What Ails American Health Insurance?

In response to Gary Becker's story "Make families cough up for medical coverage" (Economic Viewpoint, Sept. 9): The federal government has recently removed most of the tax advantages that we used to have in this country. To strap hard-working people with a further burden seems inconceivable. Also, why can't 34 million individuals in this country, who cannot obtain health insurance be

cause of its cost, get good group health insurance? They should get it for a good price, as do the employees of GM, GE, Chrysler, Ford, and General Mills. It is time, instead of small individuals and businesses taking it in the pocketbook for their health insurance, that we get the same breaks the big companies get.

Thomas E. Barnett, M. D.

Lodi, Calif.

Becker is correct when he states that families, not businesses, should be required to pay for their own health insurance. I do not complain of having all my working life paid in full for my family's health care with no outside help.

What does burn me up is that just about everything I purchase carries a price tag that is elevated to cover the cost of health care for someone else. For example, upon purchasing a new American automobile, $700 is included in the price to cover the cost of health care for the auto worker, who, incidentally, earns much more than the average American worker and could well afford to pay his own way. Yet, I and 50 or 60 million other working or retired Americans, who either have no health insurance or pay for their own health insurance, are called on to pay the auto workers' health insurance. (We even carry the load for their insurance after they retire.) Other businesses have about the same plan, so the above also applies to them.

The Democrats' suggested plan is not the answer. It's just more of a faulty, failed, and unfair system. America must have a national health care plan whereby everyone is insured and everyone pays. It is long overdue.

W. Hoyes

Fort Myers, Fla.

Becker sounds like a case of "I got mine, too bad about you." If the other countries of the so-called civilized Western world can afford to take care of their ailing, why shouldn't we? Don't hang out the "we're broke" sign. We are spending more per capita now for partial coverage than Canada is for full coverage. The American Medical Assn. and the insurance companies like it the way it is and lobby to keep it so. Insurance costs have run away on the inflation charts, and the government has stood by. The lobbyists are doing their job.

W. F. Goessling

Chesterfield, Mo.

Why are Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Gary Becker so eager to have everyone paying higher health care costs? Mandatory insurance, no matter who pays for it, will benefit the insurers far more than it will the insured. The government has no business granting this industry guaranteed trade and unregulated power. Let's see the health-insurance industry cleaned up before we start talking about mandatory insurance.

Janet Montgomery

Cambridge, Mass.

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