LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Pondering medical-insurance reform

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I have often wondered how many of those writing about their unhappiness over the medical-insurance reforms (aka "health-care reforms") have ever asked or answered the following questions.

Is providing medical care a moral obligation of society, especially one proclaiming concern for the welfare or happiness of its citizens, much less one proclaiming the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?"

Is providing medical care subject to the rules (whatever they might be) of free- market economic theory? If a citizen (or legal resident) has no medical insurance, is there a moral obligation for society to provide medical care for such a person? If a non-legal inhabitant becomes sick, is it the obligation of a moral society to care for such people or should we just ignore them?

For guidance on the latter, refer to the Good Samaritan story in the New Testament.

When an individual has no medical insurance and the individual needs medical care, how should that medical care be paid for? Is there any other way than by taxes? (Should we consider reviving debtors' prisons?)

Is it suitable to view the provision of medical care as a business subject to a principle of profit?

Let me now shift the subject slightly and ask the readers of this letter if they are aware of the medical insurance that is enjoyed by our federal government employees known as the Federal Employees Health Plan. If not, look up FEHP on Google.

How many are aware that this plan provides federal government employees with the opportunity to purchase medical insurance through private insurers operating in the state of residence of the employee, and that the insurer cannot refuse insurance based on pre-existing conditions and that the premiums (which ranged from $250 to $1,250 per month) are about 70 percent to 75 percent subsidized by the taxpayers?

Should citizens not enjoy medical insurance plans that are the same as those enjoyed by those in the government that we elect and whose salaries we pay through our taxes?

Finally, I suggest anyone who doesn't want to buy medical insurance, sign a pledge to not put any demands on the medical system for which he or she cannot pay at the time of use.

Medical insurance functions just as does fire insurance, auto insurance and other forms of insurance. It acknowledges there is safety in numbers.

Dick Swenson

Walla Walla

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