuals in an emergency room where we must provide care than for prevention.

I don’t believe that “forcing” people to buy health insurance will turn into the government making us buy other items. I already have to pay for other people’s health care. I don’t have to buy their broccoli, their transportation, etc. It is embarrassing to be the richest country in the world, spending more than twice as much as any other country on health care, only to have outcomes that are 37th in the world. We have to start somewhere.

Pauline Soehren


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