Letter writer is incorrect on health care facts


As a long-ago naval officer, I respect anyone, like Capt. Edward Drum, who has managed to reach his elevated rank. That said, his June 21 letter contained incorrect statements that need to be corrected.

“MSAs were banned by Obama …” In fact, MSAs were created during a Bush Administration as a pilot program which was replaced with Health Savings Accounts — HSAs — in 2005, long before Obama took office. MSAs and HSAs are essentially the same with some minor adjustments.

“State Insurance commissioners refused to allow MSAs into the state of Washington …” This is incorrect, MSAs were just as valid in Washington as in most other parts of the country.

“… 50 percent of those insured are not legal Americans.” This one is more difficult to evaluate. It turns on what Drum considers “legal” Americans. I have never seen references to anything like 50 percent. In general, non-citizens, by law, are not allowed to receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits though there are a few exceptions — Green card holders who have been residents of the United States for more than five years can get some benefits. Medical emergencies are always covered as are births and certain surgeries.

“… Canadian and British health care systems are fatally flawed …” Residents of those countries do not agree. When surveyed, residents are uniformly satisfied with their health care systems. There are, of course, problems with Canada and the U.K., but when measured via health treatment outcomes are far in advance of the U.S.

“Males, post-menopausal women and nuns should not be required to purchase pregnancy care insurance.” This shows a basic misunderstanding of how insurance pools work. All participants in the pool need to contribute equally to maintain low insurance rates.

Many discrete populations are not likely to require certain kinds of treatment but, nevertheless, should not receive a discount because of their situations. The more classes of people who are removed from the pool, the higher the premium cost for those remaining in the pool.

Finally, Drum’s letter contains an attack on U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, whom I consider one of the best congressmen currently in office.

It is absurd to conflate Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’ with a reference to common sense in general.

Larsen always listens to his constituents and, unlike some current congressmen, regularly holds town halls and respects contrary views.



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