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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions February 26, 2015

5/2/2012 9:55:00 PM
Letter: Obama's plan can eliminate 'leeches'

EDITOR: In the April 6 edition of The Daily Courier, Daniel Hart's letter called for a crackdown on "leeches" who "...suck the life out of others..." He says they demand to be taken care of and that "it's too easy for many to work the system."

Mr. Hart's description is an accurate picture of the millions of American citizens who "work" our current health care system. They don't purchase insurance; they use hospital emergency rooms, hospital doctors, and free clinics; and, they pay not a penny for all of this, even if they can afford at least a portion of the costs. However, someone pays: you and me.

This is the core of the debate over the individual mandate in President Obama's healthcare plan. With it, everyone who uses the healthcare system pays whatever they can. Without it, you and I pay for them through increased taxes and higher insurance premiums. With Obamacare people who can pay are forced to pay whatever they can afford. Without Obamacare, you and I are forced to pay for those people who can pay but don't want to.

Which option do you choose?

Ron Woerner


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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, May 07, 2012
Article comment by: M D

@hokas. I just couldn't let your last comment go unchallenged. The SSA trust fund is not broke. If nothing is done, it will be able to pay as promised until 2033. It did pay out more than it took in in the form of taxes in 2011 , but interest earned more than made up for the deficiency and will until 2020 when then the interest earned will not make up for the shortfall. Then they will start going into their assets until 2033. Minor tweaking of age eligibility and increasing of the ceiling for contributors exceeding 109,000 dollars annually would go a long way to insure our kids and grand kids would still receive this benefit as would those business that depend on the spending power it affords. Also Al Gore's " lockbox" would have prevented GOP leaders from raiding .

Posted: Monday, May 07, 2012
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

@ M D:

You are right, my mistake. I meant, as you surmised, Social Security not SSI or Supplemental Security Income. SSI at one time meant Social Security Insurance. I am out of touch with all the government hand outs.

Seeing as how there is no money in the Social Security Trust Fund because it has been spent by our government officials. I would be more inclined to trust the wall street traders. Although one does not have to invest directly in securities. A diversified mutual fund or even a CD would be acceptable investments. It would be, after all, YOUR money. You may want to look at the financial section of a large newspaper. Usually in the back you will find a listing of thousands of corporations that are listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ. 99% of the companies are being successfully run, inspite of our government. You of course, are welcome to feel otherwise.

Posted: Monday, May 07, 2012
Article comment by: M D

@ Hokas
SSI is not the same program as social security retirement and is funded differently, not from the social security trust fund. It is an entitlement program, but a much needed one in that it benefits those who have paid none or very little into the trust fund. This would include those developmentally disabled who may never have had the ability to work and support themselves. IMHO privatizing social security would be a give away to wall street traders.. I think most people would have more faith in the government than the wall street churners.

Posted: Saturday, May 05, 2012
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

@ M D:

You are correct. However, SSI as a "contract" (usually a contract is between two willing parties), it has been badly mismanaged. So, effectively, it is an entitlement. Privatizing it would have many advantages, one of which is, it would be YOUR money to do with what you like. The current system could be salvaged, and probably will be, using your suggestions. Two small problems. Most people don't want to make any sacrifices and the politicians are too worried about losing their jobs. As I have said, I could be very popular if I gave away money.

In much the same way, Medicare has been mismanaged.

Posted: Saturday, May 05, 2012
Article comment by: The Rev

To all those requesting the Utopia, my hope is that you be granted 50 and more years from when America adopts a single payer health trust. I wish you a long and, if you are correct, comfortable life. The rest is noise.

Posted: Saturday, May 05, 2012
Article comment by: M D

Hocas. S.s. and Medicare are not entitlement programs, they are contacts. I paid into them my whole working life with the expectation that I would have them later. I have no reservations about raising the retirement age because people are living longer, but, just as the generation before paid into them for my benefit, I want to pay into them for the next. There are things that can and should be done to insure those popular programs continue. Substantially raising the annual income limit for contributions, raising qualifying ages are 2 solutions. There may be others. Privatizing social security and voucherizing medicare would jeopardize social security and virtually spell the end of Medicare. Many social security dollars are spent in the local economy and it could be devastating for local businesses if that went away. We can insure both programs survive if we do what is necessary to preserve them.

Posted: Saturday, May 05, 2012
Article comment by: Rita Sicker

Who is going to pay for the drug addicts' treatment??

