Arne Carlson and Richard Lamm do not seem to understand what single-payer health care is ("Health-care debate is needlessly polarized," March 9).

The two formers governors are calling it a "government run" system when, in fact, it is a government-financed system, like Medicare.

Under single payer, doctors and other providers continue to be privately owned and managed. Single-payer proponents do not advocate that providers be employed by the government like the British system (or like the VA system). We advocate that the insurance industry be replaced by a single public payer, like Medicare.

Single payer creates exactly what Carlson and Lamm are calling for: a mix of public and private (public financing, private doctors), shared cost responsibility (individuals and employers would contribute financially), a benefit package that is guaranteed for everyone (all residents would be covered), and full choice of doctors (which no one has now in the current system). I encourage both governors and others interested in health care reform to investigate single payer seriously before jumping to erroneous conclusions.

SUSAN HASTI, M.D., MINNEAPOLIS; CHAIR, MINNESOTA UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE COALITION

Spitzer saga obscures the real scandal

Once again a man in a position of power is found behaving badly. Eliot Spitzer is now known across the country as the man who spent $80,000 for sex with prostitutes and everyone has an opinion about how he behaved, what he should do, what his wife should do. His life as he knew it is essentially, and publicly, over.

But while Spitzer was spending his own money on what we can only hope was really great sex and hoping not to be found out, the Bush administration has been spending our money, $12 billion of it every month, on a war that was entered into with lies and deception and is bankrupting our country and our souls. Where is the outcry over this, the real scandal?

LISA LETOURNEAU, ST. PAUL

Delegate selection and DNC rigidity

Should Florida and Michigan somehow be allowed to circumvent the Democratic National Committee rules and consequently affect the outcome of the delegate selection process? Here is a better question for the Obama supporters who say that "the rules are the rules" and the two states must follow them: What if in the end Barack Obama has the popular vote and the highest delegate count, but the super delegates go with Hillary Clinton and she gets the nomination? Will the Obama supporters still be saying "the rules are the rules"?

The decision to hold an early primary in Florida in violation of the DNC rules was made by a Republican-controlled legislature and a Republican governor. In other words, the DNC through its own rigidity in insisting that its rules be followed, cut off the participation of the Florida Democratic Party in the delegate selection process, just like the Republicans wanted.

JOHN MATTSEN, NEW BRIGHTON

Platform debate, part one

I am tired of reading letter after letter in the editorial section praising the six Republican legislators who "crossed the aisle" and "did the right thing" by voting for the veto override of the largest tax increase in state history.

What they did was to vote against the Republican platform. Excerpts from that platform are listed here:

• Reducing the burden of existing taxation on our economy.

• Limiting the ability of Congress and the Legislature to use tax increases as the first solution to every problem.

• Reforming our tax systems.

• Dedicating all taxes, fees and licenses from their revenue streams to their appropriate program funding.

If these state legislators do not wish to follow the party platform then that is their choice. But they should expect to lose favor with the people who have endorsed them to uphold that platform.

BRIAN GRONQUIST, ANDOVER

Platform debate, part 2

A March 9 letter writer justified punishing the six GOP representatives who voted to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto of the transportation bill by asserting that the six should be held accountable for not conforming to their party platform. But the state GOP platform does not explicitly forbid any and all tax increases; in fact, it advocates a radical new tax -- a national sales tax that would massively shift the burden of taxation to poor and middle-income families.

MIKE SUPINA, EAGAN