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Doctor supports health care reform

To the Editor:

In this heated national health care debate, I don’t get it: tempers are hotter than over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can see that insurance companies are worried about their profits when they get competition from a public option, where everyone has a choice for something like Medicare. But if every American could have health insurance, who could be against that?

Town hall meetings where fear is being whipped up with words like “pull the plug on Granny” and “Nazi” is some kind of dangerous insanity. I have to ask where all these people bringing guns and screaming at town hall meetings were when the Bush/Cheney administration sent our young men and women to war. Were they too afraid to speak out then, for fear of being called unpatriotic?

Now is the time to be fiercely patriotic, but do it in an intelligent way, not through violence. And we need our senators and representatives to cool these tempers by sticking to facts.

Public option is not a government takeover of the doctor-patient relationship. It would not deny care to anyone of a political party, as some have alleged. It is not a communist plot and won’t turn our country into Russia. It will only improve the chances that Americans who cannot afford health insurance will get it. And currently the insurance companies, not the doctor, get to determine who meets criteria for expensive medical care. It is scary to see so much resistance at correcting this.

A public health insurance option is analogous to our public education system, or “option.” We have private schools and religious schools where parents can pay tuition to send their children. But we also have the public school option, and it works well at giving kids a good education. Likewise, the health care public option will be a choice. And for the 49 million uninsured and under-insured, and for those of us who pay exorbitant premiums, this is an affordable offer.

As a doctor, I think that President Obama is on the right track with a public option. The fear surrounding health care reform is interfering with the opportunity for every American to get an equal chance at good health. Some of us may not deserve a new car or a fancy house, but don’t we all deserve to go to the doctor when we g et sick? Or, m aybe even before?

I request that Representative Hal Rogers, and Senators Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning support the President’s health care plan. They were not elected to support the insurance companies. They were sent to Washington to protect the American people. In that vein, I also ask them to cool down the rhetoric that only raises fear. Health care is too important to be used as a political torch.


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