Posted: Friday, May 04, 2012
Article comment by: We're Doomed

I don't particularly like most of Obama's healthcare plan, however it is better than doing nothing. I have yet to hear from republicans how they would reform healthcare to make it more affordable. The only thing I have heard from them is Tort reform and that only counts for a small portion of the overall cost. Please provide us with a better option or stop whining about how bad this plan is.

Posted: Friday, May 04, 2012
Article comment by: T. Jefferson

obama's plan is in the supreme court system being torn apart for a good reason!
It is a corrupt plan that violates every American citizen.
It will not fly here in America, but maybe Kenya.
Good luck in litle o.

Posted: Friday, May 04, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee

Almost 18 million people are receiving SSI of which they have never paid into. They are the retarded and handicapped and children and spouses of workers who did.
It is supposedly not an inheritable asset, but they inherit it. The government is a scam.
Do not obey!~

Posted: Friday, May 04, 2012
Article comment by: pablo noname

Ronnie, you are wrong! Under Obamacare, the Government has access to all of your finances and they will take what they want. We don't need more people taking stuff for free (at my expense), we need people to take personal responsibility for themselves. No more EBT, no more section 8 housing, no more welfare (corporate or individual), no more free anything plain and simple.

Posted: Friday, May 04, 2012
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

@ M D:

As they are currently set up, Medicare and Social Security are entitlements. This is because recipients receive far more in benefits than they paid in. Either the payroll taxes must be increased or the benefits cut in order to make up the deficits these programs are running. People are living longer, there are more health care benefits and options available and there are fewer and fewer people paying into the programs.

If I was giving money away I would be "wildly popular" too!

Posted: Friday, May 04, 2012
Article comment by: M D

@Blunt. Medicare and social security are not entitlement programs. The beneficiaries have paid into them for years. The trust fund for s.s. has been raided by our congress and needs to be repaid. Both programs are wildly popular but are being attacked by The right wing of the republican party. Obamacare has been a targeted by the industries that profit from not reforming health care, and they have deep pockets that enable them distort and misinform. One of the reasons for trying to reform it is it was unsustainable before the healthcare reform was signed into law. Although the GAO does maintain that Obamacare will save money and insure more people, reform that would eliminate private insurers and move us to a single payer system would save much more, but won't happen because the insurance company lobbyists wield too much power and money in the halls of congress.

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Article comment by: Kenny H

Why are most of you missing the LARGE elephant in the room? The biggest single problem with healthcare is the wide distribution of every man made drug in existence, even when they are needed. The cost of these drugs is a big reason why most people don't go to or can't afford to pay for the doctor. Has no one else noticed how much drug costs have skyrocketed since the 90's when big Pharma was allowed to advertise? Reduce the need (and costs) for meds and reduce the liability costs that are passed on to you and me, and you eliminate 98% of the Obamacare supporters arguments. I dare you to prove me wrong.

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Article comment by: Jill Dosh

One of those little details we didn't need to know about (Pelosi) is the government will have direct access to your bank account to deduct your premium. It's a complete overreach of the Federal Governments role in our everyday lives, and control over your healthcare! If you have been in need of care over the past few years you already notice the little 'gotchas'. Many more will kick in AFTER this years election (by design).
Certainly we are too smart to turn over life and death healthcare decisions to a bunch of politicians!!

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Article comment by: Blunt Truth

Michelle: There is a reason 2/3rd's of Americans (see virtually any poll) now no longer support Obamacare. It has to do with the COST and government control both of which I notice you conveniently ignore. I'll ignore the government control part. Just know that not all of us actually want to give up control of our personal health care decisions. As for ignoring the cost, that makes you more honest than Obama, he doesn't ignore it, he is dishonest about it. People don't want the cost added to the debt every year (you don't have to be very smart to see that is unsustainable-- Medicare and Social Security are already well on their way to going broke, now add another huge entitlement program), and they sure don't want the cost added to their taxes every year.

PS: To state the obvious, 2/3rds means it is not only Republicans that have a problem with it.

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Article comment by: Sal Addin

The US government is not the government of the people, by the people or for the people. It NEVER has been. That is ONE reason when I go to the emergency room, I do not give my name.
I give NO information to the admittance staff AT ALL. I speak Spanish and French often to my imaginary 9 ft rabbit.
I am treated and on my way and let the foolish Taxpayers pay. This is how the system is forced to change.

