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Cheap Oil: The American Way?

Oil and gasoline prices bring out strong opinions. In more than 200 responses to our Aug. 4 cover story—"The Real Question: Should Oil Be Cheap?"—readers called us "communists" and "leftist ideologues." Others thanked us for the "excellent" article. Most agreed with the story's basic premise: Cheap oil prices lead to greater use of oil, while higher prices stimulate efficiency gains and the development of alternatives. More controversial was the suggestion that putting a floor under the price of energy could make market forces work more effectively by removing volatility and uncertainty. While many readers liked the idea, others saw it as a dangerous "socialist agenda." —John Carey

Oil should be very cheap. Big trucks and SUVs should be taxed heavily. Tax the people who squander all the resources, reward those who conserve. You will see the price of oil go down drastically.

Screen name: John Westcot

Why isn't it better to let the market work through this naturally than to have decisions of supply and demand dictated to us by politicians and pundits?

Screen name: Tom Cover

A floor on oil prices is an irresponsible idea. Please, no more talking about forcing new, high, phony prices that put our own economy at a disadvantage just to help a few new entrepreneurs!

Screen name: Rex

The higher oil is, the better. Why? Because every challenge yields technological progress. At $40 a barrel, no money would flow into new technology, which appears to have become a major source of employment for the world.

Screen name: Nick

The answer to high gasoline prices is simple. Strengthen the dollar, drill for more oil, and put a 100% sales tax on any vehicle that doesn't get at least 30/35 miles per gallon. Cheap oil is the American way, and if you're against cheap oil, you're against America!

Screen name: John Galt

Health Care: A Prescription for Efficiency

"They Know What's In Your Medicine Cabinet" (Special Report, Aug. 4) ignored the benefits that [prescription database] technology brings to consumers.

There is nothing new about consumers authorizing the release of their medical records to insurers. This standard process, in place for decades, enables companies to make decisions about rates and insurability. However, it is slow and costly. Electronic prescription histories dramatically accelerate the application process, while significantly reducing the cost. Now, rather than waiting weeks or months for paper records, insurers can often make decisions the same day the consumer applies for coverage.

Most important, no medical information is ever obtained without the applicant's specific authorization. The authorization must follow the strict requirements specified under federal privacy law.

A technology that makes it easier, faster, and cheaper for an individual to obtain coverage should be celebrated, not vilified.

Mark Franzen

Managing Director

Milliman IntelliScript


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