Debating the stakes of current care, reform


I am a healthy male (or at least I hope so) living and working in Minneapolis. My primary physician was a rather lackluster man who basically waited for me to suggest things to him about my condition. "Should we maybe do some blood panels and see how my cholesterol is?" would be a typical query of mine.

After suffering a stroke in June 2008, I'd had enough and did a lot of research and chose "one of the best doctors in the Twin Cities." Her credentials included not only traditional medical practices but holistic and alternative methods, and she even began popping up in magazines as one of the "top doctors" in Minnesota.

Well, she is good, but with a couple caveats. First, unless it's an emergency, it takes a good month to get an appointment with her. More worrisome, though, is the fact that I could drop off the face of the Earth before I'd receive any kind of communication about my condition.

Where is the proactive, preventative component of my health care? Why must I continually advocate for my own health? Why does it seem she isn't interested in me? I don't feel like I am unique or alone in feeling that the medical community could do better in following patients better, suggest preventive measures (instead of reactionary ones) and show some interest.


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Recent decisions by large insurance companies display one reason why not declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional is so important. An Aetna executive said the law "has propelled interest in exploring new ways to deliver care."

Indeed, the act has goaded UnitedHealth to provide preventive care without copays, to allow young adults to stay on their parents' policies, to not cancel policies retroactively and to not impose lifetime limits ("Key insurer will keep health law changes," June 12).

Other companies will now have no real alternative but to match at least some of those benefits, but United has not yet extended coverage to children with preexisting conditions, even though it "recognizes" the importance. Why not? It admits that one company can't act alone on such an expensive endeavor.

If the act becomes fully implemented in 2014, all the companies will have no choice. The situation is like that sometimes imposed on all the individuals in a group of kids. They each sense the right thing to do, but are afraid to act first, imagining negative reactions from peers.

Each of the kids is secretly, maybe even unconsciously, waiting for an authority like a parent to "guide" them in the right direction. That's a parallel role the government has with insurance companies, unless the Supreme Court, acting like a self-appointed god, decides to make the parent disappear.


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As we near the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, let's put the decision in some context of recent utterances. Not long ago, Obama attempted to bully and sully the reputation of the Supreme Court by his statements that it would be unprecedented for the court to overturn law passed by a strong majority of Congress.

Unprecedented? No, the court has overturned such decisions many times. Strong majority? No -- remember how Obama bribed Ben Nelson from Nebraska for the last needed Senate vote and tricked Bart Stupak from Michigan for the last needed House vote?

Obama assured the nation that Obamacare would reduce our deficits. Well, recently the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said it would instead add a trillion dollars to our national debt. And on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal's opinion pages disclosed how the pharmaceutical industry was blackmailed by Obama into spending millions to support Obamacare.

What will the Supreme Court decide? Wish that I had a vote.


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Explaining the blow to families' net worth


A front-page story ("U.S. families' net worth declines to levels of early '90s," June 12) states that the recent financial crisis was responsible for "erasing almost two decades of accumulated prosperity."

That's a poor choice of words. That wealth didn't simply cease to exist; it was moved.

A lot of politicians, corporate and financial-sector lobbyists, CEOs, and corporate boards worked very hard over those two decades, fighting labor rights, suppressing wages, gutting corporate and financial-sector regulations, and ensuring tax loopholes and breaks that overwhelmingly freed the already superrich.

They appropriated the wealth produced by others and convinced themselves that they deserved what was taken.


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Third paragraph from the end of that story: "Families with incomes in the bottom and top 20 percent of the population sustained smaller loses on a percentage basis than those in the middle 60 percent. One reason for this is that the middle class puts its wealth in housing, and the median amount of home equity dropped to $75,000 in 2010 from $110,000 in 2007."

Another reason could be that the bottom 20 percent was so low to begin with that it didn't have much further to fall. The article also didn't say exactly how much the loses were for the top 20 percent, nor how much if any loss the top 1 percent sustained. The subprime housing crisis precipitated the losses to begin with.

The rich are getting richer at the expense of the rest of us. Perhaps, we could use some variation of the concept of "clawback" to reduce taxes for the middle 60 percent and lower 20 percent and to reduce the federal deficit. Is that something that those in the Tea Party movement could vote for?