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Article comment by: Ted's Perspective

Medical Care is not a part of a natural economic environment. Thus, it should be a government resource, that all citizens have access too, with a limited preventive care to non-citizens. Why limited preventive care for non-citizens, because it keeps them from ending up in ER with extremely more expensive care and the rest of us being liable for the cost often. Try not to faint, but other parts of industrial world function in just such away.

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Article comment by: Abe L.

I find the Letter funny in that it talks about leeches in society, ignoring the root of the problem.
Lets start by eliminating the biggest leech in the November election.
Then, lets also clean the leeches out of the nations capitol!
Then, we can establish a democracy rather than a socialist government system. A democracy that our founding fathers established and wrote into the constitution.

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Article comment by: Michael Phillips

Obamacare is not socialized medicine. It relies on private doctors, private hospitals and clinics, private for profit insurers. It does set standards that insurance companies need to comply with so as not to victimize policyholders. Things such as not allowing insurance cos. to cancel when you get sick, to disallow sick newborns from being excluded citing preexisting conditions. Things such as not allowing lifetime dollar limits. Also it requires insurers to pay out at least 80 % of premiums collected in medical payments. These provisions will be negated if Obamacare is struck down.

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

The problem in America is the hospital costs are too high. They are WAY higher than in Canada, Mexico, England, Germany. Heck my friend who is an American and lives near Puerto Vallarta buys health insurance for $1000 a YEAR. And it covers about everything. He can't afford health insurance here (if he could get it). If you don't have a job that provides health insurance here you're toast. Omambacare isn't going to do jack about that.

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Article comment by: Mr Bojangels

obamascare is not as clear cut as you are trying to perceive it to people.
obamascare takes away from people alot more than it gives. It is a dud of a plan.
Read the provisions, ALL the provisions of this "plan" it is so obsurd many doctors have said they will quit their practice if it ever becomes passed. It is unconstitutional, it is so wrong that members of congress do not want it for their own.

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Article comment by: M D

Being a doctor I've seen this thing from every side. The purpose of Obamacare's mandate is to force healthy people to buy insurance to spread the risk around, or else pay a fine. That may help, it may not. Ron Woerner thinks it will. I don't think it will help much. What it doesn't address is the outrageous bills that hospitals send to the uninsured nor the outrageous prices the uninsured get for drugs. What happens now is the uninsured throw the bill in the garbage because it's so outrageous. And they just don't take the drugs at all. The only part of Obamacare I like is making insurance companies take everyone. They don't like that part. I think the government will mess this up big time, like everything else. I think the healthy still don't buy insurance and they'll figure out how to avoid the tax. People always find a way to outsmart the government. That's why I think Obamacare is not the solution to the problem. Obama is a pawn of the drug companies, and the hospitals. The insurance companies are against it.

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Article comment by: The Rev

The bourgeoisie-rich-1%-whatever are said to receive dramatically advanced medical care than we of the proletariat. Under PPACA (Obamacare) are the commoners now entitled to these gold plated remedies regardless of an ability to pay?

What is equity in medical treatment?

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Article comment by: michelle star

Despite a continued call for repeal by Republicans, Americans of all ages have gained significantly.

From free preventive care and lower prescription costs for seniors to expanded coverage for young adults, health reform is only beginning to show the fruits of the many consumer protections included in the law.

With continued implementation, the nightmare of being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition will end for all Americans. Consumers will finally be in control of their health care, not the private insurance companies whose primary motivation is profit.

Unfortunately, today's polarized political conversation too often overshadows health reform's positive story.

Consider people on Medicare. Thanks to health reform, 32.5 million seniors and people with disabilities took advantage of lifesaving preventive services in 2011, including mammograms and colonoscopies, which are now free of charge.

People in Medicare who've hit the dreaded gap in prescription drug coverage known as the "donut hole" saved, on average, $635 on medications over the past two years. That's a total of $3.2 billion in savings nationwide. More than 320,000 Californians have already benefitted from this policy. The donut hole will be completely closed by 2020.

Health reform also ensures that people under 65 with private insurance have access to preventive services at no cost. More than 54 million Americans, already have this coverage because of the new law.

Health reform is now making coverage available to millions of young adults -- previously the most uninsured group in America. They often had no coverage because they didn't have access through a college plan or an employer, particularly in this tough economy.

The law allows people up to age 26 to obtain coverage on their parent's plan. More than 2.5 million young adults nationwide now have health insurance in this way.

Health reform is opening up access to health insurance for people who had been denied at the whim of private insurers. ... (word limit exceeded)

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