Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Public option is much needed

To the editor:

It is laughable to hear the health insurers and their supporters whine about the horror of including a public insurance option in any healthcare reform. These people are guilty of multiple hypocrisies on a grand scale.

First, don’t forget that these are the same geniuses who, a few short years ago, wanted to take your Social Security funds and give them to the sharpies on Wall Street. Imagine how well that would have turned out.

And they’re the same people who loudly claim that the government is incapable of doing anything right. Yet they’re quaking in their boots about the prospect of having to compete with Big Bad Uncle Sam.

Finally, they tell us solemnly that “free-market competition” always produces the best solutions.

Surprise: a new report shows that in most areas of the country, there is no real competition. Even the conservative AMA admits that 94 percent of the country’s insurance markets are “highly concentrated,” and in many states only two companies share a virtual monopoly of the health insurance business. Could this have anything to do with the fact that premiums have gone up over the past six years by more than 87 percent, on average, while profits at 10 of the largest publicly traded health- insurance companies rose 428 percent from 2000 to 2007?

Remember: Private insurance companies make those obscene profits by denying care, not by providing it (more and more, we see healthcare bankruptcies among people who have insurance, not just the 48 million who don’t). A real, robust, public option might help to keep their greed in check. What have we got to lose?

Your legislators need to hear how you feel about this now.

Rob Lewis